[IWAR] CRIME Right of hot pursuit in the net

From: Michael Wilson (MWILSON/0005514706at_private)
Date: Sun Dec 07 1997 - 10:01:08 PST

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                      Police struggle to catch high-tech criminals
          Copyright ) 1997 Nando.net
          Copyright ) 1997 Agence France-Presse
       WASHINGTON (December 6, 1997 9:06 p.m. EST http://www.nando.net) -
       Prosecutors and police around the globe are stumbling over geographical
       barriers in their quest to nab Internet criminals who cross
       international boundaries with ease.
       Seeking to develop an international strategy to put these cyberspace
       rogues behind bars, justice and interior ministers from the Group of
       Eight (G8) nations meet in Washington Dec. 9-10.
       "The fight against lawlessness on the Internet will be one of the
       greatest law enforcement challenge of the next century," U.S. Attorney
       General Janet Reno said.
       The Internet allows a savvy criminal armed with a humble personal
       computer to swipe military or industrial secrets buried in the databanks
       of laboratories or companies.
       It also allows drug traffickers with encryption technology to swap
       information about drug shipments and launder vast sums of money.
       And from the shelter of a country with tolerant laws, Internet users can
       transmit pornographic images, publish extremist propaganda and
       disseminate information about bomb-making.
       "National laws reflect national customs and national interests," said
       Barry Steinhardt, associate director of the American Civil Liberties
       Last year German authorities ordered the nation's Internet-access
       companies to bar access to a site based in Holland featuring Radikal, an
       extreme-left magazine banned in Germany.
       The site, which is legal in the Netherlands, countered that censorship
       bid by permanently changing its address.
       Another challenge facing the ministers in Washington will be their speed
       of response.
       "Once a government is involved, judicial process and formal
       international requests for assistance can delay the investigative
       process, sometimes with detrimental results," a top U.S. Justice
       Department official said.
       In 1992, cyberspace pirates operating out of Switzerland invaded the
       computer network of a San Diego, Calif., research center doing work on
       nuclear weapons.
       After months of delays caused by differences in the laws of the two
       nations, police in Zurich used the postal service and official channels
       to offer its assistance to U.S. authorities. By then, the pirates had
       stopped their work and their trail had gone ice-cold.
       "Technology is moving much too quickly," said David Post, director of
       the Cyberspace Law Institute at Georgetown University in Washington.
       "The only effective agreements will be where there is broad
       international acceptance," Steinhardt said.
       A U.S. official said the United States hopes that the ministers of
       Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan -- known as the Group of
       Seven major industrialized nations -- and Russia will leave the
       conference ready to "empower experts to find solutions."
       By ISABEL PARENTHOEN, Agence France-Presse

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