The Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime is further entrenched as the key international legal instrument for tackling online crime following the third annual Quintet meeting of Attorneys-General in Sydney this week.
Attorneys-General from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom agreed that all five nations should become parties to the Convention, currently the only multilateral treaty addressing crime conducted via the internet and other computer networks.
All Quintet nations should promote the Convention and use it as the basis for building their own crime-fighting capabilities and raising awareness, said the Attorneys-General in their final communiqué.
Australia is already taking steps to sign the Convention with the Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Bill 2011, introduced into parliament on 26 June. The US, UK and Canada have already acceded to the Convention.
Signing the Convention was just part of the action plan agreed by the Attorneys-General to address the "growing issue" of online crime.
The law officers also concluded that Quintet nations should consider developing codes of practice for internet service providers (ISPs), specifically citing Australia's highly-regarded icode as an model.
Known informally as the "zombie code", the icode is a voluntary code of practice developed by Australia's Internet Industry Association (IIA) that outlines mechanisms by which ISPs can notify customers whose computers have become infected with malware and become part of a hostile botnet, potentially even disconnecting them from the internet. The icode came into force on 1 December 2010.
According to the communiqué, Quintet nations should also:
* take steps to ensure telecommunications interception laws keep pace with new technology;
* consider enacting laws requiring the mandatory notification of data breaches; and
* encourage domain name registries to take "all appropriate steps" to strengthen their registration processes to help prevent criminal use.
The Attorneys-General noted the value of online crime reporting tools, and recommended that Quintet nations scope out the possibility of linking their facilities to assist cooperation.