November 18, 2009

Egypt Forum Calls For Crackdown On Individuals, Not Society

An Internet governance forum gathered at the Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt to discuss cybercrime regulation, reported AFP.

According to Gisele Da Silva Craveiro of the University of Sao Paolo in Brazil, current cyber legislation is so expansive that it could easily be subject to misuse by authorities.

"Definitions for cybercrimes can be so broad as to fit everything... leaving the laws open to inappropriate use by authorities such as monitoring citizens," Craveiro told AFP at the Fourth Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum in Egypt.

"Technicians need to communicate with lawyers to come up with more efficient legislation so that society doesn't end up paying the price for too broad a legislation," she said.

Craveiro was speaking at a session called Developing Comprehensive Cybercrime Legislation, which was organized by the Council of Europe at the Red Sea meeting.

"Legal frameworks should take into account the rights of users and the role of the private sector on the one hand, and security concerns on the other," the Council of Europe said in a statement.

Some said that broad legislation may leave an open door for abuse, but cracking down on specific offenses would call for a regular update of laws to catch up with the meteoric evolution of cybercrimes.

"You need to have a mix and match addressing specific offenses but also taking into account new technologies and cybercrimes," said Pavan Duggal, Chairman of Cyber Law and IT Act Committee in India, where they are experiencing a tremendous challenge with data theft and unauthorized data use.

Currently, the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime is the only legally binding document created to criminalize computer-related offenses, content-related offenses and offenses involving infringement of copyright and associated rights.

Over 1,500 representatives from the government, civil society, advocacy groups and the private sector from more than 100 countries met at the IGF forum in Egypt to discuss the future of the Internet.


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