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COMP 607: Reflections on week 7

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By nmas in the group COMP 607: Fall 2015 cohort November 1, 2015 - 9:10am

Local cybercrime legislation, for the most part, attempts to stem and discourage malicious activities that originate or utilize information technology within national boundaries. However, a broader interpretation and method of enforcement is required when it comes to crimes that transcend national boundaries. The relative sense of anonymity and the challenges in identifying perpetrators through their use of proxy servers and virtual private networks make the Internet an appealing area for criminals to thrive (Golubev, 2005). From a judicial perspective, jurisdiction limitations in enforcement and prosecution add another dimension to the problem.

Not all local laws are meant to protect the citizens at large. As Edward’s post on the comparison of laws between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates show, local cybercrime laws can be interpreted as being self-serving for the government – when vague criteria such as “public morals” and “religious values” are used in legislation.

The Convention on Cybercrime is an attempt to harmonize national efforts in combating cybercrime by “recognizing the need for cooperation between States and private industry”  (Council of Europe, 2001). Canada became a signatory in 2001. It ratified the treaty in July this year and it actually comes into force on the day of this writing – the 1st of November 2015 (Council of Europe, 2015).

With the lack of an internationally unanimous definition of cybercrime, the treaty serves to provide some guidance as to what it constitutes and provide a set of procedures as to how they can be handled. For example, Chapter 1 Article 1 provides a set of definitions. Chapter II provides a set of guidelines as to what measures can be taken at a national level for different types of crimes. This form of guidance assists national law makers to identify their arcs and provides a strawman for them to fill out. Chapter III then goes on to provide guidance on international cooperation.

Reading the different perspectives on cybercrime in this week’s post, it is clear that such a treaty is what is required to synchronize efforts in combatting crime. However, its effectiveness is still under debate and the topic for another discussion.


Council of Europe. (2001, Nov 23). Convention on Cybercrime. Retrieved from Council of Europe:

Council of Europe. (2015, November 1). Chart of signatures and ratifications of Treaty 185. Retrieved from Council of Europe:

Golubev, V. (2005, April 16). International cooperation in fighting cybercrime. Retrieved from Computer Crime Research Centre:





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