Executives call for delay in cyber crime pact

The Global Internet Project (GIP), a group of business executives dedicated to fostering the development of the Internet, called Monday for more dialogue on a proposed convention on crime in cyberspace.

At a press conference in Berlin, GIP urged the Council of Europe to delay its self-imposed deadline of December for completion of the treaty. The Council, which has 41 member countries and is not affiliated with the European Union, released a draft of the convention on Oct. 2. It is widely expected that other countries beyond Europe, including the United States, will also adopt the final convention.

“It’s an issue where if we move too quickly to ban the tools used by hackers, we may also ban the tools used by investigators,” said John Patrick, vice-president for Internet technology at IBM Corp., and chairman of GIP.

GIP member Tom Evslin, chairman and CEO of ITXC Corp., said the group agrees with the aims of the convention, but that more work is needed to ensure it doesn’t stifle innovation.

The draft convention would impose heavy record-keeping burdens on ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and make them liable for the actions of others, according to GIP.

The draft would empower authorities to be able to demand “subscriber information under (a) service provider’s possession or control,” and to “compel a service provider to … collect or record or cooperate and assist the competent authorities in the collection or recording of content data … transmitted by means of a computer system.”

“It’s an example that demonstrates to us the need for more dialogue. A rush to adopt those regulations probably will be counterproductive,” Evslin said.

GIP is holding a workshop in Berlin through Tuesday on the subject “Security, Privacy, and Reliability of the Next Generation Internet.”

GIP, in Arlington, Va., can be reached at http://www.gip.org/.