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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 17, 2003

Message to the Senate of the United States

With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime (the "Cybercrime Convention" or the "Convention"), which was signed by the United States on November 23, 2001. In addition, for the information of the Senate, I transmit the report of the Department of State with respect to the Convention and the Convention's official Explanatory Report.

The United States, in its capacity as an observer at the Council of Europe, participated actively in the elaboration of the Convention, which is the only multilateral treaty to address the problems of computer-related crime and electronic evidence gathering. An overview of the Conventions provisions is provided in the report of the Department of State. The report also sets forth proposed reservations and declarations that would be deposited by the United States with its instrument of ratification. With these reservations and declarations, the Convention would not require implementing legislation for the United States.

The Convention promises to be an effective tool in the global effort to combat computer-related crime. It requires Parties to criminalize, if they have not already done so, certain conduct that is committed through, against, or related to computer systems. Such substantive crimes include offenses against the "confidentiality, integrity and availability" of computer data and systems, as well as using computer systems to engage in conduct that would be criminal if committed outside the cyber-realm, i.e., forgery, fraud, child pornography, and certain copyright-related offenses. The Convention also requires Parties to have the ability to investigate computer-related crime effectively and to obtain electronic evidence in all types of criminal investigations and proceedings.

By providing for broad international cooperation in the form of extradition and mutual legal assistance, the Cybercrime Convention would remove or minimize legal obstacles to inter-national cooperation that delay or endanger U.S. investigations and prosecutions of computer-related crime. As such, it would help deny "safe havens" to criminals, including terrorists, who can cause damage to U.S. interests from abroad using computer systems. At the same time, the Convention contains safeguards that protect civil liberties and other legitimate interests.

I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Cybercrime Convention, and that it give its advice and consent to ratification, subject to the reservations, declarations, and understanding described in the accompanying report of the Department of State.

November 17, 2003.

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