OBSTACLES IN PROSECUTING TRANSNATIONAL CYBER CRIMINALS

Open Access
Author:
Clay, Andrew Christian
Area of Honors:
Information Sciences and Technology
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Donald Richard Shemanski, Thesis Supervisor
  • Rosalie Ocker, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • cyber crime
  • international cyber crime
  • prosecuting international cyber crime
Abstract:
The process of prosecuting transnational cyber criminals and terrorists is complex and many such crimes are never pursued for many varying reasons, including cultural and legal differences as well as difficulties inherent in the extraterritorial application of a state's domestic laws. This thesis focuses on the evolving process in which transnational cyber criminals and terrorists are tracked and prosecuted. With the help of leading experts in the field I have indentified the key issues facing international cyber crime and have offered suggestions to improve the process. While there are many technological hurdles to attributing cyber crimes to specific individuals, the main issues facing transnational crimes are cooperation between governments and mutual legal assistance procedures. Treaties such as the Council of Europe Treaty on Cybercrime only have support from certain Western countries and still lack adequate definitions of intellectual property violations. Furthermore, the treaty has often been proven ineffective among member states involved in the Council of Europe. Lack of requirements for points of contact between nations and the lack of effective means to punish those who do not cooperate have made the treaty ineffective at fulfilling the purpose for which it was drafted. The analysis led to several suggestions. Ultimately transnational cyber crime is an issue of cooperation and diplomacy. The United States alone cannot compel international cooperation; however parties of the Council of Europe treaty could revise the treaty in talks with dissenting nations. There needs to be agreement on the approach of reacting to crimes as they occur, regardless of where the attack is originating. Additionally, there must be an improvement in the process of investigation, as a single point of contact is not enough to properly respond to the high volume of attacks and crimes.