The United States on May 12 signed onto an expanded version of the Budapest Convention that governs international cooperation against cyber crime, and that in its expanded form will allow for easier collection of cross-border electronic evidence.

Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard Downing of the Department of Justice (DOJ) officially signed the Second Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime – more commonly referred to as the Budapest Convention – at the Council of Europe (COE) headquarters in Strasburg, France.

The expanded version of the convention will “accelerate cooperation among parties to protect our citizens from cybercrime and hold criminals accountable,” DOJ said.

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In a press release, DoJ explained that as cybercrime proliferates, evidence of such crimes gets stored in increasingly varied jurisdictions.

“The Second Additional Protocol is specifically designed to help law enforcement authorities obtain access to such electronic evidence, with new tools including direct cooperation with service providers and registrars, expedited means to obtain subscriber information and traffic data associated with criminal activity, and expedited cooperation in obtaining stored computer data in emergencies,” DOJ said. “All these tools are subject to a system of human rights and rule of law safeguards,” it added.

“The Budapest Convention is a truly remarkable international instrument. Its technology-neutral approach to cybercrime has created an enduring framework for cooperation that ensures law enforcement has the tools they need to respond to new criminal methods,” said Downing. “It is our collective vision that every country that is serious about fighting cybercrime and that provides for the protection of human rights should become party to the Budapest Convention.”

Currently, 66 countries are signed onto the convention. Notably, Russia and China are not among them.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.