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International review of criminal policy - Nos. 43 and 44/The international problem

A. The international problem

5. Laws, criminal justice systems and international cooperation have not kept pace with technological change. Only a few countries have adequate laws to address the problem, and of these, not one has resolved all of the legal, enforcement and prevention problems.

6. When the issue is elevated to the international scene, the problems and inadequacies are magnified. Computer crime is a new form of transnational crime and effectively addressing it requires concerted international cooperation. This can only happen, however, if there is a common framework for understanding what the problem is and what solutions there may be.

7. Some of the problems surrounding international cooperation in the area of computer crime and criminal law can be summarized as follows:

  1. The lack of global consensus on what types of conduct should constitute a computer-related crime;
  2. The lack of global consensus on the legal definition of criminal conduct;
  3. The lack of expertise on the part of police, prosecutors and the courts in this field;
  4. The inadequacy of legal powers for investigation and access to computer systems, including the inapplicability of seizure powers to intangibles such as computerized data;
  5. The lack of harmonization between the different national procedural laws concerning the investigation of computer-related crimes;
  6. The transnational character of many computer crimes;
  7. The lack of extradition and mutual assistance treaties and of synchronized law enforcement mechanisms that would permit international cooperation, or the inability of existing treaties to take into account the dynamics and special requirements of computer-crime investigation.

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