FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AG (202) 616-2777 WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 10, 1997 TDD (202) 514-1888
Good afternoon. Today I had the pleasure of hosting the Ministers and Deputy Ministers from the Justice and Interior Ministries from seven nations-the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada, France, and Russia. This is the first-ever meeting on crime of my counterparts from these countries, known as the Eight, and I am grateful that they all took the time to meet here today. Today, we reached agreements that will boost our ability to combat international high-tech and computer-related crime and help us better assist each other in a broad range of law enforcement matters. Officials from our nations have been hard at work at this for the past year. As a group, we recognize that we have entered a new age--the computer age. Twenty-first century technologies are going to change how we live, and make many things easier. But computers and networks are also opening up a new frontier of crime. Criminals no longer are restricted by national boundaries. For instance, we know now that a criminal can sit in one country and disrupt a computer system in another country thousands of miles away. If we are to keep up with cybercrime, we must work together as never before. Today we have reached agreement on steps that will help us do exactly that. First, we have all committed to ensure that a sufficient number of trained and equipped law enforcement personnel are allocated to the task of fighting high-tech crime. Second, we have agreed to establish high-tech crime contacts that will be available on a 24-hour basis. This will enable us to move immediately to track down computer criminals or lend other critical support. Third, each nation has committed to develop faster ways to trace attacks coming through computer networks, so that we can quickly identify the hacker or criminal who is responsible. Fourth, we have agreed that where extradition of a criminal is not possible because of nationality, we will devote the same commitment of time and resources to that prosecution that a victim-nation would have devoted. This is important because too often, a criminal will flee a country and return to his or her own homeland, hoping to escape justice if extradition is not possible. Now that will change. What's more significant is that this agreement applies not just to computer crimes, but to all types of otherwise extraditable crimes. Fifth, we are learning that computer criminals in one country can easily alter or destroy electronic evidence before law enforcement in another country can act. That is why we have agreed to takes steps aimed at preserving important information on computer networks. In taking this step, information will be less likely to be tampered with by criminals, or erased by routine system update procedures. Sixth, we have agreed to review our legal systems to ensure they appropriately criminalize computer wrongdoing and to ensure they facilitate the investigation of high-tech crimes. Finally, we have vowed to work jointly and cooperatively with industry--which plays such a crucial role--to devise new solutions making it easier for us to detect, prevent and punish computer crimes. These steps all mark tremendous progress in our efforts to combat the types of crimes committed with the aid of the computer. But just as computers can aid the criminal, they can also aid law enforcement. Recognizing this, today we also agreed to intensify our efforts to use new technologies, like so-called video-links. Video links will enable us to obtain testimony from witnesses located thousands of miles away, conserving our own resources. With emerging technologies, no longer will we have to fight 21st-century crimes with 19th-century tools. Today is an important day in fighting computer crime, and in laying the groundwork for the next century of crime fighting. I am very pleased with what we have achieved, and I look forward to even more success in improving our cooperative relationship.
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