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Europe asks ISPs to help battle cybercrime
Published: 2008-04-02

The Council of Europe plans to vote this week on drafted guidelines that call for more cooperation from Internet service providers (ISPs) in combatting online attacks.

During the Council of Europe's Octopus 2008 Conference on Cybercrime -- which is taking place in Strasbourg, France -- participants will be asked to adopt a set of guidelines to speed response to cyberattacks and share more information, especially between Internet service providers and government agencies. The guidelines have been proposed by Estonia and other nations following the attacks on the northern European country last spring.

"The draft guidelines build upon the existing Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime -- to which many countries in Europe and beyond have acceded -- and call for formal partnerships between Internet service providers (ISPs) and law enforcement," the Council of Europe said in a statement published about the conference.

In late April and early May 2007, massive denial-of-service attacks hobbled online communications in Estonia, a nation that depends on the Internet for much of its commerce and access to government. The attacks began on April 28, following violent clashes between the Estonian police and ethnic Russians in the country over the removal of a Red Army monument that symbolizes the defeat of Nazi Germany by the Soviet Union during World War II, but is also a reminder to Estonians of the more than four decades that the Soviets occupied the nation. Following the incident, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) -- of which Estonia is a member -- began evaluating whether such attacks should trigger the treaty's clause for common defense, Article 5.

The latest guidelines, and the request for ISPs to share data with government, worries many privacy experts, according to a report on the issue by the International Herald Tribune. More information on the conference is available from the Council or Europe's Web site.

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Posted by: Robert Lemos
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