MP calls for international body to tackle cybercrime

An agency with international juristiction is needed to combat global cybercriminals

The gaps between the jurisdictions of individual countries are being exploited by international cybercriminals, according to Internet experts.

The answer to the problem is a UN agency, according to Dr Nick Palmer, Labour MP and secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Internet Group (APIG).

Speaking at the Webroot Spyware Summit in London on Thursday, Palmer said that a UN body could, for example, put pressure on ISPs to exclude servers that host criminal Web sites.

"The UN needs to have a body to ask ISPs not to link to servers from Colombia or Guyana that are hosting child pornography," he said.

If a crime involves a complex international Web of criminal activity, it can be difficult to gather sufficient evidence for a conviction, according to Howard Lamb, crime reduction coordinator for the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU).

"Jurisdiction can be extremely tangled," he said.

Palmer claimed that pressure needs to be put on countries allowing cybercrime to be perpetrated within their borders. "You need to make it in the country's interest not to allow cybercrime — tell them we'll cut off their Internet access if they do," Palmer said. .

But Palmer admitted that in countries which were not politically stable enough there would always be problems with any kind of international cooperation.

"There's always going to be a problem with servers in places like Colombia," he said.

Police forces are already cooperating against offences such as online child abuse with initiatives such as the Virtual Global Taskforce, a "one-stop shop" Web site for children to report online paedophilia, launched by police from the UK, Canada, Australia and the US.