Attribution and Prosecution

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Justice in Cyberspace

Cybercrimes are on the rise worldwide, and national law enforcement agencies around the world have very little success with arrests and fewer with prosecutions, and no matter the amount of money given the presence of cybercriminals behind bars will continue to prove elusive.

Two of the reasons are attribution and jurisdiction, cybercriminals know this and take full advantage of it.

To put a dent in this trend two things need to happen.

(1) The creation of an International Attribution Consortium[i] consisting of a “broad team of international experts would provide an independent investigation of major cyber incidents for attribution. Membership should include representatives from two sectors: (a) technical experts from cybersecurity and information technology companies, as well as academia, and (b) cyberspace policy experts, legal scholars, and international policy experts from a diversity of academic and research organizations. A credible and transparent attribution organization should not include the formal representation of nation-states, to avoid an appearance of bias and to protect transparency.”

(2) For nations to stop the current tendency of using laws (justice system) and enforcement units to advance their political and national interests. Governments need to realize that the prosecutions of cybercriminals in the jurisdiction(s) where the crime was committed benefits all concerns, especially where wanton criminal acts can traverse geographical borders creating economic and political havoc in multiple domains, and jurisdiction gridlock where the criminals are free to repeat their most successful exploits. International law enforcement cybercrime units, like Interpol and Europol Cybercrime Units, need real power to chase and arrest cybercriminals and ensure their prosecutions, hopefully in the most severe dominion.

Sadly, Item (1) is more likely anytime soon than Item (2).

Federal budget: RCMP, CSE to get new cybercrime fighting centres (Note: cybercrime fighting centres are a good worldwide trend currently, but will very little worldwide coordination.)


[i] Davis, John S. II, Benjamin Boudreaux, Jonathan William Welburn, Jair Aguirre, Cordaye Ogletree, Geoffrey McGovern, and Michael S. Chase, Stateless Attribution: Toward International Accountability in Cyberspace, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, RR-2081-MS, 2017. https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2081.html