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Global Alliance Needed in Fighting Cybercrime, Lawmakers Told

April 12 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. should cooperate more with other countries on cross-border investigations of cybercrime to bolster national security and protect consumers from identity theft, witnesses told lawmakers during a Senate hearing today.

“It is unlikely that we can adequately secure the U.S. portion of cyberspace without international engagement,” John Savage, a computer science professor at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, said in testimony before the Senate Committee of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism.

While cybercriminals operate in a world without borders, the law enforcement community does not, limiting the enforceable penalties on cybercrime, said Pablo Martinez, a deputy special agent in charge with the Secret Service’s criminal investigation division.

International cooperation was vital in investigating the network intrusion of Heartland Payment Systems Inc., the fifth-largest payments processor in the U.S., where 130 million credit card accounts were compromised two years ago, Martinez said.

In January, top White House cybersecurity official Howard Schmidt said he planned a diplomatic effort to win more cooperation on cybercrime issues. Some governments actively engage in cybercrimes or turn a “blind eye” to the practice, similar to nations condoning money-laundering schemes in the 1980s, Schmidt said.

The U.S. plans to urge more nations to sign a 10-year-old treaty called the Cybercrime Convention that calls for cooperation in probing crimes committed via the Internet and other computer networks, Schmidt said in January. These include crimes that deal with infringements of copyright, computer-related fraud, child pornography and violations of network security, according to the treaty website.

The treaty has been ratified by 30 countries, including the U.S. and 29 European nations. Signatories including the United Kingdom, Canada and Turkey have yet to ratify the law, according to the treaty website. China and Russia are among nations that have yet to sign the treaty.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kelly Riddell in Washington at kriddell1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Allan Holmes at aholmes25@bloomberg.net

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