Recently, the Argentine Executive Branch filed a bill (the "Bill") with the Senate which approves the Convention on Cybercrime of the Council of Europe (ETS No. 185), adopted in Budapest, Hungary (the "Convention").
The Convention was adopted in 2001 and is the only international treaty on cybercrime and digital evidence. Despite the fact that it was developed within the framework of the Council of Europe, all countries may become members. To date it has been ratified by 54 countries, including the United States, Great Britain, Japan, Canada and Germany.
The main purpose of the Convention is to establish a common criminal policy to protect communities from cybercrime. In that connection, the Convention has provisions which relate to substantive law and specifies several crimes, including computer-related fraud and violations to the security of computer systems. In addition, it also contains several sections on procedural law and the collection of digital evidence, as well as including matters relating to international cooperation.
It is worth noting that in 2008 Argentina passed Cybercrime Law No. 26,338 and amended its Criminal Code to include several cybercrimes, modeling these on those contained in the Convention. Consequently, if the Convention is approved the novel aspects for Argentina will be related to procedural law and international cooperation. In particular, Argentina still uses its own rules for securing physical evidence for searches in computer systems, which is not very efficient from a digital evidence standpoint. Adopting the Convention would mean a modernization in the ways of securing digital evidence, which would apply to the investigation of any crime, not just cybercrime.
In addition, the approval of the Convention would make Argentina part of an international cooperative framework. Argentina could be part of the 24/7 network, through which every country establishes a contact point to ensure immediate assistance in cybercrime investigations.
In sum, the approval of the Bill would be a positive development in the fight against cybercrime and in securing digital evidence.
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