Cyber criminals face a crackdown from tough new rules to catch them out on the Internet. Ministers from the world's eight largest industrial nations, the so called G8, have agreed on a plan to fight the growing problem of international computer crime. A 10-point plan has been agreed by the ministers which includes judicial co-operation, agreements on extradition, speeding up mutual agreements and communication, provision of standards for secure telecommunications and the development of forensic standards for retrieving electronic data. The ministers, led by US Attorney General Janet Reno with 15 senior legal officials from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the UK, met in Washington DC last week. According to Reno, "Computers and networks are also opening up a new frontier of crime." One of G8's principle concerns is that businesses in one country are at risk of having their systems invaded by criminals in other countries, making jurisdiction an overwhelming obstacle for national police forces. Ministers agreed to create a 24-hour contact service which will help national police forces co-ordinate their efforts to trap law-breakers. One of the most important measures agreed at the meeting was a commitment to train law enforcement officials in the tools and activities of the cyber criminal. There will also be a co-ordinated prosecution effort so that countries know where to try a cyber criminal once he or she has been found. The move to break down jurisdictional barriers was widely welcomed. A US Justice Department spokesman said: "Judicial process and international requests for help can delay the investigative process massively. These agreements will certainly make things easier for law enforcement officers." The Home Secretary, Jack Straw, said close co-operation was needed within the computer industry, particularly among ISPs. "We agreed that we have to have a closer dialogue with Internet service providers so that they are aware of the needs of law enforcers," he said. "There's also a need to recognise that we are all on the same side, because law enforcement agencies represent the lawful customers of ISPs."
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