On May 12, the U.S. signaled its commitment to fight cybercrime by signing the Second Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime to obtain access to needed electronic evidence. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard Downing of the DOJ’s Criminal Division signed the new protocol to strengthen and expand international law enforcement cooperation to combat cybercrime. Currently, 66 countries are party to the multilateral treaty (commonly known as the Budapest Convention), which presents a “technology-neutral approach to cybercrime” and “has created an enduring framework for cooperation that ensures law enforcement has the tools they need to respond to new criminal methods.”

According to the DOJ’s announcement, the new “Protocol to the Budapest Convention will accelerate cooperation among parties to protect [] citizens from cybercrime and hold criminals accountable. As cybercrime proliferates, electronic evidence is increasingly stored in different jurisdictions. The Second Additional Protocol is specifically designed to help law enforcement authorities obtain access to such electronic evidence, with new tools including direct cooperation with service providers and registrars, expedited means to obtain subscriber information and traffic data associated with criminal activity, and expedited cooperation in obtaining stored computer data in emergencies. All these tools are subject to a system of human rights and rule of law safeguards.”