The Role of Isps in the Investigation of Cybercrime
INFORMATION ETHICS IN AN ELECTRONIC AGE: CURRENT ISSUES IN AFRICA AND THE WORLD, Thomas Mendina, Johannes Brtiz, eds., McFarland Press, 2004
10 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2006
This chapter examines the new role internet service providers (ISPs) will play in the fight against cybercrime. Examining the legislative model that is being considered in various jurisdictions around the world, the authors argue that adopting this approach will lower the threshold of privacy protection. Moreover, it will drastically alter the relationship between ISPs and the individuals who have come to depend on them to properly manage their personal information and private communications. The authors begin with a brief investigation of the role of ISPs as information intermediaries. The authors then examine a recent case which held that an ISP acted as an agent of the state when it voluntarily assisted the police in an investigation by disclosing a customer's personal information and private communications. The changing nature of the relationship between ISPs and the state as manifested in the "agent of the state" concept, are further explored through an articulation of various kinds of investigatory information that can be collected by ISPs on behalf of the police. This is followed by a discussion of the call for a lower threshold for obtaining such information in the European Convention on Cybercrime. The authors conclude by arguing that the shifting architecture of our communications infrastructure must incorporate various safeguards that will not only further the goals of national security and law enforcement, but will also preserve and promote personal privacy.
Keywords: Cybercrime, Privacy, ISP, Agent of the State, European Convention on Cybercrime
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