Cablegate: Egypt: Goe May Be Changing Tune On Coe Cybercrime

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. CAIRO 02469
B. STATE 26851

Sensitive but Unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

1. (U) On April 12, DOJ Computer Crimes expert Christopher
Painter met with Assistant Minister of Justice Iskandar
Ghattas to discuss the GOE's support for a proposed United
Nations-sponsored global convention on cybercrime, as opposed
to USG support for the Council of Europe (COE) Convention on
Cybercrime (reftels).

2. (SBU) Ghattas expressed his opinion that cybercrime is
"just as dangerous as terrorism," that developing countries
are most vulnerable to cybercrime because they lack
experience in dealing with it, and that he understood "big
countries" such as the U.S. were not interested in discussing
the problem in an international forum. Painter agreed that
the problem was serious and growing worldwide, and clarified
that the USG was indeed interested in dialogue. However, the
issue was not one of whether cybercrime was an international
problem, but whether there should be a U.N.-sponsored global

3. (SBU) Painter explained USG support for the COE
Convention, which took five years to develop, and which was
comprehensive, flexible in its applicability to individual
countries' legal systems, and efficient. Painter noted that
the world could not afford to spend another five years
negotiating a different convention while cybercrime further
developed, and that the resources needed to negotiate a new
convention could be better spent on improving individual
countries' capacities to fight cybercrime. Participants in
the COE Convention, Painter said, could continue with global
dialogue even after ratifying the agreement. He noted that
Egypt could take a leadership role in the region through its
support for the Convention as a good starting point for
tackling the problem.

4. (SBU) Ghattas inquired as to how the USG and GOE might
cooperate in fighting cybercrime. Painter responded that -
subject to resource availability - continuing USG assitance
programs, whether technical or legal, could be productive,
and the USG would like to enlist Egyptian support in the task
of convincing other countries to join the COE Convention.

5. (SBU) A smiling Ghattas indicated his acceptance of
Painter's arguments on support for the COE Convention with a
simple "okay," and suggested that the USG and GOE might
sponsor a regional "seminar" for the purpose, possibly in
conjunction with the COE or even the U.N. When Poloff
inquired on the likelihood of U.N. participation in a program
supporting the COE Convention rather than a U.N. convention,
Ghattas responded that the U.N. position had shifted; the
U.N. no longer was pressing for a new global convention but
simply wanted to ensure the cybercrime issue was addressed

6. (SBU) Comment: Ghattas is not the final arbiter of GOE
policy but his support undoubtedly will help the USG case.
The apparent ease with which he reversed position from his
previous opposition to the COE Convention (reftels) most
likely reflects his perception of a modified U.N. stance.
End comment.

7. (U) Mr. Painter cleared this cable.

Visit Embassy Cairo's Classified Website:

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