A cross-section of industry groups and individual companies issued a letter to the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee today, urging ratification of the Convention on Cybercrime adopted through the Council of Europe.

The coalition, which includes the Cyber Security Industry Alliance (CSIA), Bankers' Association for Finance and Trade, the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the Information Technology Association of America and VeriSign, asks that the Senate review the treaty and focus on the importance of global cooperation in fighting the growing problem of computer network-based crimes.

It asserts that ratification of the convention would minimize obstacles to international cooperation that currently impede U.S. investigations and prosecutions of computer-related crimes, such as fraud, identity theft and hacking.

Signed by the United States in November 2001, the Convention on Cybercrime is the first and only international, multilateral treaty specifically addressing the need for cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of computer network crimes. It requires global cooperation and law enforcement with respect to searches and seizures and provides timely extradition for computer network-based crimes covered under the treaty.

''The Convention will provide a much-needed international framework to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of cyber crimes,'' said Paul Kurtz, executive director of CSIA, in a statement. ''We believe the convention will become a critical component of international law enforcement efforts and ratification will strengthen the confidence of the security and safety of online transactions.''

To date, eight of the 42 countries that have signed the treaty have completed their ratification process.

''International cyber crime recognizes no borders and threatens the privacy and security of individuals and businesses around the world,'' said Cory N. Strupp, general counsel of BAFT. ''The Convention on Cybercrime is an important step in modernizing international standards to help prevent these crimes and track down the international criminals who perpetrate them.''

Robert Holleyman, president and CEO of BSA, also expressed support for the treaty.

''The premise of the Cybercrime Treaty is quite simple: to participate in the community of trading nations and benefit from global e-commerce, one should adhere to international standards, agreed upon legal frameworks and enforcement mechanisms.''

This article was first published on internetnews.com.