The Senate is currently debating a Ukraine aid package, and all the focus has been on the proposed reforms to the International Monetary Fund, proposed changes that Senate Democrats have now agreed to drop in order to expedite aid to Ukraine and sanctions against Russia — “an embarrassing defeat” for President Obama the New York Times wrote.
But there’s another proposed Amendment that’s not getting much discussion: the Warner/Kirk Amendment.
On Sunday U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) announced they would introduce a bipartisan amendment creating a law enforcement partnership between the United States and Ukraine to combat cybercrime and improve cybersecurity.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated that the Senate may vote on the Ukrainian bill Thursday.
Meanwhile, with the IMF debate over, reports indicate that other amendments are next in line for discussion, like one involving energy exports to Ukraine.
I’m no political expert, but isn’t this one thing we could all agree on? For years government officials have beaten the drum of cybercrime, saying it’s a bigger threat than terrorism, a top priority we must address as a nation. The recent Target breach stirred up lawmakers as well, sparking more calls for something to be done. Target and other cybercrimes have been traced to Ukraine, but there’s no extradition treaty between the Ukraine and U.S., so the country remains an attractive place for cybercriminals.
Ukrainian internet security experts
“Internet security experts tell us Ukraine is home to some of the world’s most sophisticated cybercriminals, and the previous Ukrainian government routinely turned a blind eye to cybercrime,” Warner said in a statement. “As the United States works to support this new Ukrainian government and as the Senate considers this significant Ukrainian aid package, we have an excellent opportunity to create new structures of cooperation that will better protect American consumers and businesses by working together to crack down on international cybercrime.”
It seems a logical step and a way that government could actually make a difference when it comes to cybercrime. Will it happen? Again, I’m no expert, but it’s hard to have faith in a government that seems to put it’s “top threat” of cybercrime on the back burner.
The Warner/Kirk Amendment to S.2124, the Ukraine aid bill, proposes the following:
1) The U.S. must initiate a round of formal U.S.-Ukraine bilateral talks on cybercrime cooperation with additional multilateral talks that include other law enforcement partners such as Europol and Interpol.
2) The U.S. should establish a standing senior-level working group to conduct regular dialogue on cybercrime concerns and share best practices between law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and Ukraine.
3) The U.S. should establish a capacity-building program with Ukraine by sending FBI agents to aid Ukrainian investigations, and improve communication networks to expedite and improve law enforcement cooperation.
4) The U.S. should develop improved extradition procedures. The U.S. and Ukraine currently do not have an extradition treaty, which makes Ukraine fertile ground for those seeking to operate international criminal activities.