The role of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLAT

The role of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) in allowing the investigation and prosecution of cybercrimes

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The role of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) in allowing the investigation and prosecution of cybercrimes

Due to the global nature of the Internet, evidence of U.S. targeted cybercrimes is increasingly only available outside the judicial borders of the country.
A. Discuss the role of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) in allowing the investigation and prosecution of cybercrimes.
B. Provide at least one example of these MLATs.

The role of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) in allowing the investigation and prosecution of cybercrimes

Different states face difficulties with respect to the investigation and prosecution of cybercrimes especially in incidences that go beyond their borders. This is even more challenging in scenarios of developing countries where they lack the mechanisms to obtain evidence admissible in legal proceedings due to lack of knowledge and the misconception in the existing legal frameworks (Broadhurst, 2006). Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) come into aid by joining and implementing legal frameworks in international cooperation hence assisting to build trust between different governments and private sectors. Most importantly, MLATs are useful in mobilizing resources for technical assistance and capacity building across nations to help in investigations and prosecution of cybercrimes (Bassiouni, 2008).

Therefore, MLATs and other related forms of cross-border cooperation are important tools towards law enforcement, governments, and in the private sector since they act as a formal mechanism towards access to data and information located in different jurisdictions. These mechanisms are essential since they are able to bypass domestic protections such as the judiciary, tradition forms of authorization, and external review process. In addition, MLATs allow access to data that would otherwise not be accessible to domestic investigation. MLATs are also precursor in investigations since they allow for access to and sharing of data with countries that form part of the agreement; hence, they assist in combating cybercrime (Bassiouni, 2008).

An example of such a treaty is the mutual assistance in criminal matters and the extradition treaty between the American and Canadian governments on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. The treaty is designed in such a way that it helps both these governments in investigations, prosecution, and suppression of crime through cooperation and mutual assistance in various law enforcement matters. This treaty has played a major role in fighting cybercrime that goes beyond the borders of the two nations (Hathaway, 2008).

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