Civil libertarians have objected to the treaty ever since it became public in early 2000, arguing that it would endanger privacy rights and grant too much power to government investigators. So have industry groups such as Americans for Computer Privacy and the Internet Alliance. They raised concerns that the treaty could limit anonymity or impose vague record-keeping requirements on U.S. Internet providers.
"It's a treaty that goes way beyond combating cybercrime," said Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU's technology and liberty program. "It would require nations that participate in the treaty to adopt all sorts of intrusive surveillance measures and cooperate with other nations, even when the act that's being investigated is not a crime in their home country."
So far, according to the Council of Europe, only three countries--Albania, Croatia and Estonia--have ratified the treaty. If the Senate approves it, the Bush administration said it believes that because U.S. law already abides by provisions in the treaty, no further legal changes would be necessary.