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Norwegian judge slams Facebook

A Norwegian judge and leading global cybercrime lawmaker has criticised Facebook for holding back information on countryman Anders Breivik's 2011 Oslo bombing and killing spree.

Speaking at New Zealand's International Criminal Law Congress in Queenstown yesterday, Norwegian Court of Appeal Judge Stein Schjolberg said it was the first time he had publicly spoken of his disappointment with the administrators of the 950-million-strong social networking site.

"The Norwegian judicial system requested information relating to the perpetrator, and several hundred fake accounts set up by the perpetrator months in advance of the trial," he said.

 

"If you use the original name [of the perpetrator] I can understand that there are certain rights," he said. "But when he used fake names, which is a crime itself, then Facebook should have [released them] . . . And I understand they have not. And this is very important, because he claims there are a lot of cells around, globally, in the United States, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

"Getting that information would help find the persons and individuals and cells that agree with him, or exchanged information on Facebook with him. That would be very interesting to look at to avoid the next bombing."

 

Last month Breivik was convicted of killing 77 people in the Oslo bombing and kill spree, and judged sane when he did so.

He received 21 years in jail - a sentence that can be prolonged if he is deemed a further threat to society under Norwegian law.

Spearheading Mr Schjolberg's speech to the congress was the point that a United Nations-sanctioned international cybercrime tribunal needed to be established to cope with the ever-evolving threat of cybercrime - and that the constant push by individual cybercrime think-tanks was making progress.

While the US had made some of the biggest advances in leading a globally unified approach to fighting cybercrime under the leadership of President Bill Clinton, the George Bush administration tore it up, Mr Schjolberg said.

"Over 80 per cent of the [UN] Rome Statute, which is the basis of the proposed international cybercrime court, was written by US lawyers in the Clinton era. Bush tore that up and said ‘no American will ever be prosecuted by an international court'," he said.

The hang-over of Bush's actions was still being felt, as the US, along with Russia and China, still had not ratified the Rome Statute, when 121 other countries had.

While he was critical of Facebook's stance on not releasing information contained in Breivik's personal and fake pages, he said the site's help, along with that of other private tech leaders, was essential in fighting future cybercrime, including child exploitation, pornography and nation-against-nation cyberwarfare.

"Seeing members of an international cybercrime tribunal along with people from Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook all in a virtual room together fighting cybercrime is my definite hope for the future," he said.

 

Interpol's Global Complex for Innovation, which opens in Singapore next year, would house a Digital Crime Centre staffed by 300 crack cybercrime experts, and go a long way to policing cybercrime, but the judicial power to try and convict cybercrime perpetrators was still a must.