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Organization of American States

The Organization of American States (OAS) is a regional organisation of all 35 independent countries of the Americas, which was established in 19481 in order to achieve among its Member States ‘an order of peace and justice, to promote their solidarity, to strengthen their collaboration, and to defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity, and their independence.’2 The OAS has four main pillars – democracy, human rights, security, and development – which are supported by political dialogue, practical cooperation, and legal and follow-up instruments.3 The Member States pursue cooperation in mutual legal assistance and in combating illegal drugs, corruption, domestic violence and cybercrime.

The OAS established the Working Group on Cyber-Crime in 1999 as the principal forum to ‘strengthen international cooperation in the prevention, investigation and prosecution of cybercrime, facilitate the exchange of information and experiences among its members, and make necessary recommendations to enhance and ensure efforts to combat these crimes.’4 This Working Group meets on a roughly biannual basis, providing recommendations for the Member States.5

The OAS also deals with the broader issue of cyber security. In 2004, the OAS General Assembly provided a mandate in its Resolution AG / RES. 2004 (XXXIV-O/04), titled ‘The Inter-American Integral Strategy to Combat Threats to Cyber Security,’ for the Secretariat of the OAS Inter-American Committee against Terrorism to begin working on cyber security issues. The main tasks for the Secretariat are to help establish national Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs), create a network composed of these CSIRTs, and support the development of national cyber security strategies. Since 2007, the Secretariat has ‘endeavoured to create a comprehensive capacity building program based on workshops, technical courses, roundtable policy discussions, crisis management exercises, and the exchange of best practices.’6

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