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US looks to South America for help tackling cybercrime

The Department of Justice says that it will be working with South American nations in an effort to curb intellectual property theft

The US Department of Justice says it is enlisting the help of multiple South American nations in an effort to crack down on global cybercrime and, in particular, intellectual property theft.

The DOJ said that following a four-day summit in Montevideo it had agreed to a program that would see it improve its ability to obtain and share evidence gathered by its own agencies as well as law enforcement officials in Argentina, Peru, and Uruguay.

While the DOJ said that the summit was aimed at cutting down on cybercrime overall, it was very clear that there was one definite focus of the meetings: intellectual property theft.

US officials said that they had worked with their counterparts in the three South American nations to figure out ways to better prosecute those who steal or pirate IP from companies in the States.

"Intellectual property crimes jeopardize the health and safety of our citizens and threaten the very foundations of our economies," US Ambassador to Uruguay Heide Fulton said.  

"Crimes such as digital piracy can cost local economies billions in lost revenue, lost income for citizens and workers, and unrealized taxes for host countries."

The DOJ said that during the event it had worked with its counterparts in Peru, Argentina, and Uruguay to help figure out ways to better share evidence during investigations.

There was some concrete development from the summit. The DOJ says that Uruguay, the host of the four-day summit, is now set to adopt the Budapest Convention, an international treaty that outlines how nations can cooperate on cybercrime investigations.

The US government believes that adding another nation to its IP-theft enforcement efforts will only help it curb piracy in South America.

Uruguay, despite its modest geographic size and population, is a particularly strong ally to have in the region as its coastal location and ports make the country a sort of gateway into the rest of South America.

It is believed that by stepping up Uruguay's efforts against IP theft and digital media piracy, the amount of stolen content flowing into other nations will also be significantly reduced.

"Criminals can now act with extraordinary speed and stealth," Fulton said.  

"The same technologies that enable the development of new products and ideas at unprecedented speed also enable criminals to steal data and content at unprecedented speed."