US, Cuba talk cyber crime cooperation

US, Cuba talk cyber crime cooperation

American and Cuban officials met Monday to discuss closer cooperation on cyber crime, according to the State Department.

The two sides also talked about how to counter terrorism and the narcotics trade, as well as strategies for safe travel and trade.

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While Cuba is not a leading haven for hackers, the dialogue builds on the Obama administration's ongoing efforts to strike deals for cyber cooperation with its allies around the world.

In 2015, the White House has inked agreements with Japan, South Korea and the Persian Gulf states that will ease the transfer of information on cyber threats between all nations.

Many of these deals are geographically strategic. Japan and South Korea are close neighbors of China and North Korea, two digital adversaries that have allegedly targeted the U.S. with damaging — and economically draining — cyberattacks. The Persian Gulf states are close to Iran, which is rapidly emerging as a top global digital power.

And in September, the U.S. and the EU finalized an “umbrella agreement” that would allow the two sides to exchange more data during criminal and terrorism investigations, including cyber crime. That deal, however, is contingent on Congress passing a bill to give EU citizens the right to sue in U.S. courts if their data is misused.

Monday’s talks were also part of the administration’s attempts to rebuild its political relationship with Cuba, which for roughly five decades did not have any official diplomatic ties with the U.S.

“Law enforcement is a key area in the bilateral relationship as the United States continues on the path toward normalized relations with Cuba,” the State Department said in a statement.