By SafeGov Contributor, Paul Rosenzweig.

The world’s cyber network is growing exponentially. As it grows, criminality and malfeasance have followed. But law enforcement is, unfortunately, still mired in a nation-based system of police cooperation – the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty process – that has not kept up with the pace of the new domain. It is as if the police were using a 1930s Ford to chase a 2015 Tesla. Unless the MLAT process is updated and modernized, law enforcement will remain hopelessly behind, mired in the past.

The cyber network today is a reflection of global reality. Growing by leaps and bounds, the network spans the entire world. From a small, four-node network, the system has expanded to touch more than a third of the world’s population. Nearly 3 billion people are attached to the network and, by some estimates, as many as 8 billion objects. And the size and scope of the network is only going to grow. In 2010, for the first time in human history, we created over a zettabyte of new data (a zettabyte is 1 billion terabytes). By 2020, that will have increased 35-fold, and we expect more than 35 zettabytes of new information to be created on an annual basis.

And that means that the scope and scale of criminality in the cyber domain has been and will continue to increase at the same pace. There is no reason at all to expect that malicious actors will adapt to the Web less quickly than beneficent actors – and, indeed, every reason to think the opposite. Criminality leads innovation; it doesn’t trail it. The data we have back up that instinct.

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Paul Rosenzweig, Esq. is a Senior Advisor to The Chertoff Group and the founder of Red Branch Law & Consulting, PLLC. Mr. Rosenzweig formerly served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy in the Department of Homeland Security and twice as Acting Assistant Secretary for International Affairs.

Mr. Rosenzweig is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute. During 2011 he was a Carnegie Visiting Fellow at the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern Univesity. He is also a Professorial Lecturer in Law at George Washington University and a Visiting Fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

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