A large array of civil society organizations and experts has called on the state delegations participating in the concluding session of the United Nations (UN) Ad Hoc Committee to ensure that the proposed Cybercrime Convention is narrowly focused on tackling cybercrime, and not used as a tool to undermine human rights.
In their joint statement, the signatories – organizations from around the world and individual experts – plead for overturning the draft text of the Convention if meaningful changes of the text are not applied. Signatories stress that the Convention should only move forward if it pursues a specific goal of combating cybercrime without endangering the human rights and fundamental freedoms of those it seeks to protect, nor undermining efforts to improve cybersecurity for an open internet.
Civil society groups have contributed time and expertise to improve the draft and fully align it with existing human rights law and standards, the principles of the UN Charter and the rule of law, as well as best practices to provide legal certainty in efforts to improve cybersecurity. Our concerns about the proposed text of the Convention are informed by our experience and human rights advocacy around the world. National and regional cybercrime laws are regrettably far too often misused to unjustly target journalists and security researchers, suppress dissent and whistleblowers, endanger human rights defenders, limit free expression, and justify unnecessary and disproportionate state surveillance measures,
the Joint Statement on the Proposed Cybercrime Treaty Ahead of the Concluding Session alarms.
The latest draft of the proposed Convention, which is due to be finalized by February 2024, fails to address many of the significant concerns, the signatories warn.
The joint statement was submitted by 20 NGOs registered under operative paragraphs 8 or 9, among which are Access Now, ARTICLE 19, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch and others. The statement was signed by 89 NGOs and experts, one of which is the Metamorphosis Foundation.
We believe that if the text of the Convention is approved in its current form, the risk of abuses and human rights violations will increase exponentially and leave us with a less secure internet,
the signatories alarm.
Specifically, the signatories call on all state delegations to:
- Narrow the scope of the whole Convention to cyber-dependent crimes specifically defined and included in its text;
- Make certain the Convention includes provisions to ensure that security researchers, whistleblowers, journalists, and human rights defenders are not prosecuted for their legitimate activities and that other public interest activities are protected;
- Guarantee that explicit data protection and human rights standards – including the principles of non-discrimination, legality, legitimate purpose, necessity and proportionality – are applicable to the whole Convention. Specific, explicit safeguards, such as the principle of prior judicial authorization, must be put in place for accessing or sharing data, as well as for conducting cross-border investigations and cooperation in accordance with the rule of law;
- Mainstream gender across the Convention as a whole and throughout each article in efforts to prevent and combat cybercrime;
- Limit the scope of application of procedural measures and international cooperation to the cyber-dependent crimes established in the criminalization chapter of the Convention;
- Avoid endorsing any surveillance provision that can be abused to undermine cybersecurity and encryption.
The full list of the signatories of the Joint Statement is at the bottom of the page.
Link to the original text: CSOs and experts warn of dangers posed by the new UN cybercrime treaty | Meta.mk