UN Takes A Stand Against Cybercrime

The United Nations General Assembly has declared its approval to continue with the drafting of a new international treaty on cybercrime, despite the objections from the European Union, the United States, and other countries. The resolution, which was drafted by Russia, won the vote of the 193-member body, with a vote count of 79-60, with 33 members abstaining.

What is the resolution about?

By this resolution, a committee of experts representing all regions of the world is to be established, to have a comprehensive international convention on the handling of data and communication and protecting them against criminal use.

What are the criticisms thrown its way?

Many have expressed their disenchantments with the resolution. The U.S. deputy ambassador Cherith Normal Chalet went as far as to declare that since there was no consensus among the members, the treaty will only serve to undermine the efforts made so far in the worldwide endeavors to curb cybercrime. He further mentioned that it is wrong to make political decisions of a matter such as this before experts on the field have made their opinions known and that the prejudices of the committee may affect the expert opinions. Russia, on the other end of the argument, said that the new committee must take into account the opinions of the expert group on cybercrime which is to be constituted in the coming year. They also said that substantive work on the convention will begin only in 2021.

What is India’s stand on the Issue?

India has maintained its status as a non-member of the Europe-led Budapest Convention, which is the sole legally binding international multilateral treaty on cybercrime, and instead, has voted for the Russian led resolution for setting up a separate convention. Data sharing across borders is an infringement on the sovereignty of India, according to the Intelligence Bureau (IB).

Way Forward

Data is the currency of the future and the world does need better measures in place to check cybercrimes as well as have secure ways to share data across borders. From an Indian perspective, we lack proper legislation when it comes to data protection and cybersecurity. Even if we fail to reach an agreeable cybersecurity convention for cross border sharing, it is of utmost importance that we carry forward laws and regulations that will ensure a cyberlaw framework within the country. That should definitely be a priority for India.

Question for UPSC Mains:
The Budapest Convention is the sole legally binding international multilateral treaty on cybercrime. However, India is not a member. In the current scenario where cybercrimes and data security are major concerns, discuss how India can play catch up with the rest fo the world.

Published: January 11, 2020 | Modified:January 11, 2020

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