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U.N. Approves Resolution to Combat Cybercrime Despite Opposition From E.U., the U.S. and Others

The U.N. General Assembly has approved a resolution to start the process of drafting a new international treaty against cybercrime despite objections from the European Union, the United States and other countries. The Russian-drafted resolution received approval from a 193-member world body with a vote of 79-60 and 33 abstentions. The resolution proposes the establishment of "an open-ended ad hoc intergovernmental committee of experts, representative of all regions, to elaborate a comprehensive international convention on countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes." An open letter by APC last month accused the treaty a threat to human rights online.

"We are not convinced that there is a need for a new international convention on cybercrime. We have grave concerns that the approach for the U.N.'s work in this area proposed in the 'Draft United Nations Convention on Cooperation in Combating Cybercrime' (A/C.3/72/12), circulated by the Russian Federation, could undermine the use of the internet to exercise human rights and facilitate social and economic development." (APC open letter)

"[T]his resolution will undermine international cooperation to combat cyber-crime at a time when enhanced coordination is essential… It will only serve to stifle global efforts to combat cybercrime." (U.S. deputy ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet / AP)

Russian representatives, in response, have said the new committee will be mandated to take into account the results of work by expert groups on cybercrime and that substantive work on the new convention will begin in 2021.

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