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UN backs Russia on internet convention

Topics Covered: Basics of cyber security.

UN backs Russia on internet convention

What to study?

For Prelims: What is Budapest convention?

For Mains: Why India has not signed? Why it should reconsider it’s decision?

Context: The United Nations has approved a Russian-led bid that aims to create a new convention on cybercrime, alarming rights groups and Western powers that fear a bid to restrict online freedom.

The General Assembly approved the resolution sponsored by Russia and backed by China, which would set up a committee of international experts in 2020.

Why the US is worried about this?

A new UN treaty on cybercrime could render the Budapest Convention obsolete, further alarming rights groups.

The Budapest Convention was drafted by the Council of Europe, but other countries have joined, including the United States and Japan.

Russia has opposed the Budapest Convention, arguing that giving investigators access to computer data across borders violates national sovereignty.

What is Budapest convention?

Also known as the Convention on Cybercrime, it is the first international treaty seeking to address Internet and computer crime by harmonizing national laws, improving investigative techniques, and increasing cooperation among nations.

  • It was drawn up by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France, with the active participation of the Council of Europe’s observer states Canada, Japan, South Africa and the United States.
  • It is open for ratification even to states that are not members of the Council of Europe.

As of September 2019, 64 states have ratified the convention.

What it does?

The Budapest Convention provides for the criminalisation of conduct, ranging from illegal access, data and systems interference to computer-related fraud and child pornography, procedural law tools to make investigation of cybercrime and securing of e-evidence in relation to any crime more effective, and international police and judicial cooperation on cybercrime and e-evidence.

India’s concerns over signing of this agreement:

  • India did not participate in the negotiation of the Convention and thus is worried about it.
  • The Convention — through its Article 32b — allows for transborder access to data and thus infringes on national sovereignty.
  • The regime of the Convention is not effective, “the promise of cooperation not firm enough,” or that there are grounds for refusal to cooperate.

Sources: the Hindu.