Manifesto launch: Will our human rights and freedoms and a free and open Internet be the next victims of cybercrime?

Manifesto launch: Will our human rights and freedoms and a free and open Internet be the next victims of cybercrime?

Civil society organizations and industry rally against this potential outcome in the Multistakeholder Manifesto on Cybercrime ahead of cybercrime treaty negotiations at the United Nations.

GENEVA, Switzerland – 30 September 2021 – Day-by-day the effects of cybercrime continue to get worse. Although something clearly needs to be done, there is growing concern that any efforts to tackle this modern scourge come at the expense of fundamental human rights and that they threaten the open and free internet.

As countries are considering their input to the United Nations ahead of the scheduled January negotiations on a Cybercrime Convention, the CyberPeace Institute and the Cybersecurity Tech Accord have brought together a range of stakeholders to publish the Multistakeholder Manifesto on Cybercrime. The principles outlined in the Manifesto should be at the heart of any cybercrime legislation and to guide the negotiating process.

The Manifesto is supported by over 50 members of civil society, industry organizations (such as the Center for Democracy and Technology, World Wide Web Foundation, Cyber Threat Alliance, and Derechos Digitales) and individuals. Signatories to the Manifesto want to also ensure that any cybercrime convention preserves and upholds basic human rights and freedoms guaranteed under existing international UN and other treaties.

“Today, industry and civil society are coming together through a Multi-Stakeholder Manifesto on Cybercrime which provides a set of principles to guide governments in their negotiations at the United Nations” says Klara Jordan, Chief Policy Officer at the CyberPeace Institute.  

In the build up to the convention negotiations, this Manifesto is an urgent appeal to all UN member states, UN agencies, and others involved in the current process, to address concerns regarding the draft and align their submissions with the Manifesto.

The Manifesto also highlights the importance of ensuring cybercrime perpetrators are held accountable for their actions: “In an area as opaque as cyberspace, public-private partnerships are often an indispensable tool to gain insights into evolving cyber threats and those behind them,” said Annalaura Gallo, Head of Secretariat, Cybersecurity Tech Accord. “A new Cybercrime Convention should establish clear mechanisms for states to reduce the operating space for criminals,” added Annalaura Gallo

The Manifesto also tackles the challenges inherent in the current UN process, in particular the lack of multistakeholder participation. “We are concerned about the lack of consultation, inclusion and involvement of stakeholders from across civil society and industry”, said Klara Jordan, adding: “The participation of civil society entities is crucial to ensure that the impact of these crimes on society is properly taken into account.” “The technology industry is ready to offer its expertise and input to UN states in the upcoming negotiations on cybercrime. We hope that our input will be sought more consistently than has been the case in the past in discussions involving the security of our internet ecosystem,” emphasized Annalaura Gallo.

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About the CyberPeace Institute

Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the CyberPeace Institute is a nongovernmental organization whose mission is to reduce the harms from cyberattacks on people’s lives worldwide, provide assistance to vulnerable communities and call for responsible cyber behaviour, accountability and cyberpeace.

About the Cybersecurity Tech Accord

The Cybersecurity Tech Accord is a coalition of over 150 technology companies committed to advancing peace and security in cyberspace. The group’s mission revolves around four foundational principles: strong defense, no offense, capacity building and collective response.

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