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Cybercrime: Council of Europe strengthens its legal arsenal

November 2021 by Conseil de l’Europe sur la protection des données

As the Convention on Cybercrime (“Budapest Convention”) turns 20, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted today a Second Additional Protocol to the Convention on enhanced co-operation and the disclosure of electronic evidence.

“This text is a significant step forward in technological capacity and co-operation between governments and with service providers. It will extend the rule of law further into cyberspace, protect internet users, and help provide justice for those who become victims of crime,” said Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pej?inovi? Buri?.

Considering the proliferation of cybercrime and the increasing complexity of obtaining electronic evidence that may be stored in foreign, multiple, shifting or unknown jurisdictions, the powers of law enforcement are limited by territorial boundaries. As a result, only a very small share of cybercrime that is reported to criminal justice authorities is leading to court decisions.

As a response, the Protocol provides a legal basis for disclosure of domain name registration information and for direct co-operation with service providers for subscriber information, effective means to obtain subscriber information and traffic data, immediate co-operation in emergencies, mutual assistance tools, as well as personal data protection safeguards.

The text should be opened for signature in May 2022.

Explanatory report

More about the Budapest Convention
On 23 November 2001, the Council of Europe opened for signature the Convention on Cybercrime, which is still the most relevant international treaty protecting individuals and their rights against internet crime.
In 2003, an Additional Protocol concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems was added to the Convention.
In 2014, the Cybercrime Programme Office (C-PROC) was launched in Bucharest (Romania) in order to ensure the implementation of capacity-building projects on cybercrime and electronic evidence in all regions of the world. C-PROC supported more than 1000 activities involving over 120 countries.
To date, 66 countries have ratified the Convention on Cybercrime, two have signed it and ten have been invited to accede (Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Guatemala, Mexico, Niger, Nigeria, New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago, and Tunisia). More than 140 countries are working with the Council of Europe to reinforce their legislation and capacity to address cybercrime

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