The 2021 International Cyber and Critical Tech Engagement Strategy
recognises that Australia, and the Indo-Pacific region more widely, faces a “worsening” cybercrime landscape characterized by “expanding threats, low barriers to entry, and increasingly resourceful actors”. Australia acceded to the Council of Europe’s Budapest Convention in 2013 and has since been vocal
about the Convention’s status as the “most comprehensive and effective basis upon which to pursue a common international approach”. The country voted against the Russia-sponsored UN resolution
on the establishment of a new cybercrime treaty; however, upon the passage of the resolution and the subsequent creation
of a dedicated Ad Hoc Committee, Australia has been active in advocating
for a “transparent, inclusive, and consensus-based process with multi-stakeholder participation”. More specifically, it has stated
that the new Convention should “draw heavily” from existing international instruments such as the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), and especially the Budapest Convention, so as to avoid undermining these regimes and ensure the protection of human rights. Australia has additionally placed great emphasis on the need for international cooperation, with the 2021 Strategy
noting that “information sharing, discussion and capacity building are vital to any meaningful response to the threat posed by cybercrime”. The country has launched numerous regional cooperation and capacity-building initiatives, partnering with Pacific Island countries (Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Niue, Tuvalu) to advance cybercrime law reform and ensure alignment with Budapest provisions.
The EU has been an early champion of the Budapest Convention signed under the auspices of the Council of Europe, given the overlapping membership of the two organisations. Much of the EU’s cyber diplomatic efforts have focused on promoting the Convention as the main instrument of choice for fighting cybercrime on a global level. EU member states have consistently opposed Russian bids for replacing this regime with another legal framework.
The Union is represented in the recently constituted Ad Hoc Committee established by UNGA resolution 74/247 by its Member States and is currently focused
on ensuring that the process is inclusive, transparent, consistent with the progress of the UNGGE and OEWG processes, and committed to legal consistency.
Canada’s National Cyber Security Strategy
identifies the activities of malicious cyber actors as a “growing challenge”. Following the adoption of the ‘Protecting Canadians from Online Crime’ Act, Canada acceded to the Council of Europe’s Budapest Convention in 2015 and has since consistently promoted
the instrument as the “best tool to fight cybercrime at the international level”. Canada has specifically
“encourage[d] countries to bolster their anti-cybercrime efforts by becoming Parties to the Convention, or using it as a model to implement their own cybercrime laws”. Moreover, upon Canada’s initiative, the Quintet of Attorneys General (which brings together Attorneys General from Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand and the UK) issued a public statement
at their July 2019 meeting, expressing their support for the Budapest Convention as a “necessary basic framework for fighting cybercrime” and for the work of the United Nations Open-Ended Intergovernmental Expert Group on Cybercrime (UNIEG). Being part of the ‘like-minded’ group of states, Canada voted against the Russian-sponsored UNGA Resolution 74/247
aiming at establishing an alternative cybercrime instrument; upon the passage of 74/247 and its follow-up UNGA Resolution 75/282
, however, Canada has been a vocal member of the Ad Hoc Committee on Cybercrime. Prior to the Committee’s May 2021 organizational session, the Canadian position paper
on the Implementation of 74/247 noted that the Committee must “ensure consistency with existing UN treaties in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice, in particular the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the United Nations Convention against Corruption and take into account multilateral instruments that have already proven their usefulness in the fight against cybercrime, in particular the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime”. In the same document, Canada emphasized the need for an “inclusive, transparent, constructive, and consensus-based process that will lead to a fair outcome to the benefit of all”. The first session
of the Ad Hoc Committee will be held in New York from 17 to 28 January 2022. Canada’s perspective on the scope, objectives, and structure of the convention was submitted to the Ad Hoc Committee in advance of the start of the first negotiation session (E