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WISeKey Joins Multistakeholder Manifesto on Cybercrime

WISeKey Joins Multistakeholder Manifesto on Cybercrime

Multistakeholder Manifesto Prioritizes Human-Centric Equities within the Proposed UN Cybercrime Treaty

WISeKey International Holding Ltd (WKEY), a leading cyber security, IoT, and AI platform company, announced that it has joined over 50 global organizations and has become a signatory of the Multistakeholder Manifesto on Cybercrime (“Manifesto”) aiming to raise awareness of the upcoming United Nations (“UN”) negotiations on cybercrime and prioritize human-centric equities within the proposed UN Cybercrime Treaty.

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In 2019, the UN General Assembly, following a proposal of the Russian Federation, passed the resolution creating an open-ended, ad hoc, intergovernmental committee of experts for a new cybercrime treaty to “elaborate a comprehensive international convention on countering the use of information and communication technologies for criminal purposes.” Negotiations are set to commence in January 2022 with a tight timeline.

The proponents of the new treaty dramatically extend what is currently understood to be cybercrime by defining it more broadly. This could lead to serious societal impacts and government regulation that could undermine privacy, criminalize free expression, and change the role of governments in regulating the Internet, as well as actively undermine existing frameworks carefully built to work against cybercrime.

In response, civil society and industry  under the leadership of the CyberPeace Institute and the Cybersecurity Tech Accord are coming together to launch the Multistakeholder Manifesto on Cybercrime. The aim being to put forward a set of principles and processes to help governments protect our rights and freedoms online in treaty negotiations at the UN.

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The set of key principles are to:

  • Create opportunities for the private sector and civil society to participate in the negotiation process and make sure the process is as transparent as possible
  • Agree that decisions are taken by consensus and not unilaterally
  • Clarify the scope of the negotiations so it is limited to actual cybercrime and does not endanger the open and free internet we know today
  • Ensure that the outcome does not put existing commitments, such as those enshrined in the Budapest Convention, into doubt
  • Focus on protecting the victims of cybercrime and associate accountability mechanisms.

Cyberspace has become an escalating domain of conflict, as seen by the rise in frequency, scale and sophistication of attacks. Threats to our collective security have spiked, with cybercrime posing new risks to our societies. Though cybercrime is dangerous, a newly proposed UN Cybercrime Treaty could undermine human rights.

Industry and civil society, under the leadership of the CyberPeace Institute and the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, are coming together to launch the Multistakeholder Manifesto on Cybercrime to highlight a set of principles and processes for states to protect the rights and liberties needed to achieve a free, open, secure and peaceful cyberspace, and strengthen the respect for rule of law in this domain.

The Manifesto stresses that a new treaty must not be used to undermine existing international legal obligations. Instead, it should focus on building accountability associated with those obligations and on enforcing international cooperation. Moreover, it must preserve the open internet by not providing any justification or pretext for a state to further endanger it by closing off its digital borders.

The Manifesto and its principles reinforce the notion that for any international law against cybercrime to be effective, it needs to focus on the victims of cybercrime and provide them with effective tools of redress.

To establish the right process at the UN, there needs to be 1) meaningful multistakeholder consultation and involvement, 2) transparency, as appropriate, 3) clarity in the scope of what is categorized as cybercrime and 4) the adoption of a consensus driven approach.

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