A World of Difference: The Budapest Convention on Cybercrime and the Challenges of Harmonisation
journal contributionposted on 29.10.2019 by Jonathan Clough
Any type of content formally published in an academic journal, usually following a peer-review process.
Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) are now central to the way we interact, both socially and commercially. Inevitably, some people will use ICTs in the commission or facilitation of crime; so-called ‘cybercrimes’. The interconnected nature of modern technology makes this a global problem, and for decades there has been international awareness of the need for coordinated action. The Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime (‘Convention’) was the first multilateral binding instrument to regulate cybercrime. Having recently passed the 10th anniversary of its coming into force, it is timely to reflect on the Convention’s role in the harmonisation of cybercrime laws and its place amongst other international efforts to combat cybercrime. This article begins with a discussion of the importance of harmonisation in combatting cybercrime. There is then a general overview of the Convention, followed by an analysis of three key aspects of harmonisation — the extent to which it is: (1) comprehensive; (2) protective of rights; and (3) representative. Consideration is then given to the desirability and likelihood of an international convention on cybercrime. Although the Convention remains the most significant instrument in this area, it is now accompanied by a range of international, regional and national initiatives. In an environment where an international agreement may be some way off, the Convention provides an important touchstone against which national efforts may be measured. More broadly, the international focus is appropriately moving toward the more pressing issue of capacity building.