Towards a UN-Centric Cybercrime Treaty

Since 2021, an international convention on tackling cybercrime is being negotiated at the UN. As positions of states for the UN Cybercrime Treaty vary, this report focuses on China’s role at the negotiations. While there is a long list of issues at stake at the current AHC negotiations, this report focuses on Chinese positions on four issues: (1) a UN-based cybercrime treaty as China’s primary objective, (2) states’ sovereignty in cyberspace as a principle to be enshrined in the convention, (3) the range of criminalisation, and (4) conditions of transborder access of data. Also, this report analyses China’s role in the establishment of the AHC negotiation process and its role during the first six sessions of the negotiation. This report argues that using a typology of states based on whether they are ‘like-minded’ or not is not conduicive to correctly understanding states’ preferences, as they are largely determined by domestic legislation. The extent of alignment of states’ positions on various issues at the AHC is discussed by applying a text-scaling model – wordscore on positions papers submitted by delegations to the AHC. It shows that while an absolte majority of states have positions similar to the EU on criminalisation, preferences on other chapters of the Convention are more diverse. In the conclusion of this report, this report also briefly discusses how states coordinate their positions. From a European perspective, it also explores the strengths and weaknesses of the EU delegation’s position.

Report written by Eric Siyi Zhang and Rogier Creemers.

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Published On: February, 2024