By: Dr. Fatemah Albader
PDF: The Pivotal Role of International Human Rights Law in Defeating Cybercrime: Amid a (UN-Backed) Global Treaty on Cybercrime
On May 26, 2021, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution approving the drafting of a new global treaty on cybercrime, which commenced in February 2022. The proposed UN agreement on cybercrime regulation has garnered significant criticism among the international community, namely by state delegates, human rights advocates, and nongovernmental organizations. Fears stem from the belief that such a treaty would be used to legitimize abusive practices and undermine fundamental human rights. National cybercrime laws already unduly restrict human rights. However, at a time where the global community has moved toward a digital world, it becomes even more necessary to legislate on a global scale against the commission of cybercrime. This Article aims to provide guidance on how to ensure respect for human rights in the drafting of a global treaty on cybercrime in the hopes that it will help guide the process and facilitate a smoother transition. The Article concludes that national security concerns stemming from threats of cybercrime should be viewed not as dichotomies but as complementary, where one cannot be achieved without respect for the other, concluding that the best approach is one that integrates human rights into the text of the treaty, thereby ensuring that human rights are not trumped by national security concerns in the name of cybercrime regulation.