1. The European Union recalls that the evolution of information and communication technologies – while bringing unprecedented opportunities for mankind – also raises challenges, including for criminal justice and thus for the rule of law. While cybercrime and other offences entailing electronic evidence on computer systems are thriving and while evidence relating to these offences is increasingly stored on servers in foreign, multiple, shifting or unknown jurisdictions, the powers of law enforcement remain limited by national boundaries.
2. The EU underlines the importance of the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime – the so-called Budapest Convention – as the global standard for facilitating the fight against such criminal offences. We need to protect an open free, interoperable and secure Internet and to fight cybercrime by supporting its implementation and development. The EU and its Members are taking an active role in the negotiations of a second additional protocol aimed at providing more effective mutual legal assistance as well as direct cooperation in line with the fundamental right to private life.
3. In this context, we would like to recall that the EU did not support the UN General Assembly Resolution “Countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes” adopted on 27 December 2019. The EU notes the need for further technologically neutral and capacity building measures to effectively combat this type of crime. However, there is no consensus on the need for a new international treaty negotiated in the UN framework and the solution cannot be an instrument which could lower the standards for protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, increase the digital divide and endorse state control of the Internet. The EU reaffirms its support for the high standards already laid down in the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime as well as in its modernised Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data. It invites all States who have not done so to join these Conventions as soon as possible.