Dangerous Cybercrime Treaty Pushes Surveillance and Secrecy Worldwide

Commentary by Katitza Rodriguez

EFF

August 25th, 2011

As part of an emerging international trend to try to ‘civilize the Internet’, one of the world’s worst Internet law treaties–the highly controversial Council of Europe (CoE) Convention on Cybercrime–is back on the agenda. Canada and Australia are using the Treaty to introduce new invasive, online surveillance laws, many of which go far beyond the Convention’s intended levels of intrusiveness. Negotiated over a decade ago, only 31 of its 47 signatories have ratified it. Many considered the Treaty to be dormant but in recent years a number of countries have been modeling national laws based on the flawed Treaty. Moreover, Azerbaijan, Montenegro, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom are amongst those who have ratified within the last year. However, among non-European countries, only the U.S. has ratified the Treaty to date, making Canada and Australia’s efforts unique. The Treaty has not been harmless, and both Australia and Canada are fast-tracking legislation (Australia’s lower house approved a cybercrime bill last night) that will enable them to ratify the Treaty, at great cost to the civil liberties of their citizens. Continue reading