Australia to join the COE Cybercrime Convention
Australia’s government has announced that Australia will accede to the COE Cybercrime Convention (and not, as many are reporting that it will merely “sign” the Convention, which, I suppose, reflects the media’s continued inability or unwillingness to sort out the basic issues of treaty formation).
With Australian accession, the COE Cybercrime Convention will have 27 states parties. It remains the only cyber-specific multilateral treaty out there. And prospects for a competitor appear (for the moment) unlikely. Last month, U.N. talks failed to move forward on a global cybercrime treaty that Russia has been pushing, which would have different (some might say watered-down) transnational law enforcement provisions. In contrast, parties to the COE Cybercrime Convention (which includes the United States) favor globalizing that instrument rather than starting negotiations anew on the world stage. Thus, one might see the Australian accession as the latest salvo in the on-going fight over who should decide what rules governments will follow in defining and combatting cybercrime. If that’s true, I think we can expect that Russia or a proxy will take a countervailing position in the near term, say for example, by renewing the push for a global treaty banning offensive cyberweapons?