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Russia to propose draft cybersecurity convention to UN General Assembly

Russia will propose the UN General Assembly to pass its draft criminal convention on cybersecurity, a diplomat says

UNITED NATIONS, July 3. /TASS/. Russia will propose the UN General Assembly to pass its draft criminal convention on cybersecurity in the early autumn, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for New Challenges and Threats Ilya Rogachev told TASS.

"We have prepared a draft criminal convention and it is necessary to make sure that debates on this issue begin based on this or some other draft document," he said. "The issue will be submitted for discussed by [the General Assembly’s] Third Committee in September or early October."

"The purpose of this resolution is to start a fundamental debate on the issues raised in our draft convention on combating crime in information and computer technology (ICT)," the diplomat added. He noted that this is a large-scale and innovative project, which is necessary in order to lay the foundation for the beginning of the debate.

"Meanwhile, we have only been criticized for ‘conniving with some cyber hackers, cybercriminals.' However, there are no feasible proposals ‘on the table,’ only our draft [convention]," Rogachev said. "It took us about a year and a half to prepare that draft resolution."

Alternative to Budapest Convention

Rogachev explained that the aforementioned document will be proposed as an alternative to the 2001 Budapest Convention (the Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime). According to the diplomat, representatives of Western countries continue to propose the debate based only on the accession to the 2001 Budapest Convention."

"However, it contains some provisions, which are unacceptable to us, specifically, Article 32, Paragraph B on cross-border access to data," he stressed. "We know how this is done (under the Budapest Convention - TASS). This is a breach of copyright, private property and interference in other states’ internal affairs," he stressed.

He noted that the Russian draft convention also provides for data exchange, but "on a different, purely legal basis." "We need to negotiate that," Rogachev emphasized. "Our draft [convention] provides for equal interaction based on legal cooperation between various countries, the existing mechanisms or creation of the new ones. That should be discussed."

"So far, we are stuck at the stage ‘either the Budapest Convention or nothing.’ We believe that’s the erroneous approach," he concluded.

The Budapest Convention on Cybercrime was passed by the Council of Europe on November 23, 2001. The document allows to regulate countries’ actions in the fight against crimes committed via the Internet. Russia believes the possibility of foreign special services’ interference with the activities of its computer networks without formal notice is inadmissible, as this could threaten its security and sovereignty.

"Alternative" Internet

Russia has all capabilities to create an "alternative" Internet but will use them only in the event of the worst-case scenario, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for New Challenges and Threats Ilya Rogachev told TASS.

"That may be caused primarily by the policy pursued by our Western partners and attempts to impose double standards," he noted. "If [they] continue to impose these double standards, we can speak about creating some kind of parallel Internet as the most unfavorable prospect in this regard."

"There are technical, financial, intellectual and all other capabilities for that, but I do not think someone wants that very much," the diplomat added.

According to Rogachev, cyberspace censorship in the West is "much more developed than in Russia." "They use their mechanisms. However, that does not mean we should not ‘protect’ the Internet in case of calls for terror attacks or even as part of countering violent extremism," he went on to say.

"In this area, it is necessary to act in such a way so that all partners’ demands are complied with as much as possible, but some are deliberately acting to the detriment of other countries," the diplomat concluded.