Russia Proposes Changes to International Internet Laws
The current laws of cybersecurity are contained in a document known as the Convention on Cybercrime, also called the Budapest Convention. A couple of the main points in the Convention are that cybercrime can be an international concern, as opposed to being a concern on a country-by-country basis. This means that the United States may have to step in to help enforce cyber laws that may be legal in the United States, but illegal elsewhere, and that other countries can monitor each other’s’ internet activity under the guise of trying to find people who may be breaking foreign laws while residing in the United States. This, however, also allows the United States to have greater control of the Internet on its own shores, as anyone breaking copyright law internationally to proliferate materials could still be caught and reprimanded. The Convention can lead to many complex issues, but can also allow countries to maintain Internet freedom in the way they see fit. With the Internet becoming a global issue, there must be global standards for it, and the Budapest Convention allows global standards for the issue to exist (Anderson).
The United States is generally in favor of having international standards for the Internet and allowing more global control over what happens on the Internet, as opposed to having each country keep hold of their data. While the U.S. point of view is not as secure and can be the cause of more data loss, it also allows the United States to monitor individuals in other countries that could be breaking U.S. laws.
In contrast, Russia recently made a new Convention for Information Crimes that would necessitate that each country make its own internet laws. Each country would also take care of its own domestic issues. The focus would shift from an international committee and access for cybercrimes to a domestic focus. Russia prefers to not have others in its affairs, and its proposed laws would keep other countries out of its data. It would also give Russia more control over what happens to people who commit domestic information crimes (Russia).
The changes that Russia would make to the Budapest Convention could be devastating to U.S. security. It would create information gaps, preventing the United States from identifying international threats to its security. Limiting the U.S. ability to see data in other countries could also hinder the United States from making international partnerships. Russia says the changes it wants made in the UN as being “among the most critical tasks of the world community” (UN News). Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sees that being able to have most control over information security within a country is important, and that Russia needs to seek compromise between all countries involved.
Russia claims that the intense growth it has seen in internet use increases the likelihood of internet crimes. In 2007, 25 percent of the Russian population had Internet access. In 2018, this number reached 76 percent. Over the last 5 years, Russia has seen a 1500 percent increase in cybercrime (PONARS). While Russia has become more aware of cyber threats in the last year, in 2017, they were hit hard by several cyber attacks, including WannaCry and NotPetya. Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, recently funded the creation of a company called BI.ZONE, that deals with cybersecurity issues in the country. One of the major issues faced by BI.ZONE is banking and ATM hacking (TechRadar). Specifically, Android exploit attacks and banking Trojans.
On top of this, Russia sees the UN as a threat to its sovereignty, which it does not want to give up. Russia has always advocated for a sovereign democracy for the Internet (Morgan), and if the UN does not go forward with Russia’s propositions, Russia will not be able to continue on the path that they would prefer for the Internet in their country. Even earlier this year, Russia was contemplating cutting off the Russian Internet from the rest of the world (Ayres). This drastic measure would help them achieve its ultimate goal of being able to have overarching domestic control of the Internet, which is similar to the proposed changes to the Budapest convention.
(0AD). Retrieved September 26, 2019, from https://undocs.org/en/A/RES/73/187.
Anderson, N. (2006, August 4). “World’s Worst Internet Law” ratified by Senate. Retrieved September 26, 2019, from https://arstechnica.com/uncategorized/2006/08/7421/.
Ayres, S. (2019, March 4). Russia wants to unplug its internet from the rest of the world. Is that even possible? Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-russia-internet-20190304-story.html.
DRAFT UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON COOPERATION IN COMBATING INFORMATION CRIMES. (0AD). Retrieved September 26, 2019, from https://www.rusemb.org.uk/fnapr/6394.
Peters, A. (2019, September 16). Russia and China Are Trying to Set the U.N.’s Rules on Cybercrime. Retrieved from https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/09/16/russia-and-china-are-trying-to-set-the-u-n-s-rules-on-cybercrime/.
Pro, T. R. (2019, September 24). An inside look at Russia’s cybersecurity market: a Q&A with BI.ZONE. Retrieved from https://www.techradar.com/news/an-inside-look-at-russias-cybersecurity-market-a-qanda-with-bizone.
Russia’s Cyber Attacks Blindspot and Preventive Measures: GRI. (2019, March 26). Retrieved from https://globalriskinsights.com/2019/03/russia-cyber-attacks-blindspot/.
Sukharenko, A. (2019, July 17). Russian ITC Security Policy and Cybercrime. Retrieved from http://www.ponarseurasia.org/memo/russian-itc-security-policy-and-cybercrime.
UN News. (2019, September 27). Unable to accept its decline, West subverts international law to suit its needs, Russia’s Lavrov tells UN | UN News. Retrieved from https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/09/1047982.