Remarks by Ambassador Friedrich Däuble
Federal Republic of Germany
on the occasion of the
27th session of the
Commission on Crime Prevention
and Criminal Justice on
Item 5 „Cybercrime“
Vienna, 14-18 May 2018
The digital transformation and interconnection in all areas of society continues to increase worldwide. This development is far from over and opens up many opportunities. But the ever increasing importance of digital interconnection also creates new dangers. Digital infrastructure has to be effectively protected from attacks and abuse by criminals. The Federal Republic of Germany therefore continues to attach high priority to combating cybercrime.
The vast progress in the area of the digital transformation and interconnection led to the emergence of new forms of offences some time ago. They target the confidentiality, integrity and accessibility of data and information systems. To ensure secure usage of the digital environment, the fight against such offences is a major priority. This requires specific definitions of offences, for example illegal access to information systems and data interference. The Budapest Convention of the Council of Europe contains an effective and internationally widely recognised core set of offences to fight these crimes.
However, criminal law responses alone are not sufficient to fight attacks on data and information systems effectively and to ensure secure usage of the digital environment. What we need above all is a further strengthening of cyber security. If digital infrastructure is designed securely, a large number of attacks can be prevented from the outset. Thus we need strategies for creating and maintaining a secure technical framework. The involvement of private actors, such as service providers, plays a central role in this regard.
Apart from offences involving attacks on digital infrastructure, traditional offences – for example fraudulent conduct or extortion – are being increasingly committed using the Internet. To successfully investigate these offences, investigations therefore have to pay more heed to the specific features of the digital environment. Gathering and analysing electronic evidence is particularly important. Here, too, the Budapest Convention has created an effective and internationally widely recognised set of measures, for example the preservation of stored computer data and the collection of traffic data.
The worldwide digital interconnection has ultimately led to cybercrime becoming a cross-border phenomenon. To combat it, we therefore need effective international cooperation, as facilitated by the Budapest Convention. The Convention ensures that the Parties have an effective national framework for fighting cybercrime at their disposal. Furthermore, it makes available instruments for effective cross-border cooperation, such as the network of 24/7 contact points or the expedited preservation of computer data within another Party.
There are two main reasons for the Budapest Convention’s high level of acceptance. First of all, it provides for a future-proof approach. Its technology-neutral concept ensures new developments are covered, for example botnet crime, phishing or attacks against the so-called „Internet of Things“. There is ongoing exchange between the Parties on these questions. Furthermore, an additional Protocol is being negotiated to further strengthen the framework for international cooperation, for example with regard to cloud computing and cooperation with service providers.
The second reason for the high level of acceptance of the Convention is its clear focus on the fight against crimes against the confidentiality, integrity and accessibility of data and information systems. Of course, other crimes are also increasingly being committed using the Internet and have to be tackled effectively. But from a global perspective, significant differences in the criminal law of the individual States remain. Therefore, the focus here should be on improving cross-border cooperation, for example by facilitating the gathering of electronic evidence. Attention has to be paid here to using existing possibilities effectively and observing the rule of law.
The Budapest Convention provides an effective framework for successfully fighting cybercrime also at international level. The Federal Republic of Germany would therefore be delighted if as many States as possible decided to accede or to align their legislation in the area of cybercrime with the Convention.
At national level, Germany is also engaged in preventing cybercrime:
The initiative Medienhelden„ (Media Heroes“) by Freie Universität Berlin, for example, features amongst German best practices in the fight against cyberbullying.
The programme is a universal, modular, theory-based and carefully evaluated preventive intervention for use in schools (7th - 9th graders). The programme’s objectives include: prevention of cyberbullying/victimisation and teaching children and young people to protect themselves online. Based on the Theory of Planned Behavior (Ajzen, 1991), „Medienhelden“ aims to change attitudes and beliefs through the transfer of knowledge by providing students with definitions, teaching them the legal implications of cyberbullying, providing information on how cyberbullying impacts the victim and promoting empathy with them.
The programme is designed to improve social and online skills by fostering cognitive and affective empathy, media literacy, and provide specific action alternatives. The programme relies mainly on social learning (e.g. role-play, model learning) and the application of well-established cognitive-behavioural methods (for example positive reinforcement, moral reasoning) but also works with innovative, activating methods, such as peer-to-peer and peer-to-parent-tutoring.
The programme is intended to be used in classrooms and covers ten weeks with sessions of 90 minutes each as part of a curriculum.