IGF 2021 WS #122
Multistakeholder Principles for a Cybercrime Treaty

Organizer 1: John Hering, Microsoft
Organizer 2: Sheetal Kumar, Global Partners Digital

Speaker 1: Bruno HALOPEAU, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Raman Jit Singh Chima, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Annalaura Gallo, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Joyce Hakmeh, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Sheetal Kumar, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator

John Hering, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


John Hering, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Break-out Group Discussions - Flexible Seating - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

Digital policy and human rights frameworks: What is the relationship between digital policy and development and the established international frameworks for civil and political rights as set out in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and further interpretation of these in the online context provided by various resolutions of the Human Rights Council? How do policy makers and other stakeholders effectively connect these global instruments and interpretations to national contexts? What is the role of different local, national, regional and international stakeholders in achieving digital inclusion that meets the requirements of users in all communities?

A new international treaty on cybercrime will require governments to agree on the types of online activities that should be against the law, those which they will cooperate to prevent and intervene against. This opens the door to a wide range of views regarding what activities should be considered “criminal,” and raises concerns about potential violations of human rights and freedoms online. It also creates an opportunity for a multistakeholder community to engage in a discussion about where lines should be drawn and what kinds of protections should be built-into any international cybercrime agreements to ensure essential freedoms will not be violated. The IGF community, given its global multistakeholder composition, is uniquely suited to facilitating this discussion.


16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Targets: The workshop is focused on ensuring respect for human rights and freedoms in the deliberations by governments on a new cybercrime treaty. This aligns well with SDG 16, and its commitment to “justice for all” and to “protect fundamental freedoms.” These commitments are important online, just as they are in the physical world.


As deliberations begin on a potential new cybercrime treaty at the United Nations in 2021, there are concerns that a resulting agreement could undermine fundamental freedoms online. Working with the IGF community, this session will seek to identify what principles and guardrails should exist for these treaty negotiations to ensure that any resulting agreement is rights respecting. While cybercrime certainly presents a pressing global challenge, it is unclear what a new treaty would hope to accomplish that would be distinct from the existing Budapest Convention, and some experts worry that the deliberations might result in a crack-down on political dissent and freedom of expression online. This workshop will bring together expert communities from industry, academia and civil society around the world to discuss the potential opportunities and pitfalls for this treaty negotiation at the UN.

Expected Outcomes

The workshop will solicit input and build consensus among attendees from the IGF community on protections that should be included in any international cybercrime agreement among governments to ensure fundamental rights and freedoms are not violated. Following the workshop, the organizers will work to compile this input into a consolidated multistakeholder statement on essential principles for a cybercrime treaty for a wider community to endorse. This statement will then be provided as instructive guidance to the ongoing negotiations at the United Nations on a new cybercrime treaty to support a rights-respecting outcome.

The workshop will begin with a brief moderated discussion highlighting the topic and objective of the session to seek input on multistakeholder principles for a UN cybercrime treaty. The speakers will each introduce themselves and their respective areas of expertise, and any proposed principles that have been put forward in advance of the workshop. Following this, attendees will be divided into breakout groups (including an online breakout group) for a discussion facilitated by the speakers. While all breakout groups will be addressing the same issue, participants will choose their groups based on the expertise of the respective facilitators that will lend greater depth to the discussion. After a discussion period, each group will share out their proposed principles and the moderator will seek to find consensus around a core set of multistakeholder principles for a cybercrime treaty.

Workshop timing:
00:00 – 00:05 Introductory remarks by the workshop moderator
00:05 – 00:25 Moderated discussion with speaker/facilitators on their areas of expertise and any initial proposals or considerations for the breakout group discussions
00:25 – 01:10 Facilitated discussion among participants in breakout groups on essential cybercrime treaty principles
01:10 – 01:30 Breakout groups share respective suggestions moderator works to identify areas of consensus to serve as the basis for a multistakeholder statement.

Online Participation

Usage of IGF Official Tool.