This module is a resource for lecturers


Several international treaties have been implemented relating to cybercrime. Overall, existing multilateral and regional legal instruments, and national laws, vary in terms of thematic content and extent of coverage of criminalization, investigative measures and powers, digital evidence, regulation and risk, and jurisdiction and international cooperation. These treaties also vary in geographic scope (i.e., regional or multilateral) and applicability. This variation creates obstacles to the effective identification, investigation and prosecution of cybercriminals and the prevention of cybercrime.

Safeguards are needed to ensure that laws that place restrictions on Internet access and content are not abused and are in accordance with the rule of law and human rights. Clarity in law is also needed to ensure that laws are not used to prohibit access to content in a manner that violates human rights law. A danger exists for "mission creep" or "function creep" (i.e., terms used to describe the expansion of law and/or other measures in areas beyond their original scope), where laws and investigatory powers introduced to target one form of cybercrime are then used to target other, less serious forms of cybercrime. What is more, challenges concerning the reach and effect of cybercrime laws arise where "Internet content that is generated and acceptable in one country is made available in a third country" where the content is considered illegal (UNODC, 2013, p. 115).

Next: References
Back to top