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Engaging civil society in the fight against cybercrime

14 April 2021
Shadow of a woman standing under fluorecent light - Photo by Bit Cloud on Unsplash

The EU Cyber Direct project, together with Chatham House’s International Security Programme (ISP), organised a series of interactive online sessions to discuss the role of civil society organisations in the fight against cybercrime. On 14 April 2021, representatives from governments, civil society and private sector discussed innovative ways for engagement and the prospects for multi–stakeholder coordination on cybercrime.

The fight against cybercrime cannot be siloed. On a national, regional and international level, the meaningful and sustained collaboration of governments, the private sector, experts and civil society organisations is the only way to mitigate and control the challenges cybercrime poses to an open and secure cyberspace. In May 2021, a new UN process working towards a comprehensive international convention on countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes will start. The modalities for this process, including the role of civil society, are yet to be decided. Divergent views and opinions around this issue mean that the perception of civil society as valuable partners in these processes is not universally shared. From ensuring accountability to protecting human rights, the role of civil society is crucial in the anti–cybercrime efforts.

However, multi–stakeholder engagement in the fight against cybercrime has not been without its challenges, and progress in this area has been hard–fought. Concluding a series of workshops on the topic, the 14 April event explored practical ways for civil society engagement in the upcoming UN process. Participants also discussed concrete examples of multi-stakeholder participation proposed by the UN Open–ended working group on developments in the field of information and telecommunications, in the context of international security and other UN processes on transnational crime.

More information on the Cyber Direct website