June 28, 2022 | The Hill

Biden must rally against a Russia-led UN ‘cybercrime treaty’

June 28, 2022 | The Hill

Biden must rally against a Russia-led UN ‘cybercrime treaty’

Excerpt

In the midst of Russian-led cyber attacks against Ukraine and attempts to probe critical United States infrastructure, the United Nations began negotiations to draft a new cybercrime treaty. Improbably, this global law enforcement initiative is championed by Moscow and supported by Beijing. Weird? A little, but a closer look reveals that the initiative has little to do with combating cybercrime. Russia and China seek to legitimize authoritarian internet control and undermine digital human rights. And the Biden administration needs to mobilize to arrest momentum toward a Sino-Russian cybersecurity coup at the U.N.

The U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution last year on countering cybercrime globally. It plans to complete a draft treaty by 2023. The Kremlin’s cyber envoy celebrated the U.N. resolution as a “triumphant success of Russian diplomacy.” It’s easy to understand his excitement.

While the Kremlin’s focus on U.N. cyber regulation may seem counterintuitive given Moscow’s blatant disregard for international law, Russian President Vladimir Putin is adept at manipulating international institutions. Instead of abandoning the U.N., which would disadvantage Russia, Putin wants to co-opt it to suit the Kremlin’s needs.

Ivana Stradner is an adviser to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where her work focuses on Russia’s information warfare. Follow her on Twitter @ivanastradner. FDD is a Washington, DC-based, non-partisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.

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Issues:

Cyber International Organizations Russia