What is the Budapest Convention?

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 31, 2022, 11:32

The Budapest Convention, also known as the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime, is the world's first international treaty to combat cybercrime. It was introduced in 2001 and went into effect on July 1, 2004. It was drawn in Strasbourg, France, by the Council of Europe, and 64 nations signed the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime. Canada, Japan, the Philippines, South Africa, the United States, and others.

The Budapest Convention is the only international multilateral pact against cybercrime legally enforceable. Unlawful access, data interference, illegal interception, misuse of equipment, network system interference, cyber fraud, illicit cyber forgery, child porn offences, and violations of adjoining borders' rights and copyright are only a few of the significant cyber crimes addressed by the Budapest Convention.

Significance of Budapest Convention

The pact had three main goals: improving investigative procedures, increasing international collaboration, and coordinating national laws. The Budapest Convention has been amended to agree on xenophobia and racism perpetrated over computer networks.

This Convention has been clamouring for Indian participation from its start in 2001, but India has declined.

Indian Membership Status to Budapest Convention

  • Since its inception, India has maintained its non-member stance in the Budapest Convention, which Europe leads.
  • According to the IB or Intelligence Bureau reports, Article 32b of the Convention allows for cross-border access to data and compromises national sovereignty and data rights, which resulted in the Indian stance against the Budapest convention.
  • Another reason advanced by India before was that we are not ready to sign the agreement since the Budapest Convention Treaty was created without its participation.
  • Brazil and India have declined to sign the Convention since they were not involved in its formulation. Russia opposes the Convention, claiming that it would infringe on Russian sovereignty if it were to be adopted.

Russia-Led Resolution on Cybercrime

China and Russia disputed the Budapest Convention on national sovereignty concerns, culminating in forming the Russia-led Convention.

In opposition to the Budapest Convention, Russia proposed a new convention titled "Preventing the Use of Information and Communication Technology for Criminal Purposes," introduced in the UNGA.

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This UN proposal followed prior Russian recommendations, such as the 2017 "Draft United Nations Treaty on Cooperation in Combating Cybercrime" to draft a UN cybercrime convention.

When the Budapest Treaty was already in place, the UN passed a Russian-led motion to form a new cybercrime convention. India has voted in favour of it. Russia opposes the Budapest Convention, claiming that granting authorities cross-border access to digital data infringes national sovereignty.

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FAQ on Budapest Convention

Q.1. What was the establishing timeline of the Budapest Convention?

In Budapest, it was offered for signature in 2001, and it went into effect in 2004.

Q.2. Why is the Russia-led resolution amid the controversy in contrast to Budapest Convention?

Despite concerns that it may be used to justify closing down civil society in authoritarian nations, a UN committee has endorsed a Russian-led resolution on a worldwide cybercrime pact. China, North Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Syria, among others, supported the resolution, which would establish an "Open-Ended Working Group" to investigate cybercrime.

Q.3. What aims does Budapest Convention hold?

The Budapest Convention attempts to harmonise national legislation, improve investigative methodologies, and improve international cooperation.

Q.4. What are Data laws in India in the context of the Budapest Convention?

Information Technology Act of 2000 (IT Act): The Information Technology Act of 2000 (IT Act) comprises cyber and IT-related laws in India. Compensation for data breaches under Section 43A.

Section 72A: Any knowingly and willfully disclosing information without the person's agreement is punished by imprisonment for up to three years. Since its inception, India has maintained its non-member stance in the Budapest Convention.