New Zealand’s engagement in the new United Nations process to negotiate an international cybercrime treaty
Aotearoa New Zealand is currently engaged in the new United Nations process to negotiate an international cybercrime treaty. On this page you will find updated information about how the negotiations are tracking, as well as any upcoming consultations and opportunities for engagement.
You can also contact our negotiating team any time at [email protected].
What is the UN cybercrime treaty and why does it matter to New Zealand?
On 27 December 2019, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 74/247 establishing an Ad Hoc Committee to Elaborate a Comprehensive International Convention on Countering the Use of Information and Communications Technologies for Criminal Purposes.
Aotearoa New Zealand’s overarching goal for the negotiations is to seek a harmonised, modern and effective global framework for cooperation and coordination between states to tackle the growing threat posed by cybercrime to individuals, business and governments. Addressing cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime is a priority for Aotearoa New Zealand and the broader Pacific region. New Zealand has experienced the effects of several major cyber-attacks over the past few years. Our region’s increasing reliance on digital connectivity, something that has increased during the COVID pandemic, has heightened the need to ensure cyber security. The frequency and severity of attacks continues to grow, and effective cyber security is critical to our economic and security resilience.
Aotearoa New Zealand seeks to maintain and promote a rules-based international order in line with our values. It is important therefore that Aotearoa New Zealand is part of the conversation that shapes this new instrument for international cooperation.
We know that New Zealanders have a strong interest in a safe, secure, free and open internet. We are therefore committed to engaging with non-government stakeholders including the private sector, civil society, academia, and interested New Zealanders throughout the negotiations.
Stay up to date
The first session of the Ad Hoc Committee to Elaborate a Comprehensive International Convention on Countering the Use of Information and Communications Technologies for Criminal Purposes took place from 28 February – 11 March 2022 in New York. The Ad Hoc Committee agreed on a range of procedural matters to guide future sessions and exchanged initial views on the scope and objectives of the draft Convention.
The key outcomes from the session were:
- Agreement on the broad elements that would make up the structure of the Convention.
- Agreement on a roadmap for the negotiations (setting out the negotiating timeline).
- The Committee discussed the scope and objectives of the Convention based on a document developed by the Chair. This document will serve as a guide for future negotiating sessions.
The above documents, as well as the report of the first session, can be found on the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) website here.
The next session of the Ad Hoc Committee will take place in Vienna, 30 May – 10 June. The second session will focus on an initial read through of the general provisions, criminalisation provisions, and provisions on procedural measures and law enforcement.
The UNODC website also includes updates from the secretariat and submissions to upcoming sessions from member states including New Zealand.
In October 2021, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Ministry of Justice sought your views on a set of draft principles and objectives to guide New Zealand’s engagement in the early stages of the negotiations. You can read the results here.
In May 2022, we sought your feedback on New Zealand’s written submission to the second session of the treaty negotiations, and our approach to the chapters on general provisions, criminalisation provisions, and provisions on procedural measures and law enforcement. You can read the results here.
Have your say
Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on our written submission to the 2nd session of the UN cybercrime treaty negotiations. You can read a summary of the feedback and how we used it during the 2nd session here.
The New Zealand negotiating team has now begun preparing for the 3rd session of the negotiations, scheduled for 29 August – 9 September. At the 3rd session, the Ad Hoc Committee will be conducting a first reading of the provisions that states want included in the following chapters:
- International cooperation
- Technical assistance
- Prevention measures
- Mechanism for implementation
- Final provisions
As was the case before the 2nd session, the Ad Hoc Committee secretariat has asked states to provide written statements that outline their views on the scope and application of the chapters up for discussion at the 3rd session. New Zealand’s written submission, which was submitted on 15 July, focused on provisions related to international cooperation, prevention measures, and technical assistance.
You can view New Zealand’s written statement here.
The purpose of this statement is to facilitate the negotiation process and promote our national position on key issues. We will still be undergoing extensive preparation ahead of the 3rd session, including coordination and consultation with a wide range of government agencies, international partners, and interested domestic stakeholders.
As part of this, we are seeking your views, on the negotiating position set out in our written submission to the 3rd session. We are also interested in your thoughts and suggestions on any other areas of discussion you think Aotearoa New Zealand should direct its attention to in the next session.
The provisions for international cooperation will set out the process and scope of how electronic evidence is preserved and accessed by states that become party to the eventual treaty. The mechanisms for sharing and requesting electronic evidence through this legal instrument may extend beyond cybercrime to apply to other serious crimes.
We are mindful that discussions on how digital evidence is used in relation to cross-border criminal investigations may be of particular interest to those with an interest in how Māori data is accessed, used, and protected. We welcome insights from experts in this area on how our negotiating team can appropriately reflect Māori interests in these negotiations.
Please note that any submission you make becomes official information. People can ask for copies of submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says information shall be made available unless there is a good reason for withholding it. Reasons to withhold official information are given in sections 6 and 9 of the OIA. If you think there is a reason why anything in your submission should not be made public, please let us know. Reasons for this might include that it is commercially sensitive. Note that any decision to withhold information can be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may find that a decision to withhold official information is wrong.
Please send your submission to [email protected] by 23 August 5.00pm.