Statement on Agenda Item 107 ‘Countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes’

Jason Mack
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 18, 2019


Thank you, Mr. Chair.

The United States is disappointed with the decision of the sponsors of this resolution to bring it to the Third Committee today.  Adopting this resolution will drive a wedge between Member States and undermine international cooperation to combat cybercrime at a time when enhanced coordination is essential.  The United States must vote no on this resolution, and we urge other Member States to do the same.

There are several reasons why the United States is voting against this resolution.

First, despite intense debate, there is absolutely no consensus among Member States on the need or value of drafting a new treaty.  Undertaking work on such an important issue through a divisive and non-inclusive process will not achieve a successful outcome or improve international cooperation.  It will only serve to stifle global efforts to combat cybercrime.

Second, this resolution is not based on empirical information.  No UN study or report provides a reasoned basis for this work.  The existing UN Open-Ended Intergovernmental Expert Group on Cybercrime is already tackling the question of whether a new treaty on this issue would be useful or not.  Open to all Member States, the Expert Group will discuss the topic of international cooperation in spring 2020.

Third, this resolution is premature and prejudges the outcome of the existing work of the Expert Group.  This resolution will undermine the work of the Experts Group before it completes its 2018-2021 work plan and offers its recommendations to Member States.  It is inappropriate and wrong to make a political decision on a new treaty before our cybercrime experts can give their advice.

Unlike the resolution before us today, the development of other United Nations anti-crime conventions, such as the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, were founded on consensus and years of extensive preparatory work by experts.  This resolution bypasses that expert-driven, consensus-based process and therefore is not in line with their precedent despite what our Russian colleagues have claimed.

We therefore must ask what the sponsors hope to achieve by forcing through a resolution without any attempt to reach consensus.  Despite promises of a “democratic process,” we must assume that treaty negotiations would proceed in the same confrontational and opaque manner.  We remind the members of the Third Committee that any such treaty will be no more than a stack of paper without the endorsement of those Member States that are most frequently the recipients of requests for electronic evidence and international cooperation in cybercrime cases, including the United States.

Instead of adopting this very problematic resolution, Member States should give the Expert Group time to complete its work, conduct a stocktaking exercise in 2021, and present its conclusions and recommendations to the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.  In fact, UNGA Third Committee just endorsed this process on November 5 when it approved by consensus a resolution on international cooperation against cybercrime (A/CN.3/74/L.5).  Today’s unnecessarily confrontational vote flies directly in the face of what we decided in this same room last week on this same topic.

For these reasons, we urge other Member States to empower the appropriate UN venue in Vienna to continue its expert and consensus-based work on cybercrime issues, and to join us in voting against this resolution today.

Thank you.