Academic journal article Suffolk Transnational Law Review

Multistakeholder Approach to Internet Governance: A Collaborative Effort Combating Illegal Internet Activities

Academic journal article Suffolk Transnational Law Review

Multistakeholder Approach to Internet Governance: A Collaborative Effort Combating Illegal Internet Activities

Article excerpt


A three week long cyber attacking spree against Estonia began in April of 2007 and is considered the first cyber-attack against a state and subsequently entitled "Web War l." (1) As a result, Estonia suffered denial-of-service attacks on various government websites including the "Estonian president and its parliament, the country's government ministries, political parties, three of the country's six largest news organisations, and two of the biggest banks and firms specializing in communications." (2) These attacks left the heavily Internet based government of Estonia virtually crippled and in disarray. (3)

Cyber-attacks pose catastrophic threats to multiplefacets of society including governments, private companies, organizations, and private individuals. (4) Continuous attacks occur daily and create enormous economic burdens. (5) Efforts are ongoing within the international community to formulate plans on how to best combat cybercrime. (6) The Council of Europe's Cybercrime Convention (Convention), instituted in an attempt to unite the international community, requires that participating countries establish criminal laws prohibiting certain Internet activities. (7) Alternatively, critics advocate that the Internet would be better served by implementing a multistakeholder approach to governance and protection. (8) A multistakeholder approach involves various organizations with disparate economic and social interests or representatives of civil society collaborating to combat cybercrime. (9) A major issue of contention within the international community is whether governments or multiple stakeholders should control the Internet. (10)

This note will demonstrate the reality and severities of the threats posed by cyber-attacks, and examine both the governmental and multistakeholder approach to governing the Internet and the complications each method presents. (11) Part II of this note discusses the current regulations, treaties, conventions and laws governing the Internet. (12) Part III of this note focuses on the circumstantial events creating the current demand for Internet governance and the newest legal attempts to stifle the escalating effects of cybercrime. (13) Part IV of this note analyzes the current and alternative methods of governing the Internet. (14) Finally, Part V posits that the international community will benefit from a continued albeit strengthened multistakeholder approach to governance over the Internet. (15)


"Are we losing the battle against cybercrime?" (16) Governments, organizations and individuals continue to scramble to protect themselves against cybercrime. (17) The annual cost of cybercrime continues to rise. (18) Independently, governments struggle to combat cybercrime absent additional outside resources and assistance. (19) The Council of Europe's Convention on Cybercrime set out to establish a multistakeholder approach toward Internet governance to jointly combat cybercrime. (20)

A. The Council of Europe's Convention on Cybercrime

The Convention consists of four chapters. (21) Chapter I defines terms for the purposes of the Convention. (22) Chapter II sets forth the substantive and procedural law to be implemented at the domestic level. (23) Chapter III discusses the scope of international cooperation. (24) Finally, Chapter IV ends with final provisions. (25) In general, the Convention aspires to harmonize domestic substantive law in the area of cybercrime while establishing uniform domestic procedural law to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of computer related offenses through a fast and effective regime of international co-operation. (26) A critical examination of Chapters II and III will provide a background and illuminate the inadequacies of the Convention. (27)

1. Convention Members Agree on Substantive Measures

The substantive section of Chapter II of the Convention describes the criminalization of nine offenses grouped in four different categories. …

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