International and Foreign Cyberspace Law Research Guide

This guide covers resources on various aspects of cyberspace law, including Internet governance, electronic commerce, privacy, cyber crime, cyber warfare, and cyber terrorism.

Treaties & International Agreements on Cyber Crime

United Nations Treaties

  • United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (2000)
    This treaty, also known as the Palermo Convention, obligates state parties to enact domestic criminal offenses that target organized criminal groups and to adopt new frameworks for extradition, mutual legal assistance, and law enforcement cooperation. Although the treaty does not explicitly address cyber crime, its provisions are highly relevant.
    • Citation: 2225 U.N.T.S. 209
    • Status information (including ratifications, accessions, declarations, and reservations)
    • Legislative guidance (for state parties to enact domestic legislation to implement the treaty)
    • Travaux préparatoires (drafting history)
    • Full text in English (including the optional protocols on human trafficking, migrant smuggling, and the illicit manufacturing and trafficking of firearms)
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)
    Article 34 of this Convention obligates state parties to protect children from all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse, including prostitution and pornography.
  • Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (2001)
    This protocol to the 1989 Convention addresses the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography. Article 3(1)(c) prohibits the production, distribution, dissemination, sale, and possession of child pornography; the Preamble mentions the Internet as a means of distribution. The definition of child pornography set forth in Article 2(3) is broad enough to encompass virtual images of children.

Council of Europe Treaties

The Council of Europe is one of several regional organizations established in the aftermath of World War II. It is separate and distinct from the European Union and has a much larger membership than the E.U. The Council’s core mission is the protection of human rights, but it also works to promote democracy, the rule of law, and uniform standards. 

Much of the Council of Europe’s work is accomplished through the drafting of treaties. To date, three treaties drafted under the Council’s auspices for the purpose of combatting cyber crime have entered into force. Each of these treaties is open to signature by any country, whether or not it is a member of the Council of Europe. 

  • Convention on Cybercrime (2001)
    Also known as the Budapest Convention, this is the first international agreement aimed at reducing computer-related crime by harmonizing national laws, improving investigative techniques, and increasing international cooperation. 
  • Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime Concerning the Criminalisation of Acts of a Racist or Xenophobic Nature Committed Through Computer Systems (2003)
    State parties which have ratified this protocol to the Budapest Convention are obligated to enact laws to criminalize racist or xenophobic acts that are expressed or otherwise communicated online.
  • Second Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime on Enhanced Cooperation and Disclosure of Electronic Evidence (2022)*
    • Citation: E.T.S. 224
    • Status information (including ratifications, accessions, declarations, and reservations)
      *NB: This protocol was opened for signature on 12 May 2022 and had not entered into force as of December 2022.
    • Full text in English
  • Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (2007)
    This treaty expressly prohibits the use of “information and computer technology (ICT)” to access child pornography (Article 21(1)(f)), to distribute child pornography (Article 30(5)), or to solicit children for sexual purposes (Article 23).