by Jesse Wieten
THE HAGUE, April 17 (Xinhua) -- The international nature of the internet can cause a conflict with national jurisdiction and legislation, but one international cyber law is unlikely, experts told Xinhua during the Global Conference on Cyberspace here.
As global cyber crime grows, how can criminal safe havens be prevented from emerging?
"Prevention means making it harder for criminals to get themselves in safe havens," Erik Planken from the Council of Europe told Xinhua. "A good international juridical framework and coordination between police services and law enforcement agencies is the key," he added.
Addressing the tension between cross-border internet and national jurisdictions, Bertrand de la Chapelle, director of the France-based Internet and Jurisdiction Project, said: "In a certain way, the fundamental underlining principle is how sovereignty expresses itself and how it can be implemented in a digital environment."
For example, Chinese platforms such as Sina Weibo and others have users in Brazil and some African countries, he pointed out. For these users, do you apply the law of these countries or the law in China?
While there is currently no framework to handle such a conflict of law, a multi-stakeholder dialogue process is underway that intends to develop a common policy.
According to De la Chapelle, harmonizing legislation worldwide may prove unlikely. "To be honest, the differences are major and will remain like this for a while. What we can do is to convert and harmonize on procedures," he said.
"Governments, civil society and businesses can talk to one another. Something can be illegal in one country but not elsewhere. Today there is no framework to govern this. The goal is to organize the discussion around this point. We have made progress in recent years to work towards a framework, so we are optimistic about its evolution," De la Chapelle added.
Planken is currently acting as the chair to the committee of the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime -- the only binding international legal instrument dealing with cyber crime.
The Convention was first signed in Budapest in 2001 by members of the Council of Europe and came into force in 2004. The total number of ratifications is now 45, including non-members of the Council of Europe such as Australia, Japan and the United States.
"Speaking on behalf of the Council of Europe, I am positive," Planken said, adding: "If you look at the global picture, over 100 countries have adapted their national laws from our instrument."
He too felt one international law was unlikely to take shape. "We will have to have an understanding of how people work together," Planken said.
"For breaches of sovereignty, we need a kind of international procedure which should be implemented in an international legal instrument such as a treaty," he added.