In our changed world – requests for e-evidence will inevitably increase as cyber criminals take advantage of increased online activity. For example, UNODC highlighted a 350% increase in phishing websites reported in the first quarter of 2020, many targeting hospitals and health care systems and hindering their work responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Equally, terrorists continue to encourage, prepare and recruit online. CTED in their June 2020 paper, reviewing the impact of COVID-19 on terrorist activity online, noted the wide variety of terrorist groups who integrated the pandemic into their narratives and propaganda, seeking to exploit COVID-19 for their own purposes to exploit divisions and
weaknesses among their enemies.
Within this context, we had much to discuss over three days, with more than 100 experts from across the world, on current trends, threats and overcoming challenges to accessing data. We presented our new service provider mapping of 57 service providers, case studies and updated jurisprudence. Plus, this was an opportunity to highlight our global training and deliverables. It was heartening to hear from partners how the quality of requests had improved since the first edition of the Guide, resulting in speedier production of e-evidence. Plus, how requests for access to the Guide had increased with translations in Albanian, Macedonian, Serbian, Ukranian, French, Spanish, Portugese and Russian.
We also presented, in collaboration with Europol, the new model forms for voluntary preservation, voluntary disclosure and emergency disclosure of data from service providers. These forms will make it easier for law enforcement to make proportional and compliant voluntary requests for data across borders. In turn, service providers will have more information to justify disclosure where legally permissible and to ensure human rights are protected – including user privacy and data protection obligations.
Our third day brought together service providers and we presented our draft UNODC toolkit for smaller tech companies and micro platforms. This toolkit will assist smaller platforms with their response to law enforcement requests using the new model forms.
We continue to draft and work on responses from Member States, inter-governmental institutions, civil society and service providers. More to report in 2021 on this exciting project!