20 Years of Budapest Convention!

In these 20 years, we have built a global alliance. A global alliance against cybercrime.

Based on shared values and fundamental rights.

The Convention gives law enforcement concrete tools in their daily fight against digital crime.

66 States are now party to the Convention.

All EU Member States have signed. Almost all Council of Europe Members.

In these 20 years, the Convention has grown. Grown in size, importance and impact.

The Budapest Convention forms the foundation of anti-cybercrime laws in more than 80 % of countries worldwide.

The Convention is now more important than ever.

In these 20 years, our world has become significantly more connected. More digital.

Our fight against cybercrime has also become more important and more urgent. Together with all the opportunities, digital threats have grown exponentially and continue to do so.

The fight against cybercrime is central to the EU strategy against organised crime.

Organised criminals are behind many sophisticated online attacks.

Like ransomware.

Criminals taking control of your computer. Holding your data hostage.

During the pandemic, ransomware attacks increased by 300 %.

Victims paid more than 280 million euro in ransom, last year.

Virtual attacks with devastating real world consequences. 

An attack in Ireland disrupted the health service for a week. The software for CT scans and X rays went down. Radiation therapy was suspended.

Ransomware is a global threat. From anywhere in the world, criminals can strike your hospitals. Your banks. Your schools. Your energy companies. 

One attack in the US closed 500 supermarkets in Sweden.

To fight ransomware, the EU is working with global partners.

Europol has worked together with Dutch police and industry to set up the “No more ransom” website. Anyone in the world can use it.

It offers free decryption tools. So far this site helped 6 million people worldwide. And prevented 900 million euro in criminal profits.

We are now building on these successes. I agreed with US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas to set up a joint EU-US working group against ransomware. To improve transatlantic operational cooperation.

At this conference, you will also be discussing the fight against child sexual abuse.

This is one of my key priorities.

In the last ten years, the number of reports of child sexual abuse online has increased exponentially.

From one million reports in 2010

To nearly 22 million reports last year.

Reports with images and videos, of children being raped.

Reports from Internet companies help law enforcement rescue children.

I made sure that earlier this year, the EU put in place emergency legislation. Allowing private companies to continue to voluntarily detect and to report child sexual abuse material and grooming.

But voluntary is not enough.

I am working on long-term permanent legislation to counter child sexual abuse.

I want to make it mandatory for companies to detect, report and remove child sexual abuse online.

The biggest challenge for law enforcement in a digital age is access to electronic evidence.

Evidence hidden in vast amounts of data. Concealed by encryption that is easy to use but almost impossible to crack.
Or out of reach on hard drives and servers across the border.  

85% of criminal investigations rely on digital evidence.
And almost two thirds of that e-evidence, is located in a different country.

In the EU, we are negotiating ambitious proposals that will allow Member States to issue cross-border orders to produce or preserve evidence.

And it’s good news that tomorrow we will be taking an important step, to improve access to electronic evidence across borders.

We all expect that tomorrow, the Council of Ministers of the Council of Europe will approve the Second Additional Protocol to the Convention. On Electronic evidence.

It will make a big difference to all of you who work in law enforcement. And there are many of you here today

Once the Protocol is fully in force, you can:

Directly ask service providers in another country for subscriber information.
Obtain traffic data more quickly.  
Closely cooperate with other national authorities in emergencies.
Work effectively together in Joint Investigation Teams.

The Protocol is based on the values we share.
Values also enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights. Strong safeguards protect privacy and personal data.

Protecting the people’s rights and their  personal data can and should go hand in hand.

The Second Protocol on e-evidence is an essential modernisation that makes the Budapest Convention ready for the future.

Ready for the next 20 years to face European and global challenges.

Once approved, I will call on all EU Member States and all parties to the Convention to sign the Second Additional Protocol as soon as possible.

To make the Internet safe. Safe for our citizens and for our fundamental values.  

I wish you a good and productive conference!