Farhan Sahito at UN: Advocating for Global Technical Assistance and International Cooperation against cybercrime

On June 7, 2024, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) hosted the Joint Constructive Dialogue on Technical Assistance and International Cooperation in Vienna. This prestigious event gathered representatives from 193 United Nations Member States and observing organizations, underscoring its global significance in addressing critical issues related to crime and justice.

Farhan Sahito, partner at Privanova, had the honour of speaking at this prestigious event. During Panel 3 of the dialogue, Farhan Sahito shared valuable insights on how technology can enhance international cooperation in criminal matters. He stressed the importance of the ethical use of technological tools, advocating for a multidisciplinary approach that integrates robust legal and technical safeguards to protect privacy and civil liberties.

Addressing Technology Risks in Criminal Justice

During his presentation, Farhan Sahito highlighted several technology risks, emphasizing the importance of addressing these challenges ethically. He pointed out that while facial recognition is useful for identifying suspects, it is often criticized for biases and potential misuse. Similarly, predictive policing algorithms, which rely on historical data, can lead to over-policing in marginalized communities due to inherent biases. He also discussed the privacy concerns associated with drones used for real-time surveillance and tracking of criminal activities, as these devices can capture images and videos without consent, posing a risk of misuse by both law enforcement and private entities. Cybersecurity tools, essential for detecting and preventing cybercrimes, can also intrude on personal privacy through measures like deep packet inspection. Moreover, social media monitoring by Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), while valuable for detecting criminal activities and gathering intelligence, raises significant privacy issues due to extensive surveillance of online activities, which can impact free speech and civil liberties.

Strategies for Ethical Standards and Privacy Protection

Farhan Sahito elaborated on strategies for monitoring and promoting ethical standards, emphasizing the multifaceted approach. He advocated for continuous risk assessment using advanced data analytics and machine learning for ongoing monitoring and evaluation. Developing ethical guidelines that align with international human rights standards and privacy laws is crucial, incorporating privacy considerations from the design phase, known as privacy by design. He highlighted the use of privacy-enhancing technologies, such as differential privacy and federated learning, to maintain data privacy while enabling data analysis and AI model training. Enhancing transparency and accountability in the use and deployment of technology was also a key point, promoting clarity and responsibility. Furthermore, he stressed the need to inform the public and stakeholders about the risks and ethical considerations of new technologies, and to ensure legal compliance with international privacy and data protection laws.

Multidisciplinary Approaches to Combat Cybercrime

Farhan Sahito emphasized the importance of developing multidisciplinary and multisectoral approaches. These methods are crucial because they integrate diverse perspectives and expertise from various fields. By involving stakeholders from law enforcement, industry, academia, and civil society, we can create comprehensive and effective solutions to tackle complex issues like cybercrime. At Privanova, we've seen the effectiveness of these approaches through our involvement in EU Commission projects like ELOQUENCE, SECURE-EU, and CONVERT. Farhan also highlighted CYBERSPACE, POLIIICE, TRACE, and SAFEHORIZON. These projects are part of Privanova's leadership in the unique Law Enforcement Projects Cluster, which includes over 35 initiatives. This cluster brings together diverse expertise from multiple sectors, creating a synergistic approach to tackling cybercrime effectively.

In addition to discussing Privanova’s projects, Farhan Sahito emphasized the crucial role of the European Commission in supporting and coordinating efforts to advance international collaboration against cybercrime. The Commission's backing ensures that initiatives like those led by Privanova can thrive and make a tangible impact on global cybersecurity measures.

The need for robust international cooperation in criminal matters is more pressing as the world becomes increasingly interconnected. Events like these highlight the critical role of technology and multidisciplinary collaboration in ensuring a safer and more secure global community.

UNODC was very kind to publish the full transcript on their website.

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