UNICRI' s strategy to counter the misuse of technology and other emerging crimes is reflected in the words of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon: "I urge you to be more innovative. When it comes to emerging threats such as cybercrime, environmental crime and counterfeiting, we must stay one step ahead of the criminals. We must also be more effective in stopping the money flows enabled by corruption and money-laundering".
Phenomena such as cybercrime, terrorist organizations’ use of the Internet, cyber threats to critical infrastructure, the misuse of big data, and the hacking of robotics technology are increasingly affecting every country and the lives of millions of people. Moreover, there is often a lack of coordinated policies and legislation, at all levels, for addressing emerging forms of criminal activity. Developing proper policies and laws that prevent against technology misuse, while also safeguarding fundamental rights, are key in the creation of a well-rounded plan of action.
UNICRI's strategy is based on the assumption that such emerging phenomena must be addressed through a multidisciplinary, transnational approach that envisages the involvement of different actors, from governments to civil society. UNICRI’s approach is twofold in that technology is seen both as a tool to promote development, counter crime and protect human rights, while also being a means for criminal activity. Therefore, technology misuse must be addressed. Just as technological advancements have allowed for the development of underground online markets and platforms for posting extremist content, law enforcement agencies are also able to utilize the web for data mining and identifying radicalized individuals, promoting dialogue with the general public, and effectively implementing community policing initiatives. Moreover, the Misuse of technology involves not only criminal, but also ethical issues, which is to say that the term refers to a value judgment of how technology should be used and to which extent certain use can be considered legal rather than illegal.
UNCRI is taking all of these aspects into consideration when carrying out its activities on emerging crimes, viewing technology as part of the solution, not just a part of the problem. The institute believes in maintaining a harmonized approach to addressing these issues, one that effectively balances security concerns and human rights. Respecting the dignity and rights of both individuals and groups is of the greatest importance to UNICRI’s work, and this approach provides a trusted environment from which all stakeholders can work together.
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