I outlined the position in relation to ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime in January last. At that time, I updated the House on the significant progress made in the ratification process within the term of this Government, particularly through the introduction of legislation to give effect to the key criminal law provisions of the Convention.
In relation to the Cybercrime Convention, otherwise known as the Budapest Convention, the majority of the provisions of the Convention are already provided for in Irish law. The Cybercrime Convention is very broad in scope and provisions of the Convention are provided for in criminal justice, interception, sexual offences, extradition, mutual legal assistance and copyright legislation.
The most significant step towards ratification of the Budapest Convention was the enactment in 2017 of the first Bill in this jurisdiction specifically targeted at cybercrime. The Criminal Justice (Offences Relating to Information Systems) Act 2017 gave effect to an EU Directive on attacks against information systems, the main provisions of which reflect the key provisions of the Convention.
This recent legislation therefore also gives effect to provisions in the Convention relating to offences against information systems and their data and search and seizure powers in respect of such data. An Garda Síochána, the organisation with primary responsibility for dealing with cybercrime, has strongly welcomed this landmark legislation as a comprehensive weapon to tackle criminality including computer systems and interference with such systems or their data.
Officials from my Department attended a meeting of the Cybercrime Convention Committee in Strasbourg earlier this year and discussed with the Council of Europe Ireland's positive progress on ratification.
The current Government Legislation Programme makes provision for the drafting of a new Cybercrime Bill to give effect to those remaining elements of the Convention not already covered in national law. This is to ensure that Ireland can ratify the Budapest Convention and is evidence of the Government's clear commitment in that regard. My intention is that this legislation will be in place to facilitate formal ratification of the Convention as soon as it is possible.