Misinformation, Online Attacks, and Cyber Threats of the Digital Landscape in the Balkans

As the year 2023 concluded, the Balkans became entangled in a web of digital misdirection, characterized by a surge in misinformation, gender-based attacks, and cyber threats. Several countries experienced a surge in online scams, presenting legal challenges related to cybercrime and the protection of citizens. 

Hungary faced a cyber threat involving deceptive emails resembling gas bills, necessitating legal scrutiny into the jurisdictional aspects of such cyber fraud. Bosnia and Herzegovina witnessed rising cases of fraud and misuse of payment cards, prompting legal considerations surrounding consumer protection and financial regulations. Romania grappled with a phishing scheme exploiting the trust associated with postal services, demanding legal measures to combat online scams and protect citizens from fraudulent activities. It was witnessed also a proliferation of misinformation across North Macedonia, Hungary, Romania, and Turkey. Deceptive political narratives, manipulated charts, and orchestrated propaganda permeated the digital landscape, giving rise to legal questions regarding the integrity of information dissemination. Instances such as misleading tweets and fabricated narratives raise concerns about the legal repercussions and regulatory frameworks required to address the intentional distortion of reality in technologically advanced nations.

Online attacks targeting women was a disconcerting trend emerged within the interconnected realm of cyberspace, as women in Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, and Hungary faced an alarming increase in online attacks. From insults and threats to explicit content, these attacks transcended political boundaries and raised pertinent legal questions.

The electoral dynamics in Serbia on December 17 unfolded against a backdrop of heightened digital tensions, leading to legal considerations regarding the integrity of democratic processes. The victory of the Serbian Progressive Party and allegations of orchestrated propaganda networks against far-right parties underscore the legal challenges in ensuring fair and transparent elections in the digital age. The shift of election campaigns to social media platforms raises legal questions about regulating political advertising during crucial pre-election hours, demanding a comprehensive legal framework to address emerging challenges.

Legal frameworks, international cooperation, and vigilant enforcement mechanisms become imperative to safeguard democratic processes, protect individuals from online threats, and address the multifaceted legal implications inherent in the digital realm. As nations navigate the complexities of the digital age, a comprehensive legal approach is essential to uphold the rule of law and ensure the protection of rights in the evolving digital landscape.