An International Vow to Address Cybersecurity

On Monday, November 12, 2018 , during the Internet Governance Forum at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, the French President Emmanuel Macron announced an international agreement referred to as the “Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace.” The agreement was signed by over 50 countries as well as businesses, including Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, and other organizations. Australia, the United States, Israel, Russia, and China are notably absent.

The agreement first highlights the central role cyberspace plays in every aspect of present life and reaffirms the importance of international law in the use of information and communication technologies. In addition, the agreement encourages collaboration between governments, the private sector, and civil society in the development of cybersecurity standards.

Recognizing the challenges, the agreement lists 9 specific areas in which the signatories are to assist one another.  They include:

1) Preventing malicious cyberattacks on critical infrastructure;

2) Preventing activity that intentionally and substantially damages the availability and integrity of the internet;

3) Strengthening the ability prevent interference of foreign actors aimed at undermining elections;

4) Preventing intellectual property theft with the of providing competitive advantages to companies or commercial sector;

5) Developing ways to prevent the proliferation of malicious technological tools and practices;

6) Strengthening the security of digital processes, products and services;

7)  Supporting efforts to strengthen cyber hygiene for all actors;

8) Taking steps to prevent non-state actors from hacking-back, for their own purposes or those of other non-state actors;

9) Promoting the widespread acceptance and implementation of international norms in cyberspace.

In conjunction with the EU General Data Protection Regulation coming into force this year, this international agreement is another example of how supranational cooperation will play an important role in addressing cybersecurity concerns. Moreover, in light of the asserted commitment of over 50 countries in the area of cybersecurity, it would not be surprising to expect legislation on the horizon.

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