Cyberspace and Geopolitics: Assessing Global Cybersecurity Norm Processes at a Crossroads
Posted in: Legal & Security at 27/02/2020 07:01
As cyber threats multiply, efforts to establish international norms for cyber activity have created a disjointed ecosystem. Is the fragmentation a cause for concern or an opportunity to promote cyber stability and security?
As cyber insecurity has become a growing problem worldwide, states and other stakeholders have sought to increase stability for cyberspace. As a result, a new ecosystem of “cyber norm” processes has emerged in diverse fora and formats. Today, United Nations (UN) groups (for example, the Group of Governmental Experts [GGE] and the Open-Ended Working Group [OEWG]), expert commissions (for example, the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace), industry coalitions (for example, the Tech Accord, the Charter of Trust), and multistakeholder collectives (for example, the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace) all purport to identify or operationalize various normative standards of behavior for states and/or other stakeholders in cyberspace. As some of these processes wind down (for example, the Global Commission) and others wind up (for example, the OEWG), cyber norms are at a crossroads where each process’s potential (and problems) looms large.
On October 29, 2019, the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace convened a one-day workshop titled “Cyberspace and Geopolitics.” It brought together three dozen key stakeholders in the cyber norm discourse, including representatives of national governments, international organizations, nongovernmental entities, industry, and think tanks, alongside several chief information security officers and academics from international law and international relations. Participants assessed the various cyber norm processes both individually and collectively. This paper builds on the outcome of those discussions.