Since then, there has been a shift to actively promote norms in cyberspace and to support states in their implementation. As a consequence, there has also been greater emphasis on accountability in case of norm violation. More countries are starting to use the norms agreed upon in the United Nations more explicitly and deliberately in their handling of cyber crises, calling out violators and the norms that need to be upheld. Similarly, cyber crises offer opportunities to point to the need for additional norms or regulations that are currently lacking.
Without them, it would be a lawless space. Even when states violate agreed-upon norms, they provide a rallying point for other states to demand compliance and foster accountability and consequences for bad actors. For example, the US call for Russia to get a handle on malicious cyber gangs operating from its territory is backed up by previously agreed to norms.
There is no reason for cyberspace to be any different. In addition to agreed-upon norms, international law, international humanitarian law, and human rights law all govern what type of action states can take in cyberspace. For example, not all cyber operations against critical infrastructures are targeted by norms, but only those operations that cause a certain level of damage.
For example, to balance the strategic benefit of exploiting a zero-day vulnerability for offensive actions, with risk cased to society or civilian equities, some states have implemented a vulnerability equities process. In a situation of an armed conflict, states use the rules of international humanitarian law to determine which objects are protected and cannot be targeted by cyber or other capabilities.
While balancing equities is difficult and complex, states should always prioritize human-centric equities in decision making. Although the international community is working towards regulating state behavior in cyberspace and with that offensive and defensive action through cyber diplomacy, different states seek different regulations in this conversation.
Additionally, states have acknowledged the applicability of international law, which places constraints on the activities of states in cyberspace and would have to be taken into account in national balancing calculations. Particularly international humanitarian law contains numerous provisions regulating the development of capabilities and their use. However, these provisions are interpreted by every state, and it still remains to be seen where different interpretations of the law may converge or diverge.
There are targets that are off limits in the physical world in peacetime because of their nature i. Of course, as a new area, countries need to be comfortable in restraining their capabilities, and this requires coordination both within and between governments. But norms, such as ones prohibiting attacks on critical infrastructure during peacetime, have already achieved a high level of consensus though we have, as yet, not been good at holding violators accountable.
Agreements of restraint and cooperation are vital to future cyber stability. This is a welcome and long-overdue development. The reason for this is simple — as more and more of our lives are spent online, this is an area that will only grow in importance over the next decade, impacting not just some countries and some companies, but societies across the globe. Achieving peace and security in the digital space will thus not be possible without non-state actors, requiring a discussion between these two categories of actors.
I believe that industry players engaged in this space want to prevent the weaponization of their technology — not only because they understand the negative impact it can have on their bottom lines, but also because they are concerned that abuse of technology can undermine trust in digital technologies and jeopardize their great potential. They are also operationalizing their part of being responsible actors in cyberspace by investing resources and expertise to inform diplomatic discussion in this domain, especially because it is one built and operated by the industry.
As for governments, these actions are part of their commitments of responsible state behavior. Governments are utilizing all of the tools in their toolboxes to ensure that their national security and foreign policy interests have a chance to prevail, including in this domain of strategic importance. Also, states want to ensure that their citizens can enjoy safe and stable cyberspace where they will be able to benefit from technology without being concerned about security safety and privacy.
Increased engagement can be driven by the interest of individuals in leadership positions. It can be spurred by a cybersecurity incident that affected a certain company, sector, segment of society, or state, etc. It can emanate from coordinated civil society pressure on a certain topic.
An organization, be it a company or a government, can view itself as particularly capable or vulnerable when it comes to cybersecurity issues and may thus see it in their interest to shape international regulatory outcomes accordingly. Another factor might be peer pressure if certain countries or companies build up diplomatic capacity either regionally or internationally. On the whole, we have seen an increase in corporate engagement and diplomatic posts in governments in the past five-to-six years.
However, the more interesting question to me is, why certain technology companies and governments have so far not dedicated noticeable resources to cyber diplomacy in spite of this trend. The United States had the first high-level dedicated cyber diplomat and now over forty countries have a version of this. While Denmark created a special position for the tech sector, many existing cyber diplomats have that relationship as part of their portfolios. Which have room for improvement?
That means building partnerships, finding new ways to collaborate across the different stakeholder groups, and investing in bringing others along for the ride. In short, those who are most successful in this space are those who understand and embrace the importance of multistakeholder, digital diplomacy. This is great, because the digital space shapes our societies and creates interdependencies. Everyone needs to be on board, but there is still a long way to go.
To make concrete progress, raising awareness and capabilities are needed on both sides. Cyber diplomacy, in turn, in the international and EU contexts refers to the work of governmental actors to come up with a series of norms that regulate the behaviour of state and non-state actors in cyber space. More specifically, the objective of cyber diplomacy is to define a set of norms which meets the following criteria:. In summary, cyber diplomacy refers to efforts made by state representatives to shape, at the global level, the governance of cyberspace in order to prevent or penalise cyberattacks.
Rather, the term is used in reference to a range of strategies and measures that the EU puts in place to promote cybersecurity. The quest for a regulatory framework for the security of cyberspace has been undertaken by different actors. At the regional level, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe OSCE has also recently taken steps to identify irresponsible behaviour in cyberspace which causes insecurity and instability.
The European Union has also actively participated in these international forums, developing its tools and influence in the field of cyber diplomacy. These are some of its main features. It addresses both prevention and incident management. The culmination of an EU cyber diplomacy strategy is the cyber diplomacy toolbox which allows EU Member States to formulate concerted and coordinated responses to cyberthreats and cyberattacks. The EU cyber diplomacy toolbox, as shown in , deploys one of the most powerful diplomatic instruments — sanctions.
The EU and its Member States have increasingly been victims of cyberattack and disinformation campaigns, such has been the case of the Macron campaign and the German Parliament In addition, from the standpoint of power politics, advantages in the digital domain are of strategic importance in the context of the rising power battle between China and the US. However, the same term, cyber diplomacy, also has another application in the EU context.
It also refers to a series of programmatic and operational actions to combat cybercrime and minimise the risk and impact of cyberattacks on people and essential infrastructures. As stated in the EU cyber diplomacy toolbox, the EU has an invested interest in setting up standards and norms for the stability and safety of cyberspace.
Therefore, EU diplomatic missions should strategically deploy a coherent, ambitious and coordinated action in the field of cybersecurity. This action should focus on the following three main areas:. As you can see, there is a lot to unpack in the field of cyber diplomacy. Do you have questions? Contact the Negotiation Team negotiationteam eipa. The views expressed in this blog are those of the authors and not necessarily those of EIPA.
EU Cyber Diplomacy Blog. Mathias Delmeire. Frank Lavadoux.
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➢ There have been cyber attacks against not only Japanese government institutions but also private firms. ➢ Japan is no exception of rapidly-growing cyber. Cyber diplomacy is broadly defined as the use of diplomatic tools and initiatives to achieve a state's national interest in cyberspace that are. In summary, cyber diplomacy refers to efforts made by state representatives to shape, at the global level, the governance of cyberspace in order.