Cybersecurity pledge signed by over 20 countries

 - 
Friday, September 27, 2019

YARMOUTH, Maine—As ink was flying and signatures made on Monday, September 23, on the Joint Statement on Advancing Responsible State Behavior in Cyberspace, representing the 27 countries committed to upholding this international rules-based order, an evolving framework that guides responsible state behavior in cyberspace, memories resurfaced of my dad and grandmother, both of whom never got to see, much less interact with, the Web. My dad was a “hunt-and-peck” type of man, and as a school principal, would literally use single fingers to hammer the keys on his work desktop – an Apple 2e. (The “e” stands for “enhanced,” and I guess it was pretty spiffy back then with BASIC programming and The Oregon Trail.) My grandmother was more of a Nintendo-gal, who would stay up all hours of the night playing games like the first-ever Mario Bros. and Solomon’s Key. That was as close either got to experiencing “our” Internet. 

Makes me wonder what they, and others whom never experienced the Internet, would think about today’s cyber realm and countries coming together to create a safe cyberspace in which everyone can benefit? After all, we are living in a world that is predicted to produce 175 zettabytes (ZB) of digital content by 2025, according to IDS; has clouds that “rain” data instead of water; have an attack surface of 6 billion people by 2022 and cybercrime damages that is predicted to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. None of this was even fathomable 40 plus years ago! 

The joint statement affirms applicability of international law to state-on-state behavior; adherence to voluntary norms of responsible state behavior in peacetime; and the development and implementation of practical confidence-building measures to help reduce risk of conflict stemming from cyber incidents. It was signed by the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, the Republic of Korea, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

These responsible countries recognize their role in safeguarding a free, open and secure cyberspace, working on a voluntary basis to:

  • Encourage adherence to the joint statement;
  • Implement and further develop the framework;
  • Ensure all states have the ability to implement this framework; 
  • Recognize that human rights apply and must be respected/protected on- and offline; and 
  • Hold accountable those with bad behavior in cyberspace via measures that are transparent and abide by international law.