21 June, Zurich, Switzerland: With the support of the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ICT4Peace Foundation (www.ict4peace.org) hosted on 20 and 21 June 2013 an international high-level expert workshop at ETH Zurich on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) and International Cyber Security, to develop a better common understanding of practical CBM’s to be applied to the Cyberspace, based inter alia on concrete experiences of incidents and threats, that are relevant to build trust and rapid response systems to avoid potential conflict.
The workshop has allowed for a focused examination and development of a list of specific, concrete and practical CBMs and an assessment of their utility and feasibility from an international security, operational and diplomatic perspective. The results of the workshop will help the discussions and negotiations on confidence building in cyberspace and related policy options in various fora such as the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Cyber Issues (UN GGE), the OSCE Informal Working Group on Confidence–building Measures in the field of ICTs, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the London Process on Cyberspace and the Conference on Cyberspace in Seoul in October 2013.
The stability of our networked global system and the proper functioning of our countries, cities and daily activities, rely on the Internet. However, the world is facing an escalating number of cyber attacks, a modern day arms race without visible weapons or actors. Critical infrastructure – including transport, transport security, nuclear power plants, electricity, communication networks, oil pipelines, and financial institutions – has become a clear target for cyber attacks, which could have devastating consequences. The ICT4Peace Foundation has since 2011 called for serious and urgent global negotiations by Governments on norms of state behaviour and Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in the cyberspace, and on how to include academia, civil society and business in this regard.
Tackling a threat to this mainstay of modern society requires a global effort, a concerted open dialogue to find common ground and solutions. While these activities have been taking place for many years behind the scenes, the recent increased number and frequency of media reports of attacks in the cyberspace, citizens are becoming increasingly aware of this new threat to their wellbeing and are looking towards their governments, civil society leaders and business to engage at the national and global level to find solutions and international agreements to mitigate this threat.
There are encouraging signs that States are finally engaging as the recent results of the work of the UN Governmental Group of Experts on Cyber Issues in New York and of the Informal Working Group at the OSCE in Vienna have shown, but more robust and output oriented negotiations are needed. The ICT4Peace workshop on Confidence-building Measures at ETH will provide substantive inputs to these and other consultations and negotiations, such as the Conference on Cyberspace in Seoul in October 2013.
More output by ICT4Peace Foundation on cyber-security can be read here.