“Global Cyber Security Norms: A Proliferation Problem?”
Analysis by Paul Meyer
Senior Fellow in Space and Cyber Security,
The Simons Foundation
Published by ICT for Peace Foundation
December 3, 2018
Summary: The international community's effort to develop norms of responsible state behaviour in cyberspace is currently facing a crisis that may also be an opportunity. The crisis is the breakdown of what had been a consensus at the United Nations as to how work on such norms should proceed. The failure of a UN expert group to agree on a report last year and the adoption of parallel and competing processes at this year's General Assembly has cast a shadow on and much uncertainty as to the future direction of inter-governmental discussions.
This situation has however also presented an opportunity for other cyber security stakeholders in the private sector and civil society to highlight their own proposals for norms to govern state conduct. While there may be a risk of norms proliferation down the road, the near-term challenge will be for these stakeholders to find a way to engage states in a process to adopt and implement such norms of responsible state behaviour which they alone can realize.
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Amb. (Ret) Paul Meyer is Senior Fellow in Space Security, The Simons Foundation; Adjunct Professor of International Studies and Fellow in International Security at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada; and Chair, Canadian Pugwash Group.