Monday, June 2, 2014

Why we need a cyberwar treaty

The last month has been another extraordinary one for cyberspace. Ebay, that internet stalwart and pioneer of digital commerce, whose 120 million active users have over the past 15 years competed for a Virgin Mary toasted cheese sandwich, William Shatner's kidney stones and Michael Phelps's bong has had the personal details and passwords of its entire user base stolen. Meanwhile, the US government has issued federal grand jury indictments against five Chinese military officers for commercial cyber espionage. China reacted angrily calling the charges "fictitious" and "absurd", and denying that the country had ever been involved in digital theft.

... An international treaty on cyberwar must clarify the meaning of cyber attack, set out permissible responses, and include an obligation for states to assist one another in the investigation of digital crimes. A nation's failure to cooperate in the aftermath of a cyber incident must imply a degree of culpability. Digital industrial espionage falls under the World Trade Organisation, which ought to take steps to outlaw what is an anti-competitive tactic, and expand the scope of its dispute settlement mechanism to include such behaviour.

... A senior US military commander confirmed to me that the recommendations and insights in my report, The Laws of War and Cyberspace, published today are sound – but also made clear that generals won't be leading the charge. It is for governments to make the first move. The world wide web is waiting.

by (full article at The Guardian 

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