On November 12th, the French Administration launched the ‘Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace’ at the UNESCO Internet Governance Forum (IGF). This Call aims to emphasize the need for an “open, secure, stable, accessible and peaceful cyberspace” which affects the everyday life of citizens and public/private actors (Paris Call Declaration).
This Call comes hand in hand with the French initiative to focus on digital innovation. The administration created the Paris Digital Week (11th-14th of November) where different stakeholders met, and engaged in discussions on increased cooperation in cyberspace and on how to tackle the future, and present challenges posed by new technology. The flagship event of the week was the New Technologies Conference during the Paris Peace Forum (11th-12th of November) where the French Foreign Minister, Mr. Le Diran, urged for the protection of cyberspace. Later on that week, President Macron launched the official Paris call at the “Internet of Trust” Internet Governance Forum (IGF), (12th-14th of November). The Paris Call on cybersecurity has already gained a multitude of signatories coming from a variety of sectors.
President Macron launching the Paris Call on trust and security in cyberspace at the Internet Governance Forum on November 12th. Source: voltairenet.org
Recently, new technologies have gained growing importance in the everyday life of individuals. For this reason, the Paris Call wants to create a focus in cyberspace on “offline space” as well. Specifically, international law as well as the UN Charter recognises human security as one of the most important aspects of security, and for this reason there is a need to “reaffirm that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, and also reaffirm the applicability of international human rights law in cyberspace” (Paris Call Declaration). Therefore, the aim of the Paris Call is to improve cooperation among all stakeholders, both within and outside national borders. The government, private sector, and civil society are all expected to work together in creating new standards to enable the improvement of cyber protection and offer support to victims of harmful use of information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Quoting the Paris Call; “all actors can support a peaceful cyberspace by encouraging the responsible and coordinated disclosure of vulnerabilities” (Paris Call Declaration).
Those inclined to join the Paris Call need to affirm their “willingness to work together […] to assist one another and implement cooperative measures” (Paris Call Declaration).
The document then presents a list of nine points, which are the main objectives for cooperation. These objectives focus mainly on the prevention of activities that would harm the integrity of the public core of the Internet and prevent the theft of intellectual property. Furthermore, there needs to be support for the efforts aimed at strengthening an advanced cyber-hygiene for all actors. Lastly, the signatories promise to promote “widespread acceptance and implementation of international norms of responsible behaviour as well as confidence-building measures in cyberspace” (Paris Call Declaration).
At this moment, the list of participants joining the Call from Paris is composed of 51 States, 93 civil society stakeholders and 218 private companies. This project has been brought to the table by France, backed by Microsoft and appeals to the heavyweights of the digital industry. So far, all of the European Union Member States have joined this initiative, reinforcing their commitment to ensure a safe, online environment. Other nations such as Canada, South Korea, Gabon and Mexico are supporting this call for enhancing the need for global cybersecurity awareness and legal framework. The biggest names of the the digital industry have shown their support for the Call. Among them we can find Google, Facebook, IBM, Samsung, Oracle, Dell, Airbus, Thales, Visa and Engie. Think Tanks and NGOs have also embraced this initiative. Among them are the Cyber Security Coalition, CESIN, European Organization for Security, Global Cyber Alliance, EUISS and GlobSec, who have chosen to commit to this cause.
However, some nations have decided not to join the the list of supporters. This only serves to highlight how the international community continues to struggle to present a unified voice regarding cybersecurity. For example, Brazil, India, Argentina, and Saudi Arabia have chosen to remain silent on this topic.
Finabel – The European Army Interoperability Centre – welcomes the Paris Call and wishes to support the Paris Call on Trust and Security in Cyberspace and would like to affirm its commitment to this project by initiating the joining procedure.
The progress and follow-up of this initiative is to be followed at the next Paris Peace Forum in 2019 and the Internet Governance Forum in Berlin in 2019.
Written by Oana-Mihaela Mihalache and Camilla Cupardo, on behalf of the Finabel Permanent Secretariat.
France Diplomatie, ‘Cyber security: Paris call of 12 November for Trust and Security in the Cyber Space’, France Diplomatie, https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/french-foreign-policy/digital-diplomacy/france-and-cyber-security/article/cybersecurity-paris-call-of-12-november-2018-for-trust-and-security-in
Paris Peace Forum, ‘The Paris Peace Forum at the Paris Digital Week’, Paris Peace Forum, https://parispeaceforum.org/2018/10/23/the-paris-digital-week/