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Could Cyber-Diplomacy Learn From Outer Space?

Andre Barrinha Opinions

While the Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) consensus report on ICTs in the context of international security is perhaps a successful compromise, it brought limited novelty in terms of cyber norms. Fifty-five years ago, there was another “space” in need of international regulation as a consequence of technological innovation: outer space, which yielded concrete results in the form of the …

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Cyber Norms: Specialisation from Fragmentation?

Evan Burke Commentary

What are the ‘rules of the road’ for cyberspace, and who sets them? The question has risen in prominence and priority as cyber threats have grown more severe. A lack of clarity about acceptable behaviour enables destabilising cyber activity, such as the recent Microsoft Exchange hack by suspected state-sponsored actors and the persistent ransomware attacks targeting hospitals around the world. …

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Ritual Reverence to Deterrence in Cyberspace

Maria Mälksoo Commentary

The efficacy of deterrence as a method of conflict management is highly disputed. Yet, deterrence persists as a go-to security strategy and is flourishing in the spheres of cyber and information warfare. The EU is now embracing deterrence and its political appeal to advance its cybersecurity posture. But the prudence of this move remains unproven, and it is counterintuitive to …

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The ‘Invisible’ International Law in Cyberspace

Joanna Kulesza Opinions

Recent state contributions to the discussion of how international law applies in cyberspace suggest that the cybersecurity dialect of international law is losing sight of the mainstream – that is, how international law is applied outside of the cyber bubble. The fact that states contest certain rules and standards of international conduct when it suits their current interests and ambitions …

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Cyber Arms Control and Risk Reduction

Caitriona Heinl Commentary

Discussions at the UN have revealed that “implementation is currently one of our biggest challenges”. Specifically, states are conscious of the need to translate non-military cyber confidence-building measures (CBMs) into concrete actions that are implementable by all states, thus moving beyond awareness-raising. This is especially the case where CBMs are viewed by bodies such as the EU as a practical …

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Time for Cyber Maastricht?

Agnes Kasper Opinions

In today’s information society, data and information replace the traditional resources for conducting war: coal and steel. Preventing conflicts revolving around these new resources demands greater cooperation and transparency. Until recently, coal and steel were critical raw materials for the economy and the basis for waging wars. It was coal and steel that brought European countries together in 1951 to …

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Navigating a Finnish Take on International Law

Eneken Tikk Interviews

If you’re talking about international law and cyberspace, it’s hard to find a better person to talk to than Ambassador Marja Lehto, who wrote the recent Finnish position paper on the issue. A renowned international lawyer, Dr Lehto served as the Finnish expert in the tense 2016-2017 UN GGE. In 2016, she was elected to the International Law Commission of the UN (ILC) for the term of 2017-2021 with 175 votes, the highest vote total of the entire election.

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Navigating Cyber Diplomacy in the Asia Pacific

Caitriona Heinl Interviews

The cyber and critical tech team at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has certainly been proactive about advancing their global and regional cyber engagement agenda. No easy feat when navigating intricate geostrategic realities in the Asia Pacific, the complexities of major power rivalries and rising strategic competition amid a global health crisis.

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A New UN Path to Cyber Stability

Aude Géry Commentary

The creation of a Programme of Action for advancing responsible state behaviour in cyberspace offers a path forward for the elaboration, implementation and monitoring of a framework of responsible state behaviour. It constitutes an interesting evolution and opportunity, borrowing from the advantages of both the GGE and the OEWG without taking on their historical legacies. On 1 October 2020, 40 …

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Deterrence: A Naked Emperor

Mika Kerttunen Opinions

Researchers do not agree whether, when or how deterrence works. It is a risky policy that does not provide any predictability of behaviour, to which the European Union should not subscribe. The EU should instead develop stronger, multi-layered resilience in and for Europe. Such a policy would be protective rather than threatening, persuasive rather than dissuasive, defensive rather than deterring and active rather than opportunist.