Wanted: International Cyber Standards

US miltary chiefs and EU political leadesrs are in agreemnet that a lack of international standards for proper behavior in cyberspace is preventing the US and it European allies from policing their adversaries. The protection of data and systems is now badly needed.

Trade and cybersecurity are increasingly intertwined. The global expansion of the Internet and increased use of data flows by businesses and consumers, for communication, e-commerce, and as a source of information and innovation, are transforming international trade. 

Not only are traditional defense and other national security targets at risk of cyberattack, so too is the broader economy. This includes critical infrastructure, such as telecommunications, transport, and health care, which relies on software to network services.

All four US miltiary service chiefs for the Army, Navy. Airforce and Marines are pledged support to Gen. Paul Nakasone, commander of US Cyber Command which under both Presidents Obama and Trumo is growing in its importance. But they have also acknowledged the challenge that comes with the lack of international doctrine. “We have international norms in the maritime; we don’t have those in cyber,” said  Admiral. Michael Gilday, previously US Navy10th Fleet/Fleet Cyber Commander. “It makes it difficult to enforce standard that don’t exist, and to therefore hold nations accountable for nefarious behavior. It’s a challenge.... Those types of agreements take time... Unfortunately they sometimes follow a catastrophic event.”

In mid-2017 NATO confirmed that if a member was under sustained cyberattack it could invoke Article 5, which would mean a full response from NATO.

But while that decision did help inspire the alliance to develop rules of engagement should such an event occur, it did not establish global standards for behavior in cyberspace. Many countries are now adopting policy measures to respond to the threat. According to one estimate, at least 50 percent of countries have adopted cybersecurity policies and regulations.

The fifth generation of communication technologies, or ‘5G’, has arrived, bringing with it the promise of enhanced global internet coverage. This was the main message of an event in the European Parliament in early November entitled “Cybersecurity: What are the real risks?”

It has the ability to connect everything around us, from our phones and fridges to hospitals and energy grids, driving economic growth and improving our everyday lives.

But there are also concerns that this radical transformation is fraught with risks and Europe may be unprepared for its challenges.

Fifth Domain:          Brookings Inst:        Parliament Magazine

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