“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union”
“Four score and seven years ago”
“I have a dream”
These are very well known quotes to every American. These quotes where opening salvos by great leaders who knew we had to come together for change and for good. Although the quotes I know off the top of my head are provincial, I also know that when there is a time that requires change, a time people must come together, for good, we should be listening to great leaders around the world.
Earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron made the call to come together and address a global challenge, the need for data security in cyberspace. Without data security there can be no trust, bad actors can wreak havoc, and we the people can have our lives quickly turned upside down by hackers. There isn’t a day that goes by without news of how hackers, terrorists, and nation states are infiltrating the foundations of what President Macron defines as “information and communication technologies (ICT).”
Macron made the opening salvo to address this problem, globally and together, not only through piecemeal regulations. He rolled out the “Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace”. He called for leaders to reaffirm “our support to an open, secure, stable, accessible and peaceful cyberspace, which has become an integral component of life in all its social, economic, cultural and political aspects.”
Essentially, he is asking to apply the best practices we learned as a society from world wars and large scale disasters to the new world of cyberspace. The document calls for leaders to condemn malicious cyber activities in peacetime, just as we do for traditional invasions and attacks on infrastructure and indiscriminant attacks on individuals. He asks that we support victims of malicious use of ICTs and for stakeholders to cooperate to protect and respond to such attacks.
The Paris Call lists out nine norms, all of which you can find in the link above. Here’s a sampling of three:
- Strengthen our capacity to prevent malign interference by foreign actors aimed at undermining electoral processes through malicious cyber activities
- Prevent ICT (information and communication technologies) enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information, with the intent of providing competitive advantages to companies or commercial sector
- Strengthen the security of digital processes, products and services, throughout their lifecycle and supply chain
The U.K., Canada, and New Zealand have all signed on, along with leadership from Microsoft, Google, IBM, and HP. It is reported that the United States is in ‘talks’ and has not yet signed onto the initiative. We should all hope that China and Russia join in this effort too. What is important is that the call has been made and it has early success. I’m hopeful that this is the start of more collaboration and ultimately a safer cyber environment for working, living and playing in cyberspace. Incredible changes for good often take time and may never be entirely reached, but they always start with the call for moving together towards a dream with the goal of perfection. It is time for us to start this journey, globally and together.