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Eight Norms for Stability in Cyberspace

At last month's Paris Peace Forum, the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace issued its report on how to provide an overarching cyber stability framework. Combined with norms, principles, and confidence-building measures suggested by others, the GCSC's conclusions are an important step forward.

CAMBRIDGE – In little more than a generation, the Internet has become a vital substrate for economic, social, and political interactions, and it has unlocked enormous gains. Along with greater interdependence, however, come vulnerability and conflict. Attacks by states and non-state actors have increased, threatening the stability of cyberspace.

In November, at the Paris Peace Forum, the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace issued its report on how to provide an overarching cyber stability framework. Originally convened by the Dutch government three years ago, the multi-stakeholder GCSC (of which I was a member) had co-chairs from Estonia, India, and the United States, and comprised former government officials, experts from civil society, and academics from 16 countries.

Over the years, there have been numerous calls for laws and norms to manage the new international insecurity created by information technology, starting with Russian proposals at the United Nations two decades ago calling for a binding treaty. Unfortunately, given the nature of cyber weapons and the volatility of the technology, such a treaty would not be verifiable and would quickly become obsolete.

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