Paris Cyber Agreement
December 14, 2020
Microsoft played a leading role in the creation of the cyber agreement, and other major U.S.-based technology companies like Facebook and Google are among the signatories. Fortunately, the past year has also shown a renewed commitment to initiatives to combat this escalation of threats, including the dual dialogues at the United Nations on responsible norms and behaviour in cyberspace, which began in the fall. In addition, the UN Secretary-General`s High Level Group on Digital Cooperation mandated in its report to respect the commitments and permanent structures to safeguard the stability and accessibility of cyberspace. Together, this moment is an opportunity to turn the page against the dangers of escalating tensions in cyberspace through collective action. And among these parallel efforts, the Paris Appeal stands out as a multi-party catalyst for further progress, with principles in which governments, industry and civil society can participate at the same time. In April, Microsoft announced the Cybersecurity Tech Agreement, an agreement similar to the Paris call signed by more than 60 technology companies, which it called the “Geneva Digital Convention.” In July, the company publicly committed to regulating facial recognition technology and said it was developing its own principles for its use. In August, Microsoft then took action against hacker group Fancy Bear. In an announcement that could have been just as plausible to the FBI, the company went so far as to attribute the series of malicious domains it confiscated as coming from Russia. Meanwhile, groups such as Cybersecurity Tech Accord, Internet Society, Global Cyber Alliance and CyberGreen are working to strengthen solutions to improve cyber hygiene or basic safety practices among signatories, in accordance with Principle Seven. Last year, we were alerted to countless cyber attacks that are becoming more sophisticated, confirming the need for initiatives such as the Paris appeal.
The attack on India`s Kudankulam nuclear power plant in October is just the latest example of the kind of ruthless behavior in cyberspace that can no longer be tolerated, along with other recent examples, including ransomware attacks on cities and accusations that nations target others with malware.