International Security Cyber Issues Workshop Series
The work of the United Nations (UN) Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security is the focal point for the international discussion of cybersecurity. The GGE reports of 2010, 2013, and 2015 set the negotiating agenda for cybersecurity, launched a series of efforts at capacity and confidence building, and altered the political landscape for international cooperation by recognizing the centrality of the UN Charter, international law and national sovereignty for global cooperation. To build on this success and maintain momentum, the UN has scheduled a fifth round of GGE meetings to begin in August 2016.
Progress has not come easily. Achieving consensus in the GGEs is a demanding task, given the compressed time for discussion and negotiation, the complexity of the subject, and the range of national views. GGE outcome documents have been shaped by complex negotiations on balancing freedom of expression with terrorist use of the Internet, on the nature and legitimacy of cyberattack, and by the larger tension between national sovereignty and universal values. These are core issues that arise repeatedly.
In light of this complexity, it may be useful to provide an overview of key issues that have shaped GGE discussions. In 2016, the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) organized three expert workshops to open and broaden the discussion of international norms for responsible State behavior in cyberspace and to identify new ideas to support further progress by the international community. The first focused on identification of new norms, the second on the application of international law, and the third on ways to manage the spread of malicious cyber tools. The intent was to build on past progress and to expand the space for international agreement on measures to increase stability and security in cyberspace.