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International cyber security shouldn’t be held hostage by political interests

The risks in the sphere of information and communication technologies that the whole world, every state, and every inhabitant of the planet is facing now undoubtedly require the same close coordination of efforts as we can observe in international cooperation to fight epidemics or natural disasters.

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Representatives from 106 governments, the United Nations, and international organizations recently held a summit on cyber security in St. Petersburg, Russia. At the XII International Meeting of High Representatives in charge of security issues, which took place on 24 and 25 April, the key topic of discussion was building a global system of countering cyber threats that would include all states of the world.

Attempts to unite the efforts of the world community in the field of information and communication technologies have been underway for a long time, as over the past decade both individual countries and humanity as a whole have repeatedly faced cyber threats that can lead to catastrophic consequences. Cybercrime and cyberterrorism regularly target virtually every sector of the economy, from banking and IT companies to critical infrastructure.

In addition to the enormous financial losses associated with cyberattacks, the scale of technology’s penetration into life is already leading to the risk of man-made disasters, environmental disasters, and loss of life due to malicious effects on networks and software.

Over the past decade, dozens of countries have been actively developing a set of measures for the overall coordination of information security efforts. One of the first steps towards building a global system for preventing cyber threats should be a global register of points of contact (NCP) to be created on the UN platform, to which all member states should delegate agencies responsible at the national level for coordinating information security efforts and authorized to contact similar agencies from other countries.

Although the creation of the NCP has been discussed for many years, its formation in a workable form has not yet been completed due to the political and economic ambitions of a number of Western participants in the dialogue.

The architecture of the single point of contact registry architecture assumes that each country has a single operator to communicate with the rest of the NCP members, thus avoiding delays and complex bureaucratic procedures that are inappropriate in the face of rapidly emerging cyber threats. This simple and logical solution, which is the key to effective interaction, according to Russia, is consistently hampered by countries such as the United States, which wants to include in the NCP not only more than a dozen of its government agencies and intelligence services but also the largest IT corporations.

Such an approach nullifies the idea of transparency, efficiency, and targeting of interstate communications in critical situations and issues, but also raises concerns among most other members of the NCP system about the true purpose of Washington’s participation in this agreement.

At the St. Petersburg summit, the issue was repeatedly raised by most participating countries’ representatives precisely in the context of the inadmissibility of bringing political considerations into the area of global defense against cyber threats. Thus, according to Burhan Gafoor, one of the authors of the concept of international cyber security and Singapore’s permanent representative to the UN, this platform should be completely free of politicization and based on the principles of respect for the collective interests of all humanity and technological cooperation.

It is this position that those delegates from the St. Petersburg summit who will take part in the NCP meeting at the UN headquarters on 10 May will defend.

Another obstacle to the formation of an international cybersecurity platform is also a purely political issue related to the West’s sanctions war against some sovereign states. Although the seemingly unprecedented risks and scale of cyber threats should have overshadowed many controversies and conflicts, countries such as the United States are unwilling to attempt to engage with those states that they view as competitors in geopolitical or trade and economic matters. Such disregard for the interests of humanity’s global security is in itself destructive, causing outrage in most countries of the world.

The necessity of overcoming such shortsighted and dangerous policies is alarming and was the subject of many discussions at the XII International Meeting of High Representatives in charge of security issues. In the opinion of the Deputy Director General of the Philippine Security Council, voiced at the summit in St. Petersburg, common interests should prevail in global cyber security: “As far as cooperation is concerned, I am sure that it should be technical and technological development, there should be no politicization, which the West is imposing today.

The risks in the sphere of information and communication technologies that the whole world, every state, and every inhabitant of the planet is facing now undoubtedly require the same close coordination of efforts as we can observe in international cooperation to fight epidemics or natural disasters. Ultimately, the threats of cybercrime and cyberterrorism must overshadow interstate strife and protect all nations and peoples through global cooperation.

Guest Writer
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