Organizer 1: Arun Sukumar, The Fletcher School, Tufts University
Speaker 1: Dennis Broeders, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Nnenna Ifeanyi-Ajufo, ,
Speaker 3: Herb Lin, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Abdul-Hakeem Ajijola , Private Sector, African Group
Round Table - Circle - 60 Min
International rules and state accountability: How should international rules be strengthened to protect national sovereignty and citizens against attack by malicious state and non-state actors? What can be done to better hold nation-states accountable for cyber-attacks?
The roundtable session I propose relates to the cyber norm on "ensuring the general availability and integrity of the Internet", which was published by the UN Open-Ended Working Group in May 2021, and subsequently adopted by the UN General Assembly. It is critical to the unimpeded functioning of core internet infrastructure, and as such, to secure and open digital networks. Although the cyber norm is itself not legally binding on states, it may be seen either as a reflection of an existing obligation on states, or the beginning of an effort to articulate a new one. It is important to address the technical contours and legal scope of this norm, since such an exercise would clearly outline the responsibilities of states to protect internet infrastructure in their territory that may be relied on by other states and non-state actors. Therefore, my proposed session falls squarely within the remit of the Policy Question: "How should international rules be strengthened to protect national sovereignty and citizens against attack by malicious state and non-state actors?"
9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
10. Reduced Inequalities
Targets: The SDG Targets on removing barriers to education, promoting economic growth and innovation, providing new employment opportunities to youth, and mitigating inequalities within societies and between countries, are critically dependent on a secure, trusted, open and safe cyberspace. The norm to ensure "the general availability and integrity of the internet" provides for the first time, a formulation to define those aspects of the Internet's infrastructure that must always be 'on'. In other words, the implementation of this norm will go a long way in ensuring economies and communities have a credible chance at improving socio-economic indicators through digital access, and is important to the SDG targets listed here.
This is a roundtable discussion around the cyber norm to ensure "the general availability and integrity of the Internet". This norm was published by the recently concluded UN Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) in the following form:
"While agreeing on the need to protect all critical infrastructure (CI) and critical information infrastructure (CII) supporting essential services to the public, along with endeavoring to ensure the general availability and integrity of the Internet, States further concluded that the COVID- 19 pandemic has accentuated the importance of protecting healthcare infrastructure including medical services and facilities through the implementation of norms addressing critical infrastructure. such as those affirmed by consensus through UN General Assembly resolution 70/237."
The OEWG norm has also made an appearance, albeit in a slightly different formulation, in the 2018 Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace and the 2019 Global Commission on Cyber Stability norms ‘package’. The roundtable will bring, among others, technical experts and international lawyers together to determine the precise technical contours of the phrase, its extra-territorial obligations (if any), and alignment (if at all) with existing international law.
In short, it would assess the responsibility owed by states to protect the uninterrupted and seamless use of the internet. While seemingly expansive in its scope, it is important to discern the specific commitments sought by this norm -- as well as the technical and policy measures required to realize those commitments -- for it to be implemented by developed and developing countries alike. Preserving the "general availability and integrity of the Internet" is an important and common goal for all humanity, and it is crucial to clarify and outline its scope in order to effectively realize it.
This interdisciplinary interaction between technical experts and international lawyers on the scope of the OEWG norm will be the first of its kind, and the report of the roundtable discussion will be published as an "informal guiding document" on the norm's implementation. With authoritative legal and technical voices lending their opinion on the nature of the norm, the scope of its obligations, and the capacity-building required to implement it, such a "guidance" document will be valuable to states and non-state actors alike who seek to ensure the smooth functioning of the Internet.
The roundtable will begin with a presentation by a technical expert and an international lawyer, respectively, on the precise scope of the norm. The expert will lay out their opinion on the technical scope of the phrase "general availability and integrity of the internet", while the lawyer will interpret the attendant legal obligation to "ensure" such availability. Based on their presentations, the roundtable -- comprising 6 to 8 invited speakers -- will continue the deliberation and expand its scope for around 40 minutes, after which outside participants will be invited to make a contribution. Since the roundtable is a small-group discussion, I do not foresee many difficulties in moderating interventions, and facilitating a smooth discussion. The topic is narrow, and its background would be familiar to all technical experts and lawyers who are part of the roundtable. A preference will certainly be accorded to online participants to offer interventions first, since on-site participants have more flexibility to engage with speakers during and immediately after the roundtable discussion.
Usage of IGF Official Tool.