Global Cyber Commission Issues ‘Norms’ for Stability

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The Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace (GCSC)–a group formed last year to promote international stability by developing policy proposals and norms to guide responsible state and non-state behavior in cyberspace–on Thursday issued a set of six global norms that the group hopes will promote “the peaceful use of cyberspace.”

The six norms are:

  • Norm to avoid tampering;
  • Norm against commandeering of information and communications technology devices into botnets;
  • Norm for states to create a vulnerability equities process;
  • Norm to reduce and mitigate specific vulnerabilities;
  • Norm on basic cyber hygiene as foundational defense; and
  • Norm against offensive cyber operations by non-state actors.

The group said its latest proposed norms follow previous ones it has introduced including norms regarding the disruption of elections through cyber attacks on electoral infrastructure, and a call to protect the public core of the internet.

“The GCSC has introduced universal norms that seek to address individual risks to the stability of cyberspace,” said Marina Kaljurand, chair of the organization and former Estonian ambassador to the United States, in a statement. “We trust that decision makers within the government, private sector and civil society recognize that these norms will help guide how we as a global society define cyber stability. The interdependent nature of cyberspace demands established ‘rules of the road’ the global community can agree on–this effort is an important step in that direction.”

“The calls for responsible behavior in cyberspace will only grow louder, in step with the very real risks cyber poses for international stability,” commented Izumi Nakamitsu, United Nations under-secretary-general and high representative for Disarmament Affairs. “All stakeholders should continue the discussion on norms and what they represent in advancing a global understanding of what is–and what is not–acceptable, in cyberspace.”

GCSC is comprised of 25 commissioners representing a wide range of geographic regions and people from government, industry, technical and civil society “with legitimacy to speak on different aspects of cyberspace,” the group said. Michael Chertoff, former Department of Homeland Security secretary, is a co-chair. The group receives support from the governments of the Netherlands, Singapore, and France, and from Microsoft, among others.

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