Based in Toronto, Canada, Humilitatem is a student publishing group inspired by the conflicts of the 20th and 21st century. Through its Interdisciplinary approach, it seeks to offer an environment of (un)learning, whereby readers and content creators can exchange knowledge not bound to the imposed structure of European/American Academia. We hope that the contents of this blog will be used to shed light on the significance of resistance and encourage active participation in acts of resistance. 

What is the International Community doing for you Online? If anything?

What is the International Community doing for you Online? If anything?

What does cybersecurity means for international governmental organizations such as the UN, ITU, and others; how has the widening of security studies aided the discussion on the use of the telecommunications by nation-states; is cybersecurity, cybercrime, and/or cyber warfare included in international law, if so, how and throughout what means; how have nation-states implemented cybersecurity, cyberspace, and the internet into their national policies?

In light of recent events unfolding in the global community with a variety of enterprises and governments have been victims of massive cyber attacks that have divulged huge amounts of data. This post will explore the importance of cybersecurity and how it is slowly becoming regulated in a macro understanding. The emergence of global communication networks, to information sharing, and the quickening of these interactions has seeped into all forms of everyday life for most people. This post will investigate and shine a light on how the international community, nation-states, and international organizations have approached the popular subject of cybersecurity and what existing structures are there to address these.

Cybersecurity needs to be addressed from a widening security approach and needs role models in both domestic or international systems that provide guidance moving forward that protect the privacy of individuals and the national security of a state. Unilateral treaties support this interpretation with slight variation (United Nations General Assembly, A/RES/55/63, 2001)(UNGA, A/RES/57/239, 2003)(UNGA, A/RES/56/121, 2003). UNGA reminds us that the internet is the tool like any other that is meant for access to cyberspace (Quintin, 2011, p. 32). The significance of cybersecurity became prevalent in the post-cold war era to address a mixture of technological innovations and changing political conditions calling for a widening lens of non-traditional methods to security (Lene Hansen, 2009, p. 1155). As cyberspace is more synonymous to our daily lives the necessity to address cybersecurity became a necessity. Securitization of subjects like cyberspace avoids nuanced and mainstream approaches to security that only focuses solely on military and state-centric perspectives (Jung, 2004). Instead, it identifies that a variety of aspects which cyberspace and our lives intermix; this idea allows for the scope necessary to investigate the many activities on the internet. Scholars have identified that the securitization model which provides five different sectors: military, political, societal, economic, and environmental security (Emmers, 2007, p. 110) (Buzan, et al., 1998). The purpose of using this approach is to widen the security studies of the past to be able to accommodate the analysis of non-military sources of threats (Buzan, et al., 1998). A problematic element of cyberspace and cyber securitization for nation-states has been realizing the actual threat of non-state actors.

It is no surprise that security studies have had to take new forms of approaches to address the necessary levels of analysis to facilitate a productive and holistic dialogue. The United Nations has had a specialized agency for information and communication technologies the International Telecommunications Union (International Telecommunication Union, 2017). This organization is an excellent recognition of how the international community has come to realize the importance of cyberspace and telecommunications abroad. The Union is committed to growing the connection of people worldwide in hopes of aiding the communication of people across the globe(International Telecommunication Union, 2017). The agency is one of the many aspects that the international community has made steps to recognize the need for oversight and cooperation for internet governance. This office supervises a variety of security sectors and provides an excellent base for understanding how international community and cybersecurity may work together. It is essential to understand that this agency is the beginning to now where most treaties, businesses and nations take very seriously address the uses and aspects of cyberspace. The ITU comprises nation-states, international governmental organizations and private enterprises which work together all over the world in cooperation to keep our networks functioning and interconnected. This agency is a representation of the security approaches we need to take when addressing cybersecurity policies.

The ITU is an example of some of the earlier attempts to create internationally recognized governing bodies for cyberspace. The United Nations General Assembly has published several resolutions on cybercrime, cyberspace, and information communication technologies. It is understood by the UN that through the increase of information technology, the promotion of education, economic growth, and social development are possibilities to be shared and compounded (UNGA, A/RES/56/121, 2002). This resolution as many others, recognizes the increased responsibility of member states and the private sector to tackle “the criminal misuse of information technologies” (UNGA, A/RES/56/121, 2002). The following year the UNGA released a unilateral treaty on the Creation of a global culture of cybersecurity explicitly noting dependency and necessity of the international community to come together to protect information technologies (UNGA, A/RES/57/239, 2003). These documents are further evidence to the almost two decades worth of international concerns and cooperation towards promoting “a global culture of cybersecurity;” (UNGA, A/RES/57/239, 2003).

These unilateral agreements are expansive in scope but leave for room for misinterpretation. Despite this it is important to recognize that both resolutions mention the interrelated dependency of humanity on information technology and how it is not only involved within the military but a variety of other aspects. Within the first few years of the early 2000’s, the Council of Europe published ratified the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime for all of its member states. This Convention is a much more solidified attempt and representation of international policies and treaties surrounding cyberspace. The Convention goes further to designate the necessity of member States cooperation toward protecting the citizenry from cybercrime, the dependency of society on information technologies, and the risk of these convergences (Council of Europe, 2001). For example, the laws that are mentioned are offenses of confidentiality, integrity, and availability; computer-related offenses; content related; infringement of copyright and related rights; and many others (Council of Europe, 2001, pp. 4-10). This clear documentation is revolutionary because it is the first of its kind of a multilateral treaty that detailed harmonized natural laws against the harmful use of cyberspace. These regulations cover the securitization of economic, military, and political sectors; this is important to recognize as the Convention still respects the other uses of cyberspace within reason. It is essential to see the difference in how organizations such as the UN, ITU, and the Council of Europe have securitized and are trying to legalize cyberspace, without, militarizing it.

Instead, the approach of the post is to forth support undoing fanatical rhetoric of popular media sensationalizing the necessity of censoring, controlling, and limiting cooperation in cyberspace. As cyberspace is ever expanding so should the security measures we take. The international legal framework despite the resolutions and few conventions is still too far behind to adequately protect nation-states, IGOs, and individual users.

State practice, treaties, and national policies can be used to illuminate the necessary pathways to securitizing cyberspace in a multi-faceted method that over militarization of share public commons.  The recommendations for supporting international resolutions within the UNSC or UNGA that help solidify the recognition of cybersecurity in a variety of areas without the necessity of militarization. The U.S. has applied more militaristic sectors of cybersecurity through a doctrine of “equivalence” when addressing “harmful actions within the cyber domain” with the proportional response back as mentioned by the Pentagon’s Cyber Command (O'Connell & Arimatsu, 2012, pp. 4-5). The application of solely militaristic sector to cybersecurity and being the powerful approach as seen in several other articles is hugely alarming. The demand for methods which recognize the dangers of over-militarization and the need for widened security responses are necessary.

International customary law is proven through one of two components: state practice and opinio juris. UNGAs can be used to provide evidence to prove arguably that states support certain norms or rules. In the case of support widening security practices within the domain of the cybersecurity agenda, states have overall agreed to the necessity of support a “culture of cybersecurity” through several resolutions in the UNGA (UNGA, A/RES/57/239, 2003). Treaties such as these are evidence of the growing body of international expectations and concerns for the use of the cyberspace in multifaceted methods other than just the cyber warfare or cyber threats. Referring to resolution 57/239 of 31 January 2003, it talks about the need for global participation in the information technologies that we rely on so heavily. As well as, the need for increased recognition that cybersecurity is not only a concern of government or law enforcement, but rather should involve preemptive approach to far-reaching economic, societal, political, and environmental sectors of security.

From social media to the international economic transactions, cyberspace has become a part of our lives if we like it or not. This post utilizes the strengths of a critical theory approach towards security studies as the best option of covering the variety of functions that  cyberspace can be used for. This post encourages the ongoing analysis and momentum of readers to get informed on questions such as these as the internet becomes more heavily intertwined with our daily lives. In conclusion raising awareness that cybersecurity needs to be addressed from a widening security approach. With the recent events of previous months into important to think where have the current governments come to other then just flashy courtroom tribunals against single enterprises but rather working in cooperation to regulate and protecting the individual freedoms and luxuries we all benefit from by having access to the internet.



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