The objective of the Global Cooperation in Cyberspace program is to reduce conflict, crime and other disruptions in cyberspace and promote stability, innovation and inclusion.
Cyber is at the nexus of the greatest security threats the world faces. The innovation that creates so many efficiencies and connections is also a source of risk. Unproven technology contains vulnerabilities that malicious actors exploit. Roles and capabilities for maintaining security and protecting freedom are muddied. The structure of the global economy is shifting on its axis. Social media connects us with our loved ones and provides platforms for disruptive disinformation. Cyber weapons destabilize longstanding international security arrangements. The divide among digital haves and have-nots remains significant; billions of users are expected to connect to cyberspace over the next several years, creating new opportunities as well as societal vulnerabilities and risk, particularly in the Global South.
Global cooperation is essential to successfully address existing and emerging conflicts—both in cyberspace and across all areas of human endeavor. To this end, the EastWest Institute began its cyber work in 2009 as the pioneer organization that initiated a global dialogue on cyberspace security, diplomacy and deterrence. Past successes have helped shorten repair times for damaged undersea cables, reduce spam on a global basis, promote balanced encryption policies, build bilateral confidence and trust between East and West to improve crisis response and combat malicious hackers, and develop norms of responsible behavior in cyberspace.
Working with government, business and civil society leaders from around the world, the program has highlighted three objectives to be pursued towards a safer and more secure Internet:
- Promote improved defenses to act as deterrents by increasing the costs and reducing the rewards of malicious cyber activities;
- Advocate for limits on offensive cyber capabilities;
- Enhance operational collaboration across borders and among adversaries.
The Global Cooperation in Cyberspace program utilizes the EastWest Institute’s proven trust building process—convene, reframe and mobilize:
Since 2009, the EastWest Institute has brought together policymakers, business leaders, technical experts and civil society through its Global Cyberspace Cooperation Summits. The summits provide a crucial forum for building international, private-public actions to foster international cooperation in cyberspace.
Our past summits include:
Each summit brought together between 200 and 400 leaders from more than 40 countries to craft solutions to threats facing our digital world. The last summit took place on March 14-16, 2017 in partnership with the UC Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity.
EWI also convenes many smaller meetings, including bilateral and trilateral country-to-country discussions, focused workshops on specific topics, and broader strategy development roundtables. In 2017 EWI hosted sessions on the geopolitics of cybersecurity at the Munich Security Conference; a dialogue on Russia-U.S. cyberspace cooperation; and trilateral cyberspace cooperation between China, India, and the United States.
In 2018, the program will continue to develop and advocate for recommended changes in national and corporate policies and procedures. The principal means of developing these recommendations is through the work of five collaborative breakthrough groups, composed of decision-makers from key sectors around the world:
- Ubiquitous Encryption and Lawful Government Access
- Secure, Resilient Cities and the Internet of Things
- Systemic Risk and Cyber Insurance
- Promoting Norms of Responsible Behavior in Cyberspace
- Increasing the Global Availability and Use of Secure ICT Products and Services
As recommendations mature, EWI leads the preparation of reports detailing and supporting the conclusions. In 2016 the program published the report Purchasing Secure ICT Products and Services: A Buyers Guide which offered a structure for conversations between ICT buyers and suppliers, enabling governments and organizations to manage the risks they face from cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the commercial products and services they use. The program also unveiled its newest report Encryption Policy in Democratic Regimes: Finding Convergent Paths and Balanced Solutions at the 2018 Munich Security Conference. The report seeks to find a balance between the legitimate needs of law enforcement with cybersecurity and privacy.
The program has identified two new areas of work for 2018-2019 based on an assessment of emerging issues that have the potential for significant impacts in the near future:
- Strategic Stability and Nuclear Risk in the Age of Machine Learning
- Balanced Approaches to Fighting Fake News and Terrorist Content Online
EWI will develop recommendations in these and other areas where it believes improved clarity or emphasis would advance the use of known techniques that could make a great difference in emerging security or stability issues.
The program also serves as half of the Secretariat for the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace (GCSC) alongside The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. The Commission, which was launched at the 2017 Munich Security Conference, is a global body working to develop proposals for norms and policy initiatives to improve the stability and security of cyberspace. Chaired by Marina Kaljurand, Estonia’s former foreign minister, and Co-Chaired by Secretary Michael Chertoff and Latha Reddy, India’s former national security advisor, the 28 Commissioners bring governmental, industry, technical and civil society perspectives on cyberspace from north and south, east and west.
A non-governmental body, the GCSC complements other global initiatives such as the work of the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts. In 2017, the Commission issued a “Call to Protect the Public Core of the Internet.” This statement urges all stakeholders to avoid any activity that would “intentionally and substantially damage the general availability of integrity” of the infrastructure (such as Internet routing, the domain name system, certificates and trust, and communications cables) that the world depends on to make the Internet work everyday. The Commission will continue to meet four times a year to make progress on its mission to help secure cyberspace on a global basis. Its current work plan includes elaborating on its previously issued norm as well as developing new international norms to reduce the danger from technical vulnerabilities in information and communications technology (ICT), protect electoral systems, prevent the takeover of civilian consumer devices for offensive purposes, and discourage offensive cyber activity by private sector entities.
The EastWest Institute mobilizes a global network of policymakers and specialists, all serving voluntarily, to advocate for policy breakthroughs. It will lead the mobilization for advocacy of the recommendations it develops—as well as those of its fellows and breakthrough groups—in capitals and corporate headquarters worldwide. In addition, EWI uses its Global Cyberspace Cooperation Summits to highlight and build momentum for these recommendations.
The Global Cooperation in Cyberspace program thrives on the support and leadership provided by: