The risk of negotiating new cyber norms in international law

By Yves Faguy May 1, 20181 May 2018

Earlier this month, 34 high-tech firms signed the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, first proposed by Microsoft’s president Brad Smith.

"We called on the world to borrow a page from history in the form of a Digital Geneva Convention, a long-term goal of updating international law to protect people in times of peace from malicious cyberattacks," Smith wrote in a blog post . “Just as the Fourth Geneva Convention has long protected civilians in times of war, we now need a Digital Geneva Convention that will commit governments to protecting civilians from nation-state attacks in times of peace.”

But is more law what we really need to address the growing threats around cyber attacks?

Rosemary McCarney, Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva addressed the CCCA conference yesterday on that very question.  In the above video McCarney argues that existing international legal instruments governing international human rights law are quite robust and can address these threats. What’s more, negotiating new international rules carries the risk of undermining those hard fought rights.

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