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855 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     847 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities

SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

27.10.2011

LondonCyber: on the ways to counter treats posed to cybersecurity - article by Alexander Yakovenko, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the UK.

The London conference is a good occasion to discuss emerging opportunities in cooperation in the domain of information security.
Firstly, that is prevention of hostile use of information and telecommunication technologies for politico-military or terrorist goals. Countering cybercrime, establishing conditions for further intensive development of cross-border information cooperation, as well as ensuring free dissemination of information in the global cyberspace are some of those.
Global peace and security are mainly endangered by the so-called hostile use of information and communication technologies, the politico-military aspect of which must be addressed in the first place.
It is to be noted that information technologies have gradually become a fundamentally new and potent instrument of destruction. It can affect governmental structures and military administration, industrial and economic entities, as well as social infrastructure. An extremely dangerous means of waging “power” war is emerging, and it may be potentially used as a part of international confrontation or even become its main tool.
In its essence, this is a weapon, the destructive effect of which will be growing as it is being developed. Eventually this may lead to an omnipresent hidden use of such “weapon” with all the negative consequences involved.
It is important that the agents using information and telecommunication technology for hostile purposes, their status (official or private) and liability for damage are impossible to identify.
Accordingly, we may state that there have emerged hazards that will become ever more serious in future.
Secondly, given the expansion of information exchange, the openness of the Internet, the complexity of social networks, the cyberspace is becoming ever more attractive for terrorist groups and persons involved in terrorist activities.
They often use information and telecommunication technology for criminal ends such as attracting new followers, destruction of information resources, leading to breach of public order, controlling or blocking information transmitting channels, using the Internet or other information nets for terrorist propaganda, creating an atmosphere of fear and seeding panic in society, to name a few.
It is only by concerted effort that we can counter the growing terrorist threat in the cyberspace.
Confronting cybercrime is also an important part of the efforts aimed at checking hostile use of the cyberspace.
Russia supports the measures undertaken by the majority of countries to strengthen the international cooperation in countering this danger and actively engages in these activities. At the same time, we realize that the effectiveness of such interaction could have been significantly higher had it been based on a universal multilateral act adopted by all the UN member countries.
Thirdly, as we see it, ensuring security of critical infrastructure facilities is yet another crucial aspect of activities in this sphere. This is a very pressing problem; sharing best practices and establishing consultation service centres for the countries in need of those, can play a significant role in its solution. Besides, achieving international agreements regarding mutual notification on attempts of cyberattacks on infrastructures of critical units and joint search for criminals are deemed to be promising areas.
Fourthly, coordinated efforts of the global community to create conditions conducive to cross-border cyber exchange must also be considered as one of the main areas of cooperation. This is a dynamic field where achievements of the information and telecommunication technologies may be applied. However, it can function only within a stable and safe global cyberspace, largely formed by a global information infrastructure and the Internet in particular.
For your information: Under the Tunisia Programme for the Information Society adopted in November 2005 the states assumed the obligation to “support stability and security of the Internet as a global instrument and secure the necessary legality of its governance”. These commitments are based on full engagement of all parties involved, from developed and developing countries, who “meet their obligations and fulfill their respective functions”. These principles were confirmed by the heads of the G8 states at the Deauville summit in May 2011.
It will be observed that unfortunately the international community has failed to develop a universally acceptable mechanism for implementation of these commitments. We believe it is necessary to look for new opportunities to strengthen cooperation in so an important a field.
We are convinced that the participants of the London conference may also join this process, which would make an important contribution to the solution of problems in this area.
Fifthly, ensuring free dissemination of information in the cyberspace is another important area of cooperation in international cybersecurity. This provision was set in the final documents of the Global Summit on the Information Society and was many times highlighted at the Forum on the Internet Governance. Russia’s position remains unchanged on the prescription of the Deauville Declaration: freedoms of speech, opinion, information, meeting and association must be guaranteed in the Internet.
It should, however, be recognized that these freedoms are not absolute. And this is not a contradiction. They may be naturally limited by cultural traditions that have been evolving for centuries in national cultures. Something normal for one culture may be unacceptable for another.
Certainly, possible cooperation in ensuring international security is not limited to the above fields. Other ways may be proposed.
But the main concern for us today is the ability of the global community to counter the growing threats and challenges in the sphere of information that become more and more obvious each day.
Potential destructive actions against information infrastructures of various states and the danger of their recurrence indicate that the time has come to work out joint solutions regarding the forms, methods and means of international cooperation in the sphere of countering these threats.
Main points
 The results of the work by the UN Group of Government Experts on international information security, international agreements in this area, consultations by experts and scientists, numerous conferences and seminars on this topic - all make it clear that there is a need for a UN-sponsored document, which would determine the rules for Governments’ behaviour in the cyberspace and which could allow for their joint efforts in combating threats in the information sphere. Our vision of such norms and principles is stipulated in the UN Security Council draft Rules of Conduct for international information security  that was circulated as an official document. This is a collective initiative of Russia, China, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan predominantly aimed at stimulating a wide international discussion of this issue on the global scene.
I am confident that the participants of the London Conference would be interested to examine the draft Convention on International Information Security submitted by Russia at the II International Meeting of High-Ranking Officials Responsible for Security Matters in Yekaterinburg (21-22 September 2011). This document took into account all achievements of the international community in this area.
 The concept paper defines the major threats to international peace and security in the cyberspace and determines the factors that increase their danger. Therefore, the Convention formalizes currently used approaches towards assessment of possible threats – the so called triad, including politico-military, terroristic and criminal components. Such views are shared today by many countries, which gives us an opportunity to set up our joint work without any frictions of conceptual nature.
 The countermeasures to the whole threat triad put up in the document are built upon an interconnected system of politico-military, counter-terrorist and criminal law measures, based on commonly accepted international law regulations and standards, as well as confidence-building measures in this area.
 The draft stipulates for a possibility of broad cooperation between the parties, exchanges of best practices.
 From our point of view, basic provisions of the Convention could provide food for thought and become a topic for discussion in bilateral and multilateral formats. The concept of a Convention is planned to be discussed in detail at the III International Meeting of High-Ranking Officials Responsible for Security Matters which is also to take place in Russia.
 Surely, we are just at the starting point and have a long way to go. But let us move along together.
 Enclosure: box with the text of draft Convention on International Information Security.




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