New ICT4Peace Publication: A Role for Civil Society in Cybersecurity Affairs?

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In 2013, representing a major breakthrough in what had heretofore been difficult negotiations, a UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) reached initial agreement on the nature of some of these norms, confidence and capacity building measures. Substantive discussions on how these should be applied and implemented remain, however, at an early stage. Moreover, many of the on-going efforts to reach consensus have run into difficulty not least because it is hard (yet not entirely impossible) to fit ICTs into traditional security paradigms. Yet, most governments acknowledge the role norms and CBMs can play in strengthening trust between states and within states. In addition, core governance principles such as participation, transparency, and accountability can help build and deepen trust between states, and between states and citizens. To this end, governments have acknowledged the need to build trust and deepen their engagement with other groups – including civil society organisations – as they move to further shape and implement new norms and rules in this area. Yet, to date, such engagement has been minimal.

Civil society engagement on international governance and security matters is not new and there are scores of examples of areas in which states have accomodated such engagement. Cyber security should not be an exception. Moreover, it is an area that by its very nature and the broad range of normative concerns involved, calls for much deeper civil society engagement than experienced in other areas. If approached effectively and coherently, such engagement, the authors argue, can afford greater legitimacy and sustainability to on-going multi-lateral norms and CBM processes concerning international security and state uses of ICTs. It can also help ensure that broader normative concerns are attended to, and that the right technical expertise is leveraged when solutions are being sought. Combined, the latter can help build trust between states, and between states and society.

The paper is organised under three sections: the first provides a short overview of the current context; the second discusses why civil society is important to furthering norms and confidence building measures regarding the use of ICTs in the context of international and regional security; and the third tables some suggestions for civil society engagement under three headings: i) engaging effectively; ii) fostering transparency and accountability; and iii) deepening knowledge.

Download report in full colour here or for printing here.

ICT4Peace cooperates with the Organization of American States to conduct International Cybersecurity Diplomacy Course for Latin America

ICT4Peace Capacity Building for International Cyber Security Diplomacy – Promoting Openness, Prosperity Trust and Security in Cyberspace

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1 September 2014, Geneva, Switzerland: ICT4Peace is pleased to announce, that is has launched a first of its kind International Cyber Security Diplomacy Training Programme. The development and delivery of the programme is supported by the Governments of the United Kingdom, Germany and Switzerland. The first Course will be delivered in November 2014 in cooperation with the Organisation of American States (OAS) for the Latin American Countries. Similar courses will be delivered for African, Asian and European Countries in 2015.

This new cyber security capacity building programme was developed as a direct follow-up to some of the recommendations tabled in the 2013 Report of the “UN Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security” and the Seoul Conference on Cyberspace, held in October 2013.

Description of the Two-Day Workshop Course on International Cyber security Diplomacy

1. Long Term Objective and Impact of the Course: Mitigating risks to both rights and security in the cyber-sphere through the promotion of international norms of responsible state behaviour, confidence-building measures (CBMs), and international cooperation. The expected long-term impact will be:

  • More inclusive and knowledge-based debates, consultations or negotiations with and by all regions on norms and CBMs, with all stake-holders: governments, industry, civil society, and academia;
  • More agreements at bilateral, regional at global level on norms, CBMs and international cooperation;
  • Progress towards a sustained open, prosperous, trustworthy, safe and secure cyberspace.

2. Short Term Objective: 1.) A better and more detailed understanding by public officials, diplomats, industry, civil society representatives from all regions of the world of international norms, CBMs and international cooperation in cyberspace, to broaden the participation in the international debates and regional and global negotiations in fora such as the London Process, UN GGE, OSCE, ASEAN, OAS, in the EU, the AU and AP-CERT; 2.) A better understanding of the concerns, best practices, policies and institutional arrangements in the field of cyber security at the regional level; 3.) A template of a Workshop Course on International Cyber Security Negotiations will be tested and established. 4.) Build a network of alumni, lecturers and experts of the workshop course, to up-date and exchange information on future developments in the global and regional international cyber security debate, research and negotiations.

3. Course Content: The course provides an introduction to the subject of international cyber security negotiations and the current consultation and negotiation efforts. Participants will be exposed to the context in which cyber security is being addressed in global fora, such as the UN GGE, OSCE, ARF and consider the key issues raised by ICTs. A simulation exercisewill provide an active learning opportunity. The course will provide an opportunity for participants and lecturers to discuss and learn of cyber security-related concerns, best practices and policies at the regional level.

4. Participants: The course will be by invitation only and of particular interest to government officials involved in foreign policy development and/or cyber security diplomacy as well as private sector and civil society representatives who have a stake in an open, free and secure regime for cyberspace. A ceiling of 20 to 25 participants per course session is recommended to facilitate discussion.

Please find also the publications of ICT4Peace on rights and security in a resilient cyberspace since 2011 here (embed and delete from text http://ict4peace.org/?p=1076), or selected publications below:

New report on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Humanitarian Response

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OCHA has just released an engaging report on the use of UAVs in humanitarian and non-lethal domains, titled Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Humanitarian Response.

The ICT4Peace Foundation welcomes the report and endorses the content therein, including the need for more critical analysis around the ethical frameworks and implications around the use of UAVs for non-lethal purposes, including peacekeeping and peacebuilding.

These are concerns the Foundation has articulated through it’s involvement with the UAViators network, as a founding member and, in when setting up the network, input around the ethics of UAV usage for humanitarian purposes.

The Foundation has also explored the use of UAVs for non-lethal purposes in it’s work with a number of agencies and departments with the UN involved in crisis information management. In fact, at this year’s annual retreat for CiMAG, there was a special session on UAV’s for peacekeeping and peacebuilding domains, details of which can be read here. Salient points of discussion pre-figure that which is noted in the OCHA report, and included, the need for regulation, ethical concerns, legal frameworks and possible foci for innovation and evidence based research, the need for UN leadership in this area and the dangers around the use of UAVs in violent conflict.

Sanjana Hattotuwa, a Special Advisor at the Foundation, has for some months carefully curated a unique magazine on FlipBoard around the use of UAVs in humanitarian and non-lethal domains.

OCHA’s report is a solid foundation for more work around the use of UAVs in, as the report avers, natural disasters, slow onset emergencies and early recovery. The ICT4Peace Foundation will continue to work with OCHA and other UN actors in this regard to help ideate, innovate and critical analyse current praxis.

Contributions to UN Expert Panel on Technology and Innovation in Peace Operations

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ICT4Peace contributes to the work of the UN Expert Panel on Technology and Innovation in Peace Operations at ZIF, Berlin 22 – 22 August 2014.

In June 2014, UN Under-Secretaries-General Hervé Ladsous (DPKO) and Ameerah Haq (DFS) announced the appointment of a five-member Expert Panel, lead by ASG Jane Holl Lute, to  advise them on how best to use new technologies and innovations to benefit United Nations peacekeeping to be a force for peace, force for change, and a force for the future.”(See also here).

Along with other partner organisations, ICT4Peace’s Daniel Stauffacher was invited to discuss with the UN Expert Panel inter alia the following questions:

  1. What available  technologies  have  the  potential  for  improving  the  conduct  of  peace operations?
  2. (How) are they employed by the United Nations and other organizations? What lessons have been learned?
  3. What are the challenges evolving around the use of these technologies? How can they be addressed properly?

More specifically, Daniel Stauffacher was invited to present on the question of Information Management & Operational Decision-Making Support in Peace-keeping Operations. Decision makers increasingly rely on high quality, near real-time data to inform operational and administrative decision-making. The data that is fed into information management tools can come from various sources. At the operational level, this data might be captured by reports from peacekeepers in the field, GPS tracks or satellite data. In addition, “crowdsourcing” can play an important role. Cell phones and smart phones, now cheaper and more available to the average citizen, can produce and transmit decentralized/public data, to produce reports on violence or damaged infrastructure.

In his presentation, Daniel Stauffacher highlighted the UN Secretary General’s Crisis Information Management Strategy (CiMS) (A/65/491)which ICT4Peace has helped shape and implement since 2007 and discussed its opportunities and challenges. In particular he presented the work with the UN Chief Information Technology Officer (UN CITO), OCHA and other members of the members of the UN Crisis Information Management Advisory Group (CIMAG). He also highlighted the cooperation of ICT4Peace with UN DPKO/DFS in New York and the UN Peace-Keeping Mission in the Democratic Republic Congo (DRC) (MONUSCO) on improving information management and situational awareness for better decision making, to save lives and protect human dignity. Ethical questions in using ICTs and social media for peace operations and crisis management in general were also discussed, as well as a the emerging use of UAVs for non-lethal and humanitarian purposes.

In particular he put forward concrete strategic recommendations on how to further improve Crisis Information Management and Situational Awareness in UN Peace-keeping and humanitarian operations.

PEACEapp: Launch of competition

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PEACEapp is a global competition organized by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the United Nations Development Program in collaboration with Build Up to promote digital games and gamified apps as venues for cultural dialogue and conflict management.

You can read more details of the competition here.

PEACEapp builds on the success of Create UNAOC – a competition for apps and games that promoted intercultural dialogue run by UNAOC and its partners in 2012.

Drawing on the unique cultural resources and experiences of developers, technologists and budding peacebuilders around the world, appPEACE invites individuals and teams — beginners and experts alike — to create new digital games or use existing digital games to foster dialogue that prevents violence.

The competition asks entrants to engage with questions that are central to building peace. How can we create new spaces for dialogue and shared action aimed at preventing violence? Is the key to provide opportunities for contact among individuals of different cultural or religious backgrounds? Can sharing stories also encourage mutual respect for cultural and religious values? Or is it about offering people tools to question and reframe their identity?

These questions are key to the work of the UNAOC, given its mandate to promote intercultural awareness. These questions are also closely linked to UNDP’s work on conflict prevention and peacebuilding.

PEACEapp is supported by a range of partners including Games for Change, the Institute for Economics and Peace, the MIT Center for Civic Media and the ICT for Peace Foundation.

Sanjana Hattotuwa, Special Advisor at the ICT4Peace Foundation, was on the panel of judges for Create UNAOC in 2012 and is again a judge for PEACEapp.

Daniel Stauffacher nominated Affiliate of The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University

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The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University invited ICT4Peace’s Daniel Stauffacher to  join its community as an affiliate in the 2014-2015 academic year.
“The incoming class of Berkman fellows, associates, and affiliates brings together an extraordinary group of thinkers, explorers, researchers, creators, bridge-builders, movers, and shakers from various disciplines and different parts of the world” saidUrsGasser, Berkman’s Executive Director and Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School. “Collectively, theyreflect the breadth and depth of a rapidly evolving Internet & society research agenda and form part of an expanding human and institutional network focused on such issues. We’re thrilled to work with such a diverse, talented, inspired, and committed group of colleagues and friends over the next academic year and beyond.”The diverse class of fellows will primarily work in Cambridge, MA alongside Berkman Directors and staff, and will serve as key instigators within the vibrant research community. Honoring the networked ethos central to Berkman, faculty associates and affiliates from institutions the world over will actively collaborate with the Berkman community through an array of channels. These relationships, as well as the countless fruitful engagements with alumni, partners, students, interns, and other colleagues, are fundamental to the Berkman Center’s work and identity, and serve to increase the capacity of the field and generate opportunities for lasting impact.

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University is a research program founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development. Founded in 1997, through a generous gift from Jack N. and Lillian R. Berkman, the Center is home to an ever-growing community of faculty, fellows, staff, and affiliates working on projects that span the broad range of intersections between cyberspace, technology, and society. More information can be found at http://cyber.law.harvard.edu.

Report of Crisis Information Management Advisory Group (CiMAG) 2014 Retreat

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Led by the UN’s Office of Information and Communications Technology (OICT) and organised by the ICT4Peace Foundation, the 2014 Crisis Information Management Advisory Group (CiMAG) meeting was held on 23rd and 24th June in Glen Cove, New York. Representatives from OICT, OCHA, UNOCC, ICTD/DFS, UN Global Pulse, UNHCR, DPKO-DFS UNDP/BCPR, UNICEF/ITSS, UNICEF/Innovation Unit, WFP, EOSG, UNDP/BCPR (Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery) and DPA/EO/IMT participated along with, on the second day, representatives from Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Amnesty International USA, The Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative, NYU and Storyful. UNHCHR and UNOSAT, who took part in the CiMAG retreat in 2013, sent regrets on their inability to participate on account of scheduling conflicts.

The agenda and list of participants are attached to the end of this report, which can be downloaded here, or read online here.

Launch of OCHA’s new humanitarian data platform: Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX)

The Foundation is pleased to note the launch of OCHA’s new humanitarian data platform, HDX. Shown a preview of it some weeks ago, the Foundation believes HDX – well beyond the humanitarian sector per se – is a long overdue yet absolutely critical foundation in systemic interoperability and information sharing, for the UN family and beyond.

OCHA’s HDX team has put together a short animation and interactive demonstration to introduce the platform. You can also follow HDX at @humdata and join the conversation using #HumanitarianData. Sign up to receive blog updates and register as a user of the platform. The most recent blog post provides a great overview of the data already included in HDX.

The ICT4Peace Foundation has championed the concept behind HDX from the time of the Haiti earthquake in 2010, when we recommended the use of APIs to connect both the UN family as well as the V&TC community around disaster response. The Foundation has, as part of the United Nations CiM process, also worked closely with OCHA for years to support the development of HXL, and importantly, raise awareness around possible use cases within and outside the UN. Information featured in HDX will also come from OCHA’s COD/FOD datasets, which the ICT4Peace Foundation helped support and develop.

Warmly congratulating OCHA on the public launch of HDX, we look forward to supporting the UN and the broader volunteer and technical community around technical challenges that are for us central to on-going efforts to protect lives and help communities at risk help themselves.

Confidence Building Measures and Norms for Cybersecurity and the Future of Internet Governance

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The Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS)  of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Singapore has invited Daniel Stauffacher of ICT4Peace to participate in an international workshop on “Confidence Building Measures and Norms for Cybersecurity and the Future of Internet Governance” on 3-4 July 2014 in Singapore.

In a panel discussion on efforts of International Organisations and NGOs in Developing CBMs, Daniel was asked to talk about the Role of Civil Society in Furthering CBMs. His intervention can be summarised as follows:

“The uncertainty in the international environment provoked by important geo-political shifts has added to the sense of complexity and mistrust surrounding discussions and debates on ‘cyberspace’ and the uses of information and communications technologies (ICTs) for attaining political, military or economic advantage. This reality has undermined confidence and trust between states, and between states and citizens.

Civil society participation (whether direct or indirect) in the development of national cybersecurity strategies or in regional and international CBM processes has been minimal, if anything, despite the fact that civil society organisations, as well as business and academia, are fundamental to resolving many of the core technical problems inherent in the ICT environment on the one hand, and many of the insecurities inherent in inter and intra-state relations on the other.

Despite these challenges, 2013 saw important breakthroughs in this regard. First, the UN GGE Report formally acknowledged the role of civil society in the area of building cooperation for a peaceful, secure, resilient, and open ICT environment; and the role of civil society (as well as that of the private sector) in supporting government efforts in developing and implementing CBMs and exchanging information.  And while the 2013 OSCE PC Decision on an Initial Set of CBMs to Reduce the Risks of Conflict Stemming from the Use of ICTs does not make any mention of a role for civil society, the norm of involving civil society in CBM processes is well ingrained in the OSCE’s working culture.

Daniel then discussed, what role  civil society (and business) play in furthering cybersecurity-related CBMs, particularly given these breakthroughs? A range of options were set in the presentation under three over-lapping rubrics i) Transparency and Accountability; ii) Participation; and iii) Deepening the Knowledge Base. The examples drew from a range of ICT4 Peace’s own experiences in the area of CBM development and implementation, and from other policy areas where civil society has made important CBM-related contributions.”

Daniel Stauffacher’s presentation can be found here.

Also on the panel were Ms. Zhang Jing from the Office of Cyber Affairs, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who spoke about the recent report of the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Cybersecurity and Ben Baseley-Walker of UNIDIR, Geneva, gave a  multilateral perspective on Cyber CBM’s.