19. The UN shall declare cyberspace a peaceful commons and create a binding treaty for international cyber norms.

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Rapporteur: Allison Pytlak


Since the first instances of malicious cyber operations between states, there has been a growing acceptance of cyber space as a militarized domain. This is a dangerous path to continue down, given the civilian and dual-use nature of cyberspace and digital networks. Such militarization is evidenced in the increasingly formalized role of digital operations in military doctrine and strategy, as well as in the language used to depict activity in this arena, such as through terminologies like “cyber weapon,” “cyber war,” or “cyber bomb”. By treating this primarily as a military and security issue, states and other actors risk institutionalizing and taking for granted the broad idea of cyber conflict. In the on-going discussions at the United Nations (UN), and elsewhere, about norms of responsible behaviour in cyberspace, it’s essential that such norms are viewed as obligatory commitments and that space is also given to articulating a vision of cyber peace.

A) Existing multilateral fora

UN Groups of Governmental Experts

The United Nations has been considering “developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security” since 1998. The centre of discussion has

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“Democrats Push for More Transparency about Russian Election Interference”

By: Joseph Marks

“Top Democrats are slamming the Trump administration for not sharing enough information with the public about Russian efforts to interfere in November’s election.” 

“While intelligence officials have warned that U.S. adversaries are trying to hack into political campaigns and election systems – and cited Russia, China and Iran as the biggest threats — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) say that’s not enough to help voters gird themselves against social media disinformation or the sort of hacking and leaking campaign that upended Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016.”

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Beware Chinese Drones- They Might Be Spying on Us!

By: Joseph Marks

“Researchers are warning about cybersecurity vulnerabilities in an Android app that powers a popular Chinese-made drone they say could help the Chinese government scoop up reams of information. 
The accusation comes amid a diplomatic clash between Washington and Beijing over everything from trade to the search for a coronavirus vaccine and it’s sure to worsen U.S. distrust of a broad range of consumer technology.”

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Keeping your medical secrets

Wearable technology covers a broad area of devices. With its use becoming more common in the healthcare sector, the issue concerning privacy becomes more crucial. New devices can help physicians monitor patients’ vital signs; sleep patterns and heart rhythms remotely transforming the face of medicine as we know it. These developments in technology will help detect early signs of diseases and aid in diagnosing medical conditions. Essentially these devices are mini computers that send and receive data which can be used for further analysis.

The NSA Must Share More Info (with YOU?)

Maybe the NSA is good for something. At least now they are intending to share more information. (With whom?) Here’s another piece in the Washington Post by Joseph Marks, who certainly is following these affairs closely. ]
“New NSA cyber lead says agency must share more info about digital threats,” Sept. 5.


The NSA is the U.S. government’s premier digital spying agency and it has a well-earned reputation for keeping secrets. But the agency needs to stop keeping so many things confidential and classified if it wants to protect the nation from cyberattacks.

That’s the assessment from Anne Neuberger, director of NSA’s first Cybersecurity Directorate, which will launch Oct. 1 and essentially combine the work of many disparate NSA divisions dealing with cybersecurity, including its offensive and defensive operations.

The directorate’s mission is to “prevent and eradicate” foreign hackers from attacking critical U.S. targets including election infrastructure and defense companies, Neuberger said yesterday during her first public address since being named to lead the directorate in July.

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Spreading Political Misinformation

We’d better worry, not only about the military application of Internet skulduggery, but even the inadvertent consequences of its normal use. This research shows that Bolsonaro’s victory in Brazil may be largely caused by the spread of misinformation from YouTube through WhatsApp among Brazil’s poor. So what kind of action can be taken against this?


Bugs in the Plane

The Cybersecurity 202: Hackers just found serious vulnerabilities in a U.S. military fighter jet

By Joseph Marks (From Washington Post‘s The Cybersecurity 202) Aug 14.

And they did it with the Air Force’s blessing.

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Building Ethics, Not Bombs

The Role of Scientists and Engineers in Humanitarian Disarmament

By E. Golding
So is a scientist responsible for the harms caused by the military uses of their discoveries and inventions? How about the medical principle: “Do no harm”?

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Should Trump wage cyber war?

There have been several news stories reporting speculations or insider information that Trump had used a cyberattack against Iran.
They did not seem to get much press coverage and no outrage at all. Whether you like Iran’s government or not, it will pay to think carefully about this kind of quasi-warfare. It if gets to be considered normal, we will have a much harder time putting a stop to it.