'ICTs should not be used for committing wrongful acts'

Last Updated 10 September 2019, 06:23 IST

Voicing concern over the malicious use of new Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs), India has said that nations should not knowingly allow their territory to be used for committing "internationally wrongful" acts like cyber-terrorism through it.

Joint Secretary (EG & IT) (Cyber Diplomacy) in the Ministry of External Affairs, Upender Singh Rawat said on September 9 that the issue of cyber warfare, cyber doctrines and their impact on international security should be taken up at all relevant international fora.

"It is of concern that cases of malicious use of new ICTs to the detriment of states are increasing and there is a need to express strong condemnation and rejection of these violations," Rawat said at the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) on developments in the field of Information and Telecommunications in the context of international security.

He said keeping in mind the existing and potential threats in the use of ICTs to international peace and security, it is important that nations not knowingly allow their territory to be used for committing internationally wrongful acts using ICTs including cross border cybercrime and cyber-terrorism.

“The impact of cybercrime and cyber terrorism on national, regional and international peace and security need to be considered as international cooperation on them will facilitate building trust and confidence among member States, thereby contributing to international peace and security,” he said.

Further, collaborative efforts to deal with cybercrime and cyber terrorism should be seriously taken up and real-time cooperation between Government agencies should be developed to tackle this menace.

Rawat added that the applicability of international law to the ICT domain and cybersecurity-related laws, policies and practices at national, regional and international levels should be developed through open, inclusive, transparent and non-discriminatory approaches that involve all stakeholders.

"Stakeholders should promote education, digital literacy and technical and legal training as a means to improving cybersecurity as well as bridging the emerging digital divide,” he said.

He noted that with the evolving threat landscape and emergence of new ICTs, there is a need for additional norms including those to avoid tampering of the supply chain, condemn offensive cyber operations by malicious actors and takedown ICT infrastructure being used for botnets.

Emphasising that capacity building is an important aspect of OEWG discussion, he said improving capacities and strengthening national cybersecurity capability is equally in the interest of UN member States, including countries which have advanced capabilities given the interconnected nature of the domain.

Confidence Building Measures include developing mechanisms for practical cooperation between cyber agencies, promoting bilateral cyber dialogues, cyber capacity building, exchange of information on cyber threats, cyber policy, structure and law enforcement, cooperation on cybercrime and cyber terrorism and mechanisms for protection on information infrastructure.

He stressed that India believes that as a responsible group of experts, it is "our duty for future of our digital society" to develop a consensus on definitions of cyber sovereignty, jurisdiction in ICT domain, data sovereignty, cyber weapon, cyber conflict, cybercrime and cyber terrorism, cyber deterrence, cyberattacks.

India hopes that OEWG will contribute to the cyber norms development process with a view to promoting a common understanding among UN member States on the existing and potential cyber threats; practical cooperative measures to address them and how international law applies to ICT domain, he said.

(Published 10 September 2019, 06:13 IST)

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