Historically, diplomacy has happened in secrecy, behind closed doors. However, new communication technologies are making diplomacy more open and public. These technologies are creating opportunities for governments to interact effectively with the public, resulting in the cyberspace quickly becoming an arena for international diplomacy. Learn more wth the infographic below.
The Evolution of Diplomatic Relations
The way nations relate diplomatically is evolving. This is because of the new discipline of cyber diplomacy that is changing how diplomats interact with their peers, the way governments communicate to the public, and is introducing a new plethora of issues ranging from cyber espionage to internet governance.
Social networks like Twitter are fuelling the growth of cyber diplomacy. More than 70% of the world’s head of states are on Twitter. The public can now get a better view of diplomatic interactions by reading the retweets, replies and mentions of popular diplomats on Twitter.
U.S. Interests in Cyberspace
The State Department has a cyber diplomacy office that takes care of American interests in cyberspace. These include Internet freedom, innovation, economic growth, military uses of the internet, cyber security and internet governance.
The primary mission of the United States in cyberspace is to defend the U.S. against significant cyber attacks and to defend Department of Defense (DOD) information networks. The U.S. aims to have full-spectrum cyber options that will support military operations and contingency plans.
U.S. Cyber Diplomacy Amounts To a “Global Media Empire”
In the words of Fergus Hanson, a Washington DC think-tank, “The U.S. State Department is operating a global media empire.” With over 200 Facebook pages and 150 Twitter accounts having millions of followers, the U.S. leads in cyber diplomacy resources.
International Strategy for Cyberspace by U.S. Government
This strategy was formulated in May 2011. It aims to enhance reliability, resilience and security of global networks. Other goals of this strategy are preparing for 21st century security challenges, supporting fundamental freedoms and promoting open markets, among others.
Efforts to Increase Cyber Security in the US
In an effort to bolster cyber security, the American House of Representatives recently passed two bills that address cyber security. These are The Protecting Cyber Networks Act and The National Cyber Security Protection Advancement Act. The purpose of these laws is to improve the sharing of vital information between companies and between companies and the government. This will help companies to improve their defenses and identify potential vulnerabilities early before hackers notice them.
A New American Cyber Mission
The US Department of Defense (DOD) is undertaking plans to establish a new and advanced American cyber mission. By 2018, this mission will have 133 teams with more than 6000 cyber operators.
American Cyber War Planning
The DOD has created a cyber command structure. This is an integral part of US war planning because it has internet-enabled offensive and defensive cyber strategies.
Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC)
The White House launched the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC) in February 2015. Cyber security data for American policy makers and cyber centers will be coordinated from this center.
What Americans Think Of State Sponsored Cyber Attacks
Americans continue to face increasing risk from state actors. Some recent incidents of malicious cyber activity and theft of American trade secrets have been blamed on foreign governments.
In a recent survey concerning U.S. response to state-sponsored cyber crimes, 45% of respondents said that the solution should be high-level talks with the officials of the country behind the attack.
Cyber Diplomacy around the World
The focus of the European Union is the governance and application of international law in cyberspace. The issues under this include protecting the free and open Internet, reducing cybercrime, building capacity in third world countries, enhancing international stability and protecting the digital economy.
Cyber Administration of China, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Central Internet Security and Leading Information Group, are the key cyber diplomacy agencies in China. A landmark cyber espionage deal was reached between the US and China in September 2015. Washington and Beijing endorsed norms of behavior in cyberspace and agreed to cooperate in cyber investigations.
South Korea engages in active cyber diplomacy. Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Internet and Security Agency are the bodies in charge of cyber issues in South Korea.
In India, the government rather than the private sector is taking the lead in cyber security awareness. Ministry of Communications & ICT is at the forefront. Other government agencies championing cyber issues are National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre and Department of Electronics & Information Technology.
International Cyber Stability
Each nation has a role to play towards international cyber stability. U.S. encourages countries to facilitate transnational cyber cooperation and promote international cyber stability.
The Bilateral Dialogue on Cyber Issues
U.S. – China cyber dialogue led to a cyber security agreement where both parties agreed not to engage in cyber-enabled economic espionage against each other. India and United States have committed to robust cooperation on cyber issues.
EU is pursuing cyber dialogues with USA, South Korea, India, Japan, China and other countries. European Parliament plays an important role is strengthening Internet technologies.
The Increasing Need for Cyber Diplomacy
The world is becoming more networked and interconnected. This has created challenges such as cyber security, cyber espionage, privacy and Internet freedom. Governments around the world need to work together to shape cyberspace policy. To protect national interests and enhance the security of Internet users, there is need for continued cyber diplomacy between countries.
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