This study lays out the elements of a comprehensive security strategy for cyberspace. It aims to address the cybersecurity threats that plague national, personal and social security while protecting and preserving open networks of information and communication.
The study first looks at some major social forces that are shaping the domain of global communications such as the internet’s continuing rapid growth; new values and interests that are shaping internet governance; media integration, where a paradigm shift in one media can upset the principles, norms and rules for the whole system; and the internet’s implications for freedom of speech and access to information. The study continues unpacking two other trends – the downloading of policing functions to the private sector and cyberspace securitisation.
The authors of the study outlines key elements of a security strategy for cyberspace:
There is a need to articulate a cybersecurity strategy for civic networks, including a review of whether to employ the language of security associated with the defense industry.
Civic networks need to be at the forefront of security solutions that preserve cyberspace as an open commons of information, protect privacy by design, and shore up access to information and freedom of speech. They also need to address the growing vulnerabilities that have produced a massive explosion in cybercrime and in security breaches.
Security and openness should be reconciled. Open and generative self-healing and protective mechanisms are a part of the everyday functioning of the internet. Part of a civil society security strategy should be to find ways to facilitate cooperation among the existing, largely distributed, loosely coordinated security networks while simultaneously making their actions more transparent and accountable.
Civic strategy must include a serious engagement with law enforcement. What law enforcement needs is not new powers, it needs new resources, capabilities, proper training and equipment. But alongside those new resources should be the highest standards of judicial oversight and public accountability.
The same basic premise of oversight and accountability must extend to the private sector as well. Civic networks are inherently transnational and are because of this best equipped to monitor globe-spanning corporations who own and operate cyberspace through evidence-based research and campaigns.
Civic networks need to be players in the rule-making forums where cyberspace rules are discussed. Civic networks will need to monitor diffuse and distributed forums of cyberspace governance, and make sure that “multi-stakeholder participation” is not just idle talk.
The study was published as part of Global Information Society Watch 2011 that investigated how governments and internet and mobile phone companies are restricting freedom online and how citizens are responding to this using the very same technologies. The Global Information Society Watch is a series of yearly reports covering the state of the information society from the perspectives of civil society.