Cybersecurity digest (April 2019)

2 May 2019

This extract is taken from the April 2019 issue of The digest, GPD’s flagship newsletter. Sign up here.


This month brought important news on the UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE), which is currently considering norms around responsible state behaviour in cyberspace.

In our last newsletter, we indicated that news on the GGE’s membership would be coming soon. With the caveat that this is yet to be officially announced, we can now reveal that the 25 member states which will comprise the GGE are:

  • Africa: Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, South Africa
  • Asia: China, Japan, Jordan, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Singapore
  • Eastern Europe: Estonia, Romania, Russia
  • LAC: Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay
  • Western Europe and others: Australia, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, UK, USA

The first meeting of the GGE will take place 9-13 December, with norms around responsible state behaviour in cyberspace on the agenda. Most GGE states will be already preparing their input and positions for the meeting – so it’s crucial that human rights defenders start engaging with them ASAP. To support these efforts, we’ve produced a detailed explainer on how to engage as a human rights defender in the GGE and the parallel Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) processes.

A key priority for civil society is making sure that the GGE process is inclusive of non-governmental input. At the EU Cyber Forum earlier this month, three states which will be on the GGE (Estonia, the Netherlands and Mexico) made some encouraging noises on this point – with the Netherlands in particular committing to a national outreach process ahead of the first meetings.

This is a good start – and we hope other states follow their lead. But there’s much more that states can and should be doing to make the GGE (and, of course, the parallel OEWG process) inclusive. We set out some specific recommendations on this in a new brief.

Some other things to be aware of:

  • The first meeting of the OEWG will take place 3-4 June.
  • Also in June is the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research’s cyberstability conference, where the GGE and OEWG will be high on the agenda. Details and how to register here.
  • The GGE has invited regional organisations (inc. the African Union, Organization of American States, and Association of Southeast Asian Nations) to input into the first meeting. We don’t yet know when these organisations will be running consultations, but stay tuned for updates on this.