Cybersecurity digest (November 2018)

27 Nov 2018

This extract is taken from the November 2018 issue of The digest, GPD’s flagship newsletter. Sign up here.


Perhaps the most eye-catching story on cybersecurity this month was the launch of the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace – a non-binding agreement on international cyber norms, signed by over 50 countries, and many businesses and civil society organisations.

Signatories to the Call commit to, among other things, preventing the proliferation of malicious online programmes and techniques, cooperating to prevent interference in electoral processes, and working together to strengthen relevant international standards – a list which bears close similarity to other recent proposals, like Microsoft’s Tech Accord, and the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace’s proposed Norm Package.

A quieter but no less significant development came in the last days of the UN General Assembly’s 73rd Session, where competing resolutions on international cyber norms were tabled by Russia and the United States. Russia’s resolution favours the creation of an Open Ended Working Group, including input from all 193 member states; while the US proposed a revival of the UN Group of Governmental Experts, a narrower and more time-limited exercise (this post on the Council on Foreign Relations helpfully unpacks and explains this counterintuitive situation.)

In the end, both resolutions garnered enough votes to pass, leaving us with, as Canada’s delegation drily put it, “two resolutions, and two processes, to the potential detriment of respect for international law and the established global norms in cyberspace.” (N.B. Canada voted against the Russian resolution.)


  • Read AccessNow’s blog on the Paris Call, explaining why they have endorsed it, which elements they support, and which they don’t.
  • We’ve launched an interactive hub for our cybersecurity work – including (among other things) a global calendar of key cyber events and a “radar” for relevant news and developments.