India and Russia pushed through two resolutions for the world’s first code of conduct in the digital sphere — without support from the US and EU

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  • The world’s first code of conduct in the digital sphere was pushed forward by the United National General Assembly despite the lack of support from the United States and the European Union.
  • The Russian Federation has come forward to state that the lack of support is, ‘indicative that these very states are promoting an atmosphere of mistrust in the media’.
  • In addition to the two resolutions that address international information security, Russia has also proposed putting an open-ended working group in place to continuously work on the International Information Security (IIS) system.
The United States and the European Union might not have been on board, but the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) pushed through two new resolutions of the International Information Security (IIS) system — the world’s first code of conduct in the digital sphere — initiating a new chapter addressing the issue of international security.

A press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation stated, "Russia and India have joined their efforts for achieving democratic, inclusive and transparent United Nations negotiation process on security in the use of information and communications technologies."

The two resolutions — ‘Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security’ and ‘Countering the use of information and communication technology for criminal purposes’ — were co-authored by over 30 nations.

‘Western states have set themselves off against the international community’

The lack of support from the US and the EU in pushing the resolutions forward have incited Russia to state that the countries have ‘set themselves off against the international community’.

Russia even stated that such actions are ‘indicative that these very states are promoting an atmosphere of mistrust in the media and accusing other countries of cyber attacks’ leading to the conclusion that ‘they have only their own mercenary goals in mind and have no interest in looking for objective and pragmatic solutions to the problem of information security’.

Making the process inclusive

In addition to the two resolutions that were passed, Russia proposed putting together an open-ended working group (OEWG) that would act on a consensus basis. Russia emphasised that the OEWG would allow all the countries — without exception — to have a direct voice in the activities of the IIS.

The OEWG, in its essence, would have the authority to address any and all issues relating to IIS. It would also be given the responsibility of implementing more norms and rules going forward. Their mandate would be to study international laws and their application toward information communications technology by the member states.

The ultimate goal would be for the OEWG to analyse the options to for creating a more permanent department within the UN to address the concerns of IIS.

The global discussion on international security was launched 20 years ago when Russia’s initiative made it onto UN’s agenda in 1998. Bringing international ‘information’ security helps the agenda evolve to address the growing challenges of digitisation by bringing cyber crimes and other issues into the fold.
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