Public consultation: Responsible state behaviour in cyberspace in the context of international security at the United Nations
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is calling for submissions to inform Australia's engagement in two United Nations (UN) processes on responsible state behaviour in cyberspace.
In December 2018, the United National General Assembly (UNGA) established two processes: an inaugural Open Ended Working Group on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security (OEWG) (A/Res/73/27 [PDF]); and, a sixth Group of Governmental Experts on advancing responsible state behaviour in cyberspace in the context of international security (GGE) (A/Res/73/266 [PDF]).
The groups present an important opportunity to promote a peaceful and stable online environment and enhance international security. Australia is a member of both groups.
Background: Framework for Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace
Cumulatively the 2010, 2013 and 2015 GGE outcome reports (A/65/201 [PDF]; A/68/98 [PDF]; and A/70/174 [PDF]) affirm that existing international law – and in particular, the Charter of the United Nations in its entirety – is applicable and essential to maintaining peace and stability and promoting an open, secure, stable, accessible and peaceful ICT environment. The reports also articulate voluntary non-binding norms of responsible state behaviour, while recognising the need for confidence building measures (CBMs), and coordinated capacity building. Combined, these measures (international law, norms, CBMs and capacity building) provide the basis for a peaceful and stable cyberspace, and are often referred to as a Framework for Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace (the Framework).
Australia reaffirms its commitment to act in accordance with the cumulative GGE reports from 2010, 2013 and 2015. Recalling that in 2015 the UNGA called on all UN Member States 'to be guided in their use of information and communications technologies by the [GGE's] 2015 report' (A/RES/70/237 [PDF]), the links on this webpage provide an overview of how Australia observes and implements the four pillars of the Framework.
A key Australian objective is for the inaugural OEWG and/or the sixth GGE to provide practical guidance on implementation of the agreed norms of responsible state behaviour, backed up by recommendations on better coordinating global cyber capacity building, so that all countries are in a position to observe and implement the Framework.
Call for submissions
DFAT encourages interested individuals and organisations to make written submissions in relation to Australia's priorities for the OEWG and GGE.
Written submissions should be lodged by close of business 28 January 2020. Submissions should include your full name, email address and telephone number. Electronic lodgement is preferred.
Submissions may range from a short email or letter, outlining your views on a particular topic, to a more substantial document covering a range of issues. Where possible, you should provide evidence, such as relevant data and documentation, to support your views
Submissions should be sent via email to CyberAffairs@dfat.gov.au
In your submission, you might consider answering one or more of the following questions:
- What existing and emerging threats should inform Australia's approach to discussions on the Framework for Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace (international law, norms, confidence building measures and capacity building) in the OEWG and GGE?
- Are there any specific areas of the Framework for Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace (international law, norms, confidence building measures and capacity building) that, from your perspective, should be further developed in the OEWG/GGE? If so, how would you like to see these areas addressed in any OEWG and/or GGE report(s)?
- As stated above, a key Australian objective is for the OEWG and/or GGE to provide practical guidance on observation and implementation of the agreed norms of responsible state behaviour, set out in the 2015 GGE report [PDF]. What do you consider to be best practice observation and implementation of these norms? We welcome your input of concrete examples/suggestions of best practice implementation of one, some, or all of the norms (see Annex A [PDF]), which could be considered for incorporation into any report of the OEWG and/or GGE.
- The mandate of the GGE invites members to annex to the GGE report "national contributions…on the subject of how international law applies to the use of information and communications technologies by States". Through the International Cyber Engagement Strategy, Australia has published its positions on the application of international law to cyberspace in 2017 and 2019 [PDF]. Are there any relevant areas of international law that that, from your perspective, should be addressed in any Australian contribution to the international law annex to the GGE report? If so, how would you like to see these areas addressed?
- Another key Australian objective is for any report of the OEWG and/or GGE to make recommendations on better coordinating global cyber capacity building. We welcome suggestions on how coordination of global cyber capacity building might be improved, as well as how you would like this to be addressed in any OEWG and/or GGE report(s).
- What role should the business/government/NGO/academic community play in promoting a peaceful and stable online environment? How would you like to see this addressed in any OEWG and/or GGE report(s), or any Australian contribution to the annex to the GGE report?
Your submission and confidentiality
All submissions will be published as public documents on the DFAT website. However, information which is of a confidential nature or which is submitted in-confidence, will be treated as such by DFAT, provided the basis for such treatment is provided.
DFAT may also request that a non-confidential summary of the confidential material is provided, or reasons why a summary cannot be provided.
Material supplied in-confidence should be clearly marked 'IN CONFIDENCE' and be in a separate attachment to non-confidential material.