G7 leaders approve historic cybersecurity agreement

(June 6th, 2016) Leaders at the G7 Summit approved the first international stand-alone agreement on cybersecurity, including data protection and Internet governance. A number of organizations, including  the Boston Global Forum (BGF), submitted recommendations to the leaders for their consideration. The BGF’s  recommendations included what it calls the Ise-Shima Norms for cyberbehavior, which builds on the BGF’s Ethics Code of Conduct for Cyber Peace and Security (ECCC). (Ise-Shima is the Japanese region where this year’s summit was held on May 26-27.)

 

World leaders attend the G7 2016 Ise-Shima Summit in Japan.
World leaders attend the G7 2016 Ise-Shima Summit in Japan.

The BGF’s recommendations were part of its BGF-G7 Summit Initiative.

“We endeavor to develop policy frameworks that further promote effective privacy and data protection across jurisdictions to meet high standards of privacy and data protection,” according to a statement of principles in the G7 leaders’ agreement.

“We also welcome proactive approaches such as ‘Privacy by Design,’ which take privacy and protecting personal data into account throughout the engineering process. We recognize that protecting privacy and enhancing cybersecurity help ensure business and consumer trust and promote innovation crucial to our economic growth.”

“It sounds innocuous, but it’s not. It’s actually very significant,” John Savage, An Wang Professor of Computer Science at Brown University, told Roll Call’s Paul Merrion. Professor Savage is a BGF member who helped draft the Ise-Shima Norms.

“It’s progress, it’s recognition that nations need to help one another.”

The agreement also states that “no country should conduct or knowingly support ICT (information and communication technology)-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information, with the intent of providing competitive advantages to its companies or commercial sectors.’’

It continued: “We commit to facilitate the free flow of information to ensure openness, transparency and freedom of the Internet, and a fair and equal access to the cyberspace for all actors {in the} digital economy while respecting privacy and data protection, as well as cybersecurity.’’

Further, the G7 affirmed: “We continue to support ICT policies that preserve the global nature of the Internet, promote the flow of information across borders and allow Internet users to access online information, knowledge and services of their choice. We oppose data localization requirements that are unjustifiable, taking into account legitimate public policy objectives.”

Professor Savage told Mr. Merrion: “That’s directed at the Chinese and Russians, but mostly the Chinese.” While it doesn’t directly and immediately affect these countries, “it’s a talking point,” he told Mr. Merrion