back to article Attempts to define international infosec rules of the road bogged down by endless talkshops, warn diplomats

International progress on state-level so-called cybersecurity "norms" is hopelessly bogged down in an explosion of NGOs and internal United Nations rivalries between two overlapping groups, a French security conference heard this week. Not only are there two overlapping United Nations groups tasked with defining international …

  1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Take control?

    We're about to leave the EU to take control of immigration, our own laws, trade deals and other various items moving across our borders - perhaps we should take control of the Internet too and heavily restrict the transmission of information into and out of the UK.

    Ten years ago I would have completely disagreed with this idea but watching the spread of the Wuhan virus everywhere and Fake News via the Internet appearing in my mailbox and on-line adverts everyday - I've changed my mind.

    1. K

      Re: Take control?

      That is not enough - We should cut all fibre and satellite links coming into and out of the UK.. In addition, close all UK airports and sea ports. Then we need to nuke China from orbit, its the only way to be sure!

      Meanwhile, in the real world...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Take control?

      Perhaps Boris, your PM, and Vladimir, their president, can work out a deal for you to join their internet.

    3. HildyJ Silver badge

      Re: Take control?

      Relax. Just do what the Donnie tells you and everything will be fine.

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    It sounds as if it will take in incident that simultaneously ties up significant chunks of infrastructure in the US, Russia & China. Where's Blofeld when you need him? And where's the white cat icon?

  3. fidodogbreath Silver badge


    Does anyone think for a second that any country would actually honor unenforceable "rules of the road?" Governments will do whatever they perceive to be in their own interest, period. Large, powerful countries such as Russia, China, USA etc. can freely ignore so-called norms because, well, they can and what are you gonna do about it? Pariah states such as North Korea will continue to do what they do because why not?

    NATO allies claim that they don't spy on each other, but of course they do. Intel on internal deliberations of allies can be as important as intel on opponents, because you have to know if your allies will really have your back when it hits the fan. Biometric scans at ports of entry and big data digital footprint analysis are making human intel harder, so hacking is becoming even more important. It's a very small step from spying to weaponized hacking, since they by necessity target many of the same vulnerabilities to gain access.

    So who exactly will observe such norms? Anyone? Anyone at all? As Will Rogers observed, "diplomacy is the art of saying nice doggie until you can find a rock."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @fidodogbreath - Re: Abnorms

      I'm curious to know what criteria you used to order the list of those three particular countries you mention. Is it by population, territory, military power, ruthlessness or what ?

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Abnorms

      Pariah states such as North Korea will continue to do what they do because why not?

      Or perhaps they're the sensible states. So far less dependent on the Internet than us, and probably quite happy to try and burger up our 'nets. Noble idea from the UN, but ever since it's inception, it may have noticed that not all nations play nicely with others. If resolutions are routinely ignored, so will any rules of the road when it's in national interests to do so.

    3. Schultz

      ... any country would actually honor unenforceable "rules of the road?"

      Well, the same could be said about most rules of the road. Nevertheless, most people trust each other to obey the rules of the road - I just crossed a green traffic light this morning and that friendly driver actually stopped for me.

      Most rules, including international ones, are working if there is trust. Trust can only grow if the relevant actors show good behavior. Not all of them, but maybe a majority of them (see: traffic rules). On the world stage, the US used to set an example (not always, but often), but with the cold war mostly forgotten, they now seem to take the lead in destroying trust in international rules. Too bad, because who else would be trusted to lead? The EU is busy with its internal affairs, China is not really trusted -- how should you trust an intransparent party dictatorship that might change direction any day? Russia is busy making wars to keep its people distracted. It's a sad world where the sentiment that 'nobody would care about the rules' becomes the expectation. There used to be much more hope and enthusiasm about the UN, WTO, ... leading us into a better future. Now it just seems to become a race to the bottom.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Do you want Russia or China writing treaties on what's cool online?"

    Gee, ElReg, you're right, we don't trust them enough for that! Let's stick to nuclear weapons and trade for now, and not the really important stuff.

  5. Claverhouse Silver badge

    Only The Demented Would Associate With A Criminal Gang

    Microsoft, she said, had come to the view that there needed to be "an independent organisation" working on this, and she pointed to the Cyber Peace Institute in Geneva, which she said was co-founded by Microsoft, as one example.

    Jonathan Wilde, the Thief-Taker General, pampered pet of the Whig Party, and whose software is used by the Privy Council --- very trusted bloke : 'One of Us' --- strongly urges that his bespoke organisation based at the Old Bailey have the sole authority over human malware.

  6. Claptrap314 Silver badge

    Missed his calling

    In his view the most important thing at UN level is "to make sure that there is no use of the cyber network to conduct malicious activities."

    This guy is clearly a genius at humor. Perhaps he should try standup?

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