IGF 2018 WS #100 After calls for a Digital Geneva Convention, are we safer?


Organizer 1: Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 2: Private Sector, Eastern European Group

Speaker 1: Latha Reddy, Government, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Elaine Korzak, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Willow Brugh, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Panel - 90 Min


The speakers have been chosen based on expertise and diversity of perspectives. Their respective backgrounds in both sector and geographic origin reflect the diverse coalition of supporters that will be needed to achieve a lasting agreement on international norms in cyberspace and should stimulate discussion and highlight important tensions for workshop participants. All the speakers will be initially given 5 minutes to present their views through a managed set of questions and answers with the moderator, to ensure the audience is brought up to speed with recent events surrounding the Digital Geneva Convention initiative, as well as different perspectives on the issue. The moderator will ensure that panel speakers are given adequate time to share their views and respond to questions generated during the workshop.


This workshop aims to gather a variety of stakeholders to raise awareness of the importance of the multistakeholder dialogue in cybersecurity norms discussion, a debate that has typically been limited to the domain of nation states. To this end, we will seek to ensure that civil society is represented, as is academia and industry, as well as participants that bring different government perspectives to the table. Efforts will be made to introduce new perspectives in the dialogue which have not been heard in Internet governance discussions. Special attention will be made throughout the planning of the session to ensure diverse interventions from workshop participants can be facilitated through the break-out group discussion and organizers will encourage remote participation on social media. Gender balance has been encouraged through speaker choices and each speaker will bring unique expertise and experience to the topics discussed.

Issues to be discussed: The proliferation of offensive capabilities in cyberspace is one of the most pressing challenges of our time and calls on both nation-states and private industry to work together to head-off the worst consequences of unfettered cyberwarfare that threaten to undermine international peace and economic stability. Two years ago, Microsoft initiated a call for a Digital Geneva Convention, an agreement between governments to limit development and use of offensive cyberweapons, to address this challenge. However, progress towards such an agreement, or another like it, has been slow, with promising efforts in the international community fizzling out and continuing to come up short of achieving meaningful change. While the international community appeared to be moving towards cybersecurity norms in agreements reached by the 2015 UN Group of Government Experts (GGE) and in the G20 that same year, subsequent efforts to build on that progress stumbled and seemed to fall apart completely in 2017. This workshop will focus on bringing together government, private sector and civil society leaders to discuss what an international agreement should look like, what progress has been made in recent years and what key issues continue to stagnate international efforts to move towards an agreement. They will also touch on the important work being done by industry and civil society to drive norms in cyberspace in lieu of more agreement in the international community. Agenda: - The session will open with a moderated panel discussion that will cover milestones and stumbling blocks in pursuit of international agreements on cybersecurity and the Digital Geneva Convention in the past year. It will set the framework for discussion with the audience (40 min) Experts will be asked to provide an overview of the following: The state of international engagement on norms for cyberspace, including successful international engagements in recent years, followed by a collapse in dialogue in 2017. The key issues that continue to divide the international community and respective groups of states, and whether they are likely to be divisions that can be solved. What will it look like to move forward towards greater stability in cyberspace, and what actors or institutions will lead? - All participants will then engage in an interactive discussion that focuses on the following (40 min): How best to engage and create a multistakeholder coalition to achieve greater stability in cyberspace Provide feedback on recent efforts to advance international norms and the proposed next steps - The moderator will have 10 minutes to sum-up discussion and close session.

The panel participants have been carefully selected for their expertise to allow the discussion to be grounded in the most up to date information and to highlight the work of government, civil society and the private sector over the past year. Following their initial statements and responses to scripted questions, the moderator will facilitate a question and answer session that incorporates workshop participants and solicits their feedback on the panel’s comments. This will allow the discussion around cybersecurity norms, previously reserved to governments and their diplomats, to be expanded to include the dynamic gathering of minds and perspectives at IGF. To facilitate an engaging discussion, the following will be ensured: - Current reading materials will be provided, ex ante, and handouts will be available at the outset fo the session which highlight recent events related to developing cybersecurity norms and the challenges presented in their absence. - An online discussion ill be moderated by the organizers in the weeks before the event to stimulate interest and solicit questions and input of particular interest - While the workshop will be in English, PowerPoint slides summarizing positions and insights of panelists will be projected to support the engagement of those for whom English is not native. - The moderator selected will be an expert not only in the topic, but well versed in leading multi-stakeholder discussions and will actively encourage participation from the audience. He or she will work closely with the online moderator to ensure those audiences are equally brought into the debate.

This workshop on the Digital Geneva Convention and the work being done to establish it addresses the durability and security of the online environment that the entire world has come to depend on, and that the tech industry works to sustain. It fits squarely within the IGF 2018 theme of Evolution of Internet Governance and the subtheme of cyber diplomacy. This workshop and its panel discussion will hope to address what role international agreements and the international community can play in reducing the dangers of malicious and escalatory state behavior in cyberspace, and whether recent events and efforts by industry and civil society have advanced this agenda.

Online Participation

Online moderator will work closely with the on-site moderator to prepare the session ahead of time, ensuring that they are aware of the questions and the topic areas that will be raised in the room. The online moderator will also facilitate discussion ahead of the event, requesting questions and driving engagement and interest in the session on social media platforms, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as on the websites of the co-organizers. During the session itself, the moderator will facilitate the discussion online, highlighting the key points raised, as well as responding to questions received online and ensuring that they are raised in the room. Online attendees will have a separate queue and microphone, which will rotate equally with the mics in the room. Following the session, the speakers will all be available for a moderated Q&A on Twitter.