IGF 2018 WS #429 Cybersecurity for the Defense of Democracy


Organizer 1: Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 2: Private Sector, Asia-Pacific Group

Speaker 1: Karina Gould, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Jan Neutze, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Laura Rosenberger, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Philip Howard, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 5: Belisario Contreras, Intergovernmental Organization, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Panel - 90 Min


The speakers have been chosen based on both their expertise and their diversity of perspectives. Given the dynamism of the proposed workshop focus, which requires representatives from different sectors, geographic origins, and functional areas of expertise (e.g. policy vs. technology), these speakers were selected to not only give voice to their unique perspectives, but also frame the more interactive discussion with other workshop participants. All of 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 and prevailing perspectives on cyber-enabled election interference. 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 putting cybersecurity to work for the defense of democracy. To this end, we will seek to ensure that civil society, academia, industry, government, and intergovernmental organizations are represented in the dialogue. 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 Since the onset of the “First Wave of Democracy” in the early 19th Century, democratic institutions have promoted peace between nations, nurtured international economic development, and been an important guarantor of political and civil rights around the globe. Over the course of the last 18 months, however, the threat to electoral processes, one of the most important democratic institutions, has become increasingly apparent. Threats to our democratic processes from cyber-enabled interference have become a critical concern. We’ve seen attempts by nation-states to target and exploit key building blocks of our democratic system including voting systems and the technology infrastructure of political campaigns. We have also endured the manipulation of social media platforms to sow misinformation. Addressing this threat to democracy will require significant new efforts by governments (including intergovernmental organization), technology companies, and civil society, both individually and in partnership. This workshop will focus on bringing together these stakeholders to discuss how, together, they can work to put cybersecurity to work in the defense of democracy. The goal is to stimulate an inclusive dialogue on how cross-geography and cross-sector efforts to defend democratic institutions can leverage cybersecurity technology and policy to maximum effect. Agenda: - The session will open with a moderated panel discussion that will address the threats democratic processes, such as elections and referendums, currently face from cyber-enabled interference as well as the response of the multi-stakeholder community assembled to such interference. It will set the framework for discussion with the audience (40 min) o Experts will be asked to provide an overview of the following:  -The threat landscape for democratic processes from the perspective of their person, organization, sector, and geographic origin.  -The responses different stakeholder communities have taken to address cyber-enabled interference in democratic processes.  -How these stakeholder communities work individually and in partnership to put cybersecurity to work in the defense of democracy. - All participants will then engage in an interactive discussion that focuses on the following (40 min): o How threats to democratic processes are changing and/or evolving over time. o Feedback to the stakeholder communities on the work they have done, separately and together, to address cyber-enabled interference in democratic processes. o How best to engage and create a multistakeholder coalition to achieve more secure democratic processes. - The moderator will then 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, academia, 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 for the defense of democrac'y 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 will 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 ‘Cybersecurity for the Defense of Democracy’ addresses the ways technology both enables new threats to democratic processes and can be put to use in the protection of them. Such an issue is of critical importance to the over 100 democracies around the world who rely on the integrity of their electoral processes for the functioning of their respective governments. It fits squarely within the IGF 2018 theme of 'Cybersecurity, Trust and Privacy' and the subtheme of cyber attacks'. The policy question this workshop seeks to answer is: “Given what is currently known about cyber-enabled interference in democratic processes, how can a multi-stakeholder alliance be forged to put cybersecurity expertise to work for the defense of democracy?”

Online Participation

The 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.