Housen-Couriel works with numerous international groups to establish norms for how countries should act in cyberspace. < Global Forum on Cyber Expertise > < G lobal Commission for the Stability of Cyberspace > < M ILAMOS project (Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space) > < “ International Group of Experts,” authors of the Tallinn Manual 2.0 on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations >
Cyberspace has always been around, says Housen-Couriel — it just wasn’t called cyberspace.
Who is vulnerable to breaches in cybersecurity? Most of us. In January, the International Telecommunication Union published a statistic that more than half of humanity — 51.9 percent, or 3.9 billion people — is connected to cyberspace. In 25 years, we’ve had a major move of most of the people in the world to an entirely new environment, and it’s only getting bigger. Are some places in the world more secure or more vulnerable than others? The best places to be for cybersecurity are countries with the lowest connectivity, such as North Korea or Myanmar, because the governments there provide limited physical infrastructure — probably intentionally. Otherwise, there is no better or worse place. Think about vulnerability in terms of the “plumbing” of the internet: satellites, undersea cables, Wi-Fi connections, phone lines, cell-phone towers. Wherever there’s more connectivity for personal use, commerce, finance, health care, and national defense, there’s more vulnerability.
<Corporations buy and sell personal data. // We need to be aware that if a product is free, then we are the product.> What can be done to bolster cybersecurity? At the level of the law, three things. First, countries can create national laws that criminalize hostile activity in cyberspace. Second, international agreements can set global norms about what is OK and not OK. This is nothing new; pretty much any human endeavor that operates on a global scale is addressed by international law. We eventually will have more and more treaties that address cyber-activity, but it will take time. Third, we can improve our enforcement of national and international laws that already exist. This is not always straightforward in cyberspace; it depends on where the illegal activity takes place and if it is, in fact, regulated.
PHOTO BY GLENN MINSHALL
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The Magazine of Northfield Mount Hermon