Friday, July 23, 2010

US joins UN cyber arms control collaboration

The US, UK, China and Russia are among 15 nations that have agreed to work together to reduce the threat of cyber attacks.

The agreement, signed at the UN, represents a significant change in US posture, said Robert Knake, a cyber-warfare expert with the Council on Foreign Relations.

Participation of the US demonstrates the Obama administration's strategy of diplomatic engagement, he said.

The group has recommended the UN creates norms of accepted behavior in cyberspace. It should also exchange information on national legislation and cyber-security strategies, and strengthen the capacity of less-developed countries to protect their computer systems.

When the group last met in 2005, they failed to find common ground. This time, by crafting a short text that left out controversial elements, they were able to reach a consensus.

In the past, US efforts to work with other countries in cyberspace have centered on combating crimes online, but did not deal with issues such as state involvement in or responsibility for cyber intrusions into critical computer systems.

Others in the group are France, Germany, Estonia, Belarus, Brazil, India, Israel, Italy, Qatar, South Korea, and South Africa.