United Nations Making Slow Progress on Cybersecurity

Action -- not diplomatic protocol -- is what's needed

Good news: Last Friday, 15 countries including the United States, Russia, and China agreed upon a set of recommendations to the United Nations secretary general that will serve as the basis for negotiating an International computer security treaty. Bad news: Getting this far took far too long. While diplomats debated over wording and process, the state of cybersecurity severely degraded. It seems that politicians and diplomats are long on protocol and thus missing the forest through the trees. Cybersecurity isn't like physical border disputes or long-term efforts. Rather, threats morph and grow more dangerous every day. In the meantime, there are no international rules of engagement or agreements for cooperation -- and no one nation can solve this problem alone. What we need here is not long drawn out negotiations and formal agreements but a series of cooperative phases with measurable progress at each milestone. The U.N. has a chance to really make a difference with cybersecurity. Let's hope that diplomats realize that we are dealing with a real-time issue and respond with 21st century solutions rather than 19th century pomp and circumstance.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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