No accord on what 'cybersecurity' means in international affairs
Amid signs that cybersecurity increasingly is a matter for diplomacy as well as technology, the European Union information technology agency notes that there is no common international understanding of the term.
In a paper (.pdf) published earlier this month, the European Network and Information Security Agency says that at both the intra-European and international level, "a harmonized definition of cyber security is clearly lacking."
As a result, national approaches to cybersecurity strategies differ and the lack of common understanding "may hamper international cooperation." ENISA says the European Commission will develop an European "Internet Security Strategy" that will propose governance frameworks and set goals for incident response.
The United States has mostly eschewed international talks to establish a cybersecurity treaty, but it does engage in confidence-building measures. Most recently, the White House has reportedly come close to setting up a cybersecurity hotline with Russia analogous to the "red phone" Cold War system.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Liang Guanglie also said during a May 7 Pentagon press conference that their countries will look for areas of cybersecurity cooperation.
"We did not touch upon the details or technical issues on this…We will leave that to experts," Liang said.
How substantive joint U.S. and Chinese efforts might be is uncertain, said Adam Segal, a China and cybersecurity expert with the Council on Foreign Relations, in a brief interview.
In the past China has "not been interested in discussing a hotline or some of the other confidence building measures we've talked about with the Russians," he said.
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