Q4/2019 - Munich Security Conference

Cyber Security Summit, Berlin 24 - 25 November 2019

On 24 and 25 November 2019, the Munich Security Conference (MSC) held its annual “Cyber Security Summit” in Berlin, following the MSC Cyber Security Summits in Tallinn in 2018 and Tel Aviv in 2017. Deutsche Telekom supported the 2019 Summit as a partner.

The new security policy threats in cyberspace are forcing states to adopt new forms of cooperation, said Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the MSC. He emphasized that trust was not only indispensable for effective diplomacy, but also for interaction in the cyber sphere and for the relations between governments, companies and users. As the new threats were primarily associated with a loss of trust both between governments and in the functioning of the Internet, one of the important stabilising elements was to agree confidence-building measures. "In cyberspace more than anywhere else it is true that your own security is only as good as the security of your neighbours," said Antje Leendertse, State Secretary at the Federal Foreign Office at the opening of the summit.

In addition to technical, social and ethical issues, the discussion focused primarily on the geopolitical implications. Geopolitics, too, do not spare the Internet – originally conceived as an open space to be used freely by everyone. In times of increasing geopolitical tensions, the current controversies surrounding 5G infrastructure are only the tip of the iceberg in the debate. The USA and China have developed into cyber superpowers. Europe must regain its "technological sovereignty". However, "unilateralism" will not lead to solutions; an extended multilateral cooperation is needed, including on issues such as deterrence and attribution of cyber attacks. 

As a "great equalizer", the Internet is also changing the role of the state as an actor. Unlike in other central fields of national security, it is not governments but private actors who possessed the key technical infrastructure, capabilities, information and data. In addition, private technology companies are increasingly becoming relevant actors at the level of foreign policy. It is therefore imperative that international rules for regulating cyberspace seize upon companies’ central role and hold them accountable. State and private actors must also work together closely on norm setting in order to keep pace with the rapidly advancing technological developments. Therefore, in addition to the need for multilateral cooperation, the importance of multi-stakeholder cooperation is growing. Economic profit cannot be the sole rationale of companies when their activities decisively influence the security and opportunities of present and future generations. Awareness of the importance of cyber security must therefore be anchored more firmly at the management level of companies.

The fight against political disinformation and extremism will also not be successful without the cooperation of the technology companies. The exponential spreading of content on the Internet can have fatal consequences, as Paul Ash, Director of New Zealand's National Cyber Policy Office, made very clear when he presented a progress update on the "Christchurch Call". There was intensive discussion as to whether simply banning bots, fakes and other forms of "inauthentic" content was the right way forward, or whether it undermined the personal rights and freedoms that should actually be defended. Excessive regulation could increase the risk of shaping cyberspace rather in the interest of autocrats.

Among the participants were Polish Minister of Digital Affairs Marek Zagórski, Ghanaian Minister of Communication Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Bulgarian Minister of IT and Communications Rossen Jeliazkov, Sir Julian King, EU Commissioner for the Security Union, Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union, and Antonio Missiroli, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges. At the evening event, German Minister of Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier and Vint Cerf, father of the Internet, acted as keynote speakers. Altmaier advocated a differentiated discussion with regard to the participation of Huawei in the development of 5G networks. Vint Cerf, who is also a member of the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, stressed the need for "smart regulation" for new Internet-based technologies[1].

Mehr zum Thema
  1. [1] Vint Cerf, Implications of a „Digital Commons“, Rede auf dem Cybersecurity Summit der Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz, Berlin, 25. November 2019: „Among the many potential foci for work, Google is especially but not exclusively committed to working in cybersecurity, data governance, ethical application of artificial intelligence and the introduction of strongly authenticated digital identity. Cybersecurity is a broad concept and its achievement implies protections from harm for all participants, and identification and apprehension of parties abusing their access to cyberspace to harm others. Multi-lateral agreements will be needed to achieve this objective and multi-stakeholder consultations will be essential to the formulation of effective policies. Interestingly, all parties have roles to play in the securing of cyberspace including suppliers and users who should adopt defensive practices against harmful behaviors. Governments need to adopt rules that aid all participants who seek security including transactions involving transnational exchanges. Data is the oxygen that keeps networked businesses alive and governance of data transfers, usage and retention represent important factors in the implementation of data security, including the protection of privacy. The GDPR is a good example of an effort to codify these protections. Successful data governance practices will facilitate data protection as well as data sharing. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have become synonymous with major breakthroughs in computing capabilities. These remarkable capabilities have generated admiration and concern in all sectors. Some fear job loss and others see dramatic improvement in our ability to apply computing power. It is highly desirable to use these tools in responsible ways that are transparent, explainable, safe and accountable. Finally, strongly authenticated digital identity is another desirable feature of digital environments so that users can be reassured that no one will be able to fabricate artifacts that are falsely attributable. The same technology can be used to assure the provenance of digital objects“. In: https://securityconference.org/news/meldung/vint-cerf-implications-of-a-digital-commons/