Advocating for a rights-based approach to cybersecurity

“Cybersecurity is the preservation – through policy, technology, and education – of the availability, confidentiality and integrity of information and its underlying infrastructure so as to enhance the security of persons both online and offline.” – Freedom Online Coalition

Incidents that generate forms of cyber “insecurity” and threats are increasing, and 2017 was a year with several incidents that affected the security of cyberspace. There were several intentional internet shutdowns in 2017, and the majority of these occurred in the global South, for example in Cameroon, India, Syria and Togo, disproportionately affecting already fragile communities by impacting the economy, communications and information dissemination.

During 2017, APC engaged in several spaces to advocate for a rights-based approach to cybersecurity. One of these was an IGF pre-event on 17 December 2017, “A rights-based approach to cybersecurity: A pipe dream or a critical means to a secure and stable internet?”, co-organised by APC and the Centre for Communications Governance at the National Law University Delhi, Centre for Internet and Society, Derechos Digitales, Citizen Lab, Global Partners Digital, Internet Society, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Privacy International.

The participants in the event reviewed major developments in the field of cybersecurity that impact on human rights, and mapped out future opportunities for collaboration to advance rights-based approaches to cybersecurity that bridge technical and policy approaches. A briefing document was prepared in advance to frame discussions at the pre-event that went deeper into understanding the human rights dimensions of cybersecurity policy in 2017.

APC also participated in the 2017 IGF Best Practice Forum on Cybersecurity and the IGF main session “Empowering Global Cooperation on Cybersecurity for Sustainable Development and Peace”. APC also took part in the pre-IGF session “Building Bridges Over Troubled Waters” organised by the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace (GCSC), where Anriette Esterhuysen, APC’s director of global policy and strategy, spoke on behalf of APC and members of the GCSC about the Commission, the “Call to Protect the Public Core of the Internet” issued on November 2017, and the future of norms in guiding responsible state and non-state behaviour in cyberspace.

To watch out for: In 2018, APC will publish the outcome report “A rights-based approach to cybersecurity: Recommendations and considerations from a 2017 Internet Governance Forum pre-event”. Watch out as well for norms coming from the GCSC and a new project on human rights and cybersecurity supported by Mozilla.

Image: Screenshot from the video of the IGF 2017 Plenary “Empowering Global Cooperation on Cybersecurity for Sustainable Development and Peace”.

read more▼