Established in 2003, the ICT for Peace Foundation (ICT4Peace) is a policy and capacity-building oriented organisation, aiming to leverage information and communication technologies (ICTs) to protect human lives and dignity and to help communities and stakeholders involved in peacebuilding, crisis management, and humanitarian assistance. ICT4Peace promotes cybersecurity and a peaceful cyberspace through negotiations with governments, international organisations, companies, and other actors.
All ICT4Peace’s activities are focused on the use of ICTs to fulfil its key goals: save lives, protect human dignity, and promote peace and security in cyberspace. To this end, it observes the development of ICTs, conducts policy research with publications, raises awareness, and proposes practical, policy, and strategic recommendations to the UN and its stakeholders regarding crisis information management systems (CIMS) and norms of responsible state behaviour and confidence building measures in cyberspace. It also develops and implements capacity building programmes.
DIGITAL POLICY ISSUES
In the area of online content policy, ICT4Peace is engaged in activities related to the use of the Internet for misinformation, disinformation, defamation, and hate speech. Regarding the prevention of the use of ICTs for terrorist purposes, it co-launched the ‘Tech against Terrorism Platform’ with the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate. Via this platform, ICT4Peace organises workshops and produces publications with the main aim of raising awareness and promoting a multistakeholder dialogue to develop community standards for the prevention of violent extremism online consistent with UN principles, including in the area of human rights. Since the emergence of COVID-19,ICT4Peace has launched a review of the risks and opportunities of ICTs and social media during a pandemic and in particular discusses their impact on peace building.
Network security, cyber conflict and warfare
In 2011, ICT4Peace called for a code of conduct and for norms of responsible state behaviour and confidence building measures for an open, secure, and peaceful cyberspace. It advocates for an open, free, secure, and resilient Internet and encourages all stakeholders to work together to identify and analyse new cyber challenges and threats and develop solutions at national and global levels. In particular, it advocates against the increasing militarisation of cyberspace. Since 2011, ICT4Peace has supported international negotiations through the UN GGE and the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) in New York, as well as at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Association of Southeast Asian Nationa (ASEAN), the Organization of American States (OAS), and the African Union (AU) with policy recommendations and multiple publications, workshops, and capacity-building programmes. In particular, during UN GGE and OEWG negotiations in 2019, ICT4Peace issued a call to governments to publicly commit not to attack civilian critical infrastructure and proposed a ’States Cyber Peer Review Mechanism for state-conducted foreign cyber operations’. In 2018, ICT4Peace proposed the establishment of an independent network of organisations engaged in attribution peer review.
ICT4Peace has highlighted emerging concerns and suggested governance solutions in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI), lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS), and peace time threats.
Responding to and preventing violent extremism using ICTs is an important activity of ICT4Peace. It has taken part in several projects (e.g. the UNCTED-ICT4Peace project), conducted research, participated in public presentations and panel discussions, and wrote policy papers to address the spread of violent content and the rise in extremism on the Internet and social media (as a follow-up to attacks on civilians in Christchurch and in Sri Lanka).
In line with its aim of enhancing the CIM performance of the international community through ICTs, ICT4Peace developed and carried out training courses on the role of ICTs, media, and communications in conflict management, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding. Since 2014, it has also carried out over 20 cybersecurity policy and diplomacy workshops with the UN, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), ASEAN, and AU in order to familiarize policymakers and diplomats with the concepts of international law, norms of responsible state behaviour, and capacity building..
Human rights basket
Human rights principles
ICT4Peace has also been active in the area of ICTs and human rights, publishing papers, delivering workshops, and supporting other actors to address the human rights implications of digital technologies.
ICT4Peace has been developing wikis for information crisis management. They feature vital information from governments, the UN system, non-governmental organisations, and other actors, and include situation reports, information mapping and GIS data, photos, videos, and more.
In 2010, ICT4Peace and Ushahidi developed a plugin called ‘The Matrix’ for Ushahidi’s web-based platform to validate information generated from the ground.
ICT4Peace has also supported and championed the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)’s launch of the Humanitarian Data Exchange HDX since the 2010 Haiti earthquake.ICT4Peace recommended the use of Application of Programming Interface (APIs) to connect both the UN family and the Volunteer and Technical Community (V&TC) for disaster response. Information featured in the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) also comes from OCHA’s Common and Fundamental Operational Datasets (COD/FOD datasets), which ICT4Peace helped to support and develop.