OEWG starts discussing responsible behaviour in cyberspace

First substantive meeting of the UN Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) took place in New York from 9 to 13 September. Following its mandate established by the Resolution 73/27, OEWG discussed emerging risks, application of international law, rules, norms, confidence building measures (CBM) and capacity building, and establishing future institutional dialogue. Seventy UN member states expressed their positions, along with several blocks of countries – Non-Aligned Movement, CARICOM, and EU with several partner countries – and few international organisations (ITU, ICTC and UNODC). The applicability of international law and the UN Charter in particular was re-confirmed in many statements. It was agreed upon that the work of OEWG doesn’t start from scratch – its foundation is in the work already done by previous UN GGEs. Most statements focused on the role of OEWG, with particular emphasis on finding ways to implement existing rules, norms, CBM, as well as raise awareness and suggest models for capacity building. Some states, however, believe that OEWG should work on turning the rules and norms into a legally binding international instrument for responsible state behaviour in cyberspace. Some of the main threats identified in cyberspace were cybercrime, cyberterrorism and weaponisation of cyberspace. There were suggestions to widen the thematic scope of the OEWG with topics like management of critical Internet resources, Internet governance, information and data (including privacy and surveillance), development, as well as AI; a particular new topic was brought up by China, Iran and India among others, related to supply chain security, including upholding non-discriminatory global markets and unrestricted ICTs development and research. OEWG also discussed options for developing a permanent international mechanism under the UN. Substantive reports from all the sessions of the first OEWG meeting are available here.