Critically discuss the relevance and merit in the Microsoft proposed "Digital Geneva Convention" to prevent cyberwarfare.

The Digital Geneva Convention is the proposed set of rules and regulations to form a uniform cyber code of conduct. Microsoft has proposed to set the same on the lines of Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 which caters to protection of civilians during wartime. The new Digital Geneva Convention will thus protect individual Internet users and civilian infrastructure during peace from various cyber hacks and attacks. It will cover cooperation on three aspects:

  1. Refrain from cyber-attacks as part of the Convention.
  2. A Tech Accord comprising set of shared principles should be signed amongst companies for the larger protection of citizens.
  3. Establishment of NGO to carry investigation of attacks and assigning the same to the perpetrators.

Merits:

  • The new global rules and architecture of protection against cyber-warfare will enable plug the gaps created by the vulnerabilities in cyberspace.
  • This will be a step ahead of merely creating technical standard to formation of standards which will monitor content.
  • This will help create voluntary agreements by various communications technology companies which are vital for cyber security.
  • It will significantly check the rapid rise in cyber-crime .
  • An independent organisation will be formed over both public and private sectors.

Restraints
There are several restraints. The new Accord will foster public trust in their respective governments to protect them from cyber attacks which is hitherto placed more on the private companies. Further, it should comprise precise technical standards  and not hover around abstract principles which cannot be enforced and hence measured. There has to be high level of cooperation and coordination among nations to address this issue.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Critically discuss the relevance and merit in the Microsoft proposed "Digital Geneva Convention" to prevent cyberwarfare. Indian Express

Published: November 13, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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