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No world gathering can end without a serious discussion on cyber security and so has been the case with World Economic Forum 2019 at Davos. Cyber has become number one risk in doing business in many parts of the world. Trust is evaporating out of the system both from the tech companies and also the capabilities of the governments, to manage this humongous unseen security challenge. The companies cannot and must not sell fear but protect hope and let the good side of internet because of which it has become all-pervasive, is always in focus. Paris Call of October 12, 2018 for Trust and Security in Cyberspace is one such multi-stakeholder initiative.

As a multi-stakeholder declaration the Paris Call favours the development of common principles for securing cyberspace. It intends to work on a multilateral framework for addressing issues of cyberspace. This is in the backdrop of a scenario of increasingly prolific and sophisticated attacks by criminal organisations and also Nation States. The Paris Call has been signed by 64 States, 300 private sector companies and other 300 NGOs and civil society organizations. India and the US are notable non-signatories. It has been signed by all members of European Union, all but one of NATO.

It can be termed as the new architecture of cyber cooperation, it is about keeping the world safe, dependent on digital infrastructure, on which depends our devices, which are under attack every single day. The challenge can we gauged from the fact that it is actually very difficult to assess, the actual impact of interference operations, on the real outcome of 2016 US elections. Intentional disinformation is the challenge which democracies are facing worldwide today. Every candidate running for French presidency was attacked in some way or the other. It cannot be wished away.

Cyber security experts have always emphasized the importance of attribution but that certainly is not enough, in the present day scenario, when there perpetrators of a different kind. Military grade cyber attacks are happening now and we cannot expect the private sector alone to respond and sort it out. Even earlier private sector has not saved any nation from military attacks. The economic side is equally scary, cyber crime is predicted to reach US 3 trillion dollars by 2020 and 74% of all world business can expect to get hacked in the coming year.


Sanjay Sahay

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