Foreign Policy for Cyber Space



At last count the Internet connects to over 170 counties and 1.7 billion users worldwide. The breadth and depth of the Internet demands diplomatic attention and coordination, particularly in the areas of cyber crime, cyber espionage, cyber terrorism and cyber warfare. The economic implications of these threats were clearly articulated by economists at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland. This is not the first time experts have raised this issue on the world stage.

The numerous warning of the magnitude of the threat of cyber aggression must be heeded. In February of this year in my presentation at the United Nations, I took the opportunity to call upon the United Nations to take a much more pragmatic and prominent role in protecting against the imminent threat of cyber attacks, cyber terrorism and cyber warfare. Without immediate action it is just a matter of time before the world experiences a substantive event -- the threat of a massive cyber attack or war.

Acts of cyber aggression represent the top transnational threat of the 21st Century. To that end, president Obama has spoken of new initiatives designed to strengthen the nation's digital defenses against cyber attacks. That being said, where are the efforts to bolster international cooperation to bring those behind these acts to justice?

Cyber security must be escalated to a top priority of the Obama administration. This must include bidirectional foreign policies needed to support cyber attack investigations. The responsibility for this would fall under the office of the Secretary of State. Sec. Clinton must take a leadership position in these efforts and accelerate an international dialog that leads to cooperative agreements.

FACT: There are currently over 170 countries directly connected to the Internet backbone.FACT: There were over 60 trillion emails sent in 2008, about 70 percent of those spam.FACT: There are approximately 140 million blogs on the Internet.FACT: There are approximately 190 million web sites.

Now is the time to address the global cooperation needed to defend against, investigate and bring to justice those who commit acts of cyber aggressions not amid the throws of an international crisis.

-- Kevin Coleman

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