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Cyber Geneva Convention Is A Must, Says Microsoft President

First Geneva Convention Singing. Charles Édouard Armand-Dumaresq/Wikimedia

The Geneva Convention was created in order to make sure that the various nations that agreed to it would adhere to certain rules and practices. With the advent of the internet and the concept of cyber warfare, many in the tech industry are concerned with the rampant disregard for borders and privacy. As a result, Microsoft President Brad Smith is calling for the creation of a new Geneva Convention that is suitable for the digital age.

In a blog post, Smith argues that the growth of cyber crimes should prompt international bodies to create a solution that would deter these threats from doing as they please. One such solution that Smith proposed is the creation of an independent agency that would analyze cyber threats and respond to them.

“Just as the Fourth Geneva Convention has long protected civilians in times of war, we now need a Digital Geneva Convention that will commit governments to protecting civilians from nation-state attacks in times of peace,” the post reads. “And just as the Fourth Geneva Convention recognized that the protection of civilians required the active involvement of the Red Cross, protection against nation-state cyber-attacks requires the active assistance of technology companies.”

The Microsoft President noted several incidents where actual governments initiated hacks that directly affected private companies. North Korea’s purported hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s servers in retaliation over a satirical movie mocking the rogue nation’s leader is a good example of how nations can circumvent the Geneva Convention and target civilians directly, USA Today reports.

With rising tensions all over the world, which is not helped by the actions of the current administration, the tech industry is becoming acutely aware that cyberspace is about to become a battleground. Should countries decide to launch destructive attacks on US cyber infrastructure, it could cripple a significant part of the economy.

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