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UN Chief Wants A Geneva Convention For Cyber Warfare

Cybersecurity.typographyimages/Pixabay

Over the decades, member countries of the UN have agreed to certain stipulations related to the matter of war. Basically, certain practices are to be banned and there are rules to be observed, particularly with regards to civilians and prisoners of war. Now, the current UN chief wants a similar approach to cyber warfare, which could trigger the next World War.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressed these thoughts on Monday, urging world leaders to establish rules with regards to engaging in cyber warfare, Reuters reports. This was prompted by fears of escalation, which could lead to irreversible damage to civilians. Several hacking incidents in 2017 have already proven how effective digital strikes can be, especially to the private sectors of target countries.

“Episodes of cyber warfare between states already exist. What is worse is that there is no regulatory scheme for that type of warfare, it is not clear how the Geneva Convention or international humanitarian law applies to it,” Guterres said while speaking at the University of Lisbon, his alma mater.

“I am absolutely convinced that, differently from the great battles of the past, which opened with a barrage of artillery or aerial bombardment, the next war will begin with a massive cyber attack to destroy military capacity... and [paralyze] basic infrastructure such as the electric networks.”

Guterres proposed that the UN be used as a platform for forming such arrangements so that disaster can be avoided. As for what establishing rules could even do, making cybersecurity a human right could be a reasonable deterrent to abuses, Futurism reports. Internet users hold their privacy of utmost import when surfing the web, after all.

Unfortunately, there’s no established method on how governments would actually enforce such a right while still doing their jobs. Quantum encryption could work, but the technology could also be used for nefarious purposes.

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