Positive Peace in Cyberspace Workshop
Towards a Cyber Peace Index?
The discussion on stability in cyberspace is primarily focused on mitigating potential crises and reducing the risk of misunderstandings and conflicts in cyberspace. Conversely, the enabling conditions that sustain peace – such as the fight against cybercrime or building cyber resilience – have received little attention from experts or researchers in the field. This was the premise of a closed workshop hosted by the EU Cyber Direct project and the Kosciuszko Institute during the CYBERSEC 2018 conference.
‘Positive peace’ describes the attitudes, structures and institutions that underpin and sustain peaceful societies through systemic thinking. To create a peaceful cyberspace, the current debates need to go beyond the focus on norms, international law and confidence-building measures and include among other elements such as the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, mechanisms for an effective fight against cybercrime, strengthening cybersecurity, and creating a culture of cybersecurity.
The workshop also launched the idea of creating a Cyber Peace Index based on seven main pillars: access, equality, freedom, growth, justice, security, and openness. One of the possible uses of such an Index would be to serve as a tool for monitoring states’ behaviour in cyberspace. Since drivers of change are often poorly understood, the Index could help prioritise measures to achieve peace and stability in cyberspace. These would also help to correlate different indicators and show how cyber-related policies support the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Several participants appreciated the focus on ‘positive peace’ as a way to incentivise proactive and protective measurements by governments. An Index could potentially serve as a proxy for assessing whether states are doing enough to preserve peace in cyberspace or whether their practices contribute to destabilisation.