The 2000 Okinawa Declaration on the Formation of a Global Information Society ushered in a new era in the development of mankind. This era is characterized by the intensive development of the global environment of information and communication technologies (ICT environment). This environment is made possible by the global information infrastructure. The ICT environment has acquired the features of a new space in international relations, which create new opportunities for improving the quality of human life, sustainable development of society, and for the emergence of international disputes that could lead to threat or breach of international peace and security. The threat of hostile use of ICTs for politico-military purposes is growing. The number of ways ICTs can be used to exert forcible effects on the adversary and other targets are constantly increasing.
The Russian Federation, like many other countries, has consistently advocated for the creation of an international information security system aimed at preventing the “hostile” use of ICTs as the means of resolving interstate conflicts. To this end, the Russian Federation initiated the formation of several groups of governmental experts on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security. The practical usefulness of this initiative is now recognized by almost all states of the world.
The efforts of UN governmental experts, who in 2003 began to study the potential dangers to threats to international peace and security in the use of ICTs, were rewarded by the adoption of a consensus report to the UN Secretary General in 2010, 2013 and 2015. For the first time, the 2015 report contained recommendations on the norms, rules and principles of responsible behavior of states in ICT environment.
With the adoption at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly of the draft Russian resolution, fixing the recommendations of the UN Group of Governmental Experts on the norms, principles and rules of responsible behavior of states in the ICT environment as the norms of “soft” law, the problem of ensuring the practical application of these norms becomes particularly relevant1. In the deteriorating international situation, experts from many countries of the world believe that the development of specific recommendations on the implementation of the norms, rules and principles of responsible behavior of states in the ICT environment could help reduce the risk of conflicts associated with the hostile and malicious use of ICTs by states in international relations.
There is no doubt that international relations in the ICT environment should be regulated by international law. However, countries are not united as to how and to what extent international law is applicable in the ICT environment.
In this regard, the initiative of the participants of the International Information Security Research Consortium (IISRC), put forward in April 2018 at the International Forum in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany), to form an international group of experts to discuss methodological differences in, and develop common approaches for, assessing the applicability of norms, rules and principles of responsible behavior is extremely timely to contribute to an open, secure, stable, accessible and peaceful ICT environment. The group included experts from interested organizations in the Russian Federation, USA, Estonia, South Korea and Switzerland.
We are confident that the potential of Russian experts studying the problems of creating an international information security system and, in particular, the practical application of the norms, rules and principles of responsible behavior of states in the ICT environment, will increase significantly with the formation in 2018 of the National Association of International Information Security. One of the important activities of the Association is to proactively address the challenges of ensuring international information security. Based on this, the Association will make efforts to promote research into the problems of the practical application of the norms, principles and rules of responsible behavior of states in the ICT environment, carried out within the framework of the project of the International Consortium.
I am pleased to offer the reader the materials of the study of an international group of experts on the results of its work in 2018–2019, which undoubtedly deserve thorough examination and further discussion.
President of the National Association of International Information Security
Chairman, International Information Security Research Consortium