Cybertechnologies are rapidly changing the international landscape, but leaders in government, business, and elsewhere are just beginning to understand the ramifications, both good and bad, of an interconnected digital world. Weak international governance of cyberspace stands in stark contrast to the accelerating pace of challenges. To shape the regimes that govern cyberspace to the advantage of generations to come, the United States and the European Union should forge a joint policy vision.

The Role of the Transatlantic Partners

  • Given their economic and technological edge, the United States and Europe have a natural interest in playing a more influential role in the cybernorms debate.
  • Washington and Brussels have started to engage third countries on cyberpolicy issues to develop multilateral norms. The impact of these disparate attempts can be greatly enhanced by a transatlantic effort to identify and jointly shape a more ambitious global agenda.
  • The feasibility of any joint initiative will depend on the potential for convergence between Washington and Brussels on key policy areas related to cyberspace, such as online privacy, Internet freedoms and governance, cybersecurity, and cyberwarfare.
  • There is a significant degree of real and potential convergence between the transatlantic partners, and these areas should provide the basis for a new approach to creating a global policy framework for cyberspace.

How to Capitalize on Areas of Convergence

Develop norms regulating government-industry collaboration on mass data collection and retrieval. To enhance trust in the Internet, the transatlantic partners should develop a joint code of conduct for regulating interactions between government agencies, large Internet companies, and data handlers regarding access to online data.

Create a new multilateral instrument to prevent cybercrime. The transatlantic partners should develop more robust ways to detect and analyze cyberattacks so that culprits can be more easily identified and future attacks better deterred.

Propose amendments to international trade law to introduce penalties for economic cyberespionage. Changing World Trade Organization rules will require a joint action led by the transatlantic partners.

Lead efforts to codify norms governing the export of surveillance technologies. The transatlantic partners should guide this effort that would help to constrain the capacity of illiberal regimes to restrict Internet freedoms.

Agree on a mandate for NATO to develop a more robust approach to cyberdeterrence. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has developed a strategy focused on enhancing the resilience of the alliance against cyberattacks. But NATO also needs a more offensive posture to improve its overall deterrence.

Read Full Text