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The Role of Cyber Space In World Politics Today

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Are some nations leveraging their expertise in cyber space to fulfil their political objectives?

Cyberspace and real-world laws are not the same. Some real-world legal frameworks do not apply to the Internet. A good example of this is the law of war as defined by the four Geneva Conventions and the three Additional Protocols.

The Geneva Conventions provide a framework under which several nations have agreed to abide by. It specifies what ways are OK while responding to an armed attack and what is not acceptable.

These days acts of war are what politicians all over the world talk about for scoring political points. While politicians claim that they will treat a cyber-attack as an act of war, it is taken to be a vague statement internationally and holds no significance. Even the treaties signed between nations speak about armed attacks and nothing about acts of war.

Cyber space security–Topic of discussion at Security Council meeting

There were recently some comments at the UN Security Council meeting that some nations are leveraging their cyberspace infrastructure to fulfil their political agenda and to accomplish abroad a spectrum of interests such as cross-border terrorism, security, and more.

While addressing the Security Council meeting held recently on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Cyber Security”, the Foreign Secretary of India emphasized the fact that cyberspace is being deployed as an invincible weapon for promoting terrorist outfits across the globe. He added that power and knowledge are being exploited to disseminate political appeal, incite violence, hatred, and propaganda.

There is no doubt that there has been an increase in the use of cyber tools by not just individuals and businesses but also by politicians worldwide to create space for their works.

This has propelled a disruption in social harmony through radicalization. Open societies have become more vulnerable to disinformation campaigns and also to cyber-attacks. Growing security threats emanating from cyberspace can no longer be ignored and this is something that became the topic of discussion during the recent UN Security Council meeting.

Are terror groups exploiting cyberspace? The evolving features of cyberspace have brought a discourse of peace and security.

The borderless nature and the anonymity of individuals involved have further posed several challenges to the accepted concepts of privacy, jurisdiction, and sovereignty. These unique attributes of cyberspace pose their own set of challenges for the nations.

The United Nations Conference

Furthermore, the sophisticated use of cyberspace by terror groups around the world to spread virulent propaganda, broaden their appeal and recruit youths is something disturbing at the same time. Terrorists are using social media for planning and executing their attacks.

Security Council Meeting Outcome

The victim nations have urged the Member States at the council to address and tackle the implications of exploitation of cyber domain by terrorists strategically. With the building blocks of cyber space being compromised, there are widespread concerns about the vulnerabilities. Such activities also compromise security.

They have urged the international community to take notice of the situation and to ensure that everybody abides by the international commitments and obligations to prevent disruptive effects on the world.