October 6, 2010

English summary

The September issue of Diplomaatia focuses on the Internet, cyber warfare and cyber defence.

The September issue of Diplomaatia focuses on the Internet, cyber warfare and cyber defence.

English summary

The September issue of Diplomaatia focuses on the Internet, cyber warfare and cyber defence.
In the opening article, Cyrus Farivar, a journalist for Deutsche Welle, explains how Estonia could lead Europe in the field of IT and increase European cooperation on information technology issues. “Most Estonians who have travelled as far as the United States, or even as close as Helsinki, know that free WiFi in most parts of the world is an exception rather than the rule,” states the author. For this reason, Farivar claims, it would be worthwhile for the Estonian government to sponsor the creation of free WiFi hotspots in other parts of Europe. Second, Estonia could share its experiences in implementing its system for digital ID cards with other European countries. And third, the approaching creation of an EU-wide market for wireless broadband services could offer new development opportunities for Estonian mobile operators.
Erki Kodar, a lawyer working for the Estonian Ministry of Defence, explains the position of cyber warfare within the current framework of international law. According to Kodar, some issues relating to cyber warfare and cyber attacks stem from the fact that the Internet is not divided into civil and military networks – in most cases computer networks are for dual use. “Ignoring the example of IT as a triple jumper, the law is still following in the footsteps of long jumpers,” writes Kodar.
However, several current norms and principles of international law can be applied to cyber attacks either directly or by using analogies. Kodar claims that due to a relatively vague legal framework, state practice determines whether cyber attacks constitute use of force or not.
In her article, Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar, an adviser to the Estonian Ministry of Defence, takes up the issue of international cooperation in providing cyber security. Tiirmaa-Klaar claims that the European Union is the key organisation safeguarding information systems for civil use – the EU has both the legal mandate and the capacity to strengthen the protection of civilian infrastructures in the member states. However, cyber issues have been on the agenda of the United Nations for several years now and some states have expressed a wish to draft a new arms control treaty in the field of cyber warfare. She claims that NATO is also quickly adapting to changes in the security political threat environment and that NATO’s new strategic concept is likely to devote a lot of attention to cyber security. According to Tiirmaa-Klaar, cyber defence experts at NATO headquarters will come to help any member state to resist attacks within a few hours.
In addition, this issue of Diplomaatia contains an article by Daniel Calingaert on the impact of the Internet and Web 2.0 applications on the spread of freedom and democracy (previously published in this year’s April/ May issue of Policy Review) and an article by a writer and essayist, Nicholas Carr, on the way the Internet and information technologies affect our thinking and memory (previously published in The Age).

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