Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security
The issue of information security has been on the UN agenda since the Russian Federation in 1998 first introduced a draft resolution in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly. It was adopted without a vote (A/RES/53/70)
Since that time there have been annual reports by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly with the views of UN Member States on the issue:
- 2012 — A/67/167
- German submission to the 2012 report of the Secretary-General
- 2011 — A/66/152 and A/66/152/Add.1
- 2010 — A/65/154
In addition there have been two Groups of Governmental Experts (GGE) that have examined the existing and potential threats from the cyber-sphere and possible cooperative measures to address them. A successful GGE report was issued in 2010 (A/65/201)
In his forward to the report of that GGE, the UN Secretary-General, notes that the "General Assembly has an important role to play in the process of making information technology and telecommunications more secure, both nationally and internationally." He adds that "Dialogue among Member States will be essential for developing common perspectives.
The report of the 2009/2010 GGE recommends:
(i) Further dialogue among States to discuss norms pertaining to State use of information and communications technologies (ICTs), to reduce collective risk and protect critical national and international infrastructure;
(ii) Confidence-building, stability and risk reduction measures to address the implications of State use of ICTs, including exchanges of national views on the use of ICTs in conflict;
(iii) Information exchanges on national legislation and national information and communications technologies security strategies and technologies, policies and best practices;
(iv) Identification of measures to support capacity-building in less developed countries;
(v) Finding possibilities to elaborate common terms and definitions relevant to General Assembly resolution 64/25 (at that time the last resolution on the subject).
In 2011 the General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution (A/RES/66/24) calling for a follow-up to the last GGE. The GGE will continue to study existing and potential threats in the sphere of information security and possible cooperative measures to address them, taking into account the assessments and recommendations contained in the 2010 Report and will report to the 68th session of the General Assembly in September 2013. This third GGE will have three one week meetings, the first was held in New York in August 2012, the second will be held in Geneva in January 2013, and the last in June of 2013 in New York.
The following Member States are participating in the GGE: Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Canada, China, Egypt, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, UK and USA. Ms. Deborah Stokes (Australia) was unanimously elected to Chair the Group.