Cyber Dialogue 2014 (Day 2 of 2)

Following yesterday’s introduction and preparation on day 1 of the Cyber Dialogue 2014, the conference participants started day 2 in their assigned working groups, covering specific challenges to effective oversight mechanisms (group 1: “From Surveillance to Cyber War: What are the Limits and Impacts?”), or more general topics like viable governance models (group 5: “Power Shift? Governance Models for the Next Billion”). 

Group 1 was split into two subgroups, covering a) surveillance and respective control mechanisms, and b) diplomatic and political approaches to cyber war. As a member of the latter, I will first give a few more details on the work of subgroup 1b), before I’ll cover subgroup 1a) in more general terms.


Subgroup 1b): Cyber War 

While Joseph Nye Jr.’s political scientific and power informed considerations delineated the substantial discussion on the one, chief scientist of the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies, Herbert Lin did so on the other side. The group of roundabout 20 politicians, lawyers, activists, and a representative of the private sector from at least four different continents was moderated by Rice University’s Chris Bronk, a former foreign service officer and author of a recent report on cyber security threats to the US’s energy industry and infrastructure produced for the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute.

The discussion started on the familiar terrain of the applicability of the law of armed conflict (LOAC). A similar examination of concepts that are well known from the physical (offline) realm followed, including the institutionalization of de-militarized zones, deterrence, arms control, no first use commitments, export controls (cf. Wassenaar Agreement i.a.), and (unilaterally initiated) confidence building measures. Informed by respective shortcomings relating to the attribution problem, as well as realist conceptions of the contemporary environment (the limits of self-restraint by states), the group eventually organized its diverse ideas and distilled foci, which it perceived worth being approached as first steps towards a stable and peaceful cyber space:

  • the establishment of viable norms of state behavior (self-restraint, accountability, predictability, etc.)
  • the determination if, and if yes, which actors in cyber space may be established as equivalents of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC; i.e. neutral, impartial, and independent entities)
  • the institutionalization of an inclusive participation of users and civil society as stakeholders of cyber security, beyond the government and private sector


Subgroup 1a): Surveillance

A brief summary of the results of the discussion of the subgroup on surveillance was organized along two questions and reads as follows:

1. What needs to be stopped?

  • mass surveillance/bulk collection of metadata
  • malicious hacking conducted by the government

2. How can better privacy protection be ensured?

  • institutionalization of parliamentary oversight
  • implementation of export controls
  • proliferation of encryption
  • naming and shaming black sheep of the private sector
  • increasing the transparency of telecommunication providers


A Final Remark

As each of the five working groups was constrained by a strict schedule that permitted exactly three discussion periods of 60-90 minutes, the outcomes of the group work were not supposed to be more profound than the few bullet points listed above.

The success of this dialogue, which brought together the who’s who of cyber security law and policy and Internet governance, is rather manifested in the identification of the broader direction, from which the pressing issues discussed during the conference can be approached, as well as in the food for thought that every participant took home with them, waiting to be internalized it in their future work.

Major events relating to the Cyber Dialogue 2014, especially to group 1 on surveillance and cyber war, are naturally on the agenda of the Crossroads Blog and will be covered in the future accordingly.

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Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic. Full biography

Shelby E. Mann

Ryan D. WhiteShelby is a second year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. She is the 2018-9 Editor in Chief of the Syracuse Law Review, as well as a member of the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. During her final year at the University of Missouri, she served as a full-time news producer for ABC 17 News. Shelby spent her first summer of law school at the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office in Memphis, Tenn., in the Public Corruption and Economic Crimes Unit. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a 2017 graduate of SU College of Law. A non-traditional student, Christopher returned to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering. Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

Anna Maria Castillois 2016 graduate of Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She served as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She wrote for this blog when a student. She is now a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography


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