Cyberdiplomacy in G7 2020
Cyberspace is not a neutral term. Multiple representations of it exist, some of which are contradictory and have shaped government strategies about cyberspace. In such instances, these representations become geopolitical tools. Some countries, such as Russia, have omitted the term “cyberspace” from their strategy, opting instead for the concept of “information space.” By using this broader concept, Russia does not confine itself to cyberspace, thereby giving itself more generalized control over information regardless of its distribution channel. While not a separate territory, cyberspace is viewed by actors in conflicts as a virtual world (in opposition to the “real” one) generated by network interconnectivity. However, the geopolitical conflicts in which cyberspace is both the object and the vector are real. They also reflect the rivalries between countries that exist outside the virtual world. In sum, cyberspace is a new medium for the expression of conflict.
One of the discussions is what we need to do as an effective deterrent strategy to make the price of trying to interfere with our democratic processes too high. At the moment, we do not have that deterrent strategy. However, we see that Cyberspace is increasingly polarised. To bring into perspective, the G7 countries, namely, the U.S., Japan, Germany, France, UK, Italy, and Canada, reaffirmed their fundamental role to facilitate the free flow of information for promoting the global economy and development in Cyberspace. Also, the importance of respecting and promoting privacy, data protection, and a commitment to a multi-stakeholder approach is adhered to. Besides this, there was a proposal for a framework for sanctions and public exposure of offenders of cyberattacks as a probable solution to the state-sponsored cyberattack. This meeting clearly marked a visual of polarisation of state behavior in Cyberspace. The G7 was looking to ally the imposition of penalties, sanctions, and restrictions for a state-driven cyberattack. A reference to the NotPetya intrusion, allegedly a Russian sponsored attack, was made by the United States. It is essential to highlight that after 1997, the G7 became G8 for nearly two decades with the inclusion of Russia, but the country was ejected from the group after it invaded and annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Ever since then, the geopolitics at the summit has depicted an anti-Russia sentiment. Also, Japan had expressed concerns about Chinese activities in Cyberspace to influence elections, trade-war, and to promote Beijing's geographical claim.
Cyberdiplomacy in G7 2020 highlighted that there is a need to do a general analysis of the current situation regarding the geopolitics of Cyberspace. Also, we will assess questions regarding the need for going beyond G7 in Cybersecurity. We will also assess if sanctions can be imposed and whether sanctions are good.