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Think tanks mull Geneva Convention for cybercrime

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Robert Holloway
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With control systems in dams, hospitals, power grids and industrial systems increasingly exposed online, it's possible that nation states could seek to damage or disable them electronically.

That's why the Global Commission on Internet Governance recommends that in any future cyberwar, governments should pledge to restrict the list of legitimate targets for cyberattacks, to not target critical infrastructure predominantly used by civilians, and to not to use cyberweapons against core Internet infrastructure.

An agreement won't eliminate all risks of cyberattack for civilian infrastructure, of course: Just as with the protection afforded hospitals and the like under the existing Geneva Conventions, there will always be those willing to ignore the rules.

"For some sub-state terrorist groups and rogue states, making daily life difficult for their enemies is already their policy and they have less to lose as they already regard themselves as being in a state of conflict," the report said.

Its whistle-stop tour of Internet ethics also takes in surveillance, privacy, anonymity, censorship and child protection, with additional chapters on reducing online crime and the threat that blockchain technologies pose to the established order.

CIGI was founded by former BlackBerry co-CEO Jim Balsillie.

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Robert Holloway
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