Monday, December 14, 2009

International 'cyber' treaties

Interesting article in the NYT covering Obama's discussion with Russia over Internet security. The paragraph I found most interesting was near the end:

The Russians have focused on three related issues, according to American officials involved in the talks that are part of a broader thaw in American-Russian relations known as the "reset" that also include negotiations on a new nuclear disarmament treaty. In addition to continuing efforts to ban offensive cyberweapons, they have insisted on what they describe as an issue of sovereignty calling for a ban on “cyberterrorism.” American officials view the issue differently and describe this as a Russian effort to restrict “politically destabilizing speech.” The Russians have also rejected a portion of the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime that they assert violates their Constitution by permitting foreign law enforcement agencies to conduct Internet searches inside Russian borders.
If their sources are accurate the Russians are basically trying to get agreement that they can go after internal dissenters, while guaranteeing nobody can track back Russian criminals to Russia and ban the US (and presumably any other developed nation) from developing "offensive cyberweapons". Presumably they would of course stop any development that they have going on... but I don't believe it. I think they're just trying to prey on Obama's desire for dialog and see what they can get out of it while giving nothing up. They have an extensive history of both oppressing free speech in their country while leaving the RBN (Russian Business Network) alone to attack companies, individuals and countries around the globe without consequence. On our part it looks that the US is trying to get the Russians to engage on the International criminal activity in the cyber-domain emanating from within their borders. Good luck to the US officials on that, will be interesting to see what sort of agreements (if any) come out.