Value-Driven Cybersecurity

Constructing an Alliance for Value-driven Cybersecurity (CANVAS) launched ~two years ago with F-Secure as a member. The goal of the EU project is “to unify technology developers with legal and ethical scholars and social scientists to approach the challenge of how cybersecurity can be aligned with European values and fundamental rights.” (That’s a mouthful, right?) Basically, Europe wants to align cybersecurity and human rights.

If you don’t see the direct connection between human rights and cybersecurity, consider this: the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is human rights law. Everybody’s data is covered by GDPR. Meanwhile, in the USA… California’s legislature is working on a data privacy bill, and there’s now a growing amount of lobbyists fighting over how to define just what a “consumer” is. So, in the USA, data protection is not human rights law, it’s consumer protection law (and there are likely to be plenty of legal loopholes). And in the end, not everybody’s data will be covered.

So there you go, the EU sees cybersecurity as something that affects everybody, and the CANVAS project is part of its efforts to ensure that the rights of all are respected.

As part of the project, on May 28th & 29th of this year, a workshop was organized by F-Secure at our HQ on ethics-related challenges that cybersecurity companies and cooperating organizations face in their research and operations. Which is to say, what are the considerations that cybersecurity companies and related organizations must take into account to be upstanding citizens?

The theme made for excellent workshop material. Also, the weather was uncharacteristically cooperative (we picked May to increase the odds in our favor), the presentations were great, and the resulting discussions were lively.

Topics included:

  • Investigation of nation-state cyber operations.
  • Vulnerability disclosure and the creation of proof-of-concept code for: public awareness; incentivizing vulnerability fixing efforts; security research; penetration testing; and other purposes.
  • Control of personal devices. Backdoors and use of government sponsored “malware” as possible countermeasures to the ubiquitous use of encryption.
  • Ethics, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity.
  • Assisting law enforcement agencies without violating privacy, a CERT viewpoint.
  • Targeted attacks and ethical choices arising due to attacker and defender operations.
  • Privacy and its assurance through data economy and encryption, balancing values with financial interests of companies.

The workshop participants included a mix of cybersecurity practitioners and representatives from policy focused organizations. The Chatham House rule (in particular, no recording policy) was used to allow for free and open discussion.

So, in that spirit, names and talks won’t be included in text of this post. But, for those who are interested in reading more, approved bios and presentation summaries can be found in the workshop report (final draft).

Next up on the CANVAS agenda for F-Secure?

CISO Erka Koivunen will be in Switzerland next week (September 5th & 6th) at The Bern University of Applied Sciences attending a workshop on: Cybersecurity Challenges in the Government Sphere – Ethical, Legal and Technical Aspects.

Erka has worked in government in the past, so his perspective covers both sides of the fence. His presentation is titled: Serve the customer by selling… tainted goods?! Why F-Secure too will start publishing Transparency Reports.

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