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updated 3/14/2011 2:14:10 PM ET 2011-03-14T18:14:10

World leaders will meet today (Feb. 4) to discuss implementing cyberwar rules of engagement.

At the Munich Security Conference, the EastWest Institute is scheduled to present a report that defines the ground rules for cyberconflict and “explores how to extend the humanitarian principles that govern war to cyberspace,” according to the institute’s website.

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Joe Lieberman, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will attend the summit.

The EastWest Institute’s proposal includes five recommendations: preserving the principles of the Geneva and Hague conventions that protect humanitarian rights; assigning designated “protected zones in cyberspace”; reinterpreting Geneva and Hague convention principles “in light of the fact that cyber warriors are often non-state actors”; determining if certain cyberweapons should be banned; and coming up with a definition of “cyberwar.”

Karl Rauscher co-authored “Working Towards Rules for Governing Cyber Conflict : Rendering the Geneva and Hague Conventions in Cyberspace,” from which the recommendations came.

A distinguished fellow at the EastWest Institute, Rauscher said the amount of critical infrastructure online – from electricity grids to “the systems that guide passenger planes through the air” – necessitate that clear lines be drawn in the event cyberspace becomes hostile ground.

His co-author, Andrey Korotkov, added, “Our hope is that these recommendations will provoke a broad international, cross-sector debate on the very hot topic of cyberconflict.”

 

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