Monthly Report 12/2023 – Executive Summary

Monthly Report 12/2023 – Executive Summary

Current Happenings in the Internet Governance Context in November 2023

"Red phone" to Promote Cyber Security

On 19 December, the 78th UN General Assembly adopted three resolutions on cyber security and the Open Ended Working Group (OEWG). These included a report by OEWG Chair Gator containing the proposal to create an intergovernmental mechanism for so-called points of contact (PoC). The PoC mechanism is intended to help clarify cyber attacks. It can be compared to the "red phone" set up in the 1960s to prevent a nuclear war between the USA and the Soviet Union. The resolution introduced by France to develop a "Program of Action" (PoA) to implement the eleven cyber security norms of 2015 received 158 votes in favour and 10 against, which included China and Russia. The Russian draft for a UN cyber security convention received 112 votes in favour and 52 against, including from the USA and all EU members. (Further information)

Global Digital Compact Picks Up Speed

On 15 December, the timetable for the Global Digital Compact (GDC) was published.[2] It says that consultations with governments and non-governmental stakeholders are to take place in February and March 2024. Three rounds of intergovernmental negotiations are planned for April and May 2024. The GDC is to be adopted as an annex to the "Pact for the Future" at the "UN Summit of the Future" on 23 September 2024 in New York.

Guiding Principles for Artificial Intelligence

On 12 December, the UN advisory panel of experts on artificial intelligence appointed by UN Secretary-General Guterres presented its interim report. The report discusses five guiding principles (including multi-stakeholder, openness and inclusion) as well as various proposals for the creation of a new UN institution (similar to the IAEA and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).[3]  The final report is expected in August 2024.

EU: Cyber Resilience Act, EU AI Act and International Agreements on Data Exchange

A lot happened in the field of EU digital policyin December 2023. On 1 December, a final agreement was reached on the Cyber Resilience Act (CRA). The CRA aims to increase the security of hardware and software.[4]Agreement was also reached on the law on artificial intelligence – the EU AI Act – on 5 December. EU President von der Leyen commented: "The EU's AI Act is the first-ever comprehensive legal framework on Artificial Intelligence worldwide. So, this is a historic moment. The AI Act transposes European values to a new era". (Further information) At an "Industry Roundtable" on 4 December in Brussels, EU Commissioner Breton called on the private sector to invest more in digital infrastructures. An EU White Paper is to be published in spring 2024. (Further information) The 9th US-EU Cyber Security Consultations took place in Brussels on 5 and 6 December. ENISA and CISA, the two government bodies responsible for cyber security, agreed on an expanded exchange of data. (Further information) A similar cyber security dialogue with the UK followed on 15 December. On 11 December, the EU Commission launched consultations on the creation of a data exchange platform called "Agora" to implement the Digital Service Act (DSA). On 1 December, the EU Commission had already requested the US Internet company Meta to provide a report in accordance with the DSA. On 15 December, corresponding requests were also sent to Google and Apple. On 20 December, the three adult entertainment providers Pornhub, Stripchat and XVideos were defined as Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) and thus now also have to meet the reporting obligation.[11]On 14 December, the EU Commission concluded a contract worth €41 million with a private consortium, which includes IONOS on the German side, to create a "common European data space" in accordance with the Data Governance Act (DGA). [12]

Regulation of LAWS Is Making Progress

The use of "Gospel", a facial recognition software in Internet-based autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) to identify and kill Hamas fighters by the Israeli army, has reignited the debate on the regulation of these systems under international law. The LAWS negotiations under the umbrella of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), which have been ongoing for ten years, have so far been inconclusive. On 22 December 2023, the 77th UN General Assembly adopted a resolution with 152 votes in favour, which obliges the UN Secretary-General to submit a report on this topic to the next UN General Assembly. Four states, including Russia and India, voted "no". (Further information)















Wolfgang Kleinwächter

Professor Emeritus of Internet Policy & Regulation at Aarhus University