Panetta talking international rules of behavior for cyberspace during Euro trip

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is discussing the U.S. government’s effort to establish international norms of behavior in cyberspace during his trip to Europe this week. "That’s going to be on the agenda for Secretary Panetta’s trip to Europe this week, it’ll probably be something that he talks about in his speech in London at the ...

U.S. Department of Defense
U.S. Department of Defense
U.S. Department of Defense

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is discussing the U.S. government's effort to establish international norms of behavior in cyberspace during his trip to Europe this week.

"That's going to be on the agenda for Secretary Panetta's trip to Europe this week, it'll probably be something that he talks about in his speech in London at the end of the week," a U.S. government official told Killer Apps over the weekend. "As we look at Secretary Panetta's tenure, this is something that remains in the front of his mind as a key priority."

The outgoing U.S. defense secretary just wrapped up a meeting today where he discussed the topic with his Spanish counterpart Defense Minister Pedro Morenes Eulate in Madrid, Spain, according to the official who just updated Killer Apps. 

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is discussing the U.S. government’s effort to establish international norms of behavior in cyberspace during his trip to Europe this week.

"That’s going to be on the agenda for Secretary Panetta’s trip to Europe this week, it’ll probably be something that he talks about in his speech in London at the end of the week," a U.S. government official told Killer Apps over the weekend. "As we look at Secretary Panetta’s tenure, this is something that remains in the front of his mind as a key priority."

The outgoing U.S. defense secretary just wrapped up a meeting today where he discussed the topic with his Spanish counterpart Defense Minister Pedro Morenes Eulate in Madrid, Spain, according to the official who just updated Killer Apps. 

After seeing billions of dollars in intellectual property stolen and physical damage done to some nations via cyber attacks, the U.S. has been trying to get nations around the world to subscribe to a set of acceptable behaviors in cyberspace that are based on the law of armed conflict. However, the process of establishing universally agreed upon codes of conduct in the relatively new domain of cyber will take decades, cautions another U.S. official. 

"The nature of it is very slow. It’s something that will occur over the course of decades rather than months," the second U.S. official told Killer Apps. "We place a lot of emphasis on it, we have ongoing talks with the Chinese, we engage with the Russians and then on a very regular, frequent basis we’re talking with our Five Eyes allies, the folks in NATO, the European Union and others."

"That’s the way you do it, you come to a common understanding" as to what behaviors the international community deems acceptable.

A key sticking point so far has been that the U.S. and its allies want the norms to focus on things like international cooperation to ban intellectual property theft, while nations such as China and Russia want the norms to leave them free to censor what their citizens view online.

John Reed is a national security reporter for Foreign Policy. He comes to FP after editing Military.com’s publication Defense Tech and working as the associate editor of DoDBuzz. Between 2007 and 2010, he covered major trends in military aviation and the defense industry around the world for Defense News and Inside the Air Force. Before moving to Washington in August 2007, Reed worked in corporate sales and business development for a Swedish IT firm, The Meltwater Group in Mountain View CA, and Philadelphia, PA. Prior to that, he worked as a reporter at the Tracy Press and the Scotts Valley Press-Banner newspapers in California. His first story as a professional reporter involved chasing escaped emus around California’s central valley with Mexican cowboys armed with lassos and local police armed with shotguns. Luckily for the giant birds, the cowboys caught them first and the emus were ok. A New England native, Reed graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a dual degree in international affairs and history.

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