New America’s Tim Maurer Speaks about Cybersecurity at the United Nations

Blog Post
Nov. 3, 2014

On October 24, 2014, New America Research Fellow Tim Maurer addressed delegates at the United Nations (UN), delivering a speech on cybersecurity at the Global Conference on Cyberspace. The event took place in the context of the deliberations of the UN General Assembly’s First Committee on the topic and was hosted by the Permanent Mission of the Netherlands to the United Nations and co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Hungary, the Republic of Korea, and the United Kingdom. Dutch Ambassador Karel van Oosterom opened with welcoming remarks followed by a speech by Dr. Uri Rosenthal, Special Envoy for Cyber and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands outlining the goal and structure of the Global Conference on Cyberspace to take place from April 16-17, 2015 in the Netherlands. This conference, the fourth in a series of conferences that originated in the United Kingdom, seeks to guarantee an Internet that is open, free, and secure.

Maurer’s speech was titled “Muddling through is easier with a walking stick: why the Global Commission on Cyberspace Matters in the Year 2015.” He highlighted the transformative period we are currently experiencing as the world moves towards multi-polarity, nongovernmental organizations become more influential, and new technologies impact our everyday lives. “Each of these three trends alone would add complexity and create uncertainty in the international system,” Maurer says. “Together, they constitute significant change that we all are currently trying to muddle through.”

Maurer argued that the Global Conference on Cyberspace and the London process are important because they can provide more stability – serve as a walking stick – to the international community along the way. The GCC in particular adds value to the space as it is more nimble and innovative than existing institutions, offers a broader forum for countries to discuss security and freedom in the digital age, and enables senior officials to engage in a more informal setting.

Echoing Yale professor Charles E. Lindblom, Maurer concluded his speech stating that “I hope to muddle through – or along - and prefer having a walking stick to help us along the way.”

For a comprehensive overview of international processes in cyber space, please see Baseline Review of ICT-Related Processes & Events.