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France launches global cyber accord without support of US, China and Russia

The US, China and Russia have refused to lend their support to a new cyber security accord spearhead by the tech industry and signed by more than 50 countries.

The initiative, launched by French President Emmanuel Macron this week, sets out to establish rules to govern cyber space.

Signatories are calling on governments to create new standards for cyber space and reaffirm that UN laws are applicable in the digital realm.

The initiative was conceived by Microsoft and later revised by the French government to incorporate relevant UN agreements.

“The internet is a space currently managed by a technical community of private players. But it’s not governed. So now that half of humanity is online, we need to find new ways to organise the internet,” a French government official said in a statement.

“Otherwise, the internet as we know it today — free, open and secure — will be damaged by the new threats.”

Microsoft president Brad Smith, who was one of the original champions of the accord, said responsibility for peace in cyber space extended beyond just the tech industry.

“While the tech sector has the first and highest responsibility to protect this technology and the people who rely upon it, this is an issue that requires that governments, companies and civil society come together,” he wrote in a blogpost.

“That is the only effective way to protect people from what at times have become military-grade cybersecurity threats.”