The School of Public Policy recently published a report on cyberspace governance and security. It questioned whether Canada, which is facing an increasing number of cyber threats from within and outside the country, was adequately prepared with countermeasures to combat the attacks.
Author Ron Diebert rues the fact that in the name of cyberspace security, Canada appeared to favor greater state control for the Internet, and seemed to be heading in that direction. Although the country had the potential to become a global leader in cyber security, its aimless direction and lack of a clear strategy in this area was preventing it from making use of the tremendous opportunity that lay within its grasp.
In the discussion of the consequences of squandering the chance to forge ahead in cyber security, Diebert noted that Canada still stood to lose a lot if it continued its spiral into “censorship, securitization, militarization and crime."
If Diebert’s vision of "distributed security” was to succeed, Canada would need to move away from “traditional top-down, state-centered models of security” that only served to espouse the cause of censoring Internet communications. Instead, it should work toward reducing state controls, enhance privacy protections and bring greater visibility on state power over the Internet.
Citing the repressive regimes in China and Russia, where Internet communication was censored, Diebert cautions Canada against falling prey and imposing similar controls, and also urges it to offer an “alternative vision that demonstrates dedication to Internet freedom.”
“Canadian cyber-security strategy should set an example by opening up the black box of intelligence and national security agencies, subjecting them to far greater scrutiny and oversight as a template for other countries to follow,” he observed.
According to Diebert, Technology developers were supplying tools to foreign regimes that helped them in their cause of stifling the Internet and dominating their own people – something that needed to be altered.
In addition, Canada would also need to have a foreign policy in place for cyberspace, and build a broad community to ensure that there was a common approach to cyber security.