Another international agreement, this time involving not just nations but also major tech companies and non-profits, which shows very broad support has a a noticeable absence from its list of signatories – the United States. The agreement, named the “Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace”, has gained almost 100 additional signatories, making more than 450 in total, since it was introduced by French President Emmanuel Macron at the Paris Peace Forum on November 13.
When the was originally introduced, Australia was also a hold out, but it has since signed on to the agreement, leaving the United States in the company of Russia, China, and North Korea, for example, as nations not signing on to the agreement, according to Axios’ report about the initial signatures on the agreement. Major tech companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, are also signatories to the agreement that seeks to curtail the weaponizing of cyber space. Signatories commit to work to prevent election interference by foreign interests and to protect computer users against cyberattacks. According to The Hill:
Nearly 100 nations and groups have added their names to an international agreement on actions in cyberspace in the weeks since the document was unveiled. The “Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace,” unveiled by French President Emmanuel Macron during the Paris Peace Forum on Nov. 13, has now earned more than 450 signatories…Microsoft played a leading role in the creation of the cyber agreement, and other prominent tech companies based in the United States like Facebook and Google are among the signatories. The U.S. has declined to add its name to the list, making it one of a handful of Western countries to distance itself from the document. Australia was initially not among the participating nations, but has since signed the agreement. The signing parties, which include global nonprofits and tech companies, agreed on principles meant to limit offensive and defensive cyber weapons.
The United States, Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada are allied in the Five Eyes digital surveillance alliance. Now that Australia has signed the cyber agreement, it makes the U.S. the only country in this important and powerful alliance that deals with issues of cybersecurity not to sign the “Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace”.
Failing to sign this agreement is another of the many ways in which the United States under President Trump does not stand with its allies, undervaluing the benefits of multilateralism, compromise, and diplomacy in the process.