Debating an International Cyber Code of Conduct

Cyber officials with National Defense University’s iCollege debated the merits of developing an international code of conduct for cyberspace at AFA’s CyberFutures Conference in National Harbor, Md., on Friday. Such a code would be similar to what’s being discussed with the European Union for space. Robert Childs, iCollege chancellor, said he favors some type of international code if given the choice between that and having NATO members deem a cyber attack on one partner nation an attack on all by invoking Article 5 of the NATO charter. Conversely, Samuel Liles, an iCollege associate professor who appeared with Childs, cautioned that a code of conduct could actually do more harm than good. “Codes of conduct have a tendency to hurt us more than others because we have a tendency to follow them more than others,” asserted Liles. However, he argued, a prudent next step is to come up with common definitions for cyber, so all the partner nations are working from the same level of understanding.