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Global Advisory Board on digital threats during conflict

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A high-level advisory board is supporting the ICRC on the legal and policy challenges to protect civilians from cyber threats and other digital risks during armed conflict

Warfare is changing. The use of cyber operations and other digital technologies has become a reality of today's armed conflicts. While technological advances can have positive applications for the protection of civilians in armed conflict, new means and methods of warfare and the way they are employed can also pose new threats to civilians and combatants. They can also challenge the application and implementation of international humanitarian law.

To identify concrete ways to protect populations from cyber threats and other digital risks linked to the digital transformation of societies and armed conflicts, the ICRC's President is chairing a multidisciplinary group of legal, military, policy and technological experts.

The ICRC's Global Advisory Board will focus on several digital and cyber threats, during armed conflicts, to civilians.

Protecting civilian infrastructure against hostile cyber operations during armed conflict As societies are becoming increasingly digitalized and interconnected, the risk of cyber operations causing adverse humanitarian consequences is increasing.

Cyber operations over the past decade – mostly conducted outside armed conflicts – have posed a real risk to the provision of essential services to the civilian population, including medical, electrical, water, and sanitation, or nuclear facilities. These operations pose a real risk of harm to humans.

Protecting civilians against harmful consequences of information operations during armed conflict

The rapid evolution and increasing use of digital information technologies is turning misinformation, disinformation, and hate speech into an exacerbating and accelerating driver of conflict dynamics, violence, and harm to civilians.

Misinformation, disinformation, and hate speech can contribute directly or indirectly to adverse humanitarian consequences, for instance by inciting physical violence (such as through hate speech against minority groups).

The ICRC will also seek experts' expertise on other emerging cyber threats and digital risks. These include the increasing use of automatization and of artificial intelligence in cyber and information operation, new humanitarian risks linked to the exponential growth of the 'internet of things', and the multiplication of threat actors in the digital space.

Members of the ICRC's Global Advisory Board on Digital Threats Dapo Akande — Professor of Public International Law, & Co-Director, Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict, the Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University

Brigadier General (Ret) A.J. Coetzee, South African National Defence Forces

Vice Admiral (rt) Arnaud Coustillière, Cyber and Digital Senior Advisor, Str@t-Algo

Camille François, Chief Innovation Officer, Graphika

John Frank, Vice President for UN Affairs, Microsoft

Ambassador Amandeep S. Gill, Project Director/CEO, International Digital Health & AI Research Collaborative (I-DAIR)

Marina Kaljurand, Member of the EU Parliament for Estonia, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs for Estonia

Irene Khan, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression

Xiaodong Lee, Founder and CEO, Fuxi Institution, Vice Chairman of Internet Society of China, Research Professor of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Adjunct Professor of Tsinghua University

Doris Leuthard, former President and Federal Councillor of the Swiss Confederation, Switzerland

Elina Noor, Director, Political-Security Affairs and Deputy Director, Washington, D.C. Office at the Asia Society Policy Institute

Peter Maurer (Chairperson), President of the International Committee of the Red Cross

Mariana Salazar Albornoz, Rapporteur for Data Protection and for International Law applicable to Cyberspace, Interamerican Juridical Committee – OAS

Dmitry Samartsev, CEO, BI.ZONE

Marietje Schaake, International policy director at Stanford University Cyber Policy Center; international policy fellow at Stanford's Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence; President of the Cyber Peace Institute

Marcus Willett, Senior Cyber Adviser, International Institute for Strategic Studies