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Joint Efforts for a Secure Cyberspace

Authors: Adam Segal, Ira A. Lipman Chair in Emerging Technologies and National Security and Director of the Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program, and Cherian Samuel, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses
November 30, 2010
The Economic Times


After President Barack Obama's visit, there is a great deal of enthusiasm about India and the US working together to secure the global commons — the air, sea, space and cyber domains that belong to all, are controlled by none, and are the “connective tissue of the international system” . While the two sides have already made significant progress in developing greater cooperation on the seas, cyberspace could be the next big thing — an area where Washington and Delhi share common interests , though there are also significant challenges to any joint approach.

Both India and the US have a stake in an internet that is open, global, and secure. Delhi and Washington share a vision of the web as a protected space for free speech; they also see its development as being largely driven by non-state and commercial actors. As democracies, both have to balance the tradeoffs among anonymity on the web, civil liberties , and the need to prevent the misuse of communication technologies by violent extremists . Both Indian and American IT companies benefit from global markets and security processes that are standardised and transparent. And both countries have been the victim of cyber espionage, aimed at stealing the intellectual property of their companies and state secrets.

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