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হোম > The Increasing Need for Cyber Diplomacy
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লেখকের নাম: Md. Tawhidur Rahman Pial
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The Increasing Need for Cyber Diplomacy
The Increasing Need for Cyber Diplomacy
Md. Tawhidur Rahman Pial

Today, data is the new oil. It is at the core of modern developments and is increasingly shaping political and economic lives. As more data is stored and processed digitally, the governance of this data is having an impact on diplomacy, just as the politics of oil has been doing over the past 100 years. Digital diplomacy is ever so important.
What is Digital Diplomacy?

Digital diplomacy describes new methods and modes of conducting diplomacy with the help of the Internet and ICTs, and describes their impact on contemporary diplomatic practices. Related - and interchangeable - terms include cyber diplomacy, net diplomacy, and e-diplomacy. Cumulatively, the Internet is having a profound effect on the two cornerstones of diplomacy: information and communication. 
The Impact of Information and Communication Technology on Diplomacy

ICT is intimately embedded in national or international issues, international relations and diplomacy. Nowadays, ICT has also multiplied the human capability to cause damage or devastation in the social and political aspects of life. Thus, international relations and diplomacy has a challenge to find ways to preserve world peace. As sovereign states try to gain better position in the world compared to another nation, ICT has brought new tools for states to compete without open conflict. The new phase shows that diplomacy serves not only as the art to negotiate and protect one’s interest or to promote the influence in international affairs. For every self-governing country, both diplomacy and ICT has grown to be fundamental instruments for managing international relations which projecting the essence of protecting national security and the national power it has.
`Newness’ that occurred with diplomacy today has everything to do with the operation of new communication technologies to diplomacy. The changes that happened go right to the core of diplomacy including negotiation, representation function, and communication. The balance between new and old ways of communication is not similar and seems not to implicate that there are revolutionary changes with it. With the influence of governmental networks, in transnational multi-stakeholder environments, and in both friendly and antagonistic relations between states there is greatly significant shifting in the `offline’ side of diplomacy that interconnect with the emerging `online’ diplomacy side.

Despite the impact of ICT on international relations and diplomacy, it is still unclear whether the cyber-sphere perceived as borderless is notas borderless as commonly thought. The sphere itself is the combination of absent virtual borders with existing and distinct legal ones that have allowed cyber-offences to thrive. The specific feature of cyber era is the multinational impactthat could be set by cyber-attacks. The impact it brings emphasizes the necessity for a public policy and common consensus by involving stronger international component. Due to the nature of the cyberspace itself and the asymmetric criteria, the cyber threat signifies a challenge for political leaders, which also obliges a diplomatic effort. Based on that context, it is important for countries to have coordination of legal frameworks on cyber security together with the implementation and operational consensus with another country. The frameworks itself may arise from regional bases.

E-tools in digital diplomacy
The concept of social networks needs no introduction, since they are now part of our everyday lives. Twitter and Facebook are currently the most popular e-tools used by foreign ministries around the world. These two networks are particularly good examples of integrated platforms, because they can be linked to one another, driving traffic from one platform to the other.

Twitter allows the user to sound the opinions of the community on various issues, engage in discussions with others to present and explain own positions, and identify articles and readings on particular topics of interest (through following posts tagged with ‘hashtags,’ for example #ediplomacy). Italian diplomat Andreas Sandre’s Twitter for Diplomats (2013) is a very useful resource on Twitter specific to this professional field.Previously used mainly to connect with friends and share updates (statements, feelings, photos, event invitations, music, interesting readings and links, etc.), Facebook is increasingly used for professional outreach as well. By creating institutional or public personal profiles, pages, interest groups, or events, an organisation can gather a community interested in their work, curate content, and engage efficiently with the community and the public.

Other platforms include YouTube, FlickR, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram. While the above refers to social media, there are then other e-tools which are important for public diplomacy. These include blogs, which are immensely popular, and wikis, which are nowadays more frequently used for internal purposes, such as knowledge management.

The 5 Core e-Competences
The specific value of e-tools lies in a set of core skills - the 5 Core e-Competences (5Cs) - which diplomats need to harness:

* Curate: Listening is the first step. It is done by curating information and knowledge.
* Collaborate: While you curate, you gradually start collaborating both within your organisation and with outside communities. You start developing your community by sharing resources, asking questions, etc.
* Communicate: It is time to start communicating. This skills represents the ability and knowledge to extend your outreach and visibility.
* Create: After curating, collaborating and communicating, you are much more comfortable in social media. You have a solid following. It is time to focus more on creating your online content.
* Critique: By now you should have gained more social visibility. This also exposes you to more critical comments and discussion. You need to engage in critical discussions and learn how to manage criticism.
In the context of digital diplomacy, these competences represent the skills and knowledge needed by professionals to perform optimally in the digital world. Effective social media campaigns are also based on these core skills.

The theory of time
As with many other skills, developing competencies in digital diplomacy requires time. On social media, we estimate that a practitioner requires:

* One day to get acquainted with the e-tools for digital diplomacy.
* One month to become a good e-listener, and to actively follow the core resources.
* One year to become an active e-diplomat, ie, to contribute and develop a stable following.
The timeframes are not necessarily literal, but are meant to demonstrate the ration and proportion of time needed for the e-diplomat to acquire and employ the core e-competences.
Cyber Diplomacy around the World
European Union

The focus of the European Union is the governance and application of international law in cyberspace. The issues under this include protecting the free and open Internet, reducing cybercrime, building capacity in third world countries, enhancing international stability and protecting the digital economy.

Cyber Administration of China, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Central Internet Security and Leading Information Group, are the key cyber diplomacy agencies in China. A landmark cyber espionage deal was reached between the US and China in September 2015. Washington and Beijing endorsed norms of behavior in cyberspace and agreed to cooperate in cyber investigations.

South Korea

South Korea engages in active cyber diplomacy. Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Internet and Security Agency are the bodies in charge of cyber issues in South Korea.


In India, the government rather than the private sector is taking the lead in cyber security awareness. Ministry of Communications & ICT is at the forefront. Other government agencies championing cyber issues are National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre and Department of Electronics & Information Technology.

The Bilateral Dialogue on Cyber Issues

U.S. – China cyber dialogue led to a cyber security agreement where both parties agreed not to engage in cyber-enabled economic espionage against each other. India and United States have committed to robust cooperation on cyber issues.

EU is pursuing cyber dialogues with USA, South Korea, India, Japan, China and other countries. European Parliament plays an important role is strengthening Internet technologies.

The Increasing Need for Cyber Diplomacy
The world is becoming more networked and interconnected. This has created challenges such as cyber security, cyber espionage, privacy and Internet freedom. Governments around the world need to work together to shape cyberspace policy. To protect national interests and enhance the security of Internet users, there is need for continued cyber diplomacy between countries.


Diplomacy as a major instrument between states in the world is facing a new phase. The new phase shows that diplomacy is not only the art to negotiate and protect one’s interest or to promote the influence in international affairs. Cyber diplomacy has strong international implications that require international commitment and collaboration and along with appropriate defense capabilities, cyber diplomacy development and diplomatic strategies designed to outline the present security environment. Cyber diplomacy is also fundamental for confidence building measures between countries in a region.
In a region like Southeast Asia, ASEAN as a regional organization must serve as a platform that enable the member countries to be prepared for any security threats that challenge the region as the security issues evolve from time to time. To complete strategies to face the conventional security threat like border dispute should still be the headline. Even though ASEAN readiness to face contemporary security issue is still questionable, ASEAN still manage to have blueprints and master plans for the realization of ASEAN Community to ensure its path
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