Posted by: Matt Thomlinson, General Manager, Trustworthy Computing.

In my blog post earlier this week, I shared that I’m traveling in Europe for a series of cybersecurity policy events.  This is my second and final post about this trip. 

After my first stop in Brussels, Belgium for the Global Cyber Security Conference, organized by the European Security Round Table (ESRT), I continued to Munich, Germany for the Munich Security Conference (MSC).  Now in its 49th year, the MSC is one of the premier annual gatherings of defense and foreign policy leaders from around the globe.  I participated in a session titled, “From Talleyrand to Twitter: Diplomacy in a Digital Age,” alongside Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski, Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schake, former U.S. State Department official Anne Marie-Slaughter, and moderated by Ben Scott.  I was honored to represent Microsoft at the MSC and share our perspectives with this distinguished group.

Diplomacy in the digital age really is a growing challenge. In a world with where billions of Internet users will connect with globally-distributed services across a broad range of devices, and action happening at machine speed, diplomacy must change to embrace the digital age.

At MSC, I illustrated the magnitude of change by distributing a visualization of projected Internet users in the year 2020 (Figure 1 below).  Styled after a world map, this data visualization shows countries sized by their relative population of Internet users and colored according to the total number of Internet users relative to the country’s population. Click on the image for a higher resolution version.

Figure 1: Projected Internet Users in 2020

It’s not just about diplomacy being more efficient - we’ll also have to break new ground in addressing emerging challenges, such as  norms of responsible behavior that guide nation-states’ actions, sustain partnerships, and support the rule of law in cyberspace.

As I’ve noted in a previous blog post, the development of cybersecurity norms needs input from the private sector in the form of an international public-private partnership.  The private sector develops, owns, and operates the majority of the world’s information and communication technology (ICT) products, services, and infrastructure. Because cybersecurity norms should take into account the private sector’s significant role in cyberspace, I commend the MSC for inviting Microsoft as a private sector voice to share our views on this new world.

Closing out my Europe visit, I am encouraged to see the EU institutions, governments, multilateral organizations (such as NATO), and other stakeholders taking an active role in advancing new ideas for cybersecurity.  I am both humbled and excited by the challenges before us, and I look forward to continued progress.

By the way – if you’re interested in Microsoft’s efforts to enhance cybersecurity through global policy efforts, I encourage you to visit Trustworthy Computing’s Global Security Strategy and Diplomacy site. It covers our efforts to enhance security across the cyber-ecosystem through collaborative work with governments, multilateral organizations, industry, and non-profit groups alike.