Futuristic circuit board. Photo: Getty Images
Futuristic circuit board. Photo: Getty Images

Cybersecurity and human rights are global issues that require dedicated international cooperation. The conference ‘People, Confidence, Resilience: Building Cyber Security For All’ was held to mark the 10th anniversary of the OSCE cyberspace confidence-building measures adoption. North Macedonia hosted the global gathering its capital, Skopje, from 23 to 24 October.

The conference brought together a host of government officials, diplomats and experts working on cyber-security from across Europe.

Noting that ‘Cybersecurity has become a crucial tool in protecting individuals' freedom of expression and other fundamental human rights in the online world,’ the session ‘Its About People’ convened representatives of the Ukrainian Ministry of Digital transformation; the international press freedom association Free Press Unlimited; the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media; the Metamorphosis Foundation, North Macedonia and PRIO Research Professor Kristin Bergtora Sandvik.

Focusing on digital risk and the centralization of cyber vulnerabilities in the humanitarian sector, Sandvik argued that more attention must be given to how organizations understand and balance digitalization and risk. Sandvik discussed how risk is justified in a context where people receiving humanitarian aid have a de facto duty of visibility with respect to acquiescing to give humanitarian actors and states access to images, information and biometrics.

“People and communities in crisis have little say, or access, to knowledge about how this data is used, stored, shared, deleted or unlawfully accessed. The allocation and mitigation of digital risk must be taken into account. To develop a better understanding of the human rights aspects of cybersecurity,” said Sandvik.