Emergency Conference: “Lessons from the Invasion of Ukraine and Digital Technology”

March 28th (Monday), 2022, 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Online (ZOOM/Webinar)

Hiroshi Esaki (Professor, Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo; WIDE Project Representative)
Jiro Kokuryo (Professor, Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University)
Hideki Sunahara (Professor, Graduate School of Media Design, Keio University)
Yasuhiko Taniwaki (Advisor, You Go Lab)
Hideyuki Tokuda (President, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology; Professor Emeritus, Keio University)
Ryosuke Nishida (Associate Professor, Institute for Liberal Arts, Tokyo Institute of Technology)
Shuya Hayashi (Professor, Graduate School of Law, Nagoya University)
Masao Horibe (Professor Emeritus, Hitotsubashi University)
Ichiya Nakamura (President, iU)
Naoto Kikuchi (Project Professor, Graduate School of Media Design, Keio University)

(Summary of remarks)
1) The objective of this symposium is neither to oppose war nor condemn Russia but to focus on how diplomacy should be taken up as a digital policy by governments, bureaucracies, academia, and civil society, and what should be done. The goal is to examine its track record during peacetime and wartime, and how this record should be remembered.

2) We released a proposal on March 16th, whose goal was to outline the issues that will be touched on instead of indicating a specific direction for the symposium. We had outlined these issues from three perspectives.

3) When we looked at the extent to which connectivity is concentrated in each country, we found that Russia had a decentralized style that is difficult to disrupt. This is important. In addition, ICANN has rejected requests to revoke Russian domains, making it possible for connectivity to be preserved even during wartime. The “information blockade” used in the past has not been effective in the case of Russia this time. There has also been coordination on a global scale in terms of Internet governance.

4) When we look back on 2022 in 50 years, the order of sovereign nations and nation states will probably be marked by (i) disinformation on global platforms, (ii) anarchic events associated with cryptocurrency, and (iii) challenges to the prevailing order by non-Western countries. Also striking is the strong alliance between the U.S. and Western Europe. The lifespan of nation states and sovereign nations that had emerged in the wake of the Industrial Revolution may be nearing its end.

5) Last week, FIRST published its comments on Internet governance. FIRST (Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams) is a global organization that responds to security incidents, and it currently comprises 190 teams that exchange information and coordinate their response to incidents on a global scale. FIRST had no choice but to exclude the teams from Russia and Belarus from its activities for the time being, which was an exceptional measure taken to protect its other members.

6) One challenge is how we can fundamentally alter the asymmetry of cyber-attacks. Such attacks cannot be defended against by a single organization, so collaboration within and beyond the country is essential. There needs to be a setup where AI is capable of countering fakes generated by AI. What concerns the Cyber Physical Society are things like autonomous combat drones. It is thus imperative to develop a set of international standards that every country conforms to.

7) Japan has said that fakes news is handled on the basis of self-regulation imposed within the private sector, yet few groups or organizations have adopted measures to address this issue in practice. Measures taken do not have an appreciable impact on the wider audience either. Both sides are decrying fake news on the issue of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, so it is vital to create an organization that is reliable and highly practicable, but there is no one to take the lead. The question is who is willing to do it.

8) It is difficult to identify the parties involved in a cyber conflict, e.g., whether they are states, groups such as Anonymous, or some other individuals who are simply exploiting the situation. What laws are applicable in such situations? In reality, “deterrence” is hardly effective in the context of cyber-attacks because of the inherent asymmetry. The Tallinn Manual needs to be revised.

9) A US organization similar to this forum that we have been involved in is the Center for AI and Digital Policy (CAIDP), which began as a project of Michael Dukakis (https://www.caidp.org/). On March 1st, it issued a “Statement on Russia’s Unjustified and Unprovoked Attack on Ukraine,” which has been posted here. Only one individual from Japan has endorsed this statement. In terms of fake news, the classic doctrine for the regulation of free speech is “clear and present danger.”

10) The Tallinn Manual is a manual on the subject of cyber-attacks published by NATO/CCDCOE. It offers operational interpretations of situations in which international law applies to the cyberspace, with Ver. 1.0 and 2.0 having been drafted and published. As plans to draft Ver. 3.0 of the manual have been announced in December 2020, the new version is likely to take recent events into account as well.

11) On the question of what is needed for Japan’s defense in terms of cyber security, there is currently a lack of professionals with the physical capabilities and expertise to assist with the country’s national CIRTs. We would like to create a united front in this regard.

12) Unfortunately, information is perceived as reliable in Russia as long as it is broadcasted. Social media has resulted in the formation of community-based trust where young people can participate in information that has been put out by certain individuals. On the important question of who the trust anchors are, we need to know how many trust anchors are needed, as well as the technology and governance in this regard. It is essential for more people to be like young people in recognizing not only the existence of state-sponsored trust anchors but also the importance of alternative trust anchors.

13) There is a habit of hiding incidents in Japan. There is a need to expand the scope of related information to be disclosed and shared, and to understand what security actually means.

14) The dissemination of disinformation during a conflict has been a common practice since ancient times, but the difference from before is the speed of transmission of disinformation and the magnitude of the swing of public opinion, which should be monitored objectively.

15) The amount of disinformation in English-speaking communities has grown and divided public opinion. While Japan’s society is highly dependent on Japanese-language media, what is new in this case is that even within Japanese-speaking communities, disinformation from the Russian Embassy and Russian media is now being circulated. There are concerns that any intervention by other countries on security issues closer to home or referendums on constitutional reforms may cause major confusion. Thus, there needs to be a greater effort to combat disinformation during peacetime. The EU has established national centers at universities and other institutions in the early 2010s, but in Japan, experts in each field still engage in separate discussions organized in a top-down manner. There should at least be a way of bringing experts together.

16) How to combat fake news is something that should be addressed in peacetime, but trust in the media is declining in both Japan and the US. Trust is of paramount importance.

17) How academics can utilize technology and eliminate fake news are important issues in which academics play a vital role.

18) Information flows across national boundaries even if a country’s airspace is not physically infringed upon, and this is equivalent to a declaration of war. It is thus time to reconsider the definition of war.

19) The idea of the human-centered use of AI has not taken hold. The lack of a means to enforce international law (via the International Court of Justice, United Nations, etc.) is a painful reminder of how helpless law is on this front.

20) This war was unforeseen, and there was a lack of proper negotiations. This reminds us of the need for such negotiations to take place even during peacetime. While today’s symposium is focused on academia, we hope to create opportunities to explore this topic again from the perspectives of journalism and other fields.