Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday July 23, 2020
Cyber attack agreements needed to avoid mutually assured destruction, Blair says
Countries around the world need to form cyber attack agreements to avoid going down a path to “mutually assured destruction”, Tony Blair has said.
In the wake of the report into Russian interference in British democratic processes, the former prime minister called for states to “push for some common form of standards”.
Without such a framework, he warned, countries would be carrying out cyber attacks the “entire time to each other”, putting global security at risk.
In an interview with the PA news agency, Mr Blair, who was a leading Remain voice in the 2016 referendum, said he was “not one of those people who thinks the Brexit result came about as a result of Russian interference”.
But he said: “If they are interfering, and they will want to interfere, because obviously it is the policy of the Russian government to have a weaker West, and so you can see why they might want certain results to happen in politics.
“If they are trying to do it, then you need to take countermeasures.”
Mr Blair said that the “heightened ability to use cyber in destructive way” meant that at some point “the world is going to have to come to a set of agreements and protocols on this because otherwise you are going to be down a path of mutually assured destruction”.
“These capabilities are only going to grow, they are going to become more and more sophisticated, and governments are going to use them.
“But to be clear, that capacity has got to be developed in order to defend yourself as a country and then you’ve got to know how to both thwart interference and cyber attacks.
“And in the end you are going to have to push for some common form of standards here, otherwise countries are going to be doing it the entire time to each other and then the security of the world gets put at risk.”
Earlier this week, the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) accused the Government of being slow to recognise the potential threat posed by Russia to British democratic processes and of not properly considering whether Moscow could interfere in the Brexit referendum until after the event.
Mr Blair said: “I don’t know that people turned a blind eye deliberately – but the fact is that if a foreign government is essentially engaged in trying to disrupt our democratic process, whether they are successful in it or not, of course you’ve got to act. (Newschain.uk)