2011- Securing the Cyber Commons: a Global Dialogue


The Canada Centre for Global Security Studies, at the Munk School of Global Affairs (University of Toronto), in conjunction with The SecDev Group, is convening a public forum entitled “Securing the Cyber Commons: a Global Dialogue” on March 27-28, 2011 in Toronto.

The aim of Securing the Cyber Commons is to address the challenges of balancing cyber security with respect for democracy, governance, and human rights, and the preservation of cyberspace as an open commons. Securing the Cyber Commons will feature spirited debates and facilitated conversations around some of the hard questions in this area.

Topics for discussion will include:

  • Should cyberspace be considered an open global commons, or a territorially defined space?
  • Can cyberspace be both open and secure at the same time?
  • What are the rules of the road around operations in the cyber commons?
  • Does the concept of arms control in cyberspace have any merit?
  • Can cyber crime and espionage be dealt with effectively without unduly sacrificing privacy protections?

We will be inviting an influential mix of global leaders from governments, civil society, academia and private enterprise to participate in a facilitated conversation – a Global Dialogue. The Dialogue will grapple with the hard questions of competing interests, values, and operational challenges presented by the new commons of cyberspace, and will cover a cross-section of policy, research, and advocacy tracks. The main panels of the Global Dialogue will be organized as Davos style conversations, but there will also be space made for smaller off-the-record meetings organized around the Chatham House Rule.

It is our hope that the conference will produce a long-lasting dialogue, a growing community around a common vision of cyberspace that is both secure and open, and an opportunity to convene constituencies from the national security, human rights, and private sector communities with a joint stake in these issues. A conference report that summarizes the main themes will be produced and widely distributed. The plenary sessions will be videotaped and archived for wide public screening.