Cyber 2020

Opportunities and challenges in a new decade.

22 October 2020 TO 23 October 2020 — 1:00PM TO 4:00PM

Corporate members: Registration is complimentary for Chatham House corporate members via our virtual conference platform

Non-members: Participants from non-member organizations can register using the booking button above.

For cyberspace, the last decade has been one marked by rapid technological development, extensive global growth, and its ever-greater importance as part of our everyday lives. The coming decade promises to be equally significant, with the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrating both the opportunities and challenges that global society faces in the continued development of cyberspace and digital technology.  

On the one hand, COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of cyberspace and digital technology to everyday life, as governments and societies seek technological solutions to the ongoing crisis, from using digital technology to help track and contain outbreaks, to trying to run national economies, at least partially, remotely. On the other, the pandemic has served to both amplify existing threats and create new vulnerabilities in the current systems, as governments struggle to effectively govern, regulate and engage with these rapidly evolving technologies.

As Chatham House celebrates its centenary year, Cyber 2020 will examine how the immediate crisis has interplayed with the broader trends in cyberspace that will shape the coming decade, and how different actors can work together to positively engage with them and foster a cyberspace that is truly global and inclusive. 

  • How has COVID-19 pandemic both heightened and created new cybersecurity threats? How are these interplaying with broader ongoing geopolitical trends? 

  • As technological developments allow for the gathering of increasingly sophisticated data on individuals and societies, how has the ongoing crisis highlighted the importance of effective data regulation and governance? 

  • As the internet continues to develop as a truly global phenomenon, what are the implications of the rise of new regional players in cyberspace? 

  • How can different actors, including civil society, work together to create an effective and inclusive common framework(s) for international cyber governance?

This conference is part of the Chatham House LIVE series and will be hosted online and on the record.

The LIVE series will bring together international audiences and enable participants to connect with peers from across the globe. Over the course of each LIVE conference, participants will be able to engage in high-level panel discussions and conversations between policymakers, business leaders and international experts. Other interactive features will include polling and live analysis of results, in addition to live question and answer sessions between participants and speakers.



Thursday 22 October (all times are BST)

COVID-19 and the Increasing Threat of Cybercrime

The COVID-19 crisis has both amplified already-existing cyber threats, while also creating new vulnerabilities for organisations as widespread national lockdowns have led to changing work patterns such as remote working. Meanwhile, cybercriminals are embracing new innovations and methodologies to conduct increasingly sophisticated attacks on their targets. 

  • How has the pandemic provided new opportunities for cybercriminals and amplify vulnerabilities in current systems?

  • How are cyber criminals engaging with and utilizing new technologies as part of their attacks?

  • What vulnerabilities do companies face as their systems become ever more integrated into cyberspace and how have organisations coped with the transition to remote working? 

  • How do micro conversations around cybercrime and organisational threats and vulnerabilities connect with larger cyber-defence conversations around international policy, governance, and state relations?

Ria Thomas, Managing Director, Polynia Advisory

Joel Harrison, Partner, Technology Practice, Milbank
Neil Walsh, Chief, Cybercrime and Anti-Money Laundering Department, UN Office of Drugs and Crime
Victoria Baines, Visiting Research Fellow, Oxford Department of International Development; Trust & Safety Manager EMEA, Facebook (2013-17)
Andrew Tsonchev, Director of Technology, Darktrace

Questions and discussion


Networking break


Privacy, Regulation and Surveillance in the ‘Data Decade’

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated both the possibilities of data as an increasingly integral part of modern society, as well as heightened concerns around its effective regulation and governance. The use of data has helped map the virus’ spread, as well as contain and tackle outbreaks through the use of contact tracing apps. However, the crisis has also highlighted the increasing reach, sophistication and intrusive nature of data gathering, as well as the absence of suitable frameworks for its effective governance and regulation.

  • In what different ways has the pandemic highlighted the possibilities around the increasing sophistication of the gathering of data?

  • What questions have contact tracing apps and other data solutions to the current health crisis raised around surveillance and the privacy of the individual?

  • What could the lessons and implications of the current health crisis be for broader trends in data gathering and surveillance tech? 

  • What are some of the different models on data governance that are emerging? 

  • How can governments engage with both tech companies and the general public to create an informed framework for effective regulation and governance of data?  

Emily Taylor, CEO, Oxford Information Labs; Associate Fellow, International Security Programme, Chatham House

Joseph Cannataci, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy
Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director, Cyber Policy Center, Stanford University; Member of European Parliament (2009-19)
Alexandrine Pirlot de Corbion, Director of Strategy, Privacy International

Questions and discussion


End of day one


Friday 23 October (all times are BST)

Chair’s Welcome and Opening Keynote

Robin Niblett, Director and Chief Executive, Chatham House

Casper Klynge, Vice President, European Government Affairs, Microsoft

Questions and discussion


New players Shaping Cyberspace: Challenges and Opportunities

The most rapid growth of internet usage in the last decade has been seen outside of Europe and North America, as countries invest in their digital economies. Meanwhile, the establishment of a United Nations Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) in 2018 has allowed, for the first time, participation of all 193 UN Member States in conversations around cyber governance and security. Such trends have led to the emergence of important regional players in cyberspace.

  • What trends are we seeing regionally and globally as countries invest in their digital economies and take an increased interest in global conversations on cyberspace?

  • How have developments in the UN and elsewhere enabled different players to have a greater say in conversations around cyber security and governance? 

  • What perspectives are different regional players bringing to the cyberspace debate? What challenges do they face in engaging with this debate? 

  • What is the impact of these different players on conversations?

Joyce Hakmeh, Senior Research Fellow, International Security Programme, Chatham House; Co-Editor, Journal of Cyber Policy

Advocate Doctor Mashabane, Chief Director, UN Political, Peace and Security, Department of International Relations and Cooperation, South Africa
Latha Reddy, Co-Chair, Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace; Deputy National Security Adviser (2011-13), India
David Koh, Chief Executive, Cyber Security Agency, Singapore
Phoram Mehta, Senior Director, APAC CISO, PayPal

Questions and discussion


Networking break


States and Cyberspace: Deterrence, Attribution and Retaliation

The last few years have seen cyberspace and technology become increasingly territorialised and intertwined with geopolitics. Such trends demonstrate that threats to states in the physical world can also be translated into cyberspace. Despite this, international norms and commitments in cyberspace remain relatively weak, raising important questions around deterrence, attribution and retaliation.

  • What is the impact of increasing tensions in international relations and the increased territorialisation of cyberspace?

  • What efforts are being made at both a national and international level regarding attribution and accountability in cyberspace? 

  • What different offensive capabilities are states developing in cyberspace? How are emerging technologies such as AI and Quantum computing influencing cyber offence and defence?  What are the ethical and legal implications of such developments and what other tools are at states disposal to respond to major cyber-attacks? 

Beyza Unal, Senior Research Fellow, International Security Programme, Chatham House

John Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, US Department of Justice
Carmen Gonsalves, Head, International Cyber Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands
Elisabeth Braw, Senior Research Fellow, Modern Deterrence, RUSI
Madeline Carr, Professor of Global Politics and Cyber Security, University College London; Director, UK Research Institute in Sociotechnical Cyber Security

Questions and discussion


Networking break


Creating a Common and Inclusive International Framework(s) for Cyber Governance

This closing session will reflect on the developments and associated challenges discussed in the conference and how they are impacting conversations around international cyber governance. The session will then explore how to bring together different stakeholders in cyberspace to build on existing efforts, such as the two parallel processes in the UN (GGE and OEWG) and the 2018 Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace, to create a common global framework(s) for cyber governance.

  • What gaps exist in international cyber governance? How have they grown with technological and political developments? 

  • What have the UN negotiations looking at the rules of the road in cyberspace achieved so far? And what are some of the concrete examples of how they have helped creating a more peaceful and stable cyberspace? 

  • What is the incentive for the private sector to invest in the diplomatic negotiations? And why do we see some companies investing in this space much more than others?

  • What is the added value of engaging civil society in these debates? And how can these negotiations, and any other future ones, be made inclusive in terms of gender and perspectives from the global south?

Patricia Lewis, Research Director, Conflict, Science & Transformation; Director, International Security Programme

Lyu Jinghua, Visiting Scholar, Cyber Policy Initiative, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Olaf Kolkman, Principal, Internet Society
Felix Kroll, Deputy Head, Cyber Foreign Policy Division, Federal Foreign Ministry of Germany

Questions and discussion


End of conference