Microsoft proposes international set of rules for dealing with cyberspace

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Microsoft today has proposed a set of standards for how countries and corporations should handle privacy and security in cyberspace. In recommendations released today, Microsoft is pushing for countries and firms to team up to stop the sale of nonpublic security flaws used in cyberattacks.

“In some ways, companies like Microsoft are major cyberpowers in the way that nations are in terms of their influence on what happens on the internet,” says Bruce McConnell, global vice president of the EastWest Institute, an independent think tank. “It makes sense for companies to step up to those responsibilities.”

In addition, Redmond is calling on governments to stop asking tech companies to build “backdoors” into it’s products, similar to the issue Apple faced with the FBI in the San Bernardino case. The idea is that if companies can come to an agreement for a set of standards, web browsing will be safer and cyberattacks will be less likely to occur.

“The development of cybersecurity norms will require new forms of cooperation and possibly even new mechanisms or organizations to effectively deal with the new challenges of today and tomorrow,” says the Microsoft report, adding that the challenge will require tech companies to “strengthen their resolve and take active steps to prevent exploitation and adhere to a very clear set of cybersecurity norms that focus exclusively on protecting users.”

“Anything that makes cyberspace less risky for consumers is a step in the right direction,” says James Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “These norms would do that.”

So far no moves or agreements have been made, but we’ll keep everyone posted on any updates.

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