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France And India Strengthen Ties Through Cybersecurity Cooperation Agreement

Indo-French alliance heralds collaboration on AI, 5G, and quantum computing

France and India have kickstarted a bilateral cybersecurity and technology partnership aimed at combating cybercrime, protecting citizens’ online rights, and promoting digital commerce and innovation.

Last month, officials from the National Cybersecurity Agency of France (ANSSI) met their Indian counterparts at the CyFy conference in New Delhi, where 130 speakers gathered to discuss the evolution of cyber threats and digital technology and the implications for society and geopolitics.

During the three-day visit on October 14-16, ANSSI delegates took part in a panel that focused on the role of network security in protecting data.

The event marked one of the first steps in the ‘Indo-French Roadmap on Cybersecurity and Digital Technology’.

Signed in August, the agreement, the partnership between the two nations will see cooperation in:

  • Intelligence sharing to prevent cyber-attacks and financial fraud
  • Possible regulation of social media to combat cybercrime, terrorism, fake news, and data misuse
  • Promoting states’ sovereignty over digital infrastructure within their borders
  • Convergence of data protection frameworks (GDPR being the obvious template)
  • Mitigating risks around 5G deployment
  • Development of an Indo-French research program on artificial intelligence
  • Opening an Indo-French Center of Excellence in Quantum Calculation to deepen cooperation in quantum computing
  • Testing and certification of digital products

Indo-French alliance

The signing of the roadmap between France and India comes amid a rising tide of state-sponsored cyber-attacks impacting countries around the world.

A report published in July by France’s Interior Ministry, for instance, revealed that incidents of cybercrime within France doubled between 2016 and 2018.

India, meanwhile, was subject to the most internet of things (IoT) attacks of any country in the world, according to a recent report (PDF), with politically-motivated hackers blamed for a 22% quarterly jump in IoT attacks against the country.

In its latest annual report (PDF), ANSSI said cyber-espionage was among the gravest threats confronting France.

Commenting on the findings, ANSSI director general Guillaume Poupard said: “Agreeing at international level on what is permitted and what is not in cyberspace is vital.”

Gerome Billois, cybersecurity consultant at Wavestone, told The Daily Swig earlier this year that efforts to foster transnational cooperation lacked urgency in a fast-moving digital threat landscape.

“The main problem is the delay when we need to have cooperation between police forces,” he said. “Cyber needs to be fast.”

These sentiments were echoed recently by Lauri Rautio, a senior ministerial adviser from the Finnish Department of Criminal Policy and Criminal Law.

“We are very well aware that criminality in cyber space is a moving target and poses some new challenges,” he told The Daily Swig.

“This has to be done together with our partners within and outside the EU – criminality in cyberspace does not stop to the borders of any single state or the EU.”


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