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World Politics

William Hague calls for global deal over cyber emergencies


An international cyber security summit starting today will hold discussions about setting up a hotline and a code of conduct between Western countries and Russia and China when dealing with emergencies.

Speaking at the conference in Budapest, William Hague will call for a "new international consensus on rules of the road to guide future behaviour in cyberspace and new mechanisms to combat the worst abuse of it". However, the Foreign Secretary will argue against a formal treaty because "it would be cumbersome to agree, hard to enforce and too narrow on its focus". Civil rights activists fear that Moscow and Beijing may want to use a formal legal treaty to try and control internet output.

Both Russia and China are heavily involved in cyber warfare. Russia has been accused of carrying out an attack on Estonia while the Chinese government has hacked into the Facebook and email accounts of activists.

In a thinly veiled attack on Moscow and Beijing, Mr Hague will criticise countries which "pull the plug at times of political unrest", and "legislate against legitimate expression on the internet".