“The malicious use of technology is spreading and is a threat (…)

Madam President,

I thank Ms. DiCarlo, Ms. Nyabola and Mr. Drouet for their presentations.

I will emphasize three points.

Digital technologies are, above all, an opportunity for international peace and security.

Peacekeeping operations have been at the forefront of these efforts. This is stated in the statement of the President, adopted in August last year at the initiative of India. These technologies contribute to the security of Blue Helmets and operations, in particular to improve the protection of civilians. They are revolutionizing the strategic communication of peacekeeping operations. Therefore, France will continue to support all these innovations.

Technology is also a lever to mobilize and engage civil society. In Sudan, UNMIS held an online consultation that allowed all of civil society to speak up, including in the regions. By facilitating the flow of information, technology also contributes to the fight against impunity, as evidenced by media coverage and open source intelligence in the context of the conflict in Ukraine.

But the malicious use of technology is spreading and may also pose a threat to international peace and security.

First of all, I am referring to the development of the cyber threat, as again evidenced by the conflict in Ukraine. France and the European Union, as well as a number of partners, condemned, in particular, the cyber attack carried out by Russia against a network of satellites an hour before the invasion of Ukraine in order to facilitate its aggression. International law is fully applicable to cyberspace. We also condemn North Korea’s malicious cyber activities to steal sensitive information and cryptocurrencies to aid its nuclear and missile programs. We are also concerned about the growing use of cryptocurrencies for terrorist financing. We condemn the escalation of attacks against humanitarian organizations and NGOs.

Digital technologies are also facilitating information warfare. We condemn the massive disinformation campaigns that are being waged in the Central African Republic and Mali, as well as those accompanying Russia’s war against Ukraine. In Mali, France recently thwarted a crude attempt at information manipulation by mercenaries from the Wagner group. This example illustrates the threat posed by hybrid strategies aimed at blurring the line between state and non-state actors.

Internet shutdown is a violation of human rights. We deplore the continued disruption of communications in northern Ethiopia. This has made it difficult to gather evidence of human rights violations that should not go unpunished. In the Middle East, internet shutdowns are being used to dampen protest movements, and some human rights activists are being followed and harassed on social media.

As these threats multiply, governments must respond with cooperation and law.

The United Nations provides an indispensable framework for achieving this goal. France will continue to contribute to this, including by ensuring that these concerns are taken into account in Security Council resolutions. Together with a group of 60 countries, we are helping to create a Program of Action within the United Nations aimed at strengthening the ability of states to implement harmonized cyber standards and to increase the resilience of networks.