Australia’s innovative cyber diplomacy bridging the foreign policy – technology divide

14 May 2019

Showcasing our innovative approach to cyber diplomacy, Australia and Denmark brought together senior cyber and technology diplomats from 21 countries for the inaugural Cyber and Tech Retreat. The Retreat allowed participants to develop a stronger understanding of common policy, ethical and regulatory challenges around emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

Through a series of discussions, Retreat participants came together to build new relationships with senior executives from some of the world’s largest tech companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook. The meetings allowed for frank and constructive conversations around how governments and industry can strengthen their collaboration to address the risks and opportunities associated with emerging technologies and ultimately promote an open, free, secure and prosperous cyberspace.

In addition to meetings with industry representatives, the Retreat saw participants engage with UC Berkeley’s Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity (CLTC) to address a series of future-looking cybersecurity scenarios aimed at examining the key policy steps governments around the world can take now to prepare for future technology-related challenges and opportunities.

Participants agreed that technology now represents a mainstream foreign policy issue and that increasing governmental and societal reliance, coupled with the technology industry’s steadily growing impact on national interests, means that all parties need to work closely to develop a range of nuanced policies that enhance the rewards from emerging technologies whilst managing the associated risks.

The inaugural Retreat represents an important step in ‘multilateralizing’ engagement with the technology sector and ultimately helps deliver on a range of commitments in Australia’s International Cyber Engagement Strategy.

Attendees agreed to continue their collaboration and discussions with a view to holding a second Retreat in 2020. Delegates represented the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Estonia, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States.

Photo of a group of people standing around watching a person write on a piece of paper.
Ambassador Feakin joins with his colleagues in a workshop on emerging technologies held in San Francisco. Credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.
Last Updated: 14 May 2019