Australia's international cyber engagement champions an open, free and secure cyberspace. Through comprehensive and coordinated engagement on cyber affairs, we will maximise opportunities for economic growth and prosperity through digital trade. Australia will cooperate internationally to reduce the risk of cybercrime and promote peace and stability in cyberspace. We will advocate for multi-stakeholder Internet governance and respect for human rights and democratic principles online. We will partner to foster good cyber security practices and encourage the use of digital technologies to achieve sustainable development, particularly in our region.

The digital technology revolution is fundamentally a story of prosperity. Increasingly, cyberspace acts as an economic enabler. Connectivity helps improve productivity and provides customers and the private sector with greater access to the global marketplace. Shaping an enabling environment for digital trade will deliver increased prosperity for Australia and enhance realisation of economic opportunity globally.

This progress is only possible if underpinned by sound cyber security. The spread of digital technologies creates profound economic opportunities but, at the same time, creates new vulnerabilities. Individuals, the private sector and governments around the world face an evolving array of cyber threats. Governments and the private sector working together to develop a strong cyber security posture is an essential prerequisite to ensuring we can all safely capitalise on the benefits of increasing connectivity. As part of this effort, Australia will encourage innovative cyber security solutions and deliver world leading cyber security advice.

Improving cyber security is an important way of mitigating the risk of cybercrime. Left unchecked, criminal use of the Internet threatens to undermine the economic opportunity offered by the digital domain. Like cyberspace, cybercrime is not confined by geographic borders.

As such, Australian individuals, the private sector and government can be exposed to threats emanating from other countries. Working collaboratively with international partners and helping countries in our region improve their capacity to address cybercrime will improve prevention and prosecution of cybercrime worldwide.

It is not only criminals who threaten the online environment. Developments in cyberspace have created a new arena in which states can exert influence. The increasingly complex nature of the international landscape means that more and more actors now pursue strategic goals in the digital domain; some challenging the international rules-based order in the process. Australia is committed to a peaceful and stable cyberspace. We will cooperate with international partners to deter and respond to malicious cyber activity that endangers international peace, security and stability. Reaffirming the application of international law to cyberspace, adhering to norms of responsible behaviour in cyberspace and implementing confidence-building measures will shape cyberspace as a landscape for international cooperation and mutual benefit.

The private sector, civil society, academia, individuals and government are all important stakeholders in cyberspace. A multi-stakeholder approach to Internet governance, which places all stakeholders on an equal footing in Internet governance debates, best facilitates an open, free and secure Internet. Better multi-stakeholder cooperation domestically, regionally and internationally will preserve decentralised control of the Internet, allowing all voices to be heard when decisions over the policy and technical management of the Internet are made.

The promotion and protection of human rights and democratic principles online is crucial; human rights apply online as they do offline. The Internet itself has provided an unparalleled opportunity for online democratic participation and the promotion, protection and fulfilment of human rights. This contributes to lasting peace, security, freedom and dignity for all. Governments, the private sector, civil society and academia must continue to work together to uphold and defend human rights online, just as they do offline.

Beyond the realisation of human rights, connectivity and the uptake of digital technologies also act as a profound enabler of sustainable development and inclusive economic growth. Innovative uses of technology, entrepreneurial activities and the digital upskilling of workforces have seen economies transform and societies make great leaps in development. However, dividends of the digital age are currently not evenly experienced. Increasing connectivity and harnessing digital technologies safely will accelerate the attainment of sustainable development objectives, especially in regions, countries and populations where digital journeys are only just beginning.

Australia's International Cyber Engagement Strategy addresses the full breadth of these issues, from trade to cybercrime, from international security to international cooperation, and from human rights to sustainable development. Australia has adopted a comprehensive and coordinated approach to cyber affairs. We will achieve our objectives in cyberspace through cooperation, creative partnerships and practical action.

Introduction by the Ambassador for Cyber Affairs
2019 Update