US joins international cybersecurity partnership

The private-public partnership has various countries working with tech firms.

France's President Emmanuel Macron greets U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris before a bilateral meeting at Elysee Palace in Paris France, November 10, 2021. (Sarahbeth Maney/Pool via REUTERS)

The Biden administration wants to bolster the United States' collaboration on cybersecurity, and that includes forming key partnerships. As Axios reports, Vice President Kamala Harris has revealed the White House will back the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace. The voluntary agreement will see the US work with other countries and hundreds of companies (including Google and Microsoft) to both foster an open internet and strive for better internet security through common goals and laws.

This came on top of existing cooperation, including joint efforts to hold countries accountable for harboring online criminals, a long-awaited revamp of NATO cybersecurity policy and an anti-ransomware alliance formed in October. The State Department is also establishing a Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy that will tackle cybersecurity and other technology issues.

The move contrasts sharply with the Trump administration's stance. The US refused to sign the Paris Call in 2018, joining countries like China, Iran and Russia. While the previous White House did boost some cybersecurity efforts, critics accused it of a soft approach in other areas. Trump at one point incorrectly claimed Russia had stopped cyberattacks against the US.

The decision won't necessarily transform security. Wired noted the Paris Call didn't legally bind anyone to honor the agreement's values. This does, however, signal intent — the US wants to show that it will help international cybersecurity initiatives, however well they work in practice.