Foreign ministers of the Group of 7 (G7) countries are voicing concerns about cyber interference in the democratic process, after their meeting in Italy on Tuesday.
A declaration issued by the foreign ministers of the United States, Britain, and other member states on responsible behavior in cyber space all but singles out Russia for using cyber intrusions to meddle in democratic elections.
“We are increasingly concerned about cyber-enabled interference in democratic political processes,” the declaration published on Tuesday states.
The declaration says that international law and the United Nations Charter applies to the use of communications and information technology, and that states that fall victim to malicious cyber activities are under international law allowed to take “proportionate countermeasures.”
The document also calls on other countries to offer their views publicly on how existing international law applies to cyber space.
The U.S. intelligence community said in January with high confidence that the Russian government sought to interfere in the 2016 presidential election to undermine U.S. democracy and damage the candidacy of Democratic Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Nation mourns Colin Powell The Memo: Powell ended up on losing side of GOP fight Powell death leads to bipartisan outpouring of grief MORE.
Russia has denied the allegations.
The FBI is currently investigating the influence campaign, including any links or coordination between associates of President Trump’s campaign and Moscow.
There have also been suspicions that Russia will attempt to influence elections in Germany and France.
The foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain, the United States, and the high representative of the European Union met in Lucca, Italy, on Tuesday, where the situation in Syria also figured high on the agenda.
The member states failed to agree to a plan proposed by Britain that would have imposed fresh sanctions on Syria and Russia over the chemical attack on Syrian civilians last week.
The Trump administration launched military strikes on an airfield used by Syrian President Bashar Assad in response to the chemical attack. The move has been a source of tension between Washington and Moscow, which is an ally of the Assad regime. The White House on Tuesday accused Russia of trying to “cover up” the sarin gas attack.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson departed the G7 meeting for Moscow on Tuesday, where he is expected to meet with Russian officials, though not President Vladimir Putin himself.
The G7 foreign ministers on Tuesday underscored their worries about “the risk and escalation and retaliation in cyberspace, including massive denial-of-service attacks, damage to critical infrastructure, or other malicious cyber activity that impairs the use and operation of critical infrastructure that provides services to the public.”
The declaration stresses their commitment to promoting a framework for conflict prevention in cyberspace and non-binding norms for responsible state behavior.