Eugene EG Tan is an Associate Research Fellow at the Centre of Excellence of National Security, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, specialising in cybersecurity issues, Singapore’s foreign policy, and aviation issues.
Currently, Eugene is working on research projects covering cybersecurity and state behaviour in cyberspace. Eugene has published journal articles and book chapters with regard to cybersecurity in ASEAN and Singapore, including “A Small State Perspective on the Evolving Nature of Cyber Conflict: Lessons from Singapore” PRISM, Vol. 8, No. 3, 2020, “Cyber Norms and International Law in ASEAN” in Gisela Elsner and Aishwarya Natarajan, Regulating the Cyberspace: Perspectives from Asia, and “Next Steps for ASEAN Cyber Norms” in Fitriani, Christian Pareira and Naufal Armia Arifin, Towards a Resilient Regional Cyber Security: Perspectives and Challenges in Southeast Asia.
Eugene holds a Masters of International Studies and a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Politics) from the University of Otago, and a Bachelor of Arts from the National University of Singapore. He previously taught various international relations and comparative politics module, at the National University of Singapore, Department of Political Science.
Development of Cyber Norms and International Law in ASEAN
The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional group of ten South-east Asian states that seeks to promote intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, security, military, educational, and sociocultural integration and development among its members. ASEAN has done much to advance the creation of norms in the region under the chairmanship of Singapore in 2018. The 32nd ASEAN Summit in April 2018 brought on a slew of statements from leaders recognising that norms and the rule of law is needed for cyberspace, and as a basis for using technology to advance economic growth in the region. The ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity (AMCC) has in-principle agreed to subscribe to the eleven voluntary, non-binding norms recommended by the 2015 UNGGE, as well as to focus on regional capacity building in implementing these norms.
The ASEAN experience should however be considered separately from other regional organisations. Scholars have tried to compare ASEAN and the European Union (EU) in hope that the processes to understand international law and conform to norms are similar. This is unlikely to work, because unlike the European Union, ASEAN leaders place much importance on the principles of “mutual respect” and “non-interference”, rather than moving to a European-style integration on rules and law.
The presentation will thus seek to explain: first, the intricacies of ASEAN behaviour; second, explain how ASEAN views international law and norms; and third, to establish how ASEAN can further strengthen the adoption and application of international law and norms in cyberspace.