U.S., Russia, China opt out of cybersecurity pledge at Paris meeting

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at opening of the Forum today in Paris

The initiative, known as the "Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace", was organized by the French government following failed global discussions over recent years.

Tech giants including Alphabet and Microsoft are reportedly backing a call for greater online regulation targeting everything from cyber-attacks and election interference to intellectual property theft and barriers to Internet access.

But China, Russia and the United States have not yet joined, though a source in Macron's office said a "critical mass" of USA players support the call, including Microsoft and the NGO Internet Society.

"The Internet is a space now managed by a technical community of private players", Reuters quoted an unnamed official from French President Emmanuel Macron's office as saying. "So now that half of humanity is online, we need to find new ways to organise the Internet", an official from Mr Macron's office said.

"It's a domain that is managed, but not governed", an adviser to Macron said, warning that a "free, open and secure" internet risked quickly becoming a thing of the past.

French President Emmanuel Macron had pushed for the initiative, whose unveiling comes a day after dozens of world leaders gathered in Paris on Sunday for the centenary of the end of World War I.

In another sign of the Trump administration's reluctance to join global initiatives it sees as a bid to encroach on U.S. sovereignty, French officials said Washington might not become a signatory, though talks are continuing.

President Macron said he planned to continue to pressure the United States and others to sign the pledge While the Trump administration is not now supporting the initiative, USA technology companies, such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft, are backing it.

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