International Webinar by Javier G. Kinosita from IPA Peru: The Global Covid-19 Pandemic and Security Challenges

30 Sep 2020

On 14 July 2020, an international webinar entitled ‘The Global Covid-19 Pandemic and Security Challenges’ was held, organised by the Swiss Chamber of Commerce in Peru. The speaker was the Peruvian lawyer and criminologist Javier Gamero Kinosita, IPA member from Peru, resident in Switzerland. The welcoming words were given by the General Director of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce in Peru, Corinne Schirmer, and the debate was led by the Marketing and Communication Manager of this business association, Mr. Franco Figari. At the end of the presentation, General PNP (r) Sergio Monar Moyoli, current President of the Peru section of the International Police Association (IPA) and Cyber Security Advisor to the Vice Ministry of Public Security, participated in the discussion to deepen the issue of cybercrime.

Discourse by Javier Gamero Kinosita

According to the Israeli historian Yuval Harari ‘there are decades where nothing happens and weeks where decades go by’. The current crisis of the coronavirus is an undeniable testimony to this, as it is now seen as an accelerator of history, leading in a very short time to a vast use of new technologies by states in the name of security, arguably at times to the detriment of freedom. The coronavirus pandemic has affected millions of people on the planet and has triggered a profound change in the world, highlighting the fragility of human security, and calling into question current prevention measures.


Pandemics: a global challenge of the 21st century

Within imminent ‘wars’ of the future, ‘health wars’ due to pandemics can be called the curse of knowledge. They might give rise to bacteriological terrorism and nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological (NBC) threats. Today’s global challenges are weapons of mass destruction, organised crime, international terrorism, armed conflict, cyber threats, climate change, energy dependency, migration flows and pandemics.

Weakening the rule of law

As a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus, some states have at times made excessive use of new technologies in their efforts to combat the virus, for individual surveillance of people suffering from the symptoms of the infection. This has led to an increase in the possibilities for state intervention, with a direct impact on personal freedom (state of emergency, curfew under strict military/police controls).

perus1Geolocation and GPS data can be used to track individuals and destinations with Covid-19, and immediately inform network users of the locations of infection. Thermographic security cameras are installed, infrared technologies are used for border surveillance to control immigration, lie detector systems are supported by digital intelligence, facial recognition systems and even systems of identification of persons based on their heartbeat. 

Hybrid threats and Covid-19

Today we are talking about ‘hybrid wars’, ‘hybrid threats’, ‘hybrid attacks’ and ‘hybrid strategies’. In this new hybrid context or hybrid environment there are no more certainties; the new world order is permeated by complexity and uncertainty. The rules of the game are constantly changing. It is complex to define cause and effect, and there is a mutual dependence of different international actors.

An aggressor agent can use instruments of military, political, economic, social, civil and information power against the weaknesses of the attacked state. They are usually committed in cyberspace, where new risks exist that threaten the ICT security ecosystem.

State weakness revived by coronavirus

Among the weaknesses caused by the crisis of the global Covid-19 pandemic, certain political, military, economic, social, information and infrastructure weaknesses have been identified in states. 

Among the political vulnerabilities, we have noted a lack of leadership, the resurgence of North-South tensions, the closure of unilateral borders; among the military vulnerabilities, the paralysis of peacekeeping missions, the absence of operations (due to contagion), the postponement of manoeuvres and the neglect of other threats; noted among the economic vulnerabilities are unemployment, debt levels, the reorientation of public spending (in the health and socio-economic sectors to the detriment of foreign actions); noted within the social vulnerabilities are the polarisation of the population, the destabilising psychological effects of the population, the lack of trust in public institutions and the growth of nationalism; within the vulnerabilities of information are the lack of anticipation of misinformation, the distrust of official information, and the loss of respect for legality; and finally the vulnerabilities of infrastructure show lack of strategic autonomy (health and pharmaceuticals etc.), dependence on third countries, the breakdown of supply chains and the control of critical services by third parties.

Final considerations

De-globalising ideas have emerged that argue that the new post-Covid-19 world order will be the end of the heyday of globalisation and that, as a result of the pandemic, globalisation is a’ loser’, and the nation state a ‘winner’. Meanwhile, others claim that global problems require global solutions, and are counting on a global order.

Today, the big question about the perspective of this post-pandemic is whether this state of the end of normality is temporary and an exception. Covid-19 has made the vulnerability of Western democracies more visible.

There are a lot of platforms that imply a change in the management of cyberspace, a parallel world of networks, a supervised population where fundamental rights are systematically violated because nothing is secure in the computer world. The intelligence services must carry out analyses and foresight.

In my opinion, this is a systemic crisis which requires systemic thinking. Biopolitical control through controlled exit barriers and social distancing has affected people's psyche and compromised their subjective security. The global Covid-19 pandemic is a crisis within a crisis, as it occurs in an unstable, ambiguous, and chaotic world that reacts to asymmetric global trends and endangers security.

Text: Javier Gamero Kinosita, member IPA Peru

Photos: Directorate of Communication & Press of the Peruvian National Police