Digitalizing the Red Cross, Red Crescent and Red Crystal Emblems

This report present’s the ICRC’s cutting-edge research into the benefits, risks and possible avenues to develop of a ‘digital emblem’. In its quest for concrete measures to operationalize the protection afforded by international humanitarian law in cyberspace to medical facilities and certain humanitarian organizations, the ICRC decided to investigate the idea of developing a new signal, digital marker, or other means of identification for the digital assets of especially protected entities, i.e. a ‘digital emblem’. The idea and objective of a ‘digital emblem’ are straightforward: for over 150 years, the distinctive emblems (the red cross and red crescent, and more recently the red crystal) have been used to convey a simple message: in times of armed conflict, those who wear them, or facilities and objects marked with them, must be protected against harm. The present report examines whether this idea can be used in cyberspace.