Public Papers

IGF stresses the need of a multi-stakeholder approach against cyber crime and child pornography

by Katharina Kunze, Jutta Croll

On the second day of the Internet Governance Forum, the United Nations reported 1.273 delegates to be registered for 3rd IGF. Given the current circumstances, this could count as a success. Many of these delegates took part in the open discussion 'Are we losing the battle against cyber crime? Fostering Security, Privacy and Openness' started with input from different perspectives on the issue of cyber crime and cyber security.
The questions were raised "Whom do I contact in case of a cyber attack?" and "What is the strategy to deal with cases of cyber crime?" or another 'rhetorical' question was put into the debate "How can we achieve higher security as well as privacy without damaging the nature of the Internet?" "What roles can technical tools and also awareness raising play for the protection of children?" Currently there is no adequate strategy to fight against cyber crime. There are many different national approaches, but no global response to this indeed global problem.

Another perspective was the question, how much security is needed and wanted. Security must be more effective, structures to fight against cyber crimes have to be improved and therefore a multi-stakeholder approach is needed. Governments alone cannot achieve effective and efficient cyber security, the industry, welfare and non-governmental organisations have to pitch in. It is of no use if everybody points out 'the other' to be responsible - taking over responsibility and co-operation is welcome.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) emphasised: "We have to come to a kind of common understanding to give a global response to cyber crime! We need a broad group of stakeholders to achieve this!". This can be summarised as the outcome of today's discussions: demanding co-operation and co-ordination regarding cyber crime and cyber security. The Internet is ubiquitously. It implies innumerable areas of content and activities, so hence the responsibility must also be shared to keep the Internet safe and valuable.

In his presentation for the Children's Safety Coalition, John Carr stressed also the responsibility of companies and hardware producers. "If selling a product that can set children at risk, that product should be sold in the most possible safe condition. At the moment companies trust to luck that parents take the responsibility." The discussion about child protection led to an intense debate about child pornography. While some participants emphasised the illegality of such content, others stressed the need to avoid censorship and to ensure freedom of expression.

Summarising the discussion, Bertrand de la Chapelle, Government of France stated: "Given the fact that child pornography was not so much in the focus of the previous IGFs, the debate of child pornography and sexual abuse has now matured and we are in a phase where the relevant stakeholders from all areas should build an environment of trust and joint activities."

Please find an overview on child online protection activities at the Internet Governance Forum under Day 1 at the IGF

Available on the website since December 04, 2008