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News from the field

Promoting Cyber-Security and Trust

Published on: 05.12.08
Source: UN Press Release

With the increasing importance of cyberspace, particularly to developing countries, the growing number and sophistication of security threats to the Internet pose new challenges. These threats include Spam, phishing, botnets, viruses, distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks, malware, identity theft and other types of fraud, as well as child pornography and other content-related offenses.

Discussions at the Internet Governance Forum will try to identify different categories and types of threats and develop a clear and well-defined mapping of the different clusters of issues regarding security of the Internet and on the Internet, and attempt to provide some answers to these critical problems. Participants will identify actors that are addressing these issues, and to what extent the security community is able to effectively address the most pressing of these threats.

Because of the global and interconnected nature of the Internet, cyber-security and cyber-crime have international implications for both developed and developing countries. Securing cyberspace becomes a shared responsibility not only at national and institutional levels but also at the user level. The Forum will address measures to bolster a greater awareness of security issues, as the average Internet user is not necessarily aware of their responsibilities. From Athens to Rio de Janeiro, the issue of "openness" generated considerable discussion focusing mostly on free flow of information and freedom of information on the one hand and access to information and knowledge on the other. Discussions included the need to find the right balance between freedom of expression and responsible use of this freedom, and between access to knowledge and protecting copyright. The role of governments to protect the right to freedom of expression on the Internet and the protection of privacy and its relation to freedom of expression were also part of the discussion.

These issues will likely be raised again at Hyderabad. However, with the need for greater security in cyberspace the Forum will examine the intricate relations existing between security, privacy and openness and address how to handle possible tensions between them and address how they can be fostered simultaneously. Different issues raised by privacy and openness will be mapped and will in particular draw upon the expertise gathered in several parallel workshops on child protection, privacy and freedom of expression. Participants will be encouraged to share their experience and dealings with these three principles both at personal and professional levels.

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