As the Internet economy continues its rapid growth and impacts more and more on virtually every sphere of economic and social life, the world's attention has been drawn to the mounting number of reports of high-profile cyber-attacks by nefarious hackers, including state actors. The aftermath of the Snowden revelations has also revealed the vast scope of systematic government surveillance, including in western democracies.
The succession of cyber-attacks, together with seemingly random threats to businesses' information networks, coupled with the growing use of the Internet to further terrorist aims and repressive political agendas have created a climate in which the debate over data protection, privacy, security and surveillance is becomingly increasingly polarized. These security and anti-terrorist imperatives have given rise to various measures around the globe to promote the creation of “local clouds,” restrict data flows at the national or regional level, or extend the “long arm” of national law to cover the surveillance of personal data held outside the jurisdiction.
While the EU (and the OECD) are reviewing their privacy legislation, the US has also announced fresh privacy legislation and cybersecurity measures. The EU is also finalizing its major Network and Information Security Directive, which could impact thousands of businesses. In the meantime, many countries have enacted laws that legislate against “cybercrimes” which also include provisions that authorize governments to filter content that may be accessed via the Internet.
This is an explosive mix.
The world now faces the risk of Internet fragmentation and very real conflicts between concerns for privacy and fundamental freedoms, and the often seemingly incompatible objectives of achieving network security and national security.
The IIC provided an opportunity for experts from all sides and sectors to discuss and debate these issues, and to explore ways of addressing them that combine a respect for privacy and the need to protect personal data and critical information infrastructures, while at the same time enabling government authorities to protect national security interests.
• Rachael Bishop, BIS Assistant Director of Cyber EU and International Policy
• Ian Brown, Professor of Information Security and Privacy, Oxford Internet Institute
• Malcolm Harbour CBE, Director, Digital Policy Alliance
• Ann LaFrance, Partner and co-leader of Data Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice, Squire Patton Boggs (Chair)
• Mikko Niva, Group Privacy Officer and Head of Legal - Privacy, Security and Content Standards, Vodafone Group Services Limited