Feeds

FCO rep: Best argument for net freedom is cold hard cash

Economics is a language everyone speaks

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

LCC When a country restricts its population's freedoms on the internet, and you want to do something about it, point out to the heads of state how much money their nation is potentially losing as a result of the web clampdown - that's the advice from a top UK Foreign Office bod.

John Duncan, who is the Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative at the London Conference on Cyberspace (LCC), said freedom of information on the internet would be just one of the debates between countries and businesses at the get-together, which will take place in two weeks.

"In simple terms, if one is looking at a country that is trying to be more autocratic and shut the internet down, the simple response to them is 'what about your industry?'" he said.

"If your industry is actually using the internet to promote economic growth, what's going to be the impact economically if you start going down this path? It's a much more powerful argument than saying you shouldn't do it because it's wrong.

"You shouldn't do it because it's not in your interest to do it actually gets people to listen a bit quicker. That's still a valid argument, that it's wrong, but if you want people to come to the centre ground then you have to try to find other arguments," he added.

Telling it like it is might not always seem like the best idea, but it's what the UK reckons is needed to get countries, businesses, individuals and NGOs to start coming to a consensus on cyberspace.

The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said he organised the conference to try to get all these people together to work out how to maintain the economic and social benefits of the internet, as well as how to guard against criminal and security threats online.

"More international consensus is urgently needed. And this needs to be a collective endeavour, involving the major actors in cyberspace," he said in an op-ed piece on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website on Tuesday.

"This is one of the great challenges of our time. Nobody controls the internet, and we can’t leave its future to chance. We have the opportunity to secure a bold and innovative future but we also face the risk that the internet is used as a force for harm."

The conference hopes to have debates on the digital divide and cyber-security, as well as more contentious issues such as internet freedoms.

It is hoped that some of the discussions could lead to agreement, or even actual accords, although there's no sign that the UK is feeling ready to sign anything binding just yet.

Back in February, when Hague first began to talk about the conference in a speech in Munich, the talk was all about "standards" and "norms" rather than treaties.

"We believe there is a need for a more comprehensive, structured dialogue to begin to build consensus among like-minded countries and to lay the basis for agreement on a set of standards on how countries should act in cyberspace," he said at the time.

And when politicians throw words like "begin to build" and "basis" around, you know they usually mean, "let's start to talk about it, but let's not be too hasty".

The event will be held on 1 and 2 November, watch out for The Register's foray into live-tweeting from the conference floor by following @regvulture. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE accused of silencing customer gripes on social media pages
Hello. HELLO. Can EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE HEAR ME?!
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
Broadband slow and expensive? Blame Telstra says CloudFlare
Won't peer, will gouge for Internet transit
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?