Government officials from around the world met on Wednesday to call for more global collaboration in the fight against cyber crime, as well as more co-ordination between governments and the private sector.
Heads of cyber security from the UK, US, China, India and France kicked off the Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit in London with a high level discussion on how the world should work together to mitigate the threat of cyber terrorism.
Government officials from Germany and Russia were originally set to be included in the discussion but did not attend.
Themes included a need for more international collaboration to tackle cyber criminals, and what form this collaboration should take, as well how to get the balance right between online freedoms and regulation.
France and India debated whether the world needs more international regulation to provide a framework for states to effectively clamp down on cyber criminals, or whether national legislation is enough.
France said that national laws should suffice but that nation states should work together to combat cyber terrorists by quantifying the risk of cyber threats and setting international security standards for businesses.
"Can we still really say cyber space has no frontiers and the borders of cyber space do not follow political boundaries? Borders do exist and they are becoming stronger," said Francis Delon, France's secretary general for Defence and National Security Affairs.
“Work has to be done at an international level. This should consist of internationally agreeing an evaluation scale for cyber attacks, similar to the one being used for nuclear incidents. Secondly we need norms that the private sector should conform to, which will secure critical systems.”
India took a different view, arguing that cyber space is borderless in nature and that a global legal regime is needed to deal with the cyber terrorist threat.
“The nature of cyber space is that it is borderless and anonymous and it is not subject to government territories that have laws,” said Kapil Sibal, India's minister for IT and communications.
“So there is a fundamental contradiction between government regulation and the nature of cyber space.
“It can be called a global problem more even than the environment because the threats can manifest themselves across the whole world. The threats require concerted action across governments. The question is what kind of action and co-ordination.”
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