2012-10-05 11:07:06

British Foreign Minister launches cyber initiative

(Vatican Radio) Britain has launched a multimillion-dollar global initiative to help fight organized criminals and terrorists using the Internet. Speaking at the international 'Budapest Conference on Cyberspace', British Foreign Minister William Hague said his nation is developing a new "Center for global cybersecurity capacity building" on its territory.

He said Britain will also invest over $3.2 million annually to offer countries "independent advise on how to improve cyberspace security and promote good governance online".

Hague explained the Center comes amid concerns about cyberspace attacks in Britain against vital companies such as banks and government institutions, including recently around the Olympic Games in London.

"Cybercriminals should have no refuge online, just as they should not have a sanctuary off-line," the top British diplomat told the gathering of government and other delegates at the sophisticated Millenáris Park, or 'Millenium Park', complex in Budapest.

Hungary's government hopes more countries will approve the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, which was so far signed or ratified by nearly 50 countries since its inception in 2001.

"Today it is possible for someone to launch an attack at a relatively low cost from a simple computer disrupting the operation of an entire state," said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Hague warned however that a crackdown on illicit Internet activities should not be used as an excuse to limit freedom of expression, even in some established democracies.

The minister did not mention Hungary, though the country was criticized over legislation that opponents say limits press freedom of online and traditional media.

He also criticized countries banning human rights websites and even video-sharing site Youtube, after an anti-Islam film was posted there. Though Hague disagrees with the film, he condemned the violent protests against it.

The conference around the theme 'With Trust and Security for Freedom and Prosperity' will end Friday, after talks on how to improve protection of children on the Internet.

Hungary's October 3-5 event is the first follow-up gathering to the 2011 London Conference on Cyberspace; a similar gathering will be held in October, 2013, in South Korea, one of the world's most Internet-savvy nations.

South Korea's Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister, Kim Sung-Han, said while his Asian nation develops initiatives to make the online community more secure, it was also important to tackle negative developments such as the "growing problem of Internet addiction and pornography."

The gathering in Budapest is attended by nearly 600 representatives from government, the private sector, civil society and the scientific community, as well as around 100 international journalists, according to organizers. Listen to this report by Stefan Bos RealAudioMP3

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