Cyberspace security: This is message PM Narendra Modi gave to 120 countries on internet use

By: | Published: November 24, 2017 4:44 AM

Exhorting delegates and officials from more than 120 countries to work towards a “formal collaborative framework” for a secure internet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said nations must ensure that the digital domain does not become a playground for terrorism and radicalisation.

Cyberspace security, Narendra Modi, Global Conference on Cyber Space, cyberthreats, London, Budapest, seoul, hague, Ravi Shankar Prasad Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe (right) and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad during the inauguration of Global Conference on Cyber Space 2017, in New Delhi on Thursday

Exhorting delegates and officials from more than 120 countries to work towards a “formal collaborative framework” for a secure internet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said nations must ensure that the digital domain does not become a playground for terrorism and radicalisation. Inaugurating the Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCCS), Modi said digital technology serves to empower mankind and there is a need to ensure that the exercise continues. He further said security agencies across the globe must share information to counter the “ever-changing threat landscape”. GCCF was launched in 2011 with a view to discuss and establish globally accepted rules for behaviour in cyberspace. It also aims to create a platform for governments, civil society and industry to deliberate on how these rules can be implemented. This is the fifth edition of the annual event, which has earlier taken place in London, Budapest, Seoul and The Hague.

The Prime Minister said: “The large multi-stakeholder participation at this event is proof of the global endorsement that this platform has received. Nation states, the industry, academia and civil society, all need to work towards a formal collaborative framework. This will enable a secure cyberspace, which improves quality of life.” Modi said the quest for an open internet often leads to vulnerability and it must be ensured that vulnerable sections of the society do not fall prey to the evil designs of cybercriminals. “On a related note, nations must also take responsibility to ensure that digital space does not become a playground for the dark forces of terrorism and radicalisation. Information-sharing and coordination among security agencies is essential to counter the ever-changing threat landscape. Surely, we can walk the fine balance between privacy and openness on one hand, and national security on the other. Together, we can overcome the differences between global and open systems on one hand, and nation-specific legal requirements on the other,” he said.

Modi stressed the need for training of a well-equipped and capable professional workforce to counter cyberthreats. “We need to ensure that cyberprotection becomes an attractive and viable career option for the youth,” he added. The PM invited the global investor community to invest in Indian start-ups. “Cyberspace remains a key area for innovation. Our start-ups today are looking to provide solutions to common everyday problems and improving the lives of people. I am confident that the global investor community will recognise the immense potential waiting to be tapped from India’s start-up pool. I invite you to invest in this space and be a part of the unfolding story of Indian startups,” he added.

During the event, Modi also launched the Umang app, which will provide access to over 100 citizen-centric services, including Digilocker and E-Aadhaar. Right to access non-negotiable: IT minister on net neutrality Stressing that India upholds internet privacy governed by the rule of law and constitution, electronics and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday said the people’s right to access cyberspace is not negotiable.

“The debate is going on, but you may recall my statement in Parliament that right of access is not negotiable. Therefore, without going into the larger nuances of net neutrality in India we have taken a new position. Right of access is important and non-negotiable,” he told reporters when asked about India’s response on net neutrality following reports that the US’ Federal Communication Commission plans to repeal rules on net neutrality.  Citing the example of Facebook’s Free Basics initiative, he said, “Facebook has a powerful presence and is most important in India, we respect that. But I was handling the communications department (telecom ministry) and this whole thing about Free Basics came about… When I examined that I said that to get free you have to enter only from one gate. I took a very firm stand. Indian internet democracy does not admit of one gate”.

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