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Shabery calls for greater responsibility in protecting citizens in cyberspace

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shabery1GENEVA, June 12 – The right to free flow of information on the Internet must be balanced with the right to be protected from abuse in cyberspace, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said.

He said as governments and industry players made broadband more accessible, increased Internet adoption resulted in ICT being embedded and applied in everything they do today, effectively creating a digital lifestyle.

“I believe all of us here will acknowledge that there has been some measure of success in achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

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“However, with that success, new challenges have emerged. In the past 10 years, we have realised that there is a dark and sinister side to all this.

“We have begun to look at cyber threats and cyber security. Interpol divides cyber crime into three broad areas: attacks against computer hardware and software, financial crimes, and abuse, especially of young people.

“The trends show that cyber crime will soon overtake traditional crime,” he said at the three-day High Level Event commemorating 10 years of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS+10) here Tuesday.

Ahmad Shabery said in Malaysia, as in other countries, the Internet posed challenges of a social nature that had eroded cultural and traditional norms, prompting relentless efforts to protect the cyberspace, apart from having to deal with complex privacy, security, and cultural issues relating to the Internet.

“But it comes with great responsibility and governments cannot abdicate the need to protect citizens in this vast, often anonymous space and also, the need to uphold their own sovereignty.

“People often forget that cyberspace is not a lawless space – what is illegal offline, is likely to be illegal online. Cyberspace does not exist in a legal vacuum.

“Beyond 2015, our multi-stakeholder partnership must continue to recognise the right to free flow of information as well as, the right to be protected from abuse in cyberspace,” he said, adding that how the countries work together to achieve them would determine the collective Digital Future, beyond 2015.

The WSIS+10 High-Level Event reviews the progress on the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) held in Geneva in 2003 and Tunis in 2005.

Coordinated by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and co-organised by ITU, UNESCO, UNCTAD and UNDP, it takes stock of achievements in the last 10 years while charting a new vision and targets beyond 2015.

– BERNAMA