‘Almost every day, incidents like the Sony hack remind us that it is high time that governments and the private sector join forces to ensure that the internet remains free, open and safe,’ said foreign minister Bert Koenders, speaking at the Munich Security Conference. ‘This is the best foundation for growth, development, security and rights.’
The minister also spoke in Munich about the Global Conference on CyberSpace, the international gathering on the future of the internet, which the Netherlands is hosting at the World Forum conference centre in The Hague on 16 and 17 April. The aim of the conference is to broaden the international coalition working to maintain a free, open and safe internet. It will also mark the launch of an initiative that will help countries enhance their cyber capabilities. Mr Koenders will host and chair the conference.
‘This issue impacts every one of us, all over the world,’ the minister said. ‘Cyber is a textbook example of a transnational theme: cyber crime, cyber espionage and attacks on vital infrastructure mainly originate abroad. This is why international agreements and cooperation are necessary. We need to improve cyber security around the world, so that we can not only stop cyber attacks before they reach the Netherlands but also track down and prosecute cyber criminals. This way, we can boost the resilience of our digital society. In addition, as chair of this conference, the Netherlands is putting internet freedom high on the international agenda: the freedom to share your opinion online.
‘The internet needs to be free and open if it is to remain a driving force behind innovation and economic growth,’ Mr Koenders argued. ‘The same applies to the issue of online security: internet users must be able to trust that their online activities are protected by the same laws that apply in the real world.’
In the minister’s view the conference in The Hague is an open invitation to as many parties as possible to endorse and implement this vision: ‘This is definitely not something individual governments can handle on their own. Much of the Web is in private hands. This means that we have to tackle these problems together. This is why so many different stakeholders are taking part in the conference in The Hague: government officials, companies, researchers and civil society organisations.’
This is the fourth conference on this theme. Previous editions of the GCCS were held in London (2011), Budapest (2012) and Seoul (2013). GCCS 2015 is being organised by four ministries: Foreign Affairs, Security & Justice, Economic Affairs and Defence, in collaboration with the municipality of The Hague.
You can read the full speech on Government.nl.