Data protection, open internet and security for debate in New Delhi

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New Delhi. The protection of citizens’ data in public and private hands, the open internet and the cybersecurity gaps were some of the star themes at the start today in New Delhi of the Global Conference on Cyberspace (GCCS).

In the forum, which according to the organization will gather up to 2,000 people from about 100 countries until Friday, the participants debated between optimism for the enormous opportunities offered by the Internet and caution for security breaches.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened the conference praising the Internet’s ability to improve access “to domains such as education or health,” and praised the benefits of the Indian digital identity platform Aadhaar, which already gathers biometric data of more than a billion people.

“The search for an open and accessible Internet often leads to vulnerabilities” and “cyber attacks are a considerable threat, especially in the democratic world,” he added.

The Indian database, which also contains information on the bank accounts and telephone numbers of the Indians, is just one in the ocean of information that governments and private companies manage.

“It is important that people who collect the data about us” treat them “with the same respect they would treat us” in person, but “this is something that is not done,” assured Efe the head of technology of the Internet Society (Isoc), Olaf Kolkman.

For the member of this international association focused on ensuring the open use of the Internet for the benefit of all people in the world, there are “many examples in the world” of security failures.

“This is the case of Uber, last week,” he added, referring to the 57 million records of personal data that were leaked. And “the reaction was to bribe” the hackers, he lamented.

During the first plenary session of the conference, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, Tariq Ahmad, highlighted the “unique” role of governments in fighting cybercrime, but warned of the impossibility of these to fight individually.

Tarek Kamel, of the Corporation for the Assignment of Names and Numbers of Internet Domains (ICANN), answered Ahmad highlighting the “need to make agencies work together” efficiently.

The conference is held months after a series of global cyber-attacks in which “WannaCry” viruses were used, affecting more than 200,000 computers around the world.

These “ransomware” type viruses, after infecting and encrypting the files, request an amount to unlock the device.

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