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WCIT's Security Issues

Paul Budde

Another contentious issue at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai is 'security'. There has been a dramatic increase in nervousness regarding a whole range of security issues, especially in relation to the internet. They include: SPAM, denial-of-service-attacks, identity theft, cybercrime, cyberwarfare, and privacy issues on social media.

From the list above it is clear that some of these issues are related to content, while some can be classified as national security and others as criminal offences. In other words, there is no clear-cut issue on what constitutes security. Furthermore, because it has so many aspects it is also very difficult to group the issues under one easy technology banner.

So it would be impossible for WCIT to take 'security' on board as something that can be handled under the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs).

What the ITU — the International Telecommunications Union, which is hosting WICT — can do is to make sure that the quality of the underlying telecommunications infrastructure is sufficiently robust for those in charge of the various security issues to build their own security services for their individual purposes. Obviously, with 193 country member states involved in the ITU a wide variety of definitions of 'security' is applied. What is perfectly legal in one country is illegal in another, as recent events in several of the Arab States has made very clear.

So the only effective way WCIT and the ITU can proceed on the issue of security is to provide the best quality of service for the telecoms infrastructure; and 'robustness' is therefore a much better term — it fits much better with the work of these technology organisations than the more loaded word 'security'.

By Paul Budde, Managing Director of Paul Budde Communication. Paul is also a contributor of the Paul Budde Communication blog located here.

Related topics: Cyberattack, Cybercrime, Internet Governance, Malware, Policy & Regulation, Security, Spam

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