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London Conference on Cyberspace

Volume 534: debated on Tuesday 25 October 2011

I would like to inform the House that I will be hosting the London conference on cyberspace at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre from 1-2 November 2011 in association with the International Chamber of Commerce, the Royal Institute for International Affairs and Wilton Park.

The rapid development of the world wide web, from 16 million users in 1995 to nearly 2 billion today, has created economic and social opportunities unforeseen less than two decades ago.

At the Munich security conference in February, I proposed that the UK host an international conference, to bring together the major actors in cyberspace and to launch an inclusive dialogue on how, collectively, we should respond to the challenges and opportunities which the development of cyberspace presents. The purpose of this conference is to discuss ideas and expected behaviour in cyberspace. This will form the basis of the “London Agenda” which will help shape future international and national discussions on cyberspace. A number of countries have agreed to host a follow-on conference within 12-18 months of the London conference.

I proposed seven principles as a framework for discussions:

(1) The need for Governments to act proportionately in cyberspace and in accordance with national and international law;

(2) The need for everyone to have the ability—in terms of skills, technology, confidence and opportunity—to access cyberspace;

(3) The need for users of cyberspace to show tolerance and respect for diversity of language, culture and ideas;

(4) Ensuring that cyberspace remains open to innovation and the free flow of ideas, information and expression;

(5) The need to respect individual rights of privacy and to provide proper protection to intellectual property;

(6) The need for us all to work collectively to tackle the threat from criminals acting online;

(7) The promotion of a competitive environment which ensures a fair return on investment in network, services and content.

Over 60 countries will be represented at the conference at senior ministerial level with heads of industry, international organisations including the UN, World Bank and EU, academic and civil society organisations.

The conference will support the UK’s commercial objectives by helping to establish UK industry as a leader in cyberspace. Thirty UK companies will exhibit at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre.

The conference will be live-streamed and the wider online community will be able to participate directly, feeding in their views through social media networks. A series of interactive events around the conference led by business, youth groups and civil society, will demonstrate at first hand the power of the internet to connect people.

Further details are available at link: A programme, including participants, will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.