Speaking at the India Conference on Cyber Security and Cyber Governance in Delhi, today, Minister for Communication and Information Technology Kapil Sibal, emphasised on the need to “govern” the internet, while also recognising the complexities involved. “Governance of internet is oxymoron,” he stated. “There is an asymmetry in the laws on the Internet. And as long as there is asymmetry there cannot be equality. There must be accountability even in cyberspace,” he said.
“You are only secure till you are attacked,” he warned.
Talking about international co-operation in cyber security, Sibal added, “It is a global problem and not limited to any one nation. It is time for the global community to realise that and needs to address it together.” But on subject of international law and jurisdiction, Sibal stated, “If it impacts India, then the jurisdiction should be with India.”
On the freedom of the Internet, Sibal stated, “Sovereign is not the “power of data” but the “use of that data”. And the freedom on the Internet is what empowers it.”
“We believe in the complete freedom of cyber space, but there should be a de facto recognition of threat,” he emphasised. However, inconspicuously he skipped answering questions on India's position on US following the Snowden leaks.
Also speaking at the event was the National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, SS Menon, who discussed the citizen's rights of secure cyberspace. “Our basic approach is to support democratic Internet governance, keeping interference to the minimum and legal,” he said. “We have seen a phenomenal number of attacks on our cyber security network. However, our cyber security framework adopts a multi layered approach,” he informed.
Sibal also discussed the planned infrastructural upgrades to the Indian cyber security systems. “The government of India has cleared two projects to manufacture semi conductors in India. We are also going to connect 250,000 gram panchayats through fibre optics,” he said. “Once the chips are manufactured in India, along with designing software, we can start protecting networks. 500,000 people will also be trained in cyber security.”
The conference was organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and FICCI.
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Corrigendum: This report had a few facts taken from an old website earlier. We have updated the story with the correct details. Apologies for the error.