Verve Article - May 2015

Friday, May 1, 2015

Cyberspace Conference

The Internet is a part of the furniture in our private lives and in our businesses. We hardly think of it. But it is not without risks. Cyber threats can come from anywhere and target anyone. Our geographical isolation is no longer a defence.

As a small, open economy heavily dependent on trade, the Internet has connected us economically and socially to the world like never before. All of these benefits depend on an open, trusted and resilient cyberspace.

New Zealanders, of all backgrounds, in their homes and in their businesses, have a real stake in that open, trusted and resilient cyberspace. We need to be involved in developing the road rules for the Internet, and we need to be learning from our friends, sharing best practises and assisting each other.

This is not to say that these partnerships will always come easily. Cyberspace technology is always evolving, and there are always new issues and challenges to work through.

Fortunately, we are not operating in a vacuum – there are already frameworks in place. Our government has already introduced a number of measures to improve cyber security through a focus on public awareness, government ICT structures, and critical national infrastructure. We have created a private-public partnership, “Connect Smart”, to build awareness and capability and tackle challenges as they arise,

It is heartening that across the world a wide group of players – the private sector, public sector, academia and governments – all want to be involved in the debate on cyber security.

We welcome this debate, and if New Zealand is to continue to reap the benfits - innovation, increased economic growth and new social connections across borders – we need to have a voice. That's why it's positive and important that New Zealand will be joining the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise. I was privileged to represent New Zealand at the recent Global Forum on CyberSpace, where we announced our commitment to this.

Through this forum, and others like it, we can contribute to building the trust and confidence that our citizens and businesses need, and continue our involvement in the debate on the future of the Internet.