Yesterday I attended a Parliament and the Internet Conference at the House of Commons. It’s a great forum which brings together many leading UK stakeholders from Government, Parliament, Academia and Industry to debate key policy issues. Not surprisingly, the issues of cybercrime and governance were high on the agenda. I came away with three striking impressions.
Firstly I was impressed by the consensus view of the room that this is a complex, fast-changing set of issues that demands a collaborative and integrated approach. Neither a centralized or hands-off approach to governance will solve the problems. In particular, Industry, Government and Law Enforcement need to develop effective working relationships to tackle the issues.
Secondly I was pleased to see that Commander Sue Wilkinson is making excellent progress establishing a much-needed e-crime capability for the UK. I was disappointed by the loss of the National High Tech Crime Unit. It was a major setback. But now it looks like we’re back on track, and with a stronger mainstream focus.
Thirdly it was impossible not to be hugely impressed by Nicholas Negroponte, who flew in from the US to present his One Laptop per Child initiative. Nicholas and his brilliant colleagues at MIT Media Lab and TTI/Vanguard have kong been heavyweight thought-leaders and imaginative innovators. This initiative is the culmination of many years of experience in studying the impact of technology on education. The aim is to distribute low-cost laptops to children across the world. It’s a powerful initiative and a well designed product with many interesting features, including Alan Kay’s excellent Squeak programming language. It also has in-built security features, including a unique, high-profile appearance to deter theft. (That’s why US postal vehicles don’t get stolen.) This initiative will have a huge impact on the world, and on security. It deserves our full support.