Safety on the internet is one of the most complex challenges society has ever faced, says Alun Michael, chair of the Parliamentary IT Committee (PITCOM).
But, governments must resist the temptation to legislate against all the things we do not like, he told the Cyber Security 2010 Summit in London.
"We need a more intelligent approach than laws because they rarely prevent what the forbid," he said. "Before governments legislate, they should ask if the law will make things safer, change behaviour and do no harm".
According to Michael, association and co-operation achieve more than legislation.
"Wisdom starts when we say we can achieve more when we stand together and take cognisance of each others' perspectives on an issue," he said.
Although collaboration is often more difficult to do than draw up legislation, said Michael, it typically delivers more enduring solutions to any problem.
This approach will enable solutions to the challenge of safety on the internet to focus on people and changing their behaviour, he said.
"If we focus on technology alone, we will fail because we cannot ignore human motivations," said Michael.
In this context, he said, it is important to pay attention to all levels of criminal activity involving cyber space.
"Serious crimes tend to grab the headlines, but it is the smaller things that undermine confidence. Fear and uncertainty about the internet are the enemies of digital inclusion," he said.
Michael said he was encouraged by government's promised investment of ₤650m in cyber defences.
But, he said, no government or government department will get it right on its own.
"The only chance we have to prevail is through a collaborative and co-operative approach to regulation and governance of the internet," he said.
Private enterprise should recognise that it is important to avoid potentially onerous legislation, said Michael, and work with government and share their expertise to find the best way forward.