UK foreign secretary William Hague has confirmed that the government is to host an international conference on cyberspace in London on 1 and 2 November 2011.
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This follows a commitment in his speech on security and freedom in the cyber age in Munich earlier this year that the UK would host a conference to discuss norms of acceptable behaviour in cyberspace.
At the 2011 Munich Security Conference, Hague suggested that the international community should work towards developing a common understanding of the appropriate roles for governments and others which could carry real political and diplomatic weight and form a basis for international cooperation.
"In Britain we believe that the time has come to start seeking international agreement about norms in cyberspace... We believe there is a need for a more comprehensive, structured dialogue to begin to build consensus among like-minded countries and to lay the basis for agreement on a set of standards on how countries should act in cyberspace," he said.
International rules for the cyber age
The London conference in November will bring together representatives of governments, international organisations, non-governmental organisations and businesses from across the world.
"We have a shared responsibility to address the challenges presented by the networked world, including cyber crime, that threaten individuals, companies and governments," said Hague, when he officially announced the conference.
It is vital that cyberspace remains a safe and trusted environment in which to operate, he said, and this can be done effectively only through international cooperation, engaging both the public and private sectors.
"Together I hope that we can begin to build the broadest possible international consensus on how to realise the enormous economic and social benefits the internet offers. It is crucial that we start a focused dialogue now," said Hague.
The conference, which is to be held at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London, is expected to attract representatives of more than 80 governments and international organisations.
The International Chamber of Commerce and the Royal Institute of International Affairs will, in partnership with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, be organising participation from business, academia and civil society from around the world.
Members of the public will have the opportunity to express their views on the issues through an interactive online forum before and during the conference.