Keep ideas flowing and work with government to safeguard intellectual property and prevent cyber crime, while continuing to pursue the innovation that created cyberspace, foreign secretary William Hague told entrepreneurs and companies at the close of the London Conference on Cyberspace.
"The message to individuals is: this is your debate; you must be our allies in ensuring that the future global consideration of cyberspace remains true to its own nature and allows for a vast diversity of opinion and individual expression," he said.
Hague said the conference also had clear messages for governments: first, that the rapid rise of cybercrime is a growing threat to citizens; second, do not treat cyberspace as if it belongs to government; third, that state-sponsored attacks are not in the interests of any country long term; and finally, that while working together to defeat threats in cyberspace, governments should not imagine they can resist the growing force of the tide flowing for transparency, open information and the free exchange of ideas. "Those governments that try to do so are bound to fail," he said.
Hague reiterated the view expressed by many speakers at the conference that no country can go it alone in realising the full benefits of cyberspace and countering the threats.
"Just as 40 years ago discussion of cooperation and security in Europe evolved to establish a range of agreements to promote cooperation while ensuring security, we can now look forward with optimism that in London we began the collective endeavour of enhancing and protecting the internet for future generations," he said.
Achieving the broad, international consensus will take time, said Hague. "But this is one of the great challenges of our time and in London the world has made clear that we will not leave it to chance; we will pursue it with the intensity it demands and deserves," he said.
Hague said the London conference began a dialogue on principles and set out an agenda for further work to build a secure, resilient and trusted digital environment.
In the next 24 months there will be two follow-on conferences in Hungary in 2012 and South Korea in 2013 that will build on the London agenda to take forward the process of building consensus about the future of cyberspace.