The key message I got from National Cyber Security Awareness Week is that we're only at the very beginning when it comes to understanding and tackling the issues.
On the last episode of Patch Monday I was dismissive of the awareness week, mostly because so little money was being spent on this supposedly important government initiative. Since then I've attended a couple of events and been exposed to some more ideas, and on Patch Monday this week we explore those themes.
At a seminar held by the new Centre for Internet Safety at the University of Canberra, I heard that our reluctance to regulate the internet could be based on a misunderstanding. Professor Eric Clemons from the University of Pennsylvania reckons that cultures that have traditionally valued an open internet, such as the US and Australia, have a shared common mythology that values village life — where everyone knows and trusts everyone else. But the internet is not a village. It's millions of strangers. We need rules, Clemons says.
And at the launch of the Connecting Classrooms project, part of the ThinkUKnow cyber-safety training program run jointly by the Australian Federal Police, Microsoft and ninemsn, I heard the Minister for Home Affairs and Justice Brendan O'Connor explain how important cybersecurity is, but that the corporate sector would be left to do the right thing, with government only stepping in should this hands-off approach fail to deliver appropriate safeguards for our privacy, security and safety.
One could argue that the industry is already failing, given examples such as the massive data breaches suffered by Sony recently. So how long will we wait for government action? As one example Centre for Internet Safety director Alastair MacGibbon reminds us of, we've been waiting for laws on data breach notification for a long time now.
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