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London hosts cyberspace security conference


Representatives of 60 nations are gathering in London to discuss how to tackle the rising threat from cybersecurity attacks. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague convened the London Conference on Cyberspace, and urged a "global co-ordinated response" on policy.

"We want to widen the pool of nations and cyberusers that agree with us about the need for norms of behaviour, and who want to seek a future cyberspace based on opportunity, freedom, innovation, human rights and partnership, between government, civil society and the private sector," he said.

Baroness Neville-Jones, the prime minister's special representative to business on cybersecurity, said Russia and China - who are both attending the conference - were some of the worst culprits involved in cyber-attacks.

Britain said it wanted to develop a set of international "rules of the road", establishing "norms of acceptable behaviour" in cyberspace, while stopping short of a full treaty advocated by some countries.

Mr Hague said a "collective endeavour" was needed to tap into the "enormous potential" of cyberspace. "How to ensure we can all reap the benefits of a safe and secure cyberspace for generations to come is one of the greatest challenges we face," said Mr Hague.

"The ideas and proposals we hope to emerge from the conference will develop into the 'London Agenda' - an inclusive and focused approach to help us realise the enormous potential cyberspace offers for a more prosperous, safe and open networked world."

Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering at Cambridge University, said there had been a "great growth" in cybercrime over the past six years. As many as 5% of PCs are infected with malware - short for malicious software - Prof Anderson said, and there was a one in 20 risk that any given computer was sending spam without the owner's knowledge.

Source: BBC

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Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

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