ICANN: apply public health response model to e-security

The greatest threats to the Internet are not cyber threats, but the threat of inappropriate public policy, says ICANN president and chief executive, Paul Twomey.

Speaking at the annual AusCERT conference on the Gold Coast this week, Twomey used his keynote to outline the roll of ICANN (Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers) in countering cyber threats.

"National security is driven by nation states," he said. "National security or economic policy is going to be the key discussion of our age."

"We can't risk the Internet by placing onto it more government control," Twomey said. "We need to think about the Internet's fundamental principles of collaboration, co-ordination and communication when dealing with cyber threats."

The proper response to cyber threats is not a national security approach but a public health approach, he said.

"Governments have been waging war and espionage for the last 5000 years. There's no reason to think that they won't continue in the Internet age," he said.

The public health approach means accepting that there will be pandemics at some point.

"The question is, how do you respond to that?" Twomey asked.

"There are mechanisms of collaboration and co-ordination internationally which can do the job."

The key for the public, he said, is to maintain a clean commons.

"The idea is to attack the swamps, not the fever," he said.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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