The Internet Society’s (ISOC) Chennai Chapter held a Round Table discussion on how Security has become a mainstream concern as part of the ICANN’s Domain Name Security Seminar (DNSSEC seminar) in Chennai on Sunday, 9th July 17. David Appasamy, Head-Brand & Strategy, Social Beat co-chaired the event along with M Sivasubramanian, President, Internet Society, Chennai Chapter, who organized the event.
The Round table was made possible by host ICANN as part of their DNSSEC initiative represented by Samiran Gupta, Head India for ICANN, and Champika Wijayatunga, Regional Engagement Manager, Security, Stability & Resiliency for ICANN Asia Pacific, who were also part of the Round Table.
The Round Table was attended by a multi-stakeholder group comprising law enforcement, academia with both students & faculty, business & start up representation, civil society with NGO participation and solutions & network representation. The discussions were wide ranging and served to sensitize those present to the increased security risks in today’s environment, both online and offline.
The conclusions arrived at during the Round Table were:
- That most participants felt an increase in security risks in both offline and online worlds today.
- The world today is far more complex than even a decade ago with issues of terrorism, a divided society, external threats, internal unrest, fake news, online fraud etc. all contributing to the rise in perceived increased security risk offline and online.
- Governance & regulation cannot be left to only the experts and law enforcement but must be the collective responsibility of everyone who uses the internet.
- Every user must display responsible behaviour online much as they do offline to ensure that security risks are mitigated.
- However, this is far easier said than done in a country like India where online user growth is significant month on month and digital marketing is growing leaps & bounds. And when new users are from all strata of society, and not well versed with online etiquette and secure behaviour. In rural areas, for example, bank accounts are operated by groups of people using the same PIN at a government centre from where they have online access. Even in urban areas, people routinely give their credit card PIN numbers to petrol pump attendants or at restaurants while settling their bills.
- Society is much more complex, demanding & divided today across the world, with law enforcement increasingly having to request online content sites or applications to remove content or pages placed there with the express purpose of inciting division and violence.
- The Internet began from a defense research project, and was further developed by academia and think tanks. In the early days, users were responsible, aware and value driven so that the idea of the Internet being free, open and available to all made sense and was easily developed. Today, however, whilst it remains free and open (in varying degrees depending on countries), the need for oversight to ensure content is not misused is a reality.
- While the need for oversight is a reality, self-regulation is still the best approach as a best practice. This is widely seen across the world where light touch regulation, ie facilitation, is the best way. Estonia and France were cited as benchmarks for Internet regulation. Law enforcement officers present also stressed that individual responsibility is still the key.
- The Round Table concluded with the realization that to facilitate individually responsible behaviour online is a humongous task and will take enormous and sustained effort, especially in a country like India. It will have to be not just and individual responsibility, but a collective one across all multi-stakeholders.
The need for widespread awareness, and for key stakeholders to take the lead in this effort, whether governments, ISPs, online sites or applications, banks & financial services companies, payment or other apps, educational institutions, companies & businesses, parents and role models becomes key. Today, with close to 4 billion people online, the need for secure behaviour online is felt more than ever before. And will only increase in future.