In the privacy of our kitchens and bedrooms, going online seems a private aff air. Online, tyrants are toppled; hypocrisy is exposed. But, as we have learnt, those who don’t dare cheat or lie in the physical world may be emboldened in cyberspace. Those who are petty bullies in the home can find new roles as trolls through social networks. And we are being spied upon. Our information goldmine is being extracted, used and abused.
It is as if we have wandered into the city centre in scant underwear, with bags unattended, phones, keys, cards, photos, addresses, medical records and cash strewn all around, inviting anyone to pick them up. And we don’t even realize are behaving online in ways we would consider crazy in real life. The UK Government’s awareness campaign depicted here, is reminiscent of the public hygiene campaigns of the past. It is aimed at the non-net-savvy, the most vulnerable to online intruders.
The internet is coming of age, and we are growing up alongside it. Speeds and access for wealthy and poor are increasing. We are learning about net hygiene and cyber security and how to protect ourselves against unwarranted surveillance, hackers and scammers. The Obama administration announced in March that the responsibility for domain name system management would transfer to an international multi-stakeholder body by the end of 2015. How to enable accessibility, economic development and innovation while providing a safe, secure cyber-environment that protects the vulnerable, human rights and our privacy is the question that the Global Commission on Internet Governance, recently established by Chatham House and CIGI, and chaired by Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, will answer.