Communications Minister Lutfi Elvan has called on a global approach to take on criminal use of the Internet, in Istanbul on Tuesday.
Citing a rise in the number of cyber-attacks and viruses in recent years, Lufti Elvan stressed the importance of protecting the ever-increasing number of Internet users in Turkey, during the opening ceremony the Ninth Internet Governance Forum, a UN-organized forum on Internet governance and issues of communication and security.
"We need an international human rights declaration for the Internet," he said. "With more broadband access and the use of smart phones, sadly the number of cyber-attacks is increasing. In terms of cyber security, we need a global approach."
"The Internet is abused by crime networks, by terrorist organizations, by criminals and child abusers, he added. “Internet service providers and internet users must take responsibility and establish governance; otherwise, the internet will become a place where criminal networks proliferate."
Nevertheless, the minister praised the growth of the Internet community in the country.
“The definition of the nuclear family has changed, now we have mother, father, baby and the Internet,” Elvan said. “In Turkey, the total number of mobile Internet users is 30 million, and the number of Internet users is at 61 million. We rank first in duration of online gaming.”
"ICANN [Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers] has three headquarters, and one of their offices is in Istanbul," he added. "We have brought broadband Internet to all of our schools and we take pride in this accomplishment.”
Also present at the opening, Catherine Novelli, United States Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth agreed with Elvan on the need for concerted efforts internationally to fight crime on the Internet.
“The US maintains robust cooperation with allies around the world on cyber-security and preserving our information,” she said.
But some warned against an overreaction to countering cyber criminality.
Janis Karklins, Assistant Director of UNESCO’s Information and Communications office said, “The UN Human Rights Council said the same rights apply offline as online, this is something we should all recognize.”
“Just as in daily society, the majority behaves in a legal way and some people act in a criminal manner. Internet governance, should therefore, be grounded in international principles that protect human rights and promote development and freedom,” added Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-agency Affairs for the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
The Ninth Internet Governance Forum mainly addresses emerging issues such as net neutrality and hosts participants from 135 countries.
The Forum has been held annually since 2006, and is, this year, sponsored by the Turkish Ministry of Communications. It is titled "Connecting Continents for Enhanced Multistakeholder Internet Governance."