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World cyberspace conference opens

Nov. 1, 2011 at 6:51 PM   |   Comments

LONDON, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- World political figures and technical leaders such as Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales have gathered in London for a conference on cyberspace, organizers say.

The London Conference on Cyberspace, the first international gathering of its kind, began Tuesday to discuss such topics as ensuring global access to the Internet and coping with such Internet issues as child safety, cybercrime and cyberwar, NewScientist.com reported.

Nations that try to deny access to the Internet, such as China and some countries in the Middle East, came in for harsh words from conference attendees.

"We reject the view that government suppression of the Internet, phone networks and social media at times of unrest is acceptable," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

Hague warned of a "darker scenario" if governments do not protect Internet reliability and security, and proposed a set of principles he said would guard against a "cyber free for all," PCWorld reported. The principles include equal Internet access for all, tolerance of free expression and protection of privacy and intellectual property, as well as fighting online crime and compliance by governments with international law.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said, "What citizens do online should not, as some have suggested, be decreed solely by groups of governments making decisions for them somewhere on high," making explicit reference to demands from China and Russia for more international regulation of cyberspace.

Wales told conference attendees world governments could do well to follow Wikipedia's policy of openness.

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