On 29 May, 2024, IFIP Technical Committee 11 (Security and Privacy Protection in Information Processing Systems) hosted a panel session as part of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)+20 High-Level Event 2024 hosted in Geneva, Switzerland. The event was part of the WSIS series, co-hosted by the ITU and the Swiss Confederation and, co-organised with UNESCO, UNDP and UNCTAF.

Pictured (from left to right): Moira de Roche, Scott Flower, Joice Benza, Paul Haskell-Dowland and Margaret Havey.

Organised and chaired by Paul Haskell-Dowland (TC11 Chair), the session considered a range of topics related to building global confidence in our ICT systems and the issues of security concerns that are hindering uptake and trust.  While it was an open panel discussion, conversations were aligned with WSIS Action Line C5 and aligned to SDGs 9 and 11.

The panel consisted of four representatives from around the world:

  • Joice Benza, IFIP, IP3 Board Member, President Computer Society of Zimbabwe
  • Moira de Roche, Vice President of IFIP, and Chair of IFIP IP3, IFIP and IFIP IP3, South Africa
  • Margaret Havey, IP3 Board Director, IFIP (Global)
  • Scott Flower, Co-Founder & Director, CI-ISAC Australia

Despite being hosted in the bustling exhibition space (SDG Stage), the audience were actively engaged and asked a series of questions covering: the challenges hindering trust in our ICT systems; the dichotomy of sharing intelligence for global benefit, but potentially increasing risk; the role of Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) to support cyber uplift; the carrot vs stick approach to regulation; and, the shift of responsibility (in some countries) for IoT devices to be ‘secure by default’.

The session highlighted the continuing challenges of establishing and/or increasing confidence and trust in our ICT systems – at a local, national or global level.  An issue made more difficult by the not only the proliferation of cyber security incidents, but the size and scale of such occurrences coupled with a global media interest in publicising the incidents.

Coupled with the parallel ITU event AI for Good, it is perhaps no surprise that AI was a regular theme across WSIS panels.  AI is already having an impact on global security.  As is so often the case with new technologies (noting that AI itself is not that new), AI is both a power for good and evil.  Already being used by cyber criminals, there has also been a rapid development of the application of AI to defensive security.  While still early in the adoption cycle, AI will have unpredictable impacts on our ICT systems into the future.

The panel also discussed the importance of sharing information – collaboration is critical to enable us to move towards a more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable world.  ICT is critical to ensuring this and security is a key contributor to that trust and confidence.

We encourage the IFIP community (and those beyond) to consider connecting with our technical committee working groups – you can find details on our website.

Prof. Paul Haskell-Dowland
TC11 Chair
Professor of Cyber Security Practice, Edith Cowan University, Australia