Over September 15-17 at the 1st Interpol Information Security Conference (iisc2010.org), more than 300 delegates from 188 countries came to Hong Kong, and under the care of Interpol and the Hong Kong Police Department, spoke candidly and collaboratively about Information Security and the common challenges we all face. In his welcoming address, Interpol’s Secretary-General Ron Noble mentioned how a Facebook page was created in his name in an attempt to confuse others and socially engineer colleagues. The Hong Kong Commissioner of Police opened his address by comparing technology to the moon: it has a bright side and a dark side. Both speeches hold in common that technology is ubiquitous, we must continue to keep criminal activity at bay, and that the Internet’s global reach means we all share in its continued success and must remain vigilant to protect it from the threats against it.
I bore witness to this event and was honored to help Interpol and the Hong Kong Police Department develop the conference, invite many of its speakers, and chair the Day 2 Management Track. One need only speak to colleagues in Malawi, Malaysia, and Brazil to realize that they, too, experience the same computer infections, information theft, and online transaction fears that colleagues in the UK experience. To then listen to representatives from mainland China, Russia, and the United States discuss the common fight against exploitation of children, Internet crime, and botnets reminds me that while we can have our differences, there is mutual ground. The discussions, celebrations of life, and our common hope came at a price. The call to action: we have to do better together, now.
The theme for the conference was “Global Cooperation Today for Infosec Risks Tomorrow.” As I reflect upon the work completed in Hong Kong, which was physically exhausting and mentally taxing, I wonder and worry. Are we doing enough to define our future, or only react to it? Working together isn’t easy; thinking of another’s success while ensuring your own, equally so. Yet, if we are to define our future, to me, there is only one strategy: work together. Sound pithy? It isn’t. From one who puts his money where his mouth is, often breaks traditional practice by trying something new when the path taken doesn’t achieve the desired results, and who is constantly humbled by others’ work and challenged to do that much more: I’m dead serious.
Congratulations to Interpol on its inaugural event and for the follow-on work in blocking child-exploitation material online. Here’s to a simple hope that the collaborative work from this 108-member body continues in Internet and Information Security. Because as a global body, on a global challenge, the Internet and Interpol are a natural alliance.