Cyber policy critical for Oceania's economic future

Wednesday, 26 February, 2020

Cyber policy critical for Oceania's economic future

Oceania nations need to prioritise cyber policy as cybersecurity becomes an “urgent and fundamental issue” for all countries, Global Forum on Cyber Expertise Foundation President Chris Painter warned at the 2020 Global Cyber Security Capacity Building Conference. 

US and other governments already consider cyber policy, “including cybersecurity, cybercrime, internet governance and internet freedom” as “core issues of national security, economic policy, human rights and … foreign policy”, rather than “niche or technical issues”, the former Obama and Trump administration adviser said.

“As an important strategic ally and friend to the US, Australia must play its role in engendering resilience across its economy by putting a greater emphasis on cyber at the heart of core government policies,” he continued. 

Standards Australia recently called for the Pacific region to adopt internationally aligned cybersecurity standards to support policy, manage risks and protect and grow its digital economies.

It’s also been “working alongside the standard bodies and governments of the Pacific Islands to promote and build cybersecurity regulations”, Standards Australia CEO Adrian O’Connell said.

The Oceania Pacific region is the “largest contributor to the world’s digital market and is expected to contribute $1.4 trillion to global e-commerce”, Oceanic Cyber Security Centre (OCSC) Chair and former Victorian MP Cameron Boardman said.

“We recognise that this region presents significant opportunities and complex cyber challenges. In many ways, it is at the forefront of the world’s digital revolution. It is home to some one of the most advanced digital economies in the world; however, there are countries in the region where digital development is still in its early stages.”

OCSC works with local and international partners from government, industry and academic sectors to “co-develop capacity in the Pacific” and develop cybersecurity solutions, according to the organisation’s website.

Boardman hoped the conference would act as an extension of this work, providing ministers and heads of Prime Ministers’ Departments from Oceania and beyond, as well as organisations like the Commonwealth Office, Global Partners Digital, UN International Telecommunications Union and Global Forum on Cyber Expertise, with the best and latest cybersecurity thinking and approaches. 

“By improving the cybersecurity of our partners, we strengthen our own cyber defences. Ultimately, that is the aim of this conference: build our domestic knowledge and capability, promote confidence in the online environment, reduce losses attributable to cybercrime, create the right environment for multistakeholder internet governance, protect human rights and deliver sustainable development outcomes,” Boardman said.  

Boardman previously served as CEO of au Domain Administration, Executive Director for Investor Engagement within the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, and Executive Director for Innovation, Technology and Industry Programs within the Victorian Department of State Development, Business and Innovation.

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