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Speech to the National E-security Awareness Week ISP Forum.

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National E-security Awareness Week ISP Forum

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Firstly, thank you to the Internet Industry Association for hosting this event as part of National E-security Awareness Week.

Our messages this week are simple and describe the basic things that consumers and businesses can do to improve their e-security.

However, e-security is an issue for organisations at every level of the economy.

It is a shared responsibility for government, industry and the community.

It is fantastic to see so many key players in Australia’s internet industry in the room this morning.

It highlights the keen understanding the internet sector has for the issues we collectively face.

It also sends a strong signal that Australian ISPs understand they have an important role to play to improve the way we address issues in this space.

Welcome to all of you and thank you for your continued participation in helping to improve our national e-security.

E-security issues are of growing importance as our society and economy become more connected and reliant on digital technologies.

In the past decade, connected computers have revolutionised the way we do business and go about our day to day lives.

You will be well aware that many Australians are reaping efficiency and productivity gains from applications as diverse as online banking, email and video conferencing.

Research suggests that with the increasing availability of affordable, high-speed broadband, additional productivity gains and other benefits will flow in the future.

With high-speed broadband, we have the potential to revolutionise education and health, drive energy efficiency gains, secure infrastructure investments and invigorate regional economies.

The Rudd Government recognises these opportunities and is acting now to ensure that Australia is in the best position to capitalise.

This includes our investments with the private sector in the National Broadband Network.

This will be the single largest nation-building infrastructure project in Australian history.


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The National Broadband Network will drive competition by providing Australia’s first truly national wholesale-only network.

There will be new opportunities for innovators to create applications and services to meet emerging demands.

Businesses will be able improve they way they deliver their products and interact with partners.

The National Broadband Network will provide opportunities for Australians to access information and vital social services from their homes.

It will provide opportunities for greater returns on investment through the rollout of smart infrastructure.

Indeed, the National Broadband Network will change the way we address the delivery of vital services and utilities.

The National Broadband Network represents the future for Australia’s internet industry and it has been pleasing to see the positive commentary made by key players such as the IIA since our announcement in April.

Of course, Internet Service Providers play an important role in ensuring Australians enjoy the benefits of broadband.

ISPs sit at the gateway to the internet and are often a trusted point of contact for consumers when it comes to getting the most out of their time online.

This includes e-security and it is worth acknowledging the leadership role the IIA has taken to work with its members in this area.

E-security is a dynamic, constantly changing challenge.

Raising awareness and protecting users against e-security threats is an ongoing task.

This was recognised by the 2008 E-security Review.

The review made a number of recommendations, including the need for improved engagement with ISPs to help create a ‘security culture’ among Australian internet users.

Throughout this year, the Government has been talking with industry on ways to develop this culture and today is an important further step for those discussions.

Today’s event marks the beginning of consultation on an ISP industry Code of Practice for e-security.

An industry Code was a key recommendation of the E-security Review.

Understanding the concerns and goals of a wide range of industry players and stakeholders will be essential to ensure the Code meets its purpose.

I encourage you all to put your views forward during today’s discussions and in the weeks ahead.

As I have said, ISPs are well-placed to provide their customers with easy-to-understand, plain-language information that will help them to take simple steps to be more secure online.

The Code aims to provide a consistent approach for ISPs to help inform, educate and protect their customers in relation to e-security issues.

The Code will also provide a framework for ISPs to inform clients about compromises

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on their computers and how they can address them.

But critically, the Code will go further.

It will include mechanisms and information-sharing arrangements between ISPs to help prevent compromises on one ISP network from affecting customers on other networks.

This factor increases the need for the Code to be developed with the collective expertise of the industry.

As mentioned, the Government through my Department and the Australian Communications and Media Authority has already been in discussions with the industry on the shape of the Code.

But in the main, the Code of Practice will be developed by ISPs for ISPs and their customers, with input from other relevant stakeholders.

Today marks the next stage of that process and this event is an important opportunity to kick off those discussions.

The Rudd Government is of the view that wide consultation and agreement on such an innovative code is the best way to ensure broad compliance.

We also believe the code will add value to the way ISPs run their businesses and engage with their customers.

Once again, thank you to industry for continued efforts to formalise its approach to e-security efforts.

As I have said, the National Broadband Network will present significant opportunities for internet providers and change the way we address the delivery of vital services and utilities.

Emerging innovations promise major gains in productivity and efficiency across the economy—in health and aged care, education, electricity water distribution, transport, infrastructure and more.

However, as more of our vital services become reliant on high-speed broadband, we must also be mindful of the need to ensure the security of our networks.

Secure networks will not only underpin the successful operation of our critical services but also the general confidence of businesses and citizens in the online environment.

Confidence is a key factor in the take-up of new services and will be essential to ensure that Australia reaps the full benefits of the digital economy.

For these reasons, consideration of critical infrastructure protection, e-security and law enforcement objectives is high on the Government’s agenda as we prepare for our digital future.

Last December, the Prime Minister presented Australia’s inaugural National Security Statement to Federal Parliament.

He noted at the time that the sophisticated nature of our modern community is a source of vulnerability in itself.

The National Security Statement is the first of its kind, and recognises that the enhancement of Australia’s e-security capability is one of our top-ten national security priorities.

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It also highlights that in addition to big business and government networks, individuals are also vulnerable to e-security threats.

It is important to note that compromised computers in the home, school and small business put personal and financial information at risk.

Furthermore, when these computers are aggregated they can also endanger large corporations and critical infrastructure by enabling malicious spam or denial of service attacks.

The disruption to critical infrastructure systems caused by these attacks has the potential to impact the public and private sectors and Australia as a whole.

This, of course, must be a key consideration as we rollout the National Broadband Network.

It has also been a key consideration in moves to establish an e-security Code of Conduct for the internet industry.

This event today is a significant opportunity to fully canvas the issues at hand and how ISPs can contribute to our collective goals to ensure Australia’s ongoing e-security.

It is a pleasure to be here with you to begin this consultation as we again mark National E-security Awareness Week.

Our messages to this week are simple.

In fact, our key message is that being more secure online can be as easy as strengthening your password.

It is important that people understand the steps they can take to improve their e-security and we all have a role to ensure the right information is available.

The messages are simple but salient.

Ensuring people understand how to avoid losing bank details to criminals, how to avoid online scams and how to protect their personal information goes a long way to ensuring online confidence.

Confidence is essential to ensure Australia enjoys the productivity and employment benefits that will flow from our digital infrastructure investments.

Once again, thank you for the opportunity to be here this morning.

I am sure that there will be some very interesting discussions taking place today that go to the heart of the issues we face in addressing e-security and online confidence in the future.

Thank you for your support and continued drive in this area and to ensure Australia enjoys the best the digital economy has to offer.

Document ID: 115087 | Last modified: 10 June 2009, 12:07pm

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