World Telecommunication and Information Society Day: ITU makes three major announcements
Thursday, May 17th, 2007

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has today made three major announcements to mark World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. The first is an ambitious two-year plan to curb cybercrime.

Cybercrime takes several forms, from breaching network security, financial fraud, invasion of privacy and identity theft to virus attacks, spam or online child pornography. With schools, hospitals, and government organizations increasingly dependant on online services, the vulnerability of the system and everyone connected to it becomes frighteningly apparent. As we are only as secure as the weakest link, a global concerted response is needed to ensure there are no safe havens for cybercriminals.

Against this background, ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré has set out a comprehensive Global Cybersecurity Agenda to tackle the issue within a framework of international cooperation. “With more than one billion Internet users in the world today, not only is the number of crimes committed in cyberspace increasing at an alarming rate, but the sophistication in the way these crimes are committed keeps evolving,” Dr Touré said.

Turning to the need to fast-track the UN Millennium Development Goals, Dr Touré announced a massive effort aimed at achieving the connectivity goals endorsed by world leaders at the World Summit on the Information Society.

To meet this challenge, ITU, the UN Global Alliance for Information and Communication Development, the World Bank, the African Union, the African Development Bank, the African Telecommunication Union and the UN Economic Commission for Africa are joining to launch Connect Africa, the first of a series of regional initiatives to help achieve the WSIS connectivity goals. Connect Africa will be launched at a high-level gathering to be held in Kigali, Rwanda, 29-30 October, under the patronage of President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.

HRH Sheikha Al-Mayassa Bint Hamad Al-Thani, Princess of Qatar, has launched a campaign along with the ITU to secure 2 Million Swiss francs to support 250 new scholarships in addition to creating 1000 new internship opportunities in the field of information and communication technologies within the next three years, by 2010.

World Information Society Day, 17 May 2007 is dedicated this year to making available the benefits of the digital revolution to young people everywhere. The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) recognized the young as the future workforce and the earliest adopters of ICT, and called for their empowerment as key contributors to building an inclusive Information Society. World leaders stated their commitment at the Summit in Tunis to actively engage youth in innovative ICT-based development programmes and widen opportunities for them.