17 October 2013
Carl Bildt, Minister for Foreign Affairs
Speech by Foreign Minister Carl Bildt at Seoul Conference on Cyberspace 2013
Check against delivery
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It's truly a pleasure to come here to Seoul.
Coming from the land of Ericsson - one of the global leaders in mobile networks - to the land of Samsung - one of the leaders in mobile devices.
Our two countries are, in this world of connectivity, close neighbours and partners.
I was among the many people who attended the first cyber conference in London two years ago.
It was a long time ago.
Hundreds and hundreds of millions of people around the world have plugged into the internet since then.
Mobile technologies have become much more abundant and even more capable.
And we all know that we are only at the beginning of a truly revolutionary development.
Today, approximately 3 billion people are connected to the internet.
In some years, it is expected that there will be approximately 5 billion.
But even more impressive is the explosion in mobile internet.
Here, we see developing nations leapfrogging generations in the 'developed world'.
Africa is developing faster than any other continent.
New technologies are creating vast new opportunities.
In just five short years it is estimated that 60 per cent of the world will be covered with LTE 4G networks with a capacity greater than what we have in most of Europe today.
There is still a digital divide.
In some respects it might even be getting wider.
Because increasingly it will become a divide less in terms of geography than of generations.
A decade from now the vast majority of the teenagers of Indonesia, Sweden, Nigeria or Brazil will all be connected by their smart devices to a global mobile network far more capable than anything available to any of us today.
The significance of this is crucial.
The World Bank estimates that an increase in broadband connectivity coverage by 10 per cent increases economic growth by 1 per cent.
If this is the case, then these technologies - in combination with open societies and open economies - represent the most powerful tool for economic development in modern times.
We see it. Day by day. Across the world.
My own country - Sweden - is one of the leaders.
It is said that the internet economy has contributed 8 per cent to our GDP. Perhaps.
But I know for certain that there is today hardly any sector of our economy that moves forward without the internet.
We are becoming net-based economies. Net-based societies.
And entering an even more net-based future.
But since London two years ago - or even since the conference in Budapest last year - new challenges have also emerged.
Freedom on and off the net is even more under attack.
Regimes afraid of change. Regimes afraid of the free flow of information and ideas. Trying to build their great walls to protect their great powers.
The recent report from Freedom House on the issue was blunt:
"Internet Freedom Deteriorates Worldwide, but Activists Push Back".
Last year we managed - as a broad coalition of countries - to get the UN Human Rights Council to adopt the landmark resolution 20/8.
Basically, it states that the protection of the freedom of speech and the freedom of information that the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights seeks to protect in the offline world should apply equally in the online world.
That is truly important.
There are some limitations in most of our societies. Even in my own.
Our cultures and traditions do differ.
But limitations must always be based on the law, decided according to the law and subject to challenge under the law.
On this, we should never compromise.
Since London, as the dependence of our societies and economies on the net has grown, and our vulnerabilities accordingly, we have become more aware of all the issues of internet security.
Indeed, the security of the flows of information across the world has probably become even more important to our societies and economies than the security of the air transport system or the flows of trade across our oceans.
The net is a mirror of our societies and of our world.
Pirates are there. Terrorists are there. Criminals are there. Spies are there. And there are state sponsors of some or all of these activities all the time.
We have a common duty to fight these evils, but to do it without endangering the values of freedom and an open world that are so central to us.
Security and freedom. Freedom and security.
The two should go hand in hand.
In our nations. In our world.
Offline. And online.
Recently we have also found ourselves in a new debate about surveillance and privacy.
Not a new debate for many of us. But certainly a debate with new dimensions.
In my own country we have laws, extensively debated by our Parliament, on these issues. On access to 'metadata' in our networks for law enforcement needs. On the foreign intelligence operations deemed important to our security.
And I believe that these laws are in accordance with the highest standards.
In other countries it is different.
Some countries operate vast surveillance systems without any laws of oversight whatsoever. Some are now having intense debates about these issues.
And aggressive intelligence operations on the net are certainly not a rare occurrence.
As a matter of fact, we see them every day, every hour, every minute, every second. I think we all do.
To these issues should be added the fact that nations seem to be preparing for what they call offensive operations on the net.
Cyber war is discussed as a new possible category of warfare.
Taking all this together, I do believe that what we have seen during these few years makes it imperative to have a global dialogue on the global norms of behaviour on the net.
And this global dialogue must also touch upon the basic issues of the governance of the net.
The present multi-stakeholder approach has undoubtedly served our world extremely well.
It brings together technology innovators, government regulators, business representatives and civil society actors in a web of governance that has proved to be effective, dynamic and responsive.
It's difficult to see that the rapid development of the internet that we have seen would have been possible had there been, for example, an exclusively state-centred governance structure.
Thus, there is much that we should seek to preserve.
But we cannot ignore that the legitimacy of this web of governance of the net is being challenged.
A broad debate, also on this, is thus necessary.
There are, of course, many rules and norms of importance of relevance for the net.
The UN Declaration on Human Rights. The UN Charter with its principles. The laws governing warfare. The principles of privacy.
To name just some of obvious importance.
These should not be changed.
But their concrete application to our new world of hyperconnectivity needs to be clarified. And we should discuss the ways in which this can be done.
These days the debate concerns the rules governing the right of states to conduct surveillance, primarily for reasons of security.
Also here, I do believe that a discussion on the rules of behaviour would be most useful.
To this objective, let me propose seven principles I believe should be observed.
Surveillance needs to be based on laws.
These laws must be adopted in a transparent manner through a democratic process.
The implementation of these laws should be reviewed periodically to ensure that the expansion of surveillance capabilities due to, for instance, technological advances is properly debated.
Second, legitimate aim.
Surveillance must be conducted on the basis of a legitimate and well-defined aim.
Surveillance measures may never be carried out in a discriminatory or discretionary manner and only by specified state authorities.
Third, necessity and adequacy.
The law should justify that surveillance is necessary and adequate to achieve the legitimate aim.
A sound proportionality judgment must be made, to carefully assess whether the benefits of surveillance outweigh its negative consequences.
Fifth, judicial authority.
Decisions on the use of communications surveillance should be taken by a competent authority.
As a general rule, an independent court should take such decisions.
States should be as transparent as possible about how they carry out surveillance.
They should provide information on how the surveillance legislation works in practice.
Seventh, public oversight of parliamentary or other credible institutions.
We need to scrutinise how the laws work, to create transparency and build trust and legitimacy.
Our obligation as governments is to provide security and to respect human rights - not either or.
In trying to define principles such as the ones above, we want to continue to engage with civil society in a debate about reasonable limitations to state power, in line with our obligations.
We now look forward to a deeper conversation with other governments, businesses and civil society on these issues.
Our ultimate goal is a system that provides increased security, enjoys legitimacy and trust among people, and safeguards the freedom and rights of the individual.
And while we refine our own systems, we will continue the fight against the authoritarian regimes and forces that put bloggers in prison, censor social media as a tool for change, and shut down the internet when it suits them.
In London two years ago, I said that the internet is the new frontline in the fight for freedom in the world.
That is even more the case today.
And it will be even more so in the coming years as our entire world, and our entire lives, go online.