Safety in Cyberspace

OECD Observer

Growing worldwide dependence on information systems and networks makes it all the more important to protect these systems from cyberterrorism, computer viruses, computer hacking and other threats.

OECD governments have drawn up new guidelines to help create a “culture of security” for online networks in the wake of last year’s 11 September attacks in the US, laying down nine basic principles covering areas such as security awareness and respect for ethical and democratic values. The guidelines urge all users of information technology, whether governments, business or individuals, to adhere to and implement these principles.

The new guidelines are non-binding but are the result of a consensus between OECD governments after discussions involving representatives of the information technology industry, business users and civil society. OECD governments and other participants will draw on them in establishing policies, measures and training programmes for online security. Governments in other countries are asked to adopt a similar approach, while businesses are asked to factor security into the design and use of their systems and networks.

Individual users are asked to be responsible and take preventive measures to lessen the security risks inherent in an interconnected world.

As a fitting indication of their popularity, within a short time of issue downloads of the guidelines caused a sharp jump in visitor traffic on the OECD’s website.

See “Security in the new economy” by Ian Gillespie and Taizo Nakatomi, OECD Observer 231/232, May 2002.

©OECD Observer No 234, October 2002

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