Internet Liberum

04 August, 2015 by Admin | Cyber SecurityEventsStrategy

We have a passion for the open Internet and that’s why we support the Loey awards. Internet based business models are a source of growth. Society advances by linking people across borders and cultures, sharing knowledge and the free flow of information. This year the awards are presented in one of the world’s most beautiful museums: the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Its renovation took a while but the result is superb: the Netherlands at its best. An excellent location to laureate the country’s best Internet entrepreneurs.

In our Golden Age, the Dutch legal scholar Hugo the Groot introduced the principle of Mare Liberum. At the time, communication by water was the source of growth. Mare Liberum (Latin for “open sea”) is the term used in international law to designate the principle of free trade at sea. According to this principle oceans and seas belong to everyone and all countries should have free access to the sea for travel and trade. A principle that we believe should apply to the Internet: Internet Liberum.

Just like we conquered the waves in the Golden Age, we will have to fight for an open and free Internet today. The same things that makes the Internet so valuable (open, free, connected) also makes it vulnerable. There is tension between universal accessibility of relevant and rich information on the internet and controlling intellectual property and personal information. This is what we call the digital dilemma’s.

Certain individuals abuse the freedom and openness of the Internet by hacking into systems and stealing information. These low characters spoil things for the rest of us and cannot be tolerated. We have to defend ourselves against this threat by adequately protecting and controlling our data.

Should the government therefore regulate the Internet? Since the Internet has no borders, this remedy is limited. Governments could and should create the preconditions. However, too much rules imply limitations. Strict regulations and enforcement could make the Internet less vulnerable, the risk is that it then also loses its core values of open, free and borderless. The cookie legislation is an example of how the best intentions have come to impede growth and development. Moreover, government authorities are bound by borders and we don’t want those applied on the Internet.

Growth requires space, but space only exists where responsibility is taken. So it’s primarily the responsibility of businesses and entrepreneurs to create as much safe space as possible for themselves. This can only be done if entrepreneurs take their responsibility on the Internet and better join forces in the battle against evil.

As Steve Jobs once put it: "Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?", just like Piet Hein, who fought for freedom as a good pirate.

Due to open architecture of the Internet abuse cannot be avoided. We do want to keep the sea open. If we are aware of the dangers, watchful and respond adequately to attacks, the bad pirates don’t stand a chance. This way, we can navigate, create and do business in a safe and open digital world. And that’s what we fight for, every day.

Roel van Rijsewijk, Cyber Security Leader, Deloitte Digital