Supporting digital trade a key element of Australia’s cyber diplomacy: Feakin

Australia intends to take advantage of the region’s “booming economy” in cybersecurity, for itself and its friends, according to Ambassador for Cyber Affairs Dr Tobias Feakin. The nation will also be “ramping up considerably” its funding for international cybercrime cooperation.

Australia has an international standing in cybersecurity, and brings “key qualities” to the table, he said.

“We have regional knowledge beyond most. We have a trusted diplomatic brand, and that’s something that we intend to capitalise on. We have strategic and economic interests in the region. And we have long-standing development partnerships across the region already,” Feakin told the second annual SINET61 conference in Sydney on Tuesday.

“We need to capitalise on those, make the most of them. Not just for us as a government, [and] for regional partners as well, but also for our private sector … We see this issue as central to our economic future,” he said.

“It’s only this year that it’s just reached the point, of tipping over, to 50 percent of all internet users living in the Asia-Pacific. But really, still, there’s huge economic growth to unravel there, because still 60 percent of all households don’t have internet coverage.”

Australia’s diplomatic engagement on cyber security matters will be detailed in the government’s International Cyber Engagement Strategy, to be launched next Wednesday.

“We’ll be promoting and significantly support digital trade as a key element of our cyber diplomacy. We’re already doing that in a large degree. Australia is already included in 10 of the 11 free trade agreements with a digital component, and we’ll continue to push on that,” Feakin said.

“But we must recognise that the incredible economic opportunity offered by cyberspace is underpinned by an open, free, and secure internet.”

The seven chapters of the strategy will cover these seven themes:

  1. Maximising prosperity by enabling digital trade
  2. Building a strong and resilient cybersecurity posture for Australia, the Indo-Pacific, and the globe
  3. Combating and shutting down safe havens for cybercrime
  4. Ensuring responsible state behaviour in cyberspace
  5. Keeping the internet open, free, and secure
  6. Protecting human rights and democracy online
  7. Using digital technologies for development

The region is “incredibly diverse” both economically and culturally, and according to Feakin…

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