India to manufacture semi-conductors, computer chips to check cyber security threats: Kapil Sibal

Last Updated: Mon, Oct 14, 2013 15:10 hrs

Admitting that India's imported computer hardware is a security threat, the Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology Kapil Sibal on Monday said that the government has decided to set up manufacture of semi-conductors and computer chips.

Delivering the inaugural address at a two-day India Conference on Cyber Security and Cyber Governance, organised by Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and FICCI at New Delhi, Sibal said the government has already approved two projects to build semi-conductors and letters of intent have been issued already.

Sibal hoped that manufacture of chips in India in design with the Indian software companies will go a long way in improving cyber security, though it is easier said than done.

He said the government is also planning to train 5,00,000 people in the next five years in using and governing cyber space.

He confirmed that the government has started connecting 250 gram panchayats through optical cables with capacity of 3G-4G network and the work would be over in the coming one and half years.

Sibal said the time had come for the world to come to a conclusion on cyber security and governance issues as many of the issues are not neither ours alone nor any individual nation.

He also said the countries should reach a consensus on at least two issues - jurisdiction and identity. He also stressed on the need to remove asymmetry in the cyber laws in different countries if we need to have effective cyber governance.

Delivering the keynote address, the National Security Advisor, Shivshankar Menon, said the government is looking into setting up an Information Sharing and Analysis Centre and testing and certification labs in the private sector by industry associations.

Menon said the government is strongly committed to the democratic nature of the cyber space and protecting the privacy of the individuals while protecting and securing the cyber space.

He said the government has also decided to take steps to protect Critical Information Infrastructures (CIIs) where it has seen phenomenal increase in attacks. He said the government is in the process of notifying CIIs under the IT Act and National Political Information Protection Centre is being set up.

The NSA said the National Crisis management Plan has already identified nine sectors for protection-defence, finance, space, ICT, I and B, public essential services and utilities, law enforcement and security.

Menon also said that there was an imperative need for international cooperation on creating global standards and evaluation methodology for certification labs. He said any institution invested with authority to manage or regulate cyber space should be broad based and institutionalised so as to take on board the concern and views of all stakeholders.

ORF Director Sunjoy Joshi said never before in its history has the world ever been this connected before. Never before have ordinary individuals possessed such power to reach, out, touch, and influence the lives of others; and challenge institutions and governments with a single click of the keypad.

Yet as the medium of business and transactions, social, commercial, as well as institutional, shifts to cyber space, concerns about the security and stability of this medium are bound to be heard. The power it has placed in our hands has also triggered concerns within each and everyone becoming victims of the exercise of that power.

Joshi said Cyber piracy, data theft, system disruptions are all real and happening as we speak.

"What should the response to this be? How to respond to divisive social media messages that breed hatred and racism and crime? How do we respond to organised and non-state actors, and individuals who can use this medium to inflict harm on critical and economic infrastructure? And finally how does one define and then seek to defend the rather quaint old notions of sovereignty and 'national interest' in this borderless sphere?" he asked.

Securing this space is an aspiration most victims, governments and corporates would share, but how does one secure a medium whose very strength is its intrinsic chaotic, free and ungovernable structure. Is there a possible golden median path that can reconcile the need for security with the boundless freedom that cyberspace has given us? Joshi asked.

Moderating the event, FICCI's Virat Bhatia said the world has over 7 billion mobile connections while India has over 860 million connections. He said in the cyber security puzzle, with national security objective, balancing trade-offs is a challenge for all the stakeholders.

The two-day conference, being attended by participants from important countries, will have sessions on "Sovereignty, International Cooperation and Cyber Security: A Treaty Dialogue", "The First Line of Defence: The Private Sector", "Cyber Security: Strategies and Responses", "Freedom of Expression in the Internet Age", "Implementing National Cyber Security Policies", "International Public Private Partnership in Cyber Governance", "Privacy and National Security" and "Multistakeholderism: Avoiding the PRISM paradigm". (ANI)

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