Technology can make you safe

  • 15 September 2004

In an increasingly dangerous world, can new developments in technology provide reliable safeguards for security and safety? Experts in important developments taking place in information and communication technologies (ICTs) believe they can.

Such technologies are already helping to protect energy systems, transport, communications, food, water and other keys to civilized existence. What of the future? To answer this question the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which speaks for world business, is organizing perhaps the most authoritative conference ever held on technology and security.

The aim of the conference ‘Technology for security and safety: industry’s role’ is well summed up by Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, a businessman and Chair of ICC’s Commission on E-Business, IT and Telecoms. The conference will be, he says, “a pioneering initiative aiming at exploring creatively industry’s role in harnessing ICTs for the security of our life and property.”

Joseph Alhadeff, Oracle’s vice-president dealing with global public policy, is in firm agreement. “This event provides an important step forward in the development of a culture of security”, he says. “This frank exchange on issues, strategies and paths forward between experts from government and the private sector will further our collective ability to better understand strategic imperatives, emerging threats and possible solutions through pooled experiences and expertise.”

This will be a compact conference, limited to no more than 100 participants, maximizing their opportunities to talk to the experts. But, though focused, its effects are likely to be felt far beyond the conference room. It will explore the vital point that everyone has a part to play in creating a global culture of security, not simply business people and government.

John Dryden, deputy director for science, technology and industry at the OECD, says that every participant in the information society can help to create what he calls a “culture of security” and put it into practice. “This is an excellent opportunity for business and governments to speak candidly about current and future security concerns so we can use information technology to boost security overall.”