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Dublin: 11 °C Saturday 25 October, 2014

Irish government rejects suggestions on regulating the web

William Hague tells a major international conference that governments shouldn’t police the web – and Lucinda Creighton says Ireland agrees.

William Hague speaking at the London Conference on Cyberspace this morning.
William Hague speaking at the London Conference on Cyberspace this morning.
Image: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

THE IRISH GOVERNMENT has said that it would not support any international agreement on regulation of the internet.

Speaking from a major international internet conference in London, Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton said that the Government would rather see existing structures used to ‘peer pressure’ countries into best practice on the web.

“There seems to be a lot of reluctance towards the idea of an international convention or treaty on internet regulation and the Irish government shares that reluctance,” Creighton told TheJournal.ie.

“It would take a long time to work out, and people are already coming from a huge range of views on the whole issue of regulation.

“Instead existing organisations like the EU could use ‘peer pressure’ to encourage countries to follow certain norms and regulations.

Creighton’s views echoed those of UK foreign secretary William Hague, who earlier today told the London Conference on Cyberspace that the internet must not be ‘stifled by government control or censorship’.

Hague rejected the idea of any government policing of the web, saying: “Nothing would be more fatal or self-defeating than the heavy hand of State control on the internet’.

His comments were echoed by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales who told the conference that the best thing governments could do for the internet is stay out of it.

Hague said that an international agreement about behaviour in cyberspace should be pursued ‘with the same intensity as efforts to eradicate global poverty or tackle climate change’.

Delegates from 60 countries and 17 international organisations  are meeting in London for the major two-day conference on the internet, focusing in particular on the twin issues of security and cyber crime, which began this morning.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was due to address the conference but pulled out on Monday evening when her mother became ill.

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