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International governance of the Internet urged to promote resilience

Posted On: Sep. 10, 2015 12:00 AM CST

A strong and resilient Internet will be governed by the private sector and supported by governments when needed, says a report issued Thursday by Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. and the Washington-based Atlantic Council think tank.

The report says annual cyber security costs in high-income economies like the United States “have already begun to outweigh the annual economic benefits arising from global connectivity.”

But although one-time costs are higher on an annual basis, benefits accumulate over time “as they tend to be made as long-term investments,” says the report, “Risk Nexus: Overcome by Cyber Risks? Economic Benefits and Costs of Alternate Cyber Futures.”

The report explores four possible alternate futures — a “Cyber Shangri-La,” a “Clockwork Orange Internet,” a “Leviathan Internet” and an “Independent Internet.” The report states: “Avoiding the worst futures is a global collective action problem that requires a sense of joint ownership over the Internet … We must focus on improving resilience and, above all, international governance for the globe and the Internet.”

Commenting on the report, Zurich Chief Risk Officer Cecilia Reyes said in a statement, “This report does an excellent job at creating potential scenarios that provide multiple perspectives from which to view the future of cyber risk and its economic impact. It accurately exhibits that the economic impact of technology is dynamic and its associated risks can be predicted and planned for — and reminds us of the importance of understanding those impacts and the actions we need to take.”