The Hindu BusinessLine: June, 2014
New Delhi: By 2025, every seventh netizen in the world will be an Indian. The country would emerge as a leading player in the virtual world by having 700 million Internet users as against the 4.7 billion global users by 2025. Half of the 4.7 billion will come from the emerging countries, led by countries like India, Cameroon and Pakistan.
“During the same period, the entire European Union will add only 105 million new broadband subscriptions, from about 143 million in 2012 to 248 million in 2025,” the Microsoft report Cyberspace 2025 – Today’s decisions, Tomorrow’s terrain.
The report said that the total number of broadband subscriptions in India would go up by over 30 times to reach 700 million from the present 20 million.
As this rapid growth presents good opportunities, the connected world could also be exposed to significant risks, particularly cyber threats. “But the risks are not just from the commonly recognised sources such as criminals, malware or even targeted cyber attacks. They can emerge from policies as well,” J Paul Nicholas, Senior Director, Global Security Strategy and Diplomacy, Microsoft, said in the recently released report.
Highlights of the report were presented to a group of visiting journalists at Redmond last week.
“The relationship between the national policy and cyber space is complex and, at times, indirect. One of the primary challenges facing policy makers is how to balance massive technological change and simultaneously manage the new generation of risks to cyber security,” the report said.
However, as the proliferation of Internet connections goes up, emerging countries will experience an increase in cyber security incidents.
The report visualises three scenarios – plateau, peak and canyon, depending on the enabling environment in different countries. “The countries that recognise (these scenarios) can help their citizens and economies thrive in the next decade and beyond,” the report said. It cautions against the poor availability of human resources by 2025 to handle the huge tasks. “Over four billion people and countless devices will be connected to the Internet. There will be nearly 20 million science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates, with more than three quarters coming from emerging economies,” the report observed.
The report called for an open, free Internet where privacy is protected and advanced cyber security risk management and coordination across countries. It also called for harmonising laws and standards impacting cyber security.
The writer was in Seattle at the invitation of Microsoft.