Representatives from around 160 countries gather at the Hague to discuss cyber space and cyber security, including the dilemmas and challenges regarding the evolution of the internet. Ciara Lee reports.
The internet ... It's changed the world and is shaping the future. It's a place of innovation and information, but there's a dark side. That's what these ministers from over 160 countries, meeting at the Hague for a cyber space conference, want to address. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DUTCH PRIME MINISTER, MARK RUTTE, SAYING: "The likely annual cost of cyber crime to the global economy is more than 400 billion dollars. So there is a lot at stake. We need to invest in security so that legitimate users will benefit." From Ebay to JPMorgan Chase, high profile cases of hackers seizing sensitive customer data from companies have hit the headlines in recent months. Just last week a French television network was hacked by individuals claiming to support Islamic State. Tech leaders meanwhile are gearing up for The Next Web conference in Amsterdam next week. Hoping to uncover the next wave of online innovation, startups as well as global brands will be making an appearance. Next Web CEO Boris Veldhuijzen Van Zanten. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BORIS VELDHUIJZEN VAN ZANTEN, CEOn THE NEXT WEB, SAYING: "Innovation and breakthrough still comes from startups. There are a few exceptions to the rule but in general it is Tesla that comes up with the first best selling electric car not the car manufacturers and that is what we see every day. The real individual innovation still comes from start ups." The global fight against terrorism is a big part of the cyber space debate. The dilemma of that is how to protect the right to privacy. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BORIS VELDHUIJZEN VAN ZANTEN, CEO, THE NEXT WEB, SAYING: "There are better tools than demanding the key to my house to come in whenever you want because there might be a terrorist there. Of course the police and the intelligence community need good tools, but never at the expense of privacy of an ordinary user." Many feel governments are coming to the table too late with their concerns over cyber security. Attacks on financial services show the power they can wield. There's an upside for the cyber security firms though. Shares of publicly traded security firms have outperformed the market in recent months as businesses are spending more on securing their computer networks. Global spending on IT security is predicted to increase over eight percent in 2015 to 77 billion dollars.