“I am delighted to welcome you all this evening and I would like to thank the Science Museum for hosting us. It is a most fitting location for our reception. The museum was founded during a golden age of British scientific endeavour, two years before Charles Darwin published his groundbreaking theory of natural selection. It charts mankind’s voyage of discovery and learning and reminds nearly 3 million visitors each year of the central role of innovation in the advancement of human development.
This week we are meeting, and I’m delighted to welcome so many of you tonight, to discuss the most significant innovation of our time, cyberspace; a phenomenon which has dramatically shaped the way we live, work and interact.
The London Conference on Cyberspace is the first international conference of this kind. It will launch an important dialogue on the threats and opportunities of cyberspace. It deals with the big issues: the Vision, the Hopes and Fears, the Opportunities and the Challenges. Alongside we are running a complementary programme “London Cyber Interactive” which is designed to cover specific issues such as freedom of the internet, cyber legislation, development, child internet safety, cyber attacks and policing.
It is essential that the debate is as inclusive as possible, everyone has an interest in these issues and no one person or body controls the internet.
The conference therefore brings together delegates from business, academia and civil society, Government delegations from over 60 countries as well as the European Union and observers from 17 international organisations.
We are also joined tonight by several of our delegates from the Youth Forum which is running in tandem with the main conference. Their participation is invaluable. No other generation, as we have seen from the Facebook revolutionaries of the Arab Spring, has ever been able to claim such an instant global voice. Young people have a key stake in the development of cyberspace and their voice should be heard. And it will be heard in London this week.
And we are ensuring that members of the public from around the world have the opportunity to express their views through interactive online fora in the build up to and during the conference; a ‘conference 2.0’ where people can tweet questions and raise points on Facebook. We will collate these thoughts and put many to the conference speakers to enhance the discussions.
Together all of us this week will be working together to form the basis of the “London Agenda” which will help shape future national and international discussions on cyberspace.
I’m looking forward to a stimulating couple of days. I want to leave you on a note from inventor and pioneer of the internet, Sir Tim Berners-Lee: ‘The web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past.’
I hope you enjoy this evening and the conference. Thank you for coming to London”.