Tag Archives: HM Government


Speech: A free, open, secure cyberspace for all


Good morning and thank you, Minister, for your warm introduction.

I am delighted to be in India, and I am grateful to the Observer Research Foundation for this opportunity to address such an esteemed audience.

Before I begin to talk about our shared interests in the future of cyberspace, I’d like to take this opportunity to commend the work of my Indian counterparts.

Minister Prasad, like the UK you face vast and complex domestic, regional and global cyber security challenges and you work tirelessly to keep your citizens and businesses safe.

We both know that the threat of today will be dwarfed by the threat of tomorrow, and so our response too must be ever evolving.

At the same time we both recognise the internet’s great potential.

In both of our countries the digital economy forms a significant part of GDP, employs tens of thousands of people and continues to grow quickly.

In India, internet usage is growing at a phenomenal rate every year, and will grow faster still through Prime Minister Modi’s exciting vision for a Digital India.

So I turn to one of the most pressing international issues of our time: how to harness the power of the internet while ensuring our safety and security online.

Or to put it another way, how do we collectively continue to build a free, open and secure cyberspace for all?

Evolution of the Internet

I remember hearing about the ‘World Wide Web’ when I was just completing my law articles in 1990, but could not even begin to imagine the impact it would have.

No recent invention in human history has changed our lives so dramatically or so quickly. This extraordinary creation – the brainchild of a British engineer, Tim Berners Lee – has surely surpassed even his wildest expectations.

An internet worth protecting

Today the internet connects, informs and entertains nearly three billion people across the world. Thanks to mobile phones, we have access to its power virtually anywhere we want.

Never before have ideas, information and products been so universally available.

The internet has transformed vast swathes of the earth from communication black-spots to communication hotspots.

We can access one and a quarter billion websites from our phones, wristwatches, tablets or home computers.

We can control our bank accounts, adjust our heating – or more likely, here in India, your air conditioning – and we can shop for anything from health food to helicopters.

The Challenge

There is no doubt that the internet has spread knowledge and opportunity further and faster than ever before. It has powered extraordinary positive change.

However, the very features of the internet that make it a force for good – its low cost, its global reach and its easy accessibility – also make it attractive to those who wish us harm.

The threat is ever evolving.

From power stations to pace makers; dams to defibrillators; toasters to telecommunication networks, the growth in global connectivity is exposing us all to new risks in ways that could not have been conceived of in a world before the Internet.

We must face the fact that the more we use it and become reliant on it, the greater these risks becomes.

Last year, hackers breached the IT systems of almost half of UK businesses.

In recent months both our National Health Service and our Parliament have suffered cyber attacks.

The Costs of Cyber Crime

It’s easy with cyber security to get lost in the ones and the zeros, but for many in this room, these ones and zeros often come in the form of pounds, dollars and rupees, as they count the cost of cyber attacks.

In fact, cyber attacks have become a global industry in their own right, currently costing the world over $400 billion a year, a figure that is estimated to grow more than fivefold within the next 2 years.

The challenge that faces us all is how to respond to the spectrum of online threats, without restricting the benefits that we know the internet can bring.

It is important to recognise that much of the activity we see online is not actually “new”.

Attempts by rival powers to subvert democratic political processes can be traced back to Persia’s relations with

Athenian Democracy in the 5th and 6th Century BC.

The first documented instance of fraud was in 300BC when a Greek merchant called Hegestratos took out a large insurance policy against his ship and its cargo of corn with the express intention of sinking an empty vessel to defraud his backers.

And it wasn’t long after the advent of the printing press that the medium was being used to produce material that was viewed by the leading powers of the day as dangerous dissent or heresy.

Just as the behaviours we see online are not new, neither do we need to re-invent the solutions. Cyberspace is not a lawless space. Existing criminal and international laws apply online as they do offline, as do fundamental rights and freedoms.

However, while some online activities may be timeless, the scale, speed and anonymity the internet offers are very new indeed and present a uniquely modern challenge.

To address it, we should apply the same qualities that brought us cyberspace itself: energy, creativity and collaboration.

UK Collaborative Approach

This is what is at the heart of the UK approach – working collectively within the international system, with industry and civil society – a multi-stakeholder approach – to address the risks of the digital age while maximising the benefits.

That is why we launched the ‘London Process’ in 2011, to bring people together and further international understanding of how the “rules of the road” for cyberspace might be implemented in practice.

I am delighted that India will be hosting the fifth iteration of the Global Conference on Cyberspace here in Delhi in November.

We take this collaborative approach because the internet is a global resource, which not only stretches across international borders; it also reaches into our offices, our communities and even our children’s bedrooms.

Not only must the governance of the internet be truly global, it must also involve the full range of stakeholders represented here today.

The best analogy I can think of for the UK view of online safety and security is, as a team sport.

A sport where industry, academia, civil society, government, international partners and, above all, the public, play the part of wicketkeeper, slip, gully and deep square leg.

In other words, it is all about working together.

Responding to the cybersecurity challenge

This approach is perhaps seen most clearly in our response to the cybersecurity threat.

With the UK’s National Cyber Security Strategy we are seeking to defend our people, businesses and assets across the public and private sectors; to deter and disrupt our adversaries, whether states, criminals or hacktivists; to develop our critical capabilities and to strengthen our cybersecurity sector.

Central to delivery of this Strategy is our National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which celebrates its first birthday this week.

Bringing together all of the UK’s cyber security expertise into a single body, the NCSC works with UK organisations, businesses and individuals to provide authoritative and coherent cyber security advice and cyber incident management.

You will hear more about the NCSC’s achievements tomorrow, directly from members of the Centre, who have travelled here with me.

Another important part of delivering our strategy is international cooperation.

The UK is working to strengthen partnerships on a bilateral, regional and global level to collectively tackle threats, build confidence and transparency, and strengthen global cybersecurity.

Our partnership with India is a good example.

We have built cooperation at all levels, from heads of government to our excellent working relationship with Dr Rai and relevant parts of the Indian government through interaction between our tech sectors, think-tanks and NGOs. Together we are working to improve cyber security, combat cybercrime, and advance voluntary norms of responsible state behaviour and the application of international law to cyberspace.

We have built cooperation at all levels, from heads of government to our tech sectors and non-governmental organisations.

Terrorist Use of the Internet

This kind of multi-layered approach is vital for strengthening cybersecurity.

The same is true of tackling extremist content online.

This issue is a particular priority for the UK government because the UK is reported to have the biggest online audience in Europe for Jihadist propaganda, and the 5th biggest worldwide after Turkey, the US, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

We all have a role to play.

First, national governments have a responsibility to provide the legal framework and the resources to stop material being disseminated within our borders. And we must cooperate across borders to stop material that originates overseas.

Secondly, internet service providers have a responsibility to stop terrorist material being uploaded and to take it down more quickly when it is.

Finally, families and community groups have a responsibility to be aware of the dangers and to do what they can to prevent people they know from falling prey to online extremism.

If I may, before I conclude, I would like to set out what action the UK government is taking to tackle this issue of terrorist use of the internet. As I said just now, it is a current priority for us and our Prime Minister Theresa May has been leading global efforts.

She was instrumental in establishing the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism – an industry-led initiative to close down online space for extremist material.

At the UN General Assembly last month, alongside President Macron of France and Prime Minister Gentiloni of Italy, she hosted an event for tech industry leaders and like-minded countries, including India, to find solutions to the threats we face.

She laid down an important challenge to internet service providers: to take down extremist content within two hours of it being posted.

At a national level we are also stepping up our response, using our counter extremism and counter-terrorism strategies to help us remove “safe spaces” for terrorists online.

We are determined to prevent extremists from using cyberspace to sow fear, hatred and division. However, we must also be alert to the fact that they also seek to undermine our values. We must at all costs avoid a response that restricts the very freedoms they seek to undermine, or we will be doing their work for them.


Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, we must come together in the face of these and other threats.

We must hold fast to the values of decency, fair play and mutual respect.

We must defend the extraordinary opportunities that the internet brings.

Let us come together to keep it free, open and secure in equal measure.

Let us make sure that the internet of tomorrow is a force for good. Thank you.

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Press release: UK government doubles public donations to the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal for people fleeing Burma

PHOTOS: UK aid reaching those who have fled the violence to Bangladesh

The UK Government today (Wednesday, 4 October) pledges extra help for the victims of the Burmese military’s atrocities by doubling donations made by the British public to the cause.

In the last month alone, more than half a million men, women and children from the country have fled their homeland and made the perilous journey to neighbouring Bangladesh to seek refuge.

The UK Government was quick to recognise the unprecedented scale of the crisis in Burma and the impact it’s having on Bangladesh, and has already given £30 million to provide lifesaving food, water, shelter and healthcare to victims of the violence.

Britain continues to take a leading role in responding to the crisis as the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) today launches its emergency appeal for people fleeing Burma.

The UK will double all donations up to £3 million, meaning even more aid is available for those in need.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel said:

I am appalled that more than half a million Rohingya have been forced to flee their homes because of the horrific violence in Burma.

Those who escaped, carrying little or nothing, have had to make the treacherous journey across the border into Bangladesh to seek safety, with countless people dying or losing loved ones.

The relentless denial of aid is a matter of life and death for those still in northern Rakhine. It is utterly intolerable that the military who are responsible for this inhumane catastrophe have not heeded calls for restraint, and pleas to allow those who are now refugees to return safely to their homes.

In this time of crisis, the UK will do everything it possibly can to help and is leading the way internationally to save the victims of this tragedy, who are in desperate need of food, water, shelter and healthcare.

By matching pound for pound public donations to the DEC Appeal, we will double the impact British people can have in helping those who are displaced in Bangladesh or who remain in Burma.

UK taxpayers’ money is already making a significant difference to those who have been displaced and the announcement of the DEC appeal will allow more people to receive aid.

The distribution of further lifesaving aid in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh began yesterday (Tuesday, 3 October). Through our partner, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) 10,000 shelter kits, 10,500 mats and 20,000 blankets will be distributed throughout this week. Emergency shelter for up to 26,355 people has already been provided since the first refugees made their way to Bangladesh.

Food for 65,000 of the most vulnerable victims and healthcare for 50,000 people has already been provided though other partners and we are also supporting 7,500 children, many of whom have suffered traumatic ordeals and are at risk of sexual violence and trafficking.

For every £5 the British public donates this could provide a family with clean water for a week, £100 could provide two families with food for a month and £30 could provide emergency shelter for a family, and with the UK Government’s further support the impact on the ground will be doubled.

Notes to editors

The DEC brings 13 leading UK aid charities together in times of crisis: ActionAid, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam, Plan International UK, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision; all collectively raising money to reach those in need quickly.

The UK is appalled by the violence taking place in Rakhine State, particularly by the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing that violence and the reports of grave human rights violations taking place.

As of Monday, 2 October 507,000 people have fled the violence into neighbouring Bangladesh. Numbers are rising.

The UK has been a leader in responding to the crisis – in speed and size – to help meet the urgent humanitarian needs of vulnerable men, women and children in both Bangladesh and Burma.

Prior to the latest violence which began on Friday, 25 August 2017, we committed £5.9 million to meet the needs of the most vulnerable refugees and the host communities who support them.

In response to the latest influx we have provided a further £30 million of support.

Our existing work in the region meant that we were already in position to provide life-saving support when the crisis flared – without this, aid would have taken much longer to reach those in need. And we are sending more aid to Bangladesh.

In Rakhine State in Burma, aid workers have been getting British-funded humanitarian assistance to many tens of thousands of people. DFID’s partners are ready to provide emergency food to 30,000 people and to treat more than 3,000 severely malnourished children and pregnant women, but the Burmese authorities must stop refusing to grant access.

This lack of access on the Burma side means vital needs will not be met and lives lost. Britain urgently calls upon the Burmese military to end the violence in Rakhine and the government of Burma to allow immediate and full humanitarian access and support for the people and communities affected.

We have raised the situation in three UN Security Council meetings and led work in the Council to develop an international response. The Foreign Secretary also held a Ministerial meeting of General Assembly members at the UN General Assembly on 18 September to drive this process forward.

Mark Field, Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, visited Burma, including Rakhine State from Monday, 25 – Wednesday, 27 September. He held talks in Burma with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi to press for an urgent resolution to the crisis in Rakhine.

On Thursday, 28 September Minister Burt and Minister Field hosted a series of high-level talks in Dhaka, Bangladesh with key Government officials and aid agencies to identify how best to provide lifesaving support to the large influx of refugees in Bangladesh.

Britain is ready to support the recommendations of the Kofi Annan led Rakhine Advisory Commission to assist the long-term development of all people in Rakhine state, but right now the immediate action is for the security forces to end the violence and the government of Burma to allow humanitarian access.

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News story: Battle of Britain Reception

Battle of Britain Sunday commemorates the great victory won by the Royal Air Force, which saved Britain from invasion in 1940. On Sunday, September 15th came what Sir Winston Churchill called “one of the decisive battles of the war” and with it the Luftwaffe’s greatest defeat.

Many Argentines, decedents from British families living in Argentina listed themselves as volunteers to serve and join the British forces in World War II. Multiple of them were assigned to the Royal Air Force (RAF) and were part of the legendary No. 164 “Argentine-British” Squadron which was composed by Argentine and Polish volunteers.

The No. 164 Squadron’s coat of arms finds its origins in 1918 although, by that time, it didn’t have a motto. Mr Miguel Angel Carcano, who was the Argentine Amabassador in London, suggested that it should be “Firmes volamos” (Firmly we fly). The idea for the insignia of the British lion in front of a rising sun representing Argentina was also Carcano’s. The coat of arms wasn’t recognised until 1943 when the Duque of Gloucester presented the Squadron officially at a ceremony in front of the Air Marshalls Sir Hugh Sanders, Roderick Hill, and members of the British community in Argentina. It was the only Squadron whose name was inscribed in Spanish.

Argentine men from British families were not the only ones who volunteered, there were many women who also had a prominent participation during World War II: Maureen Dunlop, an Argentine volunteer, became an ATA pilot in the RAF during the Second World War, and Rosemary Simpson another Argentine volunteer who participated in the Royal Army Ordinance Corps (RAOC), part of the British Army.

In a reception at the HM Ambassador’s residence, we honoured Ronnie Scott, the son of a Scottish immigrant, who in 1943 enlisted as a pilot in the British military; Stanley Coggan, a veteran of the Second World War who was a Flying Officer; Mary Chapman, as well Scottish, who has been living in Argentina for 70 years, but before that she was a cryptographer in British military defence during World War II; Antoni Żebrowski, who was born in Poland and was trained as a combat pilot by the RAF, and then fought between 1943 and 1944 and Dennis Crisp.

One of Sir Winston Churchill’s most famous quotes was delivered in the midst of the Battle of Britain: “The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the World War by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

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Press release: £2.5m cash boost for garden towns

A £2.5m cash boost to speed up the delivery of over 155,000 new homes across England, has been announced by the Communities Secretary Sajid Javid today.

Nine locally-led garden town developments, from Bicester to Taunton, will each receive new funding to fast track the build out of these large housing projects.

The new funding will support local authorities and communities in delivering ambitious proposals, speeding up the progress of developments through additional dedicated resources and expertise.

Garden towns being supported by government are committed to delivering high quality, well-planed and well-designed new communities that will stand out as exemplars of good development in years to come.

The funding will support the development of nine new locally-led garden towns at Bicester, Didcot, Basingstoke, Otterpool Park in Kent, Aylesbury, Taunton, Harlow-Gilston, North Northamptonshire and North Essex.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said:

Locally-led garden towns have enormous potential to deliver the homes that communities need. This new funding will help support the construction of more than 155,000 homes in 9 places across the country.

New communities not only deliver homes, but also bring new jobs and facilities and a big boost to local economies.

The Government’s Housing White Paper sets out bold new plans to ensure the housing market works for everyone, so that more people can have the security of a decent place to live.

Across England, Government is supporting the locally-led development of 10 garden towns and cities, as well as 14 garden villages – with the combined potential to deliver 220,000 new homes across England.


Further information:

Allocations for the 9 garden towns are as follows:

Garden town Funding allocation Number of proposed new homes
Bicester £500,000 13,000 new homes
Basingstoke £95,000 10,000 new homes
Didcot £295,000 15,000 new homes
North Essex Garden Communities £700,000 43,000 new homes
North Northants Garden Communities £50,000 18,000 new homes
Otterpool Park, Shepway £155,000 12,000 new homes
Taunton £375,000 13,000 new homes
Aylesbury £155,000 15,000 new homes
Harlow & Gilston £175,000 16,000 new homes
  • A garden town is a development of more than 10,000 homes. Garden villages are smaller settlements of between 1,500 and 10,000 homes.

  • Government is encouraging different and ambitious solutions to fix the housing market. There are pioneering examples of this already taking place in garden towns around the country: for example, as recently announced the Graven Hill site in Bicester Garden Town is providing 2,000 serviced plots for self builders.

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News story: UK team returns following major success at the Invictus Games

The 90-strong team of wounded, injured and sick (WIS) Service personnel and veterans returned from Toronto yesterday with an impressive 87 medals and over 170 personal bests. The haul of medals included 26 golds, 34 silvers and 27 bronzes.

The eight-day sporting event ran from the 23 to 30 September and saw 550 individuals from 17 nations compete across 12 sports including archery, wheelchair rugby and sitting volleyball.

Highlights for the UK Team included: sitting volleyball team captain Sgt Netra Rana, Royal Gurkha Rifles, leading his team to a silver; former musician with the Royal Marine Band Service, Poppy Pawsey, winning an unexpected bronze in the Womens 100m swimming freestyle race; and two golds in golf.

For the majority of competitors, their success at the Games was achieving an individual goal specific to their recovery such as setting a new personal best, or performing in front of a large audience under pressure.

The Invictus Games, founded by HRH Prince, demonstrate the power of sport to inspire recovery. Getting involved in sport provides significant physical and mental health benefits including increasing self-confidence. At the closing ceremony on the 30 September, Prince Harry said:

To the thousands who filled the stands this week, and the millions who watched at home, let me issue you a challenge. Don’t just move on from these games with happy memories.  Instead, make an Invictus goal for yourselves. Let the examples of service and resilience that you have seen, inspire you to take action to improve something – big or small – in your life, for your family, or in your community.

The fourth Games will take place in Sydney next year with 500 competitors from 18 nations competing from the 20 to 27 October 2018. WIS members of the British Armed Forces and veterans who have been inspired to get involved in sport are invited to register their interest in the 2018 Games. Registration of interest will remain open until 1 December 2017.

The UK Team Captain, Bernie Broad, former Army Major in the Grenadier Guards, said:

Invictus lit a spark in my belly and at the end of the Games it has become a raging fire. It has kick-started a new phase in my recovery journey and one that will continue for a long time. I have a renewed purpose and it’s brought back my determination and confidence.

What it has done for me it will do for many others. So apply for Sydney and potentially watch your life change in ways you couldn’t imagine.

The Ministry of Defence worked in partnership with Help for Heroes and The Royal British Legion to deliver the UK Delegation for Toronto 2017.

The Ministry of Defence is a partner in the Defence Recovery Capability, a programme which helps wounded, injured and sick Service personnel either return to duty from injury or provides a mechanism to help them back into civilian life.

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