Menace of cyberstalking to be tackled by campaigners

Graham Brown-Martin - Digital Safety conference organiser

It is estimated that global cybercrime costs US $100 billion a year. This enormous figure has eclipsed the value of the international trade in illegal drugs.

World governments from that of American President Barack Obama's administration to the European Commission are now seeing this problem as public enemy No.1 citing the traditional canards that this money is financing terrorism and such like thus ushering in yet another wave of the erosion of individual privacy and civil liberties. As the former head of Britain's spying centre GCHQ opined on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the publication of George Orwell's 1984 "all Internet and telephone traffic must be logged".

A hue and cry has ensued from civil libertarians in much the same way that skunk smokers complain about GM foods - these very libertarians are pouring their personal information and data into corporations such as Google, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. The ability to "mash-up"   all this data to create new and unimagined use of publicly available data about themselves brings both the potential for tremendous convenience but also an almost total denial of privacy.

Like our recent politicians expenses scandal where many politicians were unwisely claiming expenses within the rules many corporations are deploying systems that are also within the rules but are they wise? Is it really sensible to take a photograph of every front door and publish it publicly?

Have we reached a point where the legal framework has reached its limit of usefulness, can laws with borders be made to work in a borderless cyberspace to protect those who are stalked, bullied, had their identity stolen or are made victim of theft as a consequence of digital technologies?

The Latest, recently exposed the cyberstalker of a British family by an overseas national. As a consequence the story moved from citizen journalism to mainstream media, culminating with a recent national television documentary viewed by millions (

Now The Latest is a proud media supporter of a landmark conference, Digital Safety 2009 ( which brings together international thought leaders, innovators and practitioners to look at new ways of defeating cybercrime. Speakers include former British minister in the Cabinet Office, Tom Watson MP, Professor Tanya Byron, Dr Richard Clayton, Anthony Lilley, Hamish Brown MBE and many other experts in what is a vital and timely debate.

Readers of The Latest can register for the conference at a special cut price rate by using the code thelatest at online registration (

There are also a very limited amount of passes available for student members of The-Latest. Please email for one of these. Proceeds of the conference go to Victim Support.

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