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International Parliamentary Conference on National Security & Cybersecurity Day – Day Four Summary

Friday 31 March 2017

Welcome to the summary of the fourth day if the International Parliamentary Conference on National Security and Cybersecurity.

National Security vs Human Rights

Day 4 of the International Parliamentary Conference (IPC) began with a session looking at the balance between protecting citizens with robust national security measures; while also ensuring civil liberties are enshrined in the law. The session covered the tactics of surveillance and interception as well as international human rights standards and the special powers of courts. The session also offered parliamentarian perspective into the way in which elected representatives create legislation and scrutinise bills that effectively balance protecting citizens whilst maintaining freedom.

Countering Extremism and Community Cohesion  

The following session then asked how parliamentarians can promote community cohesion and counter the narrative of violent extremism. With the recent examples of the Westminster attack and the murder of Jo Cox MP, the role for parliamentarians to be leaders that promote unity in their communities is as important as ever. The session also highlighted the use of online tools by terrorist organisations to entice individuals to various causes and the panellists emphasised the importance of educating children at a young age of the dangers online. Finally, the importance of the family was explored in countering extremism and violence. An example was cited of a rival football match in Brazil that had a history of crowd trouble until it employed mothers from the community to act as match stewards.

Equality and Diversity in Security  

The final session of the morning was given over to the issue of equality and diversity with regards to security. It was noted that a group that doesn’t feel it has a stake in national security is dangerous for community cohesion and so parliamentarians had a responsibility to ensure all of society felt included and represented by security interests. Delegates heard about efforts of the London Metropolitan Police Service to be a more diverse workforce that reflects the city and the benefits of achieving that goal. Delegates also heard about the role of women in peace negotiations and how security solutions can only be truly sustainable when the voice of both men and women are heard.

Building International and Regional Partnerships and Agreements  

Next, a session on partnerships began by drawing on the shared values and the network of Commonwealth nations, which has many links and associations across many sectors. As the oldest political association in the world, it was highlighted that the Commonwealth is more interdependent on each other than ever before. The importance of the balance between national security and individual freedom and the fundamental role for parliamentarians in challenging governments was also emphasised. The session then explored the role of Europol and the spread of similar networks in other continents and also discussed the future of Europol and the UK post-Brexit.

Delegates then participated in a breakout exercise that examined threats, strategies and legislations in relation to national security.

Partnering and Oversight of the Private Sector

The final session of the day gave an overview of Guernsey and its relationship with security entities. It went on to look at the tools and guidance available for parliamentarians and highlighted the need to develop innovative solutions that put good governance at the heart of endeavours. The session also examined the professional and regulated security industry and how oversight of the industry, as well as training and preparation of private security operatives, provide security the public can rely on. The importance of sharing information and working collaboratively was emphasised. 

We look forward to welcoming delegates to the Conference tomorrow for Day 5 – the final day - where the focus will be cybersecurity.

To follow the conference on Twitter or to add your thoughts, use the hashtag #NATSEC17 and #CYBERPARL and don’t forget to follow us at @CPA_UK.

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