World Economic Forum: Internet increases global risk

Session highlights security challenges of online anonymity.

The world needs a new approach to dealing with the global risks created by increased interconnectivity, claimed panellists in an off-the-record session at the annual gathering of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The forum - which brings together 2,400 leaders in business, politics and science - began in Davos, Switzerland earlier today.

The global risk talk, which featured Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga, highlighted the unique challenges posed by online anonymity and the speed at which information travels. People and communities are better connected, but the "anonymity of threats" has made global risks - such as terrorism - harder to manage.

"The global community is disintegrating as smaller communities are increasingly significant actors," a report on the WEF web site said. "Today's global risks are 'quantum' in nature as they have implications far beyond their source. Decision makers cannot address risk by hitting at its source because as risk spreads from the source to other locations, communities and issues, these in turn take on their own momentum of risk," said the report.

Panellists said the best way to fight such risks is cooperation.

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