The internet has been a wonderful development in our lives helping to keep us connected with friends and family, and making everyday tasks like shopping, banking, research and education more straightforward. Sometimes its reach is unlimited and its ability to make you feel connected is fantastic.
But, as technology advances and the number of users increases, it is vital that protections against its abuse keep pace.
93% of homes and businesses in Britain already have access to high speed broadband. The government is commitment to ensuring that, by 2020, every one does.
Most of our area already accesses high speed connections but I know that work is planned for further rollout in Westfield, Three Oaks, Pett Level, and Guestling. This is part of the eSussex project, led by East Sussex County Council and BT with support from government, which is delivering high speed broadband to at least 5,000 more homes and businesses in the county by the end of 2018.
As well as the technology we need now, the government is also already investing in the next generation – full fibre broadband and 5G – so that homes and businesses can enjoy the best possible connectivity into the future.
However, as technology moves forward, so must the safeguards we put in place to prevent its abuse.
Work has begun to implement the new Digital Economy Act which became law in April. This protects and strengthens the rights and interests of consumers. It includes powers to give people better information about communication services, easier switching and automatic compensation if things go wrong, enhanced protection from nuisance calls, a crackdown on ticket touts who sweep up online tickets and resell them at inflated prices, and greater protections for children from exposure to adult content.
In addition, we are seeing the threat from cyber attacks increase and intensify. That is why the Government is making sure that the next generation has the skills they need to tackle it. The Cyber Schools Programme, will see thousands of students given the opportunity to learn the latest cyber security skills alongside their secondary school studies.
In March this year as Home Secretary, I called for internet companies to form an international forum to stop websites being used by terrorists. Earlier this week I joined the first meeting of this Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism which brought together leaders from across Silicon Valley to develop a coordinated response to the threat we face from extremism and terrorism.
As vulnerable people are targeted in their homes with poisonous propaganda, the computer screen in a home or the mobile phone in a pocket are front lines in this fight.
However, it is one we are now fighting with collective action from international governments, civil society and industry.
We are making sure that everyone can access the technology which makes everyday tasks quicker and easier. But we will not let those who abuse it enjoy the same benefits.