Professor Lee Jae Kyu (KAIST), the President of Association for Information Systems (AIS); Chair-Professor of KAIST2015-08-25Hit:3363
Prof. Lee Jae Kyu, a chair-professor in KAIST, is a more renowned scholar abroad than in Korea.
On July 1st, Prof. Lee became the first Korean to serve as the president of AIS which is not only a personal honor but it also reflects the current status of Korea’s power in the field of ICT. The world is paying attention to the Bright Internet, a future vision proposed by Prof. Lee. All internet users dream of the Bright Internet with the absence of cybercrime. However, cybercrime such as cyber terror, hacking and spam are prevalent because of the anonymity existing in the web; a celebrity even committed suicide because of abusive comments.
To ultimately settle such problems, Prof. Lee proposed a vision in which appropriate technology is developed and a security system is established through international policies and agreements. AIS, the world’s largest academic community, with more than 4000 scholars from over 40 countries, unanimously selected this vision, which is unprecedented.
Prof. Lee was interviewed in his lab, in KAIST College of Business, on July 13th. The interview lasted for an hour-and-a-half and was more than enough to gratify our curiosity about the vision.
-Where is AIS’s office and how often do you have regular meetings?
u The office is at Atlanta and we have regular board meetings four times a year.
-When did you propose the vision?
u I first proposed the vision in December 2014 after being elected as the president. The Bright Internet is the next internet and it AIS’s first time to select such a vision.
-Could you tell us more about the background behind proposing such vision?
u Internet crime is becoming more subtle and the harm has a snowball; however, there is no way to prevent it, not even the president can control it. It cannot be solved by a single country. The world should do research on the technology and system to settle cybercrime through a global agreement to create the Bright Internet.
-What exactly is the Bright Internet?
u It is meant to ultimately prevent various cybercrime, which is so powerful that it can even shut down a national system. Scholars are now doing research on preparing for such crimes. One area of such research is internet addiction. Last May, Korea created a research society consisting of 20 scholars. Four sections make up the content of the Bright Internet. Today’s internet security is a total defensive system. When a problem arises in a firm’s system, the firm is responsible for solving the problem. This response must be altered so that it involves a global-level prevention system.
To ultimately solve the problem, the sender is responsible for the harm. Then, the person who commits the crime should be made known; he/she is anonymous in today’s internet. The basic principles should be established to put the responsibility on the sender and appropriate technology should be developed.
Next is the principle of enforcing the deliver’s responsibility. If one delivers drugs, he is subject to punishment even if he is not aware of what he is delivering. Until now, telecommunication firms were not responsible for cybercrime for reasons such as personal information protection policies and guaranteed anonymity. For example, anonymity is misused during online sales; when E-bay changed to a real-name system the number of products decreased by half but actual transactions increased. If the responsibility is put on the middleman, telecommunication firms will prevent the route of crimes in advance.
Furthermore, digital warrant agents should be introduced. The U.S. established the Patriot Act in 2001 after the 9.11 terror attack. It was a strong law that allowed firms to collect communication records without the permission of the court. However, this bill was repealed last May. An appropriate standard should be set for cybercrime and digital warrants should be strong enough to facilitate the tracking of criminals. 71% of the websites today only exist for 24 hours. With the existing method, the execution of a warrant is near impossible.
The last piece is a tractable anonymity. There is no question as to whether freedom of expression should be guaranteed. However, this only applies to innocent internet users, not to the cyber criminals. The criminal should be responsible for the crime and if the server itself commits the crime, the country which possesses the server should be responsible for it. Cybercrime should be prevented by establishing such policies, together with a global agreement.
-How bad is the damage caused by cyber-crime?
u The estimated global loss is 4.52 trillion won, which is equivalent to 0.8% of the global GDP.
-Is it true that Chinese hackers can interrupt Korea’s financial systems?
u I wouldn’t say no to that. An incalculable cost is required to restore the system from the data outflow and destruction. The annual global internet-based economic scale is about 30 trillion won and 15% would be spent on restoration. In 2014, spam messages constituted 68% of all messages; 5.6 billion. Among them, 90% were sent via “Zombie PCs” by hackers and DDoS is occurring in various fields including finance and in nuclear power plants.
-And the related research?
u Research has already started. China, followed by Korea, the U.S., and Hong Kong, has shown the intention to participate on the research team. Other countries such as Japan, Australia and Taiwan also have announced plans to participate. At first, information related to cybercrime will be made public. According to a source from the U.S., the number of spam messages dropped quite a bit after making the information on the senders was made public.
-Is an international organization being established?
u We plan to establish the Bright Internet Global Governance Center where data of all internet crime is accumulated. We expect the Korean government and firms to lead the establishment of the center.
-What are the future plans?
u Scholars will provide a theoretical framework for the realization of the vision, and in 2017, a global summit will be hosted in Korea. I, as a Korean professor, first proposed this vision to all scholars all over the globe, and AIS selected this as its official vision. I hope Korea will act as a leader in realizing this vision. Korea, a strong ICT country, should create the standard for the Bright Internet, and disseminate experiences and know-how to others. I would appreciate it if the president proclaims the vision at the 2017 Summit and takes the lead in global summit as the first Bright Internet nation. I believe this is the so-called “Creative Economy”. I cannot imagine Korean firms and the government not being interested in the Bright Internet; if that happens, foreign government and firms will have to push this vision ahead and that would be heartbreaking to me as a Korean scholar.
-What kind of values are realized from the industrial perspective?
u It is equivalent to switching the medical paradigm from ‘cure-oriented’ to ‘prevention-oriented’. Until now, countermeasures were provided after the crime; from now on, crime needs to be prevented. The Bright Internet is a revolution in the next internet platform. The task is to establish an applicable solution in today’s internet era. If we play a leading role in standardizing the internet, we can create and supply the solutions. It would be a great opportunity to create a new industry.
-What are the thoughts of the opposing side?
u An innocent internet user has no reason to oppose to this vision. If so, he/she may be one of the cyber criminals.
-Any advices on competitiveness reinforcement of the Korean software industry?
u A global firm like Google is in need. The government needs to make an ecosystem in which small and medium firms can also become large companies. In 2006, Google took over Youtube; this would not have happened in Korea. Google would overpower Youtube, and then take it over at low price. To reduce the majority of social conflicts and to be respected, large firms must grow together with small and medium firms.