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Assessment
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Form ID#

APPROVED

NCUC05

Trip/Event Assessments should be completed within three (3) weeks of the traveler's return date.

Trip/Event Assessment Form

LINK: NCUC Trip Proposal 5

1) Describe how the original Proposed Goals
and Outcomes were accomplished:

Report by:

Mr. Karel Douglas

LLB, LEC , LLM (Telecommunications and IT law) , Cert Comm.

 

OECD Ministerial on the Digital Economy: Innovation, Growth and Social Prosperity

Cancun Mexico provided the backdrop to the OECD Ministerial meeting on the digital Economy 2016. The 3 day event was held from the 21 – 23 June, 2016 and saw key policy and decision makers converge to discuss topics related to the digital economy under the theme “Innovation, Growth and Social Prosperity”. The event attracted hundreds of participants representing the 34 OECD member states and many non-member states and various stakeholders who came to provide input on policy related matters on the “digital economy”.  Goran Marby the CEO and President of ICANN , Rodrigo de la Parra ICANN's Vice President of Stakeholder Engagement for Latin America and other ICANN persons were also in attendance.

The high level topics at the conference were “The Economic and social benefits of Internet Openness” ,”Managing digital security and privacy risk”, “New markets and new jobs in the digital economy”, “Skills for a digital world”. These broad topics provided fertile discussion for the road map to a sustainable digital economy as eventually transcribed in the final conference declaration.

Day 1 of the conference was devoted to stakeholder forums. Just as in ICANN, in the OECD stakeholders play a critical role in policy development. There were four stakeholder groups: The business community, labour community, the technical community and most importantly civil society. The voice of civil society was represented by ‘Civil Society Information Society Advisory Council’ (CSISAC).

The CSISAC forum was themed “An Inclusive, Equitable, and Accountable Digital Economy”. The day was filled with a series of panel discussions on topical issues such as “civil society at the OECD: Progress from Seoul and next steps” which was aimed to evaluate progress on the Seoul declaration and review emerging issues in the digital realm from a civil society perspective,  “Civil Society Emerging Issues”  “CSISAC goals for the OECD” “ Consumers and workers in a digital world” with the aim of enlarging the long term participation of civil society in the OECD with special attention to Latin America and to consolidate the recognition of CSISAC as the main channel for civil society in the OECD.

The key note address at the CSISAC forum was delivered by Shoshanna Zuboff who gave a lengthy but interesting presentation on “the secrets of Surveillance capitalism” – a unique view of how data drives capitalism in the world of the big internet companies. The rest of the day was devoted to panel discussions. Unfortunately I found that this did not facilitae a lot of interaction with the audience as the panels were closed with only a limited amount of time devoted to audience participation.  It was also a challenge to digest information as various speakers were constrained by time to give somewhat rapid and truncated presentations. Thankfully I was able to engage many speakers after their presentations which gave me an opportunity to share thoughts on the respective topics.

CSISAC presented a colourful and diverse group of civil society representatives all with the purported aims of advising on the policy frameworks. I had the pleasure of interfacing with the CSISAC representatives prior to the conference on possible outreach activities at the meeting and have to thank them for their assistance. This gave way to meeting and holding discussions with many of the persons at the conference on the work of NCUC. This included getting useful advice from fellow NCUC members at the conference such as Wolfgang Kleinwächter and Mishi Choudhary. It was also heartening to know that many participants in CSISAC were keenly aware of the NCUC. Of course many of them shared similar concerns and interests in respect to human rights, privacy, data protection etc. I was also able to have meaningful conversations with the many government officials including privacy (data) commissioners, representatives of business and students.

Holding the conference in Mexico unwittingly meant that the focus was on Latin America. Latin America was described as playing a leading role in the Digital economy. This was seen by the several conferences taking place in Latin America including the IGF in Mexico. Access to the internet was seen as a solution to Latin American poverty as it allowed underserved and improvised countries to have access to the best education and opportunities in the world. The digital economy was held as the solution to many problems and hence the importance of the conference to facilitate such a development.

The ‘Internet of Things’, seemed to generate a lot of interest as the data presented showed a connected world of 50 billion devices by 2020. It was stated that the FCC , countries such as Japan and Korea were looking at the Internet of Things and how it would affect the digital revolution.. Currently it was stated that many devices were vulnerable to malware, tojans etc. This created the need to have devices and networks more secure. There was also significant discussion on the lack of trust and how it is critical to have trust as a foundation block to the digital economy; other topics spoke on how the increase in cross board data flows was the basis of a free and open internet, but also importance of maintaining the overarching the need to protect privacy . One of the most interesting points was the view that regulation of the internet and internet privacy is no longer in the hands of government. This was a clear reference to the fact that companies control vast portions of the internet eg data controllers, search engines, social media companies,  messaging services , ISPs etc. These companies are in fact more powerful than governments in respect to one’s digital rights. This fact did not seems to rattle the traditional view that governments are the citadel of power in respect to privacy.

The conference concluded with a declaration which provided a road map for the digital economy (as listed below). The first undertaking was trust and openness. There being a general consensus that Trust is critical to an open and free internet - It was a central theme that without trust the internet could not grow to its full potential. The importance of the internet to the economy was also paramount as it was recognised that the digital economy was going to be pivotal to sustainable development and new jobs. The pervasive nature of the internet in respect to the internet of things and the effect of connections between devices was recognised.  Also, as seen in the declaration there was strong support for the free flow of information. The growth of the internet and the flow of information had to be mindful of the human rights issues that should be respected. This was primarily privacy which is a prominent issue since the Edward Snowden revelations (also since the Schrems case where the ECJ shot down the Safe Harbour agreement between the US and EU ).

The key undertakings of the Ministerial conference were as follows :

  1. Support the free flow of information;
  2. Stimulate digital innovation and creativity
  3. Increase broadband connectivity and harness the potential of interconnected and converged infrastructures and digital services
  4. Embrace the opportunities arising from emerging technologies and applications
  5. Promote digital security risk management and the protection of privacy at the highest level of leadership
  6. Stimulate and help reduce impediments to e-commerce within and across borders
  7. Take advantage of the opportunities arising from online platforms
  8. Spur the employment opportunities created by the digital economy
  9. Strive for all people to have the skills needed to participate in the digital economy and society

The full text of the conference declaration can be seen here: http://www.oecd.org/sti/ieconomy/Digital-Economy-Ministerial-Declaration-2016.pdf

The conference and the outreach efforts were met with much success. For this, special mention must be made of Suso Baleato who accommodated (or rather tolerated) my many requests. And special thanks to Claire Milne for her warm kindness and advice. Needless to say the conference was populated with like-minded civil society persons and organisations who tirelessly champion the many civil issues that face the internet today – it was a fertile ground for outreach and speaking to persons about issues about what NCUC involves itself. The relationships and synergies that have been created will undoubtedly last beyond the conference and hopefully transform into relationships at future forums on the internet. Hopefully we will be “front and center” at future OECD meetings in the capacity as panellists or in a session where the good work of the NCUC will be highlighted.

2) Additional information pertaining
to this outreach event (optional):

 

3) Date Completed:01-Sep-2016
Community Confirmation Section

Note: To be completed by a Pilot Program Coordinator (PPC) designated by this organization/structure.

AcknowledgementsConfirmed?NameDateNotes
The Trip/Event Assessment information has been gathered and properly entered into this form.

Yes

Maryam Bakoshi

01-Sep-2016
The ICANN Organization / Structure's leadership has authorized the submission of this Trip/Event Assessment.

Yes

Maryam Bakoshi

01-Sep-2016
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CROPP Trip/Event Assessment Template v2 (Jun 2015)

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