Shaping the internet together

I had the opportunity to speak for BCS on two panels at EuroDIG on aspects of data protection and privacy – one related to identity and payments and the other to big data analytics and the internet of things.

European Digital Single Market initiative
The proposed European Digital Single Market is a very ambitious set of proposals intended to be implemented in an (unrealistically) ambitious timescale by 2016. A European Commission spokesman estimated that full implementation of the Digital Single Market would lift EU GDP by 15 billion euros. It was claimed that EU regulations (such as the roaming regulation) had already reduced cross-border communications costs significantly.

Building on NETmundial
All 47 members of the Council of Europe (except Russia) agreed to take the NETmundial principles forward as the single set of principles for internet governance and to use these as the basis of the global Internet Governance Initiative. This is in accordance with the calls over the last three years at the UN IGF (which is the long term forum – NETmundial was a one-off conference) to agree a global set of principles and is a major step forward for internet governance.

Cross-border internet law
There was an update on progress with the Internet and Jurisdiction Project.

Article 10 of the Human Rights Act refers to freedom of expression and has been interpreted by the European Court of Justice to cover both content and the means of transmission across borders within the 47 countries signed up to the Council of Europe.

ICANN and the IANA stewardship transition
A detailed update was given by officials involved in the IANA stewardship transition. This is the change in the internet numbering and naming regime from oversight by one government (USA) to oversight by all.

In simple terms, on a technical level there was agreement that what was done now worked well and little needed changing other than the oversight. The numbers aspects of transition have been agreed with minor changes and this is currently out for public comment until August.

It was widely agreed that cybersecurity is a key element in sustaining a sound IT society (including privacy and freedom of expression – see below). It was acknowledged that states are now developing military cyber capabilities (a fact that was emphasised by the Under Secretary at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs from Estonia and debated robustly with Russian officials) and that cybercrime, which is frequently trans-national, is growing.

Data protection, privacy and the IoT
EuroDIG was greatly concerned about freedom of expression, journalistic freedom and privacy. There was great support for the response to concerns about privacy and surveillance in the UN through the adoption of resolution 68/167 as a result of which the General Assembly requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a report on the right to privacy in the digital age.