As you all know, we attended the OECD High Level meeting on the Internet economy, where so many distinguished speakers contributed to the event. There were Ministers, officials, policy makers, industry leaders and Internet evangelists but also civil society and technical communities. Around 400 people attended the meeting, focused on 5 main topics such as broadband access, the role of broadband and innovation in the social and economic growth, balancing policy goals to strengthen growth and finally policy-making principles for an open Internet.
Angel Gurría, Secretary General of the OECD, opened the meeting explaining the role of OECD and its main outcomes in the communications field. Very interesting was the speech made by the Chairman of the Korea Communication Commission, See Joong Choi, who explained that we should bet for broadband in all its forms, but also mentioned the challenges that this industry is facing such as the explosion of data traffic and how consequently manage the networks or the risks touching security in an interconnected world.
Nelly Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission, presented her idea of “Compact for Internet: an Internet of Civic responsibility, One Internet, that is Multi-stakeholder, Pro-democracy, Architecturally sound, Confidence inspiring, and Transparently governed”. But she also explained that the objective is not to regulate Internet, just establish some principles, as regulation must be as an exception.
As a representative of the industry, Franco Bernabé, CEO of Telecom Italia, underlined the relevance of Internet for the future of the economy, raising the issue of the explosion of data use and the challenges we face as network operators. He also indicated that there is pressure to commoditize Internet access and he considers that Governments are focusing on wrong issues when regulating, as this situation may reduce financial capacity of the sector and this is worrying him.
The very well known Vint Cerf was also present and he focused his speech on the need to declare IPv6 as a priority under the applause of the presents and was several times mentioned as one of the most relevant points for the next future!
See the video here.
Tim Berners-Lee, Director of the W3C was there too! He raised the next challenges for Internet such as keeping open but also raising difficult issues like security in Internet in all its aspects.
See the video here.
And this is just a flavor of the speakers during the event but the main objective of this meeting was to issue a Communiqué of fundamental principles for Internet.
This text has been highly and largely discussed and debated until the same day of the meeting by all the stakeholders, Governments, Industry, technical bodies, business communities and the civil society. Finally, a certain consensus was reached by all stakeholders but not supported by CISAC (the International Confederation of Authors and Composers Societies), covering a group of 80 members. Despite the efforts done during the negotiations, CISAC considered that they could not endorse the Communiqué as its wording could encourage somehow governments to force ISPs to police the Internet. This has been the cloud in the blue sky of this event…
The Communiqué highlights the following commitments such as:
- Promote and protect the global free flow of information
- Promote the open, distributed, and interconnected nature of Internet
- Cooperate in multistakeholder policy development processes
- Ensure transparency, fair process and accountability
- Strengthen consistency and effectiveness in privacy protection
- Maximize individual empowerment
- Promote creativity and innovation
- Limit Internet intermediary liability
Taking into account the relevance of Internet now and for the future, these main principles could act as a guide for the future, underlining some of the points raised by Internet, one of the most relevant innovations for our society of the last years. The final text is not perfect, of course, however, I am sure that time will also bring its value and some principles could evolve or even change….But this Communiqué marks a starting point and this should be appreciated.
For more information, you can access OECD dedicated webpage here.
Did you attend the OECD High Level Meeting? What are your feelings? Do you think the discussions were fruitful? Did you miss any topic on the agenda?