Review Platform

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Report of the UN Secretary-General’s ‎High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation

About the Report

The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, convened the High-Level Panel on ‎Digital Cooperation to advance proposals to strengthen cooperation in the digital space among ‎Governments, the private sector, civil society, international organizations, academia, the technical ‎community and other relevant stakeholders.‎

The 20-member panel, co-chaired by Ms. Melinda Gates and Mr. Jack Ma, was expected to raise ‎awareness about the transformative impact of digital technologies across society and the ‎economy, and contribute to the broader public debate on how to ensure a safe and inclusive ‎digital future for all, taking into account relevant human rights norms.‎
During its work, the panel broadly consulted with various stakeholders, including the IGF ‎community.‎

The Panel submitted the final report to the Secretary-General on 10 June 2019. During the ‎launch, the Secretary-General called for a broad consultation process on the topics covered in ‎the report. ‎

While the consultation launched below focuses mainly on Digital Cooperation and the IGF/IGF ‎Plus, the full report is also available for consultation (here) and there are many important topics ‎and recommendations that deserve consideration and careful review.‎

Digital Cooperation at the IGF 2019 

The IGF 2019 Annual Meeting will feature a main session dedicated to Digital Cooperation, ‎scheduled to be on 26 November, from 10:00-13:00 p.m. CEST, Main Hall. This session will ‎reflect on the HLPDC Report recommendations, with special focus on the Recommendation 5 ‎and the proposed model for global digital cooperation called: The Internet Governance Forum Plus ‎‎(IGF Plus). ‎

In preparation for this session, the IGF community is invited to provide feedback to the Recommendation 5 - Global Digital Cooperation and the IGF Plus model. Relevant sections of the Report are extracted further below. Respondents can also email written contributions to [email protected]. These contributions will be posted on the IGF website.

All received inputs will be synthesized in a written output document and this will be posted in late October as an input to the above-mentioned main session during the 14th IGF in Berlin, where we will facilitate online as well as physical participation.

It is very important that this report and subsequent discussions have a very broad outreach. We ‎need to do all we can to include those voices not historically engaged in discussions on Internet ‎Governance or Digital Cooperation. This is a great opportunity to reach out and increase ‎engagement from marginalized groups as well as other ‎disciplines. Concrete and actionable feedback will help all our improvement efforts. ‎

Please log into the IGF website and post your comments by clicking on 'Add new comment at this ‎section'. ‎

Received contributions, in addition to the below in-line comments:

  1. - Brazilian Internet Steering Committee
  2. Microsoft
  3. Web Foundaton
  4. Government of Australia, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  5. Government of France, Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs 
  6. République Française, Ministère de l'Europe et des Affaires étrangères
  7. Government of Finland, Ministry for Foreign Affairs
  8. Governance Primer, Brazilian Association of Software Companies (ABES), AR-TARC Certification Authority
  9. Mercari Inc.
  10. RIPE NCC
  11. Government of Denmark, Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs
  12. Government of Switzerland
  13. Raúl Echeberría 
  14. Instituto de Pesquisa em Direito e Tecnologia do Recife - IP.rec
  15. ICC Basis
  16. Pathways for Prosperity Commission 
  17. Government of Germany
  18. UK Government
  19. European Broadcasting Union
  20. Group of stakeholders gathered around IGF 2019 Best Practice Forums
  21. Media 21 Foundation
  22. United States Council for International Business
  23. The Association for Progressive Communications  (APC)
  24. Internet Society (ISOC)
  25. Juan Alfonso Fernández

See the Consolidated Summary of Received Feedback 




Recommendation 5A

We recommend that, as a matter of urgency, the UN ‎Secretary-General facilitate an agile and open consultation ‎process to develop updated mechanisms for global digital ‎cooperation, with the options discussed in Chapter 4 as a ‎starting point. We suggest an initial goal of marking the UN's ‎‎75th anniversary in 2020 with a “Global Commitment for ‎Digital Cooperation” to enshrine shared values, principles, ‎understandings and objectives for an improved global digital ‎cooperation architecture. As part of this process, we ‎understand that the UN Secretary-General may appoint a ‎Technology Envoy.

Recommendation 5B
We support a multi-stakeholder “systems” approach for cooperation and regulation that is adaptive, agile, inclusive and fit for purpose for the fast-changing digital age.

Proposed questions for your feedback (suggestions only, all feedback welcome):

  1. How would you improve the current existing frameworks for digital cooperation?
  2. ‎What/if any new frameworks/mechanisms would you recommend?‎
  3. ‎How might we strengthen the practices/impacts of digital governance mechanisms?‎
  4. ‎How can we properly resource and fund multi-stakeholder processes to ensure:‎
    • Broad, inclusive and adequate participation
    • Ability to implement desired programmes
    • On-going improvement efforts are successful
  5. How do we further enhance our collaboration to advance our shared values, principles, understandings ‎and objectives for digital cooperation? ‎

Enhancing digital cooperation will require both reinvigorating existing multilateral partnerships and potentially creating new mechanisms that involve stakeholders from business, academia, civil society and technical organisations. We should approach questions of governance based on their specific circumstances and choosing among all available tools.

Where possible we can make existing inter-governmental forums and mechanisms fit for the digital age rather than rush to create new mechanisms, though this may involve difficult judgement calls: for example, while the WTO remains a major forum to address issues raised by the rapid growth in cross-border e-commerce, it is now over two decades since it was last able to broker an agreement on the subject. 

Given the speed of change, soft governance mechanisms – values and principles, standards and certification processes – should not wait for agreement on binding solutions. Soft governance mechanisms are also best suited to the multi-stakeholder approach demanded by the digital age: a fact-based, participative process of deliberation and design, including governments, private sector, civil society, diverse users and policy-makers.

The aim of the holistic “systems” approach we recommended is to bring together government bodies such as competition authorities and consumer protection agencies with the private sector, citizens and civil society to enable them to be more agile in responding to issues and evaluating trade-offs as they emerge. Any new governance approaches in digital cooperation should also, wherever possible, look for ways – such as pilot zones, regulatory sandboxes or trial periods – to test efficacy and develop necessary procedures and technology before being more widely applied.213 

We envisage that the process of developing a “Global Commitment for Digital Cooperation” would be inspired by the “World We Want” process, which helped formulate the SDGs. Participants would include governments, the private sector from technology and other industries, SMEs and entrepreneurs, civil society, international organisations including standards and professional organisations, academic scholars and other experts, and government representatives from varied departments at regional, national, municipal and community levels. Multi-stakeholder consultation in each member state and region would allow ideas to bubble up from the bottom. 

The consultations on an updated global digital cooperation architecture could define upfront the criteria to be met by the governance mechanisms to be proposed, such as funding models, modes of operation and means for serving the functions explored in this report. 

More broadly, if appointed, a UN Tech Envoy could identify over-the-horizon concerns that need improved cooperation or governance; provide light-touch coordination of multi-stakeholder actors to address shared concerns; reinforce principles and norms developed in forums with relevant mandates; and work with UN member states, civil society and businesses to support compliance with agreed norms. 

The Envoy’s mandate could also include coordinating the digital technology-related efforts of UN entities; improving communication and collaboration among technology experts within the UN; and advising the UN Secretary-General on new technology issues. Finally, the Envoy could promote partnerships to build and maintain international digital common resources that could be used to help achieve the SDGs.


A possible architecture for Global Digital Cooperation

The proposed Internet Governance Forum Plus, or IGF Plus, would build on the existing IGF which was established by the World Summit on the Information Society (Tunis, 2005). The IGF is currently the main global space convened by the UN for addressing internet governance and digital policy issues. The IGF Plus concept would provide additional multi-stakeholder and multilateral legitimacy by being open to all stakeholders and by being institutionally anchored in the UN system.

The IGF Plus would aim to build on the IGF’s strengths, including well-developed infrastructure and procedures, acceptance in stakeholder communities, gender balance in IGF bodies and activities, and a network of 114 national, regional and youth IGFs206. It would add important capacity strengthening and other support activities.

The IGF Plus model aims to address the IGF’s current shortcomings. For example, the lack of actionable outcomes can be addressed by working on policies and norms of direct interest to stakeholder communities. The limited participation of government and business representatives, especially from small and developing countries, can be addressed by introducing discussion tracks in which governments, the private sector and civil society address their specific concerns.

The IGF Plus would comprise an Advisory Group, Cooperation Accelerator, Policy Incubator and Observatory and Help Desk.

The Advisory Group, based on the IGF’s current Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group, would be responsible for preparing annual meetings, and identifying focus policy issues each year. This would not exclude coverage of other issues but ensure a critical mass of discussion on the selected issues. The Advisory Group could identify moments when emerging discussions in other forums need to be connected, and issues that are not covered by existing organisations or mechanisms.

Building on the current practices of the IGF, the Advisory Group could consist of members appointed for three years by the UN Secretary-General on the advice of member states and stakeholder groups, ensuring gender, age, stakeholder and geographical balance.

Potential questions for your feedback ‎(suggestions only, all feedback welcome):‎

  1. What are in your view criteria that the proposed Advisory Group should fulfil that are not ‎yet being taken into account by the IGF Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group in present IGF ‎setting?‎
  2. How do you address the concerns that these proposals may be considered going ‎beyond the original IGF governance structure and mandates?‎
  3. How might the current Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group be strengthened?‎
  4. What changes (if any) should be considered to the role and responsibilities of the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group/Advisory Group?‎
  5. How do we ensure the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group/Advisory Group has appropriate ‎funding and support?‎

The Cooperation Accelerator would accelerate issue-centred cooperation across a wide range of institutions, organisations and processes; identify points of convergence among existing IGF coalitions, and issues around which new coalitions need to be established; convene stakeholder-specific coalitions to address the concerns of groups such as governments, businesses, civil society, parliamentarians, elderly people, young people, philanthropy, the media, and women; and facilitate convergences among debates in major digital and policy events at the UN and beyond.

The Cooperation Accelerator could consist of members selected for their multi-disciplinary experience and expertise. Membership would include civil society, businesses and governments and representation from major digital events such as the Web Summit, Mobile World Congress, Lift:Lab, Shift, LaWeb, and Telecom World.

Potential questions for your feedback ‎(suggestions only, all feedback welcome):‎

  1. ‎How would you envision the work of the Cooperation Accelerator in practice?‎
  2. How do we ensure the Cooperation Accelerator has appropriate funding and support?‎
  3. How could existing intersessional activities from across the IGF community ‎support/participate in a Cooperation Accelerator?  For example, Best Practice Forums ‎‎(BPFs), National, Regional, Sub-regional and Youth IGF Initiatives (NRIs), or Dynamic ‎Coalitions (DCs)?‎

The Policy Incubator would incubate policies and norms for public discussion and adoption. In response to requests to look at a perceived regulatory gap, it would examine if existing norms and regulations could fill the gap and, if not, form a policy group consisting of interested stakeholders to make proposals to governments and other decision making bodies. It would monitor policies and norms through feedback from the bodies that adopt and implement them.207

The Policy Incubator could provide the currently missing link between dialogue platforms identifying regulatory gaps and existing decision making bodies by maintaining momentum in discussions without making legally binding decisions. It should have a flexible and dynamic composition involving all stakeholders concerned by a specific policy issue.

Potential questions for your feedback (suggestions only, all feedback welcome):‎

  1. ‎How should the Policy Incubator be organized, locally and globally?‎
  2. How could existing intersessional activities from across the IGF community ‎support/participate in the Policy Incubator?  For example, Best Practice Forums (BPFs), ‎National, Regional, Sub-regional and Youth IGF Initiatives (NRIs), or Dynamic Coalitions ‎‎(DCs)?‎
  3. ‎How do we ensure the Policy Incubator has appropriate funding and support?‎

The Observatory and Help Desk would direct requests for help on digital policy (such as dealing with crisis situations, drafting legislation, or advising on policy) to appropriate entities, including the Help Desks described in Recommendation 2; coordinate capacity development activities provided by other organisations; collect and share best practices; and provide an overview of digital policy issues, including monitoring trends, identifying emerging issues and providing data on digital policy.

Potential questions for your feedback (suggestions only, all feedback welcome):‎

  1. ‎How do you see the implementation of the Observatory and Help Desk? ‎
  2. How do we connect the local and global levels through this proposed mechanism?‎
  3. How could existing intersessional activities from across the IGF community ‎support/participate in the Observatory and Help Desk?  For example, Best Practice ‎Forums (BPFs), National, Regional, Sub-regional and Youth IGF Initiatives (NRIs), or ‎Dynamic Coalitions (DCs)?‎
  4. How do we ensure the Observatory and Help Desk has appropriate funding and support?‎
  5. How do you address the concern that these proposals will go beyond the original mandate ‎add an operational workstream to IGF, with significant resource implications?‎ 

The IGF Trust Fund would be a dedicated fund for the IGF Plus. All stakeholders – including governments, international organisations, businesses and the tech sector – would be encouraged to contribute. The IGF Plus Secretariat should be linked to the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General to reflect its interdisciplinary and system-wide approach.

Potential questions for your feedback (suggestions only, all feedback welcome):‎

  1. Do you believe the IGF Plus model is implementable, given that the IGF Trust Fund is based on voluntary donations?
  2. ‎What can we do to ensure the IGF Plus has appropriate funding and support? The IGF ‎Trust Fund historically lacked sufficient funding to fulfil its current (and basic) budget.  ‎




We live in an era of increasing interdependence and accelerating change, much of it driven by technological advances such as low-‎cost computing, the internet and mobile connectivity. Moments of change present new opportunities to solve old problems. The ‎efficiency, innovation, and speed of a digitally connected world can expand what is possible for everyone – including those who ‎historically have been marginalised. ‎

At the same time, humanity faces significant new challenges. Modern technologies can be used to erode security and violate privacy. ‎We are also beginning to see complex impacts on education systems and labor markets. ‎

We believe the opportunities for human progress in the digital age ultimately outweigh the challenges – if we join together in a spirit of ‎cooperation and inclusiveness. ‎

We urgently need to lay the foundations of an inclusive digital economy and society for all. We need to focus our energies on policies ‎and investments that will enable people to use technology to build better lives and a more peaceful, trusting world. Making this vision a ‎reality will require all stakeholders to find new ways of working together. That is why the Secretary General appointed this Panel and ‎what we have sought to do with this Report. ‎

We are grateful to each member of the Panel, the Secretariat, and the many groups and individuals we consulted; though the views ‎expressed were not always in agreement, they were always conveyed with respect and in the spirit of collaboration. ‎

No one knows how technology will evolve, but we do know that our path forward must be built through cooperation and illuminated by ‎shared human values. We hope this Report will contribute to improved understanding of the opportunities and challenges ahead, so ‎that together we can shape a more inclusive and sustainable future for all. ‎                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Melinda Gates and Jack Ma
Co-Chairs (signed)         



Executive Summary

Digital technologies are rapidly transforming society, simultaneously allowing for unprecedented advances in the human condition and ‎giving rise to profound new challenges. Growing opportunities created by the application of digital technologies are paralleled by stark ‎abuses and unintended consequences. Digital dividends co-exist with digital divides. And, as technological change has accelerated, ‎the mechanisms for cooperation and governance of this landscape have failed to keep pace. Divergent approaches and ad hoc ‎responses threaten to fragment the interconnectedness that defines the digital age, leading to competing standards and approaches, ‎lessening trust and discouraging cooperation. ‎

Sensing the urgency of the moment, in July 2018 the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) appointed this Panel to consider the ‎question of “digital cooperation” – the ways we work together to address the social, ethical, legal and economic impact of digital ‎technologies in order to maximise their benefits and minimise their harm. In particular, the Secretary-General asked us to consider how ‎digital cooperation can contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – the ambitious agenda to protect ‎people and the planet endorsed by 193 UN member states in 2015. He also asked us to consider models of digital cooperation to ‎advance the debate surrounding governance in the digital sphere. ‎

In our consultations – both internally and with other stakeholders – it quickly became clear that our dynamic digital world urgently needs ‎improved digital cooperation and that we live in an age of digital interdependence. Such cooperation must be grounded in common ‎human values – such as inclusiveness, respect, human-centredness, human rights, international law, transparency and sustainability. ‎In periods of rapid change and uncertainty such as today, these shared values must be a common light which helps guide us. ‎

Effective digital cooperation requires that multilateralism, despite current strains, be strengthened. It also requires that multilateralism ‎be complemented by multi-stakeholderism – cooperation that involves not only governments but a far more diverse spectrum of other ‎stakeholders such as civil society, academics, technologists and the private sector. We need to bring far more diverse voices to the ‎table, particularly from developing countries and traditionally marginalised groups, such as women, youth, indigenous people, rural ‎populations and older people. ‎

After an introduction which highlights the urgency of improved digital cooperation and invites readers to commit to a Declaration of ‎Digital Interdependence, our report focuses on three broad sets of interlocking issues, each of which is discussed in one subsequent ‎chapter. As a panel, we strove for consensus, but we did not always agree. We have noted areas where our views differed and tried to ‎give a balanced summary of our debates and perspectives. While there was not unanimity of opinion among the Panel members ‎regarding all of the recommendations, the Panel does endorse the full report in the spirit of promoting digital cooperation. ‎

Chapter 2, Leaving No One Behind, argues that digital technologies will only help progress towards the full sweep of the SDGs if we ‎think more broadly than the important issue of access to the internet and digital technologies. Access is a necessary, but insufficient, ‎step forward. To capture the power of digital technologies we need to cooperate on the broader ecosystems that enable digital ‎technologies to be used in an inclusive manner. This will require policy frameworks that directly support economic and social inclusion, ‎special efforts to bring traditionally marginalised groups to the fore, important investments in both human capital and infrastructure, ‎smart regulatory environments, and significant efforts to assist workers facing disruption from technology’s impact on their livelihoods. ‎This chapter also addresses financial inclusion – including mobile money, digital identification and e-commerce –, affordable and ‎meaningful access to the internet, digital public goods, the future of education, and the need for regional and global economic policy ‎cooperation. ‎

Chapter 3, Individuals, Societies and Digital Technologies, underscores the fact that universal human rights apply equally online as ‎offline, but that there is an urgent need to examine how time-honoured human rights frameworks and conventions should guide digital ‎cooperation and digital technology. We need society-wide conversations about the boundaries, norms and shared aspirations for the ‎uses of digital technologies, including complicated issues like privacy, human agency and security in order to achieve inclusive and ‎equitable outcomes. This chapter also discusses the right to privacy, the need for clear human accountability for autonomous systems, ‎and calls for strengthening efforts to develop and implement global norms on cybersecurity. ‎

To take significant steps toward the vision identified in Chapters 2 and 3, we feel the following priority actions deserve immediate ‎attention: ‎


1A: We recommend that by 2030, every adult should have affordable access to digital networks, as well as digitally-enabled ‎financial and health services, as a means to make a substantial contribution to achieving the SDGs. Provision of these services ‎should guard against abuse by building on emerging principles and best practices, one example of which is providing the ability to ‎opt in and opt out, and by encouraging informed public discourse. ‎

1B: We recommend that a broad, multi-stakeholder alliance, involving the UN, create a platform for sharing digital public goods, ‎engaging talent and pooling data sets, in a manner that respects privacy, in areas related to attaining the SDGs. ‎

1C: We call on the private sector, civil society, national governments, multilateral banks and the UN to adopt specific policies to ‎support full digital inclusion and digital equality for women and traditionally marginalised groups. International organisations such as ‎the World Bank and the UN ‎ should strengthen research and promote action on barriers women and marginalised groups face to digital inclusion and digital ‎equality. ‎

1D: We believe that a set of metrics for digital inclusiveness should be urgently agreed, measured worldwide and detailed with sex ‎disaggregated data in the annual reports of institutions such as the UN, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, other ‎multilateral development banks and the OECD. From this, strategies and plans of action could be developed.‎


 2: We recommend the establishment of regional and global digital help desks to help governments, civil society and the private ‎sector to understand digital issues and develop capacity to steer cooperation related to social and economic impacts of digital ‎technologies. ‎


3A: Given that human rights apply fully in the digital world, we urge the UN Secretary-General to institute an agencies-wide review of ‎how existing international human rights accords and standards apply to new and emerging digital technologies. Civil society, ‎governments, the private sector and the public should be invited to submit their views on how to apply existing human rights ‎instruments in the digital age in a proactive and transparent process. ‎ ‎

3B: In the face of growing threats to human rights and safety, including those of children, we call on social media enterprises to work ‎with governments, international and local civil society organisations and human rights experts around the world to fully understand ‎and respond to concerns about existing or potential human rights violations. ‎

‎3C: We believe that autonomous intelligent systems should be designed in ways that enable their decisions to be explained and ‎humans to be accountable for their use. Audits and certification schemes should monitor compliance of artificial intelligence (AI) ‎systems with engineering and ethical standards, which should be developed using multi-stakeholder and multilateral approaches. ‎Life and death decisions should not be delegated to machines. We call for enhanced digital cooperation with multiple stakeholders ‎to think through the design and application of these standards and principles such as transparency and non-bias in autonomous ‎intelligent systems in different social settings. 


4. We recommend the development of a Global Commitment on Digital Trust and Security to shape a shared vision, identify ‎attributes of digital stability, elucidate and strengthen the implementation of norms for responsible uses of technology, and propose ‎priorities for action. ‎
If we are to deliver on the promise of digital technologies for the SDGs, including the above-mentioned priority action areas, and avoid ‎the risks of their misuse, we need purposeful digital cooperation arrangements. To this end, in Chapter 4, Mechanisms for Global ‎Digital Cooperation, we analyse gaps in the current mechanisms of global digital cooperation, identify the functions of global digital ‎cooperation needed to address them, and outline three sets of modalities on how to improve our global digital cooperation architecture ‎‎– which build on existing structures and arrangements in ways consistent with our shared values and principles. ‎
Given the wide spectrum of issues, there will of necessity be many forms of digital cooperation; some may be led by the private sector ‎or civil society rather than government or international organisations. Moreover, special efforts are needed to ensure inclusive ‎participation by women and other traditionally marginalised groups in all new or updated methods of global digital cooperation. ‎
The three proposed digital cooperation architectures presented are intended to ignite focused, agile and open multi-stakeholder ‎consultations in order to quickly develop updated digital governance mechanisms. The 75th Anniversary of the UN in 2020 presents an ‎opportunity for an early harvest in the form of a “Global Commitment for Digital Cooperation” enshrining goals, principles, and priority ‎actions. ‎
The chapter also discusses the role of the UN, both in adapting to the digital age and in contributing to improved global digital ‎cooperation. ‎
We feel the following steps are warranted to update digital governance: ‎


5A: We recommend that, as a matter of urgency, the UN Secretary- General facilitate an agile and open consultation process to ‎develop updated mechanisms for global digital cooperation, with the options discussed in Chapter 4 as a starting point. We suggest ‎an initial goal of marking the UN's 75th anniversary in 2020 with a “Global Commitment for Digital Cooperation” to enshrine shared ‎values, principles, understandings and objectives for an improved global digital cooperation architecture. As part of this process, we ‎understand that the UN Secretary-General may appoint a Technology Envoy. ‎

5B: We support a multi-stakeholder “systems” approach for cooperation and regulation that is adaptive, agile, inclusive and fit for ‎purpose for the fast-changing digital age. ‎

We hope this report and its recommendations will form part of the building blocks of an inclusive and interdependent digital world, with ‎a fit-for-purpose new governance architecture. We believe in a future in which improved digital cooperation can support the ‎achievement of the SDGs, reduce inequalities, bring people together, enhance international peace and security, and promote ‎economic opportunity and environmental sustainability.‎


1. Introduction: Interdependence ‎in the Digital Age

Digital technologies are rapidly transforming societies and economies, simultaneously advancing the human condition and creating ‎profound and unprecedented challenges. How well are we managing the complex impacts on our individual and collective lives? How ‎can we use digital technologies to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals? What are current best ‎practices and gaps in digital cooperation? What new ways of working together are needed, and who should be involved? ‎

These are among the questions the UN Secretary-General asked us to consider.1 We approached our task with both humility and ‎urgency. The challenges are multi-faceted and rapidly evolving. The potential that could be unlocked by improved digital cooperation is ‎enormous – and so are the perils if humanity fails to create more effective and inclusive ways for citizens, civil society, governments, ‎academia and the private sector to work together. ‎

‎“Digital cooperation” is used in this report to describe ways of working together to address the societal, ethical, legal and ‎economic impacts of digital technologies in order to maximise benefits to society and minimise harms. ‎

As digital technologies have come to touch almost every aspect of modern life, a patchwork of cooperation and governance ‎mechanisms has gradually emerged to generate norms, standards, policies and protocols in this arena. In 2014, the United Nations ‎identified 680 distinct mechanisms related to digital cooperation,2 and the number has since risen to over a thousand.3 In many ‎technical areas, these mechanisms work well. But they struggle to keep up with the unprecedented pace and increasingly wide range ‎of change. ‎

While digital technologies have been developing for many years, in the last decade their cumulative impacts have become so deep, ‎wide-ranging and fast-changing as to herald the dawn of a new age. The cost of massive computing power has fallen.4 Billions of ‎people and devices have come online.5 Digital content now crosses borders in vast volumes, with constant shifts in what is produced ‎and how and where it is used. ‎

The spread of digital technologies has already improved the world in myriad ways. It has, for example, revolutionised the ability to ‎communicate with others and to share and access knowledge. Individuals from long-neglected populations have used mobile money ‎and other financial services for the first time, and started businesses that reach both domestic and global markets.6 If we are to achieve ‎the flagship ambition of the Sustainable Development Goals, to end extreme poverty by 2030, improved digital cooperation will need to ‎play a vital role. ‎

But digital technologies have also brought new and very serious concerns. Around the world, many people are increasingly – and ‎rightly – worried that our growing reliance on digital technologies has created new ways for individuals, companies and governments to ‎intentionally cause harm or to act irresponsibly. Virtually every day brings new stories about hatred being spread on social media, ‎invasion of privacy by businesses and governments, cyber-attacks using weaponised digital technologies or states violating the rights ‎of political opponents.7
And many people have been left out of the benefits of digital technology. Digital dividends co-exist with digital divides. Well more than ‎half the world’s population still either lacks affordable access to the internet or is using only a fraction of its potential despite being ‎connected.8 People who lack safe and affordable access to digital technologies are overwhelmingly from groups who are already ‎marginalised: women, elderly people and those with disabilities; indigenous groups; and those who live in poor, remote or rural areas.9 ‎Many existing inequalities – in wealth, opportunity, education, and health – are being widened further. ‎

The speed and scale of change is increasing – and the agility, responsiveness and scope of cooperation and governance mechanisms ‎needs rapidly to improve. We cannot afford to wait any longer to develop better ways to cooperate, collaborate and reach consensus. ‎We urgently need new forms of digital cooperation to ensure that digital technologies are built on a foundation of respect for human ‎rights and provide meaningful opportunity for all people and nations. ‎

The speed and scale of change is increasing – and the agility, ‎responsiveness and scope of cooperation and governance mechanisms ‎needs rapidly to improve. We cannot afford to wait any longer to develop ‎better ways to cooperate, collaborate and reach consensus. We urgently ‎need new forms of digital cooperation to ensure that digital technologies ‎are built on a foundation of respect for human rights and provide ‎meaningful opportunity for all people and nations.‎


If we want to use digital technologies to improve life for everyone, we will have to go about it consciously and deliberately – with civil society, companies and governments recognising their interdependence and working together. The unique benefits and profound risks arising from the dramatic increase in computing power and interconnectivity in the digital age reinforce our underlying interdependence. Globally and locally, we are increasingly linked in an ever-expanding digital web, just as we are increasingly linked, and mutually dependent, in the spheres of economics, public well-being and the environment. 

The critical need to improve digital cooperation comes at a time when many of the mechanisms of multilateral cooperation developed since World War II are under unprecedented duress. Although far from perfect, these avenues for cooperation between national governments underpinned one of the most peaceful and productive periods in human history. Their erosion is dangerous: it will make it harder to capitalise on the benefits of digital technologies and mitigate the hazards. 

Reinvigorating multilateralism alone will not be sufficient. Effective digital cooperation requires that multilateralism be complemented by multi-stakeholderism – cooperation that involves governments and a diverse spectrum of other stakeholders such as civil society, technologists, academics, and the private sector (ranging from small enterprises to large technology companies). 

While only governments can make laws, all these stakeholders are needed to contribute to effective governance by cooperating to assess the complex and dynamic impacts of digital technologies and developing shared norms, standards and practices. We need to bring far more diverse voices to the table, particularly from developing countries and traditionally marginalised populations. Important digital issues have often been decided behind closed doors, without the involvement of those who are most affected by the decisions. 

The unique benefits and risks arising from the dramatic increase in computing power and interconnectivity in the digital age reinforce our underlying interdependence."

Managing digital technologies to maximise benefits to society and minimise harms requires a far-sighted and wide-ranging view of the complex ways in which they interact with societal, environmental, ethical, legal and economic systems. The Panel is enormously grateful to the many individuals, institutions and others who provided us with their insights and expertise as we sought to better understand how to navigate this new landscape. We endeavoured to consult as broadly as possible in the time available.

Drawing on many thoughtful reflections,10 we identified the following nine values that we believe should shape the development of digital cooperation:

  • Inclusiveness – Leaving no one behind, so that we can maximise equality of opportunity, access and outcomes to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • Respect – Embodying respect for human rights and human dignity, diversity, the safety and security of personal data and devices, and national and international law; 
  • Human-centredness – Maximising benefits to humans, and ensuring that humans remain responsible for decisions; 
  • Human flourishing – Promoting sustainable economic growth, the social good and opportunities for self-realisation; 
  • Transparency – Promoting open access to information and operations; 
  • Collaboration – Upholding open standards and interoperability to facilitate collaboration; 
  • Accessibility – Developing affordable, simple and reliable devices and services for as diverse a range of users as possible; 
  • Sustainability – Furthering the aim of a zero-carbon, zero-waste economy that does not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs; and, 
  • Harmony – The use by governments and businesses of digital technologies in ways that earn the trust of peers, partners and people, and that avoid exploiting or exacerbating divides and conflicts. 


As a panel, we strove for consensus, but we did not always agree. We have noted areas where our views differed and tried to give a balanced summary of our debates and perspectives. While there was not unanimity of opinion among the Panel members regarding all of the recommendations, the Panel does endorse the full report in the spirit of promoting digital cooperation. 

The next three chapters highlight issues that emerged from the Panel’s deliberations, setting out the backdrop for the recommendations in the final chapter. Our report does not aim to be comprehensive – some important topics are touched briefly or not at all – but to focus on areas where we felt digital cooperation could make the greatest difference. These chapters deal broadly with the areas of economics, society and governance, while noting that many issues – such as capacity, infrastructure and data – are relevant to all. 

Chapter 2, Leaving No One Behind, assesses the contribution of digital technologies to the Sustainable Development Goals. It addresses issues including financial inclusion, affordable and meaningful access to the internet, the future of education and jobs and the need for regional and global economic policy cooperation.

Chapter 3, Individuals, Societies and Digital Technologies, discusses the application of human rights to the digital age, the need to keep human rights and human agency at the centre of technological development, and the imperative to improve cooperation on digital security and trust. 

Chapter 4, Mechanisms for Global Digital Cooperation, identifies gaps in current mechanisms of global digital cooperation, the functions of digital cooperation and principles digital cooperation should aim to follow, provides three options for potential new global digital cooperation architectures, and discusses the role of the United Nations in promoting digital cooperation. 

Drawing on the analysis in the preceding chapters, Chapter 5 shares and explains our Recommendations for shaping our common digital future. 

As members of the Panel, we brought a wide range of experience of working in government, business, academic institutions, philanthropy and civil society organisations – but we engaged in our task as equal citizens of a digitalising world, appreciating the vital role of all stakeholders and the need for humility and cooperation. 

In this spirit, we invite all stakeholders to commit to a Declaration of Digital Interdependence: 


Humanity is still in the foothills of the digital age.

The peaks are yet uncharted, and their promise still untold. But the risks of losing our foothold are apparent: dangerous adventurism among states, exploitative behaviour by companies, regulation that stifles innovation and trade, and an unforgivable failure to realise vast potential for advancing human development. 

How we manage the opportunities and risks of rapid technological change will profoundly impact our future and the future of the planet. 

We believe that our aspirations and vulnerabilities are deeply interconnected and interdependent; that no one individual, institution, corporation or government alone can or should manage digital developments; and that it is essential that we work through our differences in order to shape our common digital future. 

We declare our commitment to building on our shared values and collaborating in new ways to realise a vision of humanity’s future in which affordable and accessible digital technologies are used to enable economic growth and social opportunity, lessen inequality, enhance peace and security, promote environmental sustainability, preserve human agency, advance human rights and meet human needs. 


2. Leaving No One Behind

The Sustainable Development Goals represent humanity’s shared commitment to achieve ambitious global gains for people and the planet by 2030. Of the SDG’s 17 goals and 169 targets, not a single one is detached from the implications and potential of digital technology. From ending extreme poverty, to promoting inclusive economic growth and decent work, to reducing maternal mortality, to achieving universal literacy and numeracy and doubling the productivity of small farmers – progress is intertwined with the use of digital technology and new forms of digital cooperation.11 

However, technological solutions are not enough. Diverse political systems, history, culture, resource constraints and other factors which have marginalised far too many people, are – and will continue to be – of critical importance. The application of technology must be aligned with investments in human capital, infrastructure and environmental protection. Widening access to digital technologies is necessary, but not sufficient. Access needs to be affordable to be meaningful. Special efforts are needed to remove barriers for marginalised groups who often face a double bind: they already face discrimination in its many analogue forms and are least likely to be connected. Pre-existing forms of marginalisation should not be perpetuated or aggravated in the digital sphere. 

Success will require a commitment by all involved stakeholders to hard work and learning over many years about how to broaden opportunity and build truly inclusive economies and societies. We believe that there is significant room for digital technology and improved cooperation to contribute to these efforts.


With mobile internet and increasingly powerful and lower cost computing, every person can theoretically connect to anyone else, obtain and generate knowledge, or engage in commercial or social activity.12 For organisations of whatever size, likewise, there are fewer technical barriers to global economic interaction at scale. Digital technology can support economic inclusion by breaking down barriers to information, broadening access, and lowering the level of skills needed to participate in the economy.13 

Of course, this does not mean that everyone and everything should be connected or digitised. Nor does it mean that the social and economic consequences of digital technology are necessarily inclusive or beneficial. Digital technology can both provide opportunity and accentuate inequality. 

The challenge for policy makers, and other stakeholders seeking to contribute to progress toward the SDGs, is how to cooperate to leverage technology to create a more inclusive society. As we emphasise in this chapter and our recommendations, we believe digital cooperation must steer how digital technologies are developed and deployed to create meaningful economic opportunities for all. 

Developing an inclusive digital economy will require sustained and coherent effort from many stakeholders across all walks of life. National policy frameworks and international agreements need to find ways to promote financial inclusion, innovation, investment and growth while protecting people and the environment, keeping competition fair and the tax base sustainable. 

Developing an inclusive digital economy will require sustained and coherent effort from many stakeholders across all walks of life. National policy frameworks and international agreements need to find ways to promote financial inclusion, innovation, investment and growth while protecting people and the environment, keeping competition fair and the tax base sustainable.


The ability of digital technologies to empower traditionally marginalised people and drive inclusive economic development is illustrated by financial inclusion.14 Mobile money, digital identification and e-commerce have given many more people the ability to save and transact securely without needing cash, insure against risks, borrow to grow their businesses and reach new markets. 

According to the World Bank’s Global Findex 2017 report, 69 percent of adults have an account with a financial institution, up by seven percentage points since 2014. That means over half a billion adults gained access to financial tools in three years. But many are still left behind, and there is scope for further rapid progress: a billion people who still have no access to financial services already have a mobile phone. 15 

Mobile money – the ability to send, receive and store money using a mobile phone – has brought financial services to people who have long been ignored by traditional banks.16 It reaches remote regions without physical bank branches. It can also help women access financial services – an important aspect of equality, given that in many countries women are less likely than men to have a bank account. 

New business models enable people who have no physical collateral to demonstrate to lenders that they are creditworthy – for example, by allowing the lenders to see phone location data and online transaction and payment history.18 Mobile finance matters in wealthy countries, too, where low-income and historically marginalised groups generally both pay higher interest rates and receive a narrower range of financial services.19 

Well-known examples of mobile money include Kenya’s M-Pesa and China’s Alipay. Launched in 2007 by Vodafone, M-Pesa received support from diverse stakeholders who all have a role to play in digital cooperation. A private sector innovation with donor funding, it originally addressed microfinance clients in partnership with civil society – then citizens found new uses, including low cost person-to-person transfers.20 Alipay has made millions of small business loans to online merchants, more than half of whom are aged under 30. 21 

What works in one country may not work in another.22 Rather than try to replicate specific successes, digital cooperation should aim to highlight best practices, standards and principles that can create conditions for local innovations to emerge and grow based on local issues, needs and cultural values. India, for example, has added 300 million bank accounts in three years as new business models have been built on the India Stack, a set of government-managed online standards in areas including online payments and digital identity. 23 

Across many areas of financial inclusion, fragmented systems and lack of cooperation within and across states make it difficult to fully realise the benefits of digital technology. Common standards for cross-border interoperability of mobile money could unleash much more innovation: discussions to develop them should be a priority for digital cooperation. 24

Digital identification (ID) can support inclusive economic development more broadly. More than a billion people today lack an official way to prove their identity: this means they may not be able to vote, open a bank account, transact online, own land, start a business, connect to utilities or access public services such as health care or education.25 The consulting firm McKinsey & Company studied seven large countries and concluded that digital ID systems could add between 3 and 13% to their gross domestic product.26 

However, digital ID systems require caution. A digital ID can help unlock new opportunities but can also introduce new risks and challenges. They can be used to undermine human rights – for example, by enabling civil society to be targeted, or selected groups to be excluded from social benefits.27 Data breaches can invade the privacy of millions. To minimise risks, countries should introduce a digital ID system only after a broad national conversation and allow for voluntary enrolment and viable alternatives for those who opt out. They should establish ways to monitor use and redress misuse. Countries could cooperate to share experience and best practices in this regard. 

The World Bank Identification for Development (ID4D) initiative has identified ten Principles of Digital Identification covering inclusion, design and governance “to improve development outcomes while maintaining trust and privacy”.28 This initiative draws on the experiences of countries that have already implemented digital ID systems. Among the most successful is Estonia, where citizens can use their digital ID to access over 2,000 online government services. Building on the positive and cautionary lessons of early adopters, the Modular Open Source Identity Platform (MOSIP) is developing open source code countries can adapt to design their own systems.29 

Recent years have also seen a dramatic increase in e-commerce, including by individuals and small businesses selling products and services using online platforms. When e-commerce platforms provide technological services to small entrepreneurs, rather than compete with them, they can level the playing field: it is relatively cheap and simple to start a business online, and entrepreneurs can reach markets far beyond their local area. 

Inclusive e-commerce, which promotes participation of small firms in the digital economy, is particularly important for the SDGs as it can create new opportunities for traditionally excluded groups. In China, for example, an estimated 10 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) sell on the Taobao platform; nearly half of the entrepreneurs on the platform are women, and more than 160,000 are people with disabilities.30 E-commerce can support rural economic inclusion as clusters of villages can develop market niches in certain types of products: in China, an estimated 3,000 “Taobao villages” have annual online sales of more than one million dollars annually.31 A growing e-commerce sector also creates demand and employment in related businesses including logistics, software, customised manufacturing and content production. 

E-commerce shows how digital technologies with supportive policies can contribute to inclusive economic development – it has done best in countries where it is relatively easy to set up a business, and where traditionally neglected populations are able to get online.32 As with inclusive mobile finance, as more individuals and small enterprises buy and sell internationally, there is also a need to create more supportive rules for cross-border e-commerce. 

As e-commerce grows, there are also concerns about its relation to local and international markets, as discussed below in Section 2.3. 


The immense power and value of data in the modern economy can and must be harnessed to meet the SDGs, but this will require new models of collaboration. 

The Panel discussed potential pooling of data in areas such as health, agriculture and the environment to enable scientists and thought leaders to use data and artificial intelligence to better understand issues and find new ways to make progress on the SDGs. Such data commons would require criteria for establishing relevance to the SDGs, standards for interoperability, rules on access and safeguards to ensure privacy and security. 

The immense power and value of data in the modern economy can and must be harnessed to meet the SDGs, but this will require new models of collaboration.

We also need to generate more data relevant to the SDGs. In a world which has seen exponential growth of data in recent years,33 many people remain invisible. For example, the 2018 UN SDG Report notes that only 73 percent of children under the age of 5 have had their births registered.34 The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated in 2014 that two-thirds of deaths are not registered.35 Only 11 countries in sub-Saharan Africa have data on poverty from surveys conducted after 2015. Most countries do not collect sex-disaggregated data on internet access. 36

Anonymised data – information that is rendered anonymous in such a way that the data subject is not or no longer identifiable – about progress toward the SDGs is generally less sensitive and controversial than the use of personal data of the kind companies such as Facebook, Twitter or Google may collect to drive their business models, or facial and gait data that could be used for surveillance.37 However, personal data can also serve development goals, if handled with proper oversight to ensure its security and privacy. 

For example, individual health data is extremely sensitive – but many people’s health data, taken together, can allow researchers to map disease outbreaks, compare the effectiveness of treatments and improve understanding of conditions. Aggregated data from individual patient cases was crucial to containing the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.38 Private and public sector healthcare providers around the world are now using various forms of electronic medical records. These help individual patients by making it easier to personalise health services, but the public health benefits require these records to be interoperable. 

There is scope to launch collaborative projects to test the interoperability of data, standards and safeguards across the globe. The World Health Assembly’s consideration of a global strategy for digital health in 2020 presents an opportunity to launch such projects, which could initially be aimed at global health challenges such as Alzheimer’s and hypertension.39 

The slowing progress in bringing more people online points to the urgent need for new approaches to building digital infrastructure, a complex task that requires better coordination among many stakeholders: governments, international organisations, communications service providers, makers of hardware and software, providers of digital services and content, civil society and the various groups that oversee protocols and standards on which digital networks operate.

Improved digital cooperation on a data-driven approach to public health has the potential to lower costs, build new partnerships among hospitals, technology companies, insurance providers and research institutes and support the shift from treating diseases to improving wellness. Appropriate safeguards are needed to ensure the focus remains on improving health care outcomes. With testing, experience and necessary protective measures as well as guidelines for the responsible use of data, similar cooperation could emerge in many other fields related to the SDGs, from education to urban planning to agriculture. 

Data collaboration for climate change, agriculture and the environment 

The Platform for Big Data in Agriculture was launched in 2017 by the Colombia-based International Center for Tropical Agriculture after consultation with public, private and non-profit stakeholders. By providing ways to share data on agriculture, it seeks to transform research and innovation in food security, sustainability and climate change.40 

More broadly, cheaper sensors generating more data – and better AI algorithms to analyse it – can further improve our understanding of how complex environmental systems interact and the likely impacts of climate change.41 

Digital technologies can also be used to reduce waste. The methods of complex coordination that have lowered costs by enabling supply chains to touch every corner of the planet can also help to meet higher environmental standards and design devices with repair, reuse, upgrading and recycling in mind. For this, new forms of digital cooperation and data sharing would be needed among suppliers, customers and competitors


Many types of digital technologies and content – from data to apps, data visualisation tools to educational curricula – could accelerate achievement of the SDGs. When they are freely and openly available, with minimal restrictions on how they can be distributed, adapted and reused, we can think of them as “digital public goods”.42 In economics, a “public good” is something which anyone can use without charge and without preventing others from using it.43 Digital content and technologies lend themselves to being public goods in this respect.

Combinations of digital public goods can create “common rails” for innovation of inclusive digital products and services. The India Stack is an example of how a unified, multi-layered software platform with clear standards, provided by public entities, can give government agencies and entrepreneurs the technological building blocks to improve service delivery and develop new business models which promote economic inclusion.44 

There is currently no “go to” place for discovering, engaging with, building, and investing in digital public goods. Along the lines of the MOSIP model – and with the participation of civil society and other stakeholders – such a platform could create great value by enabling the sharing and adaptation of digital technologies and content across countries in a wider range of areas relevant to achieving the SDGs. 


The proportion of people online in the developing world expanded rapidly in the last decade – from 14.5% in 2008 to 45.3% in 2018 – but progress has recently slowed.45 Internet access in many parts of the world is still too slow and expensive to be effectively used.46 The cost of mobile data as a percent of income increased in nearly half the countries according to a recent study.47 Without affordable access, advances in digital technologies disproportionately benefit those already connected, contributing to greater inequality. 

The people being left behind are typically those who can least afford it. Growth in new internet connections is slowest in the lowest-income countries.48 Rural areas continue to lag, as companies prioritise improving access in more densely populated areas which will offer a better return on investment.49 

The slowing progress in bringing more people online points to the urgent need for new approaches to building digital infrastructure, a complex task that requires better coordination among many stakeholders: governments, international organisations, communications service providers, makers of hardware and software, providers of digital services and content, civil society and the various groups that oversee protocols and standards on which digital networks operate.50 As these actors cooperate, it also represents an important moment to re-emphasise and address the complex social, cultural and economic factors that continue to marginalise many groups. 

Some countries, such as Indonesia, have set targets that treat internet connectivity as a national priority.57 While finance alone will not achieve universal internet access, it can help if invested wisely: some countries are generating financing from fees on existing communication network providers to help expand systems to those who are currently uncovered, for example through Universal Service Funds.58

Advance market commitments deserve further consideration as a possible way to incentivise investment, as they have in other areas such as vaccine developments. They involve a commitment to pay for a future product or service once it exists; the commitment in this case could come from consortia of governments, international organisations or others interested in enabling specific uses in areas such as health or education.59

Many local groups are also working on small-scale community solutions: for example, a rural community of 6,000 people in Mankosi, South Africa, built a solar-powered “mesh network” in collaboration with a university.60 Such community projects are often not just about getting online but building skills and empowering locals to use technology for development and entrepreneurship.61

Digital cooperation should increase coordination among the public and private entities working in this space and help tailor approaches to economic, cultural and geographic contexts. Governments have an important role to play in creating a policy framework to enable private sector enterprise, innovation, and cooperative, bottom-up networks.


Even where getting online is possible and affordable, extra ‎efforts are needed to empower groups that are discriminated ‎against and excluded. For example, digital technologies are ‎often not easily accessible for elderly people or those with ‎disabilities;62 indigenous people have little digital content in their ‎native languages;63 and globally an estimated 12 percent more ‎men use the internet than women. 64

Even where getting online is ‎possible and affordable, extra ‎efforts are needed to empower ‎groups that are discriminated ‎against and excluded. ‎

Responses need to address deep and complex social and cultural factors, such as those contributing to the gender gap in access to and usage of mobile phones, smart phones and digital services – gaps which persist in many cases despite increases in women’s income and education levels.65 Social marketing could play a role in changing attitudes, as it has in many other areas with backing from donors, governments and civil society organisations.66 Initiatives to improve access for marginalised populations should start with consultation involving these groups in the design, deployment and evaluation of such efforts.

Efforts to improve digital inclusion would be greatly helped if there were a clear and agreed set of metrics to monitor it. Initial work – notably by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Group of Twenty (G20), ITU, and the Economist Intelligence Unit – needs to be broadened to reflect the wide variety of global contexts and, importantly, needs greater buy-in and participation from developing countries.67 The Panel urges international organisations, civil society and governments to develop action plans around reliable and consistent measures of digital inclusion with sex disaggregated data. Discussion about measurements and definitions would also focus attention on the issues underlying inclusion.


Many previous waves of technological change have shifted what skills are demanded in the labour market, making some jobs obsolete while creating new ones. But the current wave of change may be the most rapid and unpredictable in history. How to prepare people to earn a livelihood in the digital age – and how to protect those struggling to do so – is a critical question for digital cooperation for governments and other stakeholders who aim to reduce inequality and achieve the SDGs.

At this stage, there appears to be limited value in attempting to predict whether robots and artificial intelligence will create more jobs than they eliminate, although technology historically has been a net job creator.68 Many studies attempt to predict the impact on the jobs market but there is far from being a consensus.69 The only certainty is that workers have entered a period of vast and growing uncertainty – and that this necessitates new mechanisms of cooperation. 


Modern schools were developed in response to the industrial revolution, and they may ultimately need fundamental reform to be fit for the digital age – but it is currently difficult to see more than the broad contours of the changes that are likely to be needed.

Countries are still in early stages of learning how to use digital tools in education and how to prepare students for digital economies and societies. These will be ongoing challenges for governments and other stakeholders. Some countries are now exposing even very young children to science and robotics. Alongside such broader digital literacy efforts, it may be even more important to focus from an early age on developing children’s “soft skills”, such as social and emotional intelligence, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. One widely referenced study concludes that occupations requiring such soft skills are less likely to be automated.70

Teaching about specific technologies should always be based on strong foundational knowledge in science and math, as this is less likely to become obsolete. At a degree level, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curricula need to borrow from the humanities and social sciences, and vice versa: STEM students need to be encouraged to think about the ethical and social implications of their disciplines, while humanities and social science students need a basic understanding of data science.71 More informal approaches to learning may be needed to prepare students for working in cross-disciplinary teams, and where such informal approaches already exist in the developing world they should be fully appreciated for their value.

As the boundaries increasingly blur between ‘work’ and ‘learning’, the need to enable and incentivise lifelong learning was emphasised in many of the written contributions the Panel received.

Lifelong learning should be affordable, portable and accessible to all. Responsibility for lifelong learning should be shared between workers themselves, governments, education institutions, the informal sector and industry: digital cooperation mechanisms should bring these groups together for regular debates on what skills are required and how training can be delivered. Workers should have flexibility to explore how best to opt into or design their own approach to lifelong learning.

There are emerging examples of government efforts to use social security systems and public-private partnerships to incentivise and empower workers to learn new skills and plan for a changing labour market. Among those drawn to the Panel’s attention were efforts by the International Trade Union Confederation in Ghana and Rwanda,72 France’s Compte Personnel de Formation, Scotland’s Individual Training Account, Finland’s transformation of work and the labour market sub-group under its national AI programme, and Singapore’s Skills Framework for Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

However, reskilling cannot be the only answer to inequality in the labour market – especially as the workers most able to learn new skills will be those who start with the advantage of comparatively higher levels of education.73


New business models are fuelling the rise of an informal or “gig” economy, in which workers typically have flexibility but not job or income security.74 In industrialised countries, as more and more people work unpredictable hours as freelancers, independent contractors, agency workers or workers on internet platforms, there is an urgent need to rethink labour codes developed decades ago when factory jobs were the norm.75

Promising initiatives include Germany’s Crowdsourcing Code of Conduct, which sets out guidelines on fair payment, reasonable timing and data protection for internet platform workers, and employs an ombudsman to mediate disputes; and Belgium’s Titre-Services and France’s Chèque Emploi Service Universel, which offer tax incentives for people engaging casual workers to participate in a voucher scheme that enables the workers to qualify for formal labour rights. There are also examples of digital technologies enabling new ways for workers to engage in collective bargaining.76

While the gig economy tends to make work less formal in industrialised countries, in the developing world the majority of people have long worked in the informal sector.77 For these workers, gig economy arrangements may be more formal and transparent, and – with appropriate cooperation measures with technology firms – easier for governments to oversee.78 The challenge, as with industrialised countries, is to uphold labour rights while still allowing flexibility and innovation.

In all national contexts, protecting workers and promoting job creation in the digital age will require smart regulations and investments, and policies on taxation and social protection policies which support workers as they seek to transition to new opportunities.



Taxation, trade, consumer protection and competition are among the areas of economic policy that require new thinking in the digital age: they are the ‘guard rails’ of the digital economy. Increased cooperation could lead to effective national approaches and experience informing regional and global multilateral cooperation arrangements.

Taxation, trade, consumer protection and competition are among the areas of economic policy that require new thinking in the digital age: they are the ‘guard rails’ of the digital economy. Increased cooperation could lead to effective national approaches and experience informing regional and global multilateral cooperation arrangements.

Currently, however, there is a lack of regional and global standards in these areas, and multilateral cooperation is generally not working well. This may inflict far higher costs than is widely recognised. To take one relatively simple example, regional and global standards in areas such as interoperability of mobile money systems and best practices for digital ID would have considerable benefits. To discourage misuse, such standards and practices would also need to include clear accountability.

International trade rules need to be updated for the digital age. Technologies and trade have changed dramatically since 1998, for example, when the World Trade Organisation (WTO) last brokered an agreement on e-commerce.79 In January 2019, 76 WTO member states announced the initiation of plurilateral negotiations on trade-related aspects of e-commerce.80 Any agreement will need to address concerns of a diverse range of countries, including lower-income countries in which the e-commerce sector is less developed.81

Some argue that restrictions on data flows should be treated like any other trade barrier and generally minimised.83 However, views differ sharply, and decisions on national legislation are complicated by concerns about privacy and security – discussed in the next chapter. Countries that require companies to store and process data within their national borders argue that it promotes local innovation and investment in technology infrastructure and makes it easier to tax global corporations.84 Others argue against such approaches on the basis that they are protectionist or represent an effort to obtain access to the data.

There is growing recognition that taxation is an area where digital technology has moved faster than policy frameworks. In particular, technology firms may operate business models – such as multi-sided platforms or “freemium” models – which offer free services to some individual users and earn revenue from other users, merchants or advertisers.85 A company may provide services to millions of people in a country without establishing a legal entity or paying tax there. This has become a source of growing popular resentment.86

Where possible, new regulatory approaches should be tested on a small scale before being rolled out widely – through, for example, pilot zones, regulatory sandboxes or trial periods.

International digital cooperation could assist countries to develop appropriate tax policies. The G20 and OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting project is currently seeking consensus on issues such as how a global company’s tax receipts should be allocated to different jurisdictions based on its business activities.87 An agreement in this area could offer countries a source of revenue that they could, for example, use to invest in human capital or lower the tax burden on small businesses.

Some countries are now taking unilateral action. Countries such as Italy, France and the United Kingdom (UK) have announced the intent to impose taxes on digital sales rather than profits, at least on an interim basis.88 Other countries, such as Thailand, have amended tax rules relating to offshore digital services.89 The lack of cooperation and coordination among different regulators is creating a patchwork of different national rules and regulations which makes trade and e-commerce more difficult. Ensuring that such emerging tax policies do not have unintended consequences on small enterprises or poor populations deserves special attention.

An international perspective is also needed to tackle concerns about competition, which have grown as large firms have established leading positions in many digital services. This is due in part to network effects: the more users a platform already has, the more attractive it becomes for new users and advertisers.

Recent discussions have proposed three main approaches.90 First, a relatively laissez-faire approach that favours self-regulation or minimal regulation. Proponents argue that government regulation is often poorly conceived and counterproductive, harming innovation and economic dynamism. Critics counter that an overly hands-off approach has led to a concentration of market power in large firms and abuses of privacy that have sparked public and government concern.

A second approach calls for more active state intervention to set rules for digital companies. Experience in industrial policy shows that such an approach can either help or hinder depending on many factors, including regulators’ willingness and ability to engage varied stakeholders in a smart discourse to balance competing interests effectively.91

A third approach suggests regulating digital businesses as public utilities, analogous to railroads or electricity companies. The analogy is not an exact one, however, as physical infrastructure is easier to segment and harder to replicate than digital infrastructure and lends itself more easily to hosting competition among service providers. There is also dispute about how contestable are digital markets – that is, how vulnerable are the leading firms to new competitors. Moreover, traditional competition law operates far more slowly than changes in technology.


Finding the right approach in these areas will require not only different countries to work together, but also regulators in different government agencies. Models for how agencies can come together for peer-to-peer information sharing include the International Conference of Data Protection & Privacy Commissioners and the International Competition Network.92

Alongside existing models, new models of governance and cooperation may be needed. They will need to be multi-stakeholder, including the private sector, civil society and users. Their debates should be transparent and open to citizens, as modelled by Mexico’s National Institute for Transparency, Access to Information and Personal Data Protection.93

Where possible, new regulatory approaches should be tested on a small scale before being rolled out widely – through, for example, pilot zones, regulatory sandboxes or trial periods. We stress the overall need for a “systems” approach to cooperation and regulation that is multi-stakeholder, adaptive, agile and inclusive in Recommendation 5B.

However, regulators need to have sufficient resources and expertise to engage in such an approach – and the Panel’s consultations highlighted concern that many regulators and legislators have insufficient understanding of complex digital issues to develop and implement policies, engage with companies developing technologies and explain issues to the public.94 This increases the risk of regulations having unintended consequences.

There are several existing examples of initiatives to develop the capacity and understanding of public officials, from countries such as Israel,95 Singapore96 and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).97 But much more could be done, and the Panel’s Recommendation 2 envisages “digital help desks” which would broaden opportunities for officials and regulators to develop the skills needed for the smart governance that will be required to create inclusive and positive outcomes for all.


3. Individuals, Societies and Digital Technologies

The ultimate purpose of digital technology should always be to improve human welfare. Beyond the socio-economic aspects discussed in the previous chapter, digital technologies have proved that they can connect individuals across cultural and geographic barriers, increasing understanding and potentially helping societies to become more peaceful and cohesive.

However, this is only part of the story. There are also many examples of digital technologies being used to violate rights, undermine privacy, polarise societies and incite violence.

The questions raised are new, complex and pressing. What are the responsibilities of social media companies, governments and individual users? Who is accountable when data can move across the world in an instant? How can varied stakeholders, in nations with diverse cultural and historical traditions, cooperate to ensure that digital technologies do not weaken human rights but strengthen them? 


Many of the most important documents that codify human rights were written before the age of digital interdependence. They include the Universal Declaration on Human Rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women; and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The rights these treaties and conventions codify apply in full in the digital age – and often with fresh urgency.

Digital technologies are widely used to advocate for, defend and exercise human rights – but also to violate them. Social media, for example, has provided powerful new ways to exercise the rights to free expression and association, and to document rights violations. It is also used to violate rights by spreading lies that incite hatred and foment violence, often at terrible speed and with the cloak of anonymity.

The most outrageous cases make the headlines. The live streaming of mass shootings in New Zealand.98 Incitement of violence against an ethnic minority in Myanmar.99 The #gamergate scandal, in which women working in video games were threatened with rape.100 The suicides of a British teenager who had viewed self-harm content on social media101 and an Indian man bullied after posting videos of himself dressed as a woman.102

But these are manifestations of a problem that runs wide and deep: one survey of UK adult internet users found that 40 percent of 16-24 year-olds have reported some form of harmful online content, with examples ranging from racism to harassment and child abuse.103 Children are at particular risk: almost a third of under-18s report having recently been exposed to “violent or hateful contact or behaviour online”.104 Elderly people are also more prone to online fraud and misinformation.

Governments have increasingly sought to cut off social media in febrile situations – such as after a terrorist attack – when the risks of rapidly spreading misinformation are especially high. But denying access to the internet can also be part of a sustained government policy that itself violates citizens’ rights, including by depriving people of access to information. Across the globe, governments directed 188 separate internet shutdowns in 2018, up from 108 in 2017.105


Universal human rights apply equally online as offline – freedom of expression and assembly, for example, are no less important in cyberspace than in the town square. That said, in many cases it is far from obvious how human rights laws and treaties drafted in a pre-digital era should be applied in the digital age.

There is an urgent need to examine how time-honoured human rights frameworks and conventions – and the obligations that flow from those commitments – can guide actions and policies relating to digital cooperation and digital technology.

There is an urgent need to examine how time-honoured human rights frameworks and conventions – and the obligations that flow from those commitments – can guide actions and policies relating to digital cooperation and digital technology. The Panel’s Recommendation 3A urges the UN Secretary-General to begin a process that invites views from all stakeholders on how human rights can be meaningfully applied to ensure that no gaps in protection are caused by new and emerging digital technologies.

Such a process could draw inspiration from many recent national and global efforts to apply human rights for the digital age.106 Illustrative examples include

  • India’s Supreme Court has issued a judgement defining what the right to privacy means in the digital context.107
  • Nigeria’s draft Digital Rights and Freedom Bill tries to apply international human rights law to national digital realities.108
  • The Global Compact and UNICEF have developed guidance on how businesses should approach children’s rights in the digital age.109
  • UNESCO has used its Rights, Openness, Access and Multi-stakeholder governance (ROAM) framework to discuss AI’s implications for rights including freedom of expression, privacy, equality and participation in public life.110
  • The Council of Europe has developed recommendations and guidelines, and the European Court of Human Rights has produced case law, interpreting the European Convention on Human Rights in the digital realm.111

We must collectively ensure that advances in technology are not used to erode human rights or avoid accountability. Human rights defenders should not be targeted for their use of digital media.112 International mechanisms for human rights reporting by states should better incorporate the digital dimension.

In the digital age, the role of the private sector in human rights is becoming increasingly pronounced. As digital technologies and digital services reach scale so quickly, decisions taken by private companies are increasingly affecting millions of people across national borders.

The roles of government and business are described in the 2011 UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Though not binding, they were unanimously endorsed by the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly. They affirm that while states have the duty to protect rights and provide remedies, businesses also have a responsibility to respect human rights, evaluate risk and assess the human rights impact of their actions.113

There is now a critical need for clearer guidance about what should be expected on human rights from private companies as they develop and deploy digital technologies. The need is especially pressing for social media companies, which is why our Recommendation 3B calls for them to put in place procedures, staff and better ways of working with civil society and human rights defenders to prevent or quickly redress violations.

As any new technology is developed, we should ask how it might inadvertently create new ways of violating rights – especially of people who are already often marginalised or discriminated against.

We heard from one interviewee that companies can struggle to understand local context quickly enough to respond effectively in fast-developing conflict situations and may welcome UN or other expert insight in helping them assess concerns being raised by local actors. One potential venue for information sharing is the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, through which the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva hosts regular discussions among the private sector and civil society.114

Civil society organisations would like to go beyond information sharing and use such forums to identify patterns of violations and hold the private sector to account.115 Governments also are becoming less willing to accept a hands-off regulatory approach: in the UK, for example, legislators are exploring how existing legal principles such as “duty of care” could be applied to social media firms.116

As any new technology is developed, we should ask how it might inadvertently create new ways of violating rights – especially of people who are already often marginalised or discriminated against. Women, for example, experience higher levels of online harassment than men.117 The development of personal care robots is raising questions about the rights of elderly people to dignity, privacy and agency.118

The rights of children need especially acute attention. Children go online at ever younger ages, and under-18s make up one-third of all internet users.119 They are most vulnerable to online bullying and sexual exploitation. Digital technologies should promote the best interests of children and respect their agency to articulate their needs, in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Online services and apps used by children should be subject to strict design and data consent standards. Notable examples include the American Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule of 2013 and the draft Age Appropriate Design Code announced by the UK Information Commissioner in 2019, which defines standards for apps, games and many other digital services even if they are not intended for children.120


We are delegating more and more decisions to intelligent systems, from how to get to work to what to eat for dinner.121 This can improve our lives, by freeing up time for activities we find more important. But it is also forcing us to rethink our understandings of human dignity and agency, as algorithms are increasingly sophisticated at manipulating our choices – for example, to keep our attention glued to a screen.122

It is also becoming apparent that ‘intelligent’ systems can reinforce discrimination. Many algorithms have been shown to reflect the biases of their creators.123 This is just one reason why employment in the technology sector needs to be more diverse – as noted in Recommendation 1C, which calls for improving gender equality.124 Gaps in the data on which algorithms are trained can likewise automate existing patterns of discrimination, as machine learning systems are only as good as the data that is fed to them.

Often the discrimination is too subtle to notice, but the real-life consequences can be profound when AI systems are used to make decisions such as who is eligible for home loans or public services such as health care.125 The harm caused can be complicated to redress.126 A growing number of initiatives, such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)’s Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems, are seeking to define how developers of artificial intelligence should address these and similar problems.127

Other initiatives are looking at questions of human responsibility and legal accountability – a complex and rapidly-changing area.128 Legal systems assume that decisions can be traced back to people. Autonomous intelligent systems raise the danger that humans could evade responsibility for decisions made or actions taken by technology they designed, trained, adapted or deployed.129 In any given case, legal liability might ultimately rest with the people who developed the technology, the people who chose the data on which to train the technology, and/or the people who chose to deploy the technology in a given situation.

These questions come into sharpest focus with lethal autonomous weapons systems – machines that can autonomously select targets and kill. UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for a ban on machines with the power and discretion to take lives without human involvement, a position which this Panel supports.130

Gaps in the data on which algorithms are trained can likewise automate existing patterns of discrimination, as machine learning systems are only as good as the data that is fed to them.

The Panel supports, as stated in Recommendation 3C, the emerging global consensus that autonomous intelligent systems be designed so that their decisions can be explained, and humans remain accountable. These systems demand the highest standards of ethics and engineering. They should be used with extreme caution to make decisions affecting people’s social or economic opportunities or rights, and individuals should have meaningful opportunity to appeal. Life and death decisions should not be delegated to machines.


The right to privacy131 has become particularly contentious as digital technologies have given governments and private companies vast new possibilities for surveillance, tracking and monitoring, some of which are invasive of privacy.132 As with so many areas of digital technology, there needs to be a society-wide conversation, based on informed consent, about the boundaries and norms for such uses of digital technology and AI. Surveillance, tracking or monitoring by governments or businesses should not violate international human rights law.

It is helpful to articulate what we mean by “privacy” and “security”. We define “privacy” as being about an individual’s right to decide who is allowed to see and use their personal information. We define “security” as being about protecting data, on servers and in communication via digital networks.

Notions and expectations of privacy also differ across cultures and societies. How should an individual’s right to privacy be balanced against the interest of businesses in accessing data to improve services and government interest in accessing data for legitimate public purposes related to law enforcement and national security?133

Societies around the world debate these questions heatedly when hard cases come to light, such as Apple’s 2016 refusal of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s request to assist in unlocking an iPhone of the suspect in a shooting case.134 Different governments are taking different approaches: some are forcing technology companies to provide technical means of access, sometimes referred to as “backdoors”, so the state can access personal data.135 

Complications arise when data is located in another country: in ‎‎2013, Microsoft refused an FBI request to provide a suspect’s ‎emails that were stored on a server in Ireland. The United States ‎of America (USA) has since passed a law obliging American ‎companies to comply with warrants to provide data of American ‎citizens even if it is stored abroad.136 It enables other ‎governments to separately negotiate agreements to access their ‎citizens’ data stored by American companies in the USA. ‎

There currently seems to be little alternative to handling cross-‎border law enforcement requests through a complex and slow-‎moving patchwork of bilateral agreements – the attitudes of ‎people and governments around the world differ widely, and the ‎decision-making role of global technology companies is ‎evolving. Nonetheless, it is possible that regional and ‎multilateral arrangements could develop over time. ‎

For individuals, what companies can do with their personal data ‎is not just a question of legality but practical understanding – to ‎manage permissions for every single organisation we interact ‎with would be incredibly time consuming and confusing. How to ‎give people greater meaningful control over their personal data ‎is an important question for digital cooperation. ‎

Alongside the right to privacy is the important question of who ‎realises the economic value that can be derived from personal ‎data. Consumers typically have little awareness of how their ‎personal information is sold or otherwise used to generate ‎economic benefit. ‎

There are emerging ideas to make data transactions more ‎explicit and share the value extracted from personal data with ‎the individuals who provide it. These could include business ‎models which give users greater privacy by default: promising ‎examples include the web browser Brave and the search engine ‎DuckDuckGo.137 They could include new legal structures: the ‎UK138 and India139 are among countries exploring the idea of a ‎third-party ‘data fiduciary’ who users can authorise to manage ‎their personal data on their behalf. ‎


The world is suffering from a “trust deficit disorder”, in the words of the UN Secretary-General addressing the UN General Assembly in 2018.140 Trust among nations and in multilateral processes has weakened as states focus more on strategic competition than common interests and behave more aggressively. Building trust, and underpinning it with clear and agreed standards, is central to the success of digital cooperation.

Digital technologies have enabled some new interactions that promote trust, notably by verifying people’s identities and allowing others to rate them.141 Although not reliable in all instances, such systems have enabled many entrepreneurs on e-commerce platforms to win the trust of consumers, and given many people on sharing platforms the confidence to invite strangers into their cars or homes.

In other ways, digital technologies are eroding trust. Lies can now spread more easily, including through algorithms which generate and promote misinformation, sowing discord and undermining confidence in political processes.142 The use of artificial intelligence to produce “deep fakes” – audio and visual content that convincingly mimics real humans – further complicates the task of telling truth from misinformation.143

Violations of privacy and security are undermining people’s trust in governments and companies. Trust between states is challenged by new ways to conduct espionage, manipulate public opinion and infiltrate critical infrastructure. While academia has traditionally nurtured international cooperation in artificial intelligence, governments are incentivised to secrecy by awareness that future breakthroughs could dramatically shift the balance of power.144

The trust deficit might in part be tackled by new technologies, such as training algorithms to identify and take down misinformation. But such solutions will pose their own issues: could we trust the accuracy and impartiality of the algorithms? Ultimately, trust needs to be built through clear standards and agreements based on mutual self-interest and values and with wide participation among all stakeholders, and mechanisms to impose costs for violations.


How can trust be promoted in the digital age?

The problem of trust came up repeatedly in written contributions to the Panel. Microsoft’s contribution stressed that an atmosphere of trust incentivises the invention of inclusive new technologies. As Latin American human rights group Derechos Digitales put it, “all participants in processes of digital cooperation must be able to share and work together freely, confident in the reliability and honesty of their counterparts”. But how can trust be promoted? We received a large number of ideas:
Articulating values and principles that govern technology development and use. Being transparent about decision-making that impacts other stakeholders, known vulnerabilities in software, and data breaches. Governments inviting participation from companies and civil society in discussions on regulation. Making real and visible
efforts to obtain consent and protect data, including “security-bydesign” and “privacy-by-design” initiatives.149

Accepting oversight from a trusted third-party: for the media, this could be an organisation that fact-checks sources; for technology companies, this could be external audits of design, deployment and internal audit processes; for governments, this could be reviews by human rights forums.

Understanding the incentive structures that erode trust, and finding ways to change them: for example, requiring or pressuring social media firms to refuse to run adverts which contain disinformation, de-monetise content that contains disinformation, and clearly label sponsors of political adverts.150

Finally, digital cooperation itself can be a source of trust. In the Cold War, small pools of shared interest – non-proliferation or regional stability – allowed competitors to work together and paved the way for transparency and confidence-building measures that helped build a modicum of trust.151 Analogously, getting multiple stakeholders into a habit of cooperating on issues such as standard-setting and interoperability, addressing risks and social harm and collaborative application of digital technologies to achieve the SDGs, could allow trust to be built up gradually.



All citizens can play a role in building societal resilience against ‎the misuse of digital technology. We all need to deepen our ‎understanding of the political, social, cultural and economic ‎impacts of digital technologies and what it means to use them ‎responsibly. We encourage nations to consider how educational ‎systems can train students to thoughtfully consider the sources ‎and credibility of information. ‎

All citizens can play a role in building societal resilience against the misuse of digital technology. We all need to deepen our understanding of the political, social, cultural and economic impacts of digital technologies and what it means to use them responsibly.

There are many encouraging instances of digital cooperation being used to build individual capacities that will collectively make it harder for irresponsible use of digital technologies to erode societal trust.145 Examples drawn to the Panel’s attention by written submissions and interviews include:

  • The 5Rights Foundation and British Telecom developed an initiative to help children understand how the apps and games they use make money, including techniques to keep their attention for longer.146
  • The Cisco Networking Academy and United Nations Volunteers are training youth in Asia and Latin America to explore how digital technologies can enable them to become agents of social change in their communities.147
  • The Digital Empowerment Foundation is working in India with WhatsApp and community leaders to stop the spread of misinformation on social media.148


Global security and stability are increasingly dependent on digital security and stability. The scope of threats is growing. Cyber capabilities are developing, becoming more targeted, more impactful on physical systems and more insidious at undermining societal trust.

“Cyber attacks” and “massive data fraud and threat” have ranked for two years in a row among the top five global risks listed by the World Economic Forum (WEF).152 More than 80% of the experts consulted in the WEF’s latest annual survey expected the risks of “cyber-attacks: theft of data/money” and “cyber-attacks: disruption of operations and infrastructure” to increase yearly.153

Three recent examples illustrate the concern. In 2016, hackers stole $81 million from the Bangladesh Central Bank by manipulating the SWIFT global payments network.154 In 2017, malware called “NotPetya” caused widespread havoc – shipping firm Maersk alone lost an estimated $250 million.155 In 2018, by one estimate, cybercriminals stole $1.5 trillion – an amount comparable to the national income of Spain.156

Accurate figures are hard to come by as victims may prefer to keep quiet. But often it is only publicity about a major incident that prompts the necessary investments in security. Short-term incentives generally prioritise launching new products over making systems more robust.157

The range of targets for cyber-attacks is increasing quickly. New internet users typically have low awareness of digital hygiene.158 Already over half of attacks are directed at “things” on the Internet of Things, which connects everything from smart TVs to baby monitors to thermostats.159 Fast 5G networks will further integrate the internet with physical infrastructure,
likely creating new vulnerabilities.160

The potential for cyber-attacks to take down critical infrastructure has been clear since Stuxnet was found to have penetrated an Iranian nuclear facility in 2010.161 More recently concerns have widened to the potential risks and impact of misinformation campaigns and online efforts by foreign governments to influence democratic elections, including the 2016 Brexit vote and the American presidential election.162

Other existing initiatives on digital security

The Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace is a multi-stakeholder initiative launched in November 2018 and joined by 65 countries, 334 companies – including Microsoft, Facebook, Google and IBM – and 138 universities and non-profit organisations. It calls for measures including coordinated disclosure of technical vulnerabilities. Many leading technology powers, such as the USA, Russia, China, Israel and India – have not signed up.173

The Global Commission on Stability in Cyberspace, an independent multi-stakeholder platform, is developing proposals for norms and policies to enhance international security and stability in cyberspace. The commission has introduced a series of norms, including calls for agreement not to attack critical infrastructure and non-interference in elections, and is currently discussing accountability and the future of cybersecurity.

The Global Conference on Cyberspace, also known as the ‘London Process’, are ad hoc multi-stakeholder conferences held so far in London (2011), Budapest (2012), Seoul (2013), The Hague (2015) and New Delhi (2017). The Global Forum on Cyber Expertise, established after the 2015 Conference, is a platform for identifying best practices and providing support to states, the private sector and organisations in developing cybersecurity frameworks, policies and skills.

The Geneva Dialogue on Responsible Behaviour in Cyberspace provides another forum for multi-stakeholder consultation.

The Cybersecurity Tech Accord and the Charter of Trust are examples of industry-led voluntary initiatives to identify guiding principles for trust and security, strengthen security of supply chains and improve training of employees in cybersecurity.174

Compared to physical attacks, it can be much harder to prove from which jurisdiction a cyber-attack originated. This makes it difficult to attribute responsibility or use mechanisms to cooperate on law enforcement.163

Perceptions of digital vulnerability and unfair cyber advantage are contributing to trade, investment and strategic tensions.164 Numerous countries have set up cyber commands within their militaries.165 Nearly 60 states are known to be pursuing offensive capabilities.166 This increases the risks for all as cyber weapons, once released, can be used to attack others – including the original developer of the weapon.167

As artificial intelligence advances, the tactics and tools of cyber-attacks will become more sophisticated and difficult to predict – including more able to pursue highly customised objectives, and to adapt in real time.168

Many governments and companies are aware of the need to strengthen digital cooperation by agreeing on and implementing international norms for responsible behaviour, and important progress has been made especially in meetings of groups of governmental experts at the UN.169
The UN Groups of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security have been set up by resolutions of the UN General Assembly at regular intervals since 1998. Decisions by the GGE are made on the basis of consensus, including the decision on the final report.170 The 2013 GGE on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security agreed in its report that international law applies to cyberspace (see text box).171 This view was reaffirmed by the subsequent 2015 GGE, which also proposed eleven voluntary and non-binding norms for states.172 The UN General Assembly welcomed the 2015 report and called on member states to be guided by it in their use of information and communications technologies. This marks an important step forward in building cooperation and agreement in this increasingly salient arena.


The pace of cyber-attacks is quickening. Currently fragmented efforts need rapidly to coalesce into a comprehensive set of common principles to align action and facilitate cooperation that raises the costs for malicious actors.175

Private sector involvement is especially important to evolving a common approach to tracing cyber-attacks: assessing evidence, context, attenuating circumstances and damage. We are encouraged that the 2019 UN GGE176 and the new Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG)177 which deal with behaviour of states and international law, while primarily a forum for inter-governmental consultations, do provide for consultations with stakeholders other than governments, mainly regional organisations.

In our Recommendation 4, we call for a multi-stakeholder Global Commitment on Digital Trust and Security to bolster these existing efforts. It could provide support in the implementation of agreed norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviour and present a shared vision on digital trust and security. It could also propose priorities for further action on capacity development for governments and other stakeholders and international cooperation.

The Global Commitment should coordinate with ongoing and emerging efforts to implement norms in practice by assisting victims of cyber-attacks and assessing impact. It may not yet be feasible to envisage a single global forum to house such capabilities, but there would be value in strengthening cooperation among existing initiatives.

Another priority should be to deepen cooperation and information sharing among the experts who comprise national governments’ Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs). Examples to build on here include the Oman-ITU Arab Regional Cybersecurity Centre for 22 Arab League countries,178 the EU’s Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT)s Network,179 and Israel’s Cyber Net, in which public and private teams work together. Collaborative platforms hosted by neutral third parties such as the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) can help build trust and the exchange of best practices and tools. 

The pace of cyber-attacks is quickening. Currently fragmented efforts need rapidly to coalesce into a comprehensive set of common principles to align action and facilitate cooperation that raises the costs for malicious actors.

Digital cooperation among the private sector, governments and international organisations should seek to improve transparency and quality in the development of software, components and devices.180 While many best practices and standards exist, they often address only narrow parts of a vast and diverse universe that ranges from talking toys to industrial control systems.181 Gaps exist in awareness and application. Beyond encouraging a broader focus on security among developers, digital cooperation should address the critical need to train more experts specifically in cybersecurity:182 by one estimate, the shortfall will be 3.5 million by 2021.183


4. Mechanisms for Global Digital Cooperation

No single approach to digital cooperation can address the diverse spectrum of issues raised in this report – and as technologies evolve, so will the issues, and the most effective ways to cooperate. We should approach digital cooperation using all available tools, making dynamic choices about the best approach based on specific circumstances. In some cases, cooperation may be initiated and led by the private sector or civil society, and in some cases by governments or international organisations.184

Most current mechanisms of digital cooperation are primarily local, national or regional. However, digital interdependence also necessitates that we strengthen global digital cooperation mechanisms to address challenges and provide opportunities for all.

Most current mechanisms of digital cooperation are primarily local, national or regional. However, digital interdependence also necessitates that we strengthen global digital cooperation mechanisms to address challenges and provide opportunities for all.

This chapter identifies gaps and challenges in current arrangements for global digital cooperation and summarises the functions any future cooperation architecture could perform and what principles could underpin them. It then outlines three possible options for digital cooperation architectures and concludes with a discussion of the role the United Nations can play. There was not unanimity of opinion among the Panel members about the shape, function and operations of these different models. Instead, they are presented as useful alternatives to explore in the spirit of digital cooperation and as an input for the broad consultations we call for in Recommendation 5A.

Ultimately, success of any proposed mechanisms and architecture will depend on the spirit in which they are developed and implemented. All governments, the private sector and civil society organisations need to recognise how much they stand to gain from a spirit of collaboration to drive progress toward the achievement of the SDGs and to raise the costs of using digital technologies irresponsibly. The alternative is further erosion of the trust and stability we need to build an inclusive and prosperous digital future.


The international community is not starting from scratch. It can build on established mechanisms for digital cooperation involving governments, technical bodies, civil society and other organisations. Some are based in national and international law,185 others in “soft law” – norms, guidelines, codes of conduct and other self-regulatory measures adopted by business and tech communities.186 Some are loosely organised, others highly institutionalised.187 Some focus on setting agendas and standards, others on monitoring and coordination.188 Many could evolve to become better fit for purpose.

The need for better digital cooperation is not so much with managing the technical nuts and bolts of how technologies function, as mechanisms here are generally well-established, but with the unprecedented economic, societal and ethical challenges they cause. How to tell, in context, when conversations on social media cross the line into inciting violence? How to limit the use of cyber weapons possessed not only by states but non-state actors and individuals?189 How to adapt trade systems designed for a different era to the newly emerging forms of online commerce?

The 2003 and 2005 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) established the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) as a platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue.190 Global, national and regional IGF meetings have contributed to many important digital debates. But the IGF, in its current form, has limitations in addressing challenges that are now emerging from new digital technologies.

The need for strengthened cooperation mechanisms has been raised many times in recent years by broad initiatives – such as the NetMundial Conference,191 the Global Commission on Internet Governance192 and Web Foundation’s Contract for the Web193 – and more narrowly focused efforts such as the Broadband Commission, the Alliance for Affordable Internet, the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network, the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace, the Charter of Trust, Smart Africa, and the International Panel on AI recently announced by Canada and France.194

In our consultations, we heard a great deal of dissatisfaction with existing digital cooperation arrangements: a desire for more tangible outcomes, more active participation by governments and the private sector, more inclusive processes and better follow-up. Overall, systems need to become more holistic, multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder, agile and able to convert rhetoric into practice. We have identified six main gaps:

First, despite their growing impact on society, digital technology and digital cooperation issues remain relatively low on many national, regional and global political agendas. Only recently have forums such as the G20 started regularly to address the digital economy.195 In 2018, the UN Secretary- General for the first time delivered an opening statement in person at the IGF in Paris.196

Second, digital cooperation arrangements such as technical bodies and standard-setting organisations are often not inclusive enough of small and developing countries, indigenous communities, women, young and elderly people and those with disabilities. Even if they are invited to the table, such groups may lack the capacity to participate effectively and meaningfully.197
Third, there is considerable overlap among the large number of mechanisms covering digital policy issues. As a result, the digital cooperation architecture has become highly complex but not necessarily effective. There is no simple entry point. This makes it especially hard for small enterprises, marginalised groups, developing countries and other stakeholders with limited budgets and expertise to make their voices heard.198

Fourth, digital technologies increasingly cut across areas in which policies are shaped by separate institutions. For example, one body may look at data issues from the perspective of standardisation, while another considers trade, and still another regulates to protect human rights.199 Many international organisations are trying to adjust their traditional policy work to reflect the realities of the digital transformation, but do not yet have enough expertise and experience to have well-defined roles in addressing new digital issues. At a minimum there needs to be better communication across different bodies to shape awareness. Ideally, effective cooperation should create synergies.

Fifth, there is a lack of reliable data, metrics and evidence on which to base practical policy interventions. For example, the annual cost of cybercrime to the global economy is variously estimated at anything from $600 billion200 to $6 trillion.201 Estimates of the value of the AI market in 2025 range from $60 billion202 to $17 trillion.203 The problem is most acute in developing countries, where resources to collect evidence are scarce and data collection is generally uneven. Establishing a knowledge repository on digital policy, with definitions of terms and concepts, would also increase clarity in policy discussions and support consistency of measurement of digital inclusion, as we have noted in our Recommendation 1D.

Sixth, lack of trust among governments, civil society and the private sector – and sometimes a lack of humility and understanding of different perspectives – can make it more difficult to establish the collaborative multi-stakeholder approach needed to develop effective cooperation mechanisms.

Inter-governmental work must be balanced with work involving broader stakeholders. Multi-stakeholder and multilateral approaches can and do co-exist. The challenge is to evolve ways of using each to reinforce the effectiveness of the other.


As noted in the discussion of values in Chapter 1, we believe global digital cooperation should be: inclusive; respectful; human-centred; conducive to human flourishing; transparent; collaborative; accessible; sustainable and harmonious. Shared values become even more important during periods of rapid change, limited information and unpredictability, as with current discussions of cooperation relating to artificial intelligence.

It would be useful for the private sector, communities and governments to conduct digital cooperation initiatives by explicitly defining the values and principles that guide them. The aim is to align stakeholders around a common vision, maximise the beneficial impacts and minimise the risk of misuse and unintended consequences.

Alongside these shared values, we believe it is useful to highlight operational principles as a reference point for the future evolution of digital cooperation mechanisms. The principles we propose for global digital cooperation mechanisms include that they should: be easy to engage in, open and transparent; inclusive and accountable to all stakeholders; consult and debate as locally as possible; encourage innovation of both technologies and better mechanisms for cooperating; and, seek to maximise the global public interest. These are set forth in more detail in Annex VI, based on the experience of internet governance and technical coordination bodies – such as the WSIS process, UNESCO and the NetMundial conference.204

Defining values and principles is only the first step: we must operationalise them in practice in the design and development of digital technology and digital cooperation mechanisms. Where the reach of hard governance is limited or ambiguous – for example, at the stage of innovation or when the long-term impact of technologies is hard to predict – values-based cooperation approaches can play a vital role.

We should look for opportunities to operationalise values and principles at each step in the design and development of new technologies, as well as new policy practices. For example, educational institutions could encourage software developers, business executives and engineers to integrate values and principles in their work and use professional codes of conduct akin to the medical profession’s Hippocratic Oath. Businesses can integrate values into workflows, use values-based measures to assess risk and institute a suitable incentive structure for staff to follow shared values. Self-assessments and third-party audits can also help institutionalise a business culture based on shared values.


The Panel had many discussions about possible practical next steps to improve the architecture of global digital cooperation and the merits of proposing new mechanisms or updating existing ones. Some suggested that many cooperation challenges could be best addressed by strengthening implementation capacities of current agencies and mandates.

There was broad agreement that improved cooperation is needed, that such cooperation will need to take multiple diverse forms, and that governments, the private sector and civil society will need to find new ways to work together to steer an effective path between extremes of over-regulation and complete laissez-faire.

While no single vision emerged, there was broad agreement that improved cooperation is needed, that such cooperation will need to take multiple diverse forms, and that governments, the private sector and civil society will need to find new ways to work together to steer an effective path between extremes of over-regulation and complete laissez-faire. Based on our consultations, the Panel felt that presenting options for digital cooperation architectures would best contribute to the discourse on global digital cooperation.

Annex VI sets out functions that a digital cooperation architecture could be designed to improve. These include generating political will, ensuring the active and meaningful participation of all stakeholders, monitoring developments and identifying trends, creating shared understanding and purpose, preventing and resolving disputes, building consensus and following up on agreements.

Below three possible models are proposed that could address some of these functions. The first enhances and extends the multi-stakeholder IGF. The second is a distributed architecture which builds on existing mechanisms. The third envisions a ‘commons’ approach with loose coordination by the UN. All have benefits and drawbacks. They are put forward here to provide concrete starting points for the further discussion and broad consultation which we recommend the UN Secretary-General initiate in our Recommendation 5A.


A note on inclusive representation

All three models highlighted below would need to take special steps to ensure that they are broadly representative and develop specific mechanisms to ensure equitable participation of developing countries, women and other traditionally marginalised groups who have often been denied a voice.


The proposed Internet Governance Forum Plus, or IGF Plus, would build on the existing IGF which was established by the World Summit on Information Society (Tunis, 2005). The IGF is currently the main global space convened by the UN for addressing internet governance and digital policy issues. The IGF Plus concept would provide additional multi-stakeholder and multilateral legitimacy by being open to all stakeholders and by being institutionally anchored in the UN system.

The IGF Plus would aim to build on the IGF’s strengths, including well-developed infrastructure and procedures, acceptance in stakeholder communities, gender balance in IGF bodies and activities, and a network of 114 national, regional and youth IGFs206. It would add important capacity strengthening and other support activities.

The IGF Plus model aims to address the IGF’s current shortcomings. For example, the lack of actionable outcomes can be addressed by working on policies and norms of direct interest to stakeholder communities. The limited participation of government and business representatives, especially from small and developing countries, can be addressed by introducing discussion tracks in which governments, the private sector and civil society address their specific concerns.

The IGF Plus would comprise an Advisory Group, Cooperation Accelerator, Policy Incubator and Observatory and Help Desk.

The Advisory Group, based on the IGF’s current Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group, would be responsible for preparing annual meetings, and identifying focus policy issues each year. This would not exclude coverage of other issues but ensure a critical mass of discussion on the selected issues. The Advisory Group could identify moments when emerging discussions in other forums need to be connected, and issues that are not covered by existing organisations or mechanisms.

Building on the current practices of the IGF, the Advisory Group could consist of members appointed for three years by the UN Secretary-General on the advice of member states and stakeholder groups, ensuring gender, age, stakeholder and geographical balance.

The Cooperation Accelerator would accelerate issue-centred cooperation across a wide range of institutions, organisations and processes; identify points of convergence among existing IGF coalitions, and issues around which new coalitions need to be established; convene stakeholder-specific coalitions to address the concerns of groups such as governments, businesses, civil society, parliamentarians, elderly people, young people, philanthropy, the media, and women; and facilitate convergences among debates in major digital and policy events at the UN and beyond.

The Cooperation Accelerator could consist of members selected for their multi-disciplinary experience and expertise. Membership would include civil society, businesses and governments and representation from major digital events such as the Web Summit, Mobile World Congress, Lift:Lab, Shift, LaWeb, and Telecom World.

The Policy Incubator would incubate policies and norms for public discussion and adoption. In response to requests to look at a perceived regulatory gap, it would examine if existing norms and regulations could fill the gap and, if not, form a policy group consisting of interested stakeholders to make proposals to governments and other decision-making bodies. It would monitor policies and norms through feedback from the bodies that adopt and implement them.207

The Policy Incubator could provide the currently missing link between dialogue platforms identifying regulatory gaps and existing decision-making bodies by maintaining momentum in discussions without making legally binding decisions. It should have a flexible and dynamic composition involving all stakeholders concerned by a specific policy issue.

The Observatory and Help Desk would direct requests for help on digital policy (such as dealing with crisis situations, drafting legislation, or advising on policy) to appropriate entities, including the Help Desks described in Recommendation 2; coordinate capacity development activities provided by other organisations; collect and share best practices; and provide an overview of digital policy issues, including monitoring trends, identifying emerging issues and providing data on digital policy.

The IGF Trust Fund would be a dedicated fund for the IGF Plus. All stakeholders – including governments, international organisations, businesses and the tech sector – would be encouraged to contribute. The IGF Plus Secretariat should be linked to the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General to reflect its interdisciplinary and system-wide approach.


The proposed distributed co-governance architecture (COGOV) would build on existing mechanisms while filling gaps with new mechanisms to achieve a distributed, yet cohesive digital cooperation architecture covering all stages from norm design to implementation and potential enforcement of such norms by the appropriate authorities.

COGOV relies on the self-forming ‘horizontal’ network approach used by the Internet Engineering Task Force, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the World Wide Web Consortium, the Regional Internet Registries, the IEEE and others to host networks to design norms and policies. This proposal would extend this agile network approach to issues affecting the broader digital economy and society.

Given the wide range of issues which the COGOV architecture could encompass, it will be imperative to ensure there is broad representation beyond the relatively homogenous expert communities which predominate for some of the technical issues discussed above.

The COGOV architecture decouples the design of digital norms from their implementation and enforcement. It seeks to rapidly produce shared digital cooperation solutions, including norms, and publish them for stakeholders to consider and potentially adopt. These norms would be voluntary solutions rather than legal instruments. In themselves, the COGOV networks would not have governing authority or enforcement powers. However, the norms could be taken up by government agencies as useful blueprints to establish policies, regulations or laws.

The COGOV could consist of three functional elements: a) Digital Cooperation Networks; b) Network Support Platforms; and, c) a Network of Networks.

a) Digital Cooperation Networks. These networks would be issue-specific horizontal collaboration groups, involving stakeholders from relevant vertical sectors and institutions. They could be formed freely by stakeholders in a bottom-up way, self-governed, and share the same goal of cooperation – including potentially the design of digital norms. They could be created or supported by one or more governments and/ or intergovernmental organisations with the same concerns. Their functions would include developing shared understandings and goals for a specific digital issue, strengthening cooperation, designing or updating digital norms, providing norm implementation roadmaps and developing capacity to adopt policies and norms.
Participation in digital cooperation networks should be open for all relevant and concerned stakeholders, including governments, intergovernmental institutions, the private sector, civil society, academia and the technical community. Special efforts would need to be made to include and support representatives from developing countries and traditionally marginalised groups. The digital cooperation networks may be stand-alone voluntary networks or hosted by the network support platforms described below. 

b) Network Support Platforms. These platforms could host and enable the dynamic formation and functioning of multiple digital cooperation networks. While the digital cooperation networks would operate in defined and limited timeframes, the network support platforms are proposed as stable long-term elements of the architecture, supporting the digital cooperation networks and enabling them to evolve as necessary to update their cooperation and relevant digital norms.

The network support platforms should not interfere in the work product or composition of the self-governed and stakeholder-initiated digital cooperation networks; they should simply support the networks to operate efficiently. The platforms would help the networks to identify emerging issues, secure the commitment of relevant participants, provide necessary resources and facilities, and promote their outcomes.

c) Network of Networks. The network of networks would loosely coordinate and support activities across all digital cooperation networks and network support platforms. The role of the network of networks is to ensure integrity and enable coherent outcomes that account for the complex inter-dependencies across digital policy issues.

The network of networks would consist of: 1) a support function, which would organise an annual forum, a ‘research cooperative’ and a ‘norm exchange’; and 2) a voluntary peer coordination network, which would bring issues to the attention of the annual forum and follow up on its recommendations by promoting action from specific stakeholders to form digital cooperation networks.

The network of networks should avoid a controlling top-down form of administration: it is simply there to loosely coordinate the activities across the decentralized COGOV architecture; its decisions would not be binding.

Once norms are available, governing authorities may choose to establish enforcement mechanisms and may choose to use these norms as policy input or blueprints. The following table summarises the mechanisms across the norm design, implementation, and enforcement stages:

Norm Design
• Identify digital governance issues
• Form digital cooperation networks
• Support networks through digital cooperation platforms
Norm Implementation
• Develop norm design and adoption capacity
• Provide a ‘norm exchange’ to connect communities
• Offer implementation incentives
Norm Enforcement
• Develop norms into laws/regulations
• Adjudicate/resolve disputes and conflicts
• Establish clear guard rails for digital technologies


In areas such as space, climate change and the sea, the international community has entered into treaties and developed principles, norms and functional cooperation to designate certain spaces as international ‘commons’ and then govern ongoing practice and dialogue.208 For instance, the “common heritage” principle, introduced by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, imposes a duty to protect resources for the good of future generations.209

While norm-making and guidance in digital technologies will pose different challenges, some aspects of the digital realm, such as common internet protocols, already share characteristics with ‘commons’ requiring responsible and global stewardship. ‘Digital commons’ have also been mentioned recently in the context of data and AI developments.210

The proposed “Digital Commons Architecture” would aim to synergise efforts by governments, civil society and businesses to ensure that digital technologies promote the SDGs and to address risks of social harm. It would comprise multi-stakeholder tracks to create dialogue around emerging issues and communicate use cases and problems to be solved to stakeholders, and an annual meeting to act as a clearing house.

Each track could be owned by a lead organisation – a UN agency, an industry or academic consortium or a multi-stakeholder forum, with the choice of participants governed by guiding principles of the kind listed in this report to ensure inclusiveness and broad representation. Light coordination of the tracks, and servicing of the annual meeting where their reports are considered, could be ensured by a small secretariat housed within the UN.

Analogous to processes such as the International Competition Network, the Digital Commons Architecture tracks would have flexible, project-oriented and results-based working groups. They would enable learning on governance and related capacity development to be driven by practice. Annual meetings could aggregate lessons for use in soft law or more binding approaches in the appropriate forums. This could rapidly build a repository of norms and governance practices to guide stakeholders in their respective roles and responsibilities.

The Digital Commons Architecture tracks could focus on issues agreed by the participants. For example, they might initially wish to address issues emerging from the preceding chapters, such as using data in support of the SDGs, using AI to improve agriculture and health, or developing a global values/ethics certification process for new technology.

Multi-stakeholder collaboration around these issues could pave the way for wider cooperation. For example, realising the potential of AI to provide insights to a global health challenge might require the pooling of reliable data, clear privacy measures, a common data architecture and interoperable standards. Successful outcomes could then be progressively extended to other areas. An additional benefit would be to promote transparency and build confidence.

The annual meeting would not make rules, but provide guidance to stakeholders, which they can use in the appropriate forums. The meeting would discuss the output of the various tracks as well as implementation of the governance guidance produced by these tracks through a ‘soft’ review of reports by stakeholders.

The Digital Commons Architecture might not specify technical solutions, but instead propose technical models, and standards of accountability and trustworthiness, which could be applied across the globe. It could also facilitate a discussion of lessons from around the globe on implementation of existing norms in specific areas.

The annual meeting could build on and connect discussions taking place in other fora and could in turn feed its results into discussions taking place in other fora. This would reduce the current burden of multiplicity of forums by clarifying who is doing what, eliminating potential overlap, and identifying partnership opportunities.

The Digital Commons Architecture could be funded through voluntary contributions. Along the lines of the International Chamber of Commerce, membership fees could be considered for private sector participation; these could be waived for certain categories such as small businesses or civil society participants. 211 A dedicated trust fund could assist with civil society and least developed country participation.

The three potential models share common elements, such as multi-stakeholder participation, dedicated trust funds to enhance inclusivity, reducing policy inflation by consolidating discussions across for a, and a light coordination and convening role for the UN. The values in Chapter 1 and principles and functions in Annex VI provide shared design elements that further emphasise inclusivity and multi-stakeholder participation.

Equally, there are differences in emphasis and approach. The COGOV, for example, foresees a larger role for new networks of experts and multi-stakeholder governance; the Digital Commons Architecture presumes more of a focus on iterative learning of governance through practice in both multilateral and multi-stakeholder tracks; and the IGF Plus adds functionalities to an existing multi-stakeholder forum with a UN mandate.

The common design elements across the models could be flexibly brought together once the broad thrust of a new digital cooperation architecture has been defined. As suggested in Recommendation 5A, a common starting point could be a Global Commitment for Digital Cooperation based on shared values and principles. 


The UN’s three foundational pillars – peace and security, human rights and development – position it well to help spotlight issues emerging in the digital age and advocate on behalf of humanity’s best interests. In our consultations, we heard that despite its well-known weaknesses, the UN retains a unique role and convening power to bring stakeholders together to create the norms and frameworks and assist in developing the capacity we need to ensure a safe and equitable digital future for all people.

the UN retains a unique role and convening power to bring stakeholders together to create the norms and frameworks and assist in developing the capacity we need to ensure a safe and equitable digital future for all people.

Digital technologies are increasingly impacting the work of the UN in three ways: changing the political, social and economic environment in the ways this report has discussed; providing new tools for its core mandates; and creating new policy issues.

UN entities have begun to embrace the digital transformation and are revamping programmes and launching initiatives to apply digital technology to further their missions. Some UN agencies – such as UNICEF, UNESCO, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) – have made a priority of exploring how the digital transformation can provide them with new approaches to achieve their mandates. The Task Force on Digital Financing of the SDGs, for example, will explore how digital technologies can be leveraged to finance the SDGs.212

When digital issues often do not fit neatly within the traditional mandates of UN agencies, some have sought to expand their mandates, causing overlaps and friction. This duplication also causes confusion for external partners and stakeholders, who find it difficult to discern among the many fora, events and initiatives hosted by various parts of the UN on science, technology and innovation issues and policy setting. Some UN entities have responded to converging mandates by launching cross-cutting initiatives. For example, in 2010 the ITU and UNESCO established the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development; in 2016 the ITU, UN Women, the International Trade Centre (ITC), the GSM Association (GSMA), UNESCO and the United Nations University set up the EQUALS partnership to tackle the digital gender gap.

UN entities have also tended to go about digital issues in their own way, often without sharing information, at times duplicating each other’s work, and not reflecting on whether the systems they are building might scale to other UN entities. UN agencies can do much more to pool their human and computing capacities and develop shared tools and common standards – for example, through joint procurement of cloud computing, to reduce price and increase interoperability, and promoting open and interoperable standards for data produced and used by the UN.

The UN has begun to engage the private sector and tech community much more directly. For example, Tech Against Terrorism, a public/private partnership launched in April 2017 by the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, aims to support the technology industry to develop more effective and responsible approaches to tackling terrorists’ use of the internet, while respecting human rights. However, working with stakeholders such as the private sector and civil society is still not part of the DNA of many UN agencies. More can be done to partner with other stakeholders effectively and consistently.

How can the UN add value in the digital transformation?

As a convener – The AI for Global Good Summit, the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, ITU’s Global Symposium for Regulators, the WSIS Forum, the Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (STI Forum).

Providing a space for debating values and norms – the IGF, the Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security, Special Rapporteurs on the Right to Privacy and on the promotion and protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, UNESCO’s Artificial Intelligence with Human Values for Sustainable Development initiative, UNICEF’s efforts around children’s online safety.

Standard setting – ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector, the UN Statistical Commission and its Global Working Group on Big Data for Official Statistics, WHO guidelines on digital health interventions, the Humanitarian Data Exchange – an open platform and standard for sharing data across crises and organisations.

Multi-stakeholder or bilateral initiatives on specific issues – EQUALS: The Global Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age, the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster hosted by WFP, the UN Global Compact’s Breakthrough Innovation for the SDGs Action Platform, the Famine Action Mechanism hosted by the World Bank and the UN in partnership with industry.

Developing the capacity of member states – UNDP’s Accelerator Labs, the Technology Facilitation Mechanism, UN Global Pulse Labs, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s trainings, the Digital Blue Helmets initiative, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s Global Programme on Cybercrime.

Ranking, mapping and measuring – the annual E-Government Survey produced by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research’s Cyber Policy Portal, an online reference tool that maps the cybersecurity and cybersecurity-related policy landscape, ITU’s Measuring the Information Society report and Global Cybersecurity Index.

Arbitration and dispute-resolution – The World Intellectual Property Organization’s Internet Domain Name Process, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law.


Created by the innovation units of several UN agencies in 2015, the UN Innovation Network is working on sharing best practices and recommending harmonisation of policies which may help reduce fragmentation across the UN system. The UN’s highest-level coordination body, the Chief Executives Board for Coordination, is trying to encourage more system-wide coordination through initiatives such as the UN Data Innovation Lab and UN data privacy principles. The High-level Committee on Programmes could also have a role to enable more knowledge sharing, efficiencies of scale and scaling up of successful practices and initiatives across the UN system.

The development of the UN Secretary-General’s Strategy on New Technologies, issued in September 2018, has helped identify points of overlap and convergence, and UN agencies meet regularly to track progress. The strategy notes that the Secretary-General may consider appointing a “Tech Envoy” following the work of this Panel.

The UN can play a key role in enhancing digital cooperation by developing greater organisational and human capacity on digital governance issues and improving its ability to respond to member states’ need for policy advice and capacity development. 


5. Recommendations

The preceding chapters of this report have shown that our ‎rapidly changing and interdependent digital world urgently ‎needs improved digital cooperation founded on common ‎human values. Based on our analysis and consultations with ‎diverse stakeholders, and noting that not all Panel members ‎were supportive of all recommendations, we make the following ‎recommendations: ‎


‎1A: We recommend that by 2030, every adult should have ‎affordable access to digital networks, as well as digitally-‎enabled financial and health services, as a means to make a ‎substantial contribution to achieving the SDGs. Provision of ‎these services should guard against abuse by building on ‎emerging principles and best practices, one example of ‎which is providing the ability to opt in and opt out, and by ‎encouraging informed public discourse. ‎

1B: We recommend that a broad, multi-stakeholder alliance, ‎involving the UN, create a platform for sharing digital public ‎goods, engaging talent and pooling data sets, in a manner ‎that respects privacy, in areas related to attaining the SDGs. ‎

1C: We call on the private sector, civil society, national ‎governments, multilateral banks and the UN to adopt specific ‎policies to support full digital inclusion and digital equality for ‎women and traditionally marginalised groups. International ‎organisations such as the World Bank and the UN should ‎strengthen research and promote action on barriers women ‎and marginalised groups face to digital inclusion and digital ‎equality. ‎

1D: We believe that a set of metrics for digital inclusiveness ‎should be urgently agreed, measured worldwide and detailed ‎with sex disaggregated data in the annual reports of ‎institutions such as the UN, the International Monetary Fund, ‎the World Bank, other multilateral development banks and the ‎OECD. From this, strategies and plans of action could be ‎developed. ‎

In this report we have emphasised that the role of digital technologies in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals goes far beyond simply promoting greater access to the internet. With the right blend of policy, investment in infrastructure and human capacity, and cooperation among stakeholders, they can revolutionise fields as diverse as health and education, governance, economic empowerment and enterprise, agriculture and environmental sustainability.

The specific decisions needed to promote inclusivity and ‎minimise risks will depend on local and national conditions. ‎They should consider four main factors. ‎

First, the broader national policy and regulatory frameworks ‎should make it easy to create, run and grow small businesses. ‎These frameworks should ensure that digital service providers – ‎including e-commerce and inclusive finance platforms – support ‎the growth of local enterprises. This requires enabling policies ‎on investment and innovation, and structural policies to ensure ‎fair competition, privacy rights, consumer protection and a ‎sustainable tax base. Efforts to agree regional or global ‎standards in these areas are welcome. ‎

Second, investments should be made in both human capacity ‎‎(see Recommendation 2 below) and physical infrastructure. ‎Creating the foundation of universal, affordable access to ‎electricity and the internet will often require innovative ‎approaches, such as community groups operating rural ‎networks, or incentives such as public sector support. ‎

Third, targeted measures should address the barriers faced by ‎women, indigenous people, rural populations and others who ‎are marginalised by factors such as a lack of legal identity, low ‎literacy rates, social norms that prevent them from fully ‎participating in civic and economic life, and discriminatory land ‎ownership, tenure and inheritance practices. ‎

Fourth, respect for human rights – including privacy – is ‎fundamental. Panel members had divergent views on digital ID ‎systems in particular: they have immense potential to improve ‎delivery of social services, especially for people who currently ‎lack legal identity, but they are also vulnerable to abuse. As ‎digital ID becomes more prevalent, we must emphasise ‎principles for its fair and effective use. ‎

Achieving this ambition will require multi-stakeholder alliances ‎involving governments, private sector, international ‎organisations, citizen groups and philanthropy to build new ‎models of collaboration around “digital public goods” and data ‎sets that can be pooled for the common good. SDG-related ‎areas include health, energy, agriculture, clean water, oceans ‎and climate change. These alliances could establish minimum ‎criteria for classifying technologies and content as “digital public ‎goods” and connect with relevant communities of practice that ‎can provide guidance and support for investment, ‎implementation and capacity development. ‎

We are concerned that women face particular challenges in ‎meaningfully accessing the internet, inclusive mobile financial ‎services and online commerce, and controlling their own digital ‎IDs and health records. Policies should include targeted capacity ‎development for female entrepreneurs and policy makers. We ‎call on the technology sector to make more sustained and ‎serious efforts to address the gap in female technology ‎employees and management, include women’s voices when ‎determining online terms and conditions, and act to prevent ‎online harassment and promotion of domestic abuse, building ‎upon the work of existing initiatives such as the High-level Panel ‎on Women’s Economic Empowerment. ‎
While some preliminary work is underway, there is currently no ‎agreed set of clear metrics or standards for the inclusiveness of ‎digital technologies and cooperation. While any metrics will ‎evolve over time, we call for research and multi-stakeholder ‎consultation to establish a basis of shared global understanding ‎as promptly as possible. We encourage the UN, international ‎development agencies and multilateral banks such as the Asian ‎Development Bank, the New Development Bank and the World ‎Bank to drive this process by incorporating digital inclusion as a ‎key metric in approving and evaluating projects. Facets of digital ‎inclusion which may be considered include gender, financial ‎services, health, government services, national digital economy ‎policies, use of online e-commerce platforms and mobile ‎device penetration. ‎


2: We recommend the establishment of regional and global ‎digital help desks to help governments, civil society and the ‎private sector to understand digital issues and develop ‎capacity to steer cooperation related to social and economic ‎impacts of digital technologies. ‎

Many countries urgently need to make critical choices about the ‎complex issues discussed in this report. In what types of ‎infrastructure should they invest? What types of training do their ‎populations require to compete in the global digital economy? ‎How can those whose livelihoods are disrupted by technological ‎change be protected? How can technology be used to deliver ‎social services and improve governance? How can regulation ‎be appropriately balanced to encourage innovation while ‎protecting human rights? ‎

Policy decisions will have profound impact, but many of the ‎decision-makers lack sufficient understanding of digital ‎technologies and their implications. Capacity development for ‎government officials and regulators could help to harness ‎technology for inclusive economic development to achieve the ‎SDGs. Priorities could include diagnostics on digital capacities ‎and how they interact with society and the economy, and ‎identifying skills workers will need. Capacity development ‎initiatives with the private sector would also develop the capacity ‎of officials and regulators to engage with the private sector so ‎they can understand the operations of the digital economy and ‎respond in an agile way to emerging issues (see ‎Recommendation 5B). ‎

For decisions to be well informed and inclusive, all stakeholders ‎and the public need also to better understand the benefits and ‎risks of digital technologies. Decisions around technology ‎should be underpinned by a broad social dialogue on its costs, ‎benefits and norms. We encourage capacity development ‎programs for governments, civil society organisations, the ‎private sector – including small- and medium-sized enterprises ‎and start-ups – consumers, educators, women and youth. ‎Existing capacity development initiatives by civil society, ‎academia and technical and international organisations could ‎benefit from the promotion of best practices. ‎

A regional approach is recommended to develop capacity, to ‎enable differing local contexts to be addressed. Regional help ‎desks could be led by organisations such as the African Union ‎or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, in collaboration ‎with UN Regional Commissions. The regional help desks would: ‎conduct research and promote best practice in digital ‎cooperation; provide capacity development training and ‎recommend open-source or licensed products and platforms; ‎and support requests for advice from governments, local private ‎sector (particularly small and medium enterprises) and civil ‎society in their regions. Staff would have regional expertise, and ‎coordinate closely with the private sector and civil society. ‎

A global help desk to coordinate the work of regional help desks ‎could form part of the new digital cooperation architecture we ‎recommend exploring in Recommendation 5A. ‎


3A: Given that human rights apply fully in the digital world, we ‎urge the UN Secretary-General to institute an agencies-wide ‎review of how existing international human rights accords ‎and standards apply to new and emerging digital ‎technologies. Civil society, governments, the private sector ‎and the public should be invited to submit their views on how ‎to apply existing human rights instruments in the digital age in ‎a proactive and transparent process. ‎

3B: In the face of growing threats to human rights and safety, ‎including those of children, we call on social media ‎enterprises to work with governments, international and local ‎civil society organisations and human rights experts around ‎the world to fully understand and respond to concerns about ‎existing or potential human rights violations. ‎

3C: We believe that autonomous intelligent systems should ‎be designed in ways that enable their decisions to be ‎explained and humans to be accountable for their use. Audits ‎and certification schemes should monitor compliance of AI ‎systems with engineering and ethical standards, which ‎should be developed using multi-stakeholder and multilateral ‎approaches. Life and death decisions should not be ‎delegated to machines. We call for enhanced digital ‎cooperation with multiple stakeholders to think through the ‎design and application of these standards and principles ‎such as transparency and non-bias in autonomous intelligent ‎systems in different social settings. ‎

As discussed in Chapter 3, while human rights apply online as ‎well as offline, technology presents challenges that were not ‎foreseen when many foundational human rights accords were ‎created. National laws and regulations must prevent advances ‎in technology being used to erode human rights or avoid ‎accountability. We need to cooperate to ensure that digital ‎technologies advance the inherent dignity and equal and ‎inalienable rights of every human. ‎

Applying human rights in the digital age requires better ‎coordination and communication between governments, ‎technology companies, civil society and other stakeholders. ‎Companies have often reacted slowly and inadequately to ‎learning that their technologies are being deployed in ways that ‎undermine human rights. We need more forward-looking efforts ‎to identify and mitigate risks in advance: companies should ‎consult with governments, civil society and academia to assess ‎the potential human rights impact of the digital technologies ‎they are developing. From risk assessment to ongoing due ‎diligence and responsiveness to sudden events, it should be ‎clarified what society can reasonably expect from each ‎stakeholder, including technology firms. ‎

In some areas there is consensus that much more needs to be ‎done – notably, companies providing social media services ‎need to do more to prevent the dissemination of hatred and ‎incitement of violence, and companies providing online services ‎and apps used by children need to do more to ensure ‎appropriate design and meaningful data consent. ‎

Consensus is also emerging that more needs to be done to ‎safeguard the human right to privacy: individuals often have ‎little or no meaningful ‎
understanding of the implications of providing their personal ‎data in return for digital services. We believe companies, ‎governments and civil society should agree to clear and ‎transparent standards that will enable greater interoperability of ‎data in ways that protect privacy while enabling data to flow for ‎commercial, research and government purposes, and ‎supporting innovation to achieve the SDGs. Such standards ‎should prevent data collection going beyond intended use, limit ‎re-identification of individuals via datasets, and give individuals ‎meaningful control over how their personal data is shared. ‎

We also emphasise our belief that autonomous intelligent ‎systems should be designed in ways that enable their decisions ‎to be explained and humans to be held to account for their use. ‎Audits and certification schemes should monitor compliance of ‎AI systems with engineering and ethical standards. Humans ‎should never delegate life and death decisions to machines. ‎


4. We recommend the development of a Global Commitment ‎on Digital Trust and Security to shape a shared vision, identify ‎attributes of digital stability, elucidate and strengthen the ‎implementation of norms for responsible uses of technology, ‎and propose priorities for action. ‎

As the digital economy increasingly merges with the physical ‎world and deploys autonomous intelligent systems, it depends ‎ever more on trust and the stability of the digital environment. ‎Trust is built through agreed standards, shared values and best ‎practices. Stability implies a digital environment that is peaceful, ‎secure, open and cooperative. More effective action is needed ‎to prevent trust and stability being eroded by the proliferation of ‎irresponsible use of cyber capabilities. ‎

The Global Commitment on Digital Trust and Security could ‎build on and create momentum behind the voluntary norms ‎agreed in the report of the 2015 GGE, and complement relevant ‎global processes. It could address areas such as ways to ‎strengthen implementation of agreed norms; developing ‎societal capacity for cybersecurity and resilience against ‎misinformation; encouraging companies to strengthen ‎authentication practices, adhere to stricter software ‎development norms and be more transparent in the use of ‎software and components; and improving the digital hygiene of ‎new users coming online. ‎


‎5A: We recommend that, as a matter of urgency, the UN ‎Secretary- General facilitate an agile and open consultation ‎process to develop updated mechanisms for global digital ‎cooperation, with the options discussed in Chapter 4 as a ‎starting point. We suggest an initial goal of marking the UN's ‎‎75th anniversary in 2020 with a “Global Commitment for ‎Digital Cooperation” to enshrine shared values, principles, ‎understandings and objectives for an improved global digital ‎cooperation architecture. As part of this process, we ‎understand that the UN Secretary-General may appoint a ‎Technology Envoy. ‎

‎5B: We support a multi-stakeholder “systems” approach for ‎cooperation and regulation that is adaptive, agile, inclusive ‎and fit for purpose for the fast-changing digital age. ‎

Enhancing digital cooperation will require both reinvigorating ‎existing multilateral partnerships and potentially the creation of ‎new mechanisms that involve stakeholders from business, ‎academia, civil society and technical organisations. We should ‎approach questions of governance based on their specific ‎circumstances and choosing among all available tools. ‎

Where possible we can make existing inter-governmental ‎forums and mechanisms fit for the digital age rather than rush to ‎create new mechanisms, though this may involve difficult ‎judgement calls: for example, while the WTO remains a major ‎forum to address issues raised by the rapid growth in cross-‎border e-commerce, it is now over two decades since it was last ‎able to broker an agreement on the subject. ‎

Given the speed of change, soft governance mechanisms – ‎values and principles, standards and certification processes – ‎should not wait for agreement on binding solutions. Soft ‎governance mechanisms are also best suited to the multi-‎stakeholder approach demanded by the digital age: a fact-‎based, participative process of deliberation and design, ‎including governments, private sector, civil society, diverse ‎users and policy-makers. ‎

The aim of the holistic “systems” approach we recommended is ‎to bring together government bodies such as competition ‎authorities and consumer protection agencies with the private ‎sector, citizens and civil society to enable them to be more agile ‎in responding to issues and evaluating trade-offs as they ‎emerge. Any new governance approaches in digital cooperation ‎should also, wherever possible, look for ways – such as pilot ‎zones, regulatory sandboxes or trial periods – to test efficacy ‎and develop necessary procedures and technology before ‎being more widely applied.213

We envisage that the process of developing a “Global ‎Commitment for Digital Cooperation” would be inspired by the ‎‎“World We Want” process, which helped formulate the SDGs. ‎Participants would include governments, the private sector from ‎technology and other industries, SMEs and entrepreneurs, civil ‎society, international organisations including standards and ‎professional organisations, academic scholars and other ‎experts, and government representatives from varied ‎departments at regional, national, municipal and community ‎levels. Multi-stakeholder consultation in each member state and ‎region would allow ideas to bubble up from the bottom. ‎

The consultations on an updated global digital cooperation ‎architecture could define upfront the criteria to be met by the ‎governance mechanisms to be proposed, such as funding ‎models, modes of operation and means for serving the ‎functions explored in this report. ‎

More broadly, if appointed, a UN Tech Envoy could identify ‎over-the-horizon concerns that need improved cooperation or ‎governance; provide light-touch coordination of multi-‎stakeholder actors to address shared concerns; reinforce ‎principles and norms developed in forums with relevant ‎mandates; and work with UN member states, civil society and ‎businesses to support compliance with agreed norms. ‎

The Envoy’s mandate could also include coordinating the digital ‎technology-related efforts of UN entities; improving ‎communication and collaboration among technology experts ‎within the UN; and advising the UN Secretary- General on new ‎technology issues. Finally, the Envoy could promote ‎partnerships to build and maintain international digital common ‎resources that could be used to help achieve the SDGs. ‎

We believe in a future which is inclusive and empowering; a ‎future in which digital technologies are used to reduce ‎inequalities, bring people together, enhance international peace ‎and security and promote economic opportunity and ‎environmental sustainability. ‎
Our recommendations toward that future will require sustained commitment to fundamental human values. They will require ‎leadership and political will, clarity about roles and responsibilities, shared meanings to ease communication, inclusive partnerships ‎with capacity development, aligned incentives, greater coherence of currently fragmented efforts, and building a climate of trust. ‎

We hope this report has shown why individuals, civil society, the private sector and governments urgently need to strengthen ‎cooperation to build that better future.‎




  1. The High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation convened by ‎the UN Secretary-General will advance proposals to strengthen ‎cooperation in the digital space among Governments, the ‎private sector, civil society, international organisations, the ‎technical and academic communities and all other relevant ‎stakeholders. The Panel’s report and its recommendations will ‎provide a high-level independent contribution to the broader ‎public debate on digital cooperation frameworks and support ‎Member States in their consultations on these issues. ‎
  2. The Panel will consist of 20 eminent leaders from ‎Governments, private sector, academia, the technical ‎community, and civil society led by two co-chairs. Its ‎composition will be balanced in terms of gender, age, ‎geographic representation, and area of expertise. The Panel ‎members will serve in their personal capacity. ‎
  3. The Panel shall meet in person at least once. Additional ‎interactions shall be organised for the Panel as a whole by ‎electronic means or through ad hoc group consultations. The ‎Panel will engage and consult widely with governments, private ‎sector, academia, technical community, civil society, and inter-‎governmental organisations across the world. It shall be agile ‎and innovative in interacting with existing processes and ‎platforms as well as in harnessing inputs from diverse ‎stakeholders. ‎
  4. In its report to the Secretary-General, the Panel shall identify ‎good practices and opportunities, gaps and challenges in digital ‎cooperation. It shall also outline major trends in the ‎development and deployment of emerging digital technologies, ‎business models, and policies and the possibilities and ‎challenges they generate for digital cooperation.
  5. In particular, the report shall: ‎
    - Raise awareness among policy makers and the general public ‎about ‎ the transformative impact of digital technologies across society ‎and the ‎ economy; ‎
    - Suggest ways to bridge disciplines on digital cooperation by ‎identifying ‎ policy, research and information gaps as well as ways to ‎improve ‎ interdisciplinary thinking and cross-domain action on digital ‎ technologies; ‎
    - Present recommendations for effective, inclusive, accountable ‎systems ‎ of digital cooperation among all relevant actors in the digital ‎space. ‎
  6. ‎The recommendations in the report shall seek to maximise ‎the potential of digital technologies to contribute inter alia to the ‎achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ‎and to support progress across a range of themes, including ‎digital empowerment, inclusive finance, employment, ‎entrepreneurship, trade and cross border data flows. ‎
  7. They shall also contribute to raising individual and systemic ‎capacities to ‎​maximise the benefits of emerging digital technologies; to ‎facilitating the participation of all stakeholder groups, especially ‎youth and women, in the digital sphere and; to enhancing ‎implementation of existing digital policies as well as norms. ‎
  8. The Panel shall avoid duplication with existing forums for ‎digital cooperation. It shall fully respect current UN structures as ‎well as national, technical community and industry prerogatives ‎in the development and governance of digital technologies.
  9. The Panel will complete its deliberations and submit its final ‎report, including actionable recommendations, within a nine-‎month period. ‎
  10. The deliberations of the Panel will be supported by a small ‎secretariat and funded by donor resources. The Secretariat shall ‎seek to leverage existing platforms and partners, including UN ‎agencies, working in the related domains. ‎


Co-Chairs ‎
‎• Melinda Gates (USA), Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ‎
‎• Jack Ma (China), Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group ‎

Members ‎
‎• Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi (UAE), Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the ‎
Future, UAE ‎
‎• Yuichiro Anzai (Japan), Senior Advisor and Director of Center for Science ‎
Information Analysis, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science ‎
‎• Nikolai Astrup (Norway), Former Minister of International Development, ‎
now Minister of Digitalisation, Norway ‎
‎• Vinton Cerf (USA), Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist, Google ‎
‎• Fadi Chehadé (USA), Chairman, Chehadé & Company ‎
‎• Sophie Soowon Eom (Republic of Korea), Founder of Adriel AI and ‎
Solidware ‎
‎• Isabel Guerrero Pulgar (Chile), Executive Director, IMAGO Global ‎
Grassroots and Lecturer, Harvard Kennedy School ‎
‎• Marina Kaljurand (Estonia), Chair of the Global Commission on the ‎
Stability of Cyberspace ‎
‎• Bogolo Kenewendo (Botswana), Minister of Investment, Trade and ‎
Industry, Botswana ‎
‎• Marina Kolesnik (Russian Federation), senior executive, entrepreneur ‎
and WEF Young Global Leader ‎
‎• Doris Leuthard (Switzerland), former President and Federal Councillor of ‎
the Swiss Confederation, Switzerland ‎
‎• Cathy Mulligan (United Kingdom), Visiting Researcher, Imperial College ‎
London and Chief Technology Officer of GovTech Labs at University ‎
College London ‎
‎• Akaliza Keza Ntwari (Rwanda), ICT advocate and entrepreneur ‎
‎• Edson Prestes (Brazil), Professor, Institute of Informatics, Federal ‎
University of Rio Grande do Sul ‎
‎• Kira Radinsky (Israel), Director of Data Science, eBay ‎
‎• Nanjira Sambuli (Kenya), Senior Policy Manager, World Wide Web ‎
Foundation ‎
‎• Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah (Australia), Chief Executive, Oxfam GB ‎
‎• Jean Tirole (France), Chairman of the Toulouse School of Economics and ‎
the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse ‎

Ex officio
‎• Amandeep Singh Gill (India), Executive Director, Secretariat of the High-‎
level Panel on Digital Cooperation ‎
‎• Jovan Kurbalija (Serbia), Executive Director, Secretariat of the High-level ‎
Panel on Digital Cooperation


Panel Secretariat ‎
‎• Isabel de Sola, Senior Adviser, Engagement ‎
‎• Amandeep Singh Gill, Executive Director ‎
‎• Jovan Kurbalija, Executive Director ‎
‎• Ananita Maitra, Project Officer, Policy and Engagement ‎
‎• Chengetai Masango, Senior Adviser (on loan from the IGF Secretariat, ‎
July-October 2018) ‎
‎• Lisa McMonagle, Intern ‎
‎• Madeline McSherry, Project Officer, Engagement ‎
‎• Claire Messina, Deputy Executive Director ‎
‎• AJung Moon, Senior Adviser, Research & Industry ‎
‎• Athira Murali, Intern ‎
‎• Anoush Rima Tatevossian, Senior Communications Officer ‎
‎• Talea von Lupin, Intern ‎
‎• Andrew Wright, Writer ‎

Sherpas and Support Teams ‎
‎• Co-Chair Melinda Gates: Gargee Ghosh, John Norris ‎
‎• Co-Chair Jack Ma: James Song, Jason Pau, Sami Farhad, Yuan Ren


The Panel gratefully acknowledges the financial and in-kind contributions of the following governments and partners, without whom it ‎would not have been able to carry out its responsibilities: ‎
Robert Bosch Stiftung ‎
Government of the People’s Republic of China ‎
Government of Denmark ‎
Government of Finland ‎
Ford Foundation ‎
Global Challenges Foundation ‎
IGF Secretariat ‎
Government of Israel ‎
Government of Norway ‎
Government of Qatar ‎
Government of Switzerland ‎
Government of the United Arab Emirates ‎
UN Foundation ‎


As per its terms of reference, the Panel engaged widely with ‎governments, private sector, academia, the technical ‎community, civil society, and inter-governmental organisations ‎across the world. The aims of its engagement strategy were to ‎provide stakeholders with an opportunity to contribute ‎meaningfully to the reflection process of the Panel; catalyse ‎multi-stakeholder and interdisciplinary cooperation on digital ‎issues; and co-create the report’s recommendations with ‎stakeholders, with a view to building buy-in for their ‎implementation. ‎

The engagement strategy was guided by three main tenets: ‎
‎• Breadth and inclusivity: The Panel aimed to consult as ‎broadly as ‎
possible across regions, demographics, topics, sectors and ‎disciplines. ‎
The process strove to be as inclusive as possible of diverse ‎groupings. ‎
‎• Depth: The Panel worked with experts and conducted ‘deep ‎dives’ on ‎
specific focus areas through virtual or in-person consultations ‎as well as ‎
bilateral interviews. ‎
‎• Interdisciplinarity: Many digital challenges are currently ‎addressed in ‎
policy or agency silos; to promote more holistic approaches, the ‎Panel’s ‎
activities invited interdisciplinary and multisectoral perspectives ‎to the ‎
table. ‎

The Panel was conscious of the importance of avoiding ‎duplication of efforts and ‘consultation fatigue’ amongst digital ‎stakeholders. Building on existing networks and policy forums, ‎engagement activities took place as close as possible to ‎stakeholders on the ground. The Panel also consciously ‎assumed the learnings of previous commissions and existing ‎working groups while also harnessing opportunities to connect ‎the issues in new ways. ‎

Conducting a global consultation in the span of few months ‎would not have been possible without the immense support of ‎dozens of organisations and governments worldwide who lent ‎their resources and networks to the Panel. ‎

Engagement proceeded in two phases: in the ‘listening’ phase, ‎in the autumn of 2018, the Panel actively collected stakeholders’ ‎concerns and ideas on digital cooperation. Feedback from ‎stakeholders was fed into the Panel’s scoping of its work and ‎formed the basis of the nine “enablers of digital cooperation” ‎articulated mid-way through the Panel process. In the spring of ‎‎2019, the focus shifted to ‘road-testing’ the Panel’s emerging ‎recommendations. Stakeholders from across sectors were ‎invited to comment on and critique the draft recommendations ‎with a view to improving them. ‎

Overall, the Panel and its Secretariat carried out 125 ‎engagement activities; these included participating in 44 digital ‎policy events and organising 10 thematic workshops (on ‎subjects such as values and principles, digital trust and security, ‎data, digital health), 28 briefings to various stakeholder ‎communities, 11 visits to digital hubs and capitals, 22 virtual ‎meetings with subject-matter experts, and 10 townhall meetings ‎open to the public. In addition, the Panel held a large number of ‎bilateral meetings with a variety of stakeholders. ‎

A virtual window for consultation was opened via the Panel’s ‎website. In October 2018, an open Call for Contributions was ‎launched; by January 2019, when the call closed, 167 ‎stakeholders had sent written submissions. Additionally, an ‎informal public opinion survey was set up to capture the views ‎of stakeholders on the digital issues of greatest concern. ‎

In total, the Panel and its Secretariat engaged with over 4,000 ‎individuals representing 104 states, 80 international ‎organisations, 203 private sector companies, 125 civil society ‎organisations, 33 technical organisations, and 188 think tanks ‎and academic institutions. ‎

Our analysis of approximately 1200 core participants in our ‎engagement process finds that 40% were women; 3% were ‎aged under 30; and the regional breakdown was 20% North ‎America, 19% Europe, 13% Sub-Saharan Africa, 8% Latin ‎America and the Caribbean, 7% South and Central Asia, 7% ‎Southeast and East Asia, and 4% Middle East (the rest had a ‎global remit). ‎

These results show that we did not wholly avoid a skew towards ‎male and Western voices, though they compare favourably with ‎many such exercises in the technology sector. They indicate the ‎continuing need for digital cooperation mechanisms to make ‎specific efforts to ensure inclusivity, and highlight in particular ‎the challenge of bringing the “digital native” youth generation ‎into digital policymaking. ‎

The Panel would like to thank the following partners for their ‎generous assistance and support to its engagement process: ‎

Access Now ‎
African Union Commission ‎
Alibaba Group ‎
APEC China Business Council (ACBC) ‎
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship of Argentina ‎
Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) ‎
Association for Progressive Communication (APC) ‎
Government of Benin ‎
Botnar Foundation ‎
Business Council for the United Nations ‎
Consulate General of Canada in San Francisco ‎
China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC) ‎
Data2x ‎
Digital Empowerment Foundation ‎
Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) ‎
Diplo Foundation ‎
Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations and ‎Other International Organisations in Geneva ‎
Direction interministérielle du numérique et du système ‎d’information et de communication de l’Etat, France ‎
Freedom Online Coalition ‎
Gateway House ‎
Geneva Internet Platform ‎
Global Commission on Stability of Cyberspace ‎
Global Partners Digital ‎
Global Partnership on Sustainable Development Data ‎
Global Tech Panel ‎
GSM Association (GSMA) ‎
Hangzhou Normal University ‎
Impact Hub Basel ‎
Infosys ‎
International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)‎
International Telecommunications Union (ITU) ‎
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) ‎
iSPIRT ‎ ‎
JSC National ICT Holding Zerde ‎
Government of Kazakhstan ‎
King’s College London ‎
Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy ‎
New America Foundation ‎
Nokia ‎
Observer Research Foundation ‎
Office of Denmark’s Technology Ambassador ‎
Omidyar Foundation ‎
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development ‎‎(OECD) ‎
Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) ‎
Schwarzman Scholars, Tsinghua University ‎
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore ‎
Stanford University ‎
Tata Consultancy Services, Mumbai ‎
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development ‎‎(UNCTAD) ‎
United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and ‎the Caribbean (ECLAC) ‎
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization ‎‎(UNESCO) ‎
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) ‎
United Nations Global Pulse ‎
United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) ‎
United Nations Office at Geneva ‎
United Nations University ‎
University of California, Berkeley ‎
University of Geneva ‎
Verizon Wireless ‎
Web Summit ‎
Western Balkans Digital Summit ‎
Wonder Ventures ‎
World Bank ‎
World Economic Forum ‎
World Economic Forum Center for the Fourth Industrial ‎Revolution, San Francisco ‎
World Government Summit, Dubai ‎
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) ‎
World Internet Conference ‎
World Summit AI


In the course of our outreach, many stakeholders suggested ‎principles to which digital cooperation mechanisms should ‎adhere and functions they should seek to serve. Drawing also ‎on work of previous initiatives in these areas, this annex ‎summarises the principles and functions we suggest are most ‎important to guide the future evolution of digital cooperation. ‎

‎• Consensus-oriented: Decisions should be made in ways that ‎seek ‎ consensus among public, private and civic stakeholders. ‎
‎• Polycentric: Decision-making should be highly distributed and ‎loosely ‎yet efficiently coordinated across specialised centres. ‎
‎• Customised: There is generally no “one size fits all” solution; ‎different ‎communities can implement norms in their own way, according ‎to ‎circumstances. ‎
‎• Subsidiarity: Decisions should be made as locally as possible, ‎closest to ‎where the issues and problems are. ‎
‎• Accessible: It should be as easy as possible to engage in ‎digital ‎cooperation mechanisms and policy discussions. ‎
‎• Inclusive: Decisions should be inclusive and democratic, ‎representing diverse interests and accountable to all stakeholders. ‎
‎• Agile: Digital cooperation should be dynamic, iterative and ‎responsive to ‎fast-emerging policy issues. ‎
‎• Clarity in roles and responsibility: Clear roles and shared ‎language ‎should reduce confusion and support common understanding ‎about the ‎responsibilities of actors involved in digital cooperation ‎‎(governments, ‎private sector, civil society, international organisations and ‎academia). ‎
‎• Accountable: There should be measurable outcomes, ‎accountability and ‎means of redress. ‎
‎• Resilient: Power distribution should be balanced across ‎sectors, without ‎centralised top-down control. ‎
‎• Open: Processes should be transparent, with minimum ‎barriers to entry. ‎
‎• Innovative: It should always be possible to innovate new ways ‎of ‎cooperating, in a bottom-up way, which is also the best way to ‎include ‎diverse perspectives. ‎
‎• Tech-neutral: Decisions should not lock in specific ‎technologies but allow ‎for innovation of better and context-appropriate alternatives. ‎
‎• Equitable outcomes: Digital cooperation should maximise the ‎global ‎public interest (internationally) and be anchored in broad public ‎benefit ‎‎(nationally). ‎

‎• Leadership – generating political will among leaders from ‎government, ‎business, and society, and providing an authoritative response ‎to digital ‎policy challenges. ‎
‎• Deliberation – providing a platform for regular, comprehensive and impactful deliberations on digital issues with the active and effective participation of all affected stakeholders.
• Ensuring inclusivity – ensuring active and meaningful participation of all stakeholders, for example by linking with existing and future bottom-up networks and initiatives.214
• Evidence and data – monitoring developments and identifying trends to inform decisions, including by analysing existing data sources.
• Norms and policy making – building consensus among diverse stakeholders, respecting the roles of states and international organisations in enacting and enforcing laws.
• Implementation – following up on policy discussions and agreements.
• Coordination – creating shared understanding and purpose across bodies in different policy areas and at different levels (local, national, regional, global), ensuring synchronisation of efforts, interoperability and policy coherence, and the possibility of voluntary coordination between interested stakeholder groups.
• Partnerships – catalysing partnerships around specific issues by providing opportunities to network and collaborate.
• Support and capacity development – strengthening capacity development, monitoring digital developments, identifying trends, informing policy actors and the public of emerging risks and opportunities, and providing data for evidence-based decision making – allowing traditionally marginalised persons or other less-resourced stakeholders to actively participate in the system.
• Conflict resolution and crisis management – developing the skills, knowledge and tools to prevent and resolve disputes and connect stakeholders with assistance in a crisis.


‎1 See Annex I for the Panel’s terms of reference. ‎
‎2 United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development, Mapping of international Internet ‎public policy issues, 17 April 2015, ‎
E/CN.16/2015/CRP.2, available at
‎3 GIP Digital Watch Observatory, May 2019, available at
‎4 AI Impacts, “Trends in the cost of computing”, 10 March 2015, available at‎of-computing/ ‎
‎5 Internet World Stats, “World Internet users and population statistics”, March 2019, available at ‎; and IoT
Analytics, “State of the IoT 2018: Number of IoT devices now at 7B – Market accelerating”, August 2018, available ‎at
‎6 The World Bank, Global Findex Database 2017, April 2018, available at
‎7 Council on Foreign Relations, “Hate Speech on Social Media: Global Comparisons”, 11 April 2019, available at ‎ hate-speech-social-media-global-comparisons; United Nations General ‎Assembly, resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age (A/RES/73/179), December 2018, available at ‎; FireEye, M-Trends 2019 (Annual Threat ‎Report), 2019, available at; Freedom House, “Freedom on the Net 2018: ‎The rise of digital authoritarianism”, October 2018, ‎
available at
‎8 Internet World Stats, “World Internet users and population statistics”, March 2019, available at ‎
‎9 The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is one of the many entities that recognise the multiple ‎dimensions of the digital divide and work toward ‎
facilitating digital inclusion of marginalised groups. More details at ITU, Digital Inclusion, available at ‎ Pages/default.aspx ‎
‎10 Our public call for contributions received a number of suggestions on values, available at ‎ We also engaged a ‎
diverse set of stakeholders and experts to elicit relevant values and how they could be embedded in policy ‎approaches and cooperation architectures. ‎
Our engagement built on a recent surge of interest in values and ethics in the digital context: see Future of Life ‎Institute, Asilomar Principles, 2017, ‎
available at; WEF White Paper on Values, Ethics and Innovation, August 2018, ‎available at http://www3.weforum. org/docs/WEF_WP_Values_Ethics_Innovation_2018.pdf ; Montreal ‎Declaration for a responsible development of AI, ‎
‎2018, available at; the World Wide Web ‎Foundation’s Contract for the Web, ‎
available at; the EU High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence’s Ethics ‎Guidelines for Trustworthy Artificial ‎
Intelligence, 2019, available at
‎11 WEF report “Our Shared Digital Future Building an Inclusive, Trustworthy and Sustainable Digital Society”, ‎December 2018, available at http://www3. ‎ ‎
‎12 For an introduction to the underlying technology trends and impact on the economy, see “Vectors of Digital ‎Transformation”, OECD Digital Economy
Papers: January 2019, No. 273. ‎
‎13 World Bank, World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends, “How the Internet Promotes Development”, ‎‎2016. ‎
‎14 Financial inclusion is defined as the ability to “access and use a range of appropriate and responsibly provided ‎financial services offered in a well-‎
regulated environment.” (UNCDF, Financial Inclusion, available at ‎
‎15 World Bank, World Bank Global Findex Database: Measuring Fintech Inclusion and the Fintech Revolution, 2017, ‎available at https://globalfindex. ‎
‎16 Mobile money serves as a tool for financial inclusion, allowing those without traditional bank accounts to ‎participate in the economy on a greater level ‎
‎(McKinsey, “Mobile money in emerging markets: The business case for financial inclusion”, March 2018). ‎
‎17 Women Deliver, “If We Want to Go Far, We Must Go Together”, 21 January 2019, available at ‎
‎18 Financial Stability Board, “FinTech and market structure in financial services: Market developments and potential ‎financial stability implications”, ‎
‎14 February 2019, available at
‎19 The Economist, “Financial inclusion in the rich world”, 4 May 2018, available at ‎
‎20 M-Pesa is a mobile money service that allows users to transfer cash using their mobile phone numbers without ‎the need for a bank account. It serves ‎
over 17 million Kenyans and offers loan and savings products as well. See The Economist, “Why does Kenya lead ‎the world in mobile money?”. 02 March ‎
‎2015, available at‎world-in-mobile-money. ‎
‎21 Ming Zeng, “Smart Business: What Alibaba Success Reveals about the Future of Strategy”, Harvard Business ‎Review 2018, pp 58-59. ‎
‎22 Harvard Business School, “Replicating MPESA: Lessons from Vodafone (Safaricom) on why mobile money fails ‎to gain traction in other markets”, 20 ‎
November 2016, available at‎vodafonesafaricom-on-why-mobile-money-fails-to-gain-traction-in-other-markets/ ‎
‎23 Accion, “The game-changing innovation that could bring financial services to millions in India”, 30 October 2017, ‎available at the-game-changing-innovation-that-could-bring-financial-services-to-‎millions-in-india ‎
‎24 GSM Association, State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money 2018, available at‎content/uploads/2019/05/GSMA-State-of-the-Industry-Report-on-Mobile-Money-2018.pdf ‎
‎25 World Bank, Global ID4D Dataset, 2017, and World Bank, ID4D-Findex survey. ‎
‎26 MGI, “Digital Identity: A Key to Inclusive Growth”, MGI (Jan 2019). The report focuses on 7 diverse economies: ‎Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and the United States. ‎
‎27 See for example Virginia Eubanks, Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the ‎Poor (St. Martin's Press, 2018), excerpt available at
‎28 ID4D, available at
‎29 MOSIP, available at
‎30 Luohan Academy, “Digital Technology and Inclusive Growth”, 2019, available at ‎ Academy-‎Report_2019_Executive_Summary.pdf ‎
‎31 World Bank: “E-commerce Participation and Household Income Growth in Taobao Villages”, April 2019, ‎available at curated/en/839451555093213522/pdf/E-Commerce-Participation-‎and-Household-Income-Growth-in-Taobao-Villages.pdf; World Bank, ‎
‎“E-commerce for poverty alleviation in rural China: from grassroots development to public-private partnerships”, 19 ‎March 2019, available at http://‎china-grassroots-development-public-private-partnerships; World Development Report 2016, “E-commerce with ‎Chinese characteristics: inclusion, efficiency and innovation in Taobao villages”. ‎
‎32 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Information Economy Report 2015, Unlocking the ‎Potential of E-Commerce for Developing ‎
Countries, 2015, available at
‎33 “Riding the Big Data Wave in 2017”, Medium, 17 April 2017, available at ‎‎big-data-was-coined-few-8f02a5973023 ‎
‎34 United Nations, The Sustainable Development Goals Report: 2018. ‎
‎35 World Health Organization, “Civil registration: why counting births and deaths is important”, 30 May 2014, ‎available at fact-sheets/detail/civil-registration-why-counting-births-and-deaths-‎is-important ‎
‎36 The World Bank, PovcalNet, available at
‎37 This definition is substantially drawn from Recital 26 of the GDPR which defines anonymized data as “data ‎rendered anonymous in such a way that the ‎
data subject is not or no longer identifiable.” ‎
‎38 United States Agency for International Development, “Fighting Ebola with Information”, available at ‎
information ‎
‎39 World Health Organization, Global Strategy on Digital Health, 26 March 2019, available at ‎ ‎files/Draft%20Global%20Strategy%20on%20Digital%20Health.pdf ‎
‎40 CGAIR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture, available at
‎41 Jason Plautz, “Cheap, Portable Sensors are Democratizing Air-Quality Data”, Wired, 7 November 2018, available ‎at
‎42 For more information on global digital public goods, see:
‎43 Paul Krugman and Robin Wells, Microeconomics (Worth Publishers, New York, NY, 2013). ‎
‎44 See “About India Stack”, available at:
‎45 Pathways to Prosperity Commission, 2018, available at‎D/Statistics/Pages/stat/default.aspx ‎
‎46 WIRED, “Global Internet Access is Even More Worse than Dire Reports Suggest”, 23 October 2018, available at ‎
‎47 The index measures 84 countries from 2018-2019. The Economist, The Inclusive Internet Index 2019, available ‎at
‎48 Ibid. ‎
‎49 In India nearly two-thirds of urban areas have connectivity, compared to just over a fifth of rural regions. See The ‎Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), Mobile Internet Report, 2017. ‎
‎50 World Economic Forum, “Delivering Digital Infrastructure Advancing the Internet Economy”, April 2014, available ‎at WEF_TC_DeliveringDigitalInfrastructure_InternetEconomy_Report_2014.pdf ‎
‎51 The Alliance for Affordable Internet, available at
‎52 Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, available at ‎
‎53 UNICEF, "Project Connect, in Partnership with UNICEF’s Office of Innovation, Launches First of Its Kind, ‎Interactive Map Visualizing the Digital Divide in Education", 02 November 2017, available at ‎
‎54 World Bank, “Connecting for Inclusion: Broadband Access for All”, available at ‎
‎55 IEEE Spectrum, "How Project Loon Built the Navigation System That Kept Its Balloons Over Puerto Rico", 8 March ‎‎2018, available at https://spectrum.‎system-that-kept-its-balloons-over-puerto-rico ‎
‎56 Reuters, "Amazon plans to launch over 3,000 satellites to offer broadband internet", 04 April 2019, available at ‎ us-amazon-com-broadband/amazon-plans-to-launch-over-3000-satellites-to-‎offer-broadband-internet-idUSKCN1RG1YW; Reuters, "U.S. regulator approves SpaceX plan for broadband ‎satellite services", 29 March 2018, available at‎approves-spacex-plan-for-broadband-satellite-services-idUSKBN1H537E
‎57 The Jakarta Post, "Govt to expand broadband connectivity as internet use grows", 20 February 2018, available at ‎ news/2018/02/20/govt-to-expand-broadband-connectivity-as-internet-use-‎grows.html ‎
‎58 ITU, “Universal Service Fund and Digital Inclusion for All Study”, June 2013, available at ‎ ITU%20USF%20Final%20Report.pdf ‎
‎59 One example of building internet access around community needs, in this case health, is a collaboration ‎between the Basic Internet Foundation and health centres in Tanzania; see Vision 2030, available at ‎ The ‎Panel has been informed that a ‘common bid’ for connectivity is being prepared by ITU, UNICEF and the World ‎Bank. ‎
‎60 BBC, Video: Internet access in Africa - Are mesh networks the future?, 28 March 2019, available at ‎ There is another example from rural England of the power ‎of a cooperative approach: farmers waived right of way charges and volunteered to help dig up trenches for ‎fibre optic cable in exchange for shares in the network. See ISPreview, “B4RN Set to Hit 5000 Rural UK FTTH ‎Broadband Connections Target”, 11 September 2018, available at ‎ ‎html ‎
‎61 Alliance for Affordable Internet, available at
‎62 Written contribution, Centre for Socio-Economic Development. This does not take away from the tremendous ‎role that digital technologies have played in improving the lives of people with disabilities. ‎
‎63 UNESCO, “Multilingualism in Cyberspace: Indigenous Languages for Empowerment”, 27-28 November 2015, ‎available at ‎fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/CI/CI/pdf/Events/multilingualism_in_cyberspace_concept_paper_en.pdf; Brookings ‎Institute, “Rural and urban America divided by broadband access”, 18 July 2016, available at ‎
‎64 ITU Facts and Figures 2017, available at‎D/Statistics/Documents/facts/ICTFactsFigures2017.pdf ‎
‎65 Pathways for Prosperity Commission, Digital Lives: Meaningful Connections for the Next 3 Billion, 2018, ‎available at https://pathwayscommission.bsg. ‎
‎66 Recognising the importance of marketing in addressing socio-cultural issues, the Unstereotype alliance, an ‎initiative convened by UN Women, unites leaders from across business technology and creative industries to ‎use marketing-based techniques to combat gender stereotypes. Available at http:// ‎
‎67 The OECD and WTO-led inter-agency Task Force on International Trade Statistics is one example of work being ‎undertaken by the OECD and others to update traditional metrics of macroeconomic change and trade flows ‎‎(OECD, Toward a Framework for Measuring the Digital Economy, 19-21 September 2018). The G20 Toolkit for ‎Measuring the Digital Economy identifies methodologies to measure the digital economy as well as gaps and ‎challenges surrounding measurement; (G20 Digital Economy Ministerial Declaration, available at ‎ html#annex3). The ITU’s ICT Development Index (IDI) ‎measures the level and evolution over time of ICT developments across developed and developing countries ‎‎(available at The EIU Index ‎covers 100 countries as of 2019 using benchmarks of national digital inclusion across readiness, relevance, ‎affordability, and availability (Ibid). ‎
‎68 The World Bank, World Development Report: The Changing Nature of Work, 2019. ‎
‎69 Thereza Balliester and Adam Elsheikhi, “The Future of Work: A Literature Review”, March 2018, available at ‎ --dgreports/---inst/documents/publication/wcms_625866.pdf ‎
‎70 Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne, The Future Of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs To ‎Computerisation? (Oxford Martin School, 2013), available at ‎
‎71 Towards data science, “Humanities Graduates Should Consider Data Science”, 31 August 2017, available at ‎ humanities-graduates-should-consider-data-science-d9fc78735b0c ‎
‎72 Tim Noonan, Director, International Trade Union Confederation, interview, 25 January 2019. ‎
‎73 CNBC, “The future of work won't be about college degrees, it will be about job skills”, 31 October 2018, available ‎at the-future-of-work-wont-be-about-degrees-it-will-be-about-skills.html ‎
‎74 The Guardian, “All flexibility, no security: why conservative think tanks are wrong on the gig economy”, 23 ‎January 2019, available on https://www.‎security-why-conservative-thinktanks-are-wrong-on-the-gig-economy ‎
‎75 International Labour Organization, “Helping the gig economy work better for gig workers”, available at ‎ lang--en/index.htm ‎
‎76 Klaus Schoemann, “Digital Technology to Support the Trade Union Movement”, Open Journal of Social Sciences, ‎Vol. 06 No. 01 (2018), available at
‎77 WIPO, “The informal economy in developing nations: a hidden engine of growth”, June 2017, available at ‎ en/2017/03/article_0006.html ‎
‎78 OECD, “Tax and Digitalisation”, March 2019, available at
‎79 South Center, “The WTO’s Discussions on Electronic Commerce”, January 2017, available at ‎ AN_TDP_2017_2_The-WTO%E2%80%99s-‎Discussions-on-Electronic-Commerce_EN.pdf ‎
‎80 European Commission, "76 WTO partners launch talks on e-commerce", 25 January 2019, available at ‎ cfm?id=1974 ‎
‎81 UNCTAD, Trade and Development Report 2018: Power, Platforms and the Free Trade Delusion, Chapter III. ‎
‎82 OECD, “Vectors of Digital Transformation” (OECD Publishing, Paris, 22 January 2019). ‎
‎83 Michael Mandel, Data, Trade and Growth, Progressive Policy Institute, April 2014, available at ‎ uploads/2014/04/2014.04-Mandel_Data-Trade-and-Growth.pdf ‎
‎84 Parminder Jeet Singh, “Digital Industrialisation in Developing Countries”, paper for the Commonwealth ‎Secretariat, 2018. ‎
‎85 OECD, “Tax and Digitalisation”, March 2019, available at
‎86 OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Shifting Project, Tax Challenges Arising from Digitalisation, Interim report 2018, ‎available at: taxation/tax-challenges-arising-from-digitalisation-interim-‎report_9789264293083-en#page3; Esquire, “Silicon Valley’s Tax-Avoiding, Job-Killing, Soul-Sucking Machine”, ‎available at
‎87 OECD, Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, available at
‎88 Bloomberg Tax, “What’s Next for Countries Going it Alone on Digital Taxes”, 21 March, 2019, available at ‎‎tax ‎
‎89 KPMG, “Taxation of Digital Assets: New Laws Issued”, 15 May 2018, available at ‎
‎90 Jean Tirole, “Regulating Disrupters”, Project Syndicate, 9 January 2019, available at www.project-‎ ‎
‎91 For more on these processes, see Jean Tirole, Economics for the Common Good (Princeton University Press, ‎‎2016). ‎
‎92 Since 1979, the International Conference of Data Protection & Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC) has provided a ‎forum for connecting the efforts of 122 data protection and privacy authorities from across the globe; and since ‎‎2001, the International Competition Network (ICN) has provided a specialised yet informal venue for ‎maintaining regular dialogue across the global antitrust community to build procedural and substantive ‎convergence and address practical competition concerns for the benefit of consumers and economies. ‎
‎93 The National Institute for Transparency, Access to Information and Personal Data Protection (INAI) is an ‎autonomous constitutional body responsible for upholding the right to access to public information. It is also in ‎charge of upholding the right to protection of personal data held by the public and the private sectors. See ‎‎informacion-y-proteccion-de-datos-personales-inai/ ‎
‎94 OECD, “Strengthening digital government”, OECD Going Digital Policy Note, OECD Paris, March 2019, available ‎at strengthening-digital-government.pdf ‎
‎95 See Creators, available at
‎96 Infocomm Media Development Corporation, available at
‎97 Minister Omar Al Olama, Remarks at the World Government Summit, 10 February 2019. ‎
‎98 The Verge, “The mass shooting in New Zealand was designed to spread on social media”, 15 March 2019, ‎available on https://www.theverge. com/2019/3/15/18266859/new-zealand-shooting-video-social-media-‎manipulation ‎
‎99 Myanmar went from minimal connectivity in 2013 to virtually half the population in 2016 owning smartphones. ‎Facebook became the dominant communications platform almost by accident. See Reuters, “Why Facebook is ‎losing the war on hate speech in Myanmar”, 15 August 2018, available at ‎
‎100 National Public Radio, "#Gamergate Controversy Fuels Debate On Women And Video Games", 24 September ‎‎2014, available at sections/alltechconsidered/2014/09/24/349835297/-gamergate-‎controversy-fuels-debate-on-women-and-video-games ‎
‎101 The Guardian, “Instagram bans 'graphic' self-harm images after Molly Russell's death”, 7 February 2019, ‎available at technology/2019/feb/07/instagram-bans-graphic-self-harm-images-‎after-molly-russells-death ‎
‎102 Hindustan Times, “24-yr-old commits suicide after being bullied for dressing up as a woman”, 19 October 2019, ‎available at ‎‎woman/story- 8PlWvf0fMwcd72A5Tp8tBI.html ‎
‎103 Ofcom and UK Information Commissioner’s Office, “Internet users’ experience of harm online: summary of ‎survey research”, July 2018, available at‎harm-research-2018-report.pdf ‎
‎104 NSPCC, “Net Aware report 2017: ‘Freedom to express myself safely’”, 04 September 2018, available at ‎‎safely/ ‎
‎105 India alone had over 100 incidents in 2018. See Freedom House, “Freedom on the Net 2018”, October 2018, ‎available at sites/default/files/FOTN_2018_Final%20Booklet_11_1_2018.pdf ‎
‎106 United Nations, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, “Human Rights Appeal 2019”, 17 January ‎‎2019, available at Documents/Publications/AnnualAppeal2019.pdf ‎
‎107 Electronic Frontier Foundation, “India's Supreme Court Upholds Right to Privacy as a Fundamental Right”, 27 ‎August 2017, available at https://www.eff. org/deeplinks/2017/08/indias-supreme-court-upholds-right-privacy-‎fundamental-right-and-its-about-time ‎
‎108 Written contribution, the Paradigm Initiative. The bill has not received presidential assent. ‎
‎109 United Nations Children’s Fund, United Nations Global Compact, Save the Children, “Children’s Rights and ‎Business Principles”, 03 March 2012, available at ‎
‎110 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, “Steering AI and Advanced ICTs for ‎
Knowledge Societies”, available at‎steering_ai_for_knowledge_societies.pdf ‎
‎111 Council of Europe, Freedom of Expression, Standard Setting, available at https:/‎expression/internet-standard-setting; and European Court of Human Rights decisions, for example, in the case ‎of Ahmet Yildirim v. Turkey, available at eng#{%22itemid%22:[%22001-115705%22]} ‎
‎112 IFEX, “Saudi Arabia arrests at least 13 more human rights defenders”, 14 April 2019. ‎
‎113 UN Global Compact “Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations ‎‎“Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework”, 2011, available at
‎114 The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, available at
‎115 A Corporate Accountability Index is published annually by Ranking Digital Rights. Available at ‎
‎116 Carnegie UK Trust, “Reducing harm in social media through a duty of care”, 08 May 2018, available at ‎ reducing-harm-social-media-duty-care/ ‎
‎117 Pew Research Trust, “Online Harassment 2017”, 11 July 2017, available at ‎
‎118 Amanda and Noel Sharkey, “Granny and the robots: ethical issues in robot care for the elderly”, University of ‎Sheffield, 03 July 2010. ‎
‎119 United Nations Children’s Fund, “One in Three: Internet Governance and Children’s Rights”, discussion paper, ‎‎2016. ‎
‎120 U.S. Government Publishing Office, “Electronic Code of Federal Regulation”, 26 April 2019, available at ‎ ‎‎39e77c77a1a1a08c1cbf905fc4b409&node=16%3A1.; UK Information Commissioner’s ‎Office, “Age appropriate design: a code of practice for online services”, 15 April 2019, available at ‎‎consultation.pdf ‎
‎121 Elon University, “Survey X: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humans”, 2018, available at ‎
‎122 Pedro Domingos, The Master Algorithm: How the quest for the ultimate learning machine will remake our world ‎‎(Basic Books, 2015). ‎
‎123 Cathy O’Neil, Weapons of Math Destruction (The Crown Publishing Group, 2016); Digital Society, “Human rights ‎in the robot age - Challenges arising from the use of robotics, artificial intelligence, and virtual and augmented ‎reality”, 11 October 2017; Umoja Noble, “Algorithms of Oppression – How Search Engines Reinforce Racism”, ‎‎08 January 2018, available at
‎124 Investors and founders are finally waking up to the gender problem in tech after high-profile scandals and ‎walkouts by employees at companies such as Google. See Aliya Ram, “Tech investors put #MeToo clauses in ‎deals”, Financial Times, 22 March 2019. ‎
‎125 Virginia Eubanks, Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor (St. Martin's ‎Press, 2018); excerpt available at https:// ‎
‎126 Harvard Law Today, “Algorithms and their unintended consequences for the poor”, 07 November 2018, ‎available at algorithms-and-their-unintended-consequences-for-the-poor/? ‎fbclid=IwAR2yLUMpEYj8YKhvZDQktU0LNHNDateRtqVBgZHW45uHMEYubyQr36h08H8 ‎
‎127 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, “Ethically Aligned Design: A Vision for Prioritizing Human Well-‎being with Autonomous and Intelligent Systems”, available at‎standards/standards/web/documents/other/ead_v2.pdf ‎
‎128 One important discussion is on the applicability of International Humanitarian Law and accountability thereunder ‎for the use of military systems that might deploy AI. See Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of ‎Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate ‎Effects, “Report of the 2018 session of the Group of Governmental Experts on Emerging Technologies in the ‎Area of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems”, 23 October 2018, available at ‎
‎129 Wendell Wallach, An Agile Ethical/Legal Model for the International and National Governance of AI and Robotics ‎‎(Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, 2018). ‎
‎130 António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, remarks at the Web Summit, Lisbon, 05 November 2018, ‎available at content/sg/speeches/2018-11-05/remarks-web-summit; “Autonomous ‎weapons that kill must be banned, insists UN chief”, March 29, 2019, available at ‎
‎131 Provisions similar to the U.S. Fourth Amendment exist in several Constitutions and the 1980 OECD Guidelines ‎codified 8 principles that have influenced privacy regulations since then. These were updated in 2013 as ‎Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Trans-border Flows of Personal Data and are available at ‎
‎132 David Dodwell, “The integration of mass surveillance and new digital technologies is unnerving”, The South ‎China Morning Post, 17 February 2018, available at‎opinion/article/2133617/integration-mass-surveillance-and-new-digital-technologies; United Nations General ‎Assembly, Summary of the Human Rights Council penal discussion on the right to privacy in the digital age, 19 ‎December 2014. ‎
‎133 The 2016 Privacy Shield framework (earlier Safe Harbor), which governs personal data flows between the U.S. ‎and the E.U. and Switzerland based on self-certification by companies, is an example of the former; available at ‎
‎134 National Public Radio, “A year after San Bernadino and Apple-FBI, where are we on encryption?”, 3 December ‎‎2016, available at sections/alltechconsidered/2016/12/03/504130977/a-year-after-san-‎bernardino-and-apple-fbi-where-are-we-on-encryption?t=1532518316108 ‎
‎135 For example, Australia’s Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act ‎‎2018, available at https://www.legislation. ‎
‎136 U.S. Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (CLOUD Act, H.R. 4943). ‎
‎137 Brave automatically blocks ad trackers (ad trackers collect data from users’ online behaviours for the purpose of ‎boosting the effectiveness of ads and marketing campaigns). DuckDuckGo does not track user search ‎behaviours. ‎
‎138 UK Open Data Institute, “UK’s first ‘data trust’ pilots to be led by the ODI in partnership with central and local ‎government”, 20 November 2018, available at‎odi-in-partnership-with-central-and-local-government/ ‎
‎139 India Stack, “About Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture”, available at
‎140 United Nations Secretary-General, Address to the General Assembly, 25 September 2018, available at ‎ speeches/2018-09-25/address-73rd-general-assembly ‎
‎141 Mareike Möhlmann and Andrea Geissinger, Trust in the Sharing Economy: Platform-Mediated Peer Trust ‎‎( Cambridge University Press, July 2018), available at ‎‎Mediated_Peer_Trust ‎
‎142 European Political Strategy Centre, “Report from the High Level-Hearing: Preserving Democracy in the Digital ‎Age”, 22 February 2018, available at‎‎_hearing_on_preserving_democracy_in_the_digital_age.pdf ‎
‎143 The Guardian, “You thought fake news was bad? Deep fakes are where truth goes die”, 12 November 2018, ‎available at:
technology/2018/nov/12/deep-fakes-fake-news-truth ‎
‎144 Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order (Houghton Miller Harcourt, 2018), ‎available at
‎145 Here capacity is understood as “the ability of people, organizations, systems of organizations, and society as a ‎whole to define and solve problems, make informed choices, order their priorities, plan their futures, and to ‎implement programmes and projects to sustain them.” See Swiss Agency of Development and Cooperation, ‎‎“Glossary Knowledge Management and Capacity Development”, available at
‎146 5Rights Foundation, “5Rights Partner with BT to Co-Create with Children on Digital Literacy”, 2017, available at ‎
‎147 United Nations Volunteers, “Shape the Future of Volunteering: Online Conversations”, 25 April 2019, available at ‎ dialogues ‎
‎148 The Times of India, “Fake news: WhatsApp, DEF host training for community leaders in Jaipur”, 19 November ‎‎2018. ‎
‎149 The “security by design” approach is described in the 2015 White Paper of Amazon Web Services, available at ‎ uploads/2017/01/Intro_to_Security_by_Design.pdf; the EU General ‎Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) contains the “privacy by design” principle; some examples of what it means ‎in practice are available at‎organisations/obligations/what-does-data-protection-design-and-default-mean_en. ‎
‎150 European Commission, Final Report of the High Level Expert Group on Fake News and Online Disinformation, ‎‎12 March 2018, available at https://‎group-fake-news-and-online-disinformation; Facebook, “Protecting Elections in the EU”, 28 March 2019. ‎
‎151 See for example Joseph Nye, “Nuclear Learning and U.S.-Soviet security regimes”, International Organization, ‎‎41, 3, (1987), p. 371-402; Emmanuel Adler, “The emergence of cooperation: national epistemic communities ‎and the international evolution of the idea of nuclear arms control”, International Organization, 46, (1992), p. ‎‎101-145; Clifton Parker, “Cooperation of U.S., Russian Scientists Helped Avoid Nuclear Catastrophe at Cold ‎War’s End, CISAC Scholar Says”, June 28, 2016, available at‎russian-scientists-helped-avoid-nuclear-catastrophe-cold-war%E2%80%99s-end-says-cisac ‎
‎152 World Economic Forum, The Global Risks Report 2019, 15 January 2019, available at ‎
‎153 World Economic Forum Global Risks Perception Survey 2018-2019. ‎
‎154 WIRED, “That Insane, $81m Bangladesh Bank Heist? Here's What We Know”, 17 May 2016, available at ‎
‎155 CBS, “What can we learn from the ‘most devastating’ cyberattack in history?”, 22 August 2018, available at ‎
‎156 Bromium, Inc., “Hyper-Connected Web Of Profit Emerges, As Global Cybercriminal Revenues Hit $1.5 Trillion ‎Annually”, 20 August 2018, available at‎emerges-as-global-cybercriminal-revenues-hit-1-5-trillion-annually/ ‎
‎157 Business Insider, “Travis Kalanick lasted in his role for 6.5 years — five times longer than the average Uber ‎employee”, 20 August 2017, available at‎companies-2017-8 ‎
‎158 Symantec, Internet Security Threat Report, April 2016, available at‎Symantec2016.pdf ‎
‎159 Europol’s Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA) 2018 has a summary of the evolving threat ‎environment; Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) estimates on ‎the basis of scans of the darknet that 54% of the attacks it detected in 2017 targeted IoT devices: see NICT, “The ‎‎‘NOTICE’ Project to Survey IoT Devices and to Alert Users”, 1 February 2019. ‎
‎160 IOT Analytics, “State of the IoT 2018, Number of IoT devices now at 7B – Market accelerating”, 08 August 2018, ‎available at state-of-the-iot-update-q1-q2-2018-number-of-iot-devices-now-7b/ ‎
‎161 CBS, “Stuxnet: Computer Worm Opens Era of Warfare”, 04 June 2012, available at ‎
‎162 CNN, “US announces new set of Russia Sanctions”, 20 December 2018, available at ‎; The New York Times, “Signs of ‎Russian Meddling in Brexit Referendum”, 15 November 2017, available at https://www.nytimes. ‎com/2017/11/15/world/europe/russia-brexit-twitter-facebook.html ‎
‎163 Gail Kent, Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society, “The Mutual Legal Assistance Problem ‎Explained”, 23 February 2015, available at http://‎problem-explained ‎
‎164 Bloomberg, “Huawei Reveals the Real Trade War with China”, 6 December 2018; Associated Press, “German ‎leader Angela Merkel testifies on alleged U.S. surveillance revealed by Snowden, 16 February 2017 and “Costs ‎of Snowden leak still mounting 5 years later”, 4 June 2018. ‎
‎165 TechRepublic, “Governments and nation states are now officially training for cyberwarfare: An inside look”, 1 ‎September 2016, available at https://www.‎officially-training-for-cyberwarfare-an-inside-look/ ‎
‎166 The Wall Street Journal, “Cyberwar Ignites a New Arms Race”, 11 October 2015; The Wall Street Journal, ‎‎“Cataloging the World’s Cyberforces”, 11 October 2015. ‎
‎167 The Register, “Everything you need to know about the Petya, er, NotPetya nasty trashing PCs worldwide”, 28 ‎June 2017. ‎
‎168 IBM researchers have shown it is possible to conceal known malware in video-conferencing software and ‎trigger it when it sees a specific individual, available at‎power-a-stealthy-new-breed-of-malware/ ‎
‎169 Russia placed information security on the agenda of the UN in 1998. Since then several Groups of ‎Governmental Experts have studied ICT security and three of them have adopted reports by consensus. See ‎ and ‎paris_call_cyber_cle443433-1.pdf ‎
‎170 They are composed on the basis of equitable geographical distribution, and each has included the five ‎permanent members of the UN Security Council. ‎
‎171 UN GGE report of 2013 (A/68/98), paragraph 19, available at; reconfirmed by the UN ‎GGE report of 2015 (A/70/174), ‎
paragraph 24, available at
‎172 United Nations General Assembly, Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information ‎and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security, report A/70/174, page 13, 22 July 2015, ‎available at
‎173 Government of France, “Cybersecurity: Paris Call of 12 November 2018 for Trust and Security in Cyberspace”, ‎available at https://www.diplomatie.gouv. fr/en/french-foreign-policy/digital-diplomacy/france-and-cyber-‎security/article/cybersecurity-paris-call-of-12-november-2018-for-trust-and-security-in ‎
‎174 Cybersecurity Tech Accord, available at; Siemens, Charter of Trust, available at ‎ feature/2018/corporate/2018-02-cybersecurity/charter-of-trust-e.pdf ‎
‎175 The case has been made strongly in recent studies such as Samir Saran (ed.), Our Common Digital Future ‎‎(GCCS and ORF, 2017), available at https://
‎176 United Nations General Assembly, “Advancing responsible State behaviour in cyberspace in the context of ‎international security”, 18 October 2018, available at
‎177 United National General Assembly, “Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the ‎context of international security”, 29 October 2019, available at
‎178 Oman ITU-Arab Regional Cybersecurity Centre, available at‎D/Cybersecurity/Pages/Global-Partners/oman-itu-arab-regional-cybersecurity-centre.aspx ‎
‎179 CSIRTs Network, available at
‎180 Cathy Mulligan, “A Call to (Software) Arms”, LinkedIn, 30 March 2019. ‎
‎181 International Organization for Standardization, ISO/IEC 27034, 2011; SAFECode, Fundamental Practices for ‎Secure Software Development, March 2018, available at‎content/uploads/2018/03/SAFECode_Fundamental_Practices_for_Secure_Software_Development_March_20‎‎18. pdf; SAFECode, Managing Security Risks Inherent in the Use of Third-Party Components, 2017, available at ‎ uploads/2017/05/SAFECode_TPC_Whitepaper.pdf; SAFECode, Tactical ‎Threat Modeling, 2017, available at ‎uploads/2017/05/SAFECode_TM_Whitepaper.pdf; and Microsoft, Security Development Lifecycle. Microsoft, ‎available at en-us/securityengineering/sdl. ‎
‎182 The Global Cybersecurity Capacity Centre at Oxford University has created a repository of existing efforts in ‎partnership with the GFCE: the Cybersecurity Capacity Portal, available at ‎ The report “Cybersecurity Competence Building ‎Trends” provides examples of public-private partnerships in OECD countries: see Diplo, Cybersecurity ‎Competence Building Trends, 2016. ‎
‎183 Cybersecurity Ventures, “Cybersecurity Jobs Report 2018-2021”, 31 May 2017, available at ‎ The Delhi Communiqué on a GFCE Global Agenda for Cyber Capacity ‎Building provides a framework for such efforts: see GFCE, Delhi Communiqué, 2017, available at ‎
‎184 OECD, “Unlocking the potential of e-commerce”, OECD Going Digital Policy Note, OECD, Paris, 2019, available ‎at Page 2 notes that “SMEs could also ‎benefit from multistakeholder initiatives such as the Electronic World Trade Platform, which aims to foster a ‎more effective policy environment for online trading”. ‎
‎185 In the areas of cybersecurity and cybercrime, for example, national laws and regional and international ‎conventions create frameworks for digital cooperation in addressing cyber-risks. One example is the Council of ‎Europe Cybercrime Convention, available at conventions/full-list/-‎‎/conventions/treaty/185 ‎
‎186 Content policy is one area where there are many examples of “soft law” instruments, such as the “Code of ‎conduct on countering illegal hate speech online” (agreed in 2016 by the European Commission and major ‎internet companies; available at cfm?item_id=54300), the ‎‎“Manila Principles on Internet Intermediaries” (developed in 2015 by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and ‎other civil society groups and endorsed by many entities, available at, and the ‎‎“Guidelines for industry on child protection online” (initially developed in 2015 through a consultative process ‎led by the International Telecommunication Union and UNICEF, available at https://www. ‎ ‎
‎187 The Internet Governance Forum can be seen as a loosely organised framework for digital cooperation (more ‎details at multilingual/tags/about), while the Internet Corporation for Assigned ‎Names and Numbers (with its multiple advisory committees and supporting organisations) can be seen as a ‎more institutionalised framework (more details at‎en). ‎
‎188 The Internet Engineering Task Force, for example, develops technical standards for the internet (more details at ‎, while the European Commission’s High Level Group on Internet Governance ‎has the role of facilitating coordination among EU member states on internet governance issues (more details ‎at ‎
‎189 See Anderson, C., Cyber Security and the Need for International Governance (Southern University Law Center ‎‎24 April 2016). ‎
‎190 Paragraph 72 of the WSIS Agenda lists this and other functions of the IGF. Available at ‎
‎191 NETmundial, “NETmundial Multistakeholder Statement”, April 2014, available at ‎
‎192 Global Commission on Internet Governance, “One Internet”, June 2016, available at ‎
‎193 World Wide Web Foundation, “Contract for the Web”, available at
‎194 Government of France, “France and Canada Create new Expert International Panel on Artificial Intelligence”, 7 ‎December 2018, available at https://www.‎international-panel-on-artificial-intelligence ‎
‎195 In 2016, at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou the G20 leaders adopted a “G20 Digital Economy Development and ‎Cooperation Initiative”, available at https:// Annual G20 Digital Economy ‎Ministerial Meetings have been held since 2017. ‎
‎196 UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Address to the Internet Governance Forum 2018, available at ‎ igf-2018-address-to-the-internet-governance-forum-by-un-sg-‎antónio-guterres ‎
‎197 Many documents and publications released over the past decade underline the need for better inclusion of ‎underrepresented communities in internet governance and digital policy processes. Examples include the ‎report of the Working Group on Improvements to the Internet Governance Forum, 2012, available at ‎, and the NetMundial Multistakeholder ‎Statement, 2014, available at‎Document.pdf. ICANN has also recognised the need for better inclusion of under-represented communities and ‎is working on addressing this through initiatives such as its Fellowship Program (more details at ‎ ‎
‎198 According to the updated estimate of the 2014 UNCTAD study, there are more than 680 digital cooperation ‎mechanisms developed and used by governments, businesses, technical and international organisations. See ‎United Nations Commission Mapping of International Internet Public Policy Issues, E/CN.16/2015/CRP.2, 17 ‎April 2015, available at
‎199 One recent example is the impact of the introduction of the GDPR on ICANN’s policies concerning the collection ‎and publication of domain name registration data. When the GDPR requested that data on EU registrants be ‎made private, ICANN was unprepared to adapt its so-called WHOIS policies to the new EU regulation. A ‎coordination mechanism for interdisciplinary policy approaches could have helped ICANN be better prepared ‎for the GDPR. ‎
‎200 CSIS, “Economic Impact of Cybercrime – No Slowing Down”, February 2018, available at https://csis-‎ economic-impact-cybercrime.pdf ‎
‎201 Cybersecurity Ventures, 2017 Cybercrime Report, 2017. ‎
‎202 Digital Full Potential, “Artificial Intelligence Market Size Projected to Be $60 Billion by 2025”. ‎
‎203 MarketWatch, “The Global Artificial Intelligence (AI) Market by Technology and Industry Vertical - A $169.4 Billion ‎Opportunity by 2025 -”, 24 August 2018. ‎
‎204 WSIS, available at; UNESCO ROAM Principles, available at ‎; NETmundial, available at
‎205 The IGF Plus proposal builds on previous policy and academic discussions on strengthening the Internet ‎Governance Forum, including: Report of the Working Group on Improvements to the Internet Governance Forum, ‎‎2012, available at a67d65_en.pdf; Milton Mueller and Ben ‎Wagner, “Finding a Formula for Brazil: Representation and Legitimacy in Internet Governance,” Internet Policy ‎Observatory, February 2014, available at‎for-Brazil-Representation-and- Legitimacy-in-Internet-Governance.pdf; IGF Retreat Proceedings: Advancing the ‎‎10-Year Mandate of the Internet Governance Forum, July 2016, New York, available at ‎; Wolfgang Kleinwächter, "The Start of a ‎New Beginning: The Internet Governance Forum on Its Road to 2025", CircleID, 3 April 2016, available at ‎ the_internet_governance_forum/; Raúl ‎Echeberría, "Let’s Reform the IGF to Ensure Its Healthy Future", Internet Society blog, 17 March 2018, available ‎at the WSIS Tunis Agenda ‎for the Information Society, Tunis, United Nations, available at ‎ In addition to the IGF, the other outcomes of the WSIS ‎process are action line follow-ups (WSIS Forum), system-wide follow-up (UN CSTD), and enhanced ‎cooperation. ‎
‎206 As of 31 May 2019 there were 82 national, 17 regional and 16 youth Internet Governance Forums. ‎
‎207 This approach was developed by the World Bank and 4IRC. In Singapore, the Technology Office of the Prime ‎Minister developed mechanisms that enable continuity, dialogue, feedback loops, and agility in decision-‎making, particularly in relation to experimentation or piloting of new technologies. ‎
‎208 On the applicability of the concept of global public good to the internet please refer to ‎
‎209 Malta proposed that the UN consider the internet as a common heritage of mankind. See ‎
Statement by Dr. Alex Sceberras Trigona, Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of Malta, World Summit on ‎Information Society Review Process, New York, 15 November 2015, available at ‎
‎210 The data commons idea has emerged over the past year at the ITU’s AI for Good Summit and the World ‎Government Summit. See roadmap-zero-to-ai-and-data-commons/ and http://the-‎ ‎
‎211 Members of the International Chamber of Commerce pay an annual membership fee, set either by ICC national ‎committees (where they exist) or by the ICC itself (for direct members). More details at ‎
‎212 United Nations Secretary-General’s Task Force on Digital Financing of the SDGs, available at ‎
‎213 One of the first regulatory sandboxes was launched in 2015 in the UK; at the beginning of 2018, there were ‎more than 20 jurisdictions actively implementing or exploring the concept. See Briefing by UN Secretary-‎General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance, available at https://www.unsgsa. ‎org/files/1915/3141/8033/Sandbox.pdf ‎
‎214 We understand ‘inclusion’ to be more than simple participation of a few ‘missing actors’ in digital events. Meaningful ‎representation requires bottom-up capacity development, preparatory discussions and inter-ministerial coordination at the ‎national level.‎

IGF 2018

Best Practice Forums (BPF)

IGF 2018 - Best Practice Forum on Cybersecurity - Draft Output (pre IGF)



The Best Practice Forum on Cybersecurity aims to be  bottom-up, open and inclusive and therefore invites all interested to comment and contribute on its draft outputs.

The BPF output consists of a Background document (part I) and a Summary report of public contributions (part II)

General comments as well as comments on specific parts of the report are welcome. In the later case, please  indicate clearly what section, page or paragraph of the text your comment relates to.

Comments can be submitted by clicking on 'Add new comment' below and will be shown in the column on the right. 

Received public feedback will be taken into account in the final version of the BPF output, which will be published shortly after the IGF meeting.



Part I : Background paper to the IGF BPF on Cybersecurity


Cybersecurity culture, norms and values

  • Introduction to the BPF on Cybersecurity
  • Culture, norms and values
  • Background on norms development
  • The case for cyber norms
  • Norms development processes
  • State of existing  norms development and implementation
  • Digital security divide

Download the background paper  & click below to comment 


Part II: Summary report of the public contributions to the IGF BPF on Cybersecurity

  • Defining a culture of cybersecurity
  • Typical values and norms of importance to the contributors
  • Organisations promoting specific cybersecurity norms
  • Norms that have been effective at improving security
  • Norms that have failed or had adverse effects
  • Methods of implementing cybersecurity norms
  • A Digital Security Divide

Download the Summary report   & click below to comment

IGF 2018 - Best Practice Forum on IoT, Big Data, AI - Draft Output (pre IGF)


The Best Practice Forum on Internet of Thing, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence aims to be  bottom-up, open and inclusive and therefore invites all interested to comment and contribute on its draft output.

General comments as well as comments on specific parts of the report are welcome. In the later case, please  indicate clearly what section, page or paragraph of the text your comment relates toPost a comment.

Comments can be submitted by clicking on 'Add new comment' below and will be shown in the column on the right. 

Received public feedback will be taken into account in the final version of the BPF output, which will be published shortly after the IGF meeting.


BPF on IoT, Big Data, AI - draft output (download report / post a comment )

I. Introduction

  1. The IGF BPF on IoT, Big Data, AI
  2. Framing the work of the BPF IoT, Big Data, AI
  3. Objectives of the BPF output
  4. Methodology and acknowledgementII

II. An Introduction to IoT, Big Data, AI

  1. Introduction
  2. Definitions
    1. Internet of Things
    2. Big Data
    3. Artificial Intelligence
    4. How IoT, Big Data, and AI come together
    5. Proposed Best Practices (regardiing definitions)

III. The key role of Internet Governance

  1. Internet Governance Challenges
  2. Proposed Best Practices (regarding uses of IoT, Big Data, and AI)
  3. Role of Internet Governance with regard to IoT, Big Data and AI

IV. Stakeholder cooperation - Best practice examples and experiences in addressing Internet Governance challenges of IoT, Big Data and AI

V. Next steps ?

Download the document  & click below to comment

IGF 2018 - Best Practice Forum on Local Content - Draft Output (pre IGF)


The Best Practice Froum on Local Content aims to be  bottom-up, open and inclusive and therefore invites all interested to comment and contribute on its draft output.

General comments as well as comments on specific parts of the report are welcome. In the later case, please  indicate clearly what section, page or paragraph of the text your comment relates toPost a comment. 

Comments can be submitted by clicking on 'Add new comment' below and will be shown in the column on the right. 

Received public feedback will be taken into account in the final version of the BPF output, which will be published shortly after the IGF meeting.


Draft output of the BPF on Local Content (download report / post a comment)

  1. Introduction

    1. Framing the BPF on Local Content
    2. Local Content
    3. Focus of the 2018 BPF on Local Content
    4. Methodology and acknowledgements
  2. Developing a Local Content industry / value chain

    1. Towards a sustainable local content value chain
    2. "New models" and initiatives 
    3. Creating and enabling environment, creating opportunities
  3. Policy initiatives to promote and support the local creation of online content

Download the document and click below to comment. 

IGF 2018 - Best Practice Forum Gender and Access - Draft Output (pre-IGF)


Best Practice Forum  Gender and Access has functioned in a bottom-up, multi-stakeholder, and community-driven manner to gather stories, experiences, and lessons for producing this pre-IGF Output Document draft. Drawing on the same process, BPF Gender invites all interested to comment and contribute in its draft outputs.

General comments as well as comments on specific parts of the report are welcome. In the later case, please  indicate clearly what section, page or paragraph of the text your comment relates to.

Comments can be submitted by clicking on 'Add new comment' below and will be shown in the column on the right. 

Received public feedback will be taken into account in the final version of the BPF Gender output, which will be published shortly after the IGF meeting.

Thank you for your valuable comments!

Download the BPF Gender pre-IGF Output Document draft


  • Executive Summary  
  • Interpretation Notes    
  • Acronyms and Abbreviations    
  • Part A: Findings    
    • 1. Supplementary Models of Connectivity for Women and Gender Non-Binary Persons    
      • 1.1 Barriers to Internet Access for Women and Gender Non-Binary Persons    
      • 1.2 Relevance of Supplementary Models of Connectivity to Internet Access for Women and Gender Non-Binary Persons    
        • 1.2.1 Availability    
        • 1.2.2 Affordability    
        • 1.2.3 Culture and norms    
        • 1.2.4 Availability of relevant content    
        • 1.2.5 Women's participation in decision-making roles pertaining to the Internet    
      • 1.3 Why do we need a gender focus for supplementary models of connectivity?    
    • 2. Community Networks    
      • 2.1 What are Community Networks?    
      • 2.2 Mapping Community Network Initiatives for Women and Gender Non-Binary Persons and their Impact    
    • 3. TV White Spaces    
      • 3.1 What is TV White Spaces (TVWS)?    
      • 3.2  Mapping TV White Spaces Initiatives for Women and Gender Non-Binary Persons and their Impact    
    • 4. Other Supplementary Models of Connectivity    
    • 5. Recommendations for incorporating gender perspectives on Supplementary Models of Connectivity    
  • Part B: Mandate and Methodology    
    • 1. Mandate    
      • 1.1 The IGF    
      • 1.2 Defining the BPF’s mandate    
    • 2. Methodology    
      • 2.1 Working Approach    
      • 2.2 Survey    
        • 2.2.1 Survey Design    
        • 2.2.2 Survey Analysis    
        • 2.2.3 Diversity of Respondents   
      • 2.3. Virtual Meetings   
      • 2.4 Mobile Messaging   
      • 2.5 Mailing List   
      • 2.6 Email   
      • 2.7 Main Session at IGF   
    • 3. Limitations   
  • Part C: Appendices   

Download the BPF Gender pre-IGF Output Document draft

Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion (CENB)

IGF 2018 - Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billions (CENB): Phase IV - Draft Output (pre-IGF)


Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billions (CENB) IV has functioned in a bottom-up, multi-stakeholder, and community-driven manner to gather stories, experiences, and lessons for producing this pre-IGF Output Document draft. Drawing on the same process, CENB IV invites all interested to comment and contribute in its draft outputs.

General comments as well as comments on specific parts of the report are welcome. In the later case, please  indicate clearly what section, page or paragraph of the text your comment relates to.

Comments can be submitted by clicking on 'Add new comment' below and will be shown in the column on the right. 

Received public feedback will be taken into account in the final version of the CENB IV output, which will be published shortly after the IGF meeting.

Thank you for your valuable comments!

Download the CENB IV pre-IGF Output Document draft


  • Executive Summary  
    • Table of Contents 
    • Acknowledgements    
    • Interpretation Notes    
    • Abbreviations    
  • Introduction    
    • IGF Inter-sessional Work    
    • Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billions    
    • Objectives for Phase IV    
    • Methodology    
    • Structure of this Report    
  • Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals   
    • SDG 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy   
      • Relevance    
      • Case Studies   
        • Case 1: Mawingu Networks, Kenya   
        • Case 2: SunCulture, Kenya    
        • Case 3: M-Kopa, Kenya    
        • Case 4: MeshPower, Rwanda   
        • Case 5: ME Solshare, Bangladesh   
        • Case 6: Agsol, Kenya    
        • Case 7: Sigora, Haiti    
        • Case 8: Solaris Offgrid, Tanzania, Uganda    
      • Common Themes   
    • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth   
      • Relevance    
      • Case Studies    
        • Case 1: Community Network in Tusheti, Georgia    
        • Case 2: Community Partnerships through Libraries, Romania    
        • Case 3: Providing Access to Legal Information, IFLA and EIFL    
        • Case 4: IFA Krishi, Nepal    
        • Case 5: CEDRO, Peru    
        • Case 6: Fairtrade, Papua New Guinea   
        • Case 7: YISHDA, Nigeria   
        • Case 8: Informal Business Sector Institute, Kenya   
        • Case 9:  Mucho Mangoes, Kenya    
        • Case 10: EIFL Projects, South Africa, Bulgaria, Croatia, Lithuania    
      • Common Themes    
    • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure    
      • Relevance    
      • Case Studies  
        • Case 1: Lavazza Project, Colombia   
        • Case 2: BOSCO, Uganda   
        • Case 3: Colnodo, Colombia   
        • Case 4: Community Network in Zapotec, Mexico   
        • Case 6: Internet Village Motoman Project, Cambodia   
        • Case 7: Zero Connect by Wireless for Communities, India   
        • Case 8: Brightwave Networks, South Africa   
        • Case 9: IREX Community Technology Hubs, Myanmar   
        • Case 10: Red Chaski and Atalaya Sur, Argentina   
      • Common Themes   
    • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals   
      • Relevance   
      • Case Studies   
        • Case 1: World Economic Forum Internet for All   
        • Case 2: IEEE Internet Inclusion Initiative   
        • Case 3: EQUALS   
        • Case 4: Telecom Infra Project   
        • Case 5: Microsoft Airband Initiative   
        • Case 6: CITEL   
        • Case 7: EIFL and Beyond Access, Kenya and Bangladesh   
      • Common Themes   
  • Conclusion: Weaving Common Threads to Advance the SDGs   
  • Appendices   
    • A: Discussion Paper submitted to the MAG   
    • B: Call for Public Inputs   
    • C: List of Contributions   

Download the CENB IV pre-IGF Output Document draft

Youth Engagement at the IGF 2018 and Ways for Improvements


The IGF community has demonstrated its interest and commitment to enhancing  youth engagement in the IGF. The emerging growth of the existing youth IGF initiatives1 was welcomed as a positive and proactive approach  that  Internet Governance should be discussed among all stakeholders, in an open and inclusive process, following the bottom up agenda setting. The IGF community further outlined this view during the IGF Retreat to advance the 10-years IGF mandate hosted in 2016, noting that after ten years, the IGF is growing and maturing. Many positive engagement efforts were recognized, in particular as far as the youth and NRIs are concerned2.
In addition, alongside the self-organizing, multistakeholder youth IGF initiatives, the IGF community took concrete steps toward ensuring that the long-term discussion process shaped around the core IGF principles is maintained as a response to an increasing complexity of the Internet Governance issues and their direct influence on people’s lives.

During the 2017 IGF Taking Stock process, the IGF community called on the IGF to support improving youth engagement in the IGF processes, and in the IGF itself. In this regard, the synthesis outcome document of all received inputs to the mentioned Taking Stock process noted that a number of inputs also called for more engagement of youth, including as organisers of IGF sessions, and for supporting them to the extent possible through sponsorship programmes offered by various organisations in the IGF community3

The IGF Secretariat, within its capacity, responded to the community’s inputs as mentioned above, and conducted several open public consultations on youth engagement at the IGF. This process primarily focused on gathering existing best practices, as summarized in the dedicated publication4, and later continued to facilitate the community’s open consultation during the 12th annual IGF meeting in Geneva5, and post-meeting discussions through online consultations6

Mentioned publication on the Youth engagement at the IGF, outlined and described four major models of practices present across different communities: 

  • Practice I: Youth Initiatives organised by the national, subregional, and regional IGF initiatives
  • Practice II: Independently organised Youth Initiatives
  • Practice III: Integration of youth in the NRIs' preparatory processes or programmes
  • Practice IV: Additional projects to build youth participation in Internet Governance

These allowed for the community to understand what are the existing mechanisms that various communities implement on the matter, that further helped in mapping the areas where improvements are needed.

Finally, the overall open consultation process mentioned above, resulted in several proposals and recommendations on how to improve the engagement of youth in the IGF, now addressed to the wider IGF community.

The wider IGF community and all interested stakeholders are invited to contribute to these recommendations with their constructive comments by 6 July 2018, 23:59 p.m. UTC.

Comments added to this platform, should respond to the feasibility of the proposed activities, and to potential entities that could carry the implementation of these.
Please note that comments should be signed, and that no anonymous comments will be taken into consideration, in accordance with the IGF’s practice.




SUGGESTION 1: Developing content materials for youth regarding the IGF process and topics of interest
A set of concrete materials should be developed, in order for youth to have relevant, comprehensive resources to consult in order to build awareness of the IGF; its purpose and core principles, and how to engage. These materials should be focused on the IGF process, including user-friendly materials on how to engage via online participation; and on the substantial topical issues that are being discussed at the IGF.

While the materials that explain the IGF process could be developed by the IGF Secretariat, substantive topical materials could be developed by the relevant experts from the IGF community; drawn from the intersessional work efforts, etc. 

SUGGESTION 2: Organize info-webinars to explain the IGF process and annual meeting structure 
Prior to the annual IGF meeting, a set of webinars could be organized to explain the IGF process, and annual meeting structure, to help in preparing participants for the annual IGF meeting.
It was advised that the IGF Secretariat facilitates the process.

SUGGESTION 3: Establish a mentoring or coaching  programme
To establish a programme for making possible for youth to be connected to more experienced stakeholders from the IGF community. It was suggested that the MAG members, the Dynamic Coalitions (DCs) coordinators and the National, Regional and Youth IGF Initiatives (NRIs) coordinators could be a good starting point source for implementing this activity. 
It was proposed that there could be online meetings between the mentors and mentees prior to the annual face to face IGF meeting. An online webinar between all mentors and mentees could be organized prior to the annual face-to-face IGF meeting. 
Mentors would advise on how to integrate and benefit from the IGF, and potentially, on topics of interest to mentees.
Alternatively, the mentorship programme could be organized as a peer-to-peer concept.

SUGGESTION 4: Online observatory of available resources
The IGF Secretariat could facilitate coordination activities with various formations focused on youth engagement at the IGF, and have these connected with other stakeholders of relevance who agree to a specific youth dialogue. 
The community noted that there are many available opportunities for youth engagement present globally, but that there is a lack of unique searchable resources. It was suggested to create an online observatory of relevant informational resources and opportunities.  
The Internet Community Wiki Platform could be a potential partner for developing this platform, where all stakeholders, independently, could upload information of relevance for the youth community.  

SUGGESTION 5: Dedicated sessions on the topic of youth engagement to be organized during the annual IGF meeting
During the 13th IGF, a dedicated session focused on different models of youth engagement at the IGF should be organized. The session should allow for an exchange of good practices.
It was noted that there are at least four existing models, including involvement of youth activities/initiatives within existing NRIs, thus session facilitation is proposed to be organized in a bottom up process, facilitated by the IGF Secretariat.

SUGGESTION 6: Facilitating IGF related updates
It was suggested that a dedicated mailing list for announcing IGF related updates is needed. A 'news announcements from the IGF' online section could be developed and moderated by the IGF Secretariat.  


1List of recognized Youth IGF Initiatives. Available at:
2IGF RETREAT PROCEEDINGS: Advancing the 10-Year Mandate of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). Available at:, page 13, section 3.
3Synthesis Paper: Contributions to Taking Stock of IGF 2017 and Looking Forward to IGF 2018. Available at:, page 9, paragraph 33.
 4Youth engagement at the IGF: looking at existing examples of practices. Available at:
 5Work Meeting with Youth Initiative at the 2017 IGF annual meeting: summary report. Available at:
 6Youth engagement at the IGF and ways for improvements: Open Consultations with the Youth IGF initiatives and other stakeholders: summary report available at:

IGF 2017

Best Practice Forums

IGF 2017 - Best Practice Forum on Cybersecurity




The BPF Cybersecurity aims to be bottom-up, open and inclusive and therefore invites all interested to comment and contribute on its draft output document.

After each section there's a possibility to leave comments by clicking on 'Add new comment'. Comments are schown in column on the right.

For clarity, footnotes and references are not shown on this review platform.  You can find them in the formatted draft .


document structure:

Part I:  Framinig the 2017 BPF on Cybersecurity

Part II: Cybersecurity as an Enabler for Development

  1. Cybersecurity's ability to support the SDGs
  2. Policy options to mediate cybersecurity threats
  3. Areas to develop further stakeholder conversation

Part III: Conclusions and Way Forward

Part I: Framing the 2017 IGF Best Practice Forum Cybersecurity


The Best Practice Forum (BPF) on Cybersecurity is part of the 2017 intersessional work programme feeding into the 12th annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) held in Geneva, Switzerland from 18 to 21 December 2017.

The BPF aims to both produce a tangible output[1] and provide a broad multistakeholder platform for engagement on cybersecurity policy matters, which increases existing cooperation and builds new synergies amongst cybersecurity initiatives and processes. The BPF Cybersecurity as such fits well under the overall theme of the 2017 IGF, Shape Your Digital Future! .

The BPF on Cybersecurity grew out of the BPF Establishing and supporting Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs) for Internet security, and the BPF Regulation and Mitigation of unsolicited Communications, both of which ran during 2014 and 2015.[2]

As an outcome of both groups, it was identified that the topics they had tackled were somewhat limiting, and there was no existing forum within the inter-sessional work to discuss other cybersecurity related challenges and to look more holistically at cybersecurity challenges. In addition, "cybersecurity" as a term was ill defined within our community, and could benefit from deeper investigation and definition[1] .

In 2016, the first Best Practices Forum on Cybersecurity hence started off with discussions enabling participants to understand the wider context of the word "cybersecurity" for each stakeholder group. The BPF made it clear right from the beginning that this work needed to be conceived as a multi-year project. It then worked to:

  • Identify the communications mechanisms between stakeholder groups to discuss cybersecurity issues;
  • Understand the typical roles and responsibilities of each group in making sure the internet is a secure and safe place;
  • Identify common problem areas in cooperation, and good best practices for doing so.

A set of 10 conclusions were drawn, which broadly echoed multi-stakeholder cooperation as critical, and put particular stress on how stakeholders must understand, respect and trust each other's expertise and competences. The final outcome, including all findings, can be found on the IGF web site[3].

The proposal[4] for the 2017 BPF Cybersecurity was approved by the IGF’s Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) on 11 April 2017[5]. The BPF Cybersecurity reports into the 2017 Main session on cybersecurity at the 12th IGF meeting in Geneva and the BPF document is published as part of the official output of 12th IGF meeting.


The 2017 BPF Cybersecurity:  purpose and outline

The Best Practice Forum on Cybersecurity realized that making Internet access more universal, and thus it supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)[1], has significant cybersecurity implications. Well-developed cybersecurity helps to create an enabling environment for ICTs and Internet Technologies to contribute to meeting the SDGs. Poor cybersecurity can reduce the effectiveness of these technologies, and thus limit the opportunities to help achieve the SDGs.

The 2017 BPF explored how cybersecurity influences the ability of ICTs and Internet Technologies to support the achievement of the SDGs, looked at the roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholder groups and aimed to identify policy mitigations that can help ensure the next billion(s) users can be connected in a safe and reliable manner to fully benefit from existing and future technologies. The BPF collected community views on what critical cybersecurity issues would benefit from a multi-stakeholder approach.

This BPF output is the product of a bottom-up, open and iterative process to which all stakeholders were invited to participate. The main steps and methodology are briefly described in the section below


Methodology & community input

The approval of the project proposal for BPF Cybersecurity by the 2017 MAG kicked off the BPF’s open and iterative process[1]. The BPF Cybersecurity convened regular virtual meetings open to all interested stakeholders and discussed progress on an open mailing list. Draft versions of the output document were posted for community comment on the IGF website and presented at a dedicated workshop during the 2017 IGF meeting in Geneva.

The BPF Cybersecurity launched a call for contributions[2] to collect substantial community input on the BPF’s subject matter. Drawing primarily from an analysis of the potential cybersecurity implications of the policy suggestions for enabling connectivity and supporting the SDGs formulated by the IGF Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion(s)[3], the BPF invited community input to identify these and additional cybersecurity risks and collect recommendations on how to mitigate them.

In addition to its focus on the SDGs, the BPF asked the community to weigh in on the responsibilities of different stakeholders for mitigating risks, and on what critical cybersecurity issues would benefit from a multistakeholder approach.

The BPF made an effort to seek input from National and Regional IGF Initiatives (NRIs) via an NRI-specific questionnaire.

All contributions are collected on the IGF website, a summary can be found in Annexe 1.


Part II: Cybersecurity as an enabler of development[1] 

Section 1:  Cybersecurity's ability to support the SDGs     

Substantial input for this section was generated from the responses to call of contributions, and in particular the questions:

‘How does good cybersecurity contribute to the growth of and trust in ICTs and Internet Technologies, and their ability to support the SDGs?’

‘How does poor cybersecurity hinder the growth of and trust in ICTs and Internet Technologies, and their ability to support the SDGs?’


1.1. Trust and Confidence in ICTs and the Internet

‘The Internet needs a solid foundation in trust for its full potential to be realized.’[1] Well-developed cybersecurity contributes to building trust and feeds the confidence in ICTs and Internet technologies enabling them to become instruments used by people and organisations in pursuing their goals.

‘Civil and political rights are clearly boosted by internet access, but the internet also positively impacts economic development when societies can trust in internet-connected systems and robustly interact, and transact online.’[2] Good cybersecurity stimulates growth in users and usage of Internet technologies, which help to accelerate business, make economies grow and increase the wealth that becomes available for distribution, they contribute to the reduction of transaction costs, increase transparency and accelerate knowledge and information transfer. Good cybersecurity stimulates the use of technologies that have the potential to contribute to achieving the SDGs.[3]

In short, cybersecurity helps to build the confidence needed to motivate the use of ICTs and the Internet, and the SDGs drive that energy towards achieving the goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.[4]


1.2. The impact of poor cybersecurity

Poor cybersecurity threatens the growth of ICTs and Internet Technologies. Poor cybersecurity exposes organisations and individuals to risks and attacks, and opens doors for ill-meaning parties to spy on actors or meddle with democratic affairs. In a more indirect way, a perception of insecurity creates distrust in ICTs and the Internet and a diminishing adoption of new technologies[1] . Poor cybersecurity will reduce the use and effectiveness of these technologies, and thus limit the opportunities to help achieve the SDGs.[1]

‘Poor cybersecurity hinders growth and trust in ICTs as it leads to lack of confidence in online systems and services, thus discouraging investment and usage. A lack of cyber hygiene increases vulnerability to cyber attacks and reduces the ability to effectively respond to and recover from cyber incidents which in turn promotes a lack of trust in the digital economy.’[2]


1.3. The different faces of cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a broad concept that covers many aspects. A discussion on different definitions of the term ‘cybersecurity’ can be found in the output document of the 2016 BPF Cybersecurity[1].

ICTs and Internet technologies increasingly underpin society, economy, and polity. Cyberspace faces new challenges such as security and stability, infringement on privacy and intellectual property, cyber terrorism and cyber surveillance activities.[2] The submissions to the BPF reflect different expectations, priorities, and perspectives on how cybersecurity can contribute to the growth and trust in ICTs and Internet technologies, and their ability to support achieving the SDGs.  This sections aims to give an overview of the different facets of cybersecurity.



The Internet is a network of networks and the ability to resist cyberattacks is only as strong as its weakest link.[1] Sustainable development of all levels is directly related to the protection of all aspects of this infrastructure, including security.[2]

One contribution introduced the concept of a “public core” which is worthy of protection. This core of the Internet encompasses two elements: ‘(i) a clearly distinguishable “inner core” which consists of the core functionality underpinning the Internet (in particular the forwarding and naming functions and infrastructure of the Internet and those actors responsible for their day to day management), and (ii) a less clearly distinguishable “outer core” of potentially critical functionality, whose impact on the overall stability and security of the Internet as a whole may be uncertain, or which may fluctuate depending on circumstances.’[3]


Trade, commerce, industry and production

‘Good cyber security is a means of achieving and sustaining the credibility of the Internet as a safe environment for businesses to thrive and sustain economic value.’[1] Effective cybersecurity is essential ‘to engage fully in the increasingly cyber-dependant trade and commerce. Robust cybersecurity frameworks enable individuals, companies and nations to realise the full potentials of the cyberspace, without fear or reservation, promoting cross-border delivery of services and free flow of labour in a multilateral trading system.’[2]

Cyber attacks, vulnerabilities and security breaches break trust of businesses online, which directly impacts productivity and economic growth in developing countries where ICTs are more adopted for the delivery of services.[3] Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) face the challenge to secure themselves from cyber attacks and to promote confidence and trust in their online services.[4]


Privacy/Data protection

Good cybersecurity policies, practices and legislation put people and their rights at the centre. They protect individuals, their data, devices and networks, and foster trust, stability and confidence in ICTs. Poor cybersecurity results in vulnerabilities and data breaches, are catastrophic for privacy and undermine trust in digital developments. Many countries have insufficient or no legislation that protects data.[1]

Technology can be an enabler of all SDGs, but must be secure. Relying heavily on ICTs and the Internet to implement large scale development projects without strong cybersecurity in place leaves some of the world’s most vulnerable people vulnerable in a new way, for example when their sensitive personal information such as biometrics or health data is not sufficiently well protected.[2]


Human Rights, Rule-of-law and Democracy

Good cybersecurity contributes to the ‘protection of human rights, democracy and rule of law.’[1] Certain security measures, however, might as well pose a serious threat to these democratic values, in particular where governments are increasingly asserting control over the Internet and stigmatize security measures, such as encryption.[2] ‘Cybersecurity and human rights are complementary, mutually reinforcing and interdependent.’ To avoid that cybersercurity policies have a negative impact, they should incorporate human rights by design[3], states should work together to curb trade of spyware, respecting human rights[4], and actively participate in discussion forums with the other stakeholders[5].

Poor cybersecurity and information breaches might, for example, have an impact on the ability of civil society to campaign against political decisions or weaken the voice of activists.[6]


Section 2:  Policy options to mediate cybersecurity threats         

2.1. Mediating threats that undermine the contribution to achieving the SDGs

2.1.1. Introduction - CENB and SDGs

The IGF work on Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion(s) (CENB) is a multi year work programme aiming to develop comprehensive sets of policy recommendations based on broad consultations, bottom up crowdsourcing and cross-engaging the work of the different intersessional work tracks and IGF initiatives.

The first phase in 2015 (CENB I)[1] focussed on infrastructure, increasing usability, enabling users, entering affordability and enabling environments. The subsequent phase (CENB II)[2] discussed how ICTs can help reach the United Nations SDGs. The ongoing CENB III[3] in 2017 narrowed its scope to focus on a limited number of SDGs impacted by ICTs.

The 2017 BPF Cybersecurity builds upon the community work of CENB I and II, and expects to establish cross-fertilisation with CENB III, in particular the CENB discussions related to SDG Goal 9 (Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation).

2.1.2. An analysis of the CENB & SDG cybersecurity implications

The BPF performed a cybersecurity assessment of the CENB output documents to identify potential risks and security challenges emerging from the CENB policy recommendations. The BPF focused in particular on the CENB II recommendations, which are directly linked to the SDGs.

The BPF came up with a list of 10 identified threats and cybersecurity challenges:

  1. Denial of Service attacks and other cybersecurity issues that may impact the reliability and access to Internet services;
  2. The security of mobile devices, which are the vehicle of Internet growth in many countries, and fulfill critical goals such as payments or self-identification;
  3. Potential abuse by authorities, including surveillance of Internet usage, or the use of user-provided data for different purposes than intended;
  4. The confidentiality and availability of sensitive information, in particular in medical and health services;
  5. Online abuse and gender-based violence;
  6. Security risks of shared critical services that support Internet access, such as the Domain Name System (DNS) and Internet Exchange Point (IXP) communities;
  7. Vulnerabilities in the technologies supporting industrial control systems;
  8. Use of information collected for a particular purpose, being repurposed for other, inappropriate purposes. For instance, theft of information from smart meters, smart grids and Internet of Things devices for competitive reasons, or the de-anonymization of improperly anonymized citizen data
  9. The lack of Secure Development Processes combined with an immense growth in the technologies being created and used on a daily basis
  10. Unauthorized access to devices that play an increasingly important role in people's daily lives

The detailed analysis of the CENB cybersecurity implications can be found in annexe 2. The CENB II analysis dives deeper into the connection between risks and the SDGs.

2.1.3. Policy options to help address the CENB cybersecurity challenges

The BPF identified a list of 10 cybersecurity challenges originating from the CENB policy options (see 2.1.2) and discussed ways to mitigate the risks. This led to a list of policy suggestions to help address each of the challenges.

Substantial input for this section was generated from the feedback on the call for contributions, and in particular from the responses to the question ‘Do you see particular policy options to help address CENB risks?’.  This delivered a long list of suggestions that were subsequently discussed by the BPF and consolidated in 10 sets of policy recommendations. A number of additional concerns and challenges that came up during the BPF discussion are listed in section 2.1.4.

  1. Securing the reliability of and access to Internet services
    1. Technical community members must be incentivized to develop tools and standards to identify and appropriately hold accountable cyber criminals.
    2. Technical solutions to prevent cyber attacks must be pursued first, prior to other policy such as criminalisation. The flow and exchange of solutions to find, mitigate and address vulnerabilities must be promoted[1] .
    3. Governments are encouraged to identify and implement international conventions to address cybercrime, and provide a legal framework for investigation, prosecution and sanctioning. It offers means to criminalize and prosecute cybercrime.
    4. Promote technologies for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to secure themselves from cyber attack, and which promote confidence and trust in their online services.
    5. Hold the perpetrators of DDoS accountable through technical identification and criminal investigation of attacks. Warnings of DDoS, such as ransom demands, must be quickly disseminated through the network of security practitioners.
    6. Software and product vendors must implement security at all stages of the development lifecycle. Products must be patched to address vulnerabilities throughout their well described lifecycle.
    7. Support technical measures to enhance resiliency of networks and promote access.
    8. Tech and software industry have to recognise customers as such and stop seeing and treating them as users. This changes dependency roles and puts responsibility for (ongoing) security of products where it belongs: the manufacturer is responsible for secure software at the start and for fixing software flaws in a timely manner, and the customer is responsible for correct use within the law. The onus for realising a safer Internet becomes a shared responsibility.
    9. Communicated data for security monitoring should not only be in a unified format but also language (a log in one tool means the same as a log in another tool). Systems are deficient in reliably identifying genuine source and user of an event. Hence perpetrators cannot be tracked. All level of ISPs and Internet coordination bodies must coordinate protocols to respond to malicious activity.
  2. Securing the mobile Internet
    1. The Technical Community must be encouraged to develop and research security solutions and awareness around mobile threats. Developers of mobile technologies must implement a secure development lifecycle. Systems must implement a minimum of built-in security features and capabilities.
    2. Mobile devices must be considered “computer systems” in applicable law, similar to the stipulations of the Budapest Convention.
    3. Due to the wide variety of mobile devices, there are gaps in understanding between users, and the product vendors, on security vulnerabilities. This is especially the case for devices outside of their main support lifecycle.
    4. Repositories for mobile apps should maintain security best practices such as the detection of malicious applications. Mobile applications should use encryption technologies such as HTTPS when communicating over networks.
    5. States must adopt data protection rules, such as Convention 108 of the Council of Europe).
    6. Citizens and users must have access to good policies on how to manage their devices. Governments may need to support low income citizens to ensure they have equal access to this level of support.
  3. Protecting against potential abuse by authorities
    1. Governments and intergovernmental organizations should speak out and criticize the use of technologies by other governments for abusive purposes.
    2. Surveillance undermines privacy and threatens freedom of expression. States  should develop legal and constitutional safeguards to minimize its impact on trust. Prioritizing surveillance often is weakening rather than strengthening security for all concerned.
    3. Criminal law measures should be subject to law safeguards and conditions. These controls apply less to national security services for which stronger supervision and accountability would be needed.
    4. States should support and promote an open internet, safe and secure environment, and consider regulation instead of censorship. States should formulate Privacy and Data Governance policy/laws.
    5. Ethics are an important part of a thriving cybersecurity community. Ethics standards should be endorsed and promoted at all levels, within government industry and society, and with regards to all technologies, including ICTs and IOT technologies.
  4. Confidentiality and availability of sensitive information
    1. Civil society can serve as a watchdog to closely observe when sensitive and confidential information is disclosed.
    2. Countries should implement legal frameworks to address data security concerns, impose security obligations for governments and companies, along with reporting requirements for incidents that allow subjects to take actions to protect themselves from consequences, and governments to be aware of risks and threats in their countries. States must take these rules into account for their own data intensive projects
    3. Applications processing sensitive information must have a secure baseline/applicable controls. Must be certified to ensure this baseline is applied. Sensitive user data must be made available on a “need to know basis”.
    4. Availability of services with critical data pertaining to users must be monitored and managed.
    5. All stakeholders must help privacy by informing users when profiling takes place, and providing audit trails as well as mechanisms to opt out of collection.
    6. Personal data is not owned by a company, but by the user. Transfer of account information to another entity must be managed using descript processes that involve consent. Privacy rules must equally apply to the mobile and app environment[2] .
    7. Private sector and states must acknowledge that jurisdiction in the third world can often be complex, as data is hosted with foreign companies. They should implement measures to provide control to the user in such countries.
  5. Fighting online abuse and gender-based violence
    1. States should develop laws to deter online exploitation.
    2. Partnerships between all stakeholder groups should raise awareness for online abuse and gender-based violence. They should support awareness building and education programmes and commit support resources.
    3. International rapid response teams should be developed to mitigate abuse across platforms and services. Enabling the tracking of an abuser and response to it must be fast-tracked. These processes must be global, and support an ombudsman or review process.
    4. Processes must be defined to remove content when appropriate.
    5. These be addressed in line with the law of the land. Technology providers must provide means of monitoring and law implementation.
    6. States must fully implement CEDAW at the national level to respect, protect and fulfil women's rights, and must pursue a preventive and proactive approach to gender-based violence (GBV). States should recognise GBV as a human rights violation.
    7. Gender-unequal access to technology and women's subordinate status in ICT must be confronted,through for instance affirmative action and subsidies for ICT-related courses. Comprehensive capacity building should be undertaken, in particular by states who should address gender based violence. Companies should take a rights-based approach and adopt the Women's Empowerment Principles. Adequate budgets and resources should be allocated by states to address GBV.
  6. Securing shared critical services and infrastructure that support Internet access
    1. States should implement cybersecurity frameworks such as the US NIST Cybersecurity framework and associated laws.
    2. Technical community should be encouraged to implement DNSSEC, RPKI and other key security technologies with the help of other stakeholders. States should support technical community to work on ccTLD capacity building, IXP services and resiliency development. Protecting these resources is critical, requires a multistakeholder approach and acknowledgement of global interest.
  7. Vulnerabilities in the technologies supporting industrial control systems
    1. To be urgently addressed by the Technical Community.
    2. States and operators of industrial control systems must include disaster preparedness and response, business continuity planning in operations.
    3. The technical community and operators must leverage common language and sound security practices in current standards.
    4. The state of cybersecurity of these systems in developing countries is very poor. States and other stakeholders must support the development and sharing of security practices for ICS such as identifying vulnerabilities, and ensure patches are available.
    5. Operational responsibility must be defined and technology developers held accountable for addressing security vulnerabilities.
    6. States and private sector have to address the question what SCADA and other control systems need an Internet connection and what systems are better kept offline or be disconnected from the Internet in order to be more secure.
  8. Preventing collected information from being repurposed for other, inappropriate purposes.
    1. Management of information is critical. Companies must develop controls for safeguarding the information.
    2. States should enact appropriate laws to criminalise use of information beyond its intended, appropriate purpose.
    3. Private sector should be encouraged to not design devices for ‘data exploitation’, leaving individuals in control of how their data is used.
    4. Stakeholders must acknowledge that the security of the Internet of Things (IoT) is insufficiently understood. Technical community and Private Sector must invest in the development of appropriate security controls for IoT devices.
    5. Culprits of invalid use of information must be charged in line with governing law and Breach victims should be compensated per law.
    6. Ethics standards should be encouraged, and ethics audits of organizations should be encouraged to ensure data is appropriately used within the terms defined by the data holder.
  9. Deploy Secure Development Processes
    1. A Secure Development Lifecycle must be implemented in all software and product development. The Technical community should develop and release guidance on secure development processes, and share information on ongoing failures to drive process improvement
    2. Key industry players should raise awareness, and sponsor national initiatives for standards.
    3. SDL needs to be developed.
    4. Stakeholders should identify good standards and protocols, per country, per region, globally (for issues of cultural sensitivity), including protocols for human-computer interaction, and share these widely.
  10. Prevent unauthorized access to devices
    1. Unauthorized access to devices should be criminalized by enacting appropriate laws. The Budapest Convention offers states a legal framework for prosecuting and dissuading.
    2. Policies must be developed to inform people in developing countries about the risks of unauthorized access.
    3. Policy makers and regulators need to address how to encourage IoT vendors to make devices more secure - and identify new economic incentives to support this change.
    4. Security and privacy are fundamental rights. Legal frameworks must be in place to allow abuse to be challenged.
    5. Current frameworks lack sufficient safeguards, in law or practice, to address the impact of IoT on human rights. Central elements to a solution are: (1) data protection, (2) best available security practices, (3) transparent international processes on coordinated vulnerability disclosure, (4) the implementation (and, when appropriate, enforcement) of existing standards and or (consumer) laws.
    6. Citizens must have complaint mechanisms[3]  on unauthorized access to or disclosure of sensitive information.

2.1.4. Additional concerns and challenges

In addition to the cybersecurity challenges related to the CENB policy options, the BPF identified a number of additional cybersecurity concerns that could impact the potential contribution of ICTs and Internet Technologies to achieving the SDGs.

  1. Mitigate a current lack of cybersecurity awareness through awareness building and capacity development
    1. States must become aware of security risks to their and their citizen’s activities. Awareness should be raised by developing best practices and guidelines and sharing them among entities.
    2. Focus on user education
  2. Policy and processes should be developed to improve the cyber resiliency of cities
  3. Number of women in cybersecurity
    1. Diversity in the cybersecurity workforce should be promoted.
    2. The Internet governance forum and other policy forums should provide mechanisms to ensure women's participation in policy discussion and decision making.
  4. Cryptocurrency
    1. Laws should account for the existence of cryptocurrencies and their use in cybercrime, such as acts of ransom, which can be less traceable.
  5. Stakeholders should invest in studying the security implications and influence of social media on cybersecurity
  6. Whistleblower legislation and implementation, administered with excellent judgement.


Defining responsibilities for the stakeholder communities

After its analysis of the cybersecurity risks and challenges originating from the CENB policy options and formulation of its own recommendations to address and mitigate them, the BPF discussed responsibilities of the different stakeholder groups and looked for opportunities for stakeholders cooperation.

Substantial input for this section was generated from the feedback on the call for contributions, and in particular from the responses to the question ‘Where do you think lies the responsibility of each stakeholder community in helping ensure cybersecurity does not hinder future Internet development?’

Multistakeholder cooperation on cybersecurity - a shared responsibility

‘All stakeholders have a positive role to play in nurturing a trusted and open Internet. We need to work to secure core aspects of Internet infrastructure, to protect the confidentiality and integrity of data that flows over it, and to ensure the right policies are in place to support the technologies, networks and actors that make the Internet work. We do this through collective responsibility and collaboration.’[1]

Each stakeholder community has a responsibility in helping to ensure that cybersecurity does not hinder future internet development. New technologies may be insufficiently secure and cause harm when deployed, while stringent security requirements may prevent the development, deployment, or widespread use of technologies that would generate unforeseen benefits. Stakeholders have the responsibility to foster open inter-stakeholder collaboration and trust relationships, and to infuse a culture of cybersecurity among all stakeholder groups.[2]

Complexity is the reason why multistakeholder efforts are important.[3] There is no one-size fits all solution, and pro-internet policies can take many different shapes.[4] A multi-stakeholder approach to develop future policies on the strengthening of the rule of law in cyberspace, should involve the relevant stakeholders, so that future policies will represent commonly accepted solutions to make the cyberspace more secure.[5] To succeed, it may be necessary to develop strategies to actively reach out to stakeholders and involve them in discussions on common issues.[6]

From the way internet was constituted and works, it follows that ‘each party needs to take a collaborative security approach to foster confidence and protect opportunities. Since every stakeholder has different incentives and different economic interests and different logics (regarding security/privacy/DP), only a good multistakeholder process would bridge these differences.’[7] Cybersecurity is a collective responsibility, and a culture of cybersecurity should be encouraged. [8] “Cybersecurity should be considered a ‘public good’, which promotes collective responsibility for shared benefit.”[9]

On the topic of multistakeholder cooperation on cybersecurity the Internet Society published Principles of collaborative security[10] and a Policy framework for an open and trusted internet[11], and the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) developed the Commonwealth cybergovernance model[12].

Stakeholder communities and their responsibilities 

Disclaimer - recognising responsibilities is not advocating siloed actions

Cyber issues have become increasingly complex and impact across society and economy. This reality will only aggravate, e.g. with the further development of IoT, making siloed responses an increasingly inadequate answer to mediate cybersecurity issues. Only reinforced cross-stakeholder group cooperation and multistakeholder approaches will be able to confront and withstand future challenges.

Against this background, it is important that stakeholders are also aware of their  cybersecurity and cyberhygiene responsibilities, assume them correctly, and have a good understanding of the responsibilities that arise from the activities and competences of the other stakeholder groups. Such insight will be helpful to identify opportunities for multistakeholder cooperation and joint action, and avoid that initiatives by different stakeholders work counterproductive and fail to contribute to an increase of the overall level of security.  

The BPF Cybersecurity called upon the community to help identify the responsibilities of the different stakeholder groups. Substantial input for this section was generated from the responses to the question ‘Where do you think lies the responsibility of each stakeholder community in helping ensure cybersecurity does not hinder future Internet development?’.


Governments (and International organisations)

The governments should take ‘a leading role in driving a national and international cybersecurity agenda and setting regulatory and policy priorities’.[1] ‘They play a fundamental role in developing policy and legal frameworks for a secure cyberspace, data protection, protecting critical information infrastructure and enforcing the law against cybercrime, online abuse and gender based violence.’[2] Governments play an essential role in protecting critical infrastructure and prosecuting cybercriminals,[3] and should support and cooperate with banks, credit card companies, insurance companies cell phone companies and other businesses vulnerable to fraud. Governments can facilitate, initiate and/or (financially) support processes that lead to a better cybersecurity environment. E.g. through initiating (discussions on) ISACs, anti-abuse mechanisms, anti-ddos facilities, etc., that industry can then take the lead in.

Nations must become serious about putting in place a robust risk management system, driven by a common cybersecurity strategy. A country-wide vulnerability management strategy is needed. Policies should be in place to ensure stakeholder transparency and accountability in ISP, DNS and IXP communities.[4] Governments could take initiatives for  business, SMEs and entrepreneurs to inform about cybersecurity risks and support by sharing advise and best practice examples.[5]

In terms of policy, governments must encourage solid technology practices such as bug bounties[6], and not exacerbate the problem by hoarding vulnerabilities, or creating backdoors in secure communications tech. Governments must regulate private sector through data protection laws, and other consumer protection. They must pursue policies or treaty options that compel signatories to abide by international principles, norms and standards that ensure cybersecurity and national security measures that employ digital technology are necessary and proportionate. Governments and private sector should cooperate in private sector-government partnerships to improve transparency and to protect disclosures.[7]

The fact that often different government branches are responsible for ICTs, intelligence and national security, and sustainable development poses an extra challenge.[8] When taking on their role, governments should be cautious not to ‘undermine the collaborative approaches and the role of the technical community and industry in identifying risks, providing security of networks and customers, and the role of civil society in safeguarding transparency, accountability, due process and human rights. They should not ‘fuel competition for creating insecurity (...) and not undermine user’s data protection,’[9] for example by stimulating offensive security research to expose vulnerabilities without an intent to fix.

Modern methods of attack may require tackling of cybercrime internationally through aligning legislative initiatives,[10] and International organisations should ensure ‘that all governments do adopt conventions and agreements’[11], at the same time and at the same level.

Governments have the responsibility to reach out and engage with other stakeholders in seeking multistakeholder solutions to cybersecurity challenges as noted and recommended in the prior section on multistakeholder approaches.



Civil Society

While governments usually take the lead in setting policy and regulatory priorities, the role of civil society is important in monitoring accountability and transparency, and safeguarding due process and human rights.[1]

NGOs have a critical role in raising awareness, and promoting responsible behaviour and safety online.[2] Their activities are fundamental for pressing governments to abide by their obligations to respect rights such as privacy and freedom of expression, for increasing awareness over rights in the digital age, for promoting responsible behavior, and for spreading best practices.[3] NGOs have been important hubs for expanding access policies in developing countries, often being closer to the everyday challenges faced by users than other actors.[4]



Technical community

It is the responsibility of the technical community and industry to identify risks, provide security of networks, devices and people.[1]

It is important to support efforts to mitigate DoS and other attacks at the technology level, rather than with policy such as criminalisation. Proactive solutions to find, mitigate and disclose vulnerabilities are key to addressing reliability and access. The technical community must develop protocols to prevent their use for exploits such as DDoS[1] .[2]

Technical organisations, such as the IETF, should consider broadening their membership to include all stakeholders, and involve NGOs and stakeholders in their discussions before designing the technical solutions.[3]

Multistakeholder cooperation within the IETF and other standardising bodies could on the one hand focus on swift implementation of standards developed with the technical community as to ensure a safer environment based on the offered solutions, on the other on identifying urgent issues together.


Private sector

The private sector should adopt the principle that the best security is the one that is not noticed by the secured. The private sector plays a core role in developing secure technology, secure products and services, as well as in sharing knowledge and best practices[1] with governments and non-governmental organizations.[2]

The private sector must use due diligence to protect human rights, and avoid adverse impact. They have to ensure the correct implementation of protocols and best practices. They must create readable ToS for users, and proactively inform users of software updates.[3]  In addition, it must evaluate its approach from the users’ perspective, taking into account user groups with special needs, e.g. elderly or disabled people, for who information and awareness alone might not be effective.[4]



The Academics’ main responsibility is to guide with scientific research.[1] To avoid a knowledge gap, There’s a considerable lack of knowledge of what is really going,[1] [2]  which is seen by some as problematic. Therefore it is important that also the most recently developed and adopted technologies are included in academic curriculums and research programmes.[2] Academics and security experts should monitor[3] best practices implementation.[4] Policy protections must exist for researchers that seek out vulnerabilities in technology.


Section 3:  Areas to develop further stakeholder conversation


While the 2017 BPF Cybersecurity was inevitably limited in its own scope, it identified areas and issues that would benefit from a multistakeholder approach. Some of the issue are already been dealt with by one or more stakeholder groups in specific forums. There are great opportunities for dialogue and cooperation among forums. Interested stakeholders are advised to consider joining the existing forums and so further develop multistakeholder dialogue on the issue at stake. Substantial input for this section was generated from the responses to the question ‘‘What is the most critical cybersecurity issue that needs solving and would benefit from a multistakeholder approach?’ and further discussed and consolidated by the BPF.


  1. Fostering a culture of cybersecurity, and making sure it is accessible and understood by each stakeholder group; and developing a better set of core values around cybersecurity. Ensure full representation and participation of developing countries in the IGF process.

Existing forums:  UNIDIR[1]


  1. Development of internationally-agreed cybersecurity norms.

Existing forums:  UNGGE, GCSC


  1. Internet of Things ecosystem security, which accounts for the convergence of safety and security principles and the lack of commercial incentives to secure these devices and services it;

Existing forums:


  1. Vulnerability of critical infrastructure and internet resources

Existing forums:  Meridian, GFCE, ISACs


  1. Ensure that risk management approaches acknowledge that security is an evolutionary process, and that no security deployment can offer 100% protection.

Existing forums:


  1. DoS/DDoS attack, BGP/IP prefix hijacking and DNS abuse



  1. Cybercrime

Existing forums: Europol, Interpol, UNODC, Council of Europe


  1. State stability and peace in cyberspace

Existing forums:  OSCE, UN


  1. Ransomware

Existing forums:  No More Ransom


  1. Lack of education and end user awareness/engagement

Existing forums:


  1. The UN and ITU need to develop a framework to foster international cooperation and legal principles for cyber security;

Existing forums: GCCS, Council of Europe


  1. Cognitive computing and Artificial Intelligence. 

Existing forums:


  1. For mobile networks: (1) lack of public and available professional forums to address security threats, (2) low awareness of system administrators in securing next generation networks, (3) expansion of the Internet of Things.

Existing forums:  GSMA


  1. A stronger reflection of criminal justice aspects is needed in cybersecurity policies;

Existing forums: Eurojust


  1. Extreme threats: Security threats in the digital world evolve faster than established rules, laws and even technical knowledge (i.e. in case of ransomware or other threats of the nascent IoT).

Existing forums:


     17. Asymmetric use and access to the Internet

Do cyber threats of different natures pose a greater threat to open societies than to closed ones? From organised crime to democracy undermining activities. Do governments undertake enough or the right activities to protect their respective citizens, institutions and companies?

Existing Forums:


    18. Anti-abuse initiatives

Around the world there are organisation fighting abuse through the setting of Internet standards or direct actions against the use of abuse sources.

Existing Forums: M3AAWG, AbuseHUB, Signal Spam, APWG, Stop Think Connect


Part III:  Conclusions and way forward


Well-developed cybersecurity helps contribute to meeting the SDGs. Poor cybersecurity can reduce the effectiveness of these technologies, and thus limit the opportunities to achieve the SDGs.


[ text for Part III to be based on discussion at the BPF Cybersecurity workshop at the IGF]


Non-exhaustive list of regular contributors to the BPF discussions

[to be added]



Annex 1:  contributions to the 2017 BPF Cybersecurity

                        [ cleaned up version Matrix  + questionnaires ]


Annex 2:  CENB Phase I & II Cybersecurity-focused policy analysis

CENB Phase II - Cybersecurity-focused policy analysis

Analysis contributed by Andrew Cormack


Notes on how cyber-security can affect the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Derived from the IGG Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion(s): Phase II. Many of the cyber-security issues affect several SDGs: the connections selected here are chosen as perhaps the best examples of these dependencies.


SDG1 (No Poverty) depends on individuals being able to access information over the Internet. Thus it can be disrupted by weaknesses in, and attacks on, the availability of information services and the networks that individuals use in connecting to them. Issues such as denial of service attacks and services that can act as amplifiers for them could therefore affect progress towards this goal. Similar issues arise in SDGs 4 (Quality Education), 10 (Reduced Inequalities), 14 (Life below water) & 15 (Life on Land), and the overall aim of providing “meaningful access”.


SDG2 (Zero Hunger) includes farmers seeking information, reporting on local conditions, applying for grants etc. Since such activities may involve implicit or explicit criticism of public authorities, they will be hindered by any perception that those authorities are engaged in surveillance of internet usage.


SDG3 (Good Health) includes telemedicine, disease monitoring and the storage of patient data. Developed countries have already experienced setbacks in these areas as a result of incidents affecting the confidentiality and availability of sensitive information held by medical and health services.


SDG5 (Gender Equality) is harmed by individuals or organisations using communications technologies to engage in online abuse and gender-based violence.


SDG6 (Clean Water) involves using communications technologies for the remote monitoring and control of treatment and pumping equipment. Vulnerabilities in SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) equipment that is connected to shared networks are a major concern that can turn such automation from a benefit into a serious pollution and health threat.


SDG7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) depends on the widespread acceptance of smart meters and smart grids. Loss of trust in these systems can easily be caused if monitoring equipment and systems do not keep information confidential, or if information is used for inappropriate purposes.


SDG8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) highlights the importance of mobile payment systems, which are critically dependent on the security of mobile devices such as phones and tablets.


SDG9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) suggests that developing countries may find opportunities to develop disruptive industries in the area of IoT (Internet of Things). However lack of secure development processes are already causing concerns for IoT and any industry based on them could be severely damaged by a security failure in its products.


SDG11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities). Many of the technical tools suggested as supporting this aim can also become serious threats to individuals and communities if they are not secure. Criminals, neighbours, governments or even family members with unauthorised access to internet-monitored home security, traffic monitoring or CCTV systems can cause serious privacy, material, physical or emotional harm.


SDG16 (Peace and Justice) concerns citizen engagement in government, but also notes that these tools can be used for repression and the spread of prejudice. Either will strongly discourage engagement. Systems used to hold authorities to account must be protected from abuse by those authorities.


CENB Phase I - Cybersecurity-focused policy analysis

Analysis contributed by Maarten Van Horenbeeck

The 2017 Best Practices Forum on Cybersecurity is reviewing the cybersecurity implications of policy recommendations made as part of “Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion(s): Phase II”. The outcome of this work will help inform policy makers of the important cybersecurity implications of implementing or evaluating a specific policy option.

In order to ensure a comprehensive review, these notes describe a review of the cybersecurity implications of policy options identified as part of “Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion(s): Phase I”.  While that document did not align with the Sustainable Development Goals, and thus will not be our line of inquiry in approaching the Phase II review, this review is intended to ensure our guidance is comprehensive.

In Appendix A, a set of reviewed policy recommendations, extracted from the Phase I CENB document is listed. Reviewing those, I identified a set of high-level criteria which came up, in many cases repeatedly. I noted some brief security implications of each:


1.  Promoting improved and extended broadband infrastructure:

  • Increased broadband increases the risk of vulnerable endpoints being leveraged in high-bandwidth Distributed Denial of Service attacks. Whereas unmaintained, unpatched or unlicensed devices on low bandwidth networks have mostly localized impact, on high bandwidth networks the impact is likely to have more implications at the global network level.

2.  Promoting spectrum increases and promoting increased reliance on wireless modes of operation:

  • Use of spectrum for internet access is subjected to local jamming as a Denial of Service attack, which has different recovery scenarios (they must be triangulated and stopped) than cable disruptions (which can physically be fixed).
  • Wireless network access increases the importance of strong traffic encryption controls.

3.  Promoting increased power grid capacity:

  • Extension of power grid capacity, in particular over greater distances will involve the deployment and reliance on the security of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) equipment.

4.  Promoting the development of Internet Exchange Points:

  • Internet Exchange Points have strong physical security needs, and imply the use of specialized software and hardware which must be maintained. Use of components with good software security and a standard, maintainable and updatable setup becomes more important as IXPs are more distributed and perhaps run by local teams with less experience.

5.  Promoting user awareness education:

  • Educating users on the use of the internet requires those users to be made aware of security risks and safe conduct online.
  • It requires the development of initial services with human behavior in mind, so the default behavior of users on the services they use as their first entry online is secure.

6.  Deploying government services using an Open Data model:

  • Making data available requires proper anonymization, which is not an easy challenge. Data must be available in aggregate to be of use, but should not be released in such way that permits de-anonymization.
  • Data released by the government must have strong integrity to enable society to make appropriate decisions based on its analysis.
  • When third parties start building on top of the data set, its availability becomes important to permit these third parties to function.

7.  Addressing unsolicited e-mail and other forms of spam:

  • Spam and unsolicited messages may make otherwise effective communication channels difficult or unpleasant to use. Abuse management mechanisms are needed, which should be carefully introduced so as not to lead to censorship or put in place other boundaries on communication.

8.  Promoting the increase of locally relevant content and local language support:

  • Increased local language support, in particular when associated with other character sets may increase the risk of homoglyph attacks on the URIs used for such content, or other, international content;
  • Locally relevant content may not be required to be available globally. These reduced performance requirements may incentivize content creators to store it on local network resources. Having only a single copy of the information available in a region increases the risk of a Denial of Service attack rendering it unavailable, or a local outage causing it to be destroyed.

9.  Promoting national domain name infrastructure:

  • National domain name infrastructure is often less robust than the gTLD’s on which large international enterprises are deployed, such as .com, .net and .org. Increasing reliance on it requires investment in secure domain name and registry infrastructure.

10.  Promoting sharing of passive infrastructure:

  • Shared infrastructure may expose infrastructure owned by one operator to another, requiring the  implementation of strong security controls restricting access;
  • Shared infrastructure reduces overall redundancy of networks. An outage of a single site may affect multiple providers.

11.  Addressing minority and gender-based online harassment:

  • Addressing minority or gender-specific harassment requires contextual knowledge of what “harassment” means and proper reporting channels. These reporting channels may not always be available when a service provider is in a different country, or operating under a different legal framework.

12.  Strengthen telecommunications infrastructure through public private partnerships:

  • Public-private partnerships may include shared operational capability between government and industry providers, which requires strong security controls and separation of duties to ensure the public partners are unable to affect technical implementations e.g. domestic surveillance.

13.  Enabling initiating economic opportunities, such as starting a company online:

  • Bringing services critical to the economy online requires secure development processes to ensure the underlying data stores are protected from unauthorized access and modification;
  • A Denial of Service attack against such services may hamper the ability of businesses to do their work, or citizens to become economically active.

14.  Make internet devices more affordable

  • Increased price pressure without specific quality requirements may result in vendors saving on costly, but important processes such as quality control. This may result in devices being introduced without passing through a software development lifecycle that includes security testing, or a supportable update process.


Appendix A: Policy options identified from the Phase I document


1.     Deploying infrastructure

a.     Physical, interconnection layers and enabling technologies

  1. Promote broadband infrastructure (Africa IGF)
  2. Promote power grid capacity (Africa IGF)
  3. Explore creation of continental common toll-free Internet platform to preserve the identity and cultural heritage of Africa (Africa IGF)
  4. Stabilize pricing for internet access service (Ministry of Comm. Brazil)
  5. Improve transcontinental submarine cabling (Ministry of Comm. Brazil)
  6. Groups with major market power are obliged to connect to traffic exchanges, offer full peering, paid peering and traffic (Ministry of Comm. Brazil)
  7. Stimulate investments for broadband roll-out (EuroDig)
  8. Provide public funds where private investment is not enough (EuroDig)
  9. Development of public-private partnerships (EuroDig)
  10. Open access and spectrum for Wi-Fi development (APrIGF)
  11. Spectrum is a common good, policy should be inspired by criteria of public and general interest (EBU)
  12. Pro-competitive broadband policy (ICC Basis)
  13. Policy initiative targeted at specific socio-demographic groups (Annenberg School for Communication)

b.     Mobile

  1. Half of the world’s population has a mobile subscription – mobile helps to provide underserved regions with the opportunity to overcome socio-economic challenges (GSMA)
  2. Making prepaid mobile services available to non-elites, increasing mobile competition to reduce prices (ICT Africa)
  3. Stimulate 3G networks in Niger – mobile credited for nearly all progress on connectivity (IGF Niger)
  4. Promote wireless in areas with reduced electricity coverage (Movimento de Espectro Livre)
  5. Spectrum is finite, ITU estimates 1340-1960 Mhz of spectrum required for 2020 demand (GSMA)

c.     Funding sources: Universal service funds, Public Private partnerships

  1. Universal Service Provision Funds should be used to engender infrastructure into underserved areas and enable affordability (African Regional IGF)
  2. USAF should address institutional environment: oper. Independence, legal clarity, internal capacity + support broadband supply. Successful funds are targeted to address affordability and gaps (Alliance for Affordable Internet)
  3. Investments are currently typically redirected to urban and semi-urban areas (Universal Access Fund and ICT Infrastructure Investment Africa)

d.     Deployment

  1. Development of IXPs and IPv6/IDN deployment play a crucial role (EuroDig)


2.     Increasing usability

a.     Applications

  1. Causal relationship between low usage of mobile media tools and internet literacy – even when people have access to the internet, they lack the understanding of it (World Bank)

b.     Services

  1. Citizens need to have information on what governments and private sector are doing to increase access and connectivity, especially in rural areas. Geography and culture must be taken into account (civil society)
  2. Digital content and services are important to drive internet adoption and usage (World Economic Forum)

c.     Local Content, Multilingualism

  1. Content in local languages is important – accessible, cheap and interesting are content requirements (EuroDig)
  2. Representation and participation are uneven, many people are left out of the debate (IGF local content 2014)
  3. Encourage locally relevant content, including protections for freedom of expression, press, privacy and intellectual property, e-commerce infrastructure, consumer protection, trusted online payment systems. Policies must be market driven and based on voluntary commercial arrangements (ICC Basis)
  4. Promote local content (Iberoamerican federation of IT associations)
  5. Local content promotion in Spanish and native American languages (Paraguay IGF)

d.     Media

  1. Most traffic is driven by professionally produced quality content. Local content promoters are now in competition with global content industry (EBU)

e.     Accessibility

  1. Legislative framework on accessibility exists, but awareness raising, education and training of specialists is needed. (Swiss IGF)
  2. Items paid for by the public must be accessible for the public – open access to publicly funded research (Swiss IGF)


3.     Enabling users

a.     Human Rights

  1. States and private sector must commit to developing clear standards, procedures for protection and transparency to strengthen human rights on the internet in the region (Asia Pacific Regional IGF)
  2. African IGF session on Human Rights on the Internet:

1.  Establish mechanisms to promote, monitor and popularize African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms and UNESCO’s concept of internet universality

2. Self regulatory, independent objective oversight and sanctioning mechanisms

3.  Meaningful access to ICT includes control over ICTs as a key resource towards advancing status of women and girls and their human rights

4.  Address emerging issue of violence against women

b.     Inclusiveness (Gender, Youth)

  1. Issues: unequal access to internet infrastructure, affordability, gender disparity in education, digital literacy, uneven capacity to use internet for needs and priorities, specific gender-based challenges and barriers (relevant content, gender-based harassment and violence) (2015 IGF BPF on Countering Abuse against Women online)

c.     User literacy

  1. Support open data models, local content development, eLearning initiatives (African Regional IGF)
  2. Principles on Public Access in Libraries (IGF DCPAL)

d.     Digital Citizenship

  1. Fostering public access points in public libraries and community centers, and promoting content creation and digital literacy activities in those places (LAC IGF)
  2. Accessible voting machines, supporting school for blind students, working with low income populations. Promoting access to information. (Microsoft)

e.     Entrepreneurship

  1. Those formerly excluded from economic opportunity can use the internet for all phases of starting their own companies (WEF 2015)


4.     Ensuring affordability

a.     Digital divide

  1. Improve investment in R&D to allow Brazil to compete with foreign-produced goods. Otherwise the country does not fully benefit from the internet economy (Movimento de Espectro Livre – Brazil)
  2. Focus on increasing supply and lowering cost of access (Internet Society)
  3. Address spectrum availability for 3G and 4G (Arab IGF)
  4. Increase IXPs at national and regional levels (Arab IGF)
  5. Educate on computer literacy and reduce device cost, which will drive internet use and support establishment of local content (Arab IGF)

b.     Costs of Access per Capita

  1. Infrastructure sharing (e.g. independent tower companies) lowers industry costs (Alliance for Affordable Internet)
  2. Identify appropriate balance between taxation revenue and long-term socio-economic growth. Develop evidence based policies (Alliance for Affordable Internet)
  3. Develop firmware for devices already on the market, so existing devices can be re-used (e.g. OpenWRT) (Movimento de Espectro Livre – Brazil)


5.     Creating an enabling environment

a.     Government, Regulatory Authorities and IGO frameworks, laws and regulations

  1. Connecting the next billions should be driven as a project (African Regional IGF)
  2. Ministries of Communications should review plans through multistakeholder cooperation (African Regional IGF)
  3. Governments should demonstrate ability to implement viable policies already in place (do not replace previous govt projects) (African Regional IGF)
  4. Deploy government services using open data model (African Regional IGF)
  5. Effective monitoring of projects and online reporting (African Regional IGF)
  6. Regional multistakeholder approach at the AU-level (African Regional IGF)
  7. Infrastructure sharing at the backbone level and open access to cut costs (Mozambique IGF)                
  8. Fiscal policy and taxation (Mozambique IGF)
  9. Research and Data Collection (Mozambique IGF)
  10. National broadband strategies require extensive public consultation with all stakeholder groups (APC)
  11. Eliminate market protections for incumbent operators (APC)
  12. Increase government investment in public access facilities and awareness raising, focused on disenfranchised groups (APC)
  13. Allow innovative uses of spectrum and new spectrum sharing techniques (APC)
  14. Promote local ownership of small-scale communications infrastructure (APC)
  15. Using public funds and utility infrastructure to ensure national fibre networks move into sparsely populated areas (APC)
  16. Adopt effective infrastructure sharing (APC)
  17. Reduce taxes on ICT goods and services (APC)
  18. Established broadband targets in Digital Agenda for Europe (EC)
  19. Creation of ad-hoc funds to stimulate investment (EC)
  20. Improve digital skills and literacy (Coding week, networks of Digital champions) (EC)
  21. International organizations should show benefits of investments in access, high capacity connectivity, promote healthy, competitive and stable market environments, develop private-public partnerships for non-commercially viable areas, transfer expertise and share best practices (EC)
  22. Promote corporate social responsibilities (Nigeria IGF)
  23. Broadband policy, ICT Policy encouraging investment and Local Content Policy (Nigeria IGF)

b.     Private sector-led initiatives and market strategies

  1. Alliance for affordable internet:

                                    1.  Liberalized market with open, competitive environment

2.  Nurture healthy market competition

3.  Streamline licensing process with no barriers to market entry

4.  Ensure competitive market structure, with no govt ownership of end user providers

5.  Available access at market rates to international gateway or cable

6.  Transparent disclosure of pricing and service options

7.  Permit pre-paid and tiered pricing

8.  Remove barriers to crossing national borders with infrastructure or traffic

  1.  ICC Basis:

1. Open and competitive markets, fair, investment-friendly, comparable regulatory intervention for all actors

2.  Strong reliance on voluntary commercial arrangements

3.  Policies that promote efficiency through engineering-driven design (creation of IXPs)

4.  Policies that promote growth of products and services provided over broadband

  1. Run localized networking initiative with solar backup (Kenya IGF)
  2. Social enterprise that makes broadband available at low cost, based on national fiber optic network (Kenya IGF)

c.     Non-profit, Public-Private partnerships and Other initiatives

  1. Arab IGF:

1.  Foster private-public partnerships to invest in telecom infrastructure to reach out to disadvantaged areas

2.  Establish national and local dialogues on benefits of internet and how it improves economic situation of individuals

3.  Develop policies and regulations that cater for competitive access-price strategy, macro-level affordability

4.  Engage with CSOs to reinforce their role in mobilizing communities they work with

  1. Facilitiate deployment of telecoms infrastructure to facilitate access to spectrum and lower taxes (LACIGF)
  2. Companies must develop business models to break restriction income. Universalize through mobile telephony (LACIGF)
  3. Digital inclusion programs such as distributing computers to children in schools (LACIGF)
  4. Invest in  network services in order to close coverage gap (LACIGF)
  5. Roll-out of optic cables throughout country (Benin IGF)
  6. Promote national TLD (Benin IGF)
  7. Federal Telecommunications Institute of Mexico:

                                    1.  Promote access for persons with disabilities

2.  Make terminal devices and telecom services more affordable and better quality to ensure widespread access

3.  Strengthen telecoms infrastructure by encouraging public-private partnerships

4.  Encourage campaigns for skills building

5.  Encourage multi-stakeholder governance

  1. Facebook:

1.  Reduce the cost of internet access, such as supporting innovative business arrangements like free basics

2.  Promote free and open internet

a.  Do not permit fast lanes, blocking, throttling

b.  Do not introduce laws inhibiting innovation

c.  Innovative practices such as zero-rating can give more people access to content

3.  Expand connectivity infrastructure

a.  Streamline local licensing processes

b.  Reduce legal barriers to entry

c.  Promote sharing of passive infrastructure (dig once, build once)

d.  Tax incentives can accelerate development

  1. Colombia IGF:

1. ICT appropriation linked to access is important to increase impact of government initiatives and reducing digital divide

2.  Promote production of software and local content with social focus

3.  Encourage public internet access strategies, and do not neglect them in favor of mobile access.  Public access links vulnerable communities.

4.  Expand community wireless networks and connection of schools and libraries to rural areas

5.  Reduce or eliminate taxes related to internet access and devices

6.  Reduce gender gap and ICTs

  1. Broadband commission:

1.  Prioritize supply and demand-side policies to full range of broadband infrastructure, applications and services

2.  Initiate and prioritize broadband planning process

3.  Invest in ICTs and digital skills as engine of growth

4.  Review and update regulatory frameworks to take into account evolving models

  1. Expand private and public sector engagement, augment stakeholder community, recruit leaders from various sectors (civil society)
  2. More regional cooperation initiatives to address lack of domestic political will (IGF Niger)
  3. Microsoft:

1.  Openness to dialogue across partners institutions and organizations

2.  Inclusiveness of local actors aware of local needs

3.  Enabling environment for joint planning and execution

4.  Identification of socio-economic development opportunities and priorities

5.  Application of successful models across disciplines

  1. Promote public-private partnerships for connecting remote regions (Telefonica)

Address unsolicited e-mail

Annex 3:  Report of the BPF Cybersecurity session at the 2017 IGF meeting


To be added.

IGF 2017 - Best Practice Forum on Local Content



The BPF on Local Content aims to be bottom-up, open and inclusive and therefore invites all interested to comment and contribute on its draft output document.

After each section there's a possibility to leave comments by clicking on 'Add new comment'. Comments are schown in column on the right.



document structure:

Part 1:  Framinig the BPF on Local Content

Part 2:  Local content, a key component to shape the local digital future towards achieving the SDGs

Part 3:  Fostering local content development: Best practices and observed drivers and hindrances

Part 4: Conslusions and way forward


Internet cultural and linguistic diversity as an engine for growth

draft v2


1. Framing the BPF on Local Content 

One of the key outcomes of the World Summit for the Information Society (WSIS) was the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The IGF is a global forum where governments, the technical community, civil society, academia, the private sector, and independent experts discuss Internet governance and policy issues. The annual IGF meeting is organized by a Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) under the auspices of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA). The 12th annual IGF meeting took place in Geneva, Switzerland, on 18-20 December 2017.

The IGF Best Practices Forums (BPFs) bring experts and stakeholders together to develop a tangible and useful best practice output through a collaborative, bottom-up process. The BPFs are an answer to the call for intersessional work and more tangible outputs of the IGF.

At its virtual meeting on 25 April 2017, the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) approved local content as a topic for a Best Practice Forum leading into the 2017 IGF meeting. The BPF worked in an open and iterative way to produce a tangible best practice outcome.

Local content is a returning topic at the IGF and considered to be a challenge that could benefit from cooperation and coordinated effort of all stakeholders.

The 2014 Best Practice Forum on ‘Creating an enabling environment for the development of local content’ undertook an attempt to define ‘local content’ and studied what is needed to create an enabling environment from the perspective of users, the infrastructure and the law. In its conclusions, the 2014 BPF recommended to ‘encourage regional cooperation and collaboration by organizing and sharing existing case studies of local content production and capacity building. A repository of such content would be a useful resource for Internet users’.

The IGF’s Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion - Phase I (CENB I) observed that ‘the need to ensure that people are able to use the Internet according to their needs was reflected in many of the contributions. Providing access to the Internet is only the first step - once in place people must be able to use it. Ensuring availability and the ability to use applications, to stimulate the development of local content and services in all languages, and to implement strategies for safeguarding access to people with disabilities were some some of the issues identified by the community.’

The IGF’s Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion - Phase II (CENB II) pointed out that providing meaningful access to the Internet requires ensuring that people ‘can both consume and produce content’, and that ‘access inequalities and barriers like content availability not only affect those in developing countries more profoundly, but also those in rural areas as well as cultural minorities, women, refugees, and disadvantaged groups.’ In addition, the CENB II identified several linkages between the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the availability of content, amongst other with SDG 4 (Quality of education), SDG 16 (Peace and Justice).

The IGF Best Practice Forum on Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in 2015 and 2016 identified a two-way relation between locally stored local content and the growth and development of IXPs and the local Internet Infrastructure, contributing to a more affordable local Internet of higher quality.

The IGF Best Practice Forum on Overcoming Barriers to Enable Women’s Meaningful Internet Access listed the ‘availability of relevant content and applications as a barrier for meaningful access.’ Some of the testimonials in the report explicitly refer to the lack of available content in the local language

In addition, local content has been the topic of numerous workshops and discussions at the annual meetings of the IGF since the first IGF in 2006. In these meetings content creators from various countries have talked about their experiences in bringing their projects to life.


2. Local content, a key component to shape the local digital future towards achieving SDGs

2.1. Lack of locally relevant content slowing down global Internet uptake

‘The three issues affecting Internet growth are: not everyone wants or needs it, not everyone has access to it, and not everyone can provide it.’[1]

Hardly half of the global population is online and can reap the benefits of the Internet. Still, many people ‘don’t want or need the Internet because there is a lack of locally relevant content and services or training how to use it.’[2]

Access and cost - the availability and the price of access to the Internet - are still a major challenge in many regions, with multiple barriers still to overcome. Continuous effort is needed at different levels - infrastructure, technology, regulatory, etc. - to bring the Internet to more places and get more people online.  The 2014 BPF on Local Content identified cost and access as a hindrance for the creation of an enabling environment that facilitates local content development.

There's a symbiotic relation between Internet access and local content, with Internet uptake and usage as an explanatory factor in the middle. Based on recent data for the Sub-Saharan Africa region, a 2016 report[3] noted that ‘as a result of new investment in access infrastructure, including most notably mobile Internet networks, Internet availability now far outpaces adoption, and raises the question why adoption is lagging behind.’ This leads to the observation that providing Internet access alone is not per definition a guarantee for  success and growth in Internet uptake.

The ability to access the Internet is necessary, but not sufficient,to increase Internet adoption in a country.’[4]


Despite the rapid spread of the Internet and the increasing agreement on the opportunities it brings, a significant part of the world’s population remains offline. ‘These gaps in the availability and penetration of the Internet persist and a large portion of the population is still unable to directly reap digital dividends. Enhancing access to infrastructure (...) is therefore a major task for developing economies. The task of closing the access and usage gaps is a multifaceted one. It involves major ‘supply-side’ challenges, notably of encouraging investment and competition, extending broadband infrastructure outside of urban areas into rural and remote areas, and upgrading networks to match rising demand. Additionally, demand-side issues such as low levels of income, education and local content production add new challenges to improving affordability and relevance of services to users.’[5]

In some countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, ‘90% or more of the population live within range of a mobile Internet signal, but adoption may be 20% or less of the population.’[6] At the same time, other countries and parts of the world are witnessing an explosive growth in usage, and particularly of mobile data and usage.

Leaving aside factors such as cost and access, people choose to go online because they expect the Internet to be useful and interesting to them. In other words, what the Internet brings to them, in terms of content and services, must be relevant and useful from their perspective and meet their expectations, whether they are looking for information, amusement, or helpful tools for their business, study, or hobbies, or to keep in touch with family and friends.  

Relevant local content and services motivate users to go online. The ‘mobile Internet adoption has been so successful in the US and Europe because of the ubiquitous availability of content that is locally relevant to those populations,’[7]  while the seemingly lack of interest to go online in other regions is believed believed to be caused by a lack of available locally relevant content and services.

‘Without content and services adapted to [the] local taste and language, it may not be attractive or digestible. At the same time, local access and education are necessary primers to produce such relevant and meaningful content.’[8] This year’s BPF is focusing on what is needed to increase the available content relevant for the local Internet user, with a special attention for measures to enable and stimulate the creation of local content by local creators and entrepreneurs. 


Footnotes & references

[1] ‘The Internet, Homemade’, Leandro Navarro, 2 November 2017.

[2] ‘The Internet, Homemade’, Leandro Navarro, 2 November 2017

[3] ‘Promoting Content in Africa’, The Internet Society, August 2016.

[4] ‘Promoting Content in Africa’, The Internet Society, August 2016.

[5] ‘Key Issues for Digital Transformation in the G20’, OECD, January 2017.

[6] ‘Promoting Content in Africa’, The Internet Society, August 2016.

[7] ‘Local world - content for the next wave of growth’, GMSA Intelligence, September 2014.

[8] ‘The Internet, Homemade’, Leandro Navarro, 2 November 2017.


2.2.  Locally relevant content

‘In order to be relevant, content must be in a language understood by the local population, and it must meet local demand’


Encouraging Internet usage by individuals and small businesses is to a large extent ‘a matter of stimulating the development of relevant and useful content. Such content is often developed in, or translated into, the local language and deals with matter of local interest.’[1] ‘In order to be relevant, content must be in a language understood by the local population, and it must meet local demand, whether those needs are social, educational, government or business related.’[2] From the perspective of the Internet user, content can be divided into ‘six major categories: entertainment, information, utilities, business services, sharing platforms, and communications.’[3]


Footnotes & references

[1]Internet for All, A Framework for Accelerating Internet Access and Adoption’, World Economic Forum, April 2016.

[2] ‘Promoting Content in Africa’, The Internet Society, August 2016.

[3] ‘The Global Information Technology Report 2015’, World Economic Forum, April 2015.


2.2.1.  International and locally created content

‘Much of the international content and many of the services available are relevant in many countries worldwide - this is true of social networking services, educational access, and, of course, entertainment. However, we also note the importance of locally created content, both for the relevance of the content in the local context, as well as for the opportunities provided to the creators for earning a living and creating jobs.’[1]

‘And even where language is not an issue, local relevance is key. While much of existing content has international appeal, much is also targeted. A local online newspaper in Spain may not be on any interest in Mexico, French e-government services are of little use in Senegal, and uber is only of interest in cities where Uber operates.’[2]

Footnotes & references

[1] ‘Promoting Content in Africa’, The Internet Society, August 2016.

[2] ‘Why is Internet growth slowing down?’, Michael Kende, 23 January 2016.


2.2.2. Local language

‘Lack of relevant content in local languages can impede bringing people online. The World Bank estimates that 80% of online content is available in one of 10 languages (...). Only about 3 billion people speak one of these languages as their first. More than half of the online content is written in English, which is understood by just 21% of the world’s population according to estimates by Mozilla and the GSMA. To reach the goal of global connectivity, the problem of relevance as it relates to awareness and language must be addressed.’[1]

In many large countries, the local language that is spoken and used in parts of the country and in particular in rural areas, is different from the country’s official national language(s). Local users do not always sufficiently known or feel familiar in the official language. For those areas, it is important that online content is available in the language that people understand and use. Websites from the government and official institutions, or e-government platforms, which traditionally will be in the country’s official language(s) often fail to reach local populations.[2]

Footnotes & references

[1]Internet for All, A Framework for Accelerating Internet Access and Adoption’, World Economic Forum, April 2016.

[2] ‘Promoting Content in Africa’, The Internet Society, August 2016.


2.2.3.  Creating Local Content : benefits and opportunities

‘Digital ecosystems that produce local content and apps are vital for building digital literacy, attracting local users and serving local needs. Digital services can also address local problems and boost competition in an increasingly digital services market. In addition, using the internet can have a significant impact on local businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).’[1]

‘The lack of local content means that there are great opportunities for local entrepreneurs and other content creators to step in and address this need. Especially for local developers of content, this also may create new sources of income. At the same time as providing developers with income, local content can help to address local needs for information, coordination, entertainment, and other Internet services, through apps and websites.’[2]

‘Local developers have several advantages with respect to local content. First , they know the local market and information needs. Second, they know about existing channels and methods of communication, as well as cultural referents, allowing them to best target the local market.’[3]

Bringing local knowledge and experience online is relevant for the own community but creates as well the opportunity to share this knowledge with the Internet and the rest of the world, what can lead to useful exchanges and enriched insight for the own and other communities.  

Footnotes & references

[1]Internet for All, A Framework for Accelerating Internet Access and Adoption’, World Economic Forum, April 2016.

[2] ‘Promoting Content in Africa’, The Internet Society, August 2016.

[3] ‘Promoting Content in Africa’, The Internet Society, August 2016.



2.3.  Stakeholder roles and opportunities for action

2.3.1.  Governments

Governments play a key role with regard to the availability of relevant local content in their countries, both in their role as policy maker and as provider of essential information and services online.[1]

In its role as policy-maker the governments can take initiatives to promote and stimulate the content development of others, by creating a policy environment that enables content production.  There are many factors that contribute to an environment that encourages the creation and distribution of locally relevant content including  freedom of expression, intellectual property protection, appropriate privacy protections for users and creators, consumer protection infrastructure, and secure payment platforms. All of these factors are needed to ensure that both creators and users benefit from the value of the content.

A primary component of an enabling environment for content creation is support for freedom of expression in all its forms - creative, political, social and economic expression.  Expression allows people to connect and to build communities, and it drives political movements, creative endeavors, economic growth and social discourse.  Another important element of the enabling environment for content creation is intellectual property protection and enforcement. Studies, such as a 2014 examination of Bollywood, find that effective protection of intellectual property supports greater content creation.[2]Without the incentives for content creation created by an effective intellectual property framework, digital content creation will flag or -- worse for less connected countries -- never materialize.

Last, a trusted Internet infrastructure and services that encourage users to engage in e-Commerce will enable the creation of additional locally relevant content. Consumer protection and the availability of secure payment mechanisms together with secure distribution platforms are critically important enablers for content creation.  The infrastructure to allow users to easily purchase digital products, and responsible business practices protecting them when they do, spurs the availability of digital content.[3]

Footnotes & references

[1] ‘The Global Information Technology Report 2015’, World Economic Forum, April 2015.

[2] Rahul Telang & Joel Waldfogel, Piracy and New Product Creation:  A Bollywood Story, at 27 (Aug. 6, 2014), available at (finding that “during the period of widespread unpaid consumption, revenue fell by a third to a half . . . [and] the number of new products released fell substantially”).

[3] Consumer Policy Guidance on Mobile and Online Payments, OECD Digital Economy Papers, No. 236, at 4–5 (2014), available at


2.3.2.  Private sector

‘The private sector has the ability not only to contribute to content development, but also to profit directly from its efforts.’[1]

  • Solve payment and monetization issue (in some developing countries)
  • Opportunity to engage with new and growing segments of online consumers (eg women, rural population)
  • Provide easy-to-use tools for the creation of user-generated content (in and accepting local language)
  • Idem … for low-cost phones

Footnotes & references

[1]Internet for All, A Framework for Accelerating Internet Access and Adoption’, World Economic Forum, April 2016.


2.3.3 Civil Society

  • Promoting content development by others



2.3.5 Technical community

  • Further promote the introduction and uptake of IDN domain names in 'local' scripts, and sole solve the universal acceptance of these IDN domain names.

  • Support for local languages and characters/scripts in applications.



3. Fostering local content development: Best practices and observed drivers and hindrances


The BPF is still collecting examples of initiatives and projects aiming at

  • the creation of content relevant for the local Internet users, or at

  • enabling local entrepreneurs and content developers to put their content online.

Please fill in the survey



3.1.  Projects and Initiatives

The BPF Local content collected - via a public call for contributions - examples of initiatives and projects that aim at the creation of content relevant for local Internet users, or at enabling local entrepreneurs and content developers to put their content online. Contributors were asked to identify in their contributions which factors helped or hindered the project to maximize its success.

To date, the BPF received 14 contributions from 11 countries:

  • Femmes et Développement du Contenu Internet Local  (Chad)

  • Asociatividad institucional para el desarrollo e integración de infraestructura y servicios de conectividad  (Argentina)

  • Proyecto Armonía: las TIC y el desarrollo humano en comunidades rurales.  (Cuba)

    Harmony Project: ICT and human development in rural communities. (Cuba)

  • Bislama Online Dictionary (Vanuatu)

  • Summit CSA Cloud Security Alliance Argentina  (Argentina)

  • Fiji Museum Virtual Museum (Fiji)

  • Food is Life Media Campaign (PNG & Melanesia)

  • Examples of public service broadcasting enablers for local content (UK)

  • Dominios Latinoamerica (Uruguay/Argentina)

  • South School on Internet Governance (Uruguay)

  • “Correspondentes” from VEJA website (Brazil)

  • Art in Hawaii (USA)

  • Triggerfish Story Lab (South Africa)


The description of the projects can be found in the annexe.


From these examples, the BPF crystallized the factors that helped or hindered projects in achieving their envisaged result. They are listed here to help and inspire others who run or plan initiatives that am at creating or enabling the creation of locally relevant content.

There’s a variety of projects and approaches, depending on when, where, what and who’s involved. As a result, it’s only natural that some of the observations and advise may be useful while other suggestions may be irrelevant for a specific project or initiative. It is not the BPF’s intention to be normative or exhaustive. What follows is per definition open, flexible and incomplete and should be adapted to and supplemented with own experiences and insights.


3.2.  Factors that contributed to success

What contributed to the success ?

  • The active involvement of different stakeholders;

  • Working with the local government and a locally established partner was instrumental in helping the project succeed

  • A good understanding between the authorities and technical parties;

  • The partnership/collaboration with private partners with the technical skills to facilitate the work;

  • The will to innovate and to serve all citizens, of all classes and of all ages, on all platforms (with content free of charge);

  • Working with professionals to collect and create the content (in the example, experienced journalists);

  • Simultaneous translation and broadcasting via audio and video streaming for remote participation.


3.3.  Factors that hindered the project to achieve its results

What hindered the project in achieving results?

  • Slowness of processes and (official) procedures;

  • The high cost of Internet connectivity in the country;

  • A lack of resources and financing (e.g. to obtain or procure hardware - PC, Camera, video);

  • The main problem, beyond the political will, is the problem of the resources needed to create the (initial) content and launch the service;

  • Facebook and instagram are not the ideal platforms as they don’t allow full control over the own content and its circulation. On the other hand, they do allow to garner   a strong following and access people and communities that we may not be directly connected to.

  • Multiple parties (e.g. authors’ rights organisations) may have a say to make high quality content available on a digital platform.



3.4. Lessons learned

Lessons learned?

  • Constructing a local project and progressively enlarging its scope in a bottom-up way, might be more effective than pursuing the large scope from the start;

  • From the start, it’s important to persuade and sensitize decision makers, managers, teachers  and residents of the importance of the project in terms of human interest for the whole local community;

  • Initial scarcity of material and financial resources in rural areas can be intimidating at start, but will be compensated by the gratitude, participation and support of its inhabitants;

  • Strong partnerships are vital and solutions need to work within the technical capacity of the target audience;

  • All the successful stories of V.o.D. of public service media around the world prove two main things: that local contents remain the preferred ones by each citizen of the world, at equivalent quality conditions; and that the contribution and the active involvement of all the stakeholders is needed to achieve success;

  • Language is a barrier, and creating or making the content available in two or more languages is challenging, but worth the effort.

  • SMEs have all their human resources focused on concrete issues, and few time for networking, attending conferences etc..

  • Social media is the perfect medium to connect across communities and oceans.



4. Conclusions and way forward

4.1.  Conclusions

Conclusions and way forward will be included after the BPF’s workshop at the 2017 IGF meeting in Geneva, and will be based on and include a report of the discussions at the workshop.


IGF 2017  Best Practice Forum on Local Content


Thursday 21 December

11:50 - 13:20 (UCT +1)

Room XII - A United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)



4.2.  Way forward and further work

The 2017 BPF focused on creating and making content available that is relevant for local users, to solve the lack of interest in the Internet and to motivate more people to get connected and share in the benefits to the internet. Content is important, and the lack of locally relevant content can explain the low growth in Internet use in some areas in spite of important improvements in access and infrastructure.

Relevant local content is only one of the driving factors that can contribute to getting more people online and further developing the internet in areas where uptake is low. In its focus on local content, the BPF deliberately ignored the question of the access at a reasonable price, which is in some area still an important roadblock for potential Internet users.

The BPF chose to limit its scope to initiatives that contribute to making more content available that is relevant for the local Internet user, and in particular focused on best and current practices to create local content and give incentives and support local entrepreneurs to provide their content and services online. The BPF collected examples of successful initiatives and looked for opportunities for further action and stakeholder cooperation.

Local content is a more complicated subject and was only partially discussed in this document. There are other angles and facets that require further attention, and could benefit from stakeholder action and cooperation. They could serve as topic for a future BPF or other initiative.

The following topics should be further explored :

  • Digital literacy, skills and awareness, support and guidance for those who need help.

  • Monetization of local content: initiatives to help local content creators and entrepreneurs to monetize their content and services, including the need of working payment system.

  • Local content distribution: the need for local and regional content distribution platforms and infrastructure to make content more easily available; for example the establishment of data centers, hosting and exchanges (IXPs).



List of references and background documents

Dynamic Coalitions

IGF Dynamic Coalitions (DCs) are bottom-up, issue-specific groups that have existed since the first annual IGF meeting in Athens. Their outputs and activities are incredibly varied and can take on different forms. Over the years, DCs have made significant contributions to the content as well as the organization of IGF meetings. 

Ahead of the DCs Main Session at IGF 2017, 13 participating coalitions have submitted substantive papers as inputs. These are first drafts, with all in the IGF Community invited to leave their comments on each paper in the review platform below. 


An Internet For #YesAllWomen? Women's rights, gender and equality in digital spaces (DC on Gender and Internet Governance)


1. Women’s rights and gender equality are fundamental human rights, guaranteed in international treaties, standards and policy frameworks. These include, most recently, the Sustainable Development Goals which aim to achieve gender equality and empower women and girls as a fundamental human right. They also include the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and its Optional Protocol, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Declaration on Violence Against Women. Key UN policy frameworks - such as the Vienna, Beijing and Cairo Declarations and Platforms for Action - commit States to gender equality.

2. In the 21st century, it is no longer adequate to address women's rights only offline. The 21st century differs from every other century in that digital technologies are now an integral part of our lives. Today, 95% of the world is covered by a mobile network and almost one out of two people (47%) use the Internet.[i] Globally, 3.9 billion people use the internet and 4.9 billion inidviduals use mobile technologies.[ii] Men, women and trans persons use the Internet for a wide range of activities: communication, entertainment, information, research, commerce, work and activism.


[i] International Telecommunications Union

[ii] We Are Social 2017 data in or get We Are Social reference

3. The Feminist Principles of the Internet provide a framework to explore and dive deeper into women's rights in digital spaces. Drafted and updated by more than 100 civil society organizations from Asia, Africa and Latin America, they offer a gendered lens on critical internet-related rights. The principles are divided into five key clusters as follows:

  • Access
  • Movements and Public Participation
  • Economy
  • Expression
  • Agency


This paper explores some of the issues that are part of the 'agency' cluster.


Key issues: Consent; Privacy and data; Memory; Anonymity


4. In September 2017, a young man in India livestreamed on Facebook a video of a sexual act – without the consent of the woman in the video. In September 2016, a young woman in Italy committed suicide after her sex video continued to remain online – without her consent.[iii] The Supreme Court in India is currently hearing a case against 'rape videos' – which embody simultaneous violations of consent in physical and digital spaces. Rape videos also represent consent being violated thrice over: the rape itself, the filming, and the distribution.

5. Consent has emerged as a critical women's rights issue in the digital age. Women's agency lies in their ability to make informed decisions on what aspects of their public or private lives to share in digital spaces – as information, data, text, images or video. This is what consent means in practice.

6. Since most information online involves a two-step process – creation and distribution - digital consent must be understood as a multi-step practice, not a single-step concept. A woman may consent to participating only in the creation of an image or a video (step 1), including one that is intimate or sexual – but not consent to its distribution (step 2). This was what happened in the first two cases mentioned above. Or a woman may not consent to any of it - neither creation nor distribution - as in the rape videos. Either way, consent must be specifically sought, obtained, upheld and respected in each and every step of the digital cycle. In some countries, laws and legal judgements are separating these strands of consent – production and distribution - and separately punishing each violation.

7. While non-consensual production and distribution need to be treated as rights violations, consensual creations need to be protected. Legal distinctions between the 'consensual' and the 'non-consensual' need to be strengthened to enable freedom of expression, including sexual expression. Young women in particular negotiate freedom and censure and use online spaces to challenge cultural and social restrictions around sexuality, relationships and self-determination. Without laws that firmly distinguish the 'consensual' from the 'non-consensual',  women who publish intimate digital images of themselves can be booked under statutes related to obscenity or indecency.


8. While the law is critical in upholding consent, it is not a sufficient mechanism to usher in an everyday practice of consent across digital platforms. What's also needed is an ethics of consent that is built and embedded into the culture, design, policies and practices of digital platforms.

9. Consent and privacy are closely linked to one another, both in physical and digital spaces. The concept of informed consent – used in research and medicine - rests on the understanding that participants’ privacy will be respected, both offline and online, where information or data is increasingly stored. Obtaining consent is necessary for any private information to be made public. However, enough information must be provided to an individual for them to exercise 'informed' or 'meaningful' consent. Digital users typically tick the 'terms of service' of digital platforms to signal their consent to a range of conditions, including how their data is collected, stored and used. Such 'terms of service' are considered too legalistic, lengthy and jargon-laden to meet the standards of meaningful consent, or to protect the privacy of users.

10. Privacy has emerged as a critical right in digital spaces for two main reasons. One, the right to privacy is essential for individuals to freely access information and express themselves. Two, the right to privacy is essential given the vast amounts of personal data that digital platforms collect, store, and use, often for their own purposes. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights notes that “the Internet also presents new tools and mechanisms through which both State and private actors can monitor and collect information about individuals’ communications and activities on the Internet. Such practices can constitute a violation of the Internet users’ right to privacy, and, by undermining people’s confidence and security on the Internet, impede the free flow of information and ideas online.”

11. In the digital age, surveillance is one of the biggest threats to privacy – and expression. Almost any digital tool, platform or technology allows for mass surveillance, notes the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “In practice, the reach of these technologies is astonishingly broad: governments can listen in on cell phone calls, use voice recognition to scan mobile networks, read emails and text messages, censor web pages, track a citizen’s every movement using GPS, and can even change email contents while en route to a recipient...They can secretly turn on webcams built into personal laptops and microphones in cell phones not being used. And all of this information is filtered and organized on such a massive scale that it can be used to spy on every person in an entire country.”[iv]

12. Surveillance can create a chilling effect on the online expression of ordinary citizens, who may self-censor for fear of being constantly tracked. Surveillance also exerts a disproportionate impact on the freedom of expression of a wide range of vulnerable groups, including racial, religious, ethnic, gender and sexual minorities, members of certain political parties, civil society, human rights defenders, professionals such as journalists, lawyers and trade unionists, victims of violence and abuse, and children.[v]

13. Surveillance is not a new phenomenon where women are concerned; women have always been under stringent surveillance by actors ranging from partners and parents to the State.[vi]  The Internet Democracy Project notes that the digital age may have further deepened the scrutiny to which women are subjected - this has shaped and harmed, women’s lives in multiple ways. In parts of India, local village bodies have banned young women from using mobile phones. CCTV cameras surveil women who work in garment factories. And safety apps track and collect information about women users, without specifying why or how this is being collected, stored or used.[vii]

14. Surveillance is used in digital spaces much as it is used in physical spaces: to restrict women's bodies, speech and activism. In this context, it is essential to understand surveillance as an obstacle to women's rights and gender equality. This means paying attention to and addressing surveillance practices by individuals, the private sector, the state and non-state actors.

15. Strengthening the right to privacy in digital spaces also means ensuring that an individual has full control over their personal data and information online at all levels. It means ensuring that States and private companies do not use personal data to manipulate digital behaviour or for other profit-making practices.

16. Since data lives on over time in digital spaces, ensuring the right to privacy also translates into enabling individuals to exercise and retain control over their personal data, histories and memories online. Individuals must be able to access personal data and information, know who has access to it and under what conditions, control this use and access, and retain the ability to delete it forever.

17. Strengthening the right to privacy online also means ensuring that individuals have the means to express themselves without revealing their identities. “Throughout history, people’s willingness to engage in debate on controversial subjects in the public sphere has always been linked to possibilities for doing so anonymously,” notes the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. “The Internet allows individuals to access information and to engage in public debate without having to reveal their real identities, for example through the use of pseudonyms on message boards and chat forums.”

18. Although the Internet offers tools and possibilities to hide one's face, voice, image, or location, such privacy is superficial in the absence of encryption. Noted the OHCHR: “The privacy afforded through such pseudonyms is superficial and easily disturbed by Governments or others with the necessary expertise; in the absence of combinations of encryption and anonymizing tools, the digital traces that users leave behind render their identities easily discoverable. Users seeking to ensure full anonymity or mask their identity (such as hiding the original IP address) against State or criminal intrusion may use tools such as virtual private networks (VPNs), proxy services, anonymizing networks and software, and peer-to-peer networks.”

19. The OHCHR notes further notes that “journalists, researchers, lawyers and civil society rely on encryption and anonymity to shield themselves (and their sources, clients and partners) from surveillance and harassment. The ability to search the web, develop ideas and communicate securely may be the only way in which many can explore basic aspects of identity, such as one’s gender, religion, ethnicity, national origin or sexuality. Artists rely on encryption and anonymity to safeguard and protect their right to expression, especially in situations where it is not only the State creating limitations but also society that does not tolerate unconventional opinions or expression.”

Children’s Dignity and Children’s Rights in the Digital World (DC on Child Online Safety)

On 6 October 2017 the attendees of the World Congress: Child Dignity in the Digital World

presented the „The Declaration of Rome“ to Pope Francis. By his statement: “A society can be

judged by the way it treats its children.” the Holy Father himself had set out the guiding

principle for the call to action as laid down in the declaration. The Declaration concludes, “In

this era of the internet the world faces unprecedented challenges if it is to preserve the rights

and dignity of children and protect them from abuse and exploitation. These challenges

require new thinking and approaches, heightened global awareness and inspired leadership.”

The Declaration of Rome urges the world’s leaders, leaders of the world’s great religions,

parliaments and leaders of technology companies, the world’s ministries of public health,

government agencies, civil society and law enforcement, and religious institutions to

undertake in their particular remit efforts to protect children form risks arising from the

Internet and empower them to benefit from the opportunities for learning and individual

development the Internet offers to them.

In accepting the Declaration Pope Francis said, “…you have pointed out a variety of different

ways to promote concrete cooperation among all concerned parties working to combat the

great challenge of defending the dignity of minors in the digital world. I firmly and

enthusiastically support the commitments you have undertaken.”

During the World Congress the attendees developed in a joint effort the following Strategic

Plan for Implementing the Declaration of Rome (published 15 October 2017)

The Mission: To create a global coalition of religions, governments, international

organisations, scholars and researchers, civil society and others, working together toward a

common goal: defending the dignity of minors and vulnerable adults in the digital world.

The Vision: To eradicate child sexual abuse and exploitation in the digital world and safeguard

minors and vulnerable adults worldwide.

The Strategy: To achieve 13 goals recognizing the urgent need for an inter-sectoral strategic

collaboration which calls upon technology leaders, political and religious leaders, health and

social care professionals and others to share responsibility for achieving them.

Goal 1: To raise awareness regarding the risks in the Digital World especially with respect

to primary prevention and safeguarding, and undertake new social research.

Goal 2: To mobilise faith leaders to support the implementation of the Declaration.

Goal 3: To change state laws to be more effective in preventing abuse.

Goal 4: To redefine the responsibilities and actions required by technology companies.

Goal 5: To improve provision of child rescue and treatment services.

Goal 6: To improve identification and interventions for children and young people at risk.

Goal 7: To improve the capabilities and collaborative efforts of international law

enforcement organisations.

Goal 8: To train clinicians to better serve the needs of victims.

Goal 9: To expand treatment resources for people harmed by abuse.

Goal 10: To research the health impacts on young people of viewing pornographic images.

Goal 11: To set safety standards, agree to a code of conduct, and mandate filtering and age

verification to protect children from inappropriate online content.

Goal 12: To improve education of children and young people.

Goal 13: To ensure all citizens are alert to the risks of abuse and know how to report it.

The Children’s Dignity and Children’s Rights conference was held under the joint auspices

of the Pontifical Gregorian University and the #We Protect Global Alliance. As such it

represents a major development in terms of the range of stakeholders who now see and

accept that the position of children in the digital world presents a series of significant

contemporary challenges which require urgent attention.

Community Networks: the Internet by the People for the People (DC on Community Connectivity)

Preview prepared by Luca Belli

This is the preview of the book “Community Networks: the Internet by the People for the People,”
which is the Official 2017 Outcome of the UN IGF Dynamic Coalition on Community Connectivity
(DC3). DC3 is a multistakeholder group aimed at fostering a cooperative analysis of the community
network model, exploring how such networks may be used to foster sustainable Internet connectivity
while empowering Internet users. DC3 provides a shared platform involving all interested individuals
and institutions into a multistakeholder analysis of community connectivity issues. This book should
be seen as a further step towards a better understanding of community networking and is built upon
the previous efforts of the DC3.

This volume is structured in two sections (i) exploring challenges and opportunities for community
networks in four different continents (CNs) and (ii) analysing a series of case studies and forwardlooking
proposals regarding CNs. As a conclusion, this work includes the updated version of the
Declaration on Community Connectivity, which was elaborated through a multistakeholder
participatory process, featuring an online open consultation, between July and November 2016; a
public debate and a feedback-collection process, during the IGF 2016; and a further online
consultation, between December 2016 and March 2017.

As stated by the Declaration on Community Connectivity, CNs are crowdsourced networks

“structured to be open, free, and to respect network neutrality. Such networks rely on the active
participation of local communities in the design, development, deployment, and management of
shared infrastructure as a common resource, owned by the community, and operated in a
democratic fashion. Community networks can be operationalised, wholly or partly, through
individuals and local stakeholders, NGO's, private sector entities, and/or public administrations.”

For this reason, it can be argued that CNs promote an individual-centred Internet, for the people, by
the people. Building on the previous works of the DC3, this book aims at fostering a better
understanding of what are CNs and the opportunities that these initiatives offer to develop of a
sustainable Internet environment, fostering a sustainable connectivity agenda and allowing the greatest
possible number of individuals to enjoy the benefits of information and telecommunications

1.1. Challenges and Opportunities for Community Networks

The first part of this volume explores a variety of regulatory, technical, social and economic challenges
raised by community-networking initiatives. The five chapters included in this part do not simply
analyse the challenges faced by CNs but put forward potential solutions, suggestions and
recommendations that are based on critical observation and evidence-based analysis and should be
considered by all stakeholders.

In the opening chapter on “Network Self-determination and the Positive Externalities of
Community Networks,”
Luca Belli argues that existing examples of CNs provide a solid evidencebase
on which a right to network self-determination can be constructed. Network self-determination
should be seen as the right to freely associate in order to define, in a democratic fashion, the design,
development and management of network infrastructure as a common good, so that all individuals can
freely seek, impart and receive information and innovation. First, this chapter argues that the right to
network self-determination finds its basis in the fundamental right to self-determination of people as
well as in the right to informational self-determination that, since the 1980s, has been consecrated as
an expression of the right to free development of the personality. In this sense, the author emphasises
that, network self-determination plays a pivotal role allowing individuals to associate and join efforts
to bridge digital divides in a bottom-up fashion, freely developing common infrastructure.
Subsequently, Belli examines a selection of CNs, highlighting the positive externalities triggered by
such initiatives, with regard to the establishment of new governance structures as well as the
development of new content, applications and services that cater for the needs of the local
communities, empowering previously unconnected individuals. The chapter offers evidence that the
development of CNs can prompt several positive external-effects that considerably enhance the
standards of living of individuals, creating learning opportunities, stimulating local entrepreneurship,
fostering the creation of entirely new jobs, reviving social bounds amongst community members and
fostering multistakeholder partnerships. For these reasons, policymakers should design national and
international policy frameworks that recognise the importance of network self-determination and
facilitate the establishment of CNs rather than hindering their development.

In his chapter on “Barriers for development and scale of Community Networks in Africa,” Carlos
Rey-Moreno explains that that CNs should be seen as communications infrastructure deployed and
operated by citizens to meet their own communication needs and such initiatives are being increasingly
proposed as a solution to foster connectivity. However, Rey-Moreno emphasises that, in Africa, where
the proportion of unconnected individuals is among the highest globally, the number of initiatives
identified is relatively low considering the continent’s size and population. Hence, the chapter focuses
on the barriers that prevent more CNs from appearing or existing ones from becoming sustainable
and scaling. The barriers identified range from the lack of awareness of both the potential benefits of
accessing information, and the Internet more generally, and the possibility for communities to create
their own network, to the lack of income of the people who would like to start one. Importantly, the
author notes that most of the people within the next billion to be connected need to choose, daily,
between Internet/communication networks and other vital necessities such a food and health.
The unreliable (or the complete lack of) electricity in most of these areas, and the high cost of backhaul
connectivity, also affects the capital required to start and operate CNs. The lack of local technical
competencies, and a regulatory framework not conducive for the establishment of small, local
communication providers, are also identified as the main barriers for growth of community networks
in the region. Despite this breadth of barriers, African communities are proving that some, if not all,
of these barriers have been addressed. As stressed by Rey-Moreno, this is motivating global
organisations to contribute creating an enabling environment that removes these barriers.

In his chapter on “Community Networks as a Key Enabler of Sustainable Access,” Michael J.
Oghia defines sustainable access to the Internet, as the ability for any user to connect to the Internet
and then stay connected over time, thus contributing critically to sustainable development. The author
argues that CNs are ideal to catalyse sustainable access, but the challenge of generating reliable energy
to power infrastructure continues to pose a significant barrier to lowering costs and the ability to scale.
This chapter aims to highlight the link between community networks and the broader agenda on
sustainability, defines sustainable access, and explores the connection between infrastructure, energy,
and Internet access, while concluding by outlining the role of CNs as a pillar of enabling sustainable

In her chapter on “Community Networks: Policy & regulatory issues and gaps, an experience
from India,”
Ritu Srivastava discusses the Digital Empowerment Foundation’s Wireless for
Communities model, exploring the legal and regulatory challenges frequently faced by CNs in
developing countries, with particular regard to spectrum allocation and management, licensing
regulation, and bandwidth policies in India. The author maps out the common elements of these
challenges among CNs and, subsequently, addresses policy and regulatory issues. Notably this chapter
investigates the efficacy of creating Wireless Community Networks, Rural Internet Service Providers
or community-based Internet Service Providers and explores the possibility of policies, which could
help in creating widespread information infrastructure for developing countries, with a focus on India,
in order to better connect the subcontinent. Importantly, Srivastava’s paper puts forward a number of
recommendations for policy-makers, regulatory bodies, and related stakeholders. Such
recommendations are organised into national recommendations and regional and international
recommendations. The national recommendations include suggestions regarding how to alleviate
unnecessary regulatory and fiscal hurdles on small/rural Internet Service Providers and CNs in India.
The regional and international recommendations focus on creating a more enabling policy and
regulatory environment for CNs, in general, and can be applied to any national context.

In their paper on “Can the Unconnected Connect Themselves? Towards an Action Research
Agenda for Local Access Networks,”
Carlos Rey-Moreno, Anriette Esterhuysen, Mike Jensen, Peter
Bloom, Erick Huerta and Steve Song argue that community-based solutions to building local network
infrastructure are increasingly being considered as viable alternatives to traditional large-scale national
deployment models. Use of low-cost networking equipment to provide communication infrastructure
built in a bottom-up manner is growing, especially in rural areas where connectivity is poor. While
there are instances of these solutions that stand as real-world examples of ways to improve access to
ICTs and provide affordable and equitable access, these models of Internet access provision are still
not widely known or well accepted, usually being deemed as ‘fringe’ solutions to connectivity needs
that lack widespread applicability or the potential to scale. This chapter outlines a proposed action
research agenda
and methodology for providing an evidence-based understanding of the potential
role of these types of local infrastructure solutions in meeting the needs of the unconnected, as well as
those on costly-metered broadband services.

1.2 Building Connectivity in a Bottom-up Fashion

The second part of this work analyses a selection of CNs, stressing the diversity of the social, economic
and technical backgrounds from which CNs may originate as well as highlighting that very
heterogeneous models that may be utilised to establish and maintain CNs. The cases presented in this
section witness the variety of CNs, demonstrate that these initiatives may be developed in many
different environments and suggest the interest of promoting further research on the matter.

Erik Huerta Velazquez and Karla Velasco’s chapter on “The Success of Community Mobile
Telephony in Mexico and its Plausibility as an Alternative to Connect the Next Billion”
opens the
second part of this book. The authors introduce a framework for the design and instrumentation of
Community Mobile Telephony (CMT) from a Mexican perspective but applicable to other regions.
Particularly, this chapter describes the case of Telecomunicaciones Indigenas Comunitarias A.C. and
Rhizomatica whose CMT began operating in 2013 in Talea de Castro, Oaxaca, under a private
network scheme and using a segment of spectrum, acquired for free-and-non-profit use. The case
analysed in this chapter demonstrates that, under a new technical, economic and organizational
scheme, it was possible to offer, in a sustainable manner, mobile services in commercially unfeasible
localities. After 3 years, since inception, the system covered eighteen localities of between two hundred
and three thousand habitants. As Huerta and Velasco emphasise, these data confirm not only the
viability of the model but also the possibility to expand it to communities without mobile service.
Moreover, this experience paved the way for the creation of a new framework among traditional
operators, which allowed them to connect rural locations, previously deemed inviable. Importantly,
the success of the project has given way to a new legal framework and a modification in spectrum
administration, which, for the first time in Mexican history, assigned a portion of GSM spectrum for
social purposes. The success of the Mexican case proves that Community Mobile Telephony is a
plausible option that should be embraced to connect over 2 billion people without affordable mobile
coverage and the 700 million with no coverage at all, by supporting communities to build and maintain
self-governed and owned communication infrastructure.

In their chapter on “Community-led Networks for Sustainable Rural Broadband in India: the
Case of Gram Marg,”
Sarbani Banerjee Belur, Meghna Khaturia and Nanditha P. Rao argue that, to
bridge the digital divide facing rural India, a cost-effective technology solution and a sustainable
economic model based on community-led networks is needed. Gram Marg Rural Broadband project
at IIT Bombay, India has been working on both these aspects through field trials and test-bed
deployments. The authors critically argue that, even if the connectivity reaches rural India, the network
infrastructure would not be able to sustain itself at the village level, without a sustainable economic
This chapter analyses the findings of the impact studies performed by the authors, which have
exposed the need for community owned networks. Conspicuously, the study reveals that villagers have
a clear understanding that they can save time and money, when Internet connectivity reaches the
village. However, the adoption of traditional Internet access provision paradigm was not sustainable.
On the contrary, villagers suggested community-led networks would enable them to “own Internet”
and, to this end, the Public-Private-Panchayat Partnership (4-P) model was developed. In this
context, the Panchayat, which is the local self-government – which operates at the village level
according to the Indian decentralised administration system – takes ownership of the network.

The partnership enables the network to be community-led for effective decision making and
prioritising services based on the needs of the villagers. The public-private partnership enables Internet
connectivity to reach the village from where the management is taken over by the Panchayat that
supports the investment for the local network infrastructure, at the village level. Local youth known as
Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) invest, maintain the network and generate revenue. The authors
stress that the model ensures a decent and sustainable return on investment for the Panchayat and
defines a nominal user subscription cost. It also considers expected future growth in demand and
related cost dynamics. This chapter offers a crucial perspective on the relevance of revenue generation
and sharing, stressing that CNs can be economically sustainable, providing incentive for connectivity
expansion and empowerment of local villagers.

In his chapter on “Comparing Two Community Network Experiences in Brazil,” Bruno Vianna
describes two installations of community networks in two different environments in the state of Rio
de Janeiro, Brazil. The first case study, completed in 2015, was established in the rural village of
Fumaça. The development of this CN was made possible thanks to a grant from Commotion Wireless
and was built by a team of volunteers together with the members of the local community. To date, the
network remains operational, providing free and open access to the Fumaça community. The second
one was established in the Maré Complex, an area concentrating a considerable number of favelas in
the city of Rio de Janeiro. It was made possible through an open call for workshops from the Rio de
Janeiro state government, and was implemented by the students who participated in the weeklong
course and were, for the main part, coming from the local favelas. The two cases provide interesting
information regarding the potential for CNs in the global south, highlighting the possibility that such
initiative can have with regard to capacity-building, empowerment and the creation of new
opportunities for youngsters.

In her chapter on “Beyond the Invisible Hand: the Need to Foster an Ecosystem Allowing for
Community Networks in Brazil,”
Nathalia Foditsch provides a useful complement to the discussion
started in the previous chapter by Bruno Vianna, arguing that the debate over CNs is not new in Brazil
but needs to gain momentum again, in order to overcome some obstacles. Notably, the author
emphasises that promoting a favourable ecosystem is a challenge that goes beyond the technical
aspects of deploying and managing such networks. Recent advancements show signs of an increasingly
encouraging environment for CNs, but a lot remains to be done. This chapter briefly discusses some
challenges and new regulatory developments in Brazil and explores how the work of the IGF
Dynamic Coalition on Community Connectivity might contribute to the promotion of an ecosystem
that facilitates the establishment of CNs.

In her chapter on “Diseño e Implementación de una Aplicación Web para la Visualización Mundial de
Despliegues de Redes Comunitarias”
(Design and Implementation of a Web Application for the
Global Visualization of Community Network Deployments)
, Maureen Hernandez stresses that it is
currently hard to obtain systematised information regarding the existing CN deployments around the
world. Nothing the lack of a database or repository providing basic information about CNs, such as
the name, localization, and contact person of these initiatives, the author proposes to remedy to this
lacuna though the development of technical tool. This chapter proposes to collect data on CNs to
organise them to facilitate interactions among stakeholders and take advantage of the lessons learned,
instead of letting each community starting from zero. Hernandez argues that such effort may be feasible
based on the outcomes that have been developed, to date, by initiatives like the UN IGF Dynamic
Coalition for Community Connectivity or the research group Global Access to the Internet for All
(GAIA), from the Internet Research Task Force (ITRF). The paper argues that the ability to visualise
information about CNs into a unique tool may be a crucial factor not only to promote and inspire more
deployments but also to understand how far these initiatives have come and how different their
characteristics may be. In this perspective, Hernandez proposes a “Community Connectivity Map”
with the aim to systematise and visualise data about the largest possible number of CNs.

DC Core Internet Values discussion paper 2017: Focus on Freedom from Harm (DC on Core Internet Values)


The Internet connects a world of multiple languages, connects people dispersed across cultures, places knowledge dispersed (or concealed) across cultures accessible to every culture. The Internet is more than an invention. It is a precious gift to humanity as an opportunity to connect globally and evolve. The Internet connects people and their devices. The Internet is beyond what was foreseen at the time of the invention of its protocols. Its values were not intentionally built in, but contained within and become manifest and understood along its path of evolution.

The Internet has become increasingly a support for all kinds of human activity, constructive, destructive and ambivalent as this may be. The Internet has been used to foster never-imagined levels of communication, access to information and creativity, and given rise to businesses and social transformation that reach both those connected and many who are not. Accompanying these generally positive trends, cybercrime, verbal and non-verbal abuse, and interference with human rights have also appeared on the Internet. Some forms of abuse and some attempts to correct or modulate conduct on the Internet may impinge on the way the Internet operates, as may be the case with ways to block content from reaching certain destinations or to restrict the technological features that enable businesses and social transformation.

The Dynamic Coalition on Core Internet Values, which began its work as the Workshop on Fundamentals: Core Internet Values during IGF 2009 at Sharm El Sheikh, chaired by then Internet Society President Lynn St. Amour, progressed as a Dynamic Coalition and has deliberated since 2009 on fundamental questions such as “What is the Internet? What makes the Internet what it is?” to define the Core Values that characterize the Internet.

The Dynamic Coalition in its recent deliberations during and between the Internet Governance Forums discussed the recent socio-political developments and the specific threats to the way the Internet evolves and functions. Some of Internet’s technical principles seemed to be challenges to adhere to, in their intended form. For instance, the relevance of the end-to-end architecture became questionable in the face of real world threats of the recent past. Such challenges gave rise to the question whether the values are unalterable at all.

The Internet is global, open, end-to-end, shared and distributed without central points of control.  

“Value” and “values” are not to be used loosely. Values are what are profound, values are beyond evaluation and debate, values are as understood. Known and respected and beyond notions of utility, relevance or evaluation by any other yardstick.

The Dynamic Coalition will seek in its 2017 session to better delimit its scope. Experience from the last few years shows that as one moves from the better-defined technical principles like Interoperability to the broader-sense wordings like “Free” the ability to even discuss them is lost in a muddle of culturally-tinted points of view, and overlaps more than necessary with the subject matter of other Dynamic Coalitions.

Whilst Core Values are imprescriptible, challenges emerge and vary from time to time.

One striking feature of the Internet is its ability to evolve with little or no change in its fundamental design principles and the order in which they are prioritized. Further, it has a mechanism, mainly in the IETF, to make the adaptations that become necessary. Further layers like that coordinated within the ICANN ambit, are modelled on the same open processes and have successfully preserved interoperability, openness, etc. and propagated them to the layers above and below the internetworking layer.

Core Internet Values


-        Global – The Internet is a global medium open to all, regardless of geography or nationality.

-        Interoperable – Interoperability is the ability of a computer system to run application programs from different vendors, and to interact with other computers across local or wide-area networks regardless of their physical architecture and operating systems. Interoperability is feasible through hardware and software components that conform to open standards such as those used for internet.

-        Open – As a network of networks, any standards-compliant device, network, service, application, or type of data (video, audio, text, etc.) is allowed on the Internet, and the Internet’s core architecture is based on open standards.

-        Decentralized – The Internet is free of any centralized control.

-        End-to-end – Application-specific features reside in the communicating end nodes of the network rather than in intermediary nodes, such as gateways, that exist to establish the network.

-        User-centric – End users maintain full control over the type of information, application, and service they want to share and access.

-        Robust and reliable – While respecting best-effort scenarios for traffic management, the interconnected nature of the Internet and its dense mesh of networks peering with each other have made it robust and reliable.

To evolve or not to evolve

The Internet evolves around the Values that remain at its core. When there is a new
development, for instance, “wireless modems” “smartphones” or “micro-devices” the Internet
evolves along its path of evolution, without the compulsions to “remove” any of its values, or
without the need to “add” a new value around which the evolution would progress. What is
“new” is in the realm of evolution, not in the core of values.

One could say outright that Core Internet Values are unalterable and that the list of values
themselves cannot be amended nor expanded. However, this question has been discussed in
past years and when “Freedom from Harm” was introduced, it appeared to be accepted as an
additional Core Value. In fact, debate during last year’s session went further, taking evolution for
granted, but attempting to define whether there should be enforcement of this value in

A starting point was that “There should be no overarching system and industry self-certification
might be a solution moving forward”. That could be true for all Core Values.

In the history of the last four decades, Internet design principles have mapped well to some
social values which are widespread but not universally accepted, nor free from interpretation.
Societies that are against openness have difficulties with the Internet. Companies that act
against interoperability cause problems to the Internet. Regulations that make end-to-end
difficult make the Internet's life harder (witness Network Neutrality.)

So any serious modification and some possible additions to this short, compact, proven list may
make the Internet be less of what it is and can be. The proposal is therefore that the DC-CIV
work within a framework that assumes immutability over decades.

As one of the panellists on the Coalition’s session at IGF 2016 mentioned: consider “Freedom
from Harm” in the context of the general principle “do no harm”. Then this overarching principle
is applicable to all Core Internet Values. By extension, Freedom From Harm does not contradict
any Current Core Internet Values.

Freedom from Harm

What is freedom from harm?
The Internet needs to become a much safer place and the people that designed it did not
foresee misuse of devices.
Malware is a technical challenge and there is difficulty in applying software updates across the
network, especially for the Internet of Things (“IoT”).
Proposal for a new Core Value for the Internet: Freedom from Harm (“FFH”), which should drive
the technical community’s work in the coming years.

Why is this needed?
In its core design principles, security was not ignored. The team of people that designed the
Internet were using the maximum security available at the time, working with extremely sensitive
assets. The security was on the systems, it was evolving fast, and it made little or no sense to
implant security into the network itself as it would not scale and would not adapt to innovations
without needing to tear down and replace the whole network for each new advance, say, in
cryptography. However, today the threats are different, more sophisticated and the range of
devices that these threats can affect are more diverse than when the Internet was first invented.

How could it be implemented?
Without altering Core Values.

One way to face these risks, and adding to the principle proposed, is to introduce/increase
transparency and accountability for all responsible players, such as device manufacturers,
regulators in charge of approving the sale of devices, software developers, etc.

Standards Development
Implementation issues could be mandatory for all Standards development. Would the IETF add
a section on FFH considerations to RFCs? How would other standards-development
organizations (SDOs) treat the principle?

1. Technical means to inhibit harm
2. Detect harm and act against its source, e.g. legal means, prosecution.
3. Moral persuasion: put pressure on programmers and others responsible for products
which can be harmful

Overall, the accountability of technical standards-makers must be clearer.

A Multi-Stakeholder way
Is there an “Internet way” to approach this problem? A multistakeholder, Internet-proper
mechanism such as the IETF or ICANN in their respective fields?

Work already being done against attacks (prevention, mitigation, isolation, response, etc.)
should be considered. Coordination of such work in an open manner could bring synergies
together for a safer Internet whilst avoiding the risk of creating “walled gardens”.

Certification / Good Practice
This is found to be a challenge in a network of networks that spans the whole globe.

On the one hand, one could foresee solutions in from other fields: for example, the certification
of electrical devices in the US through Underwriters Laboratories (UL) thus a “cyber-UL” could
be developed to certify the safety of Internet devices and systems and could operate with partial
automation, based on voluntary submissions. On the other hand, safety standards are mostly
predicated within a context of national laws. A principle like “thou shall not develop bad code”
isn’t working well. Bad systems are being used because they are novel, useful and exciting, with
pressure on time-to-market causing some to cut edges. Thus, on a borderless Internet, no
safety standards can be enforced.

This brings us to the potential for a set of Good Practice Standards which are voluntarily
adhered to. These should not be the remit of a single overarching authority. They should be
collaborative in scope, open, and should be promoted by all stakeholders, including
Government, the Private Sector and Civil Society.

Steps forward

Focus the DC on CIV to concentrate more on the technical design principle than on the higher
layer rights and values, which are much less well-defined, and universally variable.

Work with other stakeholders to build a set of Good Practice Standards that will enhance
“freedom from harm” in a technical perspective.

It is expected that this work should include collaboration with the Dynamic Coalition on Internet
of Things (DC-IOT) in particular. Collaboration with other Dynamic Coalitions is being
considered too.

Draft DCAD Substantive Paper for IGF 2017 DCs Main Session (DC on Accessibility and Disability)

1. Introduction

Since the approval of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2006, much efforts have been made to achieve an inclusive society for everyone, including persons with disabilities and persons with specific needs. Their voices are starting to be heard, and the progress is reported in participation of persons with disabilities in decision-making processes at national level. However in many countries, this is still an area for improvement.

To facilitate interaction between relevant bodies and to ensure that ICT accessibility for persons with disabilities and those with specific needs is included in the discussions around the Internet Governance, Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability (DCAD) was formed during the second Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in 2007. DCAD aims to help create a future where all individuals have equal access to the opportunities through ICT.

DCAD members now consists of around 70 mailing list subscribers, made up of representatives from organizations for persons with disabilities, UN agencies, international organizations, policy makers, industry, academia, civil society and experts on accessibility, from both developing and developed countries of all regions of the world. International Telecommunication Union (ITU) provides DCAD with secretariat support.

As one of the activities of DCAD, it reviews accessibility of IGF meetings each year and report to IGF. While it is generally felt that accessibility of IGF meetings improved thanks to the efforts made by all concerned parties especially the host countries, there still are a lot of barriers for persons with disabilities to appropriately participate in the meetings. These barriers may not be felt by the others than those who are concerned, thus a review process by accessibility experts is necessary. This is an important step to achieve a truly inclusive society.

Furthermore, to raise awareness of the fact that there are a number of areas of accessibility concerns, DCAD addresses and discuss selected issues raised by its members. This year, DCAD focuses on universal design, to better understand what the issues are considered around ICT accessibility.

“Universal design" is defined by UNCRPD Article 2 and means the design of products, environments, programmes and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. "Universal design" shall not exclude assistive devices for particular groups of persons with disabilities where this is needed.

Every single person can be permanently or temporarily disabled due to physical, environmental (e.g. a phone call in a noisy environment) or cultural (e.g. spoken language diversity) conditions. It is important to note that universal design is beneficial for the entire community. The following paragraphs provide brief descriptions of related topics, which will be further discussed at the DCAD/G3ict workshop on “Universal Design and Creating an Accessible Global Digital Future” (WS 54).

2. Some Topics of DCAD’s focus at IGF 2017

2.1. Key concepts of universal design

2.1.1. Universal design, principles and practice (by Gunela Astbrink, Women With Disabilities Australia)

Universal design (sometimes called inclusive design) means products and services are designed to meet the needs of the majority of the population taking into account age and ability. The principles of universal design are: 1. Equitable Use 2. Flexibility in Use 3. Simple and Intuitive to Use 4. Perceptible Information 5. Tolerance for Error 6. Low Physical Effort 7. Size and Space for Approach and Use Accessible websites and smart phones are just two examples of putting universal design into practice. Challenges exist especially in developing countries where affordability and lack of awareness are major considerations.

2.1.2. Impairment, Disability and Universal Design: Key concepts for Accessibility (by Gerard Ellis, Feel The BenefIT)

UNCRPD differentiates between impairment and disability. It also acknowledges Universal Design as a key concept for accommodating the needs of persons with disabilities and older persons. This presentation will investigate the difference between the 3 terms. It will also demonstrate how the accessibility of products, services and environments can be improved or disimproved without altering a person’s impairment or even when no impairment is present.

2.2. Importance of ICT standards on accessibility for universal design

Accessible ICT implies interoperability, and standardization is one way to provide interoperability. A lot of work is being done by international organizations to develop international standards on accessibility to meet rapidly evolving ICT environment. Examples of standards are described below.

2.2.1. Next Generation Web Accessibility Guidelines (by Shadi Abou-Zahra, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) )

The accessibility guidelines of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) are the international standard for web content, user agents, and authoring tools. Particularly the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) has been adopted by many organizations and governments around the world, including in Europe, the United States, and Japan. This presentation introduces the next generation of these guidelines to better address mobile and connected devices, augmented and virtual reality, and many more current and future technologies on the internet.

2.2.2. Standardization efforts at ITU for an accessible global future (by Masahito Kawamori, ITU-T Q26/16 Rapporteur, Keio University)

ITU is playing an important role through its activities and efforts in making ICT accessible and achieving inclusive society. One of the ITU accessibility activities is standardization at ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T): Standardization makes it possible on a global scale, to connect equipment and services from different manufacturers. The most important goal of ITU-T’s accessibility activities is to make sure that newly developed standards contain the necessary elements to make services and features usable for people with as broad range of capabilities as possible. Standardization efforts made at ITU-T Q26/16 “Accessibility to multimedia systems and services” as well as other groups within ITU will be described.

2.3. Case study from developing countries

2.3.1. ICT Accessibility in Pakistan: Challenges and Opportunities (by Muhammad Shabbir, Board of Directors of ISOC Islamabad Pakistan Chapter)

The ICTs offer many new and affordable opportunities equally to all of us, whether persons with disabilities (PWDs) or not. Some of the advantages of ICTs for PWDs include: easy knowledge acquisition, enhanced communication, opportunities for higher education and improved employment prospects. Notwithstanding the benefits, in most of the developing countries, the prospective gains promised with the digital era, have not yet become the reality for most of the PWDs due to a variety of challenges/ barriers. Moreover, due to the huge difference in low income and high price of new devices and softwares, the gap of available technologies for PWDs between developed and developing world is increasing day by day.

In this context, this paper presents the case study of Pakistan’s experience with ICT accessibility for PWDs as a developing state and discusses the challenges and opportunities in the way. The challenges relate to: availability of technology, its affordability, awareness about the technology and universal design, and willingness of the people to adopt it. Despite the aforementioned challenges, taking advantage of accessible technologies, PWDs are contributing in many professions ranging from academia, management, research, civil services to policy relevant circles and playing their role in national development.

The key questions for the study are: How and in what ways Pakistani PWDs are taking advantage of ICTs? What are the challenges and opportunities in the way? And how the state of ICT accessibility can be improved for developing countries?

The study argues that the appearance of PWDs in superior services exams; Pakistan being a ratified signatory to UNCRPD; PTA conducting the national level Mobile App Award 2016 under the theme: “Embracing Mobile Accessibility for PWDs”; and, Pakistan’s National IT policy 2017 dedicating a section to address the concerns of PWDs are all indicative of positive signs for the future of accessible ICTs in the country.

The UNCRPD specifically mentions terms for assistive technology in eight of articles 4-32 (4, 9, 20, 21, 24, 26, 29, and 32). Measures that could include assistive technology (e.g., take all appropriate measures) are mentioned in an additional 17 articles. Signatories to the CRPD have committed to accessibility for PWDs and to international cooperation, both technical and economic. To comply with the CRPD, national governments should implement measures to meet citizens' needs for assistive technology, and governments and international organisations with available means should provide technical and economic assistance to developing countries to access, share, and transfer assistive technology. Therefore, development of strategies and methods for effective collaboration in this domain would help bridging the ICT accessibility gap between the developed and developing countries. Additionally, accessibility and usability for PWDs should sit at the very heart of the ICTs policy, planning, design and implementation processes and not as standalone/independent or add-on venture. Lastly, ensuring the access of PWDs in developed or developing countries to the same technology, at the same time, and at the same price as the general public receives, should be the ultimate aim to achieve.

Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries: Summary (DC on Public Access in Libraries)

The need for a Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries was realized during the 2011 Internet Governance Forum. At the time, Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) shared the outcome of a survey that revealed how most policy makers in developing countries see libraries as repositories of printed materials and not as spaces for Internet access and use. Since then, the Dynamic Coalition for Public Access in Libraries has facilitated interaction between relevant stakeholders, increasing the visibility of libraries in the debate for public access both in developing and developed countries.

Libraries are catalysts for Internet use and access. Access to information via the Internet is vital for the economic, educational, and societal well-being of individuals. The outcomes public access yields are numerous. Access to information empowers people to exercise their political and socioeconomic rights, to be economically active, and to learn new skills. Access to information enables informed decision making, supports creativity and innovation, provides transparency and helps citizens to hold governments accountable. 

Public access to information is a free, or mostly free, undertaking of public libraries worldwide. As public institutions, libraries look to guarantee access to all. The horizontal and decentralized placement of libraries within nation states allows for easy, reliable and safe access to information and irrespective of the size of this network, libraries tend to be regarded as safe places to gather, exchange ideas, develop digital literacy skills and access the Internet.

As such, this access helps deliver inclusive development and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. However, it should not be taken for granted. Libraries need to be connected to the physical infrastructure necessary for connectivity, implying the need for properly adapted regulatory and budgetary policies, including funding for continuous staff development. This access also needs to be protected from Internet shutdowns, which harm people’s ability to use information to improve their lives. Partnerships between actors – libraries, regulators, businesses, adapting to local circumstances, could help deliver progress.

Access in libraries remains an essential tenet of a democratic, open society and libraries are catalysts that facilitates access to information and the overall societal well-being. The Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries provides a space within the IGF to address the Internet governance issues relating to public access, and enable a discussion to take place about how the existing expertise, networks and infrastructure offered by public libraries can contribute to the goals and spirit of the WSIS process. 


The UN 2030 Agenda recognizes that access to information is crucial for sustainable development, and offers affirmation of the work that libraries do in guaranteeing public access to the Internet. As we look to bring the remaining billions online, libraries offer a cost-effective way of doing this, giving people their first taste of the Internet, and guaranteeing continued access to those who cannot afford it for themselves.

The Development and Access to Information report (DA2I), produced by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and the Technology and Social Change Group at the University of Washington (TASCHA) offers not only qualitative evidence of the importance of access, but also sets out a basket of indicators which will allow for the monitoring of governments’ progress towards meaningful access to information. It highlights the role of public libraries as facilitators of development through access worldwide. Libraries are fully immersed in the reality of the communities they serve and are well positioned to provide free access to information to all members of society. They can be a more welcoming environment than Internet cafes, act as the hubs of partnerships with other actors, and as already highlighted, help build the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours necessary to make for confident and responsible Internet users. Even in societies with high levels of home Internet penetration, such as the Nordics, the evidence seems to indicate that usage of public access remains high.

  • What further evidence is there of how public access can help develop interest in, and demand for, home or mobile internet access?
  • Why does there continue to be such strong use of public access in countries where home or mobile Internet access is well developed?


A key pillar of meaningful access to information, as identified by the Development and Access to Information report, is the importance of digital literacy skills, given that access to the Internet alone, or the ownership of a device, does not guarantee an equal opportunity to create, receive, apply, and create information. The ability to not just to read information, but to use digital tools creatively, from blogging, to editing a Wikipedia page or coding, can be decisive in helping people make the most of the Internet. This ability can be summed up as ‘digital literacy’  - the capability to harness the potential of digital tools to their fullest effect - efficiently, effectively and ethically – to meet our information needs in our personal, civic and professional lives. 

Libraries and other community anchor institutions help people to benefit from information and related tools, ensuring people can use digital information and skills to improve their lives. The combination of training and support to develop digital literacy provides a strong argument for public access to lie at the heart of strategies for ensuring that communities and societies are not only connected but thriving online. 

DC-PAL will continue to include evidence-gathering on the role of libraries in developing digital literacy among their users, both in developing and developed countries.

  • What can governments, businesses and other stakeholders do to ensure that libraries and other community anchor institutions are enabled to offer effective digital literacy training?


In addition, reflection continues on the right policy framework for public access in libraries. Universal Service Funds offer a potentially powerful tool for building high speed connections to libraries and other community anchor institutions, along the lines of the United States’ e-Rate programme. In some countries, these funds are often under-spent, with opportunities to get people online lost.

There are also potential regulatory challenges, especially when it comes to spectrum. Governments should enable libraries both to receive information and to build community connectivity.


In addition, the apparently growing number of Internet shutdowns presents a worrying trend. Libraries guarantee free, public access to all, but this is jeopardised by governments’ recourse to shutdowns.  While freedom of expression and access to information online is not an absolute right, Internet shutdowns represent a heavy-handed and usually disproportionate means of achieving their policy objectives. In the short term, they limit the flow of information and control what people can see and say online. In the long term, they have serious social and economic repercussions.

The UN and many human rights experts have recognised that internet shutdowns are a violation of international human rights law. Governments must find solutions that are proportionate. Internet shutdowns carry too high a price now and in the future, to be an acceptable tool.

  • Where do policy-makers and regulators need to act to facilitate the development of public access? What could be done to ensure that Universal Service Funds in particular realise their potential in this area?
  • What more can we do to underline that the costs of Internet shutdowns more than outweigh any potential benefits in all but the most exceptional circumstances?


A number of active members of the DC have sought, through a Partnership for Public Access (P4PA), to develop partnerships in which individual libraries and library associations, civil society groups, government and business collaborate to deliver both public access to the Internet, and the support needed to make this meaningful. For example, in Tunisia, there have been coding classes to help young people realise the potential of the digital economy, and work to help local librarians develop the confidence to deliver digital literacy to users. This project will now expand to include Colombia, where strong library infrastructure and civil society opens opportunities to connect areas which were long isolated by the conflict.

The potential of public access initiatives to marry up with Community Networks is also increasingly clear. Libraries can act not only as hubs or nodes in Community Networks, but can also serve to help community members develop the necessary skills and start to produce local content.


  • Which actors need to be engaged in order to build effective partnerships for public access at the local level? Which examples could inspire others?
  • How can public access points such as libraries work together with the growing community network movement to maximise connectivity?

IGF 2017 Substantive Paper (DC on Blockchain Technologies)

I. Introduction to the Dynamic Coalition on Blockchain Technologies

The Dynamic Coalition on Blockchain Technologies endeavors to bring clarity to governance approaches for blockchain technologies, smart contracts and decentralized autonomous applications. The Dynamic Coalition strives to bring together diverse stakeholders, from diverse experts to global institutions, to facilitate the development and deployment of blockchain-based applications alongside governance policies that enable innovation. The hope is that the Dynamic Coalition can contribute to the conversation around blockchain technology policy, technical development, and next-generation applications at a global scale.

II. Governance Issues and Trends in Blockchain Technologies

Since the December 2016 IGF meeting in Guadalajara, Mexico, several new governance issues and trends emerged in blockchain technologies: governance mechanisms related to hard forks in open source blockchain technologies, government adoption of blockchain-based systems for use in their own processes, the growing popularity of “Initial Coin Offerings” or “ICOs” and the resulting regulatory response, and the ever present concern for appropriate regulation of blockchain-based applications and activities.

Blockchain Governance Challenges
In March 2017, Business Insider ran a story called “A Bitcoin civil war is threatening to tear the digital currency in 2 – here’s what you need to know.”1 The authors described “[d]evelopers, miners, and other stakeholders [] locked in a heated debate over how best to scale the network, with chances steadily rising of irreconcilable differences causing a so-called ‘hard fork’ that would split Bitcoin in two.”2 The authors describe the situation in stark terms as a “crisis,” and warned that terrible things, including a steady price drop and battered reputation, would result from a hard fork.3 Commentators also predicted a loss of trust for the Ethereum protocol after its hard fork in early 2017.4 The Bitcoin blockchain and the Ethereum protocol have now each undergone a hard fork. Some view the hard forks as failure of the system and use them as an opportunity to criticize the technology. Others argue that hard forks represent one of the most democratic elements of the built-in governance mechanisms of public blockchains. Even for those who view hard forks positively, questions remain about whether and to what extent limits on hard forks should exist, and how to create those limits endogenously to mirror the core values of the public blockchains.

Government Adoption of Blockchain-Based Systems

Governments all over the world launched blockchain initiatives in 2017 with the aim of using
blockchain-based systems to make their administrative processes more efficient, transparent and
accountable. For example, Delaware launched its Blockchain Initiative in May 2016 to begin
moving certain Delaware government processes to blockchain-based systems. Delaware’s project
is three-fold: (1) moving records in the Delaware archives to a blockchain-based archival system,
(2) enabling the issuance of corporate shares on blockchain-based systems, and (3) enabling
participants in the secured credit system to file notices of liens in a blockchain-based filing system.
Elsewhere, Sweden is building a real property recording system for the blockchain, Dubai
launched a significant government blockchain effort, Malta is developing a broad national strategy
to allow the government to embrace bitcoin and blockchain innovation, and the EU Commission
works to streamline anti-money laundering compliance through blockchain-based systems. Other
similar government efforts abound. The questions for government blockchain-based initiatives
such as these are two-fold: (1) when should an administrative legal function be moved to a
blockchain-based system, and (2) what impact will doing so have on related law?

The Rise of Initial Coin Offerings

A wave of very successful Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”) occurred in 2017. ICOs are viewed as
an innovative method for raising business capital, using smart contract enabled by blockchain
technology. By the end of May 2017, twenty-five (25) ICOs raised just over $163 million, whereas
in all of 2016, sixty-four (64) ICOs raised $103 million total. Regulatory bodies were slow to move
on the ICO phenomena, but by the end of July 2017, the United States Securities Exchange
Commission (“SEC”) issued a ruling explaining that some ICOs would be considered securities
under the U.S. analysis of an “investment contract.” Before the end of August 2017, the SEC would
follow-up with a consumer investor alert, warning consumers to be cautious when considering
whether to invest in an ICO. Meanwhile, the Government of China issued an order banning ICOs
as a method of corporate fundraising. As a result, the field remains rife with unanswered
governance questions, including how to coordinate national policies that affect an activity based
on a borderless technology, and whether and to what extent the application of existing laws in the
name of consumer protection is preferable to allowing an ICO market to develop and test the waters
for new and innovative methods of economic and financial order.

Continued Debate Over Appropriate Regulation

The debate over appropriate regulation of blockchain-based activities remains a heavy focus of
advocacy efforts, academic investigation, and government interest. Discussions in the United
States in 2017 centered around the Uniform Law Commission’s Uniform Regulation of Virtual
Currency Businesses Act (a model law to guide state measures in the future), finding a path toward
federal, uniform regulation, and tax relief. China remained uniformly contrarian towards
cryptocurrencies, prohibiting financial institutions and third-party payment providers from
accepting, using, or selling virtual currencies. This tightened control impacted bitcoin exchanges
in China directly, forcing them to impose trading fees beginning in January 2017. The National
Bank of Hungary issued a public statement just after the 2016 IGF meeting warning consumers
about the unregulated nature of cryptocurrencies and their related risks. In January of 2017, the
Israeli central bank and Finance Ministry followed suit, issuing warnings to the public about the
risks associated with cryptocurrencies.

Meanwhile, on April 1, 2017, Japan’s Financial Services Agency enacted a new law authorizing
the use of digital currency as a method of payment. To do so, Japan essentially categorized bitcoin
as a form of prepaid access and subjected participants in the prepaid ecosystem to the same kind
of anti-money laundering and consumer protection requirements as those dealing in prepaid access.
Other countries also took action in 2017, most of which was along similar lines: exhibiting overarching
concern for protecting consumers and enabling tight compliance with anti-money
laundering regulations.

In France, pursuant to the law of 9 December 2016 on Transparency, Anti-Corruption and
Economic Modernisation, and following the adoption of the legislation on mini-bonds, the
Government has been granted powers until 9 December 2017 to reform securities laws so that
securities that are not traded via a central securities depository (CDS) or a securities settlement
system (SSS) could be represented and transmitted using distributed ledger technology. The list of
securities potentially covered by the French initiative is as follows: (a) equity securities which are
not traded on a trading venue and are not transferred following a financial guarantee contract; (b)
debt securities which are not traded on a trading venue and are not transferred following a financial
guarantee contract; (c) short term debt securities; and (d) units in collective investment
undertakings. The driving force behind such legislation is that the French authorities are convinced
that a robust legislative framework is needed to ensure the legal certainty of the financial
transactions conducted using this technology. Thus, the French Treasury launched a consultation
on the representation and transmission of certain securities via “distributed ledger technology”
before proposing a draft ordinance that has now been submitted to stake-holder consultation by
the Treasury.

The consultation process was very interesting, as it underlined the frictions between blockchain
and regulation regarding securities laws, especially in the fields of compliance, know-yourcustomer,
data protection law, and supervision issues. Moreover, some stakeholders emphasized
that the references to distributed ledger technology should be more precise (i.e., private or public
blockchains) in order to build a solid legislation or consider new kinds of supervision based on the
inherent characteristics of such a technology.

The question moving forward is whether and to what extent such measures inhibit adoption of the
technology, and how much of the regulatory approach to cryptocurrency will spill over to the
underlying protocol technology, which can be used for a myriad of other use cases. Furthermore,
it will be important to consider ways to ensure the positive effect of “technology neutral”

III. Current Efforts of the Dynamic Coalition on Blockchain Technologies in These

The Dynamic Coalition carries out its work through its email list-serve and through organically
formed working groups, which are composed of academics, lawyers, economists, programmers,
protocol architects, cryptographers, security experts, technologists, and entrepreneurs, amongst
other disciplines. Of the ten (10) active working groups, several focus directly on the issues that
emerged as preeminent since the 2016 IGF meeting: Identity & Privacy, Blockchain Governance,
Regulation & Compliance, Institutional Governance, Smart Contracts, and Crypto-Equity.

The Identity & Privacy working group focuses on the fundamental problem of trust on a trustless
Internet. It aims at identifying the various challenges and opportunities of blockchain technologies
to the identity/privacy dilemma, elaborating potential interim solutions (e.g., federated KYC), and
sketching out a variety of issues related to the developing world (e.g., persistent identity and secure
land records) which may require distinct treatment. In addition, the working group explores ways
in which blockchain technologies may be applied to existing AML/CTF frameworks. To that end,
the group has conducted an exhaustive survey and impact assessment of current AMF/CTF
policies, as applied to emergent blockchain technologies. Specific attention should also be paid
regarding the entry into force of the Data Protection Regulation in Europe by the 18th of May,
2018. The economic consequences of the GDPR, its standards on privacy and the possible
interactions with any regulation on blockchain could be particularly useful.

The Blockchain Governance working group investigates the intersection of law and blockchain
governance, asking whether and how law can provide guideposts for blockchain governance.
Inversely, the Regulation & Compliance working group aims at investigating (and elaborating)
specific regulatory and policy frameworks for blockchain technology that will promote innovation
and growth while preventing systemic risk, ensuring financial stability and protecting consumers
and entrepreneurs against economic harm and illegal activity. These efforts are increasingly
important in light of the significant and fast-pace growth of blockchain and other distributed ledger
technologies. The number and variances of protocols is rapidly growing, as are the number of
significantly different use cases.

Relatedly, the Institutional Governance working group explores the spectrum of ways in which we
can leverage blockchain technologies to address the growing deficit of accountability and trust in
both public and private institutions. This can be done in two ways: (1) using blockchain
technologies as a means to improve existing governance structures within an institution by
improving the transparency, auditability, and accountability of its operators; and (2) leveraging
new opportunities that blockchain technologies provide for the establishment of a new operational
layer for human interaction that can support, complement, and perhaps replace, current governance
structures. The working group addresses these questions by investigating the use of blockchain
technology and smart contracts for enhanced information security and institutional governance,
with particular focus on the new opportunities for technological due process and institutional
accountability that these technologies provide.

The Smart Contracts working group investigates the legal validity and enforceability of smart
contracts and the need for alternative enforcement or adjudication mechanisms. Relatedly, the
Crypto-equity working group investigates the technical implementation and legal viability of new
governance structures based on the issuance and distribution of digital tokens (often done through
smart contracts). Blockchain technologies provide new ways of issuing secure and tradable digital
tokens on a distributed network. Although these tokens are often described as cryptocurrency, they
have many other potential applications, ranging from traditional stocks and securities, claims to an
underlying property title, proof of ownership over specific assets, voting rights or other privileges
within an organization, and many other use-cases. The purpose of the Crypto-equity working group
is to examine the benefits and drawbacks of blockchain-based applications from the standpoint of
existing legal infrastructure.

The Ethics working group works to inculcate a culture of healthy social and ethical norms that
foster individual and collective responsibility. The working group asks what kind of values can be
baked into a blockchain-based system, and queries whether those involved in developing the
technologies can ensure they empower people, as opposed to replicating or exacerbating prevailing
societal inequalities and power dynamics.

IV. Issues and Questions Calling for Further Exploration

The Dynamic Coalition on Blockchain Technologies sees many governance policy issues
emerging as a result of the trends discussed above, which its working groups will continue to
explore, including:
 How does the dichotomous move of some governments, on the one hand, adopting
blockchain technologies for use in government processes, and other governments, on the
other hand, criminalizing certain uses of cryptocurrencies, impact the future of the
technologies’ use and the trajectory of governance mechanisms?
 What social changes could Blockchain put in effect in a community in order to foster
social goods?
 Is there a role for Blockchain in reducing inequalities?
 How can Blockchain developments be allied to sustainable development?
 Should developers build solutions to these questions with the over-arching governmental
concerns with consumer protection and anti-money laundering in mind? If so, how do
they achieve that? If not, how do developers prevent walking into a regulatory
conundrum like that faced by ICOs?

Input Document for the DCs Main Session at the Internet Governance Forum 2017 (DC on Innovative Approaches to Connecting the Unconnected)

The Dynamic Coalition on Innovative Approaches to Connect the Unconnected focuses on compiling case studies of innovative ways to connect unconnected communities. As of 25 September 2017, we have compiled case studies of 85 connectivity projects, with an aim to publish all of them by this year’s IGF. A full list of case study candidates that we have reached out to is compiled and can be accessed online.

The list of compiled case studies, which we will be analyzing and presenting at the IGF, is as follows:

 Project Name


Refugee Hotspot


Mawingu Networks


Adaptive Technology Center for the Blind


The Connected Homes Program

Costa Rica

Mobile Solar Computer Classroom


Zenzeleni Networks

South Africa

She Will Connect Africa


Project Tawasol


Nepal Wireless Networking Project


Internet @ My School


Comcast Internet Essentials


Intel® Learn Easy Steps


Fonias Jurua Project



Uruguay, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Chile

Econet Wireless


Malawi TV White space project


Vanuatu Inter-Island Telemedicine and Learning Project




Pamoja Net


Digital Village Squares


Pohnpei Catholic School


Zamora Teran Foundation


Soweto Wireless

South Africa

Project Isizwe

South Africa

Wireless Leiden


Napo Network


Zaya Learning Lab




Universal Service Fund


Arran TVWS Deployment


WiFi Interactive Network (WIN)


Maendeleo Foundation




Johannesburg WUG (JAWUG)

South Africa

Namibia TVWS Pilot






Personal Telco


SAARC Development Fund


Internet Connectivity at Nyirarukobwa Primary School


Fonatel’s Initiatives

Costa Rica

Progetto Neco


Balsapuerto Network


Cisco Connected North


e-Daara Thieyetou


EOS Foundation’s Initiatives


Internet Policy Observatory Pakistan


Siyafunda Community Technology Centre

South Africa

Zap Quebec


Connect With Axiom


Child Help

Sierra Leone

Remote Experimentation on Mobile Devices for Basic Education




Myanmar Book Foundation


The 21st Century Digital Farmer


AMW Network




Online Vidhyalaya


All Girls Technology Camps


Connectivity to Support Prenatal care in Ghana


National Computer Board




Datamation Foundation



Sri Lanka

Ghana Code Club




Telenor Myanmar


Educational Initiatives Trust


Kioscos Vive Digitales


Value-Stream based Framework



Ivory Coast



Next Wave Cities


Accessibility Initiatives in India


Blind Accessibility in Germany






National Computer Board




NASCO Foundation


Jakarta Smart City


EDUS-Electronic Health Record System

Costa Rica





As part of the DCs main session, we would like to highlight some of our key takeaways from the
case studies that we have compiled thus far. In particular, we would like to focus on the lessons
that we can learn from various demand-side interventions, and how success of certain
interventions depends on both demand and supply side interventions. We have gathered data
on the business models that various initiatives rely on, and will comment on how some of these
initiatives are able to sustain themselves in the long run. Further, our submission will focus on
the different dimensions of sustainable development goals that are being supported by last mile
connectivity initiatives, including e-health, remote education, e-government and e-agriculture
based initiatives.

The case studies bridge a key information gap, and provide resources to implementing
organizations on the ground. Further, analysis of the case studies provides key insights on the
scalability and sustainability of last mile connectivity initiatives, which we believe will aid efforts
on the ground to connect the next billions.

Internet of Things Good Practice Policies (DC on Internet of Things)

Since the IGF in Hyderabad in 2008 , the Dynamic Coalition on the Internet of Things (DC-loT) has
engaged in debate at IGFs and at meetings in between IGFs on the usefulness of Internet of Things, its
necessity to help address global and local societal challenges, and the challenges that need to be
addressed in order to ensure the Internet of Things is developing in a way that serves people around the
globe. This is through enabling them to realize the potential benefits and innovative applications that
the IoT can provide while addressing the risks and concerns which can arise from new uses of data. At
the IGF 2015, in Joao Pessoa the DC-loT presented and discussed its first draft paper on Internet of
Things Good Practice policies. This was followed by intersessional discussions, and a workshop during
IGF 2016 in Guadalajara, and contains now the insights collected up to September 2017.

Over time we have found an agreement that legislation alone will not be sufficient to “guide”
responsible development of IoT products and services, and therefore there is a need for "loT going
ethical" as the way to find a sustainable way ahead that would help create this "world we want our
children to live in", or "a future we want" -as a practical definition of "ethical". At the same time it is
recognized that we are not yet on a common understanding on what this and that a proposed “ethical
approach” should be “sufficient” from a civil society point of view, and “do-able” from a business point
of view – but progress was made. This progress was reflected in the IGF 2016 DC IoT meeting report, and
now in the text below.

As in 2016, this paper does not represent the Dynamic Coalitions final position on the Internet of Things.
It represents an overview of the current thinking, with the aim to further develop this position during
the IGF meeting in 2017, moving towards a "rough consensus", global, multi stakeholder position on an
ethical approach towards loT development and deployment.

Internet of Things Good Practice policies


A. The Internet of Things is a set of devices connected to the Internet interacting with each other
and/or human actors, therefore, as a general matter standards and principles that are applicable
to the Internet and society at large, are also applicable to the Internet of Things.

B. The Internet of Things is not just about objects, data collected and shared, and actions by those
objects: it also has implications for people and society.

C. The Internet of Things, like the Internet, should be open to connect to and secure in its use.

D. To foster both innovation and user trust in the Internet of Things, like the Internet, a careful
balance should be struck between regulation and space for innovation. This requires
governments to hold back on regulation where possible, and industry to commit to
self-regulation, where necessary, while recognizing that future useful/necessary applications as
well as limitations cannot be determined yet, today, in full. Please note that current existing
legislation that does not (yet) take IoT into account may affect the legal ability to deploy IoT
products and services;

E. There are important benefits from the Internet of Things to deal with a wide range of societal
challenges, ranging from medical and health care, social care, and urban planning to agriculture,
food chains, security and environmental sustainability. These benefits need to be explained and
responsible development of IoT should thus be fostered and stimulated.

F. The Internet of Things is in its early phase and it is still evolving, though it has been around long
enough for there to be some historical consequences. Therefore, not all of the technical and the
governance issues have been considered yet. Especially, the issues of security and privacy will
need to continue to be explored to ensure justified trust in the Internet of Things environment.

G. The Internet of Things, needs investments in innovation and deployment in order to develop.
Investors like to know that their investments will lead to products and services that are not
countered by governments (illegal) or markets (seen as unsafe, unwanted, unethical) or even
subsidized/acquired by governments in response to specific societal challenges. We should
consider how to enhance the potential for investment in both the IoT and the methods to assure
its security and privacy.

1. Internet of Things Good Practice Principles

Internet of Things Good Practice aims at developing loT systems, products, and services taking ethical
considerations into account from the outset, both in the development, deployment and use phases of the
life cycle, thus to find an ethical, sustainable way ahead using loT helping to create a free, secure and
rights enabling based environment: a future we want, full with safe opportunities to embrace.

2. Towards an ethical framework for loT Good Practice

Ethical values are the product of applicable law, cultural values, morals, and habits, and are globally
rooted in outline in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals
that were adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Good practice in loT products, systems and services around the world require:

A. Meaningful Transparency to users: understandable and clear terms of use, including an
overview what is tracked, and the ‘why’, and the ‘how’ that information is used in IoT systems
and how it is shared, with whom it is shared and under what terms. Transparency also includes
"usability" as it doesn't help to have options if you do not know how to use those, and
"accountability" as it is important to know whom to address in case of wrong use or abuse; It
should be noted that the purpose of transparency is to provide sufficient information to allow
users to make informed decisions about whether and when to use technology. There are limits
to transparency in relation to specific details that if public could compromise the security of an
IoT deployment or which may impact elements of innovation that might be protected by
Intellectual Property laws; neither of those elements should negatively impact the ability of a
user to have the needed information to make decisions about the use of a product.

B. User’s ability to understand and exert appropriate control of personally identifiable data
produced by, submitted, or associated with an application. This is necessary for multiple
reasons, ranging from essential privacy and other human rights to business and competition
reasons. This user control may be reflected in various ways, through an ability to direct where
data is sent or stored, whether the data is generated at all, be able to appropriately delete
historic data, be in control of security settings for the data. For instance:
a. Ability to turn off individual tracking (and how this can be done) where and when
possible, in the highest level of granularity as practically possible." All or nothing" does
not always fit here, depending on the specific application. Another option would be
allowing users to control access to their own tracking data via sufficient and useable
b. Enable the user to protect their personal data with a technology of choice such as strong
public key encryption;
c. Ensure user awareness of data set correlation capabilities and its implications on user
d. Ensure user awareness of machine learning (and eventually possibly artificial
intelligence) that may lead to change in behavior of IoT environments the user is
confronted with;
e. Consider the ability to delete and export historic data: or at least makes sure that
historic data are no longer related to individual accounts unless explicitly agreed
otherwise ("the right to be forgotten" in practice - and data can still be used for business
process innovation etc.);

C. Security: Security is an important and relevant concern for IoT both from a data perspective but
also from the perspective of potential physical damage or harm.. Therefore, the security of
individual loT devices, systems and the data related to the systems need to be secured
adequately. An additional challenge raising from some loT applications is the fact that the
devices and systems may be in use for a long time and the security requirements may change
during that time. Good practice includes assessment of security impact of any part of an IoT
system when developing or deploying, not deliver IoT objects with default passwords to end
users, and ensure the ability to change passwords.

D. Privacy: All stakeholders in the Internet value chain, which includes the Internet of Things,
including governments and industry, including both direct and indirect use and reuse of data,
should comply with privacy and data protection norms and international law. In particular, any
techniques to inspect, correlate or analyze Internet traffic shall be in accordance with privacy
and data protection obligations around the world and subject to clear proactive legal
protections. Good practice includes assessment of privacy impact of any part of an IoT system
when developing or deploying with a clear understanding which data that relate to persons are
collected, where they are stored and how they are used and shared.

3. Implementation and enforcement

An important element of loT Good Practice is its supporting mutual trust amongst all the components of
loT systems: human, devices, applications, existing institutions and business entities. Trust is boosted by
a recognition of personal needs; by transparency in how things are organized-namely in a way that
clearly shows that relevant measures have been taken to meet those needs-; and by accountability in
ensuring that responsibilities are clear, and if someone responsible (person or organization) fails to live
up to what is promise or required, they will be made accountable, thus assuming a principles based
front end (ethical, i.e. in line with Human Rights) and harms based backend (accountable).

In order to ensure long term relevance of the products and services under development, it will be key to
establish a clear framework for transparency and accountability, with respect for current legislation and
pre-empting evolution of the regulatory framework reflecting changes in values and needs of citizens.

Recognizing that active use and abuse of vulnerabilities in systems happen, as well as that IoT has
become an attack vector for cybercrime and cyber warfare, good practice is to be pro-active in this
understanding, as justifiable trust in the Internet and IoT is crucial in order for society at large to benefit
from this. Measures by stakeholders are to include active monitoring networks and systems for abuse,
and taking prompt action when vulnerabilities and/or abuse of infrastructures are discovered.

Ultimately, the combination of technologies applied according to loT Good Practice ("Ethical loT") should
lead to products, ecosystems and services that are transparent for the user in terms of how they collect,
store and share information, that give choice to the user in terms of adapting that to his or her
appreciation of values (and legislation), and for which accountability for usages (and failure) is clear.

loT deployment in the development context need to be considered as it can help achieve specific
development goals. At the same time, attention should be paid to ensure access to loT is available. Next
to the necessary investment in infrastructure and openness of that infrastructure, both availability of
licensed and unlicensed spectrum is needed.

4. Education and awareness

Related to loT, individuals should have the right to have access to information on which these individuals
base their actions with loT - systems, - infrastructures and utilities. This information needs to be
provided in a manner that is accessible to the non-expert and may benefit much from Open Educational
Resources and prosumer (i.e. both producer and consumer) knowledge base. It is important to ensure
that all stakeholders are able to participate in the discussions, and it is up to both governments,
academic institutions and the private sector to help ensure user education. In addition, we call for
providing examples of practice around the world that help illustrate “good practice” as recognized to be
so within a specific region and by specific stakeholders.

Road ahead

The Dynamic Coalition will continue to work on these issues with a goal of producing output for
consideration during IGF 2018. The stakes continue to go up, and more influential players will further
progress in the field. The G7 Ministerial Meeting in Torino (September 25 - 26, 2017) adopted in its
Declaration a special section on a "G7 Multistakeholder Exchange on Human Centric Artificial
Intelligence for Our Societies" (Annex 2) that says: "the economic, ethical, cultural, regulatory and legal
issues linked to artificial intelligence [need to be] thoroughly researched and understood by policy
makers, industry and civil society." AI and IOT are not the same, but very interlinked. The G7 announced
its intent to start a "multistakeholder dialogue" on those issues but it did not outline how this will be
organized. The Torino document has a strong support for the multistakeholder approach in Internet
Governance and refers to the NetMundial Declaration on Principles for Internet Governance from Sao
Paulo (2014).


For more information on meetings that have taken place in the past, and meetings planned, and on
progress on this document, please go to

Open Digital Trade: Background Paper (DC on Trade)

Version 0.0

Background Paper
Dynamic Coalition on Trade & the Internet [Full Report]



Overview of Digital Trade Frameworks 
2.1 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 
2.2 General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) 
2.3 Information Technology Agreement (ITA)
2.4 Developments from the Doha Round 
2.5 Digital Trade and Dispute Settlement at the WTO 
2.6 Declaration on Global Electronic Commerce 
2.7 Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) 
2.8 Digital Trade and WTO: Present Status 

Plurilateral and Mega-regional Trade Agreements 
3.1 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) 
3.2 Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) 
3.3 Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) 
3.4 North-American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) 
3.5 The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) 

4. Digital Trade and Internet Governance 
4.1 Paperless Trading 
4.2 Custom Duties 
4.3 Cross-border Data Flows and Data Localization 
4.4 Intellectual Property Rights 
4.5 Unsolicited Emails and Malware 
4.6 Prohibition on Source Code Disclosure 
4.7 Access: Net Neutrality 
4.8 Online Protection of Personal Information 
Part IV: Transparency and Openness in Trade Negotiations 
Rethinking Internet and Trade 
Brussels Declaration on Trade and Internet 

Part IV: Transparency and Openness in Trade Negotiations 
Rethinking Internet and Trade 
Brussels Declaration on Trade and Internet


APEC Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
EU European Union
FTAs free trade agreements
GATS General Agreement on Trade in Services
GATT General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
GDP gross domestic product
ICANN Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
IP Internet Protocol
IPRs intellectual property rights
ISPs Internet service providers
IT information technology
ITA Information Technology Agreement
MNEs multinational enterprises
OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
PCs personal computers
RCEP Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
SMEs small and medium enterprises
TBT Technical Barriers to Trade
TiSA Trade in Services Agreement
TRIPS Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights
TPP Trans Pacific Partnership
TTIP Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
UNCITRAL United Nations Commission on International Trade Law
UPICC Uniform Principles of International Commercial Contracts
US United States
WIPO World Intellectual Property Organization
WTO World Trade Organization

1. Preface

Proliferation of digital technologies and cross-border flow of information has created social, economic
and cultural growth. Nations now face the challenge of ensuring that the opportunities and benefits driven
by Internet and communications technologies (ICT) are shared by all. With the development of national
standards and the emergence of digital players transforming production processes and industries, there is
increased push for centrally controlled regulatory environment for the Internet and Internet related
services. This is driven by both economic and strategic interests.

The pace of ICT adoption and its impact on national economies has raised concerns about the legitimacy
of control and civic participation. Issues that were considered purely technical have transformed into
areas for strategic governance and tools for foreign policy. While the Internet was conceived as a
technology that would defy national borders, the historical imbalance of the United States' domination of
ICTs and growing fears of surveillance has created the political momentum for increased state control on
regulatory aspects of the Internet.

The evolution of the Internet from a research network to a platform for commerce presents challenges for
trade law. The World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements were developed more than two decades ago
and are inadequate in dealing with complex issues of present day digital economy. While the role of
nation states in regulating physical goods and services has been established in global trade order, the role
of nation states with respect to cross-border flow of information is less understood.

This is partly due to the novelty of digital technologies and the associated unorthodox processes that have
evolved in the context of its governance. Existing Internet governance (IG) frameworks—many of which
are still evolving—are led by multistakeholder decision-making where state and non-state actors address
issues through open and transparent arrangements of rulemaking. This is in contrast to conventional
regulatory domains which feature state-led processes for the development of global norms and treaties.

In the absence of global binding norms on Internet related issues, and in light of fears of rising 'digital
protectionism', states are are seeking to draw up rules and frameworks for regulation of the digital
economy through conventional mechanisms for international cooperation such as trade agreements.
Although trade and Internet governance appear to be disconnected, with the growing significance of the
Internet for international trade, a tenuous and complex relationship between the fields is emerging that
will have repercussions on the development of the digital economy.

Direct or indirect inclusion of contemporary issues related to the Internet are being included in plurilateral
and multilateral arrangements with the aim to counter restrictive measures on data flows that hinder cross-
border trade. For example, the Electronic Commerce Chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
(TPP) contains provisions that ban data localization. Such provisions are accompanied by other legal
obligations on cybersecurity, spam and intellectual property. Similar provisions are also being proposed in
other ongoing plurilateral trade negotiations including the the Transatlantic Trade and Investment
Partnership (TTIP), the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), the Regional Comprehensive Economic
Partnership (RCEP) and most recently the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA ).

Any framework or rules evolving out of these agreements will have a deep impact and Internet
governance processes and policymaking. Regulating commercial aspects of Internet through trade
agreements entails choices that will significantly influence and bear repercussions for critical aspects of
the emerging digital economy. It requires coming up with global solutions that strike a balance between
trade liberalization and preservation of fundamental goals of Internet governance such as openness,
transparency and protection of human rights. It would also necessitate resolving differences in political
and ideological stance on issues like privacy, innovation and democratic standard setting.

It is important to understand the complexities and risks involved in aligning the disciplines of trade policy
and Internet governance. Despite recent initiatives, it is important to take a step back and question
whether trade agreements should be concerned with setting standards for Internet technologies or on
issues such as national security and privacy. Going forward policymakers and governments need to
understand how the application of international trade law could be better aligned with values of Internet
governance such as openness and inclusion.

With the aim of bringing in a multistakeholder approach to application of international trade civil society,
private sector, technical and academic community members have come together to form the Dynamic
Coalition on Trade and the Internet (DCTI). The Dynamic Coalition was formally approved by the
Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Secretariat in February, 2017 and the inaugural meeting will be held in
Geneva in December 2017. The Dynamic Coalition aims to serve as a liaison between representatives
from trade institutions and government delegations and the broader IGF community. The Coalition been
established to address the lack of transparency in international trade negotiations and domestic
consultation processes and provide recommendations about how Internet public policy can be developed
in a transparent and inclusive way. The Coalition will also serve as an interface for the exchange of
information and best practices on Internet public policy issues.

This paper is a resource developed for the DCTI and summarizing the issues, concerns and recent
developments on trade and digital rights. The paper is divided in four parts.
Part I provides a background to the evolution of trade frameworks in the context of digital trade agenda.
This section will draw on history of intellectual property trade frameworks and recent attempts to
introduce e-commerce related issues in the digital trade agenda.

In Part II we cover the trade negotiations that have included digital issues or are currently being
negotiated. We delve into the status of negotiations including the areas where countries have reached
consensus or others where negotiations face inability to pass muster and what experts have been saying
on these issues.

Part III we address some of the emerging themes and issues in the context of the digital economy that are
increasingly being included in trade agreements. We analyze these provisions based on the implications
for Internet governance and on consumers and human rights online.

In Part IV we highlight some of the procedural inconsistencies between the multistakeholder approach
that is common to Internet governance. We provide a broad-range of recommendations for introducing
transparency and opening up digital trade negotiation processes by by governments for the participation
by affected stakeholders and NGOs. The recommendations seek to establish a framework for participation
of diverse stakeholders when developing rules through regional and mega-regional trade treaties.

Preview of the 2017 DCPR Outcome: Platform Regulations (DC on Platform Responsibility)

Preview of the 2017 DCPR Outcome: Platform Regulations (DC on Platform Responsibility)

Preview prepared by Luca Belli and Nicolo Zingales

Since the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) in 2005, Internet governance has been widely understood as the development and application by Governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet. This definition has fostered a lively and interdisciplinary discussion debate what roles and responsibilities might be attributed to different stakeholder groups and in different contexts, particularly considering the extent to which their actions affect Internet users and society more broadly. In that regard, one of the most fertile grounds of discussion has been the evolving notion of liability of Internet intermediaries, defined by the OECD as entities that “bring together or facilitate transactions between third parties on the Internet”[1]. Originally, the focus of that discussion was on the need to provide intermediaries with legislative protections from liability for third party content, which appeared insufficient and inconsistent across domains and jurisdictions. Then gradually, the initial scepticism by some stakeholders matured into a shared understanding of the importance of these protections and the recognition of best practices, thanks al so to consensus-building civil society initiatives such as those led by the Association for Progressive Communication[2] and by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, ultimately producing a set of guidelines entitled “Manila Principles on Intermediary Liability.”[3]

While the need for the spreading of those best practices remains current and even increased after the submission of certain legislative proposals under consideration in a number of jurisdictions around the globe, a parallel discussion began to unfold concerning the potential effects on individuals of the private actions taken by intermediaries -in response to liability threats or otherwise-, in particular when it comes to the exercise of their fundamental rights. Participants in this discussion observe the negative consequences arising from the proliferation of private governance regimes, and interrogate themselves about conceptual issues concerning the moral, social and human rights responsibility of the private entities that set up such regimes. The increasing importance of this notion of   “responsibility” has not gone unnoticed, having been captured for example by the special report prepared by UNESCO in 2014[4], the study on self-regulation of the Institute for Information Law of the University of Amsterdam[5], the 2016 Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression[6], the Center for Law and Democracy’s Recommendations on Responsible Tech[7] and most recently, the Council of Europe’s Recommendation on the roles and responsibilities of Internet intermediaries[8].

At the same time, the notion of “intermediary” is increasingly replaced in common parlance by the more palatable term of “platform”, which evokes a role that goes beyond one of mere messenger or connector, and extends to the provision of a shared space within which users can carry out their activities and generate value. It is at this juncture that, at the 2014 Internet Governance Forum, the Dynamic Coalition on Platform Responsibility was created. The DCPR is a multistakeholder group established under the auspices of the United Nations Internet Governance Forum dedicated to the analysis of the role and responsibilities of online platforms from a technical, legal, social or economic perspective. Since its inception, DCPR has facilitated and nurtured a cross-disciplinary analysis of the challenges linked to the emergence of digital platforms and has promoted a participatory effort aimed at suggesting policy solutions.

The Recommendations on Terms of Service and Human Rights,[9] whose development was facilitated by the DCPR in 2015, constitute a prime example of such efforts. The Recommendations represent a first important step in identifying criteria through which platforms’ private orderings can be held accountable for their impact on users’ fundamental rights to freedom of expression, privacy and due process. More efforts of this type are encouraged to extend the discussion to other rights, recognise the appropriate role for public policy, and define sound mechanisms guiding platforms in their response to requests for removal, including any balancing of conflicting rights and interests. While the extent to which this type of work should be conducted at the global, regional or national level remains one of the governance challenges of our generation[10], the urgency of this discussion can hardly be overstated.

Hence, this book offers a response to the DCPR’s call for multistakeholder dialogue, made ever more pressing by the diverse and raising challenges generated by the platformisation of our economy and, more generally, our society. Despite the evident need to address these challenges, finding consensus and a sense of shared purpose is not always an easy task. For example, significant controversy exists concerning the very notion of “platform,” and the type of actors whose responsibilities should take the centre stage in this discussion.[11] The above-mentioned DCPR Recommendations adopted a high-level definition, which is neutral as to the type of involvement in content creation or distribution, but refers to a specific type of intermediation that runs at the application and content layers, allowing users to “seek, impart and receive information or ideas according to the rules defined into a contractual agreement”.

This definition excludes prima facie, from this particular discussion, telecommunications companies and Internet Access Providers (IAPs), which remain at the core of other forums such as the Telecommunications Industry Dialogue and the Global Network Initiative. Nevertheless, as an attentive reader of the present volume will notice, legal developments on the rights and obligations of “upstream” intermediaries such as IAPs and domain name registrars (and registries) are considered to the extent they inform, corroborate or anticipate the emergence of analogous legal issues “downstream”. By way of example, the discussion arising from the pulling out of neo-Nazi content from certain domain name providers and content delivery networks (see e.g. David Kaye’s mention of Cloudflare) closely follows the thread of combating “hate speech” that led to the adoption of similar measures by social media companies; it should therefore be considered as part of that broader tendency. Discussing in isolation from parallel developments at the upstream level carries the risk of missing important insights on legal remedies available to users affected by private measures, as is illustrated by the evolution of the legal framework concerning injunctions against innocent third parties in chapter 2.

The increasing centrality of digital platforms, both, in the collection and processing of personal data and in the production and dissemination of content, has attracted growing political and regulatory pressure over rights and responsibilities that ought to be attributed to them; and expectations are increasingly being placed on the role of large platform operators to provide “safe” online spaces for user engagement. This trend is visible in the legislative proposals that have emerged in various countries demanding social media companies to prevent hate speech, incitement to violence or hatred, and “dangerous terrorist recruitment material.” In that regard, this volume offers some reflections on online platforms’ roles and responsibilities in the eyes of regulators, warning about the dangers associated with an increasing instrumentalisation of these entities for the pursuit of a wide range of (often ill-conceived) public policy measures.

Over the last year, one of the most visible manifest trends of platform regulation has manifested itself in the context of the identification and prevention of “fake news”, stirring controversy over the role and impact of online platforms in influencing the shape and content of relevant discussions the public sphere. This discussion offers a perfect example of a recurring problem with platform regulation: an important part of the content that is supposed to be prohibited escapes clear legal definition. It comprises a variety of different phenomena and, therefore, arguably requires a combination of a wide range of measures that should not be based on vague terminology. While some proposals have called for special legislation to restore trust and create a level playing field, major platforms such as Google and Facebook have been quicker in addressing those concerns, including structural responses and tools for users to limit their exposure to such misinformation.

A different but related problem has arisen regarding “brand safety”, i.e. the concerns of advertisers in relation to the association of their ads with certain types of content deemed to be “inappropriate”. In March 2017, following a letter by the Guardian and many brands pulling their ads from YouTube, Google announced to have heard concerns “loud and clear” and raised its bar for “hateful, offensive and derogatory content” which will be excluded from the association with Google ads. Much like in the context of fake news, swift response by the platforms to a pressing societal problem serves as a backstop to the spreading of harm, preventing possible legislative intervention. Yet important questions remain regarding the transparency, proportionality and effectiveness of the measures these companies have taken, and of their impact on small and independent news providers and for content creators, some of whom (particularly those with content characterised as “sensitive”) have seen their ad revenues dramatically reduced since Google adopted this revised policy. Similar questions arise in relation to the recent emphasis by the European Commission on platforms’ responsibilities to protect users and society at large against the exploitation of their services for the dissemination of “illegal content”, a concept which is left for platforms to determine on the basis of EU and national law[12].

In addition to these content-related trends, platforms are increasingly under the scrutiny of regulators for various concerns relating to market power, information asymmetry and use and collection of personal data. For example, the European Commission is considering the adoption of special legislation to assuage concerns of contractual exploitation towards platform-dependent businesses[13]. Exploitation is also a central concern of the criticism being levelled to platforms for their relationships with workers/employees, leading most recently to several tech companies developing a code of ethics for worker values[14]. Finally, there are multiple investigations on the possible exploitation of personal data, relating both to their unlawful acquisition and their misuse leading to discrimination and consumer harm.

Against this backdrop, the need for a multistakeholder discussion on the role and responsibilities played by online platforms in our society becomes crucial. This book is built on the previous efforts of the DCPR and, although it does not pretend to offer definitive solutions, it provides some elements of reflection that should be carefully considered by all stakeholders in their effort to shape sustainable policies addressing shared problems regarding digital platforms.


[1] See OECD, The economic and social role of Internet intermediaries (OECD Publications,,2010),  <> [accessed 31 October 2017].

[2] See Emilar Vushe Gandhi, ‘Internet intermediaries: The dilemma of liability in Africa’, (APC News,19 May 2014). <> accessed 31 October 2017; Nicolo Zingales, ‘Internet intermediary liability: identifying best practices for Africa’, (APC Publication, 2013), <> [accessed 31 October 2017]

[3] See ‘Manila Principles on Intermediary Liability. Best Practices Guidelines for Limiting Intermediary Liability for Content to Promote Freedom of Expression and Innovation’ (24 March 2015),  <> [accessed 31 October 2017].

[4] Rebecca MacKinnon et al., Fostering freedom online: the role of Internet intermediaries (UNESCO Publication, 2014). <> [accessed 31 October 2017]..

[5] Cristina Angelopoulos et al., ‘Study of fundamental rights limitations for online enforcement through self regulation’ (IVir, 2015)  <> [accessed 31 October 2017]. .

[6] Report of the the Special Rapporteur to the Human Rights Council on Freedom of expression, states and the private sector in the digital age, A/HRC/32/38 (11 May 2016) <> [accessed 31 October 2017].

[7] Center for Law & Democracy, ‘Recommendations for Responsible Tech’ <>[accessed 31 October 2017].

[8] Council of Europe, Recommendation CM/Rec(2017x)xx of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the roles and responsibilities of internet intermediaries. [accessed 31 October 2017].

[9] The Recommendations on Terms of Service and Human Rights are annexed to this book and can be found at <> [accessed 31 October 2017].

[10] See the work carried out to streamline the interactions between different regimes by the Internet & Jurisdiction Project, described at

[11] For example, the relatively specific definition adopted by the European Commission in its consultations on online platforms – focused on the connection between two interdependent user groups – has been criticised for casting too wide regulatory net, catching a wide range of actors, business models and functionalities. Nor did the European Commission achieve more consensus with its narrower notion of “platforms making available large amounts of copyrighted content” identified as targets of heightened duty of care in the proposal for a copyright directive. Indeed, this latter definition triggering discussion as to the meaning of “large amount” and whether this should be defined (also) in relation to the profits made through the provision of access to such copyrighted material.

[12] See Communication on Tackling Ilegal Content Online. Towards an Enhanced Responsibility for Online Platforms, supra n. 11, pp. 5-6.

[13]  Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, The Council, The European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions on the Mid-Term Review on the implementation of the Digital Single Market Strategy A Connected Digital Single Market for All, COM (2017) 228 final.

[14] Michael J. Coren, ‘Silicon Valley’s finest are finally developing a code of ethics’ (Quartz,  20 April 2017), <> [accessed 31 October 2017]. 

Part I – Exploring the Human Right Dimensions

This first part of the book explores some of the most pressing challenges regarding the impact that public
regulations targeting digital platforms and self-regulation developed by such entities may have on their users’
fundamental rights.

In their opening chapter on “Law of the Land or Law of the Platform? Beware of the Privatisation of
Regulation and Police,”
Luca Belli, Pedro Francisco and Nicolo Zingales argue that digital platforms are
increasingly undertaking regulatory and police functions, which are traditionally considered a matter of public
law. The authors emphasise that such functions have been growingly delegated to platforms by public
regulation while, on the other hand, platforms are self-attributing such functions to avoid liability, de facto
becoming private cyber-regulators and cyber-police. After highlighting the tendency towards delegation of
public functions to private platforms, Belli, Francisco and Zingales provide concrete examples of such
phenomenon. For example, the chapter scrutinise three types of delegations of public power: the imposition of
open-ended injunctions against innocent intermediaries, typically for content removal or website blocking; the
implementation of the right to content delisting against search engines, also known as the “right to be
forgotten”; and the enlisting of numerous IT companies into a voluntary scheme to counter “illegal hate
speech”. The authors show in all these cases that the amount of discretion conferred on platforms is
problematic from the standpoint of the protection of individual rights. Furthermore, the paper reviews the
parallel copyright regime developed by YouTube in order thereby emphasizing another collateral effect of the
privatisation of regulation and police functions: the extraterritorial application of a national legislation – US
copyright, in this case – which de facto turns the platform into a private proxy for global application of
national regulation. The authors conclude highlighting some of the challenges and viable solutions for the
protection of individual rights in an era of increasing privatisation of regulation and police.

In her chapter on “Online Platform Responsibility and Human Rights,” Emily Laidlaw explores the human
rights responsibilities of online platforms at the intersection of three areas: human rights, corporate social
responsibility (CSR) and regulation. In this conceptual paper, Laidlaw untangles the governance problems in
framing platform responsibility, focusing on the uneasy relationship between CSR and law, and identifying the
difficulties in articulating what it means for a platform to respect human rights. The chapter highlights the
benefits and challenges in considering CSR as part of the relevant regulatory framework, in particular when it
comes to the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. She concludes by
identifying three key challenges for the future of platform governance: defining appropriate (and where
possible uniform) rules for intermediary liability; clarifying the scope of application of the duty of respect; and
developing the linkage between alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and human rights.

In “Regulation by Platforms: the Impact on Fundamental Rights,” Orla Lynskey points out that the
relationship between platforms and regulation is two-fold: in addition to the various forms of regulation
affecting platforms, the latter also constitute a regulator themselves through ‘private ordering’, with notable
implications for economic, social, cultural and political dimensions of our lives. Lynskey explores, in
particular, both direct and indirect ways that platforms influence the extent to which we can exercise our
rights, and argues that these implications are exacerbated when these platforms are in a position of power -for
instance because of the number of individuals that use them. Importantly, she suggests that competition law is
not sufficient to constrain platform behaviour, in particular when it comes to addressing data power’ (the
power to profile and to exacerbate asymmetries of information) and ‘media power’ (the power to influence
opinion formation and autonomous decision-making) which transcend the economic notion of market power.
The chapter illustrates this point by reference to two examples (search engines and app stores) and concludes
briefly identifying some of the options and challenges which policy-makers are confronted with in trying to
tackle these issues.

In their chapter on “Fundamental Rights and Digital Platforms in the European Union: a suggested way
Joe McNamee and Maryant Fernandez emphasise that it is important to understand which actors we
are addressing when referring to “digital platforms” because it may be counterproductive to categorise players
as different as AirBnB, Google News and YouTube, to name but a few examples, as the same type of
business. In this sense, the authors usefully suggest five classifications of platforms based on the relationship
with consumers or businesses and based on the transactional nature of the relationship. Furthermore, this
chapter notes that standard content guidelines of digital platforms do not necessarily respect the principle of
legality or comply with fundamental human rights. In this regard, so called “community guidelines” often ban
content, which is lawful and/or protected by European human rights law, often in an arbitrary and
unpredictable way. McNamee and Fernández Pérez offer several examples of bad practice to corroborate their
thesis and to conclude that, worryingly, neither governments nor Internet intermediaries appear to feel morally
or legally responsible/accountable for assessing the durability or potential counterproductive effects that can
be deployed by the measures that they implement. Importantly, the authors conclude the paper recommending
the essential points that that future platform policies should incorporate in order to abide fully to the
obligations prescribed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

Part II – Data Governance

The second part of this volume is dedicated to the analysis of one of the most crucial element concerning
platform policies and regulations. The protection and use of individuals’ personal data have crossed the
borders of from privacy-focused discussions, growing to encompass an ample range of topics, including
competition, property rights and the conflict with the collective right to access to information. The chapters
included in this part provide a selection of analyses and some useful food for thoughts to identify priorities and
ponder what regulatory solutions might be elaborated.

Krzysztof Garstka and David Erdos open this second part with an important reflection on the right to be
forgotten from search engines, entitled “Hiding in Plain Sight: Right to be Forgotten & Search Engines in
the Context of International Data Protection Frameworks.”
The authors note that, in the wake of Google
Spain (2014) it has become widely recognised that data protection law within the EU/EEA grants individuals a
qualified right to have personal data relating to them de-indexed from search engines, this is far from being a
uniquely EU/EEA phenomenon. Through an analysis of five major extra-EU/EEA international data
protection instruments, Garstka and Erdos conclude that most of those lend themselves to a reasonable
interpretation supporting a Google Spain-like result. In light of the serious threats faced by individuals as a
result of the public processing of data relating to them, they argue that the time is ripe for a broader process of
international discussion and consensus-building on the “right to be forgotten”. They also suggest that such an
exercise cannot be limited to the traditionally discussed subjects such as challenging and d search engines), but
should also encompass other actors including social networking sites, video-sharing platforms and rating

The following chapter turns to the economic dimension of platform regulation, with Rolf Weber’s analysis of
the heated (but often misinterpreted) subject of “Data ownership in platform markets.” Weber points out
stressing that, while in the past platform regulations mainly concerned content issues related to accessible
information and to provider responsibility, the growing debates about data ownership might also extend the
scope of regulatory challenges to the economic analysis of platform markets. Relevant topics are collective
ownership and data portability in the legal ownership context, as well as access to data and data sharing in
case of an existing factual control about data. Weber opines that these challenges call for a different design of
the author regulatory framework for online platform.

The question of data ownership is further explored by Célia Zolynski in “What legal framework for data
ownership and access? The Opinion of the French Digital Council.”
This chapter takes stock of the
existing European debate and puts forward the approach of the French Digital Council (Conseil National du
Numérique or CNNum). The Chapter is in fact a CNNum Opinion issued in April 2017 to respond to the
public consultation launched by the European Commission on online platforms exploring various legislative
and non-legislative options, including the creation of a property right over non-personal data, to encourage the
free flow of data. First, the Opinion submits that value creation mostly occurs when data is contextualized and
combined with data from other datasets in order to produce new insights. Thus, the issue is not to establish a
hypothetical right of data ownership; rather, it is about thinking and designing incentive regimes of data access
and exchange between data controllers so as to encourage value creation. Indeed, contrary to a widely-held
belief, data ownership does not necessarily facilitate data exchanges - it can actually hinder them. Above all,
the Opinion makes the argument that a free flow of data should be envisioned not only between member
States, but also across online platforms. Importantly, the chapter highlights that these new forms of sharing are
essential to the development of a European data economy.

Part III – New Roles Calling for New Solutions

This part scrutinises the conundrum created by the blurring of distinction between private and public spheres in
some of the most crucial fields interested by the evolutions digital platforms. By exploring the challenges of
regulation, terrorism, online payments and digital labour, this third part highlights the heterogeneity of roles
that platforms are undertaking while stressing the need of policy solutions able to seize such diversity and
properly addressing the underling challenges.

Marc Tessier, Judith Herzog and Lofred Madzou open this part with their chapter on “Regulation at the Age
of online platform-based economy: accountability, users’ empowerment and responsiveness.”
This paper
expresses the views of the French Digital Council (CNNum) on the regulatory challenges associated with the
development of the digital platform economy. This piece is part of a more comprehensive reflexion on online
platforms policy-related issues developed by CNNUm since 2013, when the Council had been assigned the
task to organise a consultation with the French plaintiffs involved in the Google Shopping antitrust
investigation and made recommendations on policy issues posed by the rise of online platforms. Then in 2014,
the former Prime Minister asked the Council to organise a national consultation to elaborate France's digital
strategy. In this context, various market actors and civil society organisations reported their concerns about the
lack of transparency regarding online platform activities and the asymmetry of power in their relationships
with platform operators. To address these legitimate concerns, several recommendations were made; including
the need to develop the technical and policy means to assess the accountability and fairness of online
platforms. In 2016, following that recommendation, the government entrusted the Council with the task of
overseeing the creation of an agency with these capabilities. In their contribution, Tessier, Herzog and Madzou
discuss the challenges brought by the platform economy to our traditional regulatory tools, offering and a
comprehensive policy framework to address them and the possible grounds for intervention of a potential
Agency for Trust in the Digital Platform Economy

In her chapter on “Countering terrorism and violent extremism online: what role for social media
Krisztina Huszti-Orban highlights that social media platforms have been facing considerable
pressure on part of States to ‘do more’ in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism online. Because of
such pressure, many social media companies have set up individual and joint efforts to spot unlawful content
in a more effective manner, thereby becoming the de facto regulators of online content and the gatekeepers of
freedom of expression and interlinked rights in cyberspace. However, the author stresses that having corporate
entities carry out quasi-executive and quasi-adjudicative tasks, outsourced to them by governments under the
banner of self- or co-regulation, raises a series of puzzling questions under human rights law. In this
perspective, this chapter outlines the main human rights challenges that are arising in the European context,
regarding EU laws and policies as well as Member State practices. In Europe, the issues of terrorism and
violent extremism online have become uppermost in the political agenda and, in such context, the author
argues that the lack of internationally agreed definitions of violent extremism and terrorism-related offences
raises the risk of excessive measures with potential cross-border human rights implications. Furthermore,
Huszti-Orban analyses the problems arising from the attempts to broaden the liability of Internet intermediaries
in the counter-terrorism context. Crucially, the paper emphasises the need to provide social media platforms
with human rights-compliant guidance with regard to conducting content review, the criteria to be used in this
respect and the specialist knowledge required to perform these tasks appropriately. The chapter also stresses
the role of transparency, accountability and independent oversight, particularly considering the public interest
role that social media platforms play by regulating content to prevent and counter terrorism and violent

In “Revenue Chokepoints: Global Regulation by Payment Intermediaries”, Natasha Tusikov argues that payment intermediaries are becoming go-to regulators for governments and, in a recent development, for multinational corporations’ intent on protecting their valuable intellectual property rights. More problematically, she stresses that those intermediaries that dominate the online payment industry (namely Visa, MasterCard and PayPal) can enact revenue chokepoints that starve targeted entities of sales revenue or donations and thereby undertake many of these regulatory efforts in the absence of legislation and formal legal orders, in what is commonly termed “voluntary industry regulation.” Drawing upon interviews with policy-makers, intermediaries and right-holders, the chapter argues that governments strategically employ the narrative of “voluntary intermediary-led” in order to distance the state from problematic practices. Further, it contends that payment intermediaries’ regulatory efforts are part of a broader effort to shape Internet governance in ways that benefit largely western legal, economic, and security interests, especially those of the United States. The conclusion is, in line with other contributions in this book, that intermediary-facilitated regulation needs some serious thinking and must take place within an appropriate regulatory framework, especially when payment providers act as private regulators for private actors’ material benefit.

It is not a coincidence that the last chapter concludes precisely where the discussion began in the opening chapter: the observation of widespread delegation of regulatory and police functions to private entities without an adequate complement of rights and remedies available to secure the effectiveness of rights and obligations of affected individuals. As pointed out by virtually every contributor in this book, that is particularly problematic when platforms are in a position where they effectively decide the meaning, scope and level of protection of fundamental rights. This situation calls for a reflection on the goals for regulatory intervention in a platform society, and the role that private platforms can and should play in ensuring respect for individual rights.

The Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet Educational Resource Guide (v2) (Internet Rights and Principles Coalition)

2017 Internet Governance Forum, Geneva (Switzerland)
Dynamic Coalition Main Session

DRAFT Paper from the DC for Internet Rights and Principles (IRPC)
The Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet Educational Resource
Guide (v2)

The Dynamic Coalition on Internet Rights and Principles (IRPC) has been developing an Educational Resource Guide to
the Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet for educational use, in the classroom but also for advocacy
purposes in different national and policy-contexts. The IRPC Charter is available in booklet form on the IRPC website at It is currently in eight languages.

This paper refers to the English edition of the Charter Booklet, at

This paper provides a brief introduction to the first version of the IRPC Charter Resource Guide, which was developed
in coordination with the IRPC and Syracuse University students. It is intended to raise awareness, and to provide
access to relevant work on respective rights and principles in the wider community. For this reason, the Resource
Guide is an open-ended document that invites feedback in the form of suggestions for a range of nationally, and
regionally specific examples, and ideas for educational, and outreach uses. This paper is an abridged version of how
the Resource Guide links to the Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet in the first instance. In the
second it indicates the directions in which the first version of the Resource Guide can take for providing case-study
material, access to inter-governmental, and national governmental initiatives that have been incorporating
fundamental rights and freedoms in decisions around internet-design, access, use, and content management. The
IRPC Charter has in this respect been a formative influence in a number of these initiatives.

The points below draw on the full draft of V.1 of the Educational Resource Guide (as developed by US-based
students). It maps the possibilities for V. 2 and therefore needs to be read alongside the Draft Guide. This is available
for comment and input on the IRPC Website at:

In December of 2016, students of Prof. Lee McKnight at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies at the
Maxwell School of Citizen and Public Affairs, and College of Law developed the first version of the educational
resource guide to the 2016 DC Main Session via remote participation in Guadalajara, Mexico.

This model of collaboration proved to be a very successful exercise for these students as they participated in the
creation of educational materials that develop and articulate the IRPC Charter for students and other communities.
This project was also useful in engaging university students in discussing the content of the IRPC Charter, and its Ten
Principles ( The resource guide provides clarification of how
existing law and norms relate to articulations, and jurisprudence on Human Rights and Principles for the Internet. The
Resource Guide can also serve as a growing repository of external reference materials, including evidence based
studies, and legal cases that provide further documentation and engagement relevant to the 21 Articles of the IRPC

The IRP Coalition invites input from other groups in order to provide more material from around the world. This year it
is presenting this project for substantive discussion during the DC Main Session about how human rights and
principles for internet-policymaking and related decisions in the private sector, public sector, and civil society at large,
can be articulated in culturally and legally relevant ways to a range of audiences.

We aim to gather feedback and ideas to further develop the resource guide for use in a range of educational and
awareness-raising contexts. Since the IRPC Charter, and its Ten Principles, was launched in 2010/2011 there has been
a number of national and regional initiatives to develop these 21 Clauses, as well as the Ten Principles, in more
specific terms.

Where to Start – Developing the Study Guide for Multiple Scenarios
The following section is an overview of 20 Articles in the full charter, with related principles as they are broken down
in the Educational Resource Guide at

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), negotiated and affirmed by governments of the United Nations,
stand as a firm commitment to uphold and protect fundamental human rights, the dignity and worth of each person
and the equal rights of men and women. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) present tremendous
opportunities to enable individuals, communities and peoples to achieve their full potential in promoting their
sustainable development and improving their quality of life.

As a study guide-form, the resources noted below are intended to contextualize each of the Charter's articles by
providing illustrative and often crosscutting examples, case studies, and pressing dilemmas that suggest how ICTs and
digital media both support and undermine these rights. These can be deployed in various ways for education,
discussion, awareness raising and knowledge-exchange, and as sources of inspiration. The section below is an initial
map of the core content in each of the Charter's Articles with suggested examples for educational and outreach use.
Each article is based in existing, and emerging international law and norms that connect policy-making on internet
design, access, use, and content management.

Right to Access the Internet
Internet accessibility is dependent upon quality of service, freedom of choice of system and software use, ensuring
digital inclusion, and net neutrality/equality.

• A number of Internet shutdowns took place and which are mostly allegedly motivated by political reasons
(Uganda, Kenya, Togo, Cameroon, Catalonia). Another trend is shutting down the Internet during school
exams (Algeria, Iraq) e.g. #keepiton campaign documents all these incidents.

Right to Non-discrimination in Internet Access, Use & Governance
Apart from the technical components of Internet accessibility, there must be consideration of equality of access,
marginalized groups and gender equality.

• Case Study: "United States: Administration Wrong to Target Immigrants, Social Media" (Freedom House, 27
Sept, 2017). The US Department of Homeland Security published a new rule to include in people's
immigration file: "social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results" as
part of people's immigration file." The new requirement takes effect Oct.

• work on gender/Feminist Principles for the internet

• The Click Rights project of the Hivos IGMENA project (

Right to Liberty & Security on the Internet
As the growth of Internet technologies continue throughout all corners of the world, inclusivity must also mean access
to protection against all forms of crime and resources that will prevent the spread of viruses, malware or phishing.

• External Resource: OECD Recommendation on Digital Security Risk Management for Economic and Social

• Notable Cases: US v. Lori Drew, 2009 U.S. Dist. L.E.X.I.S. 85780 (2009) and US v. Morris, 928 F.2d 504 (2d Cir.

• Case Study: "Your Tweet Can Be Used Against You" (Privacy International, 30 Aug, 2017).

• Case Study: "Reckless Exploit: Mexican Journalists, Lawyers, and a Child Targeted with NSO Spyware"

• Case Study: "This report describes 'Phish For The Future,' an advanced persistent spearphishing campaign
targeting digital civil liberties activists."

Right to Development Through the Internet
If the growth of Internet technologies is to be made inclusive and sustainable, ample opportunities must be made to
utilize these tools for poverty reduction and human development. Additionally, there must be consideration of the
disposal of e-waste in an environmentally safe manner.

• External Resource: The Internet and Poverty: Opening the Black Box

The following links include some case studies on sustainability , which links to the SDG's UN agenda.
3. The world of the Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) in India –

Freedom of Expression & Information on the Internet
Inclusivity requires that all users (citizens, media) have the ability to use the Internet to participate in fair and safe
political processes that are free from censorship and hate speech.

• Notable Cases: Elonis v. US, 135 S. Ct. 2001, 575 U.S., 192 L. Ed. 2d 1 (2015) and Delfi AS v. Estonia (2015)
ECtHR 64669/09

• Case Study: "Facebook Enabled Advertisers to Reach ‘Jew Haters’"

Freedom of Religion & Belief on the Internet
An inclusive and sustainable future of the Internet will provide a platform for all religions or belief systems.

• International Religious Freedom Report https://2009-

• Online Religion as Lived Religion

Freedom of Online Assembly & Association
An inclusive Internet in future will be one that empowers and encourages users to safely assemble and associate with
one another.

• Turkey Blocks Facebook, Twitter and Youtube Amid Military Coup

Right to Privacy on the Internet
Sustainable growth in Internet technologies must be founded on laws and policies that ensure privacy and develop
trust in online services.

• Report of the Special Rapporteur to the Human Rights Council on the use of encryption and anonymity to
exercise the rights to freedom of opinion and expression in the digital age.

• Necessary and Proportionate Principles Campaign:

Right to Digital Data Protection
Digital data protection resources must be made available to all Internet users, regardless of where or how they access
online services.

• Notable Cases: Maximillian Schrems v. Data Protection Commissioner and Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct.
1540, 578 U.S., 194 L. Ed. 2d 635 (2016).

• Case Study: "Will the Equifax Data Breach Finally Spur the Courts (and Lawmakers) to Recognize Data

Right to Education On & About the Internet
Digital literacy must be prioritized in order to ensure that all Internet users are learning vital 21st century skills and
understand the impact of the technologies that are so critical to modern life.

• Implementing the Right to Education- UNESCO

• Protecting the Right to Education for Refugees

Right to Culture & Access to Knowledge on the Internet

The digital space must be a place that is representative of the diverse cultures that use it and access to knowledge
must be made possible for all (e.g. languages, disabilities, etc.).

• Discuss: does the Clamp down on the TLD of. CAT by the Spanish authorities prohibits the right to culture .

Rights of Children & the Internet
Children must be protected on the Internet, through enforcement of laws on exploitation and child abuse imagery, as
well as consideration of their interests and views.

• Children's Rights in a Digital Age -

Rights of People with Disabilities & the Internet
A physical or mental disability should not prevent any individual from accessing the Internet in its entirety.

• Internet Accessibility - Internet Access for Persons with Disabilities: Moving Forwards - Internet Society

• The Internet of Things: New Promises for Persons With Disabilities -

Right to Work & the Internet
The digital economy must be one that is founded upon workers’ rights and accessibility by those of any socioeconomic

• The sharing economy creates a Dickensian world for workers – it masks a dark problem in the labour market
html. See also
o Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory (Scholz, T., 2012).
o The Participatory Condition in the Digital Age (2016).
o Uberworked and Underpaid: How Workers Are Disrupting the Digital Economy (Scholz, T. 2016).
o Debating the Sharing Economy by Juliet Schor

Right to Online Participation in Public Affairs
Governments around the world must utilize Internet technologies to maximize the value of services for their citizens.

• eParticipation
• UN E-Government Survey 2016

Rights to Consumer Protection on the Internet
Digital goods and services must be held to the same consumer protection standards as those in the physical world.

• United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection (2016)

Rights to Health and Social Services on the Internet
Health and social services information must be made accessible to all users so that an adequate standard of living can
be achieved.

• Global diffusion of eHealth: Making universal health coverage achievable (2016)

Right to Legal Remedy & Fair Trial for Actions Involving the Internet
As individuals begin to carry out more of their lives in the digital space, they must be given access to legal remedy, fair
trial and due process for actions carried out in the digital space.

• Notable Case: Google Spain, Google Inc., v Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (AEPD), Mario Costeja
González Judgment, Case C 131/12, 13 May 2014

• Internet: case law of the European Court of Human Rights

• Max Schrems vs. Facebook ruling:;jsessionid=9ea7d2dc30...

Right to Appropriate Social & International Order for the Internet
All entities and individuals with influence over the governance of the Internet must always prioritize human rights,
multilingualism, pluralism and effective participation.

• UN Human Rights Council Declarations on human rights and the internet

• Internet Legislation Atlas (Hivos IGMENA Project) at

Duties and Responsibilities on the Internet
All Internet users must respect their fellow digital citizens and those in power must ensure that these principles are
carried out and enforced.

Some recent examples of various stakeholder initiatives, as human rights-based internet legislation, campaigns or best
• (Brazil) Marco Civil: and

• Netmundial Multistakeholder Statement:

• African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms:

• (New Zealand) Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill:

• Council of Europe Guide to Human Rights for Internet Users:

Counter-examples where debates ongoing
• (UK) Investigatory Powers Act (also known as the Snoopers' Charter):

Summing Up
As the examples above show, there have been a number of significant developments at the international, regional,
and national/local levels of policy-making that take human rights and principles as a baseline for future decisions. The
IRPC Charter has provided, in that respect, a framework for the extension and deepening of knowledge sharing, as
well as continuing to be an authoritative framework from which judiciaries, lawmakers, and civil society organizations
can assess and consider informed decisions. A key objective at the start of the Charter project at the 2009 IGF meeting
was to "drill down" more deeply into the 21 Articles, and in so doing provide milestones, points for debate and
consideration, and sources of inspiration and critique as well for future generations. This Resource Guide aims to fulfil
that objective.

Zero rating Map (DC on Network Neutrality)

This document describes the Zero Rating Map, which is 2017 outcome of the UN IGF Dynamic Coalition on Network Neutrality (DCNN).1 In 2017, Zero Rating2 continued to be one of the most discussed net neutrality issue. In this context, the proposal to develop the Zero Rating Map was put forward to facilitate a better understanding of the issue, collecting objective data regarding existing zero rating offerings and regulations.

The idea to develop a Zero Rating Map was discussed via the DCNN mailing list, between June and September 2017. DCNN members provided multistakeholder inputs with regard to how to develop this interactive tool, from both a substantial and procedural standpoint. Notably, DCNN members provided feedback on the questions to be asked in order to collect precise and complete information as well as on the technical tools that could be exploited to collect information and to implement the Map.

The purpose of the Map is to build an open access resource that can contribute to the promotion of a more informed debate on Net Neutrality and Zero Rating and can be exploited by a wide range of stakeholders, including researchers, regulators, entrepreneurs and user rights advocates.

To date, inputs on Zero Rating practices in several countries have already been collected,
utilising an open Ethercalc sheet. All interested stakeholders are invited to contribute to
this crowdsourced effort, using the Ethercalc sheet to add information regarding their
respective countries. The beta version of the Zero Rating Map will be released at the IGF
meeting of the DCNN and will include information added to the Ethercalc sheet until 20
November 2017. The Ethercalc sheet will remain open to receive information
submissions during the IGF and after the IGF, and the Zero Rating Map will be regularly
updated, including the most recent information added to the Ethercalc sheet. The Zero
Rating Map will be available on

The elaboration of the Zero Rating Map is coordinated by Luca Belli, DCNN Chair and
Senior Researcher at the Center for Technology & Society at Fundação Getulio Vargas
(CTS/FGV). All contributors to this effort will be able, but not obliged, to include their
name as authors of the contributions Map, using a specific column in the Ethercalc sheet.
Contributors stating their name will be explicitly acknowledged in the Zero Rating Map,
which will be graciously maintained by CTS/FGV.

Information to be Collected via the Ethercalc Sheet

 Country
 Is there net neutrality regulation?
 Has any national regulator issued any regulation regarding zero rating?
 Name of the operators implementing zero rating offerings
 Are the operators zero-rating specific services (e.g. only whatsapp) or classes of
services (e.g. all instant messaging apps)?
 In case only specific services are zero rated, what are the zero rated services?
 Is the zero-rated service throttled or blocked after the data volume is exceeded?
 Is the user signing up for free (e.g. zero rated services are bundled with specific
offerings) or is the zero rating offering coming with a cost?
 Is the Content or Application Provider paying to be zero-rated?
 Name of the person providing information (optional)

Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billions – Phase III


IGF Intercessional Work


This report is part of the Internet Governance Forum’s Intercessional work developed in response to The United Nations (UN) Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) working group on Internet Governance Forum (IGF) improvements in 2012 recommendations to develop tangible IGF outputs to impact Internet governance debates globally.


In 2015, the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) approved the launch of an intersessional program in 2015 in consonance with efforts made by Dynamic Coalitions, National and Regional IGF initiatives, and Best Practice Forums to create a continued discussion on critical issues beyond annual meetings at the Internet Governance Forum. Intercessional work furthers the IGF’s mandate to identify key issues, facilitate discourse among relevant stakeholders and to make recommendations, as laid out in the World Summit of Information Society’s Tunis Agenda in 2005.


Participation in IGF intercessional work is governed by the IGF Code of Conduct.

Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billions


The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) ‘Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billions’ process is a bottom-up, community-driven endeavor to produce a collaborative document to identify ways to connect the four billion unconnected people in communities around the world. This output document represents the compilation of the third phase of multistakeholder consultations with a focus on case studies that show how connectivity initiatives are helping countries and communities make progress on the sustainable development goals.


In 2015, the first phase focused on defining the connectivity challenge, identifying key obstacles, and suggesting concrete policies to achieve increased connectivity, including an emphasis on infrastructure, enabling users, increasing usability and user-friendliness, accounting for affordability and facilitating an enabling environment.


In 2016, the second phase augmented this work by expanding the focus to ‘Connecting and Enabling the Next Billions’ and elucidating local and regional specificities and discussing how ICTs can broadly help make progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Over 130 submissions contributed to the development of comprehensive sets of Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billions (Phase I and Phase II). Many of the contributions came from national and regional IGF initiatives, Dynamic Coalitions and Best Practice Forums, as well as external organisations and individuals.

Objectives of Phase III

In 2017, the third phase of Connecting and Enabling the Next Billions seeks to supplement the recommendations made in the first two phases with concrete case studies to highlight the ways in which projects on the ground are making helping make progress on key sustainable goals.

The focus of the third phase is the following three Sustainable Development Goals:

  • Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning
  • Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation



Phase III of Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion(s) followed the multistakeholder-driven, inclusive approach that is at the heart of the IGF intersessional processes. An online public consultation was open to all members of the IGF community and facilitated the participation of a diverse selection of stakeholders in the work. Contributors are listed in this document’s appendix, and their contributions are published in full on the IGF Website <link>.


Initial planning for Phase III began with virtual discussions within the Multistakeholder Advisory Group in early 2017. Various MAG members provided input in shaping the framework in the first few months of 2017, and the coordinators published a public call for input on the 13th of June, 2017, during the second physical MAG meeting in Geneva.


A call for input was issued to various mailing lists to invite responses from various stakeholder groups. Communities within the IGF, specifically the NRIs, DCs and BPFs, were reached out to through targeted outreach mechanisms, and invited to participate.


The first draft has been compiled by taking note of relevant contributions by all stakeholders, and organized by themes that emerged from the contributions. It has been augmented by desk research and a wider literature review. The case studies have been lightly edited for readability and reflect text from contributions directly, where relevant. They have been organized by the sustainable development goal that they contribute directly to.


<to be updated with further insight on process as it unfolds>

Structure of this Report


This report is structured into four parts. The first part exemplifies the relevance of ICTs to the sustainable development goals more broadly, and provides a framework to understand the ways in which the two go hand in hand. The second, third and fourth section focus on each of the sustainable development goals chosen for this phase: Goal 4 that focuses on Education, Goal 5 that focuses on Gender Equality and Goal 9 on Infrastructure.


<more to be added on structure as it unfolds>

Linkages between ICTs and the SDGs

All member nations adopted the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda in 2015. The agenda, in goal 9c, sets a very ambitious goal to "significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020."

A robust ICT ecosystem is key to attaining that goal. As ICC-BASIS elucidated in their contribution, “an interoperable, seamless ICT ecosystem is crucial to help populations reap the benefits of ICT and further development opportunity.” Another submission by 
Picosoft Nepal underscores the relevance of ICTs in attaining all of the sustainable development goals. “With roughly half the population lacking internet connectivity, it remains clear that underserved communities in the developing world and beyond require better access to physical technology, access to the internet, as well as digital literacy and computer science education. This is especially the case for women and girls, who are often left behind. To truly solve SDG 4 (Education), SDG 5 (women empowerment), and SDG 9 (infrastructure development), technology remains a key driving force that crosses over these three SDGs in addition to the remaining fourteen.”

Contributors also emphasized that unique nature of the challenge that SDGs pose, and the need for information sharing through ICTs as part of the solution. As Shreedeep Ramanjhi put it, “SDGs need an open and collaborative approach for technological sharing and development,” which ICTs can facilitate at a more rapid pace than alternatives. The nature of ICT governance in a multistakeholder model also enables innovative approaches and creative collaborations flourish. Picosoft Nepal adds, “the information poverty a direct contributor to lower economic and social prosperity, local social entrepreneurs are (1) designing and implementing unique solutions enabling internet connectivity, (2) developing locally-driven content, and (3) partnering in multistakeholder approaches to improve digital communication and economic opportunities…. We must partner across the private and public sector in a multi-stakeholder approach to truly solve these lofty goals.” Panama’s IGF report also emphasized the need for public-private collaborations to make progress on ICTs and the SDGs.

<more desk literature to be added>

Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning


Case 1: [email protected], Yemen


[email protected] is an initiative by ISOC Yemen that seeks to set up Internet access hotspots and provide training in ICT skills through workshops and lectures to secondary school students, as well as by commissioning training materials in the local language (Arabic) in four schools in Sanaa and Aden in Yemen.


[email protected] used a two-pronged approach to improve adoption and educational outcomes: first, to connect four schools to the internet through wireless hotspots, and second, to train secondary school students through workshops, lectures, and material in the local language. ISOC-Yemen has received a grant under the Beyond the Net grants program for the deployment of [email protected] in 2016-17. The project identified schools in areas relatively shielded from the conflict to deploy wireless hotspots.


The chapter introduced an Arabic-language illustrative primer for secondary school students who have never been exposed to the Internet before. Multiple workshops, and guest lectures to train students in information and communications technologies, along with contests to engage the students and measure their progress in adopting to the Internet are used to improve adoption. The project culminated with the first ever [email protected] conference, conducted in July 2017.

Case 2: Project Tawasol, Tunisia


Project Tawasol is a project in Tunisia led by IEEE Sight, Tunisia chapter and People Centered Internet. The aim of the project is to connect primary schools across the country to the Internet, and train students to use the Internet through ICT skills workshops conducted by IEEE.


The project seeks to provide students small Raspberry Pi operated devices with hard disks that can be updated periodically with relevant content such as Wikipedia pages, TED Talks and other educational content from the Internet. The devices have been developed by IEEE Sight in Tunisia with aid from the San Francisco chapter. They are capable of automatically updating content when connected to Wi-Fi or 3G networks. 


In December 2016, the Sadiki school in Tunis was identified as the first “Connected School” for the dissemination of these devices coupled with digital literacy training workshops by members of IEEE Sight. With support from the government, the project aims to connect, by the end of 2017, 24 such schools – one school in each region within Tunisia. The project focuses on primary schools, with an aim to make the next generation aware of new technologies and information that can be accessed through the Internet.


As part of the project, technical talks and digital literacy as well as ICT training workshops are organized by IEEE Sight, Tunisia. These talks cover interactive sessions that teach students how to build their own websites using drag and drop interfaces. The first workshop conducted in 2016 had a 50% participation by women, a key step in enabling gender parity in Internet access and skills.


In digital literacy training workshops that have been conducted by IEEE Sight, students have built their own prototype websites such as a school blog using HTML, CSS and modular website building interfaces. The reactions in post-workshop surveys conducted thus far have been tremendously positive. “Most students asked us when we will return to provide them with their own devices for development,” says Skander Mansouri, one of the IEEE Sight members that conducted these training workshops.

Case 3: Escuela+, Latin America


Escuela+ is a program that uses satellite technology and solar-powered infrastructure on the ground combined with innovative educational programming to connect rural schools in Latin America that do not have any Internet access to high quality educational content. The program, active since 2007, has reached over 1 million students, 65,000 teachers, and 6,800 schools in eight countries in Latin America including Colombia, Chile, Brazil and Argentina. It is supported by a broad coalition of organizations, including AT&T, DirecTV, National Geographic, Discovery and Fundacion Torneos.


ESCUELA+ uses last mile satellite connectivity to provide educational content from high quality sources such as the Discovery channel and National Geographic, as well as the National Television Council’s educational content, to students in rural schools. The satellite connectivity provides access to this programming in any school with TV and electrical power. Where such electrical power was not easily accessible, solar-powered alternatives are being deployed to make streamed educational content easily available to school-going children in rural areas, as part of ESCUELA+ Solar initiative. DirecTV’s DVR recording facility allows teachers to manage content and record over 100 hours of programming, and use this content as part of a pedagogy that integrates interactive and integrated learning supplemented by online information.


Teachers are trained in the use of ESCUELA+ audio/visual technology, as well as the Discovery en la ESCUELA pedagogy. Using media, technology and digital satellite television, learning processes are tailored to incorporate an innovative teaching methodology in these schools.


Over 80% of ESCUELA+ schools are in underserved areas. Independent evaluation studies conducted by the University of Chile Department of Education and by the Faculty of Social Sciences in two waves concluded that students receiving education supplemented by ESCUELA+ methodology performed consistently better than a control group.  ESCUELA+ students registered higher performance scores analyzed by year-on-year performance, grade level and subject matter.

Case 4: Digital Village Squares, India


Digital Village Squares is an Indian corporate social responsibility initiative implemented by American Tower Corporation in collaboration with the NIIT Foundation and Hole in the Wall Education Limited (HiWEL). HiWEL learning stations and digital literacy training classes by the NIIT Foundation are now available at 51 Squares in rural India. Students can engage in self-paced interactive learning through the learning stations, and adults are trained in basic computer skills using the National Digital Literacy Mission’s curriculum at these locations.


Digital Village Squares are locations in rural India that are either adjoining tower sites or at local schools, where digital literacy training occurs. The initiative is part of American Tower Corporation’s corporate social responsibility efforts in India, and seeks to advance the Digital India vision. American Tower partners with Hole-in-the-Wall Education Limited and the NIIT Foundation in India to implement this initiative.


The sites for Digital Village Squares are carefully chosen in locations that are central to villages. After a pilot was run in a few villages, community buy-in proved to be a strong determinant of the success of the program. A comprehensive mobilization plan is therefore used to create awareness about the training and services offered at the center. Pamphlets, skits, and sessions at the Gram Sabhas are held to reach as many people as possible. Children enrolled in schools have also proven to be helpful in spreading awareness about the project within their communities. The trainers recruited for imparting digital literacy training are all local to the areas where these Squares are located.


A sense of ownership also plays a role in whether there is increased use of these learning stations and classes. When learning stations were installed adjacent to tower sites, initially, there was more engagement at those locations than in schools. Continued engagement with school administrations to emphasize the utility of these learning stations has led to better uptake and use. At the training classes, the National Digital Literacy Mission’s curriculum is taught over the course of 20-25 days, at the end of which an assessment of ICT skills is administered by the trainer.


The program hopes to evolve to cover a wide range of e-governance services and engage local entrepreneurs in key ways to maintain these sites, as a means to enhance long-term sustainability.


Digital Village Squares are presently available in 51 sites all in rural areas, with 28 that are standalone HiWEL stations, and 23 that offer digital literacy training using the National Digital Literacy Mission’s curriculum. The demand for training has seen a rise in these locations, evidenced by long queues for classes at the Squares.

Case 5: Zaya Learning Lab, India


Zaya Learning Lab is a non-profit organization established in 2013 to provide Wi-Fi access to low-income English-language schools in India. Their unique learning-focused connectivity devices provide Internet access and educational content at a much lower cost than a regular, open-Internet Wi-Fi connection. This case shows the value of tailoring connectivity to the needs of a specific site (region, culture, class, institution) and the importance of technical and person-to-person communication in making Internet access an effective tool for education.


Zaya Learning Labs provides affordable Wi-Fi to low-income Indian schools via a curated secured dynamic device called ClassCloud. This device is both a wireless router and a high-process server. It functions like any cloud service on the Internet, provides a wide-range WiFi signal, and runs software all at once. For a yearly fee (roughly the cost of one dollar per year per child, in their estimation), Zaya provides interactive and region-appropriate digital content through this device.


This content is based on an educational methodology known as “blended learning,” which harnesses the capabilities of an online classroom in order target students’ individual requirements, educational levels, and learning speeds. Not only is the software able to dynamically respond to each student’s progress through a digitized workbook or textbook, but this software is also programmed to communicate student struggles and successes to Zaya and their content providers, who use these analytics to refine and improve their tools.


Zaya currently has 400 schools spread throughout India subscribing yearly to their service, which reaches about 200,000 children between the ages of five and thirteen. They are currently working on expanding the age range of their software content to fifteen and continuing to subscribe additional schools—in and outside of India— to their service.

Case 6: Cisco Connected North, Canada


Cisco Canada’s “Connected North” initiative augments educational and healthcare services available to youth in remote indigenous communities in Northern Canada since 2013. It deploys Cisco’s Telepresence technology (MX 300 G2) to offer real-time, live interactive experiences with experts and students in other classrooms around Canada, the project has grown from a single pilot location to implementation in 30 schools.  Within five years, Connected North expects to have Telepresence units in 100 schools.  Connected North is indicative of the utility of immersive, interactive internet learning for students in remote regions to combat endemic local social issues such as a graduation rate of approximately 20% and highest global per capita suicide rate among youth whose expansion is curtailed by funding concerns.


Connected North is an immersive, digital education and mental health and wellness network that provides customized services and real time experiences to students in remote Indigenous communities.  Begun as a pilot in a single school in the Territory of Nunavut, the project has greatly expanded since 2013.  Using Cisco TelePresence technology, Connected North leverages real-time, high definition two-way video to make powerful connections for students, bringing experts into JK - Grade 12 classrooms on a wide range of topics. There are five overarching content areas that Connected North focuses on – virtual fieldtrips, mentoring, experts on demand in a vast array of subject areas, classroom cultural exchanges (both between indigenous and non-indigenous student populations and indigenous to indigenous classrooms), and programming called “Future Pathways” which aims to help students attend post-secondary institutions as well as make them aware of career paths that are available to them.

In terms of content, 90% is indigenous-themed.  Connected North staffers work hand-in-hand with teachers for content-offerings and work to reinforce indigenous cultural educational styles, such as emphasis in Inuit schools on collaborative learning.


In smaller schools, Telepresence setups are put in common areas so all classes may use them as needed.  In larger schools, each intermediate classroom (6th, 7th, and 8th grades) has a unit.  Cisco sells these units for $30,000 Canadian, however, they offer a seventy percent discount to Canadian school districts, bringing the cost down to approximately $9,000 Canadian.  Due to the program’s success, Cisco spun-off Connected North into a non-profit organization, which partnered with Taking IT Global.  This latter organization has constructed an ecosystem of over 50 funding partners including Federal, Provincial, and Territorial governments, private sector lenders, private foundations, and individual donors.


The impetus and continued support for Connected North comes from two tragic statistics of Canadian indigenous youth; the dropout rate is approximately 80% and these communities have the highest rates of youth suicide per capita in the world.  Combatting these systemic problems required more than just educational resources.  The second facet of Connected North was to provide students with access to remote mental health and wellness professionals that would traditionally require great travel expense for the students’ families and were thus generally unavailable.

Case 7: New Sun Road SolConnect , Guatemala


New Sun Road develops technology solutions to address energy-poverty and enable Internet connectivity for off-grid communities. A lack of affordable and reliable electricity limits the full productive potential of communities, presenting a key constraint to Internet access in remote locations. New Sun Road’s primary mission is to remove this barrier by developing affordable, resilient technologies to optimize the operation and management of off-grid solar microgrids–driving down their costs, unlocking additional capital and enabling the scale of additional systems. Employing this technology with the support of Microsoft’s Affordable Access Initiative, New Sun Road have developed the SolConnect Productive Centers model–community-run energy, connectivity and economic development centers.


In Aldea Liano Grande, Santa Rosa Department, Guatemala, A SolConnect Center is being planned for deployment in 2017 in a school in a rural agricultural community near vast (100km long) sugarcane plantation. The center powers the school, computers, provides community internet and power access, and is used for printing. Partnering with the Guatemala Ministry of Education and a local architect, New Sun Road will introduce the Productive Center model to a proposed pilot girls school where digital skills will form a key part of the curriculum and community members will have access to internet and digital skills training.

Case 7: New Sun Road SolConnect , Guatemala


New Sun Road develops technology solutions to address energy-poverty and enable Internet connectivity for off-grid communities. A lack of affordable and reliable electricity limits the full productive potential of communities, presenting a key constraint to Internet access in remote locations. New Sun Road’s primary mission is to remove this barrier by developing affordable, resilient technologies to optimize the operation and management of off-grid solar microgrids–driving down their costs, unlocking additional capital and enabling the scale of additional systems. Employing this technology with the support of Microsoft’s Affordable Access Initiative, New Sun Road have developed the SolConnect Productive Centers model–community-run energy, connectivity and economic development centers.


In Aldea Liano Grande, Santa Rosa Department, Guatemala, A SolConnect Center is being planned for deployment in 2017 in a school in a rural agricultural community near vast (100km long) sugarcane plantation. The center powers the school, computers, provides community internet and power access, and is used for printing. Partnering with the Guatemala Ministry of Education and a local architect, New Sun Road will introduce the Productive Center model to a proposed pilot girls school where digital skills will form a key part of the curriculum and community members will have access to internet and digital skills training.

Case 8: Libraries’ Efforts


Libraries have connected people to the information society for much longer than the concept of an information society itself has existed. They have offered free, or nearly free information services to their communities, regardless of the status or wealth of their users, understanding that information access is empowerment, and so development. They have welcomed the potential of the Internet and ICTs to deliver this goal, but at the same time have recognised that just having the possibility to connect is not always enough.


Libraries have a long-standing commitment to education and individual growth. They offer literacy and reading support to the young, give access to the latest scientific research as a basis for innovation, and offer adults a second chance through courses and private study. They can bring this practical experience to bear, and, when combined with the potential of digital tools, develop exciting and effective new means of engaging populations and achieving results.


Libraries can complement the work of schools, especially in situations where education is underfunded: The Kibera Library, in a project started in 2012, has used tablet computers pre-loaded with educational content, linked to the school curriculum, to help schoolchildren from under- resourced schools in Kibera, the biggest slum in eastern Africa, to improve their school results.Librarians teamed up with the educational agency, eLimu, which creates digital educational material in fun formats, including animations, film and puzzles. Working with eLimu, the library taught 120 children and 48 teachers to use the tablets. To assess the children’s progress, librarians organized games and quizzes. More than half of the children interviewed in a library survey said the program had helped improve their English, mathematics and science. Similarly, in Kenya, a small grant from EIFL allowed librarians, working with schools and local authorities, to develop an online math tool while successfully engaged children who might otherwise have dropped out of school.


Libraries can provide job-related education for vulnerable groups: In New Zealand, library staff at Hutt City Libraries have teamed up with volunteers to teach ICT skills to young people from disadvantaged communities. They learn how to use Photoshop, complete basic electronics projects, mashed up circuitry, make and edit films, take part in robotics competitions, completed graphic design jobs for community clients, and create start-up businesses. The unique ability of libraries, as trusted institutions, to reach out to people in vulnerable communities helps make this possible.


Libraries can be pioneers in adopting new technology and sharing it with users: In Sweden, Vaggeryd’s joint public and upper secondary school library became the site of the first makerspace in Sweden in 2013. It offers workshops on robotics, lessons in CAD drawing, and the library is home to an upholstery machine that has enabled asylum-seeking unaccompanied minors to learn upholstery and carry out furniture repair as a social enterprise.


From March 2016 to June 2017, a project was implemented to create opportunities for Ethiopian children to practice basic skills such as reading and writing. Beyond Access supported the development of educational technologies such as e-books, reading apps, and games, to increase the number of tools available to educators and caregivers. Beyond access also emphasized the role of libraries as important pillars for national-scale early grade reading efforts.


Libraries have an impact beyond their walls. Volta Regional Library, Ghana: the library began using a mobile operation in 2012 to improve educational opportunities for students attending schools with limited resources. The program provides hands-on computer classes, addressing a subject area in which rural schools have had high failure rates in national exams. An evaluation showed that this intervention contributed to an increase of almost 50 percent in the pass rate (rising to 65 percent from 45 percent) in information and communication technology (ICT) exams among third-grade students when compared to previous years. Based on these positive results, in 2014 additional funding supported the expansion of the program to three additional regions in Ghana. The project reached more than 3,800 students at 25 schools by the end of 2016.


SCOAP3 Networking Repositories: Internet has transformed our ability to collaborate, which in turn promotes higher impact research. However, information is not always structured or presented in a way which facilitates this cooperation, or the application of newer analytical tools, such as text and data mining. Libraries have been at the heart of efforts to overcome this challenge, both through building and structuring repositories, but also by linking them up. The example of SCOAP3, established at the CERN Library, offers a positive example of how libraries can be at the heart of realising the potential of the internet to support and promote effective sharing of information. Through its work, it has converted key journals to Open Access, further supporting access to information.

Case 9: Colnodo, Colombia


Colnodo, with the support of Google, has designed and implemented the JuvenTIC project, which is as an inspiring case of digital, social and youth employment to overcome the skills mismatch between unemployed youth workforce and the market demand and strengthen ICT competencies. The project seeks to further the development of intermediate and advanced competences in ICT for men and young women, expand opportunities for access to the productive environment through labor inclusion or creation of ventures and create low cost, certified, short-term and aimed at strengthening competencies practices. This project was implemented in 2015-16. Designed in collaboration with Google Colombia and executed by Colnodo, the project seeks to strengthen ICT skills and competencies through online and face-to-face training processes. In 2016, JuvenTIC contributed to the peace process by training young victims of violence with scarce educational opportunities on ICTs through a 120-hour diploma with 14 contact hours and 106 virtual hours of training. The face-to-face training is focused on entrepreneurship and employability.The online training course  comprises sections on the digital market, design and production of content, communication, and management of local information systems. It is concluded by a capstone. It reached 2,500 young men and women. It seeks to equip these people with jobs in Colombia. 3,699 young people participated in the three formative cycles of JuvenTIC.1,274 have graduated. JuvenTIC ventures with the support of Colnodo and Google participated in the peace process initiated by the Colombian Agency for Reintegration (ACR), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the EAFIT University, Reconciliation Colombia.


In collaboration with the Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies, Colombia, Colnodo has designed locally specific digital literacy content targeted at diverse priority populations between 2008 and 2013. They have engaged in strengthening Telecentre Managers as local ICT managers, digital literacy training for people in vulnerable situations, provided assistance to local communities at risk of displacement, developed ICT tools for the rescue of the indigenous language (En Mi Language - Winner of the 2013 CMSI prize in cultural diversity and identity), designed online content for government officials and online training materials for sessions run out of the National Telecentre Academy. Close to 97,000 people in training were benefited and gained competencies in ICT including elderly people, person with disabilities, people affected by the conflict and people in extreme poverty.

Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls


Case 1: Libraries’ efforts


Libraries have many advantages over other information venues in providing access and promoting use among girls and women. They maintain a wealth of information resources – books, periodicals, journals, and audio-visual materials (CDs, DVDs, etc.), as well as increasing availability of multiple forms of access to ICT. Internet access in libraries is generally free, and people can access books, documents, periodicals, and databases in-library or remotely through websites. Evidence suggests that libraries also achieve more favorable shares of female Internet users than other public access venues. The key element in libraries’ success appears to be their active outreach to girls and women and the assistance they render. Cybercafés that only offer access to technology have the fewest women users.


Libraries often offer mobile services, bringing their materials to communities rather than requiring travel to a central location, and delivering information via specialized libraries. Libraries are perceived as safe, reliable, and affordable, often with trained female staff that can help in places where it is not always appropriate for females to interact with males. Librarians serve as invaluable infomediaries to guide those with little experience in accessing information and/or using ICTs. They also frequently offer training in use of multiple varieties of information services, as well as other information activities, while other venues and media tend to specialize in one type of information and means of access.


 Empowering women through ICT access and training: The Braka Miladinovci library is in the town of Radovis in eastern Macedonia. It serves about 38,000 patrons. The area has high unemployment rates, especially among women (38%). Librarians launched a survey among library female users aged 18-40, discovering a lack both of computer skills and of economic resources to undertake any relevant training. With support from the EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP) to cover equipment and operational costs for a year, librarians bought and installed 13 laptop computers, wireless internet routers and a printer in the library’s training centre. They partnered with two non-governmental organizations, Citizens’ Creative Centre (KREA), which builds young people’s ICT capacity, and Women’s Action, an association for improving the status of women. With their new partners, they developed a training curriculum that integrates motivation, confidence- building, ICT and job-seeking skills. In just one year, the service trained 82 unemployed people, mainly women. Trainees learnt basic computer skills, how to write a CV, job interview preparation and how to look for a job online. Almost half (39) of the library’s trainees found jobs. The mayor of a nearby municipality, Konce, is now investing in the construction of a library with the support of the entire community.

Correcting the Balance: PerpuSeru is a public library program operates in Indonesia, where, in 2015, only 22 percent of the population had accessed the internet. The program launched in 2011 in a pilot phase by installing computers and internet and providing training to library staff in a small number of public libraries, but has since expanded to reach hundreds of thousands of Indonesians with a goal of reaching 1,000 public libraries by 2025. It is estimated that by reaching that goal, public libraries will provide access to information to 20 million Indonesians who had previously lacked it. Women make up nearly two-thirds of the users at public.


Ugandan National Library Digital Skills Training Programme: This program is offered in local languages and designed for female farmers. In addition to building women’s digital skills, the program helps them find agricultural information, such as weather forecasts and crop prices, and sell their products online. Such library programs are a start. However, stronger commitments from the public and private sectors may still be required for women to truly reap equal benefits from equal participation in the digital revolution.


Chile’s Infocentros: BiblioRedes is a network of some 400 library-based Infocentros. The Infocentros approach to capabilities and the development of freedom has had important implications for women’s empowerment. Infocentros offer free public non-commercial access to the internet. They aim to provide a safe, secure, and non-judgmental space for information gathering. Special efforts are made to ensure gender balance among participants, encouraging men

 as well as women to use their services, since most of the users were women at first.


While overall internet use is equally divided between men and women, 65 percent of those enrolled in the free information technology classes were women, who also preferential access to all BiblioRedes services (alongside young adults and poorer people). Users have the freedom to use the technology to do whatever they perceived as valuable, but in addition, the service actively sought to extend the capabilities of less advantaged people, the majority of whom were women. Female users can talk and help each other as well as get help from the (most often) female directors of the centres, in a way that they couldn’t from and with men. The centre becomes a meeting place for women where they use their social resources for information empowerment, in a country still marked by machoism. Chile’s Infocentros won the 2006 Stockholm Challenge Award for creating a network that delivered free digital literacy classes to 220,000, served 6 million internet users, and brought about the development of municipal websites with local content in 3,000 localities.

Case 2: SheWillConnect, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa


The Intel She Will Connect Africa program is an initiative that uses a combination of digital literacy training, development of gender-relevant content, and the creation of an online peer network to help bridge the gender gap in Internet access. The program has trained upwards of 150,000 women in Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya in face-to-face trainings conducted by the program’s partner organizations since its launch in 2013.


Launched in 2013, Intel adopted a three-pronged approach to fast track the uptake of information and communication technologies by citizens. It used Intel Learn Easy Steps ™ modules to teach women who had no skills in using technology to use the Internet for the first time. The modules were tailored to be interactive and based on completion of tasks, so that women could gradually progress to completing complex tasks online. They started with basic lessons on what computers do and with the help of activity cards, progressed to teaching women how to create a resume online and how to use email and search functionalities.


Intel partnered with multiple organizations at the local level in order to provide this training to women in community centers – prominent organizations include CARE, ChangeCorp,, World Pulse, and World Vision. The modules were provided for free to organizations willing to engage in training women. Training for trainers was organized by Intel.

Intel created an application that supports an online peer network to allow women to share common interests and find mentors. This aspect of the initiative, rolled out in collaboration with World Pulse, allowed users to search for and find relevant user-generated content in safe online spaces. It enabled users to create communities online and reap the benefits of connectivity many fold. The application is also available for free through a collaboration with Free Basics in Africa, enabling greater impact.


Recently, Intel launched My Digital Journey, an application that adopts an interactive approach to digital literacy training.  Learners on My Digital Journey receive a digital completion certificate after successfully completing three quests, each of which involves completing three to six missions.


In addition, SheWillConnect also offers a mobile skills application that women and girls can use to receive training on their own personal devices.

Case 3: ICT for Girls, Pakistan


The Universal Service Fund in Pakistan has several specifically focused special projects. ICT for Girls is a program that seeks to empower women from marginalized communities through training in digital literacy and Internet and communication technologies. So far, they have set up 50 centers that serve 4,000 women. There are also sites set up in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Sindh aimed to help users with disabilities.

Case 4: Colnodo, Colombia


Training Project for Equal Opportunities for Women through ICT: In collaboration with the Mayor's Office of Bogotá, the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications, the District Secretary for Women and Colciencias, Colnodo enabled public access to ICT through the implementation of digital inclusion centers in Houses of Equality of Opportunity for Women, and  provided training with a focus on women's rights and training to over 9,000 women. This project was implemented between October 2013 and February 2015. The project gave women the equipment and technological services necessary to increase their capacities for participation and representation in spaces of decision making, as well as reduce the digital divide. The project provided ten online training courses as part of this initiative.


Ella Aprende Ella Emprende: In collaboration with Facebook, Colnodo established a training program for women entrepreneurs. This project is carried out within the framework of the Campaign #EllaHaceHistoria.This initiative directly contributes to the goal of empowering women and improving their quality of life through ICT. This project is an innovative commitment in

terms of ICT skills training to add value to women-led businesses. The main objective of the project is to train 2,000 women in Bogotá and cities surrounding through a face-to-face training of 12 hours of training. Women learn tools of social media marketing on Facebook. The workshops will be held in mobile classrooms and in the Digital Inclusion Centers of the Houses of Equality of Opportunity, as well as the District Secretariat for Women. Between October 2016 and July 2017 more than 2,400 women have been trained in Bogotá.


Basta Violence Project: Colnodo collaborated with the Association for Progressive Communications and the Fund for Leadership and Opportunities for Women (FLOW) of the Ministry Dutch Foreign Relations (DGIS) to implement to tackle Violence against Women. The project collects evidence through documentation, information, surveillance and analysis of online violence against women. It speaks to coalitions of leaders to identify legislative and policy solutions and to major companies to develop policies and corporate practices that respect women’s rights. Colnodo has initiated online campaigns to foster a culture of mutual respect.


Comparative study of ICT uses, online security and possible information management risks for gender rights activists in Colombia and Costa Rica: Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, Colnodo and the SulaBatsú cooperative conducted research on use of online media by gender rights activists in Colombia. The project sought to strengthen the capacities of women leaders and activists inICT and in the use of resources for online security, and provided online trainings, face-to-face workshops, and public forums, among other training spaces. The project developed a communication plan as part of Take Back the Tech campaign.

Case 5: All Girls Tech Camp, The Gambia


Give1 Project Gambia is a not-for-profit organization that organizes All Girls Tech camps across Gambia. The project trains young girls aged 13-20 in web design, computer graphics, coding, and database design. Leading women in technology in Gambia give career talks and advice to youth, as part of the tech camp. The initiative brings girls from across the country to participate in training programs, develop ICT skills, and be paired with an entrepreneurial mentor. Currently, the initiative serves five schools and provides free training, food and transportation costs for participants.


All Girls Tech Camp started in Summer 2015 to train young girls in urban and rural areas of Gambia in ICT skills. Educational programs offered at the tech camps include basic ICT skills for beginners, and more advanced training in developing apps, web design, Javascript, and coding. Volunteer instructors form tech teams to go into schools and organize camps.


The initiative brings girls from across the country to participate in training programs. The camp provides opportunities to learn new skills, develop critical thinking and problem-solving techniques. The pedagogy integrates leadership and entrepreneurial sessions to empower women to start enterprises. After every training, youth participants are assigned to a mentor who encourages and monitors performance. The mentor provides guidance to youth to become a mature woman entrepreneur.


The Tech Camp seeks to empower young women in the ICT sector and raises awareness about opportunities in ICT. Publicity around the camps promotes awareness via social media and television. At the end of each camp, an award ceremony is organized with a Give1 Empowerment talk on the importance of ICT training for girls in Gambia and Africa at large.


All Girls Tech Camps have been organized at five schools in Gambia and trained over 500 girls aged 13-20.


After a year of operation, All Girls Tech Camp won the Gold Fire Award for innovation in Africa, enabling the project to scale up its initiative and expand to other schools in Gambia. They won a Google grant for $3000 to support this effort in 2016.


At present, Give1 Project is working to create training modules for prisoners in collaboration with the Minister of the Interior.


They are promoting awareness of the initiative and of the importance of ICT training for girls in Gambian and Africa at large via television and social media, especially Facebook.

Case 6: Amakomaya, Nepal


After being awarded a $4,000 grant from the ISOC in 2011, a team of local ICT and

healthcare professionals developed the web app amakomaya, “mother love”, to help women

in Nepal deal with the challenges of prenatal care, pregnancy, and maternal mortality. Once

a woman sets up her free profile on the app, she receives audio, video, and text content suited

to the stage of pregnancy she is at. These materials are accessible via mobile device and can

also be downloaded to be viewed at times when there is no connectivity. So far, amakomaya

has reached 11 communities and 1077 women have taken advantage of its materials.

Amakomaya is an example of leveraging ICTs to affect a successful public health



Since 2011, Amakomaya has been a free digital portal for pregnancy and prenatal care to

Nepali women. Once a woman creates a free profile and enters her approximate conception

date, she is provided with audio, text, and video materials. Currently, this includes 5 videos

dubbed in the Nepali language, 19 audio recordings, and copious text-based information. All

of these materials are available to be downloaded so they are still accessible even when there

is no connectivity. The app also encourages participation of family members by focusing

certain materials towards them.


Another functionality of Amakomaya is a built-in button to speak to emergency services.

Amakomaya maintains a 24-hour a day call-center to ensure that women can receive a live

response when facing an emergency issue. The call-center is able to employ Google Maps to

triangulate the location of the woman and the health center nearest to her.


Amakomaya is funded predominately through grants, though there has been some governmental support.

Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation


ICT is an enabler and accelerator for the development of SDGs in local economies by fostering the emergence of new value-added models through policies of innovation and entrepreneurship. The development of incubators which support the emergence of start-ups and new technologies can develop innovative services and contribute to local social and economic development.

The use of the Internet can expand the market for innovative products and services and support the growth of small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from developing countries in global markets. Electronic commerce platforms can create opportunities for transactions that would not otherwise occur or that would not be pro table in the marketplace. The Internet can extend the geographic reach of the market and provide opportunities for transactions that could not have occurred without its existence.39

ICT access can improve information management and sharing and facilitate collaboration between and with third parties, including suppliers, consumers and research organizations, universities, employees through networking sites and collaborative tools, such as electronic conferencing tools and discussion forums and wikis. The use of participative networks can allow outreach to customers and academics to help orient innovation e orts and improve their work. Furthermore, ICT and broadband networks allow SMEs and institutions to participate in larger research networks, which may encourage them to increase their research and development activities.

ICT can also facilitate knowledge diffusion and result in further development of innovations. ICT access and broadband enabled trade in services allow companies to get access to less expensive inputs and services by reaching global markets. These services create new opportunities for business efficiency. For example, cloud computing allows firms to adopt a pay as you go model for computing resources instead of making significant upfront investments in ICT infrastructure or software.

Case 1: Connectedos Hogares, Costa Rica


The Connected Homes Program is a public-private partnership in Costa Rica that seeks to subsidize Internet access and computer equipment for 14,000 vulnerable households by 2018. Initiated by the Presidential Social Council of Costa Rica in 2015, the program aims to reduce poverty and inequality for 15% of Costa Rica’s overall population and promote economic growth through creation of new jobs over the course of the next six years.


The Connected Homes program is an initiative that brings together different state institutions, including the Vice Presidency, the Rector and Regulator for Telecommunication. It is implemented by telecommunication companies and supported by NGOs, and is part of the “Bridge to Development Strategy” of the country. The Universal Service Fund provides the financial support for the subsidy. The telecommunications service providers provide both the Internet service as well as the computer resources and software licenses, engage in program promotion, as well as provide the requisite e-government applications and digital literacy training.


The government determines eligible households using criteria such as whether the household is at or below poverty level, as well as whether they belong to groups in the fourth and fifth deciles of income but have specific social needs to include the indigenous, differently abled, female-headed households and self-employed. It provides three levels of subsidy at 80%, 60% and 40% depending on their income and special needs, using the ratio of household income to the cost of internet service and a basic to determine subsidy amounts.


The program, which officially started disbursing subsidies in June 2016, will invest US$ 128 million over the course of five years. The subsidy lasts three years, and covers the cost of a basic computer and an Internet service at 2 MBps. FONATEL, the universal service fund, covers both the cost of the subsidy as well as the service.


The main goal of the Connected Homes program is to combat poverty and inequity, and promote job creation and economic growth through increasing access to information technology in vulnerable groups. The objective is to provide up to 80% of subsidy for computer and broadband to almost 150,000 low income families, around 15% of Costa Rica homes.

Case 2: Nepal Wireless Networking Project, Nepal


Nepal Wireless Networking Project is a social enterprise that provides connectivity to villages in Nepal through community Wi-Fi projects. Since 2001, it has connected over 200 rural hamlets in Nepal to the Internet. In late 2015, the team helped connect 12 villages in earthquake-affected areas and is presently pioneering an effort known as ‘Smart Village’ to provide the various benefits of connectivity such as easy access to online education, government services, health services and smart trekking routes to these communities. Nepal Wireless is implementing pilot project for the deployment of a community based hybrid wireless network using TV White Space and Wi-Fi spectrum in remote valleys around Manaslu Himalaya and Dhaulagiri Himalaya region in 2016.


The project started as an effort to bring a telephone line and an Internet connection to the Himachal Higher Secondary School in the Mygadi district of Nepal in 1996. After overcoming an environment of political strife, stringent government regulations, as well as technical challenges and financial constraints, the first project was completed in 2002. The project’s locations – mostly rural and isolated areas – are often inhabited by indigenous people who are subsistence farmers. There are many marginalized or socially disadvantaged groups living in these isolated villages of the Himalayan regions of Nepal.


By 2008, Internet connections had been provided to community centers, schools and clinics in 42 villages, with plans to expand to at least 19 more. In 2016, over 200 such villages have been connected to the Internet and had access to a whole host of services including telemedicine, online education, and online banking services.


The Nepal Wireless Project uses 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz frequencies to connect the villages, relay stations and base stations. Most of the network backbone is connected using Motorola Canopy radios at 5.8 GHz due to high reliability and to avoid signal interference. Last-mile connectivity uses wireless Ethernet (802.11b/g standard) radios at 2.4 GHz, which is cheaper and compatible across various manufacturers. In Mygadi, for instance, the system has two relay stations to forward the wireless signal to a base station and Linux server facility in Pokhara, the nearest city with Internet access, with a connection to a hospital in the city. Users at the school use Internet on desktop computers and laptops.


The Internet connectivity is used to provide teaching and telemedicine services to the villagers. While dependent on the distance of a village from the relay and base stations, most connections provide a minimum bandwidth of 1 MBp/s in the local network, which allows for video conferencing facilities. At the telemedicine clinics, doctors use a network camera that can be controlled remotely.


The project charges a service fee to rural communication centers to ensure sustainability and cover the operating and maintenance costs of the network. The management structure allows community organizations to make their own decisions to run their communication centers and the system is deployed with active participation from local governments and youth from the communities.

The Nepal Wireless Networking project has connected 200 hamlets in remote, rural and mountainous areas in Nepal – the populations in each of these villages vary from a few hundreds to a few thousands. This connectivity provides villagers with vital information for trading their produce in local markets. Many villages now provide online bookings in trekking areas for tourists. Nepal Wireless has established a mechanism for online money transfers through different local agencies in rural areas, which benefits tourists and mountaineers. 

There are also educational and health benefits that stem from providing connectivity to these rural hamlets. Telemedicine services at eight rural clinics now connect patients in remote villages with Kathmandu Model Hospital, Skin Hospital, and Pokhara Om Hospital for expert care. Teleteaching provides children in rural schools with multimedia educational content on the Internet.

Nepal Wireless has also partnered with several international organizations and has established weather stations for real time weather monitoring to assess the impacts of climate change over a long period.

Case 3:, Greece is a non-profit organization that aims to revitalize communities by providing Internet connectivity and technology education in rural Greece. Officially established in 2013, the organization has grown from connecting the mountain village of Sarantaporo to providing high-speed Wi-Fi to residents, organizations, and visitors in fifteen different villages in the region. With volunteer labor, grants, and a longstanding partnership with TEI University, Sarantaporo works to help villagers incorporate connectivity into their daily lives. Conceiving of the Internet as a commons, the organization endeavors to foster community-oriented mindsets in order to ensure the sustainability of the networks. This case highlights the importance of active community participation and investment in implementing and maintaining Internet connectivity and infrastructure in small towns.


In 2010, a small group of young people who had grown up in the village of Sarantaporo decided to help their village connect to the Internet. With no experience in IT or telecommunications, they reached out to open-source connectivity communities and applied to a local Greek foundation offering grants for hardware. They were successful and installed the first mesh routers in their local village, providing free local connectivity for the first time.


Word spread and the project expanded to fourteen other villages in the surrounding region. Several volunteers with no connection to the villages joined the project out of a sense of social reasonability and outreach.  Through this expanded demand for Internet connectivity in previously underserved areas, the group could secure a 90,000 Euro grant to solidify the network in 2014, interconnecting all the villages, and partnering with TEI University (60 km away) for free bandwidth.

Today, the project maintains its operations with low overhead from an all-volunteer staff, financial donations from private citizens and the communities themselves, and grants from organizations such as CONFINE (a European FP7 project), The People’s Trust, and the Greek Free Open-Source Software Society. They aim to provide improved quality of life and social cohesion to inhabitants of rural areas that have suffered from increased isolation due to economic crises and ongoing digitization in metropolitan areas.

Case 4: Tucan 3G, Peru


TUCAN3G is a largely European-funded research organization that has worked since 2009 to provide 3G mobile voice and data access and infrastructure to isolated areas of Latin America. The organization’s focus is on providing sustainable low-cost ITT solutions to improve quality of life and life expectancy in rural communities. With a focus on healthcare, TUCAN3G aims to connect underserved populations in developing countries with the medical resources of urban hospitals and treatment centers via telemedicine.


In its early instantiation, TUCAN3G deployed its 3G femtocell and WiLD (WiFi for Long Distances) technologies in order to provide single-access points for rural Latin American villages to connect to urban medical centers. These access points were by and large centered in regional government outposts and meant for widespread community use.


In recent years, a TUCAN3G project in the Napo River basin in the Peruvian Amazon has begun partnering with telecom companies to enhance the sustainability of its networks. The Napo network is additionally significant in that it is experimenting with shifting TUCAN3G’s emphasis from providing telecom access to regional government outposts to connecting entire communities.


The link between sustainability and community is key: by facilitating relationships between large mobile service providers and smaller regional ones, the project is hoping to incentivize the continued participation of telecom corporations that have ignored these sparsely populated, low-income areas. By growing the user base, TUCAN3G aims to make the rural network a worthwhile interest for urban-centric corporate profitability and thus maintain connectivity in these underserved communities.

Case 5: Open Wireless Network of Slovenia, Slovenia


Since 2006, WLAN Slovenija has been working on a community wireless network to provide open and free access to the Internet across Slovenia.  As of 2017, over 400 wireless nodes are active with over 2 million non-unique usages.  Originally started in the Ljubljana region of Slovenia, WLAN Slovenija now extends beyond the country’s borders and into Croatia and Austria.  Costs are low because the system relies on common technologies already in use, though there has been private support.  Users join on a voluntary basis and each individually adds value to the overall network by increasing its reach.  WLAN Slovenija is an example of building a community wireless network that is a symbiosis of accessibility needs and a shared interest in propagating the network that has the potential to be hindered by uneven retention, unfriendly or indifferent governmental/legal restrictions, and a too localized model.


WLAN Slovenija is an open-source and free community wireless network that has been active since 2009.  WLAN Slovenija, like many other community wireless networks, repurposes widely used technologies (e.g. commercially available routers) and capitalizes on fiber-optic internet capabilities of urban centers to make the network function.  By finding redundant capabilities within the existent networks (e.g. bandwidth users are paying for but not using), WLAN Slovenija provides individuals with reciprocal use ability.  Users consent to allow for their bandwidth to be shared and then link to a larger antenna which broadcasts their “unused” internet.  In this way, users are able use their own internet at home, have connectivity for guests, and “borrow” from another participant in the network when they are mobile.  Beginning with the cities, WLAN Slovenija has moved into rural areas as well to meet demand. Awareness of the project generally travels by word of mouth.


While the initial genesis of the network demanded expertise, WLAN Slovenija has made the end-user process as frictionless as possible.  Originally there were DIY instructions for interested participants to repurpose their in-home modems, however, users asked for already-made versions and WLAN Slovenija provided these by mail. From the outset, WLAN Slovenija has fostered a community that is linked by its desire to see the whole country have access to network.


WLAN Slovenija has minimal overall costs, though they have received some private and grant funding, and relies on voluntary participation and expertise.

Case 6: Colnodo, Colombia


Community network: In collaboration with Rhizomatica in Mexico, the Internet Society, National Spectrum Agency, Association for the Progress of Communications and Organized Communities of Cauca – Colombia, Colnodo has been deploying community networks to reach unreached communities through unlicensed spectrum.

Case 7: ARMIX, Armenia


Energy costs are a significant contributor to an IXP’s monthly operating costs, which was growing concern for ARMIX, an Internet exchange based in Yerevan, Armenia. In 2014, ARMIX reached out to the Internet Society (ISOC) seeking ways to help them integrate renewable energy into their operations, promote green energy solutions, and reduce their electricity costs and consumption. ISOC eventually donated 18 solar panels that produce more than 4 kilowatts of power to help them with one of their points of presence (PoPs).

As a result, their electricity costs have dropped by more than 30 percent, and they are now much less reliant on non-renewable energy sources. The panels have been so helpful, they are now looking for ways to expand the use of solar to their other two PoPs. Moreover, they want to set a good example of technology companies that help to change their physical environment, and are also encouraging other operators within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region to integrate renewable energy sources.

ARMIX’s success is also an example of the success that can come from the combination of enabling government policy-making, effective public-private partnerships, and sustainable planning, since the government began incentivizing solar and a local solar solution provider assisted them. It is also a good example to other operators looking to cut their own costs. Perhaps other local or country-specific initiatives could help bring solar, wind, or other renewable solutions to an IXP or other technical body’s operations, whether it is via a government mechanism or by collaborating with local solar providers in the private sector.

Policy-makers have an indispensable role to play in promoting sustainability and ensuring the SDGs are realized. Thus, there is so much more we can do to help people get online and ultimately stay online. The Internet is an inherently collaborative project, and the more we work together, the better it will get. We hope policy-makers and other related decision-makers will help catalyze the technical community’s role in ensuring that future of Internet development continues to be more innovative, enriching, and life changing – but also, by enabling a policy and regulatory environment that also make the Internet and ICTs greener.

Case 8: Picosoft Nepal

One innovation driving such innovative and affordable access includes the use of TV White Space connectivity in Nepal by Picosoft, or connecting to the internet through unused TV channels. By combining new solutions with digital literacy and computer science programs designed for and by the local market, we can drive local communities and citizens to empower themselves through true digital inclusion.

While regulatory policy is often a consideration in such endeavors, it is important to identify unique ways to empower local communities and local partnerships, and encourage local

regulators to balance existing rules with the need to advance society.

Picosoft was one of ten recipients to win Microsoft’s annual Affordable Access Initiative grant aimed at furthering local entrepreneurs actively involved in increasing energy and Internet access around the world. Through this grant, mentorship from Microsoft and other industry experts, as well as participation in an incubator program with Village Capital, PicoSoft aims to further its existing footprint of providing affordable, high-speed Internet services in rural Nepal.

In a country with difficult geography, delivering broadband through traditional means is exceedingly challenging, not to mention economically infeasible. Picosoft believes other rural communities could replicate such technological innovations to empower its citizens via Internet via TV White Spaces technology or what is often referred to as “super Wi-Fi”. TV White Spaces can travel over long distances and through mountainous geography, making this unique and affordable connectivity solution extremely viable for rural and developing communities within

Nepal and beyond. Our program plans to increase connectivity to more than twenty K-12 schools, which has already been piloted during recovery efforts following the devastating 2015 earthquake.

We believe there is a more cost-effective way to solve the digital divide, to introduce telemedicine options in unserved communities, and to innovate within the agricultural sector an beyond. We believe TV White Spaces is one of the keys to solving these three SDGs in Nepal and around the world, where being disconnected from the Internet means not participating in today’s digital economy. By bringing together the research community, local Internet Services Providers like Picosoft, practitioners, teachers, NGOs, nonprofits, industry partners, government, and our rural communities, we believe we can identify and articulate opportunities for research and impact. We believe TV White Spaces and locally-driven content might just be the silver bullet to overcome the overarching challenges that lead to improved quality of live in rural communities and drive greater inclusion.

Case 9: World Economic Forum Internet for All - Northern Corridor, Africa

The Internet for All initiative aims to accelerate internet access and adoption for the world’s 4 billion unconnected people through new models of public-private collaboration. The initiative provides multistakeholder platforms at the global, regional and national levels through which leaders from government, donor organizations, the private sector and civil society can collaborate to develop, deploy and scale innovative models and activities to close the digital divide. Country programs launched so far concern East Africa’s Northern Corridor (Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda) and Argentina, and the Internet for All framework has been used as the basis for these programs. Achieving the target of accelerating internet access and adoption in the Northern Corridor requires that four main hurdles be addressed.

Infrastructure: The intervention chosen was to expand 3G and 4G coverage. This was due in part to the realization that 42% of people in the Northern Corridor countries are not covered by a mobile broadband signal.

Affordability: The intervention chosen was to increase access to smartphones. Smartphone adoption in the region is low, ranging from only 10% to 29% in the four countries, owing in part to the high cost of devices.

Skills and awareness: Not only do people in these countries lack ICT skills, but basic literacy and numeracy are also widespread problems; for example, less than half of eligible youth are enrolled in secondary education. The intervention chosen was to train two people per family in digital skills and provide 10% of the population with advanced digital skills.

Local content: Numerous studies have shown the importance of locally relevant content in encouraging local internet adoption and use. Local content is hard to find – in the Northern Corridor countries, only 0.1 internet domains are registered per 1,000 people, compared with the global average of 26 per 1,000 people. The intervention chosen was to develop a tech park to support the development of local content.

Case 10: New Sun Road SolConnect, Uganda


SolConnect Productive Centers aim to provide a centralized solution for off-grid communities without effective power or internet services. The Centers address the problem of how to support more all-important value-added commercial activities in communities faced with infrastructure constraints. The key objectives of the Productive Centers are to optimize power usage for a variety of productive needs articulated by a community, while enabling Internet connectivity and introducing ICT skills development in tandem. With energy access as the anchor, centers rely on partnerships with local organizations advancing health, education and/or economic outcomes, aiming to accelerate and broaden these outcomes via connectivity. With the current SolConnect Productive Centers still in their infancy, New Sun Road are exploring further partnership opportunities, as well as the role of community-based networks in developing more robust, sustainable frameworks for future centers.


Currently active SolConnect Centers:

  1. Kitobo Island, Uganda: A SolConnect Productive Center has been commissioned at the village center of a poor fishing community with few services in August 2016. People use this center for renting tablets, Internet access, computer lessons, sewing activities. Adopting a community-operated business model, this SolConnect center was developed in the Kitobo village center, adjacent to the solar power house. It provides energy and physical infrastructure supporting light industrial work, access to digital training and access to the internet – enabling access to markets on the mainland.
  2.  Tekera Resource Center, Masaka, Uganda: Serving a poor agricultural community, Tekera Resource Center (“TRC”) provides health clinic, child education, craft outlets and agricultural services. It was commissioned in June 2017. People use this center for Internet access, computer lessons, vocational school, sewing, printing, and using power tools. In addition to its medical clinic and a wide array of services, TRC provides educational, agricultural and crafts services, with an objective of increasing the prosperity of the community and making the center completely sustainable. New Sun Road has introduced energy and Internet connectivity to support the growth of additional productive activities, internet and digital skills training for children and women in the community.