During the event, ICC Digital Economy Commission officers and secretariat representatives made the case for the data economy and provided guidance for governments to navigate the digital transformation for the benefit of the global economy and knowledge society.
Opening the session, B20 Chair Rifat Hisarciklioglu outlined the increasing role and importance of the digital economy and called for the establishment of a G20 task force to help governments work efficiently to respond to the fast expansion of the Internet and digital technologies. While emphasizing the essential role all stakeholders play in Internet governance, Mr Hisarciklioglu said that due to its open structure, the Internet continued to further innovation and development and paves the way for entrepreneurs. He emphasized that rules and regulations being developed for the Internet should not restrict its functioning but rather preserve its open and inclusive nature; they should be simple, flexible, easily adaptable to technological developments and harmonious through member states.
Mr Hisarciklioglu’s messages were reinforced during various conference panels by members of the ICC Commission on the Digital Economy delegation comprising Joseph Alhadeff, Chair of the ICC Commission on the Digital Economy and VP, Global Public Policy, Oracle; Eric H. Loeb, Co-chair of the ICC Task Force on Telecommunications and Internet and Vice President, International External and Regulatory Affairs, AT&T Services; and Elizabeth Thomas-Raynaud, Senior Policy Executive of the ICC Commission on the Digital Economy and Project Director, ICC BASIS.
Speaking in sessions on the role of governments in digital transformation and emerging issues in data economy, the ICC representatives put forward global business perspectives and helped to shape the recommendations that the B20 will put forward to world leaders at the upcoming G20 Summit in November.
We have to understand what is the role and nature of regulation. Regulation should be principles based and market orientated, and deal with challenges of privacy and security.
Digital technologies catalyze productivity, innovation and growth, and thus increase competitiveness. Participants at the forum called on governments to recognize this opportunity, adopt digital technologies and create an enabling environment for business to continue contributing to the development and growth fostered by information and communication technologies. Their resulting recommendations are formulated in B20 Digital Economy Policy Paper, launched at the forum.
The ICC Commission on the Digital Economy meeting was also held in Istanbul on 7-8 October convening experts from Europe, Canada, US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran to discuss recent developments impacting trade and data protection. These include the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) agreement and subsequent European Union (EU) Court of Justice ruling that invalidated an European Commission decision concerning the adequacy of the US safe harbour programme which aims to regulate the way US companies export and handle personal data (such as names and addresses) of European citizens. Digital economy commission members exchanged views on the new uncertainty surrounding how global companies should best meet their data protection obligations for transfers between the US and EU and planned to follow up further on this topic. Members also reviewed commission work streams on cross border data flows, regulatory modernization and the Internet of Everything. They also discussed issues relating to Internet governance including the upcoming Internet Governance Forum and milestone United Nations General Assembly high-level review of the World Summit on the Information Society.