ICC BASIS intervention 4 – Open Consultation – Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

  • 3 September 2007

by Peter Hellmonds

Thank you, Ayesha, thank you, Chairman. I am Peter Hellmonds, I work for Nokia, Siemens networks, but here I speak on behalf of the international business community as represented by the International Chamber of Commerce.

On the other four main sessions other than the critical internet resources session that Ms. Hassan has commented upon just now, ICC and BASIS has provided specific edits in our written contribution, and requests that they be integrated in the next revised program. We would like to highlight a few points to complement those edits. On the access issue, the main session on access issues should raise awareness about the responsibility of governments for ensuring an enabling environment to improve access. And the importance of involving business and other stakeholders in making this environment a reality at the national level. To have a comprehensive, informative discussion, ICC/BASIS suggests the following additions to the program. In order to emphasize the legal, policy, and regulatory conditions that enable private sector investment and innovation, promote competition and foster entrepreneurship which in our opinion are essential to establishing the right enabling environment to promote access to the infrastracture and the Internet.

We believe that having panelists who will share different perspectives and information on case studies regarding economies that have created successful enabling environments, contrasted with examples of challenges and approaches that were not successful would be an essential part of this session. Panelists and participants should be encouraged to discuss concrete examples of local build-out, and case studies that promote the exchange of best practices and experiences regarding improving access for an increasing number of people.

We recommend that part of the access discussion should also be on access to education, information, and knowledge, and that it address the cross-cutting theme of human capacity building. All of these issues are important for development along with diversity, openness, and security. Turning to the next session, the diversity session, ICC/BASIS believes that the current formulation regarding the role of user-generated content and software in developing local content can be strengthened and clarified by focusing the discussion on the ability of the Internet and ICTs to enhance diversity with limitless capacity to transmit content. The role that user-generated content plays in advancing cultural diversity and the promotion of cultural diversity through intellectual property protection and standards that facilitate the creation of new software applications and tools such as translation technologies. Government and business initiatives, to stimulate development of local content production and providers of online services for the local market, including, for example, establishing seed funding, training incubator services, and the exchange of best practice and experience could also be included.

Further, efforts that are under way to introduce Internationalized Domain Names and existing technologies, policies, and capacity-building efforts that increase access to disabled communities, women and other communities that may benefit from focused attention to increase the diversity of participants in the Internet and Internet governance issues. Regarding the openness session, we believe that it should be revised to put forth issues in a balanced way that allows all stakeholders to voice their perspective and share their experiences. Some of the current formulations start from an assumption that it is not balanced. So the discussion and description should emphasize the roles the Internet and ICTs play in promoting access to information and how governments, business, civil society and other organizations can work together to maximize openness, interoperability, and the free flow of information on the Internet.

It should also highlight how to build human and institutional capacity and raise awareness about how existing intellectual property right regimes foster the free flow of information on the Internet. Increase consumer confidence and strengthen security and encourage cooperation between stakeholders, to promote the dissemination of legitimate content and services. And finally, the session should also include information about strategies for maximizing access to content, while protecting intellectual property rights which is a critical issue for many stakeholders. We have two more sessions so I apologize if it’s a little lengthy.

On the security main session we suggest adding the following discussion points. First, a point on the work ongoing in private and public sector bodies with substantial expertise in network security, to improve practices in the area of security, with a special focus on work that is relevant to small- and medium-sized enterprises and emerging economies. Second, one of the roles of governments, businesses, and other stakeholders in adopting authentication technologies to promote trust online. And third, these points would build on the first security main session that we had in Athens, and focus on critical elements for addressing security issues as we are going forward. Finally, on the emerging issues session, we support the approach to this session that would be a combination of inspiration from experts that help people think about the issues that are on the horizon for the coming five years, selecting panelists who can give perspectives on questions like how do we bring the next billion users onto the Internet, and what will the Internet look like and how will it look. Those are issues that we think should be in that session.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for giving me this opportunity.