An open, stable and trusted Internet is not only vital for Businesses operations worldwide but it is also prerequisite to achieving the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
That is why, as the world business organization with a global network of over 6 million members in more than 100 countries, the International Chamber of Commerce and its Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS) initiative, works to ensure private sector views are represented at the Internet Governance Forum and anywhere else the future of the Internet is under consideration.
We’ve been actively involved since discussions on Internet Governance began over 10 years ago, continually making the case for business inclusion in the full range of policies and decisions on the Internet and information society.
This guide concisely sets out business views on some of the key issues up for discussion at this year’s forum.
ICTs FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
- ICTs underpin efforts to realize of all of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But in pursuit of the Global Goals and a people-centered Information Society, policymakers must improve their understanding of how ICTs work in practice, including knowledge of the ICT ecosystem, roles of relevant stakeholders and relevant policy issues.
- In this context, the IGF will also continue to play an important and unique role promoting cooperation and experience sharing among all stakeholders.
- Private sector investment and innovation has transformed the Internet from an information exchange network to the platform for sustainable, social and economic development we recognize it to be today.
- Business encourages efforts to promote local content, improve cultural and linguistic diversity, and bring Internet access to everyone, particularly to those in developing countries.
- Attention should be given to developing tools that promote Internet access for the elderly and for people living with disabilities.
- The economic empowerment of women has great potential to transform economies and communities. Special efforts should be made to enhance the capacity of women to access and to use the Internet. These efforts should include protecting the rights of women to participate politically, economically, culturally and socially.
SECURITY AND PRIVACY
- Stakeholder cooperation is essential for strengthening Internet security and responding to the large and growing range of cyber security threats to the global Internet. Stakeholder collaboration is important to promote a culture of security, with appropriate legislation in place to combat cybercrime.
- Policy frameworks should provide for robust and appropriate data protection that guarantees the privacy of the citizen without hampering innovation. Governments should assure that their policy and regulatory environments are up to date and reflect best practices regarding the protection of privacy and security.
- Voluntary compliance with broadly accepted industry guidelines is the most productive approach to ensuring robust privacy and security standards. ICC’s Cyber security guide is a great starting point for businesses to begin their cyber security conversation.
INTERNET AND HUMAN RIGHTS
- The rights we have offline must also be protected online, in accordance with the rule of law and with international human rights legal obligations.
- Restrictions on freedom of expression using communications services and the Internet diminish their usefulness, inhibit the exchange of ideas, undermine public accountability, and stifle innovation and commercial opportunities.
TRADE IN THE DIGITAL ECONOMY
- Any trade agreements addressing data flows should support and emphasise the importance of enabling data flows, prohibit unjustified or blanket restrictions on data flows, and establish fair and binding rules to facilitate information flows across borders.
- Trade agreements should promote policy coherence in national rules and regulations that affect the movement of goods, services and information across borders.
- Trade agreements should support the Internet’s enabling role for small- and medium-sized enterprises to grow and trade globally.
- ICC urges governments to adopt policies that facilitate the adoption of new technologies – and global movement of data that supports them – to ensure that individuals and businesses can realize the full potential of the Internet as a platform for innovation and economic growth.
- Governments should work in partnership with business to enable convergence and to ensure that regulation does not create unnecessary burdens or unintended consequences that could stifle the potential for economic and societal benefits that deployment of new technologies and business models can bring.
- ICT skills are important for the evolving industrial Internet and for enabling people to participate in the Internet of everything.
CONNECTING THE NEXT 4 BILLION
- Frameworks that enable Internet connectivity should be based on lighttouch ICT policy and regulations, encouraging competition and enabling the entry of new players into the ICT ecosystem, while permitting the promotion of innovative business models.
- Multistakeholder efforts are necessary for continued support of capacity building initiatives that seek to empower individuals and businesses locally as content producers. They are also needed for developing business models that are unique and relevant to national economies.
INTERNET CORPORATION FOR ASSIGNED NAMES AND NUMBERS (ICANN)
- As a long-time advocate of the need to ensure the continued security, operational stability and multistakeholder nature of the Internet, ICC BASIS welcomed the transition of stewardship of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions to the global multistakeholder community.
- ICC BASIS remains committed to raising awareness of ICANN issues among business as well as serving as a voice for business perspectives on the broader governance issues. This includes the important work of the second phase of the ICANN accountability work stream to ensure measures subsequent to the transition are identified and effectively implemented.
- Business recognises that enhanced cooperation covers the many continuing efforts by all stakeholders (individually and collectively) to promote greater cooperation among established organizations – including private sector led, multistakeholder and intergovernmental.
- Enhanced cooperation among the relevant organizations that address Internet-related issues should be guided by the objectives of information sharing, raising awareness and where appropriate, coherence in work programmes and collaboration.