How can the internet continue being a great enabler of innovation (global public good) and not become a dangerous ‘digital Bermuda Triangle’ (global public bad)? This important question was discussed during the “Global Conference on Cyberspace” at The Hague (16-17 April) and “Malta Conference on Internet as Global Public Resource (29-30 April). Cyberpolitics can be broadly explained using 3 triangles:
The first depicts the main flow of data involving individuals, states, and business. Here, individuals submit personal data to states without any choice, to obtain documents, regulate tax payments, and ensure their rights. Individuals also submit personal data to businesses by choice (although it may not always be an informed one).
The question of data storage, tracking and reporting by states and business is a current focus of digital policy discussions. For example, French authorities asked the internet industry to share data to support the fight against terrorism, as did President Obama during a speech at the Silicon Valley Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection (13 February). Absent were Facebook, Yahoo, and Google.
The second summarizes the core Internet business model that involves:
- Internet users getting free Internet services in exchange for personal data.
- The Internet industry covering their operational expenses, and profiting from selling users’ data-profiles and advertising to vendors.
- Vendors closing the triangle by selling their goods and services to users.
The Internet industry’s concern is that massive sharing of users’ data with governments could affect business profits.
The third maps out three main aspects of global digital policy: cybersecurity, human rights, and business/economy. A new Digital Social Contract or Digital Magna Carta can be visualized using this triangle. Each actor in this triangle has their own priorities: states should guarantee the rule of law and security; the individual should have the right to privacy, freedom of speech and information; and business should be able to innovate and develop services.
Events discussing global digital politics, seem to be relentless. Currently, there are about 10 initiatives aimed at creating a one-stop-shop, clearing house, observatory, and forums to analyze digital policy. The paradox is that the problem of complexity is the complexity of the problem, and ultimately there are more initiatives and fewer solutions.
Read Article (Dr. Jovan Kurbalija | huffingtonpost.com | 04/14/2015)
Keep in mind, the only internet users that volunteer personal data to businesses are the younger generations, which gives the internet industry a version of being trusted. But as they mature, like older adults, distrust business sometimes more than government.
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