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Development 3 December 2011

OECD Ministerial on the Future of the Internet Economy – Lynn St. Amour

Lynn St. Amour, rapporteur from the Internet technical community forum

OECD Ministerial Conference, plenary session, 17 June 2008

Mr. Chairman, Honorable Ministers, Excellencies, distinguished delegates:

It is a great honour to join you here in Seoul to report on the outcomes of the Internet technical stakeholder forum. First, I would like to acknowledge the positive and collaborative approach the OECD has taken by inviting our community, the private sector and civil society to present the three stakeholder forums held here yesterday. This underlines the OECD’s recognition of the need to involve all stakeholders in discussions of the Internet’s future development. We appreciate this opportunity to contribute to your work, andwe are confident you will find the outputs of our meetings useful at this Ministerial.

For our part, within the Internet technical community, we are encouraged that the OECD, by calling for the stakeholder forum, has acknowledged that decisions about the Internet must be firmly based on the technical realities that underlie the Internet. On a personal note, it was an honour that the OECD invited the Internet Society, as a longstanding member of the global Internet community, to coordinate the technical community’s inputs to the Ministerial.

As we heard from many different speakers in the technical forum, the Internet is successful in large part due to its unique model:

  • Shared global ownership,
  • Collaborative engagement models,
  • Development based on open standards (and those standards being openly
  • developed),
  • Key principles such as end-to-end
  • and freely accessible public processes for technology and policy
  • development.

Together, these elements have become known as the “Internet Model”. It relies on collaboration and processes that are local, bottom-up and accessible to individuals around the world, whether they be from academia, research, governments, business, or civil society. The openness and transparency of the Internet’s technical development and its associated policy development processes, are intrinsic to the success of the Internet itself, and to maintaining this single, interoperable system of networks – the global Internet. This openness and accessibility drives much of the value of and in the Internet.

The Internet’s development has always depended upon and involved broad and diverse inputs. This is essential as the Internet is a platform on which individuals, organizations, and consumers themselves build the infrastructure and services that are globally accessible. Preparations for the technical forum were characterized by a tremendous level of collaboration among the participants – but this would come as no surprise to anyone who has previously been involved with Internet development.

I’d like to thank all of those who worked so hard for this forum, and note that, as always, it was a pleasure to work with these diverse organizations.

There were 17 organizations represented here. Each has its own mission, its own role, and its own community. And, it must be pointed out that we are only a small part of what makes the Internet work. Indeed, what has allowed the Internet to succeed is the investment made by the private sector and their support and recognition for the principles that shape the Internet.

This meeting is an unprecedented opportunity for delegates from OECD member states and our community to share experiences and exchange perspectives on the “Future of the Internet Economy”. We hope it has fostered many more collaborative relationships.

As the Internet grows and continues to spur economic and social development around the world, the policies and practices of tomorrow must grow from the shared principles and the shared vision that underpin our collaboration.

From the technical stakeholder Forum, our community has expressed those principles in a formal Memorandum that we present to you today as an official contribution to your work.

Through this Memorandum, we want to express today our shared desire to achieve the fullest benefits of the Internet for all. And we call upon governments, civil society, the private sector, and individuals to work together to ensure that the benefits of the

Internet are available to all, by protecting these five essential abilities, namely:

The ability to connect:

The end-to-end architecture of the Internet is essential to its utility as a platform for connecting people, and thus for education, innovation, creativity and economic opportunity. In an information society, to support human development and protect human rights, all people need unfettered, affordable access to the network and its services.

The ability to communicate:

Genuinely free communication can only be guaranteed when privacy and anonymity are assured in principle, and where content controls are an exception rather than a rule.

The ability to innovate:

The remarkable growth of the Internet and its applications follow directly from the open model of Internet connectivity and standards development.

The ability to share:

The Internet is based on a “many-to-many” architecture, making it a powerful tool for learning, sharing and collaborating. This characteristic must be protected, for example by fostering balance in the system of intellectual property rights.

The ability to choose:

Policies must promote competition and diversity in telecommunications, Internet services, products, and applications, as choice is a catalyst for economic growth and social progress. We encourage OECD member states and nations of the world to join us to build the technical and policy frameworks that will fuel the Internet’s continued development.

Therefore, we encourage the OECD member states:

To fuel creativity by:

  • Promoting universal access and encouraging innovation and ongoing development of the Internet by supporting research programs and infrastructure deployment.
  • Partnering with all stakeholders to help to develop ICT skills.
  • Enabling private sector investment and competitive innovation, which are essential components of an effective and efficient Internet policy framework.
  • Opposing undue governmental or non-governmental restrictions on the evolution and use of Internet technology.
  • Defending and promoting standards or practices that allow all citizens to use the full range of Internet applications to innovate, to create and to expand economic opportunities.

To build confidence by:

  • Recognizing that the confidence of consumers and Internet users in the stability,
  • reliability, and security of the Internet is essential to the success of the future global economy.
  • Developing strong, effective and coordinated international and domestic cybersecurity strategies and measures against cyber-crime.
  • Helping to educate citizens about the importance of cyber-security, and to develop the skills needed to protect themselves.

To create maximum benefit from convergence by:

  • Protecting users’ rights to innovate, create and disseminate technologies, applications and content across the network without undue restriction by governments or network operators.
  • Drawing on the insight and expertise of all stakeholders.
  • Supporting technologies and legislation that encourage the open and collaborative model of Internet development.
  • Ensuring that neither government regulation nor the economic power of monopolies delays or prevents the growth of the Internet by limiting the ability to provide new, better, cheaper or more innovative Internet-related services.

In our Memorandum, we provide additional commentary on points we believe are important for your ongoing work. In turn, therefore, we commit ourselves to the continued development and deployment of technologies and practices to meet the evolving needs of the global Internet. We look forward to continued engagement with governments and other stakeholders, of OECD and non-OECD countries alike, to enhance confidence, ensure security, and encourage innovation and interoperability at a global level. A collaborative path, based on a common vision of what makes the Internet what it is, and on the benefits it can bring to mankind, is the only way forward. The Internet facilitates communications, brings individuals and communities together which fosters a greater understanding. This coupled with the benefits of creativity and convergence, in an environment based on the full assurance of security will drive a fundamental improvement in the welfare of mankind.

Ladies and gentleman, with this Ministerial, I believe we are marking an important milestone.

There is no single destination ahead of us, but rather a course of discovery and innovation.

We look forward to continuing this journey together.

Thank you.

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