India’s Second Statement on Cyber Security, References Digital India

India made a 2nd statement on cyber security and the WSIS today, highlighting the importance of a secure environment for development programmes for ICTs. India highlighted the Digital India programme in its statement. The summary is below:

India re-emphasized the importance of cybersecurity both from the point of view of economic development and national security. India also disagreed with Japan on the importance of cybersecurity for development pointing to the Digital india Initiative. India argued that the Digital India Initiative, which is taking e-services to all citizens in country needs to be supported by a secure environment and cybersecurity is an important part of this. India also stressed the importance of protecting  critical internet resources for India. India went on to Encourage Member States to present concrete, clear proposals on cybersecurity. India suggested having more Confidence Building Measures and raising awareness. India also supported Brazil on finding that the Budapest Convention as it stands is not sufficient to tackle cybercrimes.

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India’s Statement on Cybersecurity on Day 3 of 2nd Preparatory Meeting for WSIS+10 Review

During discussions on cybersecurity in the Zero Draft of the WSIS+10, the Indian government made a statement calling attention to the increasing cyber threat and “malicious activities” online. Below is a summary of the statement:

We must recognize that Cyberspace is now the 5th domain as there is increasing innovation with information technology and cyber technology. However, we must protect existing infrastructure and information contained in infrastructure as malicious activities online are increasing exponentially with improvement in technology. Hence, the security of infrastructure is paramount, we must work together to prevent this through exchange of information and collaboration. Steps must be taken in comprehensive manner to improve R&D and technology transfer to counter cyber threats.

2nd Preparatory Meeting of WSIS+10 Review: Summary of Internet Governance Discussions on Day 2

The discussions on Internet Governance ended midway through the second session on day 2 with the perception that there is broad support for most issues. The length of the IGF extension remains a sticking point with proposals for 5,10 and 15 year extensions being suggested. The call for an international legal framework for internet governance (IG) has also attracted much debate. There has been a lot of discussion on Enhanced Cooperation with a lack of clarity on the G-77 proposal for Enhanced Cooperation.

Below is a summary of the major proposals:

South Africa (on behalf of G-77 plus China): Called for an approach to IG involving respect for the multistakeholder approach and different roles and responsibilities based on the Tunis Agenda. However, they stressed the role of the State in stating that the overall authority on internet related issues must remain with sovereign powers. South Africa also expressed, called for  governance mechanisms to add impetus towards ideal ICT framework, based on agreed set of ethics. They also stated that the Tunis Agenda defines the roles of government and non-government stakeholders and that this is a good framework to review the roles of various stakeholders with. They raised the issue of unequal capacities of governments to deal with international public policy issues and that this issue has to be addressed in discussions on Enhanced Cooperation through Para 67 of the Tunis Agenda.

European Union: The EU stated that IG should follow multistakeholder principles as agreed in Tunis and Geneva. Such a framework should be open, inclusive, transparent. They stated that the outcome document can call for more open and inclusive IG for greater participation from developing countries. Responding to South Africa and the G-77, they stated that  all stakeholders have roles to play in the information society, no one can achieve the aims of WSIS in isolation. This they said would require open and inclusive decision making with strong cooperation between stakeholders. The EU described Enhanced cooperation as an ongoing process and that it can never be completed or be fully implemented. They also described Enhanced Cooperation as a multistakeholder process.

They opposed an international legal framework on IG as stated in Para 36 of the IG and called for a 10 year extension to the IGF. Their positions were broadly supported by the UK, Netherlands and Germany in the session. On the extension of the IGF and opposition to the International Legal Framework was supported in addition by the US, Japan, Canada and Australia.

United States: The US stated that IG should not have goals of its own, as per Tunis Agenda and is neither an end nor means by which ends are pursued. But that it is a manner in which processes are is practiced. The US stated that WSIS goals  are not goals of IG, but goals for IG. They also recognized the universal support for the multistakeholder approach, and called on it to be practiced internationally and domestically for tangible and meaningful outcomes. The US also called for the deletion of para 36 on an international legal framework for IG and cited the unfairness of the process of the Preparatory Meeting to other stakeholders without the opportunity to publicly advocate and defend positions. Like the EU, the US also called Enhanced Cooperation an ongoing process and that they would support more substantive participation if necessary. On the IGF, they suggested a 15 year extension later in the session to better link it with WSIS and SDG outcomes. In this proposition, they were supported by Japan.

China: Called for the IG section of the Zero Draft to be  improved. They also stated that improving the IGF should entail multilateral, transparent and accountable processes which would ensure participation of all governments and stakeholders. They expressed support for maintaining a mulsitstakeholder approach within such processes within their respective roles and responsibilities. China stated that the multistakeholder approach should not be lopsided and only stress the role private sector and NGOs while  marginalizing governments and governmental organizations. China also sought to emphasize governmental roles in public policy issues.

Latvia: The representative of Latvia as the former head of the Preparatory Committee for the Tunis Agenda intervened with important clarifications on the meaning of certain provisions. He stated that one cannot read Para 69 of the Tunis Agenda in isolation but must read it with Paras 70 and 71. He mentioned that in 2005 the three paras were agreed upon as a  package. He noted the two different approaches to enhanced cooperation within the room viz, as purely governmental or as governmental with multistakeholder approaches. He said that which meaning was more appropriate was not clear in 2005 and is still not clear. He stated that the mapping of Intergovernmental cooperation on IG issues has been undertaken by the CSTD Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation. He also cited a number of Intergovernmental Organizations where Intergovernmental dialogue on internet related issues was already happening such as the ITU, CSTD and UNESCO. Hence, he stated that to say Enhanced Cooperation has not been launched is not accurate. He pointed out that the UN Secretary General launched it in 2006 as per the Tunis Agenda as mentioned in Zero Draft.

2nd Preparatory Meeting of WSIS+10 Review: Summary of ICT4D Discussions on Day 2

Today was Day 2 of the Preparatory Meeting for the High Level Meeting as part of the WSIS+10 Review. The morning discussion featured discussions on ICT for Development and Internet Governance. The discussions on Internet Governance are ongoing and this post summarizes the discussion on the former.

Negotiations are set to continue informally behind closed doors and this continues to be a contentious point within and outside the session as stakeholders outside governments have not been allowed to observe these negotiations.

Below is a summary of the broad discussions that happened during the morning session:

South Africa (on behalf of G-77 plus China): In their opening intervention, South Africa recalled the role of ICTs in facilitating economic and social development and its tremendous impact on both individuals and societies. They stated that this has allowed the progress seen thus far with respect to the WSIS mandate. They called for better linkage between the SDGs and the WSIS outcome document and cited capacity building as being as important as access in these discussions. They also called on the focus going forward to be on building safe infrastructure, building skills for the use of ICTs, affordability of ICTs, exchanging views on best practices and connecting remote areas. To achieve this they called for access and affordability issue to be addressed; establishment of partnerships with other stakeholders for capacity building; promotion of local and community actors; and targeted training for women. This statement was supported by Colombia among other G-77 members who called for an increased role for developing countries in the information society.

European Union: The EU also supported the linking of SDGs with the WSIS process albeit with more specific goals- citing C7 of the WSIS action line and 9(c) of the SDGs as examples. They called for the adoption of a human rights based approach to the ICT for Development section and reiterated their support for a separate human right section. The Eu also stated that the WSIS Review should recognize a broader range of issues to address the gender digital divide such as education for girls, representation of women in media and elimination of gender stereotypes and employment of women in ICT and media industries. They also stressed the role ICT has in addressing  global warming and environmental change as well as a focus on ICT waste. Their position was supported by the UK who in addition called for a greater recognition of the role of the private sector investment in the development of ICTs.

United States: In light of disagreements, the US called for the document to be restructured to focus on the original WSIS focus areas of Development and Internet Governance. The US stated that the issues of security and human rights are cross cutting and do not require their own sections. On this position, they were supported by Australia and Canade. They reiterated their statement on the experience with ICTs not being monolithic across countries. The US also called for the deletion of para 30 on the Digital Solidarity Fund citing its failure and instead called for a greater focus on development agencies funding ICT activities. But many developing countries opposed the proposal to delete para 30 and called for more clarity on existing funding mechanisms.

India: India’s two interventions are summarized here.

India’s Statements on Day 2 of the 2nd Preparatory Meeting of the WSIS+10 Review

India made two interventions in the morning session of day 2 of the 2nd Preparatory Meeting today. The first related to funding mechanisms and the second related to Internet governance. Below are summaries of the two Statements:

  1. On Financial Mechanisms- In a discussion related to the Digital Solidarity Fund, India stated that the Fund was never operationalized and it would hence be incorrect to characterize it as a failure. India went on to stress the need for capacity building as an important component of fulfilling the WSIS vision. India then called for a financial mechanism that could create an enabling environment in developing countries to bridge the digital divide.
  2. On Internet Governance- India reiterated its support for  multistakeholderism and stated that multistakeholderism  must embrace all societies and geographies. India also called for a new digital democracy that is plural, multi-layered and multistakeholder. India also recorded its support for the IGF, but called for it to be strengthened to make it more inclusive, transparent and accountable. India also stated that governments have a role to play in public policy issues especially, on national security issues withing multistakeholder fora. India stressed on enhanced cooperation as a means to facilitate discussions on internet related public policy issues. India called for an Inclusive dialogue on Enhanced Cooperation and called on CSTD to facilitate such dialogue

2nd Preparatory Meeting of WSIS+10 Review: Summary of Day 1

The 2nd Preparatory Meeting for the High Level Meeting of the WSIS+10 Review kicked off in New York today. A shortened first day in the morning session saw interventions from countries across the board. The statements on first day reflected the the starting positions of most governments on the Zero Draft with the afternoon session called off to facilitate conversations between countries on the outcome document. The meeting has already come under critical focus from civil society groups for not being participatory enough with meetings scheduled between 6-9 pm every evening behind closed doors for just country representatives.

Overall, there was broad support for linking the WSIS with the SDGs, and the role played by ICTs in bridging the digital divide. There was broad support for the IGF, with disagreements on the term and terms of the extension. The disagreements came on issues of human rights, security and the modalities for implementation and follow up.

Below is a summary of major interventions in the morning session.

European Union Position: The EU position supported by other countries such as the Netherlands, UK among others focused on the support for a multistakeholder approach to Internet Governance, focus on Human Rights and bridging the digital divide through capacity building. They also called for a stronger support for the IGF and a longer extension than 5 years in order to account for funding and planning. On a similar note, they asked for any Review of the WSIS to be put off till 2025 or be in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Review in 2030. They also called for a stronger focus on Human Rights with a separate section on human rights in the outcome document. The EU and supporting countries disagreed with the need for an international legal framework for internet governance, citing the progress made by existing mechanisms. Instead, they called for more open, transparent and accountable processes in such mechanisms.

G-77 plus China: This group was represented by the South African representative and supported during the session by representatives from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, China and Egypt among others. They stressed the crucial role played by ICTs in furthering development goals and the need for greater security in this area to facilitate the fruition of these goals. They stressed the role of the government and the importance of sovereignty in the information society. While China pointed out that other human rights instruments deal with human rights issues and it is not necessary for the WSIS outcome document to do so, other G-77 members did not see the need for a separate section on human rights issues. They also called for an international legal framework on internet governance along with a legal instrument on cybercrime. Egypt also called for the development of indicators to assess the development goals outlined by WSIS.

United States of America: The United States called for the outcome document to refer to other documents in a holistic sense rather than cherry picking provisions, for better data to support its claims and to not make unsubstantiated assertions. The US also stated that the outcome document should illuminate different experiences of countries in similar situations as the experience with ICTs is not monolithic. The US also declared strong support for multistakeholderism and singled out the important role of non-governmental representatives in IG processes. The US also called for a stronger commitment to the IGF. Pointing out that the zero draft should be in line with the WSIS  vision, the US stated that security issues should not be in Zero draft. They stated that ICTs are not the cause of Human Rights violations. The Us stressed the need for enhanced cooperation, recognising efforts of other international organizations and organizations outside the UN. Finally, the US called for an evidence based review process that should be useful and lean. The US also stated that the regular review conducted by the CSTD and ECOSOC are sufficient and did not support another overall Review or Summit.

Community of Latin American and Caribbean States: Ecuador spoke on behalf of CELAC and stressed the role of ICTs as drivers of economic growth and sustainable development. They called for the UN Committee on Information and Communications Technology to be part of the WSIS process. They also stated that enhanced cooperation and Implementation are distinct issues and should be treated as such. They also called for the Internet to be recognised as a global public good and the centrality of net neutrality as an idea that supports this notion. They also called for the full involvement of all stakeholders to support the equitable distribution of resources to support the SDG and such an approach should take into account multilingualism. They called for full compliance with International Law with respect to sovereignty, human rights and privacy. They also called for stronger measures to protect children on the internet.

India: An overview of the Indian statement today can be found in a separate blogpost here.

More updates from days 2 and 3 will follow during the week.

WSIS+10 Zero Draft: Highlights from India’s Statement at the 2nd Preparatory Meeting

The WSIS+10 Review process is currently at its 2nd Preparatory Meeting Phase. India’s statement at the meeting captures it’s key concerns. India stated that the zero draft reflects the views of the members states and is a balanced document. However there are a few key aspects that need to be addressed.

Effective Participation and Substantive Inclusion: The recognition of effective participation, especially balanced representation of developed countries is imperative. Barriers to participation and inclusion need to be remembered, and the objective should be that of substantive inclusion

Digital Divide: Bridging the Digital Divide requires the WSIS to move beyond access and focus on affordability. There is great need for focus on joint research and development between countries to promote ICT access. The needs and aspirations of the next billion must be factored in the review process. An institutional funding mechanism is needed to bridge the digital divide.

Critical Internet Resources: The outcome document must reference uniform distribution of critical internet resources across regions of the world.

IGF: The unique role of IGF  is recognised and India calls for the IGF  and related processes to adhere to highest levels of inclusiveness, transparency and openness. The CSTD should facilitate and aid in this process.

It also called for creating a mechanism where governments can seek clarification on public policy issues particularly national security issues where governments are primarily responsible. It further considered the mapping on internet governance issues across UN bodies to aid in better coordinated efforts.

More updates to follow from New York.

Stay tuned!