Centre for Internet & Society

I attended a brainstorming session on the Global Conference on Cyber Space 2017 on April 12, 2017 at Electronics Niketan that was organised by the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology. The Global Conference on Cyber Space was first held in London in 2011. Thereafter, it was held in Budapest (2012), Seoul (2013) and the Hague (2015).

This year the conference will be held in India in November. The theme for the Global Conference on Cyber Space 2017, as decided by the Government of India, is Cyber for all - A Connected, Sustainable and Secure Cyberspace. Broadly, the Ministry’s objective is to curate discussion around global connectedness, sustaining the current state of cyberspace and securing the constantly evolving cyber world.

The brainstorming session was attended by diverse stakeholders ranging from civil society groups such as CIS, CCG and ORF, private sector including intermediaries such as Facebook, industry bodies such as CII and ICA and start-ups and individual legal and technical experts.

The discussion revolved around choice of themes, sub-themes and topics of discussion at the conference, potential speakers for the discussions and possible outcomes of the conference. The Ministry also requested inputs for potential events before and after the event and those that could run parallel to the conference.

Various topics that were suggested by the Ministry included digital inclusion, digital governance, digital business, cyber security, cyber warfare and terrorism, cyber law, digital entertainment, digital innovation and entrepreneurship, digital sustainability and emerging digital technologies. On behalf of CIS, I provided inputs on the choice of themes and potential events that could be organised as side events. Suggested themes included the following : International dimension of cybercrimes focussing both on prevention and investigation of crime, Discussion of privacy within the emerging but uneven context of big data innovations, algorithmic decision making and global digital economy; State’s responsibility to ensure an open, secure and enabling online spaces- regulation of hate speech and countering violent extremism, upholding freedom of expression and undisrupted access to internet for all users especially for marginalized communities.

CIS also emphasized that the conference must be inclusive and representative of the global internet user community, specifically in terms of social identities, regions of operation, and stakeholder types.

CIS also suggested a simulation exercise around a hypothetical problem related to an issue of deep concern such as countering violent extremism as a parallel event at the conference and offered to organise this event. We also made a suggestion about organising a session on presentation of academic papers on selected topics as a pre-conference event.

CIS has been invited by the Ministry to submit formal inputs for the conference. The deadline for submitting these comments is April 17, 2017.

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