¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 3 First published in 2015, the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) Synthesis Document aims to identify items of common interest and relevance to Internet governance within the Asia Pacific region and to reflect the discussions which take place at the APrIGF conference each year. Building on the APrIGF Synthesis Document from APrIGF 2015 Macao, and 2016 Taipei, the process for the 2017 Synthesis document now includes two webinars with two public comment periods to collect wider input from the Asia Pacific Internet community across all stakeholder groups to build a more comprehensive and collaborative open document.
¶ 4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 3 The Synthesis Document aims to collect the contributions and outputs of participants at the APrIGF meeting (as well as the broader APrIGF community through remote participation and dissemination on the mailing list and online platform) and is not intended to be representative of the diverse Asia Pacific region. Nevertheless, it is anticipated by APrIGF Multistakeholder Steering Group (MSG) and the Drafting Committee that the development of this Synthesis Document can help drive active participation in the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) process and demonstrate the value of the annual APrIGF meeting as a platform for voices, views and thoughts in the Asia Pacific region as contribution to relevant global, national, local and international forums on Internet governance.
¶ 6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 In December 2015, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) reviewed the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS+10) and as part of the WSIS+10 outcome, renewed the IGF mandate for another 10 years. In its resolution, the UNGA called for the ‘close alignment between the [WSIS] process and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development‘ and highlighted the contribution of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
¶ 7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 2 In June this year, the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) held their second open consultation and meeting. The MAG recognized the importance of the intersessional work done in the National and Regional Initiatives (NRIs) and strongly supported continuing the intersessional work on ‘Policy Options for Connecting the Next Billion(s)’ in a Phase III. These initiatives, along with Dynamic Coalitions (DCs) and the Best Practice Forums (BPFs), will be presented at the annual global IGF meeting to be held from December 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland.
¶ 8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 3 The Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) serves as a platform for discussion, exchange and collaboration at a regional level, and also where possible to aggregate national and local IGF discussions, to ultimately advance the Internet governance development in the Asia Pacific region.
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I. Reliable Access, Digital Empowerment and Embracing Diversity
More than half of the global internet users belong to the Asia-Pacific region but the true benefits of bridging the access gap can be realized only if it leads to socio-economic empowerment of the multifaceted human capital in the region. Therefore strategies must infrastructure-based that are aimed at shaping technologies, policies to bridge the digital divide, improve ICT resilience to disasters, creating a holistic approach towards eGovernance and push back against Internet shut-downs. Community networks and public access to ICT improve digital literacy and facilitate effective utilization of access by marginalized and underserved communities. Youth-driven initiatives leverage information technology to drive social changes and empower the emerging generation of the region. As improved technological opportunities, such as IPv6, Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) and Email Address Internationalization (EAI), facilitate access for the next billion Internet users; it is important that inclusive policy measures,such as the universal acceptance of internationalised domain names, pave the way to support, conserve and enhance their individual and collective uniqueness, and the language, geographic and cultural diversity that these new users will bring to the Internet.
¶ 13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 6 Capacity building is critical to bridge the digital divide especially in marginalised and developing countries in Asia. It also enhances the Internet environment and promotes higher access, empowerment and diversity. Strategies focused on helping and supporting first-time ICT users including neglected communities from underserved regions will improve digital inclusion as well as user security and privacy. And various capacity building initiatives at the local, regional and global level will help create awareness about digital rights and thus foster empowerment.
¶ 14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 1 Capacity building developed on the basis of an inclusive and multi stakeholder approach is particularly important for ensuring cybersecurity, privacy, and a safer Internet.
¶ 15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 9 It is a necessary initiative for the diverse Asia Pacific region to build a robust and empowered community. New users from all walks of life, representing a wide range of stakeholder groups will be drawn into the Internet governance ecosystem. They will include the technical community, rights activists, policy makers, legislators, online business owners, common users, and in particular youth and students. Capacity building initiatives and programs will accelerate the growth of this community in Internet governance, thus leading to a strengthened Internet infrastructure, well-informed policies, active Internet community, and more savvy and engaged users.
¶ 16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 6 Fellowships offered by I* organisations are welcomed within the Asia Pacific region to usher new leaders and newcomers into the Internet ecosystem. Schools of Internet Governance (SIGs), Regional IGFs and Internet governance Academies are creating new networks at regional and local levels for participants from diverse backgrounds, encouraging greater knowledge sharing and diverse perspectives. A variety of approaches help to increase participants’ understanding of the complexity of different Internet governance issues and build a better appreciation of the roles, responsibilities, and perspectives of different stakeholders. The greatest challenge that exists for any capacity building initiative is funding as well as ensuring that programs consider the diversity of language and culture, as well as the background knowledge and skills of participants.
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III. Security – Cybersecurity, Privacy and Safer Internet
Cyber security, the protection of online systems from damage and disruption, is critical not just to the stability of cyberspace, but also increasingly important to the physical world. Whether it is security, stability and resilience of the Internet infrastructure or security of network and information systems, , to issues on safety, privacy and data protection, collaboration and capacity building are needed to mitigate and prevent cyber security incidents within and beyond the Asia Pacific region, and the setting of global encryption standards is encouraged.
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Legislation and Policies Governing ICTs
Across the Asia Pacific region, legislation has been developed to govern various aspects of the Internet. Legislation that traditionally govern offline spaces is also used in tandem with these specialised legislation to address violations. These provisions must respect internationally recognised human rights and standards for restrictions. They must also draw from other documents on ICTs including the Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime. Particularly, states should be urged to reconsider the manner in which mutual legal assistance agreements (MLATs) are currently implemented. The right to privacy, access to justice and rule of law must be upheld when data of individuals are shared by states.
¶ 19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 3 A three-part test of legality, legitimacy and proportionality must be ensured to be passed for all relevant jurisdictions in the investigation or prosecution. An oversight of the process must be required from all participating countries. Data about requests should be made available to the public, for the interest of transparency and accountability.
¶ 20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 2 Necessary advances in data encryption creates a consideration for an expiration date of protection measures and mechanisms, and contemplated regulations should be future-proofed. Similarly, the mobile and IoT industries also face challenges of time and expiration and regulatory measures can balance consumer protection with the responsibility that Internet-connected manufacturers and software-developer will take in making their devices secure for a reasonable time period.
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Privacy and data protection
Privacy and data protection are critical issues in this new era. At times privacy and data protection may come into conflict with freedom of expression, and can result in data-driven discrimination.
¶ 22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 4 In this context it should be noted that the protection of children and youth from illegal and harmful online contents is an important issue not only for the Asia Pacific region. It is vital for all stakeholders to cooperate and collaborate on effective policies and frameworks to uphold the freedom of expression online, free flow of information, and the protection of children and youth online.
¶ 23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 1 While expectation of privacy may vary by cultures, comprehensive protection mechanisms must meet internationally recognised right to privacy and be linked to consent and agency. Considering the nature of cross-border data transfer for online services, differing levels of protection in relevant jurisdictions and general lack of user awareness, the highest level of protection should be guaranteed as a default safeguard and international minimum standards should be created. These protections should also take into account the rapid development of technology that may make current data encryption, data-masking and obfuscation techniques obsolete in the future.
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IV. Digital Economy and Enabling Innovations
Digital trade and e-commerce are key enablers for the development of the world economy, yet they inevitably challenge traditional national borders. Disruptive innovations such as blockchain have the potential to redesign our interactions in business, political and social interactions. The digital economy and online trade cannot be successful without trust, the free flow of information and appropriate domestic and global business rules. On the other hand, the growing trend of limiting the free flow of information and/or requiring data localization by some government, hinders the growth of the world economy. Therefore, constructing the further network of free trade agreements which requires member states to maintain the free flow of information and to ensure the prohibition of data localization as well as source code disclosure unless there is a legitimate public policy reason is highly recommended. In this regard, coordinated multistakeholder collaboration and thorough discussion among governments and all other stakeholders is indispensable to realizing the benefits of the digital economy to all.
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IV. Human Rights and the Internet
Human rights agreements should apply to the Internet environment in the areas of access and development, freedom of expression, right to assembly and privacy as well as on the right to information, education, health, culture, and to a broad range of other rights as set out in the WSIS Geneva Declaration of Principles, Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, and other agreed international conventions and declarations. The impact of existing and emerging laws, policies, and practices on the security of network and information systems, data protection, surveillance, anonymity, intermediary liability and cyber-crime must protect human rights and meet international standards for guarantees. These issues have been the subject of intense scrutiny and debate by all stakeholders at the APrIGF meeting. The application of human rights should also consider issues of gender, disability, age and sexuality. Respect for human rights is fundamental to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
¶ 26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 2 Addressing Intermediary Liability appropriately is a critical step in enhancing the use of the Internet. To that end, the Manila Principles have been drafted by a multistakeholder group and published and consulted at the RightsCon 2015. More work needs to be done to put the Manila Principles into practice.
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Uninterrupted access to the Internet is essential for the free exercise of rights online. Network shutdowns and blocking have serious economic consequences and impede the right to information, expression, assembly and association among other rights as well. Any disruptions to the access to mobile and Internet services must comply with strict standards established in national legislation and must meet the threshold of legality, necessity and proportionality laid down in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
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Right to be Forgotten
Right to be forgotten as a principle must be approached with caution. Significant and competing issues relating to its extraterritorial application, digitised media archives and the integrity of historical records, the rights of individuals and media freedoms must be weighed carefully. Moreover, emerging jurisprudence on this subject competes with public interest as it imposes a burden of proving public interest on people searching for information or intermediaries facilitating that search such as libraries, educational institutions, archives and search engines.
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Gender digital divide and ending online gender-based violence
The gender digital divide is a continued and important concern in efforts to address disparity in Internet access in the region. Meaningful and equal access for women includes addressing issues related to connectivity as well as the persistent disparities in literacy and income, barriers in the form of social and cultural norms as well as online gender-based violence.
¶ 30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 2 Taking effective action to counter gender-based violence online is important in ensuring the Internet fulfils its potential as a positive driver for change and development, as well as in helping to construct a safe and secure environment for women, girls and individuals with diverse Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression (SOGIE) in every sphere of life. Gender-based violence can, among other things, limit women’s ability to take advantage of the opportunities that ICTs provide for the full realisation of women’s human rights, act as a barrier to access that can exacerbate the gender digital gap, violate women’s human rights, and reproduce gender stereotypes and discrimination. It is important that all stakeholder groups participate in addressing the issue of online gender-based violence through a range of strategies from the framework of human rights, including capacity building, more effective complaints and redress mechanisms, inclusive decision-making processes, and/or appropriate legislative and policy-based responses.