Monthly Report 06/2023 - Executive Summary

Monthly Report 06/2023 - Executive Summary

Current happenings in the Internet governance context in June 2023:

In June 2023, the EU Commission dealt with final regulations on the new EU Data Act, digital identity, security measures in 5G networks and the new cyber partnership with Korea. The Data Act vof 28 June 2023 is primarily intended to facilitate the use of so-called „industrial data“ by European companies, including SMEs. It complements the „Data Governance Act“ of 2020 and aims to improve the EU's competitiveness against US companies. For the rollout of 5G networks, Commissioner Breton is pushing for the implementation of the „EU Toolbox on 5G Cybersecurity“ (2020), which aims to exclude the use of technological components from „high risk vendors“ such as Huawei and ZTE. According to the 2nd report presented on 15 June 2023, only ten of the 27 EU states had implemented the toolbox so far. On 29 June 2023, the European Parliament and the European Council agreed on the core elements of an „EU Digital Identity Wallet“ (DIW) in the form of a secure and user-friendly app. The DIW is intended to provide EU citizens with trusted access to public and private online services. On 30 June 2023, the EU and Korea agreed on a „digital partnership“, similar to the partnership with the US and India.

EURODIG in Tampere (19 to 21 June 2023) had the Global Digital Compact (GDC), artificial intelligence (AI) and the Ukraine war on the agenda. The idea of creating a „Digital Cooperation Forum“ (DGF) to complement the IGF was rejected. AI regulation should focus rather on „frameworks“ than on specific detailed regulations. The Finish Ambassador for Digital Affairs, Stefan Lindström called the Ukraine war the first „cyber world war“ in human history. He said the Internet had turned virtually all „dual-use systems“ into potential weapons. (Further Information)

On the sidelines of the 77th ICANN Meetings in Washington (12 to 15 June 2023), the future positioning of ICANN in the changing global Internet governance ecosystem through a new CEO was a focal point of discussion. The new CEO is to be appointed by March 2024. ICANN, so the general opinion, had to find a balance between its limited technical mandate and its political role as steward of a global resource on behalf of five billion Internet users. Strongly criticised were the current lengthy decision-making processes (PDPs), ranging from new top level domains to the implementation of privacy rules. ICANN's multistakeholder model, which is exemplary on paper, lacked effectiveness in practice. If ICANN were to transform itself into a „trade organisation“ that merely sells domain names, governments would be encouraged to think about new models of oversight. ICANN could also not stay out of international cyber security negotiations at the UN. (Further Information)

The world's largest Internet conference „Rights Con“ (Costa Rica, 6 to 10 June 2023) almost reached pre-pandemic levels with 600 sessions and more than 8000 participants (offline & online). Top speakers were UN TechEnvoy Amandeep Gil Singh, US Cyber Ambassador Nathaniel Fick and ITU Secretary General Doreen Bogdan-Martin. The topics included human rights, sustainable development, artificial intelligence, cyber security and platform regulation. There was no outcome document. A key message conveyed by Ambassador Fick was that „the time of laissez fair digital capitalism is over“. Furthermore, the situation of „US operates and EU regulates“ had to be overcome. Both the US and the EU must do both in order to prevail in the dispute with China over a free and open Internet governed by human rights. (Further Information)

At the 5th informal consultations on the drafting of a UN Convention on Cybercrime in Vienna on 20 to 21 June 2023, NGOs argued for a narrow definition of cyber crime. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) suggested focusing on „offences that relate to the integrity, availability, and confidentiality of an information and communications technologies (ICT) system or device“. „A narrow focus on these crimes, including "illegal access," "illegal interception," and "interference with an ICT system or device," will enable governments to deploy what are often limited resources towards the most immediate and serious cybercrimes affecting companies and individuals, such as ransomware and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks."                     (Further Information)
I Interpol offered its 24/7 network against cyber crime for a future implementation of the convention. The next AHC meeting is scheduled for late August 2023 in New York.

The 3rd meeting of the G20 Digital Economy Working Group was held in Pune, India, on 13 to 14 June 2023. Financing models for the further development of public digital infrastructures and digital education programs were discussed. (Further Information)
The meeting of the G20 Digital Ministers is scheduled for 20 August 2023.

The OECD Ministerial Conference adopted a recommendation on digital identity in Paris on 8 June 2023. The first OECD Global Forum on Technology (GFT) was attended by around 100 (invited) experts and one of the discussion items were immersive technologies such as Metaverse. (Further Information)

Wolfgang Kleinwächter

Professor Emeritus of Internet Policy & Regulation at Aarhus University