Monthly Report 11/2022 - Executive Summary

Monthly Report 11/2022 - Executive Summary

Current happenings in the Internet governance context in November 2022:

At the G20 Summit in Bali on 16 November 2022, the leading industrialised nations and emerging economies committed themselves to further digital transformation. In the future, the sustainable UN development goals shall have a greater impact on how digital economy will be shaped. Imparting digital skills shall be a central issue of the education of the young generation. Special support is requested for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises as well as start-ups. The implementation of the global digital tax agreed in 2021 shall be accelerated and the negotiations on a digital trade treaty brought to a conclusion. It was called for measures to be taken against cyber crime and manipulation in the field of cryptocurrencies. "We acknowledge that affordable and high-quality digital connectivity is essential for digital inclusion and digital transformation, while a resilient, safe and secure online environment is necessary to enhance confidence and trust in the digital economy. We recognize the importance of policies to create an enabling, inclusive, open, fair and non-discriminatory digital economy that fosters the application of new technologies, allows businesses and entrepreneurs to thrive, and protects and empowers consumers, while addressing the challenges, related to digital divides, privacy, data protection, intellectual property rights, and online safety. We acknowledge the importance to counter disinformation campaigns, cyber threats, online abuse, and ensuring security in connectivity infrastructure. We remain committed to further enable data free flow with trust and promote cross-border data flows. We will advance a more inclusive, human-centric, empowering, and sustainable digital transformation. We also reaffirm the role of data for development, economic growth and social well-being." As the leaders had agreed on a formula concerning the assessment of the Russian war against Ukraine, the "Digital Bali Package", which had not been concluded at the G20 digital ministers' meeting in early September 2022 due to the lack of such a formula, could now be adopted, too. India will take over the G20 presidency in 2023. (Further Information)

The International Counter Ransomware Initiative (CRI), founded in 2021, held its second "Ransomware Summit" in Washington on 1 November 2022. In a "Joint Statement", the more than 40 CRI members agreed on an improved exchange of information on criminal attacks in cyber space and a uniform approach to law enforcement. Cyber criminals should not have a "safe haven". Money flows from extortion in cyberspace had to become more transparent (We know your costumer). An "International Counter Ransomware Task Force" (ICRTF) shall coordinate the operational work between the summit meetings, which are now planned to be held every six months.

On 3 November 2022, the International Red Cross in Geneva published a study entitled "Digitizing the Red Cross, Red Crescent, and Red Crystal Emblems". The study proposes the introduction of a "digital Red Cross" to protect hospitals and care facilities, for example, from cyber attacks during armed conflicts. For more than 150 years, international humanitarian law has stipulated that facilities and vehicles bearing a red cross shall not be attacked. This mechanism is requested to be extended to the digital world. States are called upon to agree on such a digital emblem in an Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions. (Further Information)

The EU Digital Markets Act (DMA) entered into force on 1 November 2022. The new regulation aims to put an end to unfair practices by companies acting as so-called gatekeepers in digital markets. The responsible Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager sees a fundamental change in the digital landscape as a result of the law: Large "gatekeepers" must now prove that they compete fairly with other companies and change their current unfair practices. Gatekeepers include, for instance, companies that operate "core platform services": online intermediary services, search engines, social networks, video sharing platform services, virtual assistants, web browsers, cloud computing services, operating systems, online marketplaces and online advertising services with at least 45 million end users within the EU. According to the new law, fines of up to ten percent of a company's global turnover may be imposed in case of violations. (Further Information)

On 2 November 2022, a first "Multistakeholder Round Table" on the "Declaration on the Future of the Internet" (DFI), signed in Washington at the end of April 2022, took place in Prague under the Czech EU Council Presidency. The one-day event focused primarily on questions of disinformation in times of war in Ukraine. With the round table, the EU reacted to the critical voices stating that the declaration supports the multistakeholder principle for Internet governance but at the same time non-governmental stakeholders are excluded from the drafting of the declaration. Even though the Prague event involved numerous NGOs and companies, it was prepared in a non-transparent manner and exclusively by governments again. The EU has announced that it will organise further "DFI Round Tables" in the course of 2023. So far, 63 governments have signed the declaration. Signing by non-state actors is not foreseen so far. (Further Information)

Wolfgang Kleinwächter

Professor Emeritus of Internet Policy & Regulation at Aarhus University