Governance on the Internet

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The Governance on the Internet project, launched by the World Economic Forum in 2015, is a multi-year engagement with the main objective of considering the new governance mechanisms needed to adapt to the increasingly global nature of the internet while maintaining the cultural norms and values of certain regions and nations. In 2015, the project was divided into two major workstreams: 1) drafting an overview report about various forms of internet fragmentation and 2) developing national digital strategies. For 2016, the project will be divided into further workstreams: 

- Digital Trade (co-led with Trade Global Challenge Team)
- Internet Fragmentation & Interoperability 
- Country Digital Strategies
- Internet Monitor
- Government 4.0 



Shifted focus toward dialogue and action in 2016: 

A Digital Trade workstream in cooperation with the Global Challenge Initiative on International Trade and Investment will define and build a coalition of governments, companies and experts behind a package of policies that optimally facilitate digitally-enabled trade in goods and services. Such a package could form the basis for a plurilateral agreement among like-minded countries or be added to existing bilateral and regional free trade agreements. The digital trade topic encompasses not only commerce in products and services delivered via the internet but also the cross-border transfer of data vital to the functioning of global and regional value chains. US digital exports are now estimated to be close to $500 billion a year with Europe as its main market. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal agreed in October 2015 between 12 countries including USA, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore covers 36% of global GDP. The US Department of Commerce response to the trade deal was that “We expect the TPP will put in place the most comprehensive set of rules ever negotiated addressing digital trade and the promotion of internet based commerce.” This agreement paves the way for more digital trade. 2016 will be an important year for trade deals, especially as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a series of trade negotiations between EU and US will come to a head over the course of the next 12 months. The transatlantic trade corridor is the largest in the world and the outcome of the negotiations will have a significant impact on digital standards around the world.

The Internet Fragmentation report released in Davos this year will create a platform for the exploration of action by multistakeholder coalitions to frame solutions on one or two specific areas identified by the report and prioritized by the community. The December 2015 core community meeting in New York identified three candidates: data localization, portability of personal information across platforms and “walled gardens.”

Country Digital Strategy Dialogues during 2016. These public-private dialogue processes will serve as channels for FII Trustees, core community members and constituents to educate public officials and shape the development of effective comprehensive national digital strategies that employ good practices in regulation, trade, access, adoption, government services and decision-making.

Continued work and data sourcing on Internet Monitor resourse from Harvard Berkman Center. 

As suggested in the summer 2015 Trustee meeting, a Government 4.0 (Digital Transformation of Government) workstream will compile and frame best practice in the application of digital tools in the conduct of decision-making and delivery of services within governments.