Closing Remarks by USCIB Peter Robinson to OECD Ministerial on the Future of the Internet

Peter Robinson

President and CEO, United States Council for International Business

Closing Remarks for OECD Ministerial on the Future of the Internet

Seoul, June 18, 2008

 

Congratulations to Korea and the OECD on organizing such an impressive ministerial meeting!

The discussions over the last 3 days have been interesting and insightful in looking to the future and the role of all stakeholders along this path.

On behalf of the business community, let me applaud Ministers for signing a Declaration that lays out a clear path to the future Internet economy. We are especially pleased to see that our vision shares many of the same hopes and expectations as those that are outlined in the Declaration.

This Ministerial has successfully built on the previous Ministerial, which focused on e-commerce. The last 10 years have shown us that the Internet is much more than a new platform on which to conduct business.  It has become intertwined with every aspect of our lives and economies. The next 10 years will allow us to further realize the potential of the Internet to better our societies, both developed and developing, and to bring more of the world’s people online to create, communicate and collaborate as part of their business and personal lives.

Our vision of the future Internet is characterized by a virtuous circle of investment and innovation, fueled by creativity and empowering users. The future Internet will also be characterized by increased user participation and choice of applications, products and services provided through a wide variety of high capacity platforms that are more available, affordable and user-friendly. The Internet will facilitate greater productivity and expanded access, to, and quality of, education, skills development and healthcare. Innovative ICT solutions will help us address challenges such as the environment.

 

Role of business

The Ottawa ministerial established a precedent for a regulatory framework that recognized the need for private sector leadership and flexibility to enable innovation. Since, the convergence of voice, data, video and audio on the Internet, driven by the extensive deployment of competing IP-based networks, has enabled innovation to thrive , empowering consumers and enhancing opportunities for further growth and innovation.

Going forward, we need to understand how the next level of convergence will impact business. Further investment will be needed to provide adequate capacity, security and capabilities for future Internet-supported development and connectivity.  Business will also work with other stakeholders to develop market-driven technical standards that will enable the Internet’s ongoing expansion.

 

Creativity

The Internet is also facilitating an unprecedented level of collaboration and interaction in commercial as well as social settings. The application of ICTs to learning, health, the environment and professional and social networking enables the robust exchange of information and knowledge. A confluence of factors—has created a fertile environment for users to become creators and publishers in their own right.  Pervasive, speedy, intelligent and affordable broadband access, provided through capable high capacity networks is vital to the future growth of these and other innovative offerings. Preserving and fostering the incentive to create is also vital to the continued migration of content to the online world. The protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, which supports and encourages users to make legitimate use of content, play an important role in this regard.

 

Confidence

Security and privacy will be increasingly important- not just because of increased threats, but also because emerging technologies may provide more seamless ways of collecting and using information. User trust and confidence in these new technologies will enable faster adoption and greater access to the benefits they can provide.

Today, businesses deploy a variety of technologies to meet customer needs and to build confidence in the online environment, and also actively leads educational initiatives in Internet privacy and safety.  While there is no silver bullet to stop cyber-crime, business is committed to working with governments and other stakeholders to effectively address this problem.

But in the end, improved education, innovative technology widespread dissemination and adoption of industry best practices; and effective law enforcement will be most effective in addressing these threats to Internet users’ privacy and safety and ensuring the continued integrity of the Internet.

 

Role of governments

We commend Ministers for their commitment to establish and maintain policy frameworks that will promote a trusted Internet-based environment, continued investment and increasing competition that will lead to expanded Internet access worldwide, increased innovation and user choice.  Indeed, such frameworks are essential for the future Internet economy.

Ministers have taken the important step to reaffirm the principles that enabled a new platform for commerce to evolve into a new platform for all aspects of life and declaring to contribute towards further development of the global Internet economy. While a framework that promotes continued technology innovation is crucial, we must keep in mind that ICTs are a means to achieve growth and societal benefit rather than an end in themselves.

 

The role of governments is fundamental for four key objectives:

  1. Ensuring that any new measures or incentives have a positive impact on infrastructure investment, innovation and the growth of the Internet
  2. Enforcing existing laws, particularly criminal laws, which address harmful and/or illegal online activities and coordination across relevant agencies and jurisdictions
  3. Recognizing the continued importance of market-driven, consensus-based global standards and the leadership of the private sector in their development
  4. Developing policies that stimulate the availability of and demand for network development, deployment, and interconnectivity, and the availability of different devices and modes of connectivity to increase Internet penetration

 

Role of OECD:

Finally, after Seoul,  as governments work towards further implementation of the commitments made here, careful attention should be paid to the important, unique and beneficial role that the OECD plays. The OECD will continue to be instrumental in working with all stakeholders to further the achievements of the Ottawa and Seoul Ministerial Conferences, in particular by producing neutral, fact-based economic reports that examine current market conditions and the impact of new developments, emerging technologies and any potential policy questions. The OECD also facilitates co-ordination and consistency of broad policy frameworks across Member economies by providing a forum for dialogue, involving all stakeholders.

In closing, I’d like to emphasize that all stakeholders must continue to work together, each according to their role, to address the challenges faced by the global economy, to promote the continued growth of the Internet and bring its benefits to more of the world’s people. Today, the private sector continues to lead the way in the innovation and development of ever-more efficient and focused services, applications, content, devices and networks that allow more users to share in the benefits of the Internet. We look forward to working with governments, civil society, the technical community and the OECD to nurture the powerful potential of the Internet economy.

More on USCIB’s Information, Communications and Technology Committee

OECD website

Staff Contact:   Peter Robinson

President and CEO
Tel: 212.703.5046

Peter Robinson is USCIB’s 15th president. USCIB, founded in 1945, is a policy advocacy and trade services organization dedicated to promoting open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and regulatory coherence.
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