As of 2016, nearly 50% of the global population is connected to the Internet. The confluence of technology, knowledge, and rapid advances in robotics and knowledge management are contributing to a “4th industrial revolution”. As the technical and social impact of cyberspace accelerates, the question of how this domain should be governed has become paramount. The absence of direct state intervention to date has been one of the reasons for the Internet’s rapid global expansion and prominent role in the global economy. At the same time, as the global population gets online, the need for Governments to become involved – to provide basic safety and security – has also risen in importance. Countries need the Internet to drive economic development. The private sector needs a stable and favourable regulatory environment that favours innovation and investment. Citizens need a safe and secure cyberspace to ensure that economic and social benefits can be achieved and sustained.
Central Asia stands at the forefront of this global debate between security and development. Situated between Europe and Asia, the region has much to gain from the 4th Industrial Revolution. But, it also is a region with many significant regional conflicts, which are sources of cyber insecurity. There is much at stake in the process as states, institutions, and individuals in the region establish mutual trust, rights, and responsibilities for the cyber era. Striking a balance between Security and Development is the main theme of the 2016 Central Asian Internet Governance Forum.
The Forum agenda includes the following themes:
The Future of the Internet: National and Global Approaches
The discussion will focus on cyberspace governance from international and national perspectives. The speakers will address global trends and main developments in Central Asia, including technological breakthroughs and evolving regulatory processes.
Experts will discuss whether existing models of Internet development are sufficient to ensure both sustainable growth, and safe and secure cyberspace.
To what extent countries, institutions and individuals are prepared to work together to develop Internet? How could Internet regulation adapt and evolve in relation to cybersecurity challenges, without undermining economic activity and innovation? The session will examine the potential of Central Asian countries to propose new models for Internet governance. What approaches might work better for 'future Internet'?
The Role of DNS Industry in Central Asian Economies
In recent years, a noticeable decrease in the dynamics of domain industry development can be observed across Central Asia. Some analysts contend that this trend is occurring due to exit of large companies from CA markets, as a result of the global financial crisis. Others, however, believe that the problem has developed because national registrars do not see or fully comprehend goals and requirements of various players in this field, thus hindering DNS market development. In addition, the absence of tools and mechanisms for registrars’ performance evaluation, including indicators evaluating standards and content development, may be contributing factors as well.
The roundtable discussion will address various approaches aimed at strengthening the DNS industry, including analysis of specific steps, experiences of CIS countries and best global practices.
Infrastructure and Access Technologies
All countries are concerned with identification of effective approaches that lead to maximization of benefits stemming from the introduction of digital technologies. At the same time, various initiatives associated with complex infrastructure projects cause modifications to management systems, affect horizontal integration and shift relations between relevant actors. In such circumstances, what are the best models for infrastructure development projects?
The roundtable discussion will address main trends and existing options for such projects in Central Asia, as well as measures aimed at reducing the disparity between 'centre' and 'periphery' or various age groups. A specific focus will be placed on discussing projects dealing with modernization of existing ICT infrastructure to provde high-speed access for remote towns and rural areas.
Digital Inequality and Internet Innovations in Central Asia
«Digital inclusiveness» is not only an issue of a mere technical ability to access Internet, but also an issue of relevant skills and economic opportunities. A nation's inability to provide equal access to information and networks, leaving 'poor' citizens with fewer opportunities and limited access to digital services, has a direct impact on a national progress overall.
The session's participants will discuss specific conditions the creation of which could improve access to Internet for economically disadvantaged families; the role of Internet innovations in digital inclusiveness; benefits which Eurasian countries could obtain through the promotion of new technologies; and, requirements for stimulating innovation and economic development.
Maintaining the Balance Between Internet Freedom and Security in Central Asia
The discussion will focus on measures that increase trust in Internet, and development of a balanced approach between basic rights (e.g. privacy) and responsibilities that ensures innovation of cyberspace for all citizens.
The participants will address issues related to the scope and breadth of regulatory frameworks required to ensure the balance between growth and innovation on one hand, and stability and securityon the other. What is required to ensure an adequate level of Internet security that encourages its further use and development?
The balance between individual rights, economic growth and collective security requires broader involvement of all interested parties, including governments, corporations and civil society. The session will address various challenges, comparable experiences and solutions from Europe, North America and Eurasia.
National Cybersecurity Strategies
Cybersecurity is often perceived as a strategic issue of national importance that touches on all segments of society. A dedicated government policy typically serves as a framework for ensuring stability of national information systems, whereas National Cybersecurity Strategy represents a specific model designed to address specific national cybersecurity issues.
The discussants will address some of the main approaches related to development of national cybersecurity strategies and exchange views on:
Economic Growth Through Development of Internet
Attention of participants will be drawn to the influence of Internet on national economic growth, social development and education.
While sharing best practices and case studies stemming from the Internet's positive economic effects and rapid transformation of cyberspace in different countries, panellists will discuss whether Chinese and European experiences can be replicated in Central Asia. Could countries in the region achieve more? What has worked, and what is missing?
Critical Infrastructure Protection
A modern society is highly dependent on a reliable delivery of utility services, information technologies, and mobility of people and resources. Significant disruptions, even if short-term, in normal functioning of critical infrastructure and services may lead to very serious outcomes.
The discussants will address common global trends and approaches aimed at ensuring critical infrastructure protection, in the context of national cybersecurity strategies; development of solutions that balance state and corporate interests; identifiction of key assets, services and interdependencies, as well as measures that could be taken to neutralize threats or mitigate their occurence.
The Role of Government in Internet Regulation
Until recently, lack of a direct government intervention was one of the primary reasons behind Internet’s rapid development and its growing role as a global economic catalyst. However, as opportunities and threats grow, so does a need for increasing government involvement in ensuring security of transactions and risk mitigation.
This roundtable will address issues related to collaboration between citizens and state, as well as better understanding of rights and governance, which increasingly acquire a more important significance. Good governance practices guarantee security and resilience of the system, while also ensuring greater predictability for private enterprise. Greater trust in Internet, along with privacy and property rights, are important prerequisites for maintaining innovating and safe cyberspace for all.
The discussants will focus on issues, such as how much regulation is needed to ensure balance between innovation and growth, and security and stability? What mechanisms are required to ensure Internet security without compromising users’ trust and their continued engagement in the network’s innovation?