OECD Meetings in June: Working party on Communications Infrastructure and Services Policy, Internet Intermediaries Workshop, and Working party on the Information Economy. June 14-18

July 1, 2010

Two of the Information, Communications, and Computer Policy committees of the OECD held meetings during the week of June 14-18, the Communications Infrastructure and Services Policy Working Party (WPCISP) and the Working Party on the Internet Economy (WPIE). There was also an all day workshop on the Role of Internet Intermediaries, to discuss the role that Internet intermediaries play in achieving the policy goals identified at the Seoul OECD Ministerial Conference in 2008.

CSISAC participated in all three events, and will report on the pubic aspects of these events. At the WPCISP, CSISAC Liaison Stephanie Perrin and Public Knowledge's John Bergmayer are attending. At the Internet Intermediaries Workshop, Gwen Hinz of Electronic Frontier Foundation, Anna Fielder of Privacy International, Marzena Lipman of Consumer Focus and Eric Goldman of the University of Santa Clara presented civil society perspectives on various panels. Milton Mueller of Syracuse and Delft Universities and David Banisar of Article 19 also participated.

CSISAC has provided comments on a detailed paper on the Role of Internet Intermediaries, which has yet to be publicly released. Civil society's concerns are focused on the delegation of social policies and enforcement to third party actors without respect for due process, accountability, transparency, and the human rights of Internet users. CSISAC is preparing a detailed paper on the issues, and would be pleased to welcome civil society contributions to this effort. Please contact liaison@csisac.org if you have an interest in the topic.

Several papers from the working party on Communications Infrastructure and Services Policy are expected to be derestricted in September, and CSISAC continues to provide input on this work. Centred on aspects of competition and integration, the impact of bundling of internet services, and the issues surrounding mobile roaming, these papers impact various aspects of the core CSISAC policy focus areas:

  • Privacy and the non-transparent use of customer information
  • Consumer protection, particularly in matters of service costs and the lack of transparency in service costs, including taxes, which in turn makes free choice of service alternatives virtually impossible
  • Security and autonomy with respect to information, and intellectual property

On June 17-18, the Working Party on the Internet Economy discussed, among other issues, the focus on information and communications technologies to foster the "green" agenda. Once again, this focus is of great interest to civil society members across the spectrum of concern. Whilst members welcome ICTS to address energy conservation, resource management and efficient public transportation, this cannot be at the expense of individual autonomy and personal privacy. There is great promise for the return to user control in intelligent buildings and smart networks, but only if these options are built in. It is therefore vital to engage in this discussion, and civil society is solicited to participate in upcoming CSISAC policy briefs on the topics.