Open ICT for an Open, Secure Internet

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Karen McCabe, Senior Director, Technology Policy and International Affairs, IEEE Standards Association

The Internet of today, with its pervasive and expansive reach, has enabled transformational and impactful developments. It has enabled new levels of social engagement and networking. It has generated explosive opportunities in commerce and business development. It has evolved to a universal platform enabling unprecedented connection among world citizens, providing a powerful means for collective awareness, information sharing and problem solving. And all these elements coalescing as a contribution to the global knowledge community and setting the stage for a global wisdom community.

The “Internet Revolution” has given rise to increasing levels of connectivity that now go beyond the Internet to the Internet of Things and People. It has given rise to extraordinary open innovation, ideation and empowerment—fueled by connectedness and open access. But in a world of open innovation and collaboration, coupled with massive exchange and capture of data and information, and issues on how that data and information are being stored, accessed and used, we enter a world where we weigh the complex risk of such openness—risk to our security, privacy and anonymity—and concern that in addressing solutions we may hinder openness. The question prevails on how do we navigate the critical universal need for an open Internet and the right to protect privacy, ensure anonymity and safeguard world citizens.

There is much dialogue underway—including at the current ITU Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-14), —on building confidence and security in the use of information and communication technology (ICT) as part of the solution to these complex challenges. There are calls for all stakeholders—technologists, government leadership and policy makers alike—to work together for the continued evolution of ICTs to address the weaknesses and to increase capability, and to maintain interoperability and stability. With this, an open ICT ecosystem that embodies transparency and inclusiveness, and that is borderless, is important now more than ever to unlock creativity and unleash collaboration where all stakeholders work to leverage strengths, solve problems and innovate and build upon existing efforts.

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