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OECD Sees Bolstering Internet Confidence as Crucial

Posted June. 18, 2008 04:14,   


The OECD Ministerial Meeting kicked off here in Seoul on Tuesday under the theme “Creativity, Confidence and Convergence.” However, restoring confidence in the Internet community is considered the most immediate task.

The participants cited that confidence in the Internet is being threatened due to cyber crimes and privacy issues despite the fact that it has become increasingly important in international commerce and cultural exchanges.

In response to the ongoing threats, participating ministers of the two-day meeting are expected to express their concerns about the use of the Internet and state collective guidelines on online identification theft, inappropriate information and invasion of privacy in a joint statement, dubbed the Seoul Declaration, on Friday.

Five round-table discussions will be held under the themes of “improving economic performance and social welfare,” “benefiting from convergence,” “promoting creativity, “building confidence,” and “a global Internet economy,” and the details of the declaration are expected to be fine-tuned in a chief delegate meeting.

○ Loss of confidence, biggest threat in the Internet economy

In his opening speech, Korea Communications Commission Chairman Choi See-Joong said, “The Internet has been a major driving force in global economic growth and responsible for 17.9 percent of OECD member countries’ GDP growth over the past decade.” He continued, “We must seek a new policy direction in competition between industries, boosting investment and consumer benefits in order to support and stabilize the era of the Internet economy.”

Choi also added, “The elements that threaten the Internet economy, such as the digital divide between regions and countries, and hacking, serve as a wake-up call . . . I urge you to hold in-depth discussions on measures to secure confidence, a pillar of the future Internet economy.”

Hamadoun Toure, secretary general of the International Telecommunication Union, noted that unless we make cyber space a safe one, we will not be able to obtain desirable benefits from the Internet. Toure also stressed that we must make efforts to build confidence in the Internet for everyone, including businesses, public institutions and children.

Participants of the meeting also reached a consensus that each government should formulate joint responses in order to counter an Internet confidence crisis. They pointed out that the collapse of cyber security in one country poses a threat to others.

“The massive distributed denial-of-service attack on Estonia`s networks in spring 2007 heavily disrupted the e-services of this small European country and isolated the local networks from the global Internet. This attack made governments aware of the impact that such events can have on a national economy,” said European Commissioner for Information Society and Media Viviane Reding.

Meanwhile, the Stakeholders’ Forum of the meeting was held on Monday. In the forum, the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD urged member countries’ governments to beef up laws against the distribution of harmful Internet content.

○ Cooperation between countries necessary

The participants also discussed a variety of ways to enhance economic and social development and improve public policies via the Internet.

OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría said, “The Internet has become a technology like electricity, it transforms everything we do.” He added, “The integration of Information Communication Technology (ICT) into virtually all aspects of business activities and social interaction is creating a digitally-enabled economy.”

In his opening remarks, Kevin Martin, chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, said, “Regulation struggles to keep up with the evolvement of the Internet. From past experience, we learned that a competitive marketplace, not regulation, is the best method of delivering maximum choices and benefits to consumers."

SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won said, “In order for the global economy to enjoy sustainable growth, developed nations must help underdeveloped countries with poor information and communication infrastructure develop their Internet economy.” He added, “A cooperative structure between countries is necessary in order to bolster the stability and openness of the new global economic environment based on the Internet.”

Choi also pointed out that cooperation between countries is essential in order to properly deal with the “side effects” of the Internet.

Toyota Motor President Katsuaki Watanabe said, “Japan is trying to use information technology in controlling traffic in an effort to solve global warming, a challenge facing humanity.”

In the meantime, Paul Twomey, CEO and president of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, said it plans to introduce top-level domains in Korean characters early next year, apart from English characters. Once the new system is implemented, the names of domains can appear in Korean like “http://동아일보.한국.”

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