As part of our introductory guide to internet governance, Andreas Karsten introduces key organisations and bodies working on the internet, communications and governance, including their overarching aims and where you can find more information. Organisations covered include the United Nations, Council of Europe, UNESCO, and civil society. In this article, Andreas introduces the work of the OECD on internet governance.

The work of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on internet governance is rooted in the mission of OECD to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. The organisation has developed key indicators on information and communication technologies, which are updated annually, to provide a knowledge-base for digital governance policies.

The OECD and Internet Governance

The fifteen indicators mostly cover availability, accessibility, affordability and usage of landline, mobile, broadband and internet connections. Latest updates were made in July 2013, covering statistics on mobile and broadband access in the 34 OECD member states. More detailed data can be found on the OECD broadband portal.

Publications and events can be checked on this central page.

The OECD Internet Economy Outlook was last published in October 2012.

The OECD’s work on internet governance spans across several themes, including information economy, information security and privacy, broadband and telecom and public-sector innovation and e-government.

The OECD has published a number of Digital Economy Papers, among them

  • Electronic and Mobile Commerce (July 2013, pdf)
  • Ensuring the Global Participation in the Internet Economy for Development (July 2013, pdf)
  • Exploring Data-Driven Innovation as a New Source of Growth – Mapping the Policy Issues Raised by “Big Data” (June 2013, pdf)
  • Exploring the Economics of Personal Data – A Survey of Methodologies for Measuring Monetary Value (April 2013, pdf)
  • The Development and Diffusion of Digital Content (December 2012, pdf)
  • The Impact of Internet in the OECD Countries (June 2012, pdf)
  • ICT Skills and Employment – New Competences and Jobs for a Greener and Smarter Economy (April 2012, pdf)
  • Digital Identity Management for Natural Persons (November 2011, pdf)
  • Virtual Worlds – Immersive Online Platforms for Collaboration, Creativity and Learning (June 2011, pdf)
  • The Protection of Children Online (May 2011, pdf)
  • The Evolving Privacy Landscape: 30 Years After the OECD Privacy Guidelines (April 2011, pdf)
  • National Strategies and Policies for Digital Identity Management in OECD Countries (March 2011, pdf)

The OECD regularly publishes policy guidelines on internet economy issues (feed), reviews of good governance in information society, reports (see list above) and OECD Outlooks including the OECD Communications Outlook and the above-mentioned Economy Outlook.

High Level Meeting The Internet Economy: Generating Innovation and Growth

In end of October 2013, the OECD will host the “E-Leaders 2013 meeting” on “ICT Governance to deliver Public Value” in Bern, Switzerland. Other recent web-related events  included: the Technology Foresight Forum, held in Paris in October 2012 on “Harnessing data as a new source of growth – Big data analytics and policies”, a conference in Tokyo on “Anticipating the Special Needs of the 21st Century Silver Economy: From Smart Technologies to Services Innovation” (September 2012) and the “Final ICTNET Conference on the Economic Impact of ICT: Policy Drivers and Economic Evidence”, organised in Paris in June 2012.

At the occasion of the latest High Level Meeting entitled “The Internet Economy: Generating Innovation and Growth” in June 2011, the OECD developed an Issues Paper (June 2011, pdf) outlining some background to the issues discussed at the sessions of the High-Level Meeting, including broadband access, the role of broadband in developing the internet economy, the balance of policy goals to strengthen growth, and policy making principles for an open internet. The final communiqué on “Internet Policy-Making Principles” outlines, among others, two major principles: Encouraging multi-stakeholder co-operation in policy development processes and fostering voluntarily developed codes of conduct.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, in a joint coalition of 80 civil society groups, announced that it declined to support the communiqué, stating that it “could encourage states to use Internet intermediaries to police online content, undermining freedom of expression, privacy and innovation across the world.” (“EFF Declines to Endorse OECD Draft Communiqué on Principles for Internet Policy-Making”, more information is available on the website of the Internet Governance Project (IGP) — “Civil Society defects from OECD Internet Policy Principles” — and the website of the Civil Society Information Society Advisory Council — “CSISAC Declines to Support OECD Principles on Internet Policy-Making”.
The OECD’s work on internet governance is coordinated by the Department of Information and Communications Technologies.

Featured image credit: N3rdabl3

Written by Andreas Karsten

Andreas works as a researcher and journalist in and beyond the youth sector on rights-based public policies, youth-sensitive budgeting, human rights, equality, empowerment, participation, citizenship, sustainability, learning, change and common sense.