Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Commission plans guide through global internet policy labyrinth

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The Commission today unveiled plans for the Global Internet Policy Observatory (GIPO), an online platform to improve knowledge of and participation of all stakeholders across the world in debates and decisions on Internet policies. GIPO will be developed by the Commission and a core alliance of countries and Non Governmental Organisations involved in Internet governance. Brazil, the African Union, Switzerland, the Association for Progressive Communication, Diplo Foundation and the Internet Society have agreed to cooperate or have expressed their interest to be involved in the project.
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The Global Internet Policy Observatory will act as a clearinghouse for monitoring Internet policy, regulatory and technological developments across the world.

It will:

  • automatically monitor Internet-related policy developments at the global level, making full use of "big data" technologies;
  • identify links between different fora and discussions, with the objective to overcome "policy silos";
  • help contextualise information, for example by collecting existing academic information on a specific topic, highlighting the historical and current position of the main actors on a particular issue, identifying the interests of different actors in various policy fields;
  • identify policy trends, via quantitative and qualitative methods such as semantic and sentiment analysis;
  • provide easy-to-use briefings and reports by incorporating modern visualisation techniques;

The objective of GIPO is to increase expertise and understanding among all actors, including countries, NGOs and interest groups which may have so far been marginalised in Internet debates and decisions. The Commission fears that the vast range of policy areas impacted by the Internet, combined with a highly complex institutional framework, may cause disengagement from these discussions, which must be truly inclusive in order to ensure a globally legitimate and sustainable governance framework for the Internet.

GIPO will not replace existing mechanisms and fora where global Internet governance is discussed, such as the Internet Governance Forum. To the contrary, its objective is to be a tool-box for stakeholders and an instrument to strengthen existing Internet policy-making processes, making full use of modern technology.

The European Commission is 100% committed to supporting the open internet. It hopes to safeguard the open nature of global internet governance, including a model which is more inclusive of the needs and priorities of all actors, including those from the developing world. (see SPEECH/13/167).

In the coming months, the Commission will carry out a feasibility study into GIPO, and pending those results, the development of the online platform could commence in 2014.