OECD Ministerial Meeting on The Future of the Internet Economy

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Seoul, Korea, June 17-18, 2008

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Ministerial Meeting on the Future of the Internet Economy took place in Seoul, Korea from June 16 to 18, 2008. The Ministerial brought together 22 Ministers, senior government officials, the heads of major intergovernmental organizations, industry and business leaders as well as representatives of the Internet technical community, civil society and organized labour. In all, close to 2,200 participants from 68 countries were in attendance.

The purpose of the Ministerial Meeting was to raise awareness of the increasingly critical role of the Internet as a powerful driver of innovation, growth and productivity globally, and to ensure that governments and other stakeholders would work together to create and maintain policies to promote its future growth.

Canadian Participation

The Canadian delegation headed by Mr. Richard Dicerni, Deputy Minister of Industry Canada, was significant in terms of representation and size. Canadians were prominently featured throughout the event as speakers and moderators in three stakeholder events and as panelists at the Ministerial meeting.

photo of Mr. Richard DicerniMr. Dicerni was a participant in the Roundtable on Improving Economic Performance and Social Welfare. He was asked by the moderator how the Internet has changed since the OECD Ministerial that Canada hosted in 1998. He illustrated with examples taken from business, politics and overcoming digital divides some of the fundamental changes that took place over the last decade.

As Head of Delegation of the 1998 host country, Mr. Dicerni was invited to offer a toast at the gala dinner on the evening of June 17th.

photo of Ms. Jennifer StoddartCanada's Privacy Commissioner, Ms. Jennifer Stoddart, spoke in the Roundtable on Building Confidence. Her key message was that Internet privacy challenges require global solutions. She invited all stakeholders to be striving to achieve a basic level of level of protection around the world, while recognizing that countries will take different approaches to privacy. Achieving good outcomes is more important than setting a single global standard or one approach to protecting privacy. This requires dialogue and goodwill. She projected the image of a Canada that is uniquely positioned to faciliate this dialogue and champion cross-border cooperation initiatives.

photo of Mr. Bob Crow Mr. Bob Crow, Vice-President, Research in Motion Inc., talked about the rapidly developing Mobile Internet Economy in the Roundtable on A Global Internet Economy. Such development is being made possible by the adoption of international roaming standards and open operating systems. In a few short years, wireless devices will provide persistent connection to networks and services and user authentication, making them ideal as micro-credit devices, and their Swiss-knife capabilities will be supported by a robust peripheral industry. Mr. Crow predicted that these devices will soon be coming to a belt or a purse near you, in every part of the world.

Ministerial Outcomes and Conclusions

The Seoul Declaration for the Future of the Internet Economy was adopted by the 30 OECD member countries and 9 non-OECD member countries. The Declaration outlines the basic principles that will guide future development of the Internet, supported by a policy framework document, entitled Shaping Policies for the Future of the Internet Economy. The latter contains OECD policy directions in 20 key areas relating to the future of the Internet, such as consumer protection and mobile commerce, digital content and services, public sector information, the protection of critical information infrastructures, radio frequency identification (RFID), malware and on-line identity theft and regulatory enforcement co-operation for the protection of online users.