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Name : BOLLOW, Norbert
Date : June 29, 2017
Organization : Just Net Coalition
Country : Switzerland
Job Title : co-convenor

Contribution : SUMMARY: To date, global regimes around trade, investment and intellectual property have mostly been conceptualised and written by the North. Developing countries were typically late to understand their real implications, by which time these had got too entrenched to admit structural changes towards fairly including developing country interests. A similar situation is arising with regard to the geo-economics of the global digital phenomenon, including OTT, which is an important phenomenon within the constellation of digital phenomena. A global digital order is gradually and steadily taking shape and is intended to apply to OTTs. Various social sectors are getting transformed by OTTs, like the information sector by Google, commerce by Amazon, and urban transportation by Uber. Companies that own these platforms are largely multinational, US-based monopolies. They soak up free raw data from the world’s citizens and convert it into “digital intelligence”, which is employed in reorganisation and consequent domination of all sectors. Apart from becoming a sustained model of economic exploitation of people in general and developing countries in particular, this new form of digital dependency also carries dire political, social and cultural consequences. Viewing the OTT phenomenon through narrow frameworks of a promising industry and/or neutral tool for socio-economic development, both developed and developing countries have ignored larger policy issues like internalising network effects of data and digital intelligence to support national industry, regulation of platforms, and ownership of publicly important digital data. Developing countries in particular remain at the margins of global Internet/digital governance processes, with no vision or common strategies and the North continues to develop the norms and policy principles for the global digital society, on the basis of its interests and its geopolitical vision, which at present is heavily tilted in favor of the economic interests of a few big companies and thefew people who own those companies. The current times are of critical importance to shape the key features of the emerging global digital order. If existing trends continue, ordinary people and developing countries will soon be locked into strong digital dependency. The global reach through the Internet of unimaginably intelligent technologies carries the very real prospect of invasive domination by a small group of people in the North and denial of democracy and national sovereignty to developing countries. The world’s people, and in particular those in the South, need to get their act together by undertaking urgent measures that range from understanding and framing issues in this domain, to establishing appropriate mechanisms for South-South cooperation, and evolving common geopolitical strategies for engagement with global forums.

Attachments : CWG-Internet-2017-JNC-final.pdf