Internet and Development
Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
The internet and associated mobile and digital technologies offer the chance for developing countries to leapfrog stages of development. There are already powerful examples eg of the role mobile banking is playing in Africa. For developing countries to take advantage of this they need to have in place the right infrastructure. It needs to be robust, secure and not place undue demands on the country’s energy resources. Security of data will be key. (By security we mean the protection of data transmitted on line from unlawful interference or interception.) A healthy internet economy involves using the internet or mobile products to exchange large amounts of sensitive data , whether it be financial data , or health data or any copyright material. In addition, governments will increasingly deliver their services online. It will be important to ensure that all these transactions of data are as secure as possible. The best of way of doing so is to incorporate security into your system from the start, whether it be looking at secure data centres, secure mobile phones etc. This is known as ‘Security by Design’. Developing countries have an opportunity to get this right. While the use of software and good governance practices are important to secure your system, integrating security directly into the hardware of a device will be a major step forward. By building trust into a device, users will be more comfortable sharing data online, and benefit more from the opportunities created by the Internet. Security by Design will be especially important as we begin to see the emergence of machine-to-machine communications (M2M). The energy saving potential of technologies such as Smart Grids are more likely to be realised if users can trust that the devices monitoring their homes are inherently secure, and designed with the security of their data in mind. Another facet of security is the risk of interference with online operations in key infrastructure sectors – banks, energy, etc. While ITU has a role to play on developing best-practice for technical issues, expertise on how to minimise the risks of cyber crime resides in other organizations. All members of CWG-Internet should actively support the work of expert organisations developing innovative and best-in-class responses to cyber crime, and engage with their work as robustly as they engage with the work of ITU. Energy efficiency will also be key. Every country has an interest in getting the most from their energy resources, for environmental reasons, for efficiency reasons or for cost reasons. This is even more important where power supply is not always guaranteed. As a country’s internet infrastructure grows, the energy impact of large scale servers and data centres can also become a factor in a country’s energy demands. Developing countries have the opportunity form the start to include this in their planning assumptions and to work to minimise the wastage of energy as much as possible. Given the pace of technological advance on these key issues, it will be difficult, if not impossible to construct detailed guidance in the abstract which will apply to all countries in every situation. Countries will want to explore solutions tailored to their needs. These too will change rapidly. Therefore the engagement of companies, institutes and universities who are working in this area is essential. There is a lot of expertise available: the question may sometimes be where to look for it. Work is underway to look at how access to good and varied advice on these issues can be provided to developing economies and others. If Developing Countries put in place policies which enable the development of robust Internet infrastructure, and give citizens the confidence their data is secure when they access the Internet, , there will be a huge opportunity to use the internet and associated services to drive economic growth. ITU may have a role in aggregating best-practice to help developing countries take advantage of this opportunity. Thank you again ARM is a global company which focusses on the design and development of energy efficient microprocessors. ARM Ltd July 2013