The MAPPING project has begun
The MAPPING project was launched early this year. It aims to create an all-round and “joined-up” understanding of the many and varied economic, social, legal and ethical aspects of the recent developments on the Internet. It also explores the consequences of these developments for the individual and society at large, focusing in particular on three complementary and interlinked problem areas: Intellectual Property Rights, Privacy and Internet Governance. The project capitalises upon and debates the existing innovation policies, business models and legal frameworks related to the implementation of the Digital Agenda for Europe, as well as the changes needed to set up an improved governance structure for the EU innovation ecosystem. The results of the project will include a responsive action plan along with concise policy recommendations aimed at improving the societal relevance of the digital transition.
From the outset, partners have been working intensively on immediate plans as well as on strategies for the long-term. To that end they have met twice, first in Groningen in March 2014 then two months later in Rome in May.
"Perhaps, like comedy, Internet Governance is all about timing. Over the past fifteen years since 1999 there have been many proposals about how the Internet should be governed, if at all. The debate about definitions, scope and limitations of Internet Governance has gone back and forth without being in any way conclusive. It has included discussions about the notion of creating a new international treaty or convention since at least 2004. From another perspective, a number of countries have openly voiced their growing interest in creating another space or spaces within the current Internet or indeed an alternative Internet if the current one could not provide greater control or could not afford greater protection to the netizen. Many of the issues coming up for debate in the four years 2014-2018 are not new but possibly the timing is now right for doing something more concrete. Perhaps the world is moving towards an atmosphere where options and solutions, which were often ignored in the past or discounted as being premature, may now be examined more seriously with more than half a hope of their helping achieve international consensus on the way forward in cyberspace. If the timing for discussion of these issues is really better in 2014-2018, then the MAPPING project may have an important role in generating and sustaining dialogue between multiple stakeholders."
Prof. Joseph Cannataci
‘Dialogue and Participation activities’ are launched
The key to MAPPING’s success lies in its mobilisation of and mutual learning for a wide spectrum of ICT-related stakeholders and social actors. This process was launched at the Extraordinary General Assembly in Rome, Italy (20-21 May 2014). This two-day Assembly, designed as a forum for informed discussion among approximately 130 experts, practitioners and decision makers, was opened by a seminar entitled “On-line mass surveillance, security and privacy: is an international treaty the only way forward?” This opening session provoked a discussion on issues surrounding current and future Internet Governance, one of the key areas of the project. The discussion also took on an added dimension by dealing with the possible evolution of multiple “Parallel Internets”, the nature of such Internets and their relevance. Three half-day thematic sessions on each of the three MAPPING focus areas followed, entitled respectively:
- “Reforming Internet Governance regarding Surveillance”
- “Privacy, Economy & Security”; and
- “The EU IP Law and Policy: what next?”
All sessions featured keynote presentations and a facilitated discussion among the participants.
MAPPING’s dialogue with stakeholders intensified this September as the partners organized a series of events in their respective countries and in Brussels. These events took the form of coordinated and comparative consultations of stakeholders, by means of Focus Group discussions. The consultations represent an initial step towards understanding the direction of the digital transition from the point of view of a wide spectrum of stakeholders. We discussed evidence on the accumulation of factors brought about by the development of ICT technologies and the related opportunities (and risks) they offer to citizens and social actors. Leading on from these points, we debated the policies and legal frameworks that are being put in place to provide governance to such changes and explored a range of remedies and good practice relating to the problems that some changes are causing. Based on the results, a report will be composed – one of the many documents to be utilized to achieve MAPPING’s project aims and objectives.
The above mentioned activities marked the starting point of an on-going process of debate and discussion.
Dissemination activities commenced
From the MAPPING blog
What is the Internet?
Future of the Internet – So much to consider!
We need new ways to know who our friends are in cyberspace
Since early on in the project, partners have been promoting the initial information about MAPPING at events throughout Europe. In early June the project was introduced to the participants of the international World Summit on the Information Society +10 High-Level Event (WSIS+10), an extended version of the annual WSIS Forum in Geneva. The audience included around 100 Ministers and leaders from international organizations, businesses, civil society and academia. Diplo Foundation represented the consortium at a conference stand accessible to the 1600 stakeholders from more than 140 countries. Throughout the event they distributed the MAPPING leaflet and discussed the project with visitors interested in further information.
The Institute for Legal Informatics, the MAPPING project partner responsible for Work Package 5 (Privacy, Personality and Business Models) hosts the event “Forum IT-Recht” three times per year. The topic of this year’s first Forum IT-Recht was: Transnational Data Flows and the Struggle for Digital Privacy: will Data Protection Law Face the Challenge of the Digital Era? During the event a key challenge was to assess the problem of “Transnational Data Flows” from a social, technological and legal point of view, with inputs from leading experts in the field of Information Technology and Data Protection Law from all over the world.
Please read the upcoming special edition of the MAPPING Newsletter to hear about for the project’s presence and activities at the Internet Governance Forum that just took place in Istanbul.
To get involved you can join a group of around 100 experts and practitioners who regularly discuss the MAPPING problem areas and beyond: the MAPPING LinkedIn Group.
For more information about the project please visit www.mappingtheinternet.eu where you can sign up for our Newsletter. You can also contact the MAPPING dissemination manager, EPMA (CZ) via: info/at/mappingtheinternet.eu. The Project Coordinator, the University of Groningen (NL) can be reached at: projectoffice/at/mappingtheinternet.eu