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Evidence and measurement in IG: What sort of data and numbers are we talking about?

Paradoxically, although the Internet is an engineering artefact, we have very little data relevant for Internet Governance (IG). In cybersecurity, for example, we are still in doubt about the number of threats and the size of the losses incurred. The same applies in other IG fields. Without understanding the scope of the problem, it is difficult to discuss possible solutions. What can be done to bring more evidence in IG, using what concrete tools and techniques? How should an IG observatory, which would gather and prepare such evidence, function?

The online discussion builds on the third preparatory webinar for the Geneva Internet Conference. The discussion on the first theme - How to overcome IG policy silos at national and global levels - is taking place here, and on the second theme - Whom do I contact if I want to raise my IG-related concern - is taking place here. Stay engaged with us as we make our way towards the Conference.

There is often a lack of

There is often a lack of sufficient evidence and data on pressing issues in Internet Governance. Even when such data exist, the sheer complexity of issues and the lack of a central repository means that access to relevant data is difficult. 

In order to move towards more informed and evidence-based decision-making processes and participation, we need a platform that can canvass Internet governance statistics so that they are easily accessible. Such a platform could generate a variety of data-driven products that can frame an issue and inform a solution.  An example of the kind of products that can be created in this space involves a series of curated statistics and research findings on Internet Governance such as the GovLab Index. See, for instance, the GovLab Indexes on Internet governance issues of accesscontentcodetrade, and trust

Breaking down silos of information within governance discussions is vital. Information from one area of Internet governance may be pertinent to another domain (for example, issues of online privacy may be of relevance to issues of cross border digital trade). By increasing access and availability of data from a wide range of Internet governance topics in one centralized platform, we can begin to collaborate with each other in reaching solutions, using previously untapped sources of expertise, as well as make decisions based on evidence and a holistic view of the Internet governance landscape.



The performance measures being used to assess the progress of the Information Society fail to distinguish the Internet from other types of IP-based networks, or to distinguish the open Internet from specialized services. They also do not clearly provide for legal traditions that assure access by competitive Internet providers to physical layer infrastructure:



It is not news that the IGF

It is not news that the IGF has one of the attribute of being a talk shop. While i believe there are achievements and impact that has been made as a result of IGF.  The fact that they are not centrally documented makes it difficult to make references OR provide use case scenarios. A coordinated process of sharing success stories that emerged as a result of IG policy/recommendation implementations in regions and territories is a desired feature. I agree with you Stepahanie that we all have a role to play, however i will also note that our individual roles is proportionate in relation to one's access to resources.


It seems ironic that in a day

It seems ironic that in a day and age where the collection of vast amounts of user data appears to be the norm, there is still lack of data to inform policy-making in many areas. This leads me to question: is it because the data does not exist, or because the data is inaccessible?

Where data does not exist, stronger efforts to build awareness and capacity are required, especially among bodies which, given the resources, are placed in a good position (infrastructure, legal) to collect and store the data.

Where the data exists, principles of openness, transparency and accountability need to be instilled. Cybersecurity is possibly one of those areas where these principles alone are not sufficient, as reputation and trust are big risk factors; in these areas, as Dr Gelbstein says in his paper, everyone has a role to play.

Concerning data to justify

Concerning data to justify cyber crimes that can influence government's policy, I think it is necessary to creat a platform that will host a database and made available to internet users, so that they can use it to report cases of cyber threats.  If the banks are made to understand that we are collecting information about cyber attacks to help them prevent future  attacks, they will not refuse to give them for fear of reputatoion.  Also if every country were to have atleast one Internet Exchange Point, then this could be used to monitor traffic  and identify cases of fraud at national levels. This will influence government to take action. If all the actors on the internet ranging from the users to the content providers can team up then we can archieve this goal.

Concerning data on online education and jobs i think it is easy to contact Universities and companies that offer online opportunities and we can easily get this data. Universities and companies could equally provide compulsory online questionnaires to it's potential applicants with simple questions like: Have you ever attended an online trainning?, Have you ever had an online job? Have you ever had a cyber attack? . Questions like this can generate enough data to give us a trend on what is happening.


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The Geneva Internet Platform is an initiative of the Swiss authorities


Members of the Steering Committee are FDFA, OFCOM and the Canton of Geneva

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