The Geneva Digital Watch newsletter is a monthly newsletter, published by the Geneva Internet Platform/DiploFoundation, as part of the GIP Digital Watch initiative, which includes a round-up of developments for each month, interviews with prominent Internet governance experts, features and articles on various digital policy areas, and a just-for-fun section. The newsletter complements the GIP Digital Watch observatory and the monthly GIP briefings on Internet governance.
The latest issue
[Update] Published on 30 May 2017, Issue 21 of the Geneva Digital Watch newsletter provides the latest digital policy updates which took place in May. The main highlights include:
- An analysis of the top trends in May, including the increase in ransomware cyber-attacks, the opinion of the Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union stating that Uber is a transport company, the official proposal of the US Federal Communications Commission that could roll back the net neutrality rules, the growing number of bilateral settlements of tax disputes involving technology companies, and the sanctions imposed to Facebook by data protection authorities over privacy breaches.
- An overview of the role of digital policy in campaigns and elections. Since digital issues were prominent in European electoral campaigns this month (in countries such as France, the UK, and Malta), we look at how digital is used in campaigns, and what it represents.
- An analysis of the WannaCry ransomware cyber-attack that took place this month. We give an overview of how the ransomware propagated and the damages it caused. We also explore the possible reasons why, despite the scale of the attack, the ransom it generated was significantly low.
- A round-up of the main digital policy updates of the month, with security, e-commerce, net neutrality, and digital rights being among the prominent issues.
- A review of the main digital policy events that were held in International Geneva in May.
- As the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect a year from now, we invite you to test your knowledge and preparedness with a crossword.
Archive of issues
Read or download any of our previous issues:
- Issue 20, April 2017: The top five trends in April included renewed discussions on state behaviour in cyberspace, developments in the USA with regard to net neutrality rules, Uber’s new legal woes in various jurisdictions around the world, intensification of Internet intermediaries’ work on content policy, and alarming trends related to child sexual abuse online material. Also included in this issue: an overview of the main concerns raised by the European Parliament with regard to the adequacy of the protection offered by the Privacy Shield when it comes to the transfer and processing of EU citizens data in the USA; a summary of the main discussions held during UNCTAD’s E-commerce Week, on issues such as e-commerce and trade, digital rights, data flows, and cybercrime and cybersecurity; and a round-up of the main digital policy updates of the month.
Issue 19, March 2017
: The top five trends in March included China’s International Strategy of Cooperation on Cyberspace
- Issue 18, February 2017: An analysis of the top trends in February looked at the ICT industry’s evolution in diplomatic efforts; the rise of fake news; the on-going discussions on minimising the social costs of technological advancements; and the use of search warrants for data stored overseas. Also included: an overview of what is behind the media frenzy surrounding the issue of fake news; an analysis of Microsoft’s proposal for a Digital Geneva Convention; a round-up of the main digital policy updates of the month, a summary of main events that were held in International Geneva; and a timeline of main developments that took place in February in the history of the Internet and Internet governance.
- Issue 17, January 2017: An analysis of the top trends in January looked at the impact of US President Trump's first 100 days on global digital policy; preparations for the 2017 Internet Governance Forum, which will this year be held in Geneva on 18-21 December; updates on the cyber-saga between the USA and Russia; and the context for digital predictions for 2017. Also included: a look back at the main developments in 2016, and a look ahead at 2017, as ten main developments top the list of predictions for the coming months; a round-up of the main digital policy updates of the month, and the events that took place in International Geneva; and a crossword on privacy and data protection on the occasion of Data Protection Day, celebrated on 28 January.
- Issue 16, November 2016: An analysis of the top five trends in November saw new developments in digital policy in the USA following the recent Presidential election, increased focus on localisation of data and Internet of Things security, discussions on zero-rating following new differential pricing models adopted in different countries, and a focus on cybersecurity due to the second meeting of the UN Government Group of Experts at the end of November. Special features analysed jurisdiction and the challenges of a borderless Internet, and the role of platform in the spread of 'false content'. Also included: a summary of the main digital policy developments in November, and the events that took place in International Geneva, and a crossword on cybersecurity on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime. The Brazilian version in Portuguese, published in collaboration with the Centre for Technology and Society of the Getulio Vargas Foundation, is also available.
- Issue 15, October 2016: The top five trends in October included cyberattacks using smart devices, more bilateral cybersecurity agreements, more emphasis on artificial intelligence, interruptions to Internet access, and the resurfacing of the Free Basics controversy. A special feature looked at the US Presidential campaign and the positions of both candidates on various digital policy areas, from infrastructure to economic issues, privacy to development, while in another feature explores the implications of artificial intelligence on digital policy. We also looked at the main events that took place in October in Internet governance history. Also included: developments in October, a round-up of the events that took place in International Geneva in October, and a look at the upcoming events in November. The Brazilian version in Portuguese, published in collaboration with the Centre for Technology and Society of the Getulio Vargas Foundation, is also available.
- Issue 14, September 2016: New events and developments gave rise to different dynamics this month. The top 5 trends included the IANA stewardship transition and tackling extremist material online. The attention of the global Internet community was in fact very much focused on the IANA transition. In the lead-up to the expiration of the contract, supporters and opposers intensively advocated their positions, which we summarised in this issue. The 2016 World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum, held on 27-29 September, dominated this month’s discussions on e‑commerce and trade, and several other areas; we outlined some of the main themes. Addition developments that took place in September were highlighted in the digital policy observatory. The issue included a just-for-fun crossword, events that took place in International Geneva in September, and the main global digital policy events in October. The Brazilian version in Portuguese, published in collaboration with the Centre for Technology and Society of the Getulio Vargas Foundation, is also available.
- Issue 13, July/August 2016: July and August were uncharacteristically busy; the issue looks at top trends related to several developments including NATO’s decision to declare cyberspace as its fourth military operation domain, the UN GGE's debate on state responsibility, and updates related to jurisdiction, the development agenda, and e-commerce. Nine months after the invalidation of the Safe Harbour Agreement, the issue explores the seven key privacy principles of the new EU-US Privacy Shield. Pokemon Go achieved massive popularity; with its interplay between the virtual and physical experiences of our reality, the game brings into sharper focus many issues related to how the Internet is used and how it affects our society. The IG Barometer of Online Media reveals the most debated topics this summer (access and digital divide, IP numbers and root zone, and the Internet of Things), while included in this issue are events that took place in International Geneva in July, and the main global digital policy events in September. The Brazilian version in Portuguese, published in collaboration with the Centre for Technology and Society of the Getulio Vargas Foundation, is also available.
- Issue 12, June 2016: An editorial on Challenges for the Internet in the post-Brexit era emphasised the fact that the shifting paradigms of globalisation and integration are likely to directly affect the Internet. The UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression presented his report on the current situation with freedom of expression in the digital era; in this issue we provided an overview of the report’s main findings. The newsletter also included: an article on the dark web and what makes this safe haven for criminals particularly resilient; an overview of the discussions held at the 9th meeting of the European Dialogue on Internet Governance; and recommendations on how to perform digital hygiene to stay secure in cyberspace.The Brazilian version in Portuguese, published in collaboration with the Centre for Technology and Society of the Getulio Vargas Foundation, is also available.
- Issue 11, May 2016: The editorial outlined the importance of timely and effective implementation of the SDGs, and described the GIP's initiatives during the recent WSIS Forum 2016, and what these meant in terms of the goals. The WSIS Forum discussed the interplay between ICTs and SDGs, focusing on development, digital divide, economic growth, health, and more; the issue included an analysis of the discussions held at the Forum. Terrorists have been using the Internet for a wide-range of purposes: on the operational side, they are using ICTs for internal communication and fundraising, while on the public relations side, they are using the Internet to disseminate and promote their ideologies. We looked at recent policy developments and initiatives undertaken in this area. The Brazilian version in Portuguese, published in collaboration with the Centre for Technology and Society of the Getulio Vargas Foundation, is also available.
- Issue 10, April 2016: The editorial highlighted the key trends in digital policy this year, while DiploFoundation's latest study analysed the measures that ten OECD member states have applied to promote competence building in the field of cybersecurity. The GIP's conference on Technical Innovation for Digital Policy (Geneva, 25 April) brought together the technical community and policy-makers for a discussion on solutions to digital policy issues; the issue featured an interview with Phil Zimmermann, father of open encryption, and a speaker at the conference, who described the evolution of encryption, the latest industry trends, and the legitimate interests of governments, users, and the industry. The EU adopted the General Data Protection Regulation which harmonises rules across EU member states, and extends its scope to non-EU entities. We described the salient points and the main challenges. The Brazilian version in Portuguese, published in collaboration with the Centre for Technology and Society of the Getulio Vargas Foundation, is also available.
- Issue 9, March 2016: As the Apple/FBI controversy continued to dominate digital policy debates, the issue highlights the developments in March, while the editorial asks key questions about the main dilemmas. The IANA stewardship transition proposal and the ICANN accountability proposal were submitted to the US government at the end of the week-long ICANN 55th meeting; both proposals are explored in detail. A new iteration of the ‘IG building under construction’ illustration is revealed in this issue. The Brazilian version in Portuguese, published in collaboration with the Centre for Technology and Society of the Getulio Vargas Foundation, is also available.
- Issue 8, February 2016: Featuring the main developments in digital policy in February, the newsletter included an editorial on the difficult choices which society needs to make; reports on the Apple/FBI controversy, articles exploring the arguments in favour and against zero-rating services, and a child-based approached for children's rights in the digital world; and updates from Geneva-based events. For the first time, the Brazilian version of the newsletter in Portuguese was published in February, in collaboration with the Centre for Technology and Society of the Getulio Vargas Foundation.
- Issue 7, January 2016: Providing the latest digital policy updates in January, the issue's editorial highlights 'techno-realism' as the echoing message for January, reinforced by two reports. The feature on predictions for 2016 looks at the global trends we can expect in the upcoming months, and predicts the main developments in digital policy. Included in this issue are the main events which took place in International Geneva; upcoming events taking place in February. On a lighter note, the just-for-fun section features a crossword to test your knowledge on e-participation, the central theme of the Geneva Engage conference which took place in January.
- Issue 6, December 2015: Published right after the 10th IGF, which took place in November 2015, the newsletter summarised the outcomes, workshop proceedings, and data-mining results. In preparation for the WSIS+10 high-level meeting, the newsletter also presented the findings of analysis, undertaken by Diplo's CreativeLab, of the dominant themes present in the online media sources, related to the WSIS+10 process. Also included: the aftermath of the Safe Harbour ruling, and the outcomes of the ITU's World Radiocommunication Conference.
- Issue 5, November 2015: This issue covered several developments: the CJEU ruling on Safe Harbour; an analysis of the WSIS+10 Zero Draft; an update from ICANN54; the IPU's resolution on privacy and individual freedoms; and an interview with OFCOM's Thomas Schneider, a Swiss cyber-diplomat and Chairman of ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee. This month's just-for-fun section looked at the stars for signs on the IGF's future.
- Issue 4, October 2015: The launch of the GIP Digital Watch observatory took centre stage in this issue. Other features included: the September digital policy developments, an interview with Swiss diplomat Markus Kummer on his expectations on the future of the IGF, the results of scientific analysis of IGF transcripts for meaningful patterns of data, and a just-for-fun crossword on the responsibility of Internet intermediaries.
- Issue 3, September 2015: Our analysis of the WSIS+10 non-paper submissions provided an overview of the main themes addressed, their relevance by stakeholder group, and the most frequently used words. Other features included updates on digital policy during the summer months, and a feature on jurisdiction and Internet corporations.
- Issue 2, July 2015: The June meeting of the UN Human Rights Council showed a clear trend of the digitalisation of human rights; the outcomes were featured in this issue. Also in this issue: developments in cybersecurity (a red line has been crossed); WSIS+10 process (more consultations under way); and the IANA transition process (process is likely to extend beyond the original 30 September 2015 deadline).
- Issue 1, June 2015: The first issue of the Geneva Digital Watch newsletter presented the main developments of the previous month, updates on Geneva-held events, ITU's 150th anniversary, and ways of overcoming policy silos in the digital field.
To receive the newsletter by e-mail and keep up-to-date with Geneva Internet Platform and GIP Digital Watch developments, subscribe to our mailing list.