G L O B A L I N T E R N E T P O L I C Y I N I T I A T I V E
|About GIPI||Best Practices||Policy Principles||Funding||Staff & Offices||News|
i s s u e a r e a s
Best Practices - GIPI Papers
Information and communications technologies (ICTs) can contribute to economic and human development. Nations around the world are eager to take advantage of this potential. An important first step is the adoption of a national policy to promote development and application of the Internet and other ICTs. A national ICT strategy is best developed through a consultative process involving a wide range of stakeholders. This principle was demonstrated in the Kyrgyz Republic, where the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and GIPI collaborated with the Government in co-sponsoring a process that included a national ICT strategy "summit." The process leading up to and continuing after the summit provides an important model for digital divide/digital opportunity efforts in other countries.
Some countries require Internet Service Providers ("ISPs") to obtain government- issued licenses before commencing operations. Other countries impose less burdensome regulatory requirements, permitting ISP operations pursuant to general authorizations. A third category of countries imposes neither licensing nor general authorization requirements on ISPs. This paper addresses the following issues: What are the differences among these approaches? What are the benefits and disadvantages of adopting licensing or authorization requirements for ISPs? In the event a government opts to impose a licensing or general authorization requirement on ISPs, what are the "best practices" for how the licensing or authorization rules and procedures should be structured?
As more and more human conduct appears online, questions often arise concerning whether and how to apply to the Internet the legal principles developed for the offline world. One specific area where these question arise is the area of defamation - the legal doctrine that allows a person to sue in court and recover damages from someone making false statements that harm the plaintiff's reputation. What rules apply when allegedly defamatory statements are made online? This paper concludes that allegedly libelous statements made online are usually evaluated by the same standards as statements made offline, with some nations adopting by legislation special rules defining the liability of various online service providers.
Since telephone companies in a number of countries charge consumers for local telephone calls on a per minute basis, dial-up Internet connections between users and their ISPs are often billed on a per minute basis, resulting in extremely high access costs. This pricing structure restricts the ability of consumers to use the Internet, and thereby stunts the growth of the Internet and e-commerce. International data suggest that regulators in developing countries can greatly facilitate Internet development by shifting away from per minute pricing regimes to pricing mechanisms that permit greater flexibility in billing for dial-up Internet access. This paper explores this emerging trend.
The question of taxing e-commerce has been addressed in a number of forums. The main issue concerns jurisdiction: which governmental entity shall have the authority to tax a transaction that spans several jurisdictions? This memo explains how the OECD, the EU and the US have tried to achieve the twin goals of a comprehensive e-commerce taxation policy framework: to avoid either double-taxation or non-taxation; and to avoid disparate treatment of off-line versus on-line transactions.
Technologies that use the Internet and Internet protocol ("IP") networks to deliver voice communications have the potential to reduce costs, support innovation, and improve access to communications services within developing countries and around the world. This memo reviews arguments as to why regulators should adopt policies that promote - or at least do not impede -- the role of IP networks in the future of communications.
Worldwide, there is recognition of the benefits of "liberalizing" the telecommunications sector through privatization and competition. This paper summarizes key elements of this process, including establishment of an independent and effective regulator and the role of universal service goals. Discusses interconnection, the principle that any service provider should be able to connect with the network of any other service provider. Interconnection is the key to competition, since it enables consumers of one network to be able to successfully complete a call to a subscriber of a competitor. Includes links to various international resources.
Data communications applications have been developed for 2.4 GHz signals within the ISM band and the international standards body IEEE has developed a standard for such uses, known as 802.11b. Some countries allow unlicensed use of the ISM band by ISPs, recognizing that it provides an important opportunity to expand the Internet, supporting overall development objectives. Others, however, have sought to limit communications use of 2.4 G Hz. This paper concludes that a country that does not permit use of the ISM bands by products compliant with international standards is contradicting an international norm, foreclosing the development of an important market, and limiting the expansion of it communications infrastructure.
In many countries, the question is being asked: What is the proper legal framework for the Internet? In particular, it is being asked: Should the Internet be regulated under the laws applicable to the mass media (radio, television or printed periodicals)? If the Internet is not to be treated as a mass medium, does that mean it is unregulated? This memorandum addresses many aspects of those questions. It concludes that the statutory framework applicable to traditional mass media is not suited to the Internet. As the memo explains, this does not mean that content on the Internet is unregulated. Laws applicable to defamation, child pornography, copyright, and other subjects are applicable to the Internet just as they are to traditional media but without the need for a licensing system.
Information technologies (IT) overcome physical distance, making it cost-effective for firms in more developed countries to "outsource" business processes to locations with lower wages. A number of countries have developed "back office" economies providing data processing and other IT-enabled services for corporations around the world. Part of the success of these efforts depends on the adoption of laws and government policies that are favorable to foreign investment in outsourcing based on IT. This memo examines the development of international outsourcing and the legal and regulatory that supports the development of a back office economy.
To speed the spread of the Internet in developing countries, the cost of Internet connectivity and bandwidth must be reduced and the quality of service improved. One of the most effective mechanisms to accomplish both cost and service gains is the Internet Exchange Point (IXP). An IXP interconnects Internet service providers (ISPs) in a region or country, allowing them to exchange domestic Internet traffic locally without having to send those messages across multiple international hops to reach their destination. This paper focuses on the problems and opportunities for IXP deployment in Africa, but the lessons and strategies are equally relevant throughout the developing world.
Internet Exchange - a solution towards cost effective and quality Internet access, by Rishi Chawla, Country Co-ordinator, GIPI India - This paper introduces the concept of Internet Exchange and outlines some of the reasons why an IXP is needed in India. It also briefly discusses the infrastructure required for an IXP as well as its organization and management.
Each country in the world has been assigned a country code top-level domain name (ccTLD), and for each ccTLD, there is a designated manager. For a number of countries, especially in the developing world, the ccTLD manager is a for-profit entity located outside of the country to which the domain name relates. In such cases, it may be desirable to redelegate management of the ccTLD to a local entity, to bring the management of the ccTLD inside the territory of the country involved and to make the administration of the domain name more responsive to the public interest. This paper outlines a strategy for achieving such a redelegation.
A model for redelegation of ccTLDs is the successful process followed for redelegation of .uz (Uzbekistan ) to a local, non-profit, non-governmental entity. The following document gives a full history of the process, with links to all relevant supporting papers and agreements.
Lack of trust and security jeopardizes development goals that could be supported by a widely accessible and widely used Internet. There are at least four components to the policy framework for trust and security online: cybercrime laws making certain attacks against computer criminal offenses; standards defining and limiting government access to communications and stored data; consumer protection; and the secure design and operation of computers and networks. This memo focuses on the first two of these elements of cybersecurity -- the criminal law and the legal standards for government surveillance.
Countries seeking to promote e-government must protect the privacy of the information they collect. This paper discusses two mechanisms that countries are adopting to address this need - the privacy impact assessment ("PIA") and the privacy commissioner. A country does not need to adopt comprehensive privacy legislation before conducting privacy impact assessments or appointing a privacy commissioner. Both PIAs and privacy commissioners may be good first steps in addressing privacy.
This paper describes the major international treaties on copyright and discusses key issues that nations should address in updating their laws to conform to the international framework. The paper is not intended as an introduction to intellectual property rights - its assumes that the reader has a basic understanding of copyright.