[Update] The March issue of the Geneva Digital Watch is now available. Download your copy!
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
Published on 31 March 2018, Issue 29 of the Geneva Digital Watch newsletter provides the latest digital policy updates which took place in March. The main highlights include:
- An overview of the top digital policy trends in March, including increasing scrutiny on Facebook and other Internet companies, caused by the Cambridge Analytica case; taxation in the digital economy continuing to be in focus, as the European Commission announces the much-anticipated tax proposals, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) issues interim report on tax challenges arising from digitalisation; and autonomous car accident amplifying concerns over safety and security issues.
- An analysis of the Cambridge Analytica case and the digital policy implications of its Facebook data modeling practices. We look at how the firm obtained the data of 30 million Facebook users, how the data was used, and what the implications of the case are in areas such as convergence, intermediaries, content policy, privacy and data protection, and consumer protection.
- An overview of the discussions held at this year’s WSIS Forum on the role of new technologies in achieving sustainable development. We summarise the main points raised in relation to the opportunities and challenges brought by technologies such as the Internet of Things, automation, and artificial intelligence, and how they could be harnessed to support the sustainable development goals.
- The Internet Governance Barometer for March, which shows the Internet economy, digital rights, legal issues, and new technologies being the most prominent issues this month.
- A review of the main digital-policy-related events that were held in International Geneva during the past month, including the UN Human Rights Council, the Big Data conference, the IGF Open Consultations.
Archive of issues
Read or download any of our previous issues:
Issue 28, February 2018
: The top digital policy trends in February included renewed calls for rules and norms to tackle cybercrime and cyber conflict, companies and countries preparing for the entry into force of the EU GDPR, new details emerging about EU’s proposals for new tax rules, and computer systems and websites exploited to mine cryptocurrencies. Also in this issue: an analysis of the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (CLOUD Act) introduced in the US Congress; an overview of several reports and studies that shed light on how the sharing economy, automation, and artificial intelligence are expected to change the world of work, and how stakeholders can better prepare for these changes; the February Internet Governance Barometer, which shows that security, the Internet economy, digital rights, and net neutrality were among the most prominent issues; and a review of the main digital policy events that were held in International Geneva during February. The February issue of the Geneva Digital Watch newsletter is now available in French
and Bahasa Indonesian
Issue 27, January 2018
: An overview of the top digital policy trends in January included Internet companies’ behaviour under scrutiny, governments exerting more pressure on companies to remove illegal content, and new legal measures planned to tackle fake news. Also in this issue: a round-up of the main developments that shaped digital policy in 2017; an overview of top 10 digital policy predictions for 2018; a look at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), where world leaders reflected, among others, on the need to embrace technological progress in an inclusive and human-centric manner; the January Internet Governance Barometer, which shows that security, the Internet economy, and net neutrality were among the most prominent issues; and a review of the main digital policy events that were held in International Geneva during the past month, such as the various working groups of the International Telecommunication Union and the CSTD Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation. The January issue of the Geneva Digital Watch newsletter is now available in Bahasa Indonesian
Issue 26, November 2017
: The top digital policy trends in November included the ongoing search for cyber-norms at international level, new data breaches and cyber vulnerabilities raising questions about disclosure obligations, and courts continuing to shape the applicability of digital policies across different jurisdictions, and rifts appearing in e-commerce negotiations ahead of the 11th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization. Also included: an analysis of the possible rollback of the US net neutrality rules; an overview of the main issue raised during the debates of the Group of Governmental Experts on lethal autonomous weapons systems; a round-up of the main digital policy updates of November, with security, e-commerce, digital rights, and net neutrality being prominent this month; and a review of the main digital policy events held in International Geneva during the past month. The November issue of the Geneva Digital Watch
newsletter is now available in French
, and Bahasa Indonesian
. Download your copy!
Issue 25, October 2017
: An overview of the top digital policy trends in October included courts revisiting privacy-related issues, governments increasingly focusing on artificial intelligence and considering the legal status of robots, and new indications that automation will affect jobs and employment. Also included: a look at the EU General Data Protection Regulation and the integration of human rights into business practices; an overview of some of the positions of World Trade Organization member states on whether the WTO should negotiate new e-commerce rules; a list of five steps to help Internet governance stakeholders get ready for the 12h IGF meeting; a round-up of the main digital policy updates of October, with security, e-commerce, new technologies, and legal issues being prominent this month; and a review of the main digital policy events that were held in International Geneva during the past month. The October issue of the Geneva Digital Watch
is now available in Spanish
, and Bahasa Indonesian
. Download your copy!
Issue 24, September 2017
: The top digital policy trends in September included proposals from European countries to change the rules regarding the taxation of Internet companies, continuous developments in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), increased governmental pressures on technology companies to remove extremist content, bans on Initial Coin Offerings in China, and new bans on Uber services. Also on this issue: an analysis of new tax rules proposals made by European countries, which would see Internet companies taxed on their turnover (as opposed to profit), and where they generate revenues (as opposed to where they are registered); an overview of the main digital policy issues brought up by UN member states during the annual debate marking the start of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly; a round-up of the main digital policy updates of September; and a review of the main digital policy events held in International Geneva during the past month. The September issue of the Geneva Digital Watch
is also available in French
, and Bahasa Indonesian
. Download your copy!
Issue 23, August 2017
: An overview of the top trends in July and August included developments in the field of artificial intelligence and robotics picking up pace globally; extremist content remaining a cause of concern; countries banning Virtual Private Networks; and Uber suspended in more countries. Also included: an analysis of the debate about the right to be forgotten, as France asks the Court of Justice of the European Union for clarifications on the territorial scope of the right; a look at the Internet Court opened by China; an analysis of the implications of unprecedented growth of major Internet companies; a round-up of the main digital policy updates of July and August; and a review of the main digital policy events that were held in International Geneva during the past two months. The newsletter is also available in French
, and Bahasa Indonesian
. The Brazilian version in Portuguese, published in collaboration with the Centre for Technology and Society of the Getulio Vargas Foundation, is also available
- Issue 22, June 2017: The top trends in June, including new cyber-norms proposed by the private sector; governments renewing calls for more regulation of the Internet and more responsibility from the part of the private sector; court ruling placing digital legacies in focus; and widespread disruptions in Internet access. Also included: an analysis of the last meeting of the UN Group of Governmental Experts (UN GGE) and its inability to reach consensus over a final report; a two-page special on artificial intelligence (AI) and its applications and implications; a round-up of the main digital policy updates of the month, with infrastructure, security, e-commerce, net neutrality, and jurisdiction being among the prominent issues; and review of the main digital policy events in International Geneva in June, such as the WSIS Forum and the AI for Good Global Summit. The newsletter is now available in French and in Bahasa Indonesian.
- Issue 21, May 2017: An analysis of the top trends in May looked at 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. Also included: an overview of the role of digital policy in campaigns and elections; an analysis of the WannaCry ransomware cyber-attack that took place this month; a round-up of the main digital policy updates of the month; and a review of the main digital policy events that were held in International Geneva in May.
- 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.
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