Internet Governance developments in South Eastern Europe 2017

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At the end of week 3 of Youth@IGF programme by Internet Society, we discussed Internet actors and stakeholders groups. We had to prepare a summary with the monthly developments in the region.In this article, I analyze some Internet Governance developments and events that happened in September 2017 in the SEE region + neighboring area.

National Internet Governance Forum in Georgia 11-12 September, Tbilisi,Georgia

Third Georgia National internet Governance Forum 2017 was held during 11-12 September in Tbilisi.  The national IGF was organized by the Council of Europe and national and international partners including Internet Society and ICANN. The event is organized within the framework of the joint CoE/EU Program “Protecting Internet Freedom through Legislation and Arrangements for Multi-stakeholder Dialogue” [1] .

The agenda included sessions about the multistakeholder model and how does it work, cybersecurity, copyright, connecting the next billion – broadband access issues in Georgia, fake news and European new regulations on personal data protection.
These national IGF initiatives exist in 14 countries in Eastern Europe and are important because of the need to address specific issues that affect different countries at a national level. These forums follow a multistakeholder model which means that they are open and inclusive for all the stakeholders. 

Ukraine Approved the Concept for E-Government Development by 2020

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved the Concept of e-Government development in Ukraine, which will define the main goals, priority directions and development measures up to 2020. 
The State Agency for e-Government is instructed to implement measures in three key areas: 
1)Modernization of public services; 
2) Modernization of public administration; 
3) Management of the development of e-governance. 
By the end of 2018, 100 most important services for citizens and business are expected to be introduced online. [2]

This is an important step for Ukraine and the development of E-Government will help improve a lot of problems and services such as lack of reliable and affordable electronic identification, the implementation of electronic interactions of registries which is a priority task in Ukraine and will improve the efficiency of public administration and public services. E-Governance will also help in increasing transparency, responsibilities and accountability. These developments will have positive impacts in reducing poverty.

The implementation of E-governance especially in developing countries despite its challenges has proven to be an effective tool for good governance because it helps build trust between the government and the citizens and helps achieve policy objectives.

Ukrainian ministry carries out first blockchain transactions

The Ministry of Justice of Ukraine carried out auctions using blockchain technology for the first time with the aim of improving transparency in government transactions and reducing corruption in exchange for a $40 billion bailout from the International Monetary fund and other donors.“We want to make the system of selling seized assets more transparent and secure so that the information there is accessible to everyone, so that there aren’t concerns about possible manipulation,” said deputy minister Serhiy Petukhov. [3]

Currently the auction participant can check only his/her own data, but soon will appear an option to see who the other participants are. The Ministry of Justice expects to move to blockchain the State Registry of Rights to Real Estate by the end of 2017.

Bloackchain technology can make government operations more effective, improve public services, build trust and reduce bureaucracies.

It also increases security, improves information sharing and automates transactions making easier the interaction between the government and its citizen.

High speed Internet now available in Tusheti, Georgia

The Internet is now available in 24 villages in Tusheti region in Georgia. Although in winter it is impossible to get to Tusheti, the internet will be available all year long.

The project was implemented by Tusheti Development Fund and Internet Society with the support of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia with a cost of the $40,000.“The country’s Internetization, especially in the region, is one of the priorities of the government, and accordingly, Tusheti was part of this program,” said the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Giorgi Gakharia.

Irakli Kadagishvili, Kakheti’s governor, said that  the project already has 40 beneficiaries and local hotels will be able to attract tourists through Tusheti via the Internet. [4]

This is an example on how Internet can be used to empower communities by providing them access  and using the benefits Internet offers. Access to the Internet transforms communities and offers many opportunities for development and this is why connecting the unconnected is a challenge to be tackled.

OSCE launches project on combating cybercrime in South-Eastern Europe

There are many challenges when it comes to cybercrime in the SEE. This is why OSCE launches on 14th of September a capacity-building project aimed at developing and enhancing the responsiveness, professional knowledge and skills of criminal justice institutions.

“Responding to cybercrime poses a significant challenge for all criminal justice institutions because it requires specific skills and knowledge. Just as police officers need to know how to investigate such crimes, other representatives of the criminal justice system, be it prosecutors, judges or defence lawyers, also need to acquire an adequate level of understanding of the methods and technology behind these new types of crime,” stressed Dan Redford, Deputy Head of the OSCE Mission to Montenegro.

A first round of local training courses is to be organized by the beneficiaries themselves and monitored by respective OSCE field operations in the second half of 2018. A regional review workshop after this first round will assess the implementation of local training courses, identify challenges and best practices and provide recommendations for the next rounds of training activities. [5]

There are many challenges to be tackled in the field of cybersecurity in the SEE. One of these challenges is also the lack knowledge and awareness when it comes to cybercrime and related issues. This is why it is important that the employees have the adequate knowledge and skills needed to combat cyber-related crimes. Furthermore, a collaboration among professionals in this field in the SEE would help build partnerships in the region and identify common solutions.

By Dajana Mulaj

This article was originally posted here in September 2017.