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Research Report

Toward a Social Compact for Digital Privacy and Security

Copyright Date: Apr. 15, 2015
Published by: C. Hurst and; Company
Pages: 28
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Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. 3-5)

    In a short period of time, the Internet has become enmeshed in our daily lives. Now, people can exchange text, voice, images and data of all kinds — from anywhere in the world, instantly. We can create content, interact digitally, shop internationally with ease, exchange knowledge and ideas, and work together globally. The Internet, as a network of networks, is already capable of communicating and storing almost unimaginable volumes of data online, including data that can be associated with each of us individually and can be used for good or for ill.

    In developed economies, the Internet has already delivered...

  2. (pp. 6-7)

    This data revolution has significant and complex negative implications for three sets of actors: individuals, businesses and governments.

    A number of surveys indicate that, for individual and corporate users of the Internet, the primary concern is to have adequate assurance of the security of their information against misuse: the cybercrime, vandalism, theft and even terrorist acts that the Internet enables. Not all individuals understand the full scope of what they have placed online deliberately or what information has been captured and stored by others as they go about their daily activities. Nor do most individuals know to what commercial use...

  3. (pp. 8-9)

    The speed of these contradictory developments in the use of the Internet has left policy lagging behind. Governments struggle to know how to manage the harms the Internet facilitates while preserving its power for good.

    At a domestic level, responding to pressure from privacy and civil liberties organizations, in several nations a debate has started about the nature, capacity and legal framework of their digital intelligence activities. Some Internet and telecommunications companies now publish transparency reports about the demands governments place on them. Some nations already have comprehensive legislation to regulate intrusive digital intelligence powers; others do not. Some have...

  4. (pp. 10-12)

    There must be a mutual understanding between citizens and their state that the state takes responsibility to keep its citizens safe and secure under the law while, in turn, citizens agree to empower the authorities to carry out that mission, under a clear, accessible legal framework that includes sufficient safeguards and checks and balances against abuses. Business must be assured that the state respects the confidentiality of its data and they must, in turn, provide their customers the assurance that their data is not misused. There is an urgent need to achieve consensus on a social compact for the digital...

  5. (pp. 13-14)

    The social compact for a digital society will require a very high level of agreement among governments, private corporations, individuals and the technical community. Governments can provide leadership, but cannot alone define the content of the social compact. Achieving agreement and acceptance will necessitate the engagement of all stakeholders in the Internet ecosystem. At first, it is unlikely that a universal social compact suitable to all circumstances could, or even should, be the immediate goal. The Internet is used and valued across all cultures and all borders. Significant changes of attitude can sometimes evolve more quickly and more flexibly than...

  6. (pp. 15-15)

    These recommendations are put forward by the Global Commission on Internet Governance to encourage a strong consensus among all stakeholders that the benefits of the Internet for humankind must not be put at risk, whether by disproportionate state behaviour in cyberspace, by criminal activity or by business activity undermining assurance in the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information on the Internet. Advancing a new normative framework, which accounts for the dynamic interplay between national security interests and the needs of law enforcement, while preserving the economic and social value of the Internet, is an important first step to achieving long-term...