June 27, 2008 By Wayne Hanson
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) met last week in Seoul, Republic of Korea, on the future of the Internet Economy. In a Declaration for the Future of the Internet Economy, participants agreed on the need for governments to work wtih business, civil society and technical experts to promote competition, empower and protect consumers and expand Internet access and use worldwide.
"Given that this infrastructure has become critical to our economies and societies, we should all engage in developing better, more broad-based, governance arrangements and policies," said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría in the closing session.
The OECD agreed to work closely with stakeholders to increase confidence in the Internet, to protect users online more effectively and enhance the fight against cyberthreats through improved cross-border co-operation. The organization would also assess how OECD instruments related to competition, consumer protection, privacy and security are being applied by governments and business.
In a related story in the UK's Guardian, columnist Michael Cross noted that the Seoul Declaration signatories agreed to make public-sector information available to the public for free or at minimal charge, and as one of 40 signatories, the UK has for the first time gone on record supporting such an initiative.