Policy actions sorted A-Z.
Policy actions sorted A-Z.
Government policy should focus on technology as a priority. Legislation should be enacted that benefits all industries.
Technologies prioritised don’t contribute to a strong foundation for the benefits to emerge.
Poor contract negotiation locks Governments into particular providers.
Enforce conditions to building planning permissions that require builders to integrate broadband-capable wiring into buildings.
Definitive, standard registers of public open data (addresses, companies, etc) are maintained by the relevant authorities so that commercial and public services can be built on top of them.
United Kingdom: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office country register contains an authoritative list of country names.
Estonia: The eBusiness register contains information about business registered in Estonia.
Countries have already sold control of datasets to private organisations, for example, the Land Registry in Australia.
Competing registers could contain inconsistent data.
Canonical data is difficult to agree or contentious once established.
Internet service providers are legally forbidden from prioritising data transfer by a certain digital service to ensure consumers have equal access to all services on any connection plan.
Brazil: The Civil Rights Framework for the Internet states that “all data packages must be treated equally, without distinction of content, origin and destination, service, terminal or application”.
India: Facebook Free Basics, a zero rated service, was banned by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India based on the 2016 Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations law.
European Union: Net neutrality regulations prevent EU internet service providers from throttling access to certain websites, unless there is a technical reason for doing so.
Introduction of net neutrality legislation has met resistance from internet service providers.
Particularly in emerging markets, free access to resources like Wikipedia Zero can have educational benefits.
The national data regulator maintains a searchable database of data controllers so consumers can find their point of contact and easily retrieve their data policies.
United Kingdom: Information Commissioner’s office maintains a searchable register of data controllers. Entries for each controller contain their date of registration, the expiry of this registration, their postal address and what personal data is processed.
Argentina: A similar service to that found in the United Kingdom exists, showing the contact details of a data controller.
Existing legislation may not require the data protection regulator to make registration records public.
Online registers can be limited in use, because their interfaces are difficult to use or the data isn’t available in an open format.
The data covered in online registers may not be extensive enough.
Government and technical organisations should recommend best practices to developers to ensure safety, particularly in environments where computers have control over the physical environment. Existing guidelines are biased towards space and nuclear science, but there will be a need for consumer advocacy here as self-driving cars near readiness for everyday use.
Broadband speed is mapped throughout the country and released as open data. This is either done centrally or crowd-sourced from consumers. This allows policy makers and consumers to understand the quality of provision.
United Kingdom: The telecommunications regulator, Ofcom, releases open data around broadband connection speeds.
United States: The Federal Communications Commission release a yearly report called “Measuring Broadband America” that includes speed samples separated by geographical location.
Australia: The Broadband Availability and Quality Project have mapped broadband speed and technology capability across Australia, assigning A to E ratings on a neighbourhood level.
Canada: CTRC have mapped where broadband Internet services are available and the technologies used to provide those services.
Measurements must be done over a defined period to allow an average broadband speed to be calculated that more accurately reflects the quality of broadband in this area.
Data should be released with enough geographical resolution to make it useful. Showing street level broadband speeds is more useful than showing regional broadband speeds.
Gigabit-speed broadband connections offer up to 1 Gbps (1024 Mbps) of download speed and can theoretically download a 90 minute high definition film in 30 seconds.
Crowd-sourcing is a method of data collection where people independently contribute to a larger data set.
Local authorities plan and maintain broadband infrastructure so there is democratic accountability to the provision of internet access.
Secure and free Wi-Fi is provided in public spaces to provide internet access and participation in the consumer market to those unable to afford a home internet connection. Public Wi-Fi in central urban areas can stimulate economic activity in that area, and may also reduce roaming data costs for tourists visiting the area.
Most G20 countries have examples of free local Wi-Fi.
Brazil: Between 2013 and 2015, there has been 83% growth in the number of Brazilian cities providing internet access for free in public areas. 1,457 out of 5,570 Brazilian municipalities offered free Internet access in 2014.
India: By May 2017, Mumbai will have 1,200 hotspots, making it the biggest public Wi-Fi network in India and one of the largest in the world.
Turkey and Indonesia: Acknowledging the lack of secure and stable public Wi-Fi connections, private organisations are offering rental 4G Wi-Fi enabled hotspots.
United Kingdom: The UK Government’s SuperConnected cities initiative has introduced public Wi-Fi on transport in nine cities.
DotEveryone have carried out research into the suitability of internet provision in elderly care homes.
In late 2016, Transport for London collected pseudoanonymised connection data from their public Wi-Fi networks in 54 stations to “better understand how London Underground passengers move through stations and interchange between lines”.
If usage exceeds the capacity of a Wi-Fi network, customer experience can be poor due to slow speeds.
Data transferred across public Wi-Fi networks that don’t use a password can be intercepted by other people.
Government funds, sometimes in partnership with private organisations, a major expansion project to increase broadband service reach and performance.
Australia: The National Broadband Network is a federal programme to improve connectivity across Australia, by replacing existing infrastructure and introducing mobile and wireless technology to improve coverage in rural areas.
Argentina: A consortium of telecommunications providers announced an alliance to develop a fibre optic network that links Argentina, Brazil and Chile that will improve broadband services in northern Argentina.
Brazil: Government invests $4 billion in broadband infrastructure development by giving tax relief to projects registered with the Ministry of Communications.
Large scale projects can be politically sensitive, expensive and subject to delays, particularly in reference to Australia’s National Broadband Network.
Funding projects may neglect specific areas of a nation.
Privately sponsored infrastructure projects could create broadband monopolies in some places.
Questions over funding of universal service obligations, and unintended consequences of subsidising non-targeted consumers.
Laptops or tablets are provided for use by the public, for example in libraries, to increase the number of people who can access digital services and participation in the digital consumer market.
Many public libraries provide access to computers within their buildings. In the United States, 98% of libraries offer free public access to computers and the internet.
United States: The Library of Things at Sacramento Public Library in California offer access to 3D printing and scanning services and expensive peripherals like projectors and graphics tablets, stretching the definition of digital access beyond essentials to tools for content production, rather than just consumption.
Loaned devices are at risk of theft or damage.
Poorer areas may be less capable of providing a loaning service.
Access may be limited if there is a heavy demand for a small number of devices.
Loaned devices may only allow for content consumption and not content production.
Software vulnerabilities are included in product recall notices and product recall notices are maintained and made available as open data, so that consumers are aware when they own an unsafe digital product.
European Union: The European Commission operate a database of product recalls. It allows people to subscribe to weekly product notifications.
OECD: Global Recalls collates data about product recalls from OECD member states. This information is available in English and French.
In 2016, the car manufacturer Tesla pushed an over-the-air update following a death caused by its autopilot system.
The changing nature of consumer products like cars mean that recalls can be avoided by pushing updates straight to the device. A report suggests that by 2022, 230 million vehicles could have this functionality.
A faster software update cycle could increase the risk that bugs are undetected.
Implementation of notices is a lost opportunity if it doesn’t incorporate shorter feedback loops.
Regulators should be able to compel manufacturers to follow standards for privacy and security when designing Internet of Things (IoT) devices, in a similar way that regulators mandate that electrical safety standards are followed. This is important for consumers, because IoT devices collect so much data about a person and their surroundings and privacy considerations are poor at present.
European Union: A working group of European data protection regulators have published an opinion (PDF) on the privacy risks of IoT and how the current data protection framework in the EU can be applied in their context.
United States: The Federal Trade Commission have released a report (PDF) into IoT and possible regulation. It states that it may be too early to do so, as the industry is still in its infancy, but general data protection legislation should be strengthened.
David Wheeler has written about policy interventions for digital security that could apply to Internet of Things devices.
Range of devices is so broad that it’s difficult to audit them consistently.
Regulatory overhead prevents small companies from launching products.
People expect a minimum broadband speed and may request compensation if the speed is not met. Countries may do this in several ways; including creating a minimum service obligation for a certain speed, or creating a legal definition of what services may be sold as broadband.
United Kingdom: 10 Mbps download speeds are recommended by Ofcom. The UK government are in the process of creating a minimum service obligation.
United States: The US communications regulator, the Federal Communications Commission, have defined broadband as 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.
Canada: The CTRC have ruled that broadband is minimum 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload.
Brazil: Internet service providers are mandated to provide 80% of the advertised download speed.
India: To be classified as broadband, connection speeds must be higher than 0.5 Mbps.
Policy can be influenced by telecoms organisations to reduce speed below public expectations.
Measuring connection speeds require a consistent methodology.
The baseline isn’t flexible enough to reflect changing expectations and capacity.
Upload speed: how fast data can be transferred from a consumer’s device to a server that runs a service.
Download speed: how fast data can be transferred from a server that runs a service to a consumer’s device.
Megabits per second: Abbreviated to Mbps, this is a measurement of data transfer speed, the amount of megabytes that can be transferred in a second.