Fiona Taylor (Director, European Affairs & Global Internet Strategy Verizon, Belgium) focused on the infrastructure layer. She analyzed the last 20 years during which the user population of the Internet has grown from 350 million to 7.7 billion. She showed a difficulty on defining a policy framework to regulate the Internet. She asked herself if there was a real need to regulate the Internet and if so, how it should be regulated. According to her, a key criterion for a regulating policy is that the same services on the web should have same regulation. Four key points that the policy framework should take care of are: Investment, Innovation, Consumer, Flexibility.

Nataša Pirc Musar (Information Commissioner, Republic of Slovenia) talked about the current regulations that are not present on the Internet and how European Union is working on them. In her opinion, one of the biggest challenges nowadays is that the Internet law is pretty like the open sea law. She thinks that there will be no regulation of the Internet in a near future, but it will have to happen otherwise it will be the World Wide West. She also talked about the European competences of data protection: the privacy of data regulation is a weak point in EU. Other important points are:

  • How can we supervise the Data that are going to go outside the European Union?
  • We rely on cloud to put our Data, but are we really sure about the cloud?
  • Who can control where the cloud is?

Finally she said that she is worried about the data of European citizen flowing to the USA, since “I have nightmares about the revealing of Snowden”. She also claims that America cannot deny the truth and must give an explanation of NSA actions.

John Giusti (Head of Spectrum GSMA Association, United Kingdom) talked about the necessity for governments to provide services to satisfy the increasingly data demand. He mainly focused on the spectrum assignment problem, arguing that spectrum is a government regulation holding and too heavy regulations on the industry could be suffocating it. He thinks that to reach a possible win-win scenario for governments and mobile companies a right regulation that extends the access to companies in general is necessary in order to satisfy the huge demand coming from people.

Claudia Selli (EU Affairs Director, AT&T, Belgium) said that the human interaction with devices is accelerating and the next possible step in digital life is that everything will be connected. In fact people do not care about the technology behind the connection services: they just want them to be fast and reliable. Finally she asked herself what regulation makes sense today and tomorrow. For instance, in 2007, Twitter did not exist and the “app revolution” was not happening. Therefore, we need a flexible regulatory framework that can be valid for future technologies that are unpredictable.

Thomas Spiller (Vice-President Public Policy, EMEA, The Walt Disney Company, Belgium) talked about the “3 C”: contents, culture and customers. He said contents were key factors driving the attention of the customers on the internet, so it is important to provide high quality contents in line with the customers culture. Culture is also very important: for instance, parents want their children to watch the content in their native language. Finally, he said that the customers themselves had been changing, since nowadays children are able to listen to and work on three or more different devices at the same time (Skype call with a friend, texting on the smartphone with another, playing videogames). With regards to regulations, Spiller thinks that it is really important to protect the kids from malevolent contents but it also must not be too strict and let the market evolve.

 Innocenzo Genna (Founder and Partner Director Genna Cabinet, Belgium) said that the European Commision was working on a reform about the regulation of the Internet. One of the pillars of the reform is to introduce special connectivity services: “It seems like there is a big emphasis on providing those services, but it is not clear who demands them”. For instance, Skype and other companies that provide high quality calls and video conferences already found a solution themselves. Who will be the beneficiary of those special connectivity services? According to libertarians, only “big fish” will benefits from them, while startups, that are the core of innovation, could find themselves obliged to consequently rely on low quality services. Therefore, this reform ruins the state of the Internet as we know it.

Olivier Duroyon (Director Public Affair – Alcatel Lucent, France) said that the demand for Internet services had grown in an explosive way and the European Union had not improved enough the infrastructures on which Internet relies on. So, he thinks that big investments in improving infrastructures are fundamental for the future. Then Duroyon explained that there was a dividing gap in regulation among different technologies: Internet is one of the less regulated ones. In his opinion, today is the right time for Europe to adopt some basic rules to apply to the Internet, respecting the concept of technology neutrality.

Paolo Plebani (Founder & CEO Powerplex, Italy) focused on the theme of Smart Cities. He explained that there was no model of a city that could be considered “smart”, because there was a lack of regulation on the theme. What his company did was to define a possible standard to fill the gap discussed above. He brought up the case of the city of Bolzano, where the requirements of the defined standards are verified. For example, some key points are:

  • All the municipality processes should be realized in a way to be repeatable;
  • The work of the public managers is measured in terms of efficiency, efficacy and time
  • analog services must be converted in digital;
  • The actions and the results of the public management must be documented and transparent to citizens

One of the main problems of public administration is that managers do not really know what they need in terms of digital services and as a consequence they cannot really understand how to regulate them.

IMG_9454IMG_9467  IMG_9472 IMG_9487