The Office of International Communications and Information Policy Newsletter (EB/CIP), Spring 2016
Inside this Issue
To jump to a section of this newsletter, click the links below:
- Welcome to CIP
- Global Connect: 1.5 billion connections by 2020
- Successful Negotiations of EU-U.S. Privacy Shield
- U.S.-Mexico Telecom Regulators Finalize Two-Year Workplan
- Preparations for WTSA-16 Move Forward
- CIP EXPLAINS: The Internet of Things
- Ambassador Sepulveda leads ICT Delegation to Cuba
- Bringing Communications Capabilities to the Arctic
- Israel and the Palestinian Authority on 3G Mobile Connectivity
- About EB/CIP
Hello and welcome to the U.S. Department of State Office of International Communication and Information Policy’s (CIP) Spring Newsletter. Since our last newsletter was sent out, our bilateral affairs, multilateral affairs, and technology and security affairs staff has been busy working to ensure that policies around the world are creating an environment that will get as many people the digital access, skills and services that will allow them to safely and affordably use the world’s most current and advanced communications technologies.
In our latest issue, you will see that the breadth of our team’s work is truly global and extends deep into many aspects of communication policies. Although this latest newsletter only touches on a few of the topics covered by our office, it does include highlights, like the delegations I recently led to both Cuba and Israel and the successful conclusion of the Commerce led EU-U.S. Privacy Shield negotiations. Also worth noting, in this edition you will get a chance to learn about the Global Connect Initiative, which is being spearheaded by the State Department under the leadership of Under Secretary Catherine Novelli.
If there is a subject-area that is not featured in this issue that you would like to learn more about, I encourage you to utilize the contact information found on the last page, as well as follow our office’s new Twitter account @StateCIP for an insider look at ICT policy and diplomacy.
Thank you for your continued interest in our work and for doing what you do every day.
Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda
On April 14, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and World Bank President Dr. Jim Kim will speak at a high-level event attended by finance ministers, delegations from multilateral development banks, and representatives from the technology and telecommunications industry to discuss the Global Connect Initiative (GCI) and actions participants are taking in support of the initiative’s core goal to help connect 1.5 billion new users to the Internet by 2020. The objective of the meeting is to build understanding of GCI, the impact of connectivity on economic growth and development, and the role of finance ministers in expanding connectivity.
GCI’s principles assert that connecting people to the Internet is a foundational element for economic development. Connectivity should be prioritized on the same level as other basic infrastructure and should be part of an integrated infrastructure development plan. Finance ministers play key leadership roles in setting budget and development priorities for their countries and are therefore critical to support for prioritization of connectivity goals in budget requests and policies that promote investment in networks that connect people to the Internet. Additionally, the event will provide a venue for finance ministers seeking funding for connectivity project proposals to communicate with multilateral development banks. Participants are being given an opportunity to submit in advance information regarding their work to promote connectivity, which will be published at the high-level event.
If you would like more information on this issue, please contact David Renz at RenzDX@state.gov.
The new EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework is a major achievement for privacy and for businesses on both sides of the Atlantic. It strengthens our important partnership with the European Union and shows the world how we can solve problems together. The Privacy Shield will end uncertainty for many EU and U.S. businesses and consumers, and strengthen our economies. It will also help expand the digital economy by ensuring that thousands of European and American businesses and millions of individuals can continue to access services online.
The Privacy Shield strengthens cooperation between the Federal Trade Commission and EU Data Protection Authorities, providing independent, vigorous enforcement of the data protection. EU individuals will have access to multiple avenues to resolve concerns, including through alternative dispute resolution at no cost to the individual. Additionally, companies will now commit to participate in arbitration as a matter of last resort to ensure that EU individuals who still have concerns will have the opportunity to seek legal remedies. The Privacy Shield includes new contractual privacy protections and oversight for data transferred by participating companies to third parties or processed by those companies’ agents.
The Department of Commerce is have been actively engaging with the private sector to discuss Privacy Shield in greater detail since Commerce and the European Commission made the full text of the Privacy Shield available to the public.
If you would like more information on this issue, please contact J.P. Kill at KillJP@state.gov.
Officials of the United States and Mexico met in Washington, D.C., on February 4-5 to discuss spectrum management issues along the common border. Officials from the Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (IFT) and Secretaria de Comunicaciones Y Transportes represented the Mexican government. Officials from the FCC, NTIA, USTR and U.S. Department of State represented the United States.
The participants developed a two-year workplan to update or create protocols in 18 spectrum bands, with a focus on modernizing outdated protocols dedicated to technology no longer in use. In addition, the participants discussed Mexico’s progress toward implementing its Mutual Recognition Agreement with the United States, how the two countries can better facilitate a borderless network concept to benefit consumers in both countries and continued collaboration on regional policy issues.
The United States and Mexico discussed how the two countries can work together in support of the Global Connect Initiative, launched by Secretary Kerry in December 2015. The initiative seeks to connect the next 1.5 billion people to the Internet by the year 2020. Mexico discussed the progress it has made in connecting public spaces through its Mexico Conectado program and the plans for its new national wholesale mobile network, Red Compartida, which aims to provide nationwide wholesale broadband mobile service using 90 MHz of the 700 MHz band.
The two countries reiterated their commitment to continue to work together to maximize their precious spectrum resources to provide increased Internet connectivity and advanced wireless service to the people of both countries. The countries plan to continue its schedule of semi-annual meetings with the next meeting to be held in Mexico City.
If you would like more information on this issue, please contact Susan Ritchie at RitchieSM@state.gov.
The date and venue for the 2016 World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-16) has been approved by a majority of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Member States and now confirmed to take place in Yasmine Hammamet, Tunisia, from October 25 to November 3, 2016. The WTSA is held every four years and defines the next period of study for the ITU Standardization sector (ITU-T). The duties of the WTSA are laid out in the ITU Constitution, which charges that the WTSA shall be convened “to consider specific matters related to telecommunication standardization”. WTSA will also review working methods including approval processes, the work program and the structure of study groups.
The United States will start its preparatory process in a two phased approach. The first phase will start around the middle of March and the second phase will start on April 6. Why a two phase approach? The Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (TSAG) held February 1-5 revealed the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) Director’s vision of study group restructuring. Several on the U.S. delegation voiced their concern with the Director’s vision, which led to informal discussions with the private sector on ways to efficiently and effectively minimize redundancy and moderate the number of ineffective study groups within the standardization sector. Realizing that the restructuring effort will be an intricate and complicated activity fraught with complex issues, the first phase of the U.S. preparatory process for WTSA will deal with all the other WTSA related issues. The U.S. preparatory meetings for WTSA will be announced on the CIP listservs.
If you would like more information on this issue, please contact Franz Zichy at ZichyFJ@state.gov.
The concept of “Internet of Things” (IoT) refers broadly to the many sensing, computation, and communication devices that can be associated with physical objects as wide-ranging as refrigerators, cars and pacemakers, and networked together to form applications and services. Consumers and businesses all stand to benefit from efficiencies that result from both smart machine-to-machine communication and smart use of the data they generate. Cisco forecasts 50 billion internet-connected devices by 2020, with many expected to be machine-to-machine or IoT connections.
The prominence of IoT applications is raising policy issues, among them questions of when and where to develop standards intended to foster interoperability. IoT techniques are embodied in many diverse physical devices, and interface standards will be needed. For example, a smart-thermostat application may wish to use data from different sources or companies, such as environmental and thermostat data. While the value of interoperability is clear, the market has not yet converged on the best standardization approach. The diversity of potential IoT applications and device technologies leads many to conclude that it would be detrimental to the IoT ecosystem to tie it prematurely to burdensome or conflicting standards, particularly those of a one-size-fits-all nature. Furthermore, the fast technology innovation in this domain may mean that early approaches will be quickly surpassed. The U.S. believes market-driven approaches to interoperability will ensure that standards promote a dynamic IoT ecosystem.
IoT standards are being discussed in a range of standards bodies and consortia, ranging from IEEE to oneM2M. ITU-T recently launched Study Group 20 (SG20) to study standardization issues for IoTs as well as their applications in Smart Cities and Communities. The US sent delegations to the first two meetings of SG20 (October, 2015 and January, 2016) with an eye towards shaping the standardization discussion in ways that allow the IoT ecosystem to maintain its rich dynamism. We welcome input from stakeholders (e.g. readers of this newsletter) regarding US strategy and engagement on ITU-T SG20, and we are planning an upcoming ITAC meeting to discuss IoT policy issues more broadly.
Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda looks on as a Cuban teen connects to online applications at a local Cuban youth center. Young and old use these centers as a means of accessing online content and technological services
Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda led a U.S. Delegation to Havana January 20-22 to discuss information and communications technology (ICT) issues with Cuban officials. The 16-person delegation included Federal Communications Chairman Thomas Wheeler, a representative of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and non-governmental experts from industry, civil society, and academia. This trip was a follow-up to Ambassador Sepulveda’s March 2015 trip. This delegation held meetings with the Deputy Minister of Communications De-Lilla, the President of ETECSA (the Cuban telecommunications operator), the Under Secretary of Foreign Affairs Josefina Vidal, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment, and two technical universities (UCI and CUJAE). One of the highlights of the trip was a dinner with Cuban Internet bloggers and entrepreneurs. It was an excellent opportunity to hear their perspectives on connectivity issues and the economic benefits of access to reliable Internet services.
The delegation also visited a family computer center to see Cuban efforts to expand Internet-connectivity to the Cuban people. Ambassador Sepulveda and others stressed the importance of seeing movement by Cuba in response to the increased openness in the ICT realm and articulated that it was an area that could help all sectors of development within the country.
If you would like more information on this issue, please contact Timothy Finton at FintonTC@state.gov.
Reindeer race through the center
As part of Secretary Kerry’s two-year Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, CIP is working with government, industry, and indigenous groups from the Arctic States to understand the current communications technologies available in the Arctic and to identify gaps where communications capabilities are lacking. From broadband services to the home, to search and rescue on the sea, to scientific study and exploration, the Arctic Region is a vast underserved area where human activity is growing by the day, in large part due to the effects of global warming. Existing communications technologies and services in the northern areas of the Arctic States (the Arctic Council Member States are: Canada, Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States ) vary greatly due to differing topographies, and the economic justification to expand communications where population numbers are so small is a daunting challenge. Understanding those conditions and sharing experiences on how to overcome those challenges is the first step for how we hope to expand communications throughout the region.
At a recent meeting in Tromsø, Norway, CIP joined the Arctic Council’s Task Force on Telecommunications in the Arctic (TFTIA) to make progress on a two-year study of Arctic communications. The TFTIA expects to review and approve a draft assessment at its September meeting in Denmark, with final polishing by the end of the year. Once complete, this assessment will be provided to the Arctic Council in April 2017 where the Council can then determine next steps in the development of communications in the region. The work of the TFTIA is also benefitting from direct industry input and expertise through the Arctic Economic Council’s working group on telecommunications – an effort led by former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell.
Companies who believe they have expertise and knowledge to share on Arctic communications are encouraged to contact Doug May in CIP at MayDC@state.gov.
Ambassador Sepulveda and the CIP team learned
In February Ambassador Sepulveda and Senior Deputy Coordinator Julie Zoller visited Israel and the West Bank with the goal of advancing 3G wireless services in the West Bank. This visit was an important step toward the goal of the 3G in 2016 set by the November 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15), which recognized the historic bilateral agreement signed between the Israelis and the Palestinians to facilitate the use of spectrum for cellular operations by Palestinian carriers.
Ambassador Sepulveda and Deputy Zoller met with officials from both Israel and the Palestinian Authority as well as those responsible for implementing the agreement and supporting their efforts on the ground to upgrade communications for the Palestinian people.
Before the delegation had even returned from Israel, they were able to see progress on the ground with equipment being transported to the West Bank and Gaza. Deputy Zoller commented that “It is an incredibly beautiful region, rich with history and warm, hospitable people. Jerusalem feels like the center of the world and now more people in the region will have the technology available to really make it a technical center of opportunity for all.” The entire CIP team is committed to improving mobile connectivity in the region and enriching the lives of residents and visitors alike.
If you would like more information on this issue, please contact Julie Zoller at ZollerJN@state.gov.
The Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (EB) is led by Assistant Secretary Charles Rivkin. EB's mission is to promote economic security and prosperity at home and abroad. The Bureau's work lies at the critical nexus of economic prosperity and national security. As the single point where international economic policy tools and threads converge, we help promote a coherent economic policy across the U.S. Government.
Here you will find links and resources for all of these tools and the ways the U.S. Department of State and EB are engaged to implement U.S. foreign economic policy.
The Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs’ office of International Communications and Information Policy (EB/CIP) is responsible for the formulation, coordination, and oversight of policy related to information and communication technology (ICT). Congressional mandate gives responsibility to the State Department on information and communication technology international policy. EB/CIP is the interagency lead.
EB/CIP is divided into three offices: Bilateral and Regional Affairs, Multilateral Affairs, and Technology and Security Policy. These offices lead interagency delegations to international meetings (frequently with private sector participation), work with Advisory Committees, coordinate Executive Branch views on related policies, provide for input from private sector and consumer organizations, and maintain close liaison with U.S. embassies and other missions around the world to advocate U.S. interests.
Department of State
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Special Thanks to…
CIP Staff for contributions and McKinsey Global Institute for use of their artwork in the PDF version of this newsletter. For additional information and to view these graphics, please visit the following links: