The Office of International Communications and Information Policy Newsletter (EB/CIP), Summer 2016

July 7, 2016


"Ensuring proper legal and regulatory environment for digital economy is critical to realizing full benefit of information and communications technology."
--Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda

Welcome to EB/CIP

Date: 05/02/2016 Description: Daniel Sepulveda, U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, speaks at the WSIS Forum held May 2-6, 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland. - State Dept Image

Greetings from the U.S. Department of State, Office of International Communication and Information Policy (EB/CIP). We had a busy start to 2016, from meetings like Global Connect at the World Bank here to the many others we have engaged around the world, which you’ll see reflected in this latest newsletter.

In the past few months we have continued to make strides towards our goal of building a more connected world that allows everyone to benefit from the digital economy. With our bilateral and multilateral affairs teams working in tandem, we continue to advance United States’ interests and values on key issues with partners across the globe. Our technology and security affairs staff has also been working hard to help ensure that increased digital access falls in line with government security standards.

In this quarter's issue, you can read about some of the work we’ve done so you can gain a better perspective on how and why the State Department is helping to further global access to the digital economy. Our efforts are aimed at helping grow economic prospects, encourage innovation and empower people, including marginalized populations, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity or social status.

We believe and hope that our work here at EB/CIP is making the world a better place. Thank you for your work and guidance.

Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda

CIP’s Zoller Chairs ITU Council

Date: 05/25/2016 Description: Julie Zoller, EB/CIP's Senior Deputy Coordinator, poses with another participant at the International Telecommunication Union Council on May 25, 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland. - State Dept Image
Zoller at ITU Council in May

For the first time in the history of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), two women were elected to lead the ITU Council, paving the way for women in a field traditionally dominated by men. Julie Zoller, EB/CIP's Senior Deputy Coordinator, joined by Eva Spina, a Director at the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, chaired the Council Session in Geneva on May 25th."It's a sign of progress for gender equality," said Zoller, in her opening remarks in front of the delegates of 48 member countries at the Council Session. "We must lead by example and commit to providing the best results."

Zoller is no stranger to breaking glass ceilings. An engineer by training, she was also the first woman to chair ITU's Radio Regulations Board when she was appointed in 2008. She has worked to approve ITU's operational plans for the next 3 years to 2020 organized expert groups for the review of the International Telecommunication Regulations, and ensured that the ITU is on track towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Expanding access to information and communications technology (ICT) networks is recognized as a key development strategy because ICT empowers and connects otherwise marginalized populations, including minority groups and women. As Chair, Julie symbolizes the importance of this mission to the ITU and the United States. Congratulations, Julie!

Global Connect Initiative

On April 14, 2016, 150 participants, including senior representatives of national governments, the telecommunications and information technology industry, international organizations, multilateral development banks, and civil society organizations joined Secretary of State John Kerry and World Bank President Jim Kim in Washington, D.C., for the Global Connect Initiative (GCI) high-level event, cohosted by the United States and World Bank. The April 14 event called to action development organizations and ministers of finance from developing and developed countries alike to make digital connectivity a central component of their planning and development strategies. It also encouraged public and private sector institutions to create cross-cutting partnerships and leverage innovative solutions to help bridge the digital divide. Participating stakeholders announced actions in support of GCI’s goals, amounting to 65 new and ongoing initiatives and over $20 billion in planned and recent investments. Participants also offered views on the role of all stakeholders in digital connectivity and how best to leverage Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to reduce poverty, promote inclusion, advance the sustainable development goals, and drive economic growth. Representatives attending the meeting highlighted the need for partnerships in connectivity to achieve results, and the need to share experiences; “it takes a network to build a network,” said U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith. This high level event did just that, creating opportunities for stakeholders to meet and form new partnerships. More information on the April event, including documents from the event, is available at

The focus now turns to our ongoing engagement with countries interested in expanding connectivity and the support we can provide through the Global Connect Initiative. Following the Washington event, Under Secretary Catherine Novelli led the US delegation to the April G7 ICT Ministerial in Japan. In the Joint Declaration, ICT ministers welcomed the Global Connect Initiative.

Focus on Argentina

Date: 05/31/2016 Description: Tim Finton, EB/CIP's Senior Counselor, (on right) attends bilateral talks with other participants held May 31-June 3, 2016 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. - State Dept Image
CIP's Tim Finton (on right) attends bilateral talks in Buenos Aires

From May 31-June 3, EB/CIP’s Senior Counselor Tim Finton led a delegation of experts to Argentina under CIP’s Technology Leadership Program (TLP). TLP is a long-standing program administered in conjunction with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to use USAID funds to promote the deployment of broadband technologies in developing countries.

When Mauricio Macri became President of Argentina in December 2015, his administration announced plans to liberalize the Argentine telecommunications sector and encourage foreign investment in information and communications technology (ICT). Minister of Communications Oscar Aguad and his staff expressed to the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires their interest in learning from the United States on how to move forward in the ICT sector.

Ambassador Sepulveda and Minister Aguad agreed to launch a bilateral working group to share best practices and coordinate on key ICT issues affecting both countries. The first meeting of the senior-level working group with the participation of FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler will take place in Buenos Aires on August 9-10, 2016.

As a first step prior to the meeting of the working group, Tim Finton led a delegation of experts from the Federal Communications Commission who provided two days of training to engage Argentine staff on regulatory issues for the reform of the telecommunications sector and deployment of increased broadband infrastructure and services. Jonathan Levy, Acting Chief Economist, and Olga Madruga-Forti, Chief, Global Strategies and Negotiation Division, International Bureau of the FCC, were funded by CIP’s TLP to provide two days of training for 40 officials from the Ministry of Communications and Ministry of Production. Subjects of particular interest to the officials were universal service obligations for supporting infrastructure development and spectrum management in order to open up spectrum bands for innovative services.

In addition, the delegation also met with the Ministry of Modernization’s Under Secretary Daniel Abadie and his staff, who are expected to be key players on Internet issues for Argentina both domestically and internationally. With Argentina joining the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC), Abadie plans to represent Argentina at the next FOC meeting in Costa Rica in October 2016.

G-7, ICT Ministerial Discuss Digital Economy & Cyber Issues

Date: 04/29/2016 Description: Participants attend the G-7 ICT Ministerial held April 29-30, 2016 in Takamatsu City, Japan. - State Dept Image
42nd G7 Summit

At the Ise-Shima Summit on May 26-27, G-7 leaders committed to support an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable cyberspace that promotes economic growth and prosperity. Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to support stability in cyberspace by promoting the application of international law to state behavior in cyberspace, voluntary norms of responsible state behavior in peacetime, and practical cyber confidence building measures between states. The G-7 reiterated its commitment to protect the same human rights online as offline. Leaders also established a new G7 cyber working group, which is expected to meet in Japan in October 2016, to enhance policy coordination and practical cooperation to promote security stability in cyberspace.

Date: 04/29/2016 Description: Catherine Novelli, Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, poses for a group photo at the G-7 ICT Ministerial held April 29-30, 2016 in Takamatsu City, Japan. - State Dept Image
Under Secretary Catherine Novelli at the G-7 ICT Ministerial in late April

The G-7 leaders also addressed issues key to the growth of the digital economy. Leaders emphasized the importance of the free flow of data and their opposition to unjustifiable data localization requirements. The G-7 also committed to support transparent policy and legal frameworks and to promote international standards for technology products. They emphasized the importance of protecting intellectual property rights, opposed generally applicable requirements for access to source code as a condition of market access, and reaffirmed that states should not conduct or knowingly support the cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property for commercial gain. Further, leaders committed to promote a multi-stakeholder approach to Internet governance. Finally, the G-7 committed to improve global access to the Internet, which aligns with the objective of the U.S.’s Global Connect Initiative to bring another 1.5 billion people online by 2020. For further information, you can see the G-7 Ise-Shima Leaders’ Declaration section on cyber, as well as the G-7 Principles and Actions on Cyber.

The G-7 Summit followed several ministerial meetings, including the first G-7 ICT Ministerial since 1995, held April 29-30, 2016 in Takamatsu City, Japan. Under Secretary of State Catherine Novelli led the U.S. delegation. The ICT Ministerial issued a new “Charter for the Digitally Connected World,” which lays out a long-term vision; a joint declaration of short term actions; and an annex with G-7 opportunities for collaboration. Together these outcomes sent a useful message on the ICT policies and approaches that will foster improved quality of life, economic growth, innovation, and sustainable development.

U.S. Expands Digital Economy Engagement with ASEAN

EB/CIP participated in the first joint working group meeting of the ASEAN Senior Officials on Telecommunications (TELSOM) and the ASEAN Telecommunications Regulators Council (ATRC) May 13 in Jakarta. During the meeting, the United States shared its ASEAN-US ICT Workplan 2016 proposal, which includes a number of workshops and capacity-building activities focused on network security, spectrum management, e-authentication, and e-commerce. ASEAN Member States welcomed the proposed activities as fulfilling priorities of the ASEAN ICT Masterplan 2016-2020 and have endorsed the proposal. The ICT workplan includes an e-commerce workshop scheduled to take place in Singapore August 22-26, a spectrum management workshop, and an International Visitors Leadership Program, which will bring 10 ASEAN policymakers to the United States for a study tour on emerging technologies and innovation-minded policymaking.

The United States is also developing a Digital Economy Initiative as part of U.S.-ASEAN Connect, the new unifying framework for economic engagement with ASEAN, announced by President Obama at his 2016 Summit with ASEAN leaders. The Digital Economy Initiative aims to bring together U.S. government and private sector experts to explore the policies and legal/regulatory frameworks required to foster the development of the digital economy and an inclusive, innovative ASEAN Economic Community. The initiative would provide an avenue to address priority issues such as data localization, governance/regulatory issues, standards harmonization, labor mobility, and skills/training. If you would like to learn more or support the initiative, please contact Jen Steffensen at

Forty-One Nations Sign the Cancun Declaration on the Digital Economy

Date: 06/21/2016 Description: Participants attend the OECD Ministerial Meeting on the Digital Economy held June 21-23, 2016 in Cancun, Mexico. - State Dept Image

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) held a Ministerial Meeting on the Digital Economy in Cancun, Mexico last week. Mexico’s Economic Minister Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal led the dialogue along with a number of high-level officials from almost 40 countries as well as stakeholders from industry and civil society. I had the honor serve as a Vice Chair for the meeting and to represent the United States along with colleagues from other agencies.

Secretary Penny Pritzker kicked off the event with a strong speech on the importance of the global digital economy and keeping the Internet open and free. The conversation that took place for the following two days was lively and centered on foundational issues for the digital economy, including increasing connectivity, improving consumer protection, preserving an open Internet, and improving trust in security and privacy. Luckily, we did not have to start from scratch. The OECD has four policy guidelines addressing these topics and last week we re-affirmed the importance of these documents.

Date: 06/23/2016 Description: Daniel Sepulveda, U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, (far left) poses with other participants to celebrate at the closing ceremony of the OECD Ministerial Meeting on the Digital Economy held June 21-23, 2016 in Cancun, Mexico. - State Dept Image
Ambassador Sepulveda and other participants celebrate at the OECD closing ceremony

OECD’s recently updated Consumer Protection in eCommerce recommendations and the Digital Security Risk Management for Economic and Social Prosperity recommendations are important guiding documents for addressing the issues in their respective areas, particularly for countries that have not yet started to develop policies for fully embracing the digital economy.

These instruments combined with the Principles for Internet Policy Making and the OECD Privacy Framework make-up a suite of policy strategies that are designed to support investment, competition, and growth in the digital economy while building trust in important areas such as security and privacy.

Though these are complex issues, we must get the policies around them right as we bring more countries into the digital economy. These documents embody principles that will encourage innovation and investment while delivering the benefits of the digital economy to an increasingly larger share of the population. More broadly, getting more people connected -- with the aspirational vision of getting everyone connected -- is the key to truly building and realizing the potential of the digital economy. That’s why the State Department launched the Global Connect Initiative with the goal of connecting the next 1.5 billion people by 2020.

The ultimate outcome of the Ministerial on the Digital Economy was the adoption of the Cancun Declaration, a powerful collection of principles that commits all 41 signing countries to the goals of ensuring the digital economy will live up to its promise of providing economic growth and social prosperity. Those principles include an open Internet, support for the free flow of information, a commitment to stimulate digital innovation and creativity, promotion of risk management practices to strengthen trust in security and privacy, and a commitment to reduce impediments to e-commerce within and across borders.

The declaration firmly underlines the fact that a secure, stable, open, and accessible Internet depends on the ongoing multi-stakeholder, consensus-driven development of global technical standards. It calls for signatories to support open, transparent, and inclusive processes in global multi-stakeholder Internet governance. The signatories further pledged to collaborate to respect and preserve the fundamental openness of the Internet when enacting policies to protect consumers’ and users’ privacy, security, and intellectual property.

This shared vision, combined with the policy frameworks contained in the OECD key instruments, put us on the path to success of fully realizing the benefits of the digital economy. As the head of the United States delegation, I was proud to sign the Cancun Declaration. The United States strongly supports the goals included in the Cancun Declaration and looks forward to collaborating with other OECD member countries and all stakeholders to bring them to fruition.

14th EU-US Information Society Dialogue Held in DC

Date: 06/28/2016 Description: Daniel Sepulveda, U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, speaks on the digital economy and innovation to American and European counterparts at the Transatlantic Business Council meeting following the Information Society Dialogue held June 28, 2016 in Washington, DC. - State Dept Image
Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda speaks on digital economy and innovation to American and European counterparts at the Transatlantic Business Council meeting following the Information Society Dialogue

On June 28th, Ambassador Sepulveda led the fourteenth annual U.S.-EU Information Society Dialogue (ISD) in Washington, D.C., to discuss ICT and digital economy issues. The event was co-chaired by Roberto Viola, Director-General for Communication Networks, Content, and Technology and head of the EU delegation. Also in attendance were representatives from NTIA, FCC, Department of Commerce, and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, among others.

The dialogue focused on a number of key topics including the role of digital platforms, ICT standards, connectivity, copyright, data flows, ICT-enabled research, and international cooperation. Both sides reaffirmed their strong support for the multistakeholder approach to Internet governance and for promoting policy environments that encourage openness, investment and innovation. The EU provided an update on the state of play and next steps of their Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy, including the measures announced in April 2016 aimed at the digitization of all industries and those of May 2016 to promote the uptake of e-commerce. A key issue addressed at the meetings was that of ICT standards regulations. On this topic, both sides identified priority areas to explore for further discussion in the near term that could include technologies that constitute the Internet of Things, 5G and cybersecurity in a technology-neutral fashion and taking into account the continued work of the private sector and standards development organizations.

Both the United States and EU reaffirmed their support for frameworks that allow for the free flow of information across borders and to support policies that promote openness and innovation. They also emphasized the importance of efforts to expand connectivity and plan to work together to support these efforts.The United States and EU agreed to continue dialogues on several issues including the DSM, ICT standards, emerging technologies such as 5G, and announced cooperation on ICT-related research. The sides also agreed to work together to ensure successful outcomes at the upcoming World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly in Yasmine Hammamet, Tunisia.

About EB/CIP

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 communications 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.

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