The Office of International Communications and Information Policy Newsletter (EB/CIP), Fall 2016
Welcome to EB/CIP
Greetings from the U.S. Department of State, Office of International Communication and Information Policy (EB/CIP). Our office has been busy the last couple months and the CIP team has been working several productive engagements ranging from our recent bilateral dialogues with Korea and Taiwan to efforts with ASEAN partners and colleagues at the ITU.
We have remained committed to our goal of promoting a more interconnected world while also fostering a more inclusive digital economy. Our bilateral, multilateral, and security affairs teams here at CIP have been working closely with our regional partners to realize these goals. Their work efforts have nurtured the United States’ values in communications and technology by promoting both increased access to information and the digital economy, while highlighting the need to promote the security and reliability of the Internet.
In this quarter’s issue, you will find updates on some recent events such as the conclusion of the IANA functions contract as well as on some of the work our office has been involved in over the last couple of months. We continue to advance the United States’ interests by 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. Please share with us your thoughts on how we can better pursue our mutual goals. Thank you for your contributions and guidance.
“We have remained committed to our goal of promoting a more interconnected world while also fostering a more inclusive digital economy.” --Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda
Conclusion of IANA Stewardship Transition
Micaela Klein, Foreign Affairs Officer
On October 1, 2016, the contract between the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the United States Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), to perform the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions, officially expired. This marks the conclusion of a process to transition NTIA’s stewardship of the Domain Name System technical functions to the global multi-stakeholder community. Since NTIA’s 2014 announcement, the community has taken part in a process to develop a proposal that meets the detailed criteria and safeguards were established at that time to ensure that the Internet continues to operate freely and without centralized control. Although Internet users will experience no change, the transition marks a major milestone in the development of a truly global Internet. The State Department strongly supports the transition and was active in the transition process, as we believe it is key to preserving and expanding global support for the Internet under multi-stakeholder governance.
For more information please see NTIA’s press release: http://www.ntia.doc.gov/press-release/2016/statement-assistant-secretary-strickling-iana-functions-contract
ASEAN Spectrum Workshop
Jennifer Steffensen, Foreign Affairs Officer
EB/CIP organized the 1st US-ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Spectrum Management Workshop in Bangkok, Sept 27-29, in support of the Global Connect Initiative and U.S.-ASEAN Connect. Workshop facilitators from FCC and USAID presented on spectrum auctions, spectrum sharing, frequency allocation and licensing, frequency planning for future mobile technologies, and spectrum management in the context of national broadband strategies and universal service and access funds. Representatives from Adaptrum, Cisco, Facebook, and NetHope also participated in a panel discussion on emerging technologies and innovative spectrum projects. More than 30 ASEAN spectrum managers and engineers attended the workshop, which is part of a series of capacity-building activities under the 2016 U.S.-ASEAN ICT workplan.
2016 U.S.-India ICT Working Group
Maxwell Scott, Foreign Affairs Officer
Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda attended the U.S.- Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Working Group in New Delhi on September 27, 2016. The dialogue served as an opportunity for the United States and India to strengthen collaboration between the governments and private sectors of the two countries. The two sides reviewed the deepening strategic partnership between India and the United States and their commitment to empowering citizens of both nations through increased access to the Internet and a thriving digital economy. The United States congratulated India on its tremendous progress in becoming the world’s second largest population of Internet users and the world’s fastest growing Internet user base.
U.S. and Indian government officials expressed their shared support of the multi-stakeholder model for Internet governance. India shared how it is working with its community of stakeholders and plans for participating in global Internet events, including hosting the next ICANN57 meeting in Hyderabad November 3-9. The two sides also discussed the upcoming World Telecommunications Standardization Assembly in Tunisia and the importance of the ITU adhering to its mandate and to respecting our joint commitment to the multi-stakeholder process for Internet governance. Both sides discussed the accomplishments of the Digital India Programme in transforming India into a digitally empowered society and a key stakeholder in the knowledge economy. They also discussed the Global Connect Initiative, launched by the U.S. Department of State to connect the next 1.5 billion people to the Internet by 2020. Participants resolved to continue collaboration with an aim to advance the goals of the Digital India Programme and the Global Connect Initiative.
The discussions underscored the importance of promoting the flow of information; taking advantage of the Internet to promote innovation in products, services, processes, organizations and business models; and maintaining an enabling legal, regulatory and policy environment characterized by openness and transparency. The two countries decided to hold the next round of the U.S.- Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Working Group in Washington, D.C. in 2017.
Promoting the Use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) for Disaster Risk Mitigation and Response
Joe Burton, Foreign Affairs Officer
On September 27, a diverse group of stakeholders, including governments, industry representatives, UN organizations, technology associations and NGO’s, gathered in Geneva, Switzerland at ITU Headquarters to share best practices for enabling the use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) for disaster risk mitigation and response. Recognizing the importance of ICTs for saving lives and reducing suffering, CIP and the Government of Japan helped coordinate the “Workshop on Emergency Telecommunications and Disaster Relief,” a half-day workshop held by the ITU-Development Sector.
Joe Burton of CIP moderated a panel that explored the roles of technology stakeholders that enable and support lifesaving communications when disasters strike, highlighting experiences and identifying lessons learned. Building cooperation and coordination across a broad range of technology stakeholders, both public and private, is critical to national disaster planning. The workshop recognized that regulatory and policy frameworks can either facilitate or delay deployment of ICTs during a disaster. To ensure an enabling environment for lifesaving communications and timely restoration, Governments were encouraged to review rules on a regular basis- including licensing procedures, import/export requirements, and credentialing policies for communications responders.
ICTs are no longer a luxury for citizens during a disaster – they are an essential tool - not only for receiving and sharing life-saving information and managing responses, but also in restoring economic opportunity. Restoration of public communications networks should be prioritized within national disaster planning, including identifying ways to build more resilient communications networks and to support temporary solutions that might allow for emergency connectivity. Governments can support restoration by assessing, well before a disaster, whether modifications or temporary authorizations are needed to facilitate more flexible and rapid communications deployments. Planning alone will not guarantee communications readiness. Combining planning with regular drills to test plans and procedures, and producing “After Action” Reports following disasters helps develop a culture of learning and continuous improvement. The workshop identified a number of best practices during discussions which will be incorporated into an ITU-D report on Emergency Communications for Developing Countries, to help pave the way for future stakeholder collaboration.
For more information please contact Joe Burton at BurtonKJ@state.gov.
Smart Cities – Coming Soon to a Neighborhood Near You
Koduvayur “Suba” Subbalakshmi, Foreign Affairs Officer
Prof. K.P. (Suba) Subbalakshmi is a Jefferson Science Fellow with EB/CIP/MA.
Nearly two thirds of the world’s population lives in urban settings and the number is growing. This has posed significant challenges in terms of quality of living, climate change, equitable growth, public safety and health care. Governments, industry and academia the world over are coming together to take this opportunity to convert these very challenges into opportunities to reinvent cities and city living by turning these cities into laboratories for innovation.
So what exactly are smart cities and what can they do? Globally, several stakeholders are coming together to define what is possible and in helping these possibilities to transition into reality.
Flood and Natural Disaster Preparation, Response and Recovery: Floods and natural disasters like Super Storms Sandy and Katrina take a huge human and economic toll on a community. A smart city that is at risk for these natural disasters can deploy several sensors at sensitive locations in the city and correlate it with social media posts to get a better real-time picture about impending floods as well as helping the public self-organize to respond to and recover from these disasters. Integrating this with this with smart traffic lights can shave several minutes off response time for first responders. Wearable health and wellness tracker devices can provide information to first responders about vulnerable populations in an event of this scale where environmental factors can deteriorate suddenly, posing serious risks to the health and well-being of these individuals.
Smart Mobility: As populations in cities explode, so does the traffic congestion. While smarter public transportation is part of the solution, some aspects of public transportation, like working on a schedule, the lack of private cargo space, and the first and last mile connectivity, are a serious deterrent for wider adoption. What if there were better options to get you to work on your own schedule without adding to the parking space problems at your workplace? What if there was an option to cart your groceries and shopping bags to your parking lot while you continue to enjoy the market place further? Autonomous multi-passenger shuttle service can be scheduled on-demand by data gathered from ride seekers to address the first problem. Autonomous vehicles that can collect customer bags to shuttle them to the parking lot or even the customer’s car can take care of the second.
Sanitation and Public Works: Sensors in trash cans and recycling bins can identify when a bin needs to be emptied. This information can be made available to the public works department that can dispatch trash and recycle pickup trucks on a need basis, contributing to better fuel efficiency, better resource planning and reduced congestion on the roads. Sensors implanted in the city drainage systems can provide continuous monitoring of wear and tear on these systems to enable necessary preventative maintenance on these systems.
Smart Buildings: Smart buildings that can interact with wearable medical devices to alert medical and paramedical professionals during medical emergencies for relevant populations will take us further along the goal of equitable living. Smart buildings can also interact with an occupant’s mobility device to allow better navigation inside the building, making work and home more accessibility friendly. Energy use for multiple tenant building can be reduced by collecting motion sensor and occupancy sensor data to adjust temperature settings of the building in real-time without human intervention.
Fitness Tracker for Cities: The City of Chicago has begun installing what is being called a “fitness tracker for the city.” This fitness tracker consists of 500 sensors that continuously monitor traffic, air quality and noise level on block-by-block basis. This information can help city officials reduce pollution, improve traffic safety and plan better commute options. One team is building a mobile application that will alert asthma sufferers about air quality based on real time measurements taken at a city block level.
In short, the number of ways in which smart cities can impact day to day living is limitless. These are indeed interesting times where traditional silos are being broken down and there is a concerted effort across multiple stakeholders to make smart cities a reality.
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 Econoic 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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