Burcu Kilic https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/24275/all cached version 08/02/2019 17:07:22 en Digital giants are trading away our right to privacy https://www.opendemocracy.net/burcu-kilic-renata-avila/digital-giants-trading-away-our-right-to-privacy <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Today, the big tech race is for data extractivism from those yet to be 'connected' in the world – tech companies will use all their power to achieve a global regime in which small nations cannot regulate either data extraction or localisation.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/hri"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/finalbannerhri2_0.jpg" alt="HRI" width="460px" /></a><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/558532/Susana_Malcorra_en_la_OEA.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/558532/Susana_Malcorra_en_la_OEA.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="368" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Susana Malcorra is actively pushing for member states to embrace e-commerce at the WTO, claiming that it is necessary to “bridge the gap between the haves and have-nots”. Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Argentina.</span></span></span>In a few weeks’ time, trade ministers from 164 countries will gather in Buenos Aires for <a href="https://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/minist_e/mc11_e/mc11_e.htm">the 11th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference</a>&nbsp;(MC11). US President Donald Trump in November issued fresh accusations of <a href="https://insidetrade.com/daily-news/trump-hits-wto-sovereignty-grounds-says-us-will-not-continue-opening-its-markets">unfair treatment towards the US by WTO members</a>, making it virtually impossible for trade ministers to leave the table with any agreement in substantial areas. <p class="Default">To avoid a ‘failure ministerial,” some countries see the solution as pushing governments to open a mandate to start conversations that might lead to a negotiation on binding rules for e-commerce and a declaration of the gathering as the “digital ministerial". Argentina’s MC11 chair, Susana Malcorra, is actively pushing for member states to embrace e-commerce at the WTO, claiming that it is necessary to “<a href="https://dig.watch/resources/launch-etrade-all-online-platform">bridge the gap between the haves and have-nots</a>”.</p> <p class="mag-quote-left">Half of humanity is not even connected to the internet, let alone positioned to develop competitive markets or bargain at a multilateral level.</p><p class="Default">It is not very clear what kind of gaps Malcorra is trying to bridge. It surely isn’t the “connectivity gap” or “digital divide” that is growing between developed and developing countries, seriously impeding digital learning and knowledge in developing countries. In fact, half of humanity is not even connected to the internet, let alone positioned to develop competitive markets or bargain at a multilateral level. Negotiating binding e-commerce rules at the WTO would only widen that gap.</p> <p class="Default">Dangerously, the “South Vision” of digital trade in the global trade arena is being shaped by a recent alliance of governments and well-known tech-sector lobbyists, in a group called 'Friends of E-Commerce for Development' (FED), including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Uruguay, and, most recently, China. FED claims that e-commerce is a tool to drive growth, narrow the digital divide, and generate digital solutions for developing and least developed countries.</p><p class="Default">However, none of the countries in the group (apart from China) is leading or even remotely ready to be in a position to negotiate and push for binding rules on digital trade that will be favorable to them, as their economies are still far away from the technology revolution. For instance, it is perplexing that one of the most fervent defenders of FED’s position is Costa Rica. The country’s economy is based on the <a href="https://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/profile/country/cri/">export</a> of bananas, coffee, tropical fruits, and low-tech medical instruments, and <a href="https://www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/press_releases/2014/46.aspx">almost half of its population is offline</a>. Most of the countries in FED are far from being powerful enough to shift negotiations in favor of small players.</p> <p class="Default">U.S.-based tech giants and Chinese Alibaba – so-called GAFA-A – dominate, by far, the future of the digital playing field, including issues such as identification and digital payments, connectivity, and the next generation of logistics solutions. In fact, there is a no-holds-barred ongoing race among these tech giants to consolidate their market share in developing economies, from the race to grow the advertising market to the race to increase online payments.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p class="Default">An e-commerce agenda that claims unprecedented development for the Global South is a Trojan horse move. Beginning negotiations on such topics at this stage – before governments are prepared to understand what is at stake – could lead to devastating results, accelerating liberalization and the consolidation of the power of tech giants to the detriment of local industries, consumers, and citizens. Aware of the increased disparities between North and South, and the data dominance of a tiny group of GAFA-A companies, a group of African nations <a href="https://www.ip-watch.org/2017/09/29/ecommerce-developing-countries-push-back-idea-new-wto-rules/">issued a statement</a> opposing the digital ambitions of the host for MC11. But the political landscape is more complex, with China, the EU, and Russia now supporting the idea <a href="https://etradeforall.org/connecting-dots-sustainable-development-e-commerce-sdgs/">of a “digital” mandate</a>.</p> <h2>Repeating the same mistakes?</h2> <p class="mag-quote-right">There is a no-holds-barred ongoing race among these tech giants to consolidate their market share in developing economies.</p><p class="Default">The relationships of most countries with tech companies are as imbalanced as their relationships with Big Pharma, and there are many parallels to note. Not so long ago, the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/feb/22/hiv-aids-deaths-pharmaceutical-industry">countries of the Global South faced Big Pharma</a> power in pharmaceutical markets in a similar way. Some developing countries had the same enthusiasm when they negotiated intellectual property rules for the protection of innovation and research and development costs. In reality, those countries were nothing more than users and consumers of that innovation, not the owners or creators. The lessons of negotiating trade issues that lie at the core of public interest issues – in that case, access to medicines – were costly. Human lives and fundamental rights of those who use online services should not be forgotten when addressing the increasingly worrying and unequal relationships with tech power.&nbsp;</p> <p class="Default">The threat before our eyes is similarly complex and equally harmful to the way our societies will be shaped in the coming years. In the past, the Big Pharma race was for patent exclusivity, to eliminate local generic production and keep drug prices high. Today, the Big Tech race is for data extractivism from those who have yet to be connected in the world, and tech companies will use all the power they hold to achieve a global regime in which small nations cannot regulate either data extraction or data localization.&nbsp;</p> <p class="Default">Big Tech is one of the most concentrated and resourceful industries of all time. The bargaining power of developing countries is minimal. Developing countries will basically be granting the right to cultivate small parcels of a land controlled by data lords—under their rules, their mandate, and their will—with practically no public oversight. The stakes are high. At the core of it is the race to conquer the markets of digital payments and the battle to become the platform where data flows, splitting the territory as old empires did in the past. As <a href="https://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21721656-data-economy-demands-new-approach-antitrust-rules-worlds-most-valuable-resource">the <em>Economist</em> claimed on May 6, 2017:</a> “Conflicts over control of oil have scarred the world for decades. No one yet worries that wars will be fought over data. But the data economy has the same potential for confrontation.”</p> <p class="Default">If countries from the Global South want to prepare for data wars, they should start thinking about how to reduce the control of Big Tech over—how we communicate, shop, and learn the news—, again, over our societies. The solution lies not in making rules for data liberalization, but in devising ways to use the law to reduce Big Tech’s power and protect consumers and citizens. &nbsp;Finding the balance would take some time and we are going to take that time to find the right balance, we are not ready to lock the future yet.&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/hri"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/smallhribanner.jpg" alt="" /></a></p><p>More from the&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/hri">Human Rights and the Internet</a>&nbsp;partnership.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/digitaliberties/elinor-carmi/whose-data-is-it-anyway">Whose data is it anyway? </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/hri/michael-j-oghia/internet-access-sustainability-and-citizen-participation-electricity-as-prerequisite">Internet access, sustainability, and citizen participation: electricity as a prerequisite for democracy?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> hri Digital inclusions and exclusions Renata Avila Burcu Kilic Wed, 13 Dec 2017 12:47:43 +0000 Burcu Kilic and Renata Avila 115278 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Cuando lo que se negocia es nuestra privacidad: la Ministerial de la OMC en Buenos Aires https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/burcu-kilic-renata-avila/la-omc-en-buenos-aires-o-c-mo-los-gigantes-digitales-comp <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Si los países del hemisferio Sur quieren prepararse para librar guerras de datos, deberían empezar a pensar en cómo reducir el control de las grandes compañías tecnológicas. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/burcu-kilic-renata-avila/wto-in-buenos-aires-or-how-digital-giants-are-trading-our">English</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><strong><em><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/MC11_image03_560x458_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/MC11_image03_560x458_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="376" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Image: UNCTAD.ORG, Some rights reserved</span></span></span></em></strong></p><p class="Default"><strong><em>La</em></strong><strong><em> realidad en Argentina</em></strong></p> <p class="Default">Esta semana (10-13 de diciembre 2017), los ministros de comercio de 164 países se reúnen en Buenos Aires para celebrar la onceava 11 Conferencia Ministerial de la organización mundial del Comercio (OMC) (MC11). El pasado mes de noviembre, el presidente Donald Trump lanzó nuevas acusaciones de trato injusto hacia los EE.UU. por parte de los miembros de la OMC, haciendo prácticamente imposible que los ministros de comercio vayan a levantarse de la mesa con los acuerdos en las áreas substanciales.</p> <p class="Default">Para evitar un "fracaso ministerial", algunos países ven que la solución pasa por obligar a los gobiernos a obtener un mandato para iniciar conversaciones que podrían conducir a una negociación sobre un tratado vinculante para el comercio electrónico &nbsp;y proclamar el éxito del evento declarándolo la “Ministerial Digital”.“ministerial digital”. La presidente argentina de la MC11, Susana Malcorra , impulsa activamente que los estados miembros acepten un mandato &nbsp;sobre comercio electrónico en la OMC , afirmando que es necesario "cerrar la brecha entre los que tienen y los que no tienen".</p> <p class="Default">No está muy claro qué tipo de brechas Malcorra está tratando de salvar. Seguramente no es la "brecha de conectividad" o "brecha digital", que actualmente está creciendo entre los países desarrollados y en desarrollo, y que obstaculiza seriamente el aprendizaje y el conocimiento digital en los países en desarrollo. De hecho, la mitad de la humanidad no está aún conectada a Internet, y mucho menos está en condiciones de desarrollar mercados competitivos o entablar negociaciones sobre dichos temas &nbsp;a nivel multilateral. &nbsp;Un acuerdo multilateral&nbsp; aprobando &nbsp;normas vinculantes de comercio electrónico en la OMC solo ampliaría esa brecha.</p> <p class="Default">Peligrosamente, la “Visión del Sur” del comercio digital en el ámbito del comercio mundial se está conformada por una alianza reciente entre los gobiernos y bien conocidos grupos de cabildeo &nbsp;del sector tecnológico, en un grupo llamado Amigos de Comercio Electrónico para el Desarrollo (FED, por sus siglas en inglés), que incluye Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Kenia, México, Nigeria, Pakistán, Sri Lanka, Uruguay, y, más recientemente, China. El FED afirma que el&nbsp;<em>e-commerce</em>&nbsp;es una herramienta para impulsar el crecimiento, reducir la brecha digital, y generar soluciones digitales para países en desarrollo y menos desarrollados. Sin embargo, ninguno de los países del grupo (aparte de China) está liderando o no está ni de lejos listo para estar en condiciones de negociar y defender que las normas vinculantes sobre comercio digital sean favorables para ellos. Sus economías no están ni cerca de una revolución tecnológica </p><p class="Default">Por ejemplo, es desconcertante que uno de los defensores más fervientes de la posición del FED sea Costa Rica . La economía del país se basa en la exportación de plátanos, café, frutas tropicales, e instrumentos médicos de baja tecnología, y casi la mitad de su población no está ni siquiera en línea. La mayoría de los países del FED están lejos de ser lo suficientemente potentes como para cambiar la negociación en favor de los pequeños actores.</p> <p class="Default">Gigantes tecnológicos con base en EE.UU., junto a los chinos de Alibaba – los llamados GAFA-A (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple – Alibaba) dominan con considerable ventaja el futuro digital en todos sus campos, incluyendo temas tales como identificación y pagos digitales, la conectividad, y la próxima generación de soluciones logísticas. De hecho, hay una carrera descarada en curso entre estos gigantes de la tecnología para consolidar la cuota de mercado en las economías en desarrollo, desde la carrera para hacer crecer el mercado de la publicidad digital a la carrera para multiplicar los pagos en línea.</p> <p class="Default">Imponer una agenda de e-commerce que proclama sin datos de respaldo, un desarrollo sin precedentes para el Sur Global es una jugada de caballo de Troya. Iniciar negociaciones, aún preliminares, en este momento, cuando los gobiernos aún no están preparados para comprender lo que está en juego, podría dar lugar a resultados devastadores, acelerando la liberalización y la consolidación del poder de los gigantes de la tecnología en detrimento de las industrias locales, de los consumidores y de los ciudadanos. </p> <p class="Default">Conscientes del aumento de las disparidades entre el Norte y el Sur, y del dominio de datos por parte de un pequeño grupo de empresas GAFA-A, un grupo de naciones africanas emitieron una declaración oponiéndose a las ambiciones digitales de las compañías del MC11. Pero el panorama político es más complejo, con China, la UE y Rusia apoyando ahora la idea de un mandato "digital".</p> <p class="Default"><strong><em>Lecciones del pasado, repetir los mismos errores</em></strong></p> <p class="Default">La relación de la mayoría de los países con empresas de tecnología está tan desequilibrada como la relación con las grandes industrias farmacéuticas (Big Pharma) , y hay muchos paralelismos a tener en cuenta. No hace mucho tiempo, los países del Sur Global se enfrentaron al poder de las grandes farmacéuticas de una manera similar. Algunos países en desarrollo demostraron el mismo entusiasmo cuando negociaron las normas de propiedad intelectual para la protección de la innovación y los costos de investigación y desarrollo. En realidad, esos países no eran más que usuarios y consumidores de esa innovación, no sus propietarios o creadores. Las lecciones de haber negociado cuestiones comerciales que situadas en el núcleo interés público – como es el caso del acceso a los medicamentos-, resultaron muy costosas. Cuando se trata de negociar las relaciones cada vez más preocupantes y desiguales con las grandes compañías tecnológicas, no se deben olvidar los derechos fundamentales y las vidas de aquellos que usan las tecnologías.</p> <p class="Default">La amenaza que se presenta ante nosotros es tan compleja como &nbsp;perjudicial, se refiere a la configuración de&nbsp; &nbsp;nuestras sociedades en los próximos años. En el pasado, la carrera &nbsp;delBig Pharma era por la exclusividad de las patentes, para eliminar la producción local de genéricos y para mantener altos los precios de los medicamentos . Hoy, la carrera de las Big Tech es para el &nbsp;extractivismo de datos de aquellos que aún no se han conectado a Internet, y las empresas tecnológicas utilizarán todo el poder que tienen para lograr un régimen global en el que naciones pequeñas no pueden regular ni la extracción de datos ni su localización.</p> <p class="Default">La de las Big Tech es una de las industrias más concentradas y con más recursos de todos los tiempos. El poder de negociación de los países en desarrollo es mínimo frente a ellas. Los países en desarrollo solo estarán asegurándose, básicamente, el derecho a cultivar pequeñas parcelas de una tierra controlada por los grandes señores feudales de los datos – y ésto, bajo sus reglas, su mandato y su voluntad – sin que haya prácticamente supervisión pública. Es mucho lo que está en juego. En el centro de todo está la carrera para conquistar los mercados de pagos digitales y la batalla para convertirse en la plataforma central &nbsp;a donde fluyan los datos de todos, repartiéndose el territorio como ya lo hicieron los antiguos imperios en el pasado. Como afirmó&nbsp;<em>The Economist</em>&nbsp;del pasado 6 de mayo 2017 “Los conflictos por el control del petróleo han dejado cicatrices en el mundo durante décadas. A nadie le preocupa todavía que las guerras se luchen por los datos. Pero la economía de datos tiene el mismo potencial de confrontación".</p> <p class="Default">Si los países del hemisferio Sur quieren prepararse para librar guerras sobre quién controlará los datos, deberían empezar a pensar en cómo reducir el control de las grandes compañías tecnológicas sobre la forma en que nos comunicamos, compramos, y conocemos las noticias; sobre el control, una vez más, de nuestras sociedades. La solución no radica en establecer reglas para la liberalización de datos, sino en idear formas de utilizar la ley para reducir el poder de las Big Tech y proteger a los consumidores y los ciudadanos &nbsp;Encontrar el equilibrio llevará algún tiempo, pero nos tomaremos ese tiempo para encontrar el equilibrio adecuado puesto que todavía no estamos preparados para asegurar el futuro.</p><div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> <div class="field-item even"> Internet </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta Democracy and government Economics International politics Internet Renata Avila Burcu Kilic Tue, 12 Dec 2017 13:45:06 +0000 Burcu Kilic and Renata Avila 115258 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Trading away our Privacy; the WTO Ministerial in Buenos Aires https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/burcu-kilic-renata-avila/wto-in-buenos-aires-or-how-digital-giants-are-trading-our <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="Default">If countries from the Global South want to prepare for data wars, they should start thinking about how to reduce the overwhelming control of Big Tech. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/burcu-kilic-renata-avila/la-omc-en-buenos-aires-o-c-mo-los-gigantes-digitales-comp">Español</a></strong></em><strong></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="Default"><strong><em><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/MC11_image03_560x458_1.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/MC11_image03_560x458_1.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="376" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Image: UNCTAD.ORG, Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>The reality check for Argentina</em></strong></p><p class="Default">This week (10-13 December 2017),&nbsp;trade ministers from 164 countries gather together in Buenos Aires for the 11th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC11). President Donald Trump in November issued fresh accusations of <a href="https://insidetrade.com/daily-news/trump-hits-wto-sovereignty-grounds-says-us-will-not-continue-opening-its-markets">unfair treatment toward the US by WTO members</a>, making it virtually impossible for trade ministers to leave the table with any agreement in substantial areas.</p> <p class="Default">To avoid a ‘failure ministerial,” some countries see the solution as pushing governments to open a mandate to start conversations that might lead to a negotiation on binding rules for e-commerce and a declaration of the gathering as the “digital ministerial. Argentina’s MC11 chair, Susana Malcorra, is actively pushing for member states to embrace e-commerce at the WTO, claiming that it is necessary to “bridge the gap between the haves and have-nots”.</p> <p class="Default">It is not very clear what kind of gaps Malcorra is trying to bridge. It surely isn’t the “connectivity gap” or “digital divide” that is growing between developed and developing countries, seriously impeding digital learning and knowledge in developing countries. In fact, half of humanity is not even connected to the internet, let alone positioned to develop competitive markets or bargain at a multilateral level. Negotiating binding e-commerce rules at the WTO would only widen that gap.</p> <p class="Default">Dangerously, the “South Vision” of digital trade in the global trade arena is being shaped by a recent alliance of governments and well-known tech-sector lobbyists, in a group called Friends of E-Commerce for Development (FED), including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Uruguay, and, most recently, China. FED claims that e-commerce is a tool to drive growth, narrow the digital divide, and generate digital solutions for developing and least developed countries. However, none of the countries in the group (apart from China) is leading or even remotely ready to be in a position to negotiate and push for binding rules on digital trade that will be favorable to them, as their economies are still far away from the technology revolution. For instance, it is perplexing that one of the most fervent defenders of FED’s position is Costa Rica. The country’s economy is based on the <a href="https://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/profile/country/cri/">export</a> of bananas, coffee, tropical fruits, and low-tech medical instruments, and almost half of its population is offline. Most of the countries in FED are far from being powerful enough to shift negotiations in favor of small players.</p> <p class="Default">U.S.-based tech giants and Chinese Alibaba – so-called GAFA-A dominate by far the future of the digital playing field, including issues such as identification and digital payments, connectivity, and the next generation of logistics solutions. In fact, there is a no-holds-barred ongoing race among these tech giants to consolidate their market share in developing economies, from the race to grow the advertising market to the race to increase online payments. &nbsp;</p> <p class="Default">An e-commerce agenda that claims unprecedented development for the Global South is a Trojan horse move. Beginning negotiations on such topics at this stage – before governments are prepared to understand what is at stake – could lead to devastating results, accelerating liberalization and the consolidation of the power of tech giants to the detriment of local industries, consumers, and citizens. Aware of the increased disparities between North and South, and the data dominance of a tiny group of GAFA-A companies, a group of African nations <a href="https://www.ip-watch.org/2017/09/29/ecommerce-developing-countries-push-back-idea-new-wto-rules/">issued a statement</a> opposing the digital ambitions of the host for MC11. But the political landscape is more complex, with China, the EU, and Russia now supporting the idea of a “digital” mandate.</p> <p class="Default"><strong><em>Lessons from the past and repeating the same mistakes</em></strong></p> <p class="Default">The relationships of most countries with tech companies are as imbalanced as their relationships with Big Pharma, and there are many parallels to note. Not so long ago, the countries of the Global South faced Big Pharma power in pharmaceutical markets in a similar way. Some developing countries had the same enthusiasm when they negotiated intellectual property rules for the protection of innovation and research and development costs. In reality, those countries were nothing more than users and consumers of that innovation, not the owners or creators. The lessons of negotiating trade issues that lie at the core of public interest issues—in that case, access to medicines—were costly. Human lives and fundamental rights of those who use online services should not be forgotten when addressing the increasingly worrying and unequal relationships with tech power.</p> <p class="Default">The threat before our eyes is similarly complex and equally harmful to the way our societies will be shaped in the coming years. In the past, the Big Pharma race was for patent exclusivity, to eliminate local generic production and keep drug prices high. Today, the Big Tech race is for data extractivism from those who have yet to be connected in the world, and tech companies will use all the power they hold to achieve a global regime in which small nations cannot regulate either data extraction or data localization.</p> <p class="Default">Big Tech is one of the most concentrated and resourceful industries of all time. The bargaining power of developing countries is minimal. Developing countries will basically be granting the right to cultivate small parcels of a land controlled by data lords—under their rules, their mandate, and their will—with practically no public oversight. The stakes are high. At the core of it is the race to conquer the markets of digital payments and the battle to become the platform where data flows, splitting the territory as old empires did in the past. As the <em>Economist</em> claimed on May 6, 2017: “Conflicts over control of oil have scarred the world for decades. No one yet worries that wars will be fought over data. But the data economy has the same potential for confrontation.”</p> <p class="Default">If countries from the Global South want to prepare for data wars, they should start thinking about how to reduce the control of Big Tech over—how we communicate, shop, and learn the news—, again, over our societies. The solution lies not in making rules for data liberalization, but in devising ways to use the law to reduce Big Tech’s power and protect consumers and citizens. Finding the balance would take some time and we are going to take that time to find the right balance, we are not ready to lock the future yet.</p> <p class="Default">&nbsp;</p> <p class="Default">&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> <div class="field-item even"> Internet </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta digitaLiberties Democracy and government Economics International politics Internet Renata Avila Burcu Kilic Tue, 12 Dec 2017 13:39:57 +0000 Burcu Kilic and Renata Avila 115257 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Burcu Kilic https://www.opendemocracy.net/content/burcu-kilic <div class="field field-au-term"> <div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Burcu Kilic </div> </div> </div> <p>Burcu Kilic is an expert on legal, economic and political issues surrounding intellectual property law &amp; policy, trade, information technology, development and innovation. She provides technical and legal assistance to governments and civil society groups around the world and promotes their participation in international rule making. She was the first to develop insightful analyses for policymakers, scholars and activists of trade agreements including for the TPP, TTIP, TISA and RCEP.&nbsp; She completed her Ph.D. at Queen Mary, University of London as a School of Law Fellow, where she taught International and Comparative Patent Law and Policy. She holds degrees from University of London, Stockholm University, and Ankara University and is a SARChI Research Fellow at Institute for Economic Research on Innovation, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa.</p> Burcu Kilic Tue, 13 Jun 2017 11:02:12 +0000 Burcu Kilic 111628 at https://www.opendemocracy.net A new digital trade agenda: are we giving away the Internet? https://www.opendemocracy.net/digitaliberties/renata-avila-burcu-kilic/new-digital-trade-agenda-are-we-giving-away-internet <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Will this foster digital rights, or leave us with even lower standards and a concentrated, quasi-monopolistic market benefiting from public infrastructure?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/hri"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/finalbannerhri2_0.jpg" alt="HRI" width="460px" /></a></p> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-30817511.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-30817511.jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460"/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Trump holding up a chart of regulation at a CEO town hall on the American business climate, April, 2017. Olivier Douliery/ Press Association. All rights reserved. </span></span></span>As we enter the uncertain Trump era with respect to trade policies, one can only guess that big trade players will come back to the multilateral fora, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), as a reliable vehicle to foster their global trade agenda, especially as the free trade agreement (FTA) model fell apart after President Trump took office. Since the Trans-pacific Partnership (TPP) is dead, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) are on hold, a return to the multilateral WTO offers the best chance of progress on e-commerce rules. </p> <p>E-commerce will be one of the key issues at this year’s WTO's Ministerial Conference in Argentina, December 2017 (MC11). The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Argentina – host nation of the MC11 in December and G20 meeting in 2018 – has <a href="https://dig.watch/resources/launch-etrade-all-online-platform">described e-commerce as </a>“an essential part of the future of global trade, to bridge the inequality gap, improve gender equality” and “leapfrog into the twenty first century”. He has urged member states to renew their commitment and mandate to work on e-commerce. </p> <p>In fact, the US and other major developed countries have been promoting the e-commerce agenda since July 2016, by effectively dictating the terms and asking WTO members to remove any so-called regulatory barriers in the global e-commerce market. &nbsp;Along with some developing countries, they are determined to secure a mandate on e-commerce in Argentina despite opposition from many, including African countries and India. ( See the latest discussion in Euro-DIG <a href="https://eurodigwiki.org/wiki/International_trade_agreements_and_Internet_governance_%E2%80%93_Pl_04_2017">here</a>).</p> <p>If they succeed in Buenos Aires, the WTO’s 164 members will negotiate a new agreement on e-commerce. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>One must wonder whether this will be an opportunity to foster digital rights or leave us with even lower standards and a concentrated, quasi-monopolistic market benefiting from public infrastructure? The rhetoric of opportunities for the excluded – connecting the next billion – sounds great, but only if we disconnect it from the current realities of the global economy, where trade deals push for deregulation, for lower standards of protection for the data and privacy of citizens, where aggressive copyright enforcement risks the security of devices, and when distributing the benefits, where big monopolies, tech giants (so called GAFA) based mostly in the US,&nbsp;to put it bluntly, take them all. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>So far, developing countries and civil society actors, while opposing this negotiation, don't have their own digital agenda sorted out. E-commerce markets in developing countries are unprepared, lagging behind in terms of competitiveness and skill. &nbsp;Trade policy-makers in those countries are not yet sufficiently informed on highly technical digital issues. Civil society organizations (CSOs) and digital right activists are unprepared to meet the challenges of a highly technical trade negotiations on e-commerce, with nuances directly affecting the way digital rights and safeguards are deployed.</p> <p>The WTO e-commerce agenda is inevitably complex: it includes far-reaching provisions on the cross-border delivery of services affecting privacy, data protection, consumer protection, cybersecurity and net neutrality, and new Internet-related IP rights in a digital context. These raise significant concerns for the Internet, its global infrastructure, and the right of governments to develop policies and laws that best preserve the free and open internet.</p> <p>There are many unknowns regarding the technological advances ahead, and therefore the digital economy. Given the uncertainty in the policy landscape, devising rules at the WTO that place binding commercial protections above digital rights and public interests could be devastating for global internet law and policy,<strong> </strong>leaving the developing countries with eroded rights and limited freedoms. </p> <p>Never before has a trade negotiation had such a limited number of beneficiaries. Make no mistake, what will be discussed there, with the South arriving unprepared, will affect each and every space, from government to health, from development to innovation going well beyond just trade. Data is the new oil – and we need to start organising ourselves for the fourth industrial revolution. The data lords, those who have the computational power to develop superior products and services from machine learning and artificial intelligence, want to make sure that no domestic regulation, no competition laws, privacy or consumer protection would interfere with their plans.</p> <p>Disguised as support for access and affordability, they want everyone to connect as fast as they can. Pretending to offer opportunities to grow, they want to deploy and concentrate their platforms, systems and content everywhere in the world. Enforcement measures will be coded in technology, borders for data extraction will be blurred, the ability to regulate and protect the data of citizens will be disputed by supranational courts, as local industries cannot compete and local jobs soar. &nbsp;If we are not vigilant, we will rapidly consolidate this digital colonisation, a neo-feudal regime where all the rules are dictated by the technology giants, to be obeyed by the rest of us. </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/hri"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/smallhribanner.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p>More from the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/hri">Human Rights and the Internet</a> partnership.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> United States </div> <div class="field-item even"> Argentina </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> digitaLiberties hri Argentina United States Digital inclusions and exclusions rest of the world Renata Avila Burcu Kilic Tue, 13 Jun 2017 08:54:57 +0000 Burcu Kilic and Renata Avila 111618 at https://www.opendemocracy.net