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Making the future of the Internet economy work for citizens, consumers and workers (2008)


On June 16, 2008, more than 150 participants from 15 countries gathered in Seoul, South Korea, for the Civil Society - Labor Forum "Making the Future of the Internet Economy Work for Citizens, Consumers, and Workers. The event was organized by the Public Voice coalition, the Trade Union Advisory Committee, and the OECD Civil Society Reference group, which includes the Association for Progressive Communications, the Canadian Internet Policy and Public interest Clinic, Consumers Korea, the European Digital Rights Initiative, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Internet Governance Project, and the Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue.


This Forum addressed the issues of utmost importance for the internet economy. Prominent advocates from the academic, consumer, development, digital rights, labour, and privacy communities engaged government delegates on topics of relevance to the Ministerial, as well as issues of fundamental concern to civil society and organized labor.

The Forum consisted of interactive policy roundtables, covering the future of the Internet from 5 perspectives: the Human and political dimension; Towards a better future - Decent work, social justice and sustainable development in a global internet economy; Fuelling
creativity and access to knowledge (A2K); Ensuring consumer and privacy protection and benefiting from convergence.

The civil society and labor participants brought the attention of the assembled OECD Ministers and Member countries to important concerns and aspirations of people around the world. These participants also prepared Civil Society Background paper that was distributed at the OECD Ministerial. And the civil society and labor representatives prepared the Seoul Declaration, which has been signed by more than 80

The groups said that the Future of the Internet Economy should be considered within the broader framework of protection of human rights, the promotion of democratic institutions, and the provision of affordable and non-discriminatory access to advanced communication
infrastructures and services. Economic growth should be for the many and not the few.

The Civil Society Labor Declaration urged the OECD Ministers and member
countries to:

* "Defend freedom of expression and oppose mandated filtering, censorship of Internet content, and criminalisation of content that is protected under international freedom of expression standards.

* "Support the OECD Privacy Guidelines of 1980 as a fundamental policy instrument transborder flow of personal data.

* "Ensure that consumer protection laws are properly enforced and cover digital products to the same extent that other consumer goods and services are covered.

* "Promote learning and training opportunities for workers and to address the challenges brought about by the change of corporations and work by combining policies facilitating both technological and organizational change.

* "Support open access to government-funded scientific and
scholarly works. We further emphasize access to information as a
fundamental right and support the OECD’s continued work in this

* "Support Internet governance structures that reflect democratic values and are transparent and publicly accountable to users.

* "Oppose discrimination by network providers against particular applications, devices, or content and to maintain the Internet's role in fostering innovation, economic growth, and democratic communication.

* "Maintain a balanced framework for intellectual property protection based upon mechanisms that are least intrusive to personal privacy and least restrictive for the development of new technologies, and to promote creativity and learning.

* "Develop a better understanding of the challenge industry consolidations pose to the open Internet.

* "Support the efforts of the OECD to promote access to the full range of the world's cultures and to ensure that the Internet economy reflects the true diversity of language, art, science, and literature in our world. The deployment of International Domain Names should be a priority."

Civil society and organized labor further urged the OECD to establish the Civil Society Advisory Committee. The creation of the OECD Civil Society Advisory Committee will help meet the democratic goals of inclusion, participation, transparency and accountability in international decision-making.

The Public Voice works to promote public participation in decisions concerning the future of the Internet.

Key Issues in Civil Society Declaration are:

* Freedom of expression.
* Protection of Privacy and Transparency.
* Consumer Protection.
* Employment, Decent Work and Skills.
* Promotion of Access to Knowledge.
* Internet Governance.
* Promotion of Open Standards and Net Neutrality.
* Balanced Intellectual Property Policies.
* Support for Pluralistic Media.
* Inclusive Digital Society.
* Cultural Diversity.

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OECD Civil Society Forum in Seoul:

Recommendations and Contributions to the OECD Ministerial Meeting (pdf):

The Civil Society & Organized Labour Seoul Declaration (English) (pdf):

The Civil Society & Organized Labour Seoul Declaration (Korean) (pdf):

The Civil Society & Organized Labour Seoul Declaration (Spanish) (pdf):

The Civil Society & Organized Labour Seoul Declaration (Hungarian)

Declaration Signatures (as of June 23, 2008) (pdf):


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European Commission: Consultation on Personal Data Protection

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This is a listing of events which may be useful for civil society to participate, connect and network on issues relating to information and communication technologies and policies.


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Past Events

Seoul logo

OECD 2008 Ministerial Meeting on the Future of the Internet Economy

Terra Incognita logo

Civil Society Privacy Conference
Sept. 25, 2007

OECD Participative Web Forum
Oct. 3, 2007

Past Public Events

Cape Town Conference »

Wroclaw Conference »

Buenos Aires Conference »

Participation in the World Summit on the Information Society Internet Governance Caucus »

Civil Society Background Paper

Background paper logo