APRIL 2018

23-27 Apr, Guam

28 Apr, Islamabad


1-3 May, Kabul

7-9 May, Tehran

Internet Society Regional Chapter Leaders Workshop for Asia-Pacific and Middle East
11-12 May, Kathmandu

14-18 May, Nonthaburi

THNOG 2018
21 May, Bangkok

21-25 May, Bangkok

22-23 May, Bangkok 


26-28 Jun, Singapore
27-29 Jun, Shanghai
8-12 Jul, Bangkok

9-10 Jul, Hong Kong

11-13 Jul, Tsu

14-20 Jul, Montreal  
15-17 Jul, Singapore

20 Jul, Singapore

Asia Pacific Internet Governance Academy 2018
23-27 Jul, Gwang-ju

24 Jul, Kuala Lumpur

5th Meeting of Working Group of Management Committee on APT Legal Instruments (WGMC-5)
24-26 Jul, Bangkok

26 Jul, Jakarta 

2-10 Aug, Dhaka

  5-9 Aug, Auckland 
13-16 Aug, Port Vila
4th Meeting of the APT Preparatory Group for PP-18
27-30 Aug, Kuala Lumpur

30-31 Aug, Sydney 
APT Symposium on Spectrum Management
3-5 Sep, Philippines

6-13 Sep, Noumea

11-13 Sep, Ha Noi

APT Symposium on Cybersecurity
12-14 Sep, Seoul
18-20 Sep, Singapore

20-21 September, Tashkent  

19th South Asian Telecommunications Regulators' Council Meeting (SATRC-19)
8-10 Oct, Pakistan

20-26 Oct, Barcelona

ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2018
29 Oct - 16 Nov, Dubai


3-9 Nov, Bangkok

International Conference on Cyberlaw, Cybercrime and Cybersecurity
14-16 Nov, New Delhi 
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This is a monthly e-newsletter published by the Internet Society's Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau. It has updates on the Bureau's activities and features insights on the transforming Internet landscape in and around the Asia-Pacific region.

If you like our e-newsletter, you can share it by clicking on the social media links above.  
Connected Devices and Trust: The Data Privacy Issue Extends to IoT too
In recent weeks there has been much discussion and debate - and indeed alarm - over the state of online personal data privacy.

How much control we really have over our data, how that data is mined and used, and by whom, are all open questions - with limited clarity on what the answers are. Even reading the terms and conditions of the service provider is typically full of vague references: "we may use...", "we may provide or share...data...with third parties...", etc.

When we are signing up for a "free" service, it should generally be assumed the provider will in some way or form mine the data from our activities on that platform to generate revenue for themselves.

But what about when we buy a connected device - an IoT (Internet of Things) device that comes with a subscription to a software application of some sort to make use of its "connected" function. Based on the devices I have bought thus far, every single one of them has asked me (perhaps I should say "forced me") to consent to their terms and conditions before I could make use of the functions I bought the device for in the first place!

One device would not even function until I connected it to the Internet and went on the manufacturer's website to "activate" the device. To activate the device, I needed to essentially consent to the use of my data by the manufacturer (yes, with lots of the vague terminology I mentioned earlier). In other words, I could not even use the device if I did not consent to my data being mined, shared and whatever else they'll do with it. But in this case, I had PAID for the device. There was no indication on the device packaging that I would have to give up my soul to use it...

We have already seen security issues in a range of connected devices - from cameras to cars to toys. With the number of IoT devices expected to be in the tens of billions in just a couple of years from now, the need to secure IoT has never been greater. Data privacy is one issue, but there are many others including device security, access security, encryption, etc.

There are many actors with a role to play and we recently released a discussion paper on IoT Security for Policymakers that helps highlight some key issues along with recommendations. We are also working on a number of other papers as part of our work around Securing IoT.

User awareness is key. Ultimately, it is the users who will buy devices, and making a conscious decision to buy a device that meets a minimum set of guidelines such as the Online Trust Alliance IoT Framework is one way to get manufacturers and vendors to ensure their products and services respect the security of users and devices alike.
Rajnesh Singh
Regional Bureau Director for Asia-Pacific 
The Internet of Things and Accessibility for People with Disability   
by Gunela Astbrink, Principal, GSA InfoComm

The rapid evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT) raises challenges of privacy, security and interoperability. These issues are just as relevant to the accessibility of IoT devices for people with disability.

Let us consider the impact for people with disability of IoT applications in the smart home environment.

People with physical disability use ambient assistive technologies that are especially designed to support independent living. This may include control of lighting, doors, heating, entertainment and security systems integrated through accessible interfaces, through voice commands or specially designed control systems. These assistive technologies have been expensive. Now we see Google, Amazon, Apple and other major corporations offering smart home systems for the general public at low cost.

Innovative solutions for people with disability have led to mainstream implementation. If a specific application has a mainstream use, this brings costs down and increases the reach of the device. Examples are the scanner (from the Kurzweil reading machine for blind people) and voice recognition (originally for people with limited hand functionality who could not use a keyboard). This is now happening with IoT home devices.

Paradoxically, people with disability may encounter new barriers due to lack of interoperability between devices and inaccessible user interfaces.

Mainstream software should be interoperable with various devices and also with a person's assistive technology. A home assistant device can turn on or off a TV but may not be able to turn on captions on the TV. The way interfaces communicate with each other may be limited due to business decisions to operate in closed or semi-closed environments. This is detrimental for consumers and may lead to negative business outcomes in the medium to long term.

When user interfaces are based on universal design principles, devices meet the needs of many more people in the community. Intuitive and accessible user interface design means that people of all ages and mental abilities can easily use a home assistant device. Markets with ageing populations especially benefit. User testing and advice by people with disability in the early stages of the design process will lead to more user friendly and accessible products.

As IoT policies, plans and standards are being developed at global, regional and national levels, it is important that accessibility issues are incorporated to ensure that innovations in IoT do not exclude people with disability.

In the Asia-Pacific region, one in six people lives with disability, and this is likely to increase. Thus, it is more important than ever at this juncture to mainstream accessibility considerations in IoT developments.

The Internet Society has developed an Accessibility Toolkit that will be available online soon.

Note: This article is based on a workshop report from the 2017 Internet Governance Forum. The workshop brought together experts from the private sector, civil society, technical community and international organisations.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the views of the Internet Society.
Digital Empowerment of Women in South Asia
by  Waqas Hassan, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority

The Internet Society Pakistan Islamabad Chapter organised a webinar on "Digital Empowerment of Women in South Asia" last month. Internet Society Chapter leaders, members and staff participated in the online event.

I started the webinar by welcoming the participants on behalf of the Pakistan Islamabad Chapter. Following a quick round of introductions, Joyce Dogniez, Internet Society's Senior Director of Global Community Engagement, shared the importance and relevance of the UN-EQUALS partnership - a unique collaboration between state and non-state actors to bridge the digital gender divide. Joyce shared that the Internet Society is an important part of this partnership that emphasises improving ICT access, imparting digital skills and promoting the leadership of women. Together they can have a profound community impact.

The next session featured updates from Chapter leaders in South Asia on the various initiatives being undertaken to empower women. Sagarika Wickramasekera from the Sri Lanka Chapter shared information about some of their initiatives including WomenIGF, IT training for girls at school and Internet learning programmes for women entrepreneurs. Sidra Jalil from the Pakistan Islamabad Chapter provided details of some of the opportunities for women in Pakistan such as the government-led Girls in ICT programme, Microsoft's teacher training programme and the women entrepreneur quota at national incubation centres. Amrita Choudhury from the India Delhi Chapter highlighted many initiatives launched by the Government of India and civil society to promote digital literacy, skills development and financial inclusion in India. They include Sarvasikhshya Abhiyaan, Beti Padhao Beti Bachao, Digital India, Project Gyaan, Self-Employed Women's Association and Swayam Krishi Sangam. Sneha Tambe from the India Mumbai Chapter informed that they have organised several seminars related to digital entrepreneurship, FinTech, application development and the Marathi Wikipedia session for the digital empowerment of women.

Subhashish Panigrahi, Chapter Development Manager for the Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau moderated an open session where participants shared their perspective on the topic. The session recognised the need for collaborative efforts and subregional harmony to utilise the potential of the Internet for sustainable social, economic and political empowerment of women in South Asia.

In her closing remarks, Agustina Callegari, Internet Society's Global Engagement Manager, shared that the webinar provided valuable insights and a good subregional overview of the efforts to empower women through digital means. She introduced the SIG Women initiative, which aims to promote and support women-centric digital initiatives around the globe.

Corrigendum: The first paragraph of the Chapter News in the March 2018 issue of APAC Connections that reads, "The Internet Society Chapters in South Asia organised a webinar" should read, "The Internet Society Delhi Chapter organised a webinar".
Poornima Meegammana, Sri Lanka - Awardee of the Internet Society 25 under 25 Program
Photo of Poornima Meegammana

Over the past few months we have been featuring awardees under the Internet Society 25 under 25 program from the Asia-Pacific region. The program selected 25 exceptional young people under the age of 25 from around the globe who are using the Internet to make a difference in people's lives - six awardees and one honorable mention recipient are from the region. This initiative was part of the Internet Society's 25th anniversary celebrations, and a special recognition ceremony for the 25 under 25 program was held on September 18, 2017. Watch video here.

Poornima Meegammana founded the Respect Girls on Internet project out of concern for her teenage peers in Sri Lanka, many of whom face online hostility. Her experience is that teenagers typically start using the Internet without any knowledge about cyber safety or privacy.

Poornima and her team of volunteers worked with partners to make digital content on Internet safety available in local languages to ensure accessibility for all. One of the project's most significant outputs is a Cyber Privacy e-Handbook, for teenagers new to the Internet, as well as teachers and parents.

Through her project, Poornima has enabled safer and more respectful Internet use, helped support victims of cyber harassment, and developed a network of youth committed to preventing future harassment. She is solving a problem rooted in the Internet by using the Internet.
Android Ransomware on the Rise in Asia-Pacific
According to Malwarebytes, Android ransomware is the cyberthreat that has increased the most in the Asia-Pacific region, rising by 1173% from the the fourth quarter of 2017 to the first quarter of 2018. Machine learning anomaly detections also rose by 480%.

New laws for digital currency exchange providers operating in Australia have been implemented earlier this month by AUSTRAC, Australia's financial intelligence agency and anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulator.

China is expected to account for 50% of the smart cities in Asia, according to Frost & Sullivan. The global smart city market is expected to grow to over USD 2 trillion by 2025. Asia-Pacific is also expected to be the fastest growing region in the smart energy - or distributed energy generation - space over this time.

This article discusses what really drives fake news in India, including clickbait, votes and WhatsApp journalism. According to the article, the task before policymakers now is to draw up legislation to clamp down on the fake news that is funded by the government itself and its affiliates for electoral currency.

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