IN THIS ISSUE
UPCOMING EVENTS


JANUARY  


23-27 Jan, Tauranga


23-30 Jan, Islamabad


25 Jan, Islamabad


31 Jan, Islamabad


FEBRUARY


8-10 Feb, New Delhi


Internet of Things India Expo 2017
8-10 Feb, New Delhi


12-17 Feb, New Delhi


20-22 Feb, Papua New Guinea


20 Feb - 2 Mar, Ho Chi Minh City


MARCH


2-3 Mar, Ho Chi Minh City


6 Mar, Makati


7 Mar, Makati


6-10 Mar, Bangkok


10 Mar, Singapore


11-16 Mar, Copenhagen


20-23 Mar, Bali


21-22 Mar, Bangkok


22-24 Mar, Jakarta


26-31 Mar, Chicago


29-30 Mar, Singapore


IGF Afghanistan
29-30 Mar, Kabul


APRIL


3-7 Apr, Bangkok


3-7 Apr, Perth


3-7 Apr, Rarotonga


MAY


3-4 May, Kuala Lumpur


10-12 May, Phnom Penh


15-18 May, Hyderabad


23-25 May, Singapore


JUNE


28 Jun - 1 Jul, Shanghai


JULY


16-21 Jul, Prague 


22-26 Jul, Bangkok 
   

26-29 Jul, Bangkok
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JANUARY 2017
APAC Connections
  

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. 
Editorial: Reflections on 2016 and Looking Ahead to 2017
Photos from trip to Tilonia, India © Rajnesh D. Singh

The new year is always seen as an opportunity to start afresh. A time of new beginnings also comes with a time of reflection and hope that we can build on the successes of the past year, and make the coming year better than the last one.

2016 was indeed a successful year for the Internet Society (ISOC) Asia-Pacific Team. We were able to leverage many opportunities throughout the year across the region, and together with our members, chapters and partners, we worked towards ensuring that the Internet kept growing and evolving.

For me personally, there were a couple of things that stood out. One was InterCommunity 2016 where we had 11 nodes located throughout the region engaged in robust intra-regional discussions on topical issues.

Another was ISOC's first Regional Internet and Development Dialogue that brought together a wide range of stakeholders to discuss Internet development issues. At the event, we were able to bring the gender perspective to the discussions, and the regional gender and ICT workshop we convened prior was a valuable initiative that helped shape some of the outcomes.

In November, Kathy and I had the opportunity to visit one of the Wireless for Communities (W4C) sites in Tilonia, India. We observed first-hand the transformative nature of the Internet and what it can do for people at the local community level. The visit was a very fulfilling experience that left us even more committed to connect the unconnected.

Looking ahead, 2017 is already shaping to be a busy year regionally and globally.

On the policy front, we have WTDC scheduled in Argentina in Q4 that will consider a range of development-related issues as they apply to Telecom/ICTs and the Internet. Linked to that will be a number of regional preparatory meetings, and we will be following APAC. Also in Q4, India will host the next edition of the Global Conference on Cyberspace.  The Asia-Pacific Regional IGF (APrIGF) will be held in Bangkok in July, and there will be a sprinkling of regional inter-governmental meetings throughout the year organised by APT covering cybersecurity, access, development and ICT-related issues.

On the technical front, APRICOT will be in Viet Nam late February, and we are happy to have again supported its fellowship programme. This year we have further reinforced our focus on gender, with two-thirds of ISOC fellows at the event being women from developing countries. We are also looking at supporting local NOG communities to further capacity building within countries.

In November, Singapore will host the 100th meeting of the IETF, and we hope that can be further encouragement for participation from Southeast Asia in the IETF. Our IETF Outreach initiative in 2016 was focused on Southeast Asia, and we look forward to expanding the initiative to South Asia in 2017. Towards the end of 2016, we added a new team member focused on technical engagement - Aftab Siddiqui, and we look forward to deeper engagement with the regional technical community.

In line with ISOC's 2017 Action Plan, our regional programmes this year will focus on Trust and Access related issues that enable economic, social and human development. 2017 is also our 25th anniversary, and we intend to highlight this milestone throughout the year. You can read more about some of the planned activities here.

The fourth edition of our regional policy survey will go live in February, so please consider responding to that and share your views on regional Internet issues. You can read the findings of the 2016 survey here.

We are looking at convening a series of workshops on online privacy issues and how that impacts on trust and confidence in the Internet; as well as a couple on digital accessibility following our work in Pakistan on the topic in 2016.

Our highly regarded Asia Internet Symposium series has helped provide a forum to discuss Internet issues of local importance, and we expect to host a couple this year.

We will keep you posted as we have further details for these and other activities in the months ahead. To keep up-to-date with where we are, and what we are doing, please follow us on Twitter @ISOCapac and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

We will also shortly release our '2016: The Year That Was Report' which provides a snapshot of what we did over the course of 2016. The report will be available on our website.

On behalf of the ISOC Asia-Pacific Team, we wish you and yours a fulfilling and prosperous year in 2017. We look forward to working with you to build continued confidence and trust in the Internet - and all the opportunities it helps create!

Rajnesh D. Singh
Regional Bureau Director for Asia-Pacific
Guest Article: Embracing Mobile Accessibility - Pakistan Mobile App Awards 2016
by Dr. Syed Ismail Ahmed Shah, Chairman, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority

Photo of Dr. Syed Ismail Ahmed Shah_ Chairman_ Pakistan Telecommunication Authority

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) offer many new and affordable opportunities to Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to contribute productively in the socio-economic development of a country. According to independent sources, between 12 and 15 percent of Pakistan's population have disabilities. This statistic alone gives a strong call for action to explore both human rights and the business case perspectives for removing barriers that limits PWDs from interacting with ICTs in Pakistan.

The Pakistan Mobile App Awards 2016 is a journey that we walked together with the PWDs, in collaboration with the Ministry of Information Technology, Internet Society Asia-Pacific Bureau, Telenor Pakistan, National ICT R&D Fund Company and Special Talent Exchange Program. These awards are probably first of its kind - focused on the development of mobile applications to meet the needs of PWDs in Pakistan.  

We started this journey in December 2015 with a workshop on web accessibility, inviting PWDs to share their accessibility requirements, identify challenges and highlight actions. This workshop led to the creation of a loose group on ICT Accessibility with a mission to address the needs of PWDs.

One of the key needs identified by the group was to increase awareness and build capacity on ICT accessibility in Pakistan. We started a series of seven training workshops in various cities in Pakistan, targeting university students and application developers. The trainings not only enhanced their knowledge, but also provided them with the opportunity to interact with PWDs. Most of the facilitators running these workshops were experts, who themselves were PWDs. This approach also built the capacity and confidence of the PWDs to articulate their needs and influence change.

The Pakistan Mobile App Awards 2016 received a great response from the community, sending us over 30 mobile application proposals to consider. The five best applications will be selected and announced in a ceremony on 31 January 2017.

In developing countries, PWDs have remained largely invisible in mainstream development processes, it is thus, our collective responsibility to promote ICT as a mean for inclusive development, and as a strategy for empowering all groups in society.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the views of the Internet Society.   
2016 Regional Highlights: Mobile Internet, Amendments to Cybersecurity and Privacy Laws, and New Regulations for New Business Models
by Noelle Francesca De Guzman, Regional Programmes Coordinator for Asia-Pacific, ISOC

The year 2016 saw mobile Internet overtaking fixed wireline as the primary means by which users, particularly those in developing countries, access the Internet. The shift is significant for Asia-Pacific, whose countries are in the process of implementing roadmaps to increase broadband penetration while also preparing for an economy that is even more tightly woven with the digital world.

The Philippines puts its recently established Competition Commission to work last year as its two major telecom operators sought to acquire the 700MHz spectrum assets of a potential third player. In India, the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI) made headway on several fronts, deliberating, through public consultations, policies around free mobile data, IP-level interconnection and public Wi-Fi grids, while also extending the validity of data packs to help boost Internet use among first-time users.

With more extensive connectivity came a corresponding uptick in cyberattack incidents last year, resulting in numerous efforts to secure systems and personal information on the Internet. Indonesia became the first country in Asia-Pacific to enact a 'right to be forgotten' provision through its amended Electronic Information and Transactions Law. South Korea has also released guidelines to enable netizens to get self-posted personal data removed from search-engine results and websites, despite reservations from Internet intermediaries. Other governments went the other way: China, in its newly enacted Cybersecurity Law, has subjected ICT firms to periodic security checks while mandating them to store users' data in domestic servers as part of a broader move to centralise state control over information flows.

Indeed, the region's growing concern for security and social stability has in 2016, manifested in ways that have had negative repercussions both for online civil liberties and more broadly, for Internet development in Asia-Pacific. Blocking and censorship, especially in countries that have an ongoing internal conflict, were used more pervasively to prevent the spread of 'false' or culturally sensitive information. In India, mobile Internet services were targeted for suspension in the aftermath of civilian dissent in the states of Kashmir, Gujarat and Haryana. Indonesia has instructed messaging apps to remove lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) related emoticons from the local market. Pakistan, meanwhile, has unblocked YouTube nearly three years after its courts banned it, but only following assurances that it will insert country-specific filters to remove objectionable content. Tighter controls has had adverse effects on business, too: Netflix was amongst the services that pulled out of China last year following greater restriction on streaming media.

Notably, governments in the region came to grips with the rise of new business models, particularly online sharing platforms, and their impact on socio-economic growth. Singapore last year announced regulations for ride sharing apps to legally operate in the city-state. While the Philippines, with World Bank's help, launched the Open Traffic Initiative, which uses GPS information from GrabTaxi drivers to help authorities address urban road congestion. Japan, after a period of regulatory limbo, has considered legally allowing Internet applications to rent out private lodging to tourists, as India puts a cap on 'surge pricing', the spike in fares charged at peak hours, in an attempt to balance consumer welfare and competitiveness in the sector. Internet-based companies are undeterred, for the most part welcoming the regulatory certainty that is crucial in directing their growth.

The year 2016, overall, was a year when more and more dimensions of the online environment became subject to regulation, all of which, for better or for worse, will shape the Internet that we will experience in the year to come.
Profile Feature: Aftab Siddiqui, Technical Engagement Manager - Asia Pacific, ISOC
Photo of Aftab Siddiqui_ Technical Engagement Manager - Asia Pacific_ Internet Society This is a very exciting time to be part of ISOC. The technical landscape of the Internet ecosystem is changing quite rapidly. It is safe to say that we have crossed 15% mark for global IPv6 adoption and it is increasing day by day, but unfortunately, the Asia-Pacific region is lacking behind in this area. The other challenges we have in hand to deal with is the DNSSEC deployment, security infrastructure, policy development and Internet governance in general. ISOC is the right platform to address these challenges and create opportunities for the communities to make a difference.

As a member of the Deploy360 team in the Asia-Pacific region, I will engage with network operators, enterprises, governments, developers, manufacturers of consumer electronics, and other diverse users to encourage deployment of new Internet technologies. My experience in the region and extensive participation in almost all prominent NOGs and other related events will help me achieve this goal.

If you have any suggestions for me or for ISOC in general then share them with me next time you see me in any event in the region or around the globe, or simply reach out to me via email siddiqui@isoc.org or via Twitter @aftabsiddiqui

Find out more about Aftab.
In the News
Big Brother Collecting Big Data - and in China, It's All for Sale
China has wealth of data on what individuals are doing at a micro level. There is an entire network designed to gather the information, and there's an industry of private and state-owned high-tech enterprises serving it. Now it seems, the data these firms collect is for sale.

After government's demonetisation move, it is asking the people to use e-Wallets and make e-Payments, but an e-wallet means nothing unless one has an Internet connection, an Internet-enabled mobile phone, a functional bank account and a credit or debit card.

Fingerprint recognition technology is becoming widely available to verify identities, such as when logging on to smartphones, tablets and computers. But the proliferation of mobile devices with high-quality cameras and social media sites where photographs can be easily posted is raising the risk of personal information being leaked. Fingerprints can be copied based on photos taken by a digital camera three metres away from the subject.

A Telenor report surveyed 12,368 Telenor subscribers and staff members in 2016 and learned that 25% of the adult respondents said they had seen kids being cyberbullied, and 23% of the children said they believed the issue was serious. The report also found that 11% of the child respondents said they had been cyberbullied or were familiar with underage victims of cyberbulling.

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