22-23 June 2017,
The Internet is continuing to transform the Central Asia region. Access to Internet is becoming more ubiquitous and affordable driven by expansion of mobile infrastructure. New initiatives in E government, Open Data and biometric identification are expected to lead to greater adoption of ICTs in government, economy, and society. At the same time, access is not universal and government and industry must work to ensure that rural and remote populations, as well as the poor and other marginalized groups can benefit equally from the information revolution.
As more Central Asian citizens come online, the Internet itself is becoming a reflection of society, and of the global geopolitical climate. Cyber security, the protection of critical infrastructure, the status and rights of citizens in handling of their biometric data, and terrorist use of the Internet are issues that urgently require developing new approaches. With increased importance of digital media platforms for civic activism and expressing critical voices, most governments in the region are taking steps to introduce greater control, new surveillance tools and legal frameworks against online dissent.
These are difficult challenges that require a multi-stakeholder partnership of government, industry, and civil society to work together. For instance, renewed efforts are needed to promote basic digital hygiene and help citizens learn the skills necessary to protect themselves online and abide by recognized community standards – to help define acceptable online behavior.
The challenge of the Internet of Things, is quickly becoming the challenge of the “Internet of everything” as new devices and services emerge, creating not only opportunities for new economic activity, but also significant cyber security challenges.
Governments of the region have chosen different strategies in addressing such challenges and continue to face the constraints of limited intergovernmental collaboration, low technical and policy-making capacity, outdated regulatory and legal frameworks, poor institutional infrastructure, and limited funding. The number of public for a where policy-makers interact and exchange informed opinions with private sector, civil society and academic partners remains low. At the same time, most governments have clearly recognized the vast opportunities for growth offered by the digital economy and are working on national strategies of digital transformation.