UNESCO to Host Ethical Dimensions of Internet Privacy Workshop

Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS) — “The Ethical Dimensions of the Information Society and Internet Privacy” will be the focus of a two-day consultation and workshop to be held in St. Kitts, September 23 to 24, 2015, to which eight members of the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) have been invited to send representatives.

The event is being coordinated by the St. Kitts-Nevis National Commission for UNESCO in collaboration with the St. Kitts and Nevis Department of Technology and the UNESCO Communication and Information Sector, whose headquarters is in Paris, France.

Antonio Maynard, Secretary General of the St. Kitts-Nevis National Commission for UNESCO noted that this is not the first occasion that the United Nations’ organ has engaged and met with Information Technology (IT) stakeholders in order to “raise awareness and support for the development of a holistic approach to the complex issues in relation to the internet.”

“Over the last couple of years, UNESCO has been drawing attention to numerous possibilities and opportunities that Information and Communication Technology [IT] presents to the world at large for the advancement of all people,” Mr. Maynard said, adding that UNESCO has also highlighted the potential of IT technologies to decrease existing inequality and support new ethical, legal and societal changes.

Mr. Maynard further revealed that one of the key facilitators will be Sandra Cortesi, Director of Youth and Media in the Berkman Centre for Internet and Society at Harvard University. She is responsible for coordinating the Youth and Media programme’s policy, research, and educational initiatives, and leading the collaboration between the Berkman Center and United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF).

The formulation of policies pertaining to the internet, inclusive of ethics and privacy, is expected to be at least one of the outcomes of the consultation and workshop.

“The government of St. Kitts and Nevis should be able to formalize legislation and policies as it relates to the issue of Information, Communication Technology and the internet as a whole,” Secretary General Maynard explained. “The issue of freedom of expression might come to mind as well, since there must be a balance. At the end of the day, the government must be in a better position to create sensible policies to manage this emerging phenomenon.”

Matters of interest that will be discussed during the session include privacy and data protection, cyber-bullying, protecting the digital footprint and the review of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) case studies pertaining to ethical dimensions.

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