Euro-DIG – or the European dialogue on Internet governance – was held earlier this month in Berlin.

What’s Euro-DIG? It’s a forum that’s open to all European stakeholders interested in contributing to an open and interactive discussion on Internet governance issues. The conference provides a place for the exchange of views and best practices and allows participants to raise awareness of important issues.

Technology is moving much faster than regulation. Having a continued dialogue on what’s working – and what’s not – can help ensure regulation doesn’t stifle innovation.

I participated in a panel on the Cloud, the Internet of Things and Big Data. All are contributing to the next wave of the Internet revolution. Just about everything in our world with an electric pulse in it will be connected, seamless and smart. Our content will follow us no matter what device we’re using.

Our panel discussed how these technologies can and will bring wide-ranging benefits to both our societies and our economies. We are at the start of a ‘smart world’, where our homes, our cities, our energy, can become smarter through connectivity. This connected world will have a significant impact on our economy and our quality of life.

As an example:

  • The Cloud: The European Commission notes the cloud economy could generate about €940 billion in GDP and 3.8 million jobs in Europe by 2020.
  • IoT: Studies show the number of connected wireless devices in Europe is expected to grow to nearly six billion by 2020 and the market for Connected Living in Europe could be as large as €234 billion by 2020, a potential increase of more than six per cent to the EU’s GDP.

But a connected world also comes with some policy issues, notably for privacy and security. As technology develops, customer trust is one of the components that are critical for our industry’s sustained growth. If customers do not have confidence that their communications and personal information are kept private and secure, they will be less likely to use those services.

As policymakers look to the new questions raised by these developments, it is important that we have a debate including all stakeholders. We all have a stake in the Internet ecosystem – whether it’s companies that provide connectivity or communications services, governments, app developers, small and large businesses and average consumers.

That’s why it’s critically important that we approach Internet privacy and security from a holistic perspective. We have to strike the right balance, so that people can continue to enjoy the benefits of technology and communications with confidence. Enjoying the economic and social benefits of being connected must not require sacrificing trust.

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