Hands of a guy on laptop keyboard

Report: Top digital policy developments in 2016 – A year in review

Published on 13 January 2017
Updated on 05 April 2024

The start of 2017 presents an excellent opportunity to look back and reflect on last year. Which were the main highlights, and how did the developments shape digital policy?

Report: Top Digital Policy Developments in 2016The Geneva Internet Platform and DiploFoundation’s latest report, Top Digital Policy Developments in 2016: A Year in Review, sums up the digital policy developments for 2016. The report identifies 20 main developments, and includes – for each development – a summary of facts, analysis into the significance of each development, timelines, and resources.

The overview is based on digital policy developments which expert curators of the GIP Digital Watch observatory followed every month. Throughout the year, the curators looked at hundreds of developments, reporting on them in a neutral way for observatory and monthly newsletters, and analysing them during the GIP’s regular Internet governance discussions and other digital policy events.

Read also: Digital politics in 2017: Unsettled weather, stormy at times, with sunny spells by Dr Jovan Kurbalija

The top 20 digital policy developments in 2016

The digital policy year in 2016 was marked by several important developments, including the adoption of the Privacy Shield, the successful IANA stewardship transition process, the US Presidential election, and a handful of new bilateral cybersecurity agreements. The role of the Internet and ICTs in attaining the sustainable development goals (SDGs) was a recurrent theme.

The interplay between security and privacy was in sharp focus during the Apple/FBI case, which unfolded in the first few months of the year. Although the case was settled before the
courts had the opportunity to consider and rule on the issue, the main dilemmas remained unresolved and are likely to resurface.

Other updates demonstrated the vulnerabilities of certain systems, and how security needs to be prioritised in the coming months. As new technologies are tried, tested, and developed, cybercriminals continue to take advantage of weaknesses, exploiting them for their own financial gain. In 2016, courts played a growing role in shaping digital policy globally. A significant number of court judgments left their mark on various issues. Others served to extend the jurisdiction arm to rule over cases with broad cross‑border elements.

Download the report for the top 20 digital policy developments

The reflections continue throughout January, with further analysis on Diplo’s blog roll and the GIP Digital Watch observatory, culminating on 31 January with the first GIP briefing of the year. Register to join.

Subscribe to Diplo's Blog