This text was published in the ASEF Outlook Report 2016/2017, CONNECTIVITY: Facts and Perspectives.
Together Asia and Europe accommodate more than two billion Internet users, which accounts for about two-thirds of the global user base, and this number is still growing. With the ever-expanding number of users, the Internet drives global social and economic developments; social media is central to the lives of many Asians and Europeans and e-commerce is facilitating international and inter-regional economic linkages. At the same time, with the heightened dependence on the Internet, the risks of cyber threats have exponentially grown. How can Asian and European diplomats capture the benefits of the Internet-facilitated connections, while cooperating to ensure cybersecurity?
This chapter provides an analysis of the digital connectivity between Asia and Europe, seen from a diplomatic perspective. After the introductory remarks, the first section addresses digital geoeconomics and geopolitics and provides an analysis of the impact of the Internet on the fastchanging political, social, and economic environment for diplomatic activities.
The second section outlines the ways in which Asia and Europe deal with digital policy issues as an important pre-condition for more intensive digital connectivity. In particular, the analysis focuses on how the two regions address the main digital policy challenges, including the regulation of the Internet infrastructure, privacy and data governance, cybersecurity, and content policy.