January 30, 2018

SEEsummary | January 2018

Issue no. 14 of the SEEsummary, published on 30 January 2018, by SEEDIG, in collaboration with DiploFoundation and the Geneva Internet Platform. This issue covers Internet governance and digital policy developments and events that occurred in South Eastern Europe and the neighbouring area in December 2017 and January 2018. Contributors: Qanita Abedpour, Andreea Belu, Maja Calović, Lianna Galstyan, Andrijana Gavrilović, Su Sonia Herring, Loreta Kroj, Olga Kyryliuk, Dajana Mulaj, Dušan Stojičević, Oliana Sula, Sorina Teleanu.

 

Developments in December 2017 and January 2018

Telecommunications infrastructure | Domain Name System | Cybercrime | Child safety online | Access | Development | Capacity development | Taxation | E-money and virtual currencies | Jurisdiction | Trademarks | Content policy

Telecommunications infrastructure

 

Slovenia and Hungary sign agreement on 5G pilot project

Electronic communications regulators in Slovenia and Hungary have joined forces in the development of a pilot project aimed at deploying 5G technologies for public safety, protection, and rescue activities. The memorandum signed between the two countries is expected to contribute to a more efficient management of incidents, and reduce the costs of disasters and other extraordinary events. The implementation of the project will involve determining a frequency spectrum to be used for the targeted 5G communications, and developing technical solutions to enable priority and fast transfer of a large quantity of data. The project is likely to receive European funding due to its international character.

SEE countries conclude agreements on the allocation of frequencies for digital television

In the framework of the South European Digital Dividend Implementation Forum (SEDDIF), held on 5 December 2017 in Budapest, Hungary, twelve countries in the region concluded a Multilateral Framework Agreement on the allocation of frequencies for future digital terrestrial television in the frequency band 470-694 MHz. The co-signatories – electronic communications regulatory authorities in Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Hungary, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, and Ukraine – approved a frequency plan for digital television in the aforementioned band. Bilateral agreements on the same topic were also concluded on the margins of the meeting.

Bosnia and Herzegovina to grant license for the use of the 400 MHz band

The Communications Regulatory Agency (CRA) of Bosnia and Herzegovina issued a public call for granting a license for the use of the available block of frequencies in the range 410.00-415.85 / 420.00-425.85 MHz for the provision of fixed voice telephony services and the transmission of data packets. The agency’s decision to allocate the 400MHz band was determined by the interest expressed by private network operators, as well as by the need to enhance the availability and quality of electronic communications service in the country, and to encourage further market competition. The call was published in the country’s Official Gazette on 9 January and stays open for a period of 45 days.

Croatia establishes Council on State Information Infrastructure

The Croatian Government took the decision to establish a Council on State Information Infrastructure, with the role to advise the government on issues related to the development, planning, and implementation of decisions and strategies in the field of digital society and state information infrastructure. The Council will also be responsible for monitoring and coordinating the development of state information infrastructure. Among its first tasks, the new body is expected to work on the implementation of a national programme for the development of broadband infrastructure in rural areas where the private sector does not have sufficient interest to invest.

Moldova plans new electronic communications regulations for 2018

In Moldova, the National Regulatory Agency for Electronic Communications and Information technology (ANRCETI) plans to issue new regulatory acts in 2018, in order to bring its previous decisions in line with the new provisions of the Law on Electronic Communications, republished on 17 November 2017. These regulatory acts are intended to create the necessary conditions for effective competition on the electronic communications market, to implement mechanisms to ensure the access and interconnection of electronic communications networks and/or services, to ensure a more efficient use of radio frequencies and numbering resources, as well as increase the level of protection of the rights of end-users of publicly available electronic communications services. ANRCETI also plans to issues recommendations on the self-regulation of filtering services of Internet content with bad effect on children, provided by providers of electronic communications networks and/or services. In line with this programme, a new regulation on the general authorisation and licensing regime for electronic communications was adopted in December 2017 and entered into force in January 2018.

 

Domain Name System

 

MoU signed between ICANN and Armenia

Göran Marby, President and CEO of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and Vahan Martirosyan, the Minister of Transport, Communication and Information Technology (MTCIT) of Armenia, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), on 19 December 2017, during the 12th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Geneva, Switzerland. The MoU reflects the ongoing cooperation between the two parties, as well as with the .am and .հայ registries – managed by the Internet Society of Armenia – in areas such as developing the domain name industry, supporting the use of Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs), and promoting the multistakeholder model of Internet governance. Both sides have expressed a desire to work together to further develop platforms for raising awareness and understanding about ICANN’s mission (such as the Armenian IGF and Armenian School on Internet Governance), and to strengthen the participation of Armenian stakeholders in ICANN activities with events.

.by does better in 2017 compared to 2016

New data published in Belarus by the registry of the .by and ..БЕЛ country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) show that 2017 was a good year for Belarusian domains. More than 31 000 new .by and .БЕЛ  domains were registered in 2017, with a total of 137 319 domains in both ccTLDs. Of these, 11% are IDNs, registered in Cyrillic, under .БЕЛ. The stats also show that .by domain names are most popular in Belarus, Russia, Germany, and the USA, while .БЕЛ are most popular in Belarus and Russia. The registry also noted a recent trend related to a wave of registration of .by domain names connected with blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies (i.e. domain names containing words such as coin, crypto, mining, and blockchain).

Azerbaijan experiences 18% growth of domain names registered in .az

In Azerbaijan, the number of domain names registered in the .az ccTLD is reported to have increased by 18% in 2017, reaching a total of 28 986 .az domains at the end of the year. Among these, 27 104 domain names are registered directly under .az (18.6% higher compared to the beginning of 2017), while the rest are domain names under second level strings. The most popular second-level string is .com.az, with 1 098 domains (6.3% more than in 2016), followed by .edu.az, with 321 domains (31% more than in 2016).

 

Cybercrime

 

File Spider ransomware targets SEE countries

A malspam campaign targeted Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia in early December, and involved the distribution of a ransomware called File Spider. Victims were given a 96-hour deadline to pay the ransom, otherwise their data would be deleted. The e-mails through which the ransomware was distributed included information about debt collection, thus encouraging users to read the e-mail and open the .doc attachment. After users clicked an ‘enable editing’ button, the hidden malicious macros were run and executed. The attackers included the option of allowing users to switch between different languages in which the ransom letters were displayed.

Illegal streaming network taken down

Europol and local authorities in Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Greece took down an illegal large-scale Internet protocol television (IPTV) streaming network which was being run by a criminal group accused of illegally distributing pay-TV subscriber channels. The services seem to have involved Greek, Cypriot and foreign TV channels, which were illegally offered throughout Europe through retailers. The operation involved the arrest of four individuals and the carrying out of searches in 17 houses in Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Greece. It was led by the Intellectual Property Crime Unit of the Cypriot Police and supported by the Cybercrime Units of the Bulgarian and Greek Police, the Dutch Fiscal Investigative and Intelligence Service, and Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition (IPC³). The authorities seized 84 servers and 70 satellite receivers, together with other devices and documents, and shut down the servers used to distribute the channels.

 

Child safety online

 

Child safety online guide for parents and educators

In Romania, the Ministry for Communications and Information Society and CERT-RO have published a Child safety online guide for parents and educators. The Guide starts by outlining main risks that children may face in the digital space, from accessing violent and pornographic content to cyber-bullying and sexual exploitation, as well as being attracted to illegal activities. It then provides recommendations on possible technical protective measures (such as using parental control tools, activating safety and confidentiality settings for online services), and advises parents and educators to educate children on the risks they could face and how they could protect themselves online.

UNICEF presents report on children in the digital age

A UNICEF report on The State of the World Children 2017 was presented in Romania on 11 January and Serbia on 12 January, by UNICEF and local ministries. The report looks into how digital technologies affect the lives of children and outlines related dangers and opportunities. At the global level, one in three Internet users is a child, but one-third of the world youth is not connected to the Internet. During the presentations, several recommendations were outlined (drawn from the report): placing children at the core of digital policies, developing digital skills among children and protecting them against online risks, promoting ethical standards and practices among the private sector with the aim to protect and support children in the online space, and respecting and enforcing children rights online (such as the right to privacy and the right to information).

 

Access

 

EU reinforces plans to abolish roaming fees with Western Balkans

The European Commission intends to present a plan on the elimination of mobile roaming fees between the EU and Western Balkans during the EU-Western Balkan relations summit which will be held in Bulgaria in May 2018. Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, plans to extend the ban on mobile roaming charges currently applicable within EU to countries in the Western Balkans. The Commissioner did not offer details on an implementation timeframe, pointing out that it will likely take a long time to achieve the goal. The reduction (and, eventually, abolition) of roaming charges between the EU and Western Balkan countries is also among the priorities of Bulgaria, which holds presidency of the EU Council for the first half of 2018. Dimitar Tzantchev, the Bulgarian ambassador to the EU, called existent rates of 2 or 3 euros per minute excessive.

Bulgaria and Serbia sign memorandum on reducing international roaming charges

Serbia became the second Western Balkan country (following The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) with which Bulgaria has signed an agreement on the reduction of international roaming charges. The changes are expected to take effect within three to six months. The Bulgarian and Serbian governments will work on encouraging the mobile operators to sign contracts that would lead to a permanent reduction of retail prices of services in roaming for end-users. The step is consistent with Bulgaria’s general policy course aimed at connectivity upgrade in the region and abolition of roaming charges between the Western Balkans and the EU.

Vodafone mobile services disrupted in parts of Ukraine

On 11 January, mobile operator Vodafone Ukraine announced that its mobile services have been disrupted in the areas that are not under control of the Ukrainian government in Luhansk and Donetsk regions. The disruption was caused by a damage affecting the main cables of the telecom lines deployed in the two regions. Speaking about the situation, the company initially said that it cannot examine or repair its damaged equipment if there are no official permission and security guarantees. Vodafone further explained that it abides by Ukrainian legislation, which does not allow it work or conduct any economic or commercial activity in the affected regions. Following requests for permission to access the affected equipment, the company was able to fully restore services in the Luhansk region. Despite the fact that the main communications channel was repaired, the network in Donetsk was still not restored as of 22 January.

Romania: More than 3000 rural areas not covered by next generation networks

The National Authority for Management and Regulation in Communications (ANCOM) of Romania has identified a total of 3251 villages (with almost one million inhabitants) that are not covered by next generation networksMoreover, there are no known plans for telecom operators to invest in deploying NGN networks in these localities in the upcoming three years. According to the data published by the authority, and based on information provided by network operators, 1781 villages are covered by fixed networks allowing data transfer speeds between 2 and 30 Mbps, while 2481 villages are covered by at least one mobile Long Term Evolution (LTE) network. Some of the identified villages could be targeted by state aid schemes provided by the Ministry of Communications and Information Society with the aim to incentivise the construction of networks that can provide speeds of more than 30 Mbps.

 

Development – other issues

 

Armenia to create a high-tech cluster

On 20 December 2017, representatives of the Armenian Blockchain Forum (ABF) met the President and the Government of Armenia to present and discuss a roadmap for the creation of a high-tech cluster in Armenia. The proposed cluster is intended to provide an adequate infrastructure and conditions for technological projects from around the world to be developed in Armenia. The initiative’s first step of implementation, to cover the first six months of 2018, will involve the opening of an international accelerator platform for launching and developing innovative projects from around the world, and the setting-up of technical platforms and industrial data centres to support decentralised ledger technology. As a result of the January meeting, the creation of a free economic zone (FEZ) within the cluster was confirmed. FEZ residents will be exempt from corporate tax and from VAT when providing services and supplying goods in the FEZ. It is expected that the initiative will boost the development of high technologies in Armenia, attracting investors and creating new jobs. ABF also plans to work with Armenia’s leading universities on a series of educational and research programmes.

Ukraine adopts Concept for the development of digital economy and society

The Ukrainian government adopted the Concept for the development of digital economy and society, for the period 2018–2020. The document, accompanied by an action plan, sets a roadmap for the digital transformation of the national economy. It defines policies, priority areas, initiatives, and projects for the digitalisation of Ukraine, and the transition from a raw-material type of economy, to an economy based on high-tech industries. The main priorities will involve the development of digital infrastructure (by providing broadband Internet across the entire country), the digitalisation of educational processes, and the stimulation of digital transformations in areas such as medical services, economy, cashless economy, transport, and public safety. The transition to a digital economy is expected to improve the Ukrainian gross domestic product (GDP) by 5% by 2021.

Mobile ID launched in Ukraine

Ukrainian telecom operator Kyivstar launched a Mobile ID pilot project. At the moment, the service is available to a limited number of subscribers, but, if successful, it will be commercialised from 1 June 2018. Mobile ID allows users to carry out electronic identification for the purposes of accessing electronic services. The electronic signature (personal key) of the citizen is recorded on the new generation SIM-card, that is issued based on passport data and personal identification codes. The validity of the electronic signature incorporated in the Mobile ID is to be prolonged every two years. Starting 2018, Mobile ID can be used to access electronic services related to land and business registration. Lifecell will launch Mobile ID in February 2018, and Vodafone Ukraine by mid-2018.

 

Capacity development

 

SHARE Foundation launches TV series on Internet and new technologies

The structure of the Internet, virtual reality, new media, privacy, electronic surveillance, and freedom of expression on the Internet constitute some of the main topics of a new documentary series –  In the network broadcasted on Serbian national TV, and created by the SHARE Foundation. The series will have 10 episodes that are split into three parts: the history of technological development, popular culture, and global and national trends. All episodes, in the form of interviews, will be available on the website umrezi.rs. Among the interviewees, SHARE spoke to Peter Sunde, one of the founders of The Pirate Bay, Julia Reda, a member of the German Pirate Party in the European Parliament, Joe McKenna, Executive Director of the European Network for Digital Rights (EDRi), Dunja Mijatović, former OSCE Representative for Freedom of the Media, and Din Starkmen, winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

Cybersecurity training for children and parents

Mobile operator Azercell Telecom LLC has started to provide cybersecurity training for school children, teachers, and parents, at secondary schools of Baku, Azerbaijan. In cooperation with Azerbaijan Teacher Development Centre, the company organised a first training event on Internet security and digital citizenship on 12-16 December.  The training covered possible dangers for children, schools, and families, stemming from the use of technology, discussed possible ways to prevent such dangers, and provided practical tips for the safe use of the Internet The parents joined the training course on the last day of the event. Azercell plans to expand the project to regions across the country in 2018.

Second edition of the Armenian School on Internet Governance launched

On 13 January, the Internet Society NGO in Armenia launched the second edition of the Armenian School on Internet Governance (ArmSIG). Out of a total of 89 applicants, 38 students were selected; they come from different universities of Armenia, study different disciplines, and are between 14 and 41 years old. The five-month free course, provided in cooperation with the United Armenian Volunteers League, will take place once in a week at the American University of Armenia. The course is structured around six sections: introduction, technical, legal, security, economic, and sociocultural. Local and international experts are invited to speak on Internet governance topics, in different formats: Q&A, debates, webinars, open discussions, and workshops.

 

Taxation

 

Turkey introduces uniform special communication tax

Starting 1 January 2018, Turkey introduced a uniform rate for its special communication tax. For all establishments, takeovers, transfers, and communication services within the scope of mobile electronic communications management of all kinds, the tax rate decreased from 25% to 7.5%. For services relating to the transmission of radio and television broadcasts over satellite and cable platforms, as well as for other electronic communication services, the decrease was from 15% to 7.5%. The only tax rate increase, from 5% to 7.5%, is for the provision of wired, wireless or mobile Internet services.

 

E-money and virtual currencies

 

Belarus regulates the use of blockchain technology

In December 2017, the President of Belarus signed a Decree on the development of the digital economy, which, among others, makes Belarus the ‘first world’s jurisdiction with the overall legal regulation of businesses based on blockchain technology‘. Overall, the decree is aimed at creating a favourable environment for world-known IT companies to enter the Belarusian market and open offices in the country. It does so by giving a special legal status to the High-Tech Park created in 2015, in the sense that legal entities which perform blockchain-related activities and are residents of the Park will not pay taxes for such activities (until 2023), and will be exempted from certain regulations (such as those concerning securities market and foreign currency). While any legal person can create digital tokens, use Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), and conduct any other operations on cryptocurrencies markets, the intermediaries of such activities need to be residents of the Park. Natural persons are allowed to own token and carry out activities such as mining, transacting, and buying/selling cryptocurrencies, which are not considered forms of entrepreneurship, and are therefore tax-free.

 

Jurisdiction

 

Ukraine introduces limitations on the seizure of computers and other information systems

The President of Ukraine signed a law which brings significant amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure. Among them, a ban is introduced on the seizure of computers and other information and telecommunication systems by law enforcement authorities (LEAs). Instead of seizing the equipment, LEAs can, if necessary, make copies of the data, which are considered to have the same evidential value as the original itself. The copying of data must be done by a specialist, and the process must be video recorded. The copied data can only be used as evidence if accompanied by the video recording. The amendments also stipulate that a lawyer should always be present during searches conducted by LEAs. If this is not the case, the seized documents or equipment cannot be used as evidence. There are, nevertheless, instances when LEAs can temporarily seize equipment for further investigation; this can happen, for example, when access to data is password-protected and further technical expertise is needed.

 

Trademarks

 

Turkish courts ban Twitter’s use of the Periscope brand

Twitter has lost another battle to register its brand Periscope for live broadcasting and streaming service in Turkey. After filing a trademark application for Periscope in 2015, the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office (TURKPATENT) decided Twitter can only be registered in one of the six classes it had initially applied for, motivating that the brand cannot be registered as a trademark for the other classes because of earlier registered trademark rights of third parties. Twitter filed a revocation action against TURKPATENT’s decision before the Intellectual and Industrial Property Rights Civil Court of Ankara, which has now confirmed the previous ruling. The company currently uses the brand name Scope for its broadcasting services.

 

Content policy

 

Website blocking in Belarus raises international concerns

Decisions taken over the past few months by the Ministry of Information in Belarus to order the blocking of certain websites has led to concerns being raised at international level. The most recent order, published by the ministry on its website on 25 January, concerns the ‘restriction of access to the Internet resources charter97.org’, on the ground that the website has disseminated information prohibited by the country’s legislation on mass media. According to the ministry, the website had distributed information that could potentially damage the national interests of Belarus, as well as materials considered of extremist nature. A similar decision was taken in December 2017 with regard to the website belaruspartisan.org. These developments led to concerns related to human rights and media freedom, both within the country and at international level. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Representative of the Media Harlem Désir ‘called on the authorities to ensure unrestricted access to the Internet’, noting that such actions ‘are detrimental to the enjoyment of the basic human right to receive and impart information’. The European People’s Party Vice President Paulo Rangel expressed concerns ‘about the pressure on the independent media’, following a visit to Minsk.

Hate speech law drafted in Croatia

Croatian authorities have reportedly drafted a law aimed at regulating hate speech, incitement to violence, and fake news in the online space. The country already has several laws in place tackling hate speech such as the Criminal Code and the Electronic Media Law. There are concerns that the new law might lead to limitations of freedom of expression and could fail to have the desired impact due to implementation issues, as it is the case with current legislation on the topic. Moreover, such a law is seen to shift the responsibility for enforcing the law from the state to private actors such as online social media platforms – a practice referred to as privatised law enforcement. In January, the Electronic Media Council announced that, in 2017, it received 37 reports of possible forms of hate speech in electronic media, but that none of them were determined to constitute hate speech in the understanding of the Croatian Electronic Media Law.

Slovenian and Macedonian media regulators sign cooperation agreement

The Agency for Communication Networks and Services (AKOS) in Slovenia and the Audiovisual and Audiovisual Media Services Agency (AVMU) in The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the aim to enhance the exchange of ideas and plans and undertake activities of joint interest. The parties agreed to exchange information about the development of policies and strategies in the area of electronic media services regulation, about the implementation of the parties’ national regulations, as well as about amendments and modifications brought to existing regulations. Where appropriate, the two countries will take joint actions and positions before the European and other international organisations working in the sphere of electronic media services.  

SEE representatives appointed by the European Commission on High level group on fake news

The European Commission appointed 39 experts to a new High level group (HLEG) on fake news and online disinformation, which brings representatives of social media platforms and news media organisations, journalists, technology companies, civil society, and academia. The HLEG will advise the Commission on scoping the phenomenon of fake news, defining the roles and responsibilities of key actors, and formulating recommendations for ways and means to address the issue of fake news and online disinformation. Some members of the group some from the SEE region.

 

Events in December 2017 and January 2018

 Infrastructure | Cybersecurity and cybercrime | Development | Economic | Content policy | IGF initiatives

Infrastructure

 

UADOM | 1 December 2017 | Kiev, Ukraine

The conference, which marked the 25th anniversary of the .ua ccTLD of Ukraine, was organised by Hostmaster (the registry operator for .ua) in partnership with ICANN and with the support of the local domain name. It involved more than 200 Internet professionals from Ukraine and the international community and featured discussions on topics such as history, trends, and forecasts in the domain name system (DNS), DNS security and stability, and legal and technological aspects of domain names. It was underlined during the event that .ua is one one the oldest and most dynamic ccTLDs in the region.

CIS Spectrum Management Conference & ITU Regional Workshop on Practical Use of Radio Regulations | 12-15 December 2017 | Yerevan, Armenia

The conference was devoted to discussions on the management of radio-frequency spectrum by countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Topics covered included the digital switchover, spectrum for 5G, fundamentals of spectrum management, spectrum utilisation by terrestrial and space radiocommunication system, and ways in which spectrum policies can help bring affordable connectivity to all. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) workshop discussed ITU activities in radiocommunications, and issues related to terrestrial and space radiocommunication services.

 

Cybersecurity and cybercrime

 

Third International Conference on Information Security and Digital Forensics | 8-10 December 2017 | Thessaloniki, Greece

The Joint Conference on Information Security and Digital Forensics (ISDF2017) and on Computing Technology and Information Management (ICCTIM2017) consisted of presentations and discussions on issues related to cybersecurity, digital forensics, and information assurance and security management. Some of the specific topics tackled included safety and security in the Internet of Things (IoT) era, segmentation and security in virtual area networks, cloud computing security, trends and future directions in voice technologies, and cybersecurity and data protection.

Regional Workshop on Sharing Good Practices on Reporting Mechanisms in South-Eastern Europe and Turkey | 20 December 2017 | Skopje, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

The workshop brought together prosecutors, cybercrime investigators, representatives of ministries of justice, Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), and private companies from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, and Kosovo*. Discussions revolved around issues related to cybercrime reporting mechanism, methods to collect reports, the impact of reports on information sharing, investigation of criminal cases, and statistical purposes. The event provided participants with an opportunity to share good practices from the region on online platforms for reporting cybercrime.

Cybercrime Simulation Exercise | 15-18 January 2018 | Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The four-day Cybercrime Simulation Exercise gathered cybercrime investigators, digital forensics specialists, prosecutors, and experts from other areas, with the purpose to enhance cooperation and coordination among different sectors, as well as to minimise the number of cybercrime cases and illegal money flows in the digital space. The event was organised by the Cybercrime Programme Office of the Council of Europe, through iPROCEEDS, a joint project of European Union and the Council of Europe.

3rd International Conference on Cyber Security and Privacy | 24-27 January 2018 | Prishtina, Kosovo*

The conference, at its third edition, was dedicated to raising awareness on the importance of information security and of privacy in the digital era. The first day tackled general cybersecurity challenges, national cybersecurity strategies, cyberbullying, and fake news. The second and third day included discussions on issues related to cybercrime investigation and the exploitation of social networks, deep web, and dark web. The last day featured, among others, an 8-hour hackathon.

 

Development

 

Fourth Ladies of New Business Conference | 5 December 2017 | Zagreb, Croatia

The conference gathered around 150 participants and discussed issues related to the gaming industry and the position of women in this sector. It was emphasised that the gaming industry is one of the biggest and fastest-growing outlets for entertainment, and the Croatian industry is mostly producing for domestic and US markets. The conference discussion revolved around creating more opportunities for women, as well as diversifying video games scenarios by introducing more female heroines. It was followed by a training programme for female developers.

Regional Conference on Internet and Digital Agenda  | 6–7 December 2017 | Chișinău, Moldova

The Council of Europe in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure of the Republic of Moldova organised this conference within the framework of the EU/CoE Joint Programme Partnership for Good Governance. The event gathered around 70 representatives of different stakeholder groups from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. The participants discussed Internet governance, rights of Internet users, and responsibilities of Internet service providers, identified common challenges, and discussed future actions in Eastern Partnership countries.

 

Economic

 

D10e Ljubljana | 9-12 December 2017 | Ljubljana, Slovenia

Focused on exploring the future of fintech, ICOs, blockchain, the sharing economy, future of work, and disruptive culture, the conference gathered experts and thought-leaders in the field, as well as developers hoping to present their projects to potential investors. The four-day event included dozens of presentations, panels, and fireside chats covering topics such as ICO finance, marketing, regulations, and lessons from successful ICOs, and culminated in a pitch competition which awarded a total of $100 000 to three best innovator teams.

Blockchain and Bitcoin Conference | 12 December 2017 | Ljubljana, Slovenia

This conference focused on the blockchain community of Slovenia and possible ways to further its development. Participants discussed blockchain-based government projects, cryptocurrency regulation in the country, and promising activity areas for startups. The global aspect – ICOs, cryptocurrencies and decentralised technologies in the world, their future, and investment opportunities – was also addressed. An exhibition area of technological and software innovations for the industry was included in the conference programme.

D10e Bucharest | 14-17 December 2017 | Bucharest, Romania

The event featured around 30 speakers and more than 300 leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs who engaged in short-form presentations, keynotes, panels, exhibition, workshops, and other discussions on blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and other related issues. The participants shared their insights on the overall state of decentralisation, ICO markets, and ICO regulations. A pitch competition awarded $200 000 to best ICO innovators.

 

Content policy

 

TechCamp Moldova: Technology of Truth | 30 November – 1 December 2017 | Chișinău, Moldova

The camp was dedicated to training Moldovan and Romanian journalists to identify, expose, and counter fake news and propaganda generators in both countries, using the latest technology tools and investigative techniques. Some of the topics covered included social media filtering tools, storytelling techniques, metrics in digital journalism, and data collection and analysis. During the conference, journalists developed solutions to address the challenges they are facing in countering false information. Two follow-up events for alumni will be organised, one in Romania and one in Moldova, in order to provide more training.

 

IGF initiatives

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina IGF| 12 December 2017 | Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The third annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BHIGF) was held under the theme The network effect: from infrastructure to children. BHIGF gathered participants from telecom operators, regulatory agencies, civil society, and tech and business community. Special attention was given to the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina is the only country in the region that still does not have internet exchange points. The second part of the programme was devoted to issues of child safety online and presented several initiatives in this field. The IGF was preceded by a youth-focused pre-event dedicated to awareness raising and capacity development in Internet governance.

 

Upcoming events

February 2018

 

 

Net Neutrality (Neutrality and Freedom of the Internet) | 1 February | Zagreb, Croatia

Applied Data Science Symphony Meetup | 2 February | Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Safer Internet Day | 6 February | Worldwide

5th Information Security Conference | 15 February | Marousi, Greece

Open Source Design Workshop | 17 February | Tirana, Albania

Smart Building Forum | 22–23 February | Kyiv, Ukraine

 

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*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.