Can algorithms help global discussions on Internet policies?
Approximately one year ago the European Commission began financing the creation of the Global Internet Policy Observatory (GIPO).
Since the beginning of this project, the goal was clear: we wanted to provide a useful and practical tool to the global multi-stakeholder community, to increase the participation in policy discussions of stakeholders with fewer resources and more difficult access to information. This should help in particular many stakeholders from civil society and from developing countries, and all those who feel confused by the entangled labyrinth of Internet governance and policy discussions.
In its 1st beta version which has just been released, GIPO uses algorithms to automatically collect, process, index and semantically annotate large amounts of information from many different sources, including social media. By applying advanced technologies like data mining, semantic analysis and data visualization techniques, GIPO brings data together in a common space to reduce complexity and fragmentation of information on Internet policy and governance.
As this tool is further developed, the European Commission continues to engage with many interested stakeholders and experts around the world, through webinars and live events. One of the main lessons learnt through this crowd-sourcing effort is that GIPO can provide real added-value and synergetic effects by targeting the variegated Internet policy initiatives, observatories, repositories and mapping initiatives that have come into being in the last few years. Most of these young and small initiatives often face problems that GIPO could help address: they can for instance use GIPO to automatically source information, thus allowing them to shift focus from investment in technology and content search to content curation and analysis. This would create a collaborative “network effect” among observatories, which in turn would further stimulate knowledge sharing and plug new stakeholders into the discussions.