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Conclusions of G7 ministerial meeting on the information society

Following the ministerial meeting in Brussels on 25-26 February 1995, the G7 partners resolved to collaborate on the basis of the following eight core principles in order to realize their common vision of the global information society: - Promoting dynamic competition; - Enco...

Following the ministerial meeting in Brussels on 25-26 February 1995, the G7 partners resolved to collaborate on the basis of the following eight core principles in order to realize their common vision of the global information society: - Promoting dynamic competition; - Encouraging private investment; - Defining an adaptable regulatory framework; - Providing open access to networks; - Ensuring universal provision of and access to services; - Promoting equality of opportunity; - Promoting diversity of content, including cultural and linguistic content; - Recognizing the need for worldwide cooperation, in particular by involving less developed countries. These principles will apply to the global information infrastructure by means of: - Promoting interconnectivity and interoperability; - Developing global markets for networks, services and applications; - Ensuring privacy and data security; - Protecting intellectual property rights; - Cooperating in R&D and in the development of new applications; - Monitoring of the social and societal implications of the information society. The G7 partners concluded that policies aimed at a rapid and successful transition to the information society must ensure the highest level of participation and avoid the emergence of a two-tier society. In addition, the creation of jobs and improvement in the quality of work are of paramount importance. The policy process must be supported by collaborative research to investigate the impact of information and communication technologies and services on employment. The G7 partners are determined to ensure that the information addresses the needs of citizens. They committed themselves to: - Promoting universal services to ensure opportunities for all to participate; - Studying the impact of the information society on jobs; - Serving cultural enrichment for all citizens through diversity of content including indigenous cultural products and services; - Encouraging private sector development of information networks and provision of new information related services; - Pursuing adequate education and training. The development of vocational training on information technologies will facilitate the adjustment of workers to structural and organizational changes throughout their lives; - Improving the quality of understanding of effects on the quality of life, in particular to demonstrate the possibility of flexible and better quality of work, improvements in healthcare, educative leisure, urban development and greater participation of the disabled in society; - Fostering public support by raising awareness and understanding and sensitivity towards the global information society; - Encouraging worldwide dialogue on the global information society. The regulatory framework should put the user first and meet a variety of complementary societal objectives. The regulatory framework must be designed to allow choice, high quality services and affordable prices. It will therefore have to be based on a regulatory structure that encourages dynamic competition, ensures the separation of operating and regulatory functions, and promotes interconnectivity and interoperability. Such an environment will maximize consumer choice by stimulating the creation and flow of information and other contents supplied by a wide range of services and content providers. Open access to networks for service and information suppliers and the mutual enrichment for all citizens through the promotion of diversity, including cultural and linguistic diversity, as well as the free expression of ideas, are essential to the creation of the global information society. Competition rules need to be interpreted and applied in the light of the convergence of new technologies and services, market liberalization and encouragement of new entrants and global competition. Productive forms of cooperation to promote economic efficiency and consumer welfare should be allowed while shielding against the risks of anti-competitive behaviour, in particular risks of abuse of market dominance. The G7 partners are committed to: - Ensuring citizens access through universal service in the respective markets which will require consultation on both the scope and the means of providing universal services; - Enabling open access to markets to allow the development of global systems by pursuing liberalization of services, infrastructure, equipment procurement and investment within an appropriate framework; - Pursuing the interconnectivity of networks and the interoperability of services through the promotion of a consensual standardization process which is market led and which encourages open interfaces; - Providing open access to networks for services and information suppliers; - Implementing fair and effective licensing and frequency allocation by promoting objective selection and award criteria; - Allowing for productive forms of cooperation while shielding against anti-competitive behaviour. Protecting privacy and personal data alongside the safeguarding of plurality of opinion play an essential role in maintaining citizens confidence in the information society and encourages user participation and strengthened competition and market access. Only if security of information is effectively guaranteed will individuals and organizations take full advantage of the information infrastructure. Citizens and society should be protected against criminal abuse of the developing networks. Providing high levels of legal and technical protection of creative content will be one of the essential conditions to ensure the necessary climate for the investment needed for the development of the information society. There is a need for internationally recognized protection of the creators and providers of materials that will be disseminated over the global information infrastructure. The G7 partners will increase efforts to find creative technological and policy solutions to: - Protect privacy and personal data; - Increase information security; - Protect creativity and content provision. Information and communication technologies will present new opportunities and challenges in the way people access and disseminate information and content. Interactive multimedia services and applications are the most visible components of the information society. Their emergence and eventual penetration at all levels of society means rethinking and restructuring traditional communications methods. This will change the way people live together. Sharing experiences on emerging applications would provide an understanding of their impact and benefits. Public authorities have an important catalytic role to play in the promotion of research, applications and generic services. They can also further initiatives in the development of applications in areas of common public interest. International cooperation on joint research projects provides an opportunity to demonstrate the benefits and uses of the information society. The G7 partners recognize the impact that interactive applications will have on society and are committed to: - Sharing experience on emerging applications; - Acting as a catalyst for the promotion of research, applications and generic services; - Promoting joint projects. The ministerial meeting identified 11 pilot projects. The G7 has called on all interested parties to join as soon as possible so that wide cooperation and projects can be effectively initiated in time for the next G7 summit which will take place in Halifax, Canada, on 15-17 June 1995.