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Mehmet Kaplan har entledigats, bostads-, stadsutvecklings- och IT-minister
Öppningsanförande på "The India Conference on Cyber Security and Internet Governance" i Indien
Excellences, Honourable Minister Prasad, Director Joshi, Vice President Saran, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honour and a great pleasure to be here with you today. As you know, Sweden is the National Partner for this year’s CyFy-conference. A natural choice for us — especially with the Digital India initiative here dominating the news in the past few months. This is truly a bold initiative, and both my government and our Swedish companies stand ready to help India realise its goals. So I’m here, in part, to explore ways of doing this.
But I am also very much here to listen and learn at CyFy. ORF has worked hard to develop the conference into an established forum in the ongoing global debate on cyber issues. So my congratulations. You have done exactly that.
I’m also happy to mention that we are linking what we are doing here at CyFy to the Stockholm Internet Forum next week. Quite a number of people here will be joining us in a few days’ time to carry on these discussions up North, in the slightly cooler climes of a Swedish autumn.
Prime Minister Modi has made it very clear to the world: there is a great affinity between India and digitisation. Both hold great potential. Both hold great promise.
And I could not agree more. Both are rich in opportunities – and opportunities which are everywhere. When I myself think about digitisation, and what it really can accomplish, I believe we are just at the beginning.
The Internet is a great promise of our time. The promise of this new century, and the promise of the future.
And it is not just a promise.
Digitisation is already clearly delivering real value, right now. Even with less than 1% of India’s working population in ICT, it already provides 10 % of India’s overall growth in GDP. Our 4 % in ICT in Sweden provide us with nearly half our nation’s growth.
India and Sweden, of course, may seem very, very, different countries at a glance, or to those not in the know. In fact there is a great deal we actually have in common.
But one thing really stands out. Our shared, international reputations for prowess and expertise in ICT.
India has highly innovative businesses – and a massive ICT industry. We have a number of global success stories out of all proportion to our small population.
In the latest global ranking rankings of ICT unicorns - companies valued at more than one billion US dollars -, India comes in 3rd, only behind the US and China, with seven companies: Flipkart, InMobi, Musigma, Olacabs, Quikr, Snapdeal, and Zomato.
Yet Sweden comes in 5th – just behind the UK – with the big five of Skype, game developer King, the payment service Klarna, Mojang – the company behind Minecraft, and the music service Spotify. And another, TrueCaller –is waiting in the wings. A company familiar to many here as India is, after all, their largest market.
How can so-called little Sweden box so far above its weight? Is it all those long winter nights, far up in the deep, dark North turning us all into hacker-entrepreneurs?
Maybe – maybe – there’s a grain of truth in that. But the real truth has far more to do with other, far more important, factors. And a true Swedish story. A history of co-development between the private sector and the state. Of Ericsson, and the national telecom operator. Of liberalising the telecoms market early on. And of a national reform that put a personal computer in people’s homes across the land.
So I, if I may, I would like to share a little on those chapters – of those key factors – here with you here down in the warmer south. Back in 1885, Sweden was one of the poorest countries in Europe. Yet Stockholm, had the most telephones of any city the world. The result of fierce competition that bred a very successful local producer.
To grow the telephone network throughout the country, the government took a lead, buying up private local networks and making it a national affair.
That local producer - Ericsson - continued to thrive as an important supplier of technology, and expanded early on into overseas markets. – they were already here in India back in 1903.
At home in the 1970’s, the national operator and Ericsson took turns to push and pull to advance new technologies and innovative solutions for both fixed and mobile telephony.
In the ‘80s and ‘90s, mobile telecoms became increasingly significant for Ericsson - and the Swedish ICT sector. Ericsson became one of the biggest producers of handheld mobile phones in the world – and a global leader in telecom systems
Today, about 40 percent of the world’s data traffic runs through Ericsson systems. Today they employ more people in India than they do in Sweden.
Liberalising telecoms early on is also an important part of this story. The state operator was privatised in the 1990’s. Other players entered the scene and helped drive both competition and innovation in new services. Harmonising radio spectrum and making more frequencies available for mobile communications has also been key to increase connectivity and capacity across the whole country.
There is one last factor I would like to mention that has helped Sweden become a stellar nation in ICT.
In 1998 it became possible for ordinary people to claim the purchase of a personal computer against tax – effectively a government subsidy.
The tax deduction pushed down the costs of large tenders. The scheme was supported by business and unions alike. Paying in instalment plans offered by employers meant ordinary people were able to acquire state-of-the-art computer equipment as a very good deal.
In just four years about one million Swedes got their very first computer this way. That’s about ten percent of the population. Today, it is widely recognised that the Home-PC initiative has been a major driver in a great lift in digital literacy - and one more factor to explain Sweden’s ICT transformation.
The cost for this reform has been calculated at about 30 billion Rupees. In the drive to digitize we took a bold initiative, made the investment - and are still reaping the rewards and the returns– let alone the benefits for the whole country.
This story comes with a wider context of course. I mentioned Ericsson’s early expansion overseas. This is typical. Sweden has always relied on trade and it was exports that helped take us from that poor country and meant we could build the Sweden of today. We have learned important lessons – namely that to compete and thrive needs openness, and not obstruction, in trade.
A lesson confirmed by studies that show the great importance of open digital exchanges. Not just for digital trade, but for all trade, in all areas.
An open and interoperable internet oils, facilitates and drives the great engines of all trade.
This simply strengthens our conviction that a global internet needs principles, such as those expressed in the 2011 OECD Communiqué on Principles for Internet Policy-Making, and in last year’s NETmundial Multistakeholder Statement.
Allowing unhindered international data flows is of key strategic importance. This is just one of the reasons why we remain sceptical about localized data requirements. Fully respecting the integrity of users’ -by private companies as well as by governments - is of utter importance. We should never compromise on privacy issues.
The internet offers unprecedented potential for change in virtually all aspects of business, society, and people’s lives. It is changing, and can change, and will change so much
But it cannot, must not, and does not change the basis of our hard won values and principles. Human rights, international law and the rule of law apply online just as they do in the physical world. This is fundamental for our digital future. Because digitalization will define the future. So the growing consensuses on these issues in ongoing negotiations in the UN are promising.
This means the continued development of the internet is the most important issue we must deal with now. It will not be without its challenges. But we must get it right for the rest to follow: continued creativity, open innovation, real communications and global trade.
The IANA-transition and the UN General Assembly High Level meeting on the WSIS+10 are two landmark processes that will determine the direction for many years to come. They will define how we get together at a global level to continue and develop this shared resource and infrastructure of ours.
And, Minister Prasad, like many others I was most impressed by your own message this June - that India is committed to a management of the internet based on plurality and a multi-stakeholder system.
This is a courageous stance. I welcome it, not just because Sweden believes in a pluralistic “bottom up” governance model. We do, and we think it’s the only way to continue developing the internet. But we also welcome it because you underlined a key principle that has to govern us in going forward. That that the system of governance for a truly global internet must be fully inclusive and fully responsive to global concerns.
The voice of India, and the voices in India – and those of Asia and the developing world– are absolutely critical to the debate. And Sweden will work with you to make sure that they are heard.
So where do we go from here? The international community of stakeholders needs to address the key questions that the development of the internet raises.
- How do we implement an IANA-transition and strengthened ICANN-accountability?
- How do we best reinforce the relationship between freedom and security? - How do we adjust to the changes to our economies and labour markets?
- How do we build trust and confidence, shape norms that guide our behaviour on internet, and help to maintain peace and security?
We also need to raise our concerns in the on-going global processes.
The IANA-transition should close next year, with a shared sense of clear stewardship, that its operation is transparent and verifiable, and deserves our global trust.
With the WSIS+10 meeting in New York in December, I hope the result will be like a kind of Global Digital Agenda. One that will frame how we should go on building a global information society, and contribute to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals.
We must never forget that the Internet and digitisation are amazing enablers. Enablers, for the first time in history, of all the world’s diversity, plurality, and promise.
We must ensure we work together in making it available for everyone. India is the world’s largest democracy. Sweden one of the oldest. Democracies such as ours, Minister Prasad, are called to take a full part in building the global internet, with institutions and legal framework to guarantee that there will be rule of law, openness and justice online. Not just the latest thing and cute pictures of puppies.
Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA, said what was wonderful about the future was that there was so much to be done.
And we have much more to do. In Sweden. In India. In every country, worldwide.
Like more with ICT and smart applications to foster sustainability and reduce climate impact through using more resources like energy and transport, and the dematerialization of goods much more effectively.
And, ladies and gentlemen - more with the low rates of women’s participation in the ICT sectors that remain in too many countries – including in my own.
As the late 20th Century taught us, - gender equality is not just about equality and rights. It’s a question of economics. It is a question of being smart. No nation in the 21st century is going to lead the world in anything if they use only half their human potential for ideas, innovation and growth.
I am impressed by the program here in Delhi, KITES, that helps people qualify in computer literacy. Over 80 percent then goes on to find work. But I was particularly impressed – and heartened - to learn that more than half of those at KITES are girls and women.
Like I was by the fact that CyFy this year includes a panel on online gender-based violence. This shows how forward thinking this conference is. We cannot treat this issue as something separate from the rest of the conversation on cyber security. How can the internet help tap all people’s potential if it brings so many harassment, bullying and fear? This goes to the very heart of what digital empowerment means.
This is why my colleague at our Prime Minister’s Office, the State Secretary Maja Fjaestad calls herself a cyber-feminist, and why she will be joining the panel.
I started out by saying that the internet is the great promise of our time. This might be somewhat of a cliché, but it is still true. We are all impressed by the smartphones and the apps and the value it all creates in our daily lives. Another cliché is that digitisation is bringing us closer together, regardless of physical distance.
However, this is also true. Sweden and India are remote countries in terms of geography, but on the internet we are just around the corner from each other.
Knowing India’s rapid development as an ICT nation, I am certain Indian competence and creativity will contribute heavily to future development – economic as well as cultural.
And I am sure that Sweden, just around the corner, will benefit from India’s development – and vice versa.