The Digital Watch observatory is a comprehensive digital policy observatory, which provides a neutral one-stop shop for the latest developments, overviews, events, policy players, instruments, and other resources. The observatory is part of the Geneva Internet Platform, an initiative of the Swiss authorities, operated by DiploFoundation.

The observatory:

  • maintains a comprehensive live summary of the latest developments in digital policy;
  • provides an overview of issues, actors and ongoing processes;
  • maintains a live calendar of upcoming and past events, and public consultations, and provides just-in-time reporting from digital policy events;
  • provides access to the latest research and data on internet policy;
  • is enriched by quantitative research (e.g. data-mining of open data, topic profiling);
  • relies on a team of 30+ digital policy experts from around the world, for digital policy research and analysis.

The taxonomy used on the GIP Digital Watch observatory

At present, the observatory features over 50 digital policy issues, classified under the following seven baskets: Infrastructure, Cybersecurity, Human rights, Legal, Economic, Development, and Sociocultural. Although this categorisation was needed for the purposes of classifying the policy areas into broad areas, many of the digital policy areas interact with other areas in different clusters.

This taxonomy was first developed in 1997 by Dr Jovan Kurbalija, and then introduced in the book An Introduction to Internet Governance (now in its 7th edition). It was later adopted in DiploFoundation’s Internet governance courses. The taxonomy, which was adopted by other actors such as the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development in the report Mapping of international Internet public policy issues, is under regular development to account for emerging trends and new developments.

The three Digital Watch pillars

The GIP Digital Watch observatory forms part of the GIP Digital Watch initiative, run by the Geneva Internet Platform and operated by DiploFoundation, which provides a solution for practitioners of internet governance and digital policy who need to acquire information and become informed stakeholders on issues they care about. The online observatory complements two other pillars forming part of GIP Digital Watch:

  • The Geneva Digital Watch newsletter, a monthly newsletter which includes a round-up of developments, interviews with prominent IG experts, and articles on various digital policy areas. Learn more about the newsletters, access the archive, and download the latest issue.
  • Monthly GIP briefings on internet governance in Geneva and online, which take place every last Tuesday of the month. In 2018, local hubs were established worldwide with the aim of encouraging sustainable discussions in local communities, and sharing regional perspectives during the monthly briefings. Learn more about the GIP briefings and how to set up a local hub, and access the archive.

The team behind the GIP Digital Watch observatory includes:

Get in touch: For more information, contact us at digitalwatch@diplomacy.edu. Subscribe to our mailing list to keep up-to-date with Geneva Internet Platform and GIP Digital Watch developments.

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