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UK Internet Policy Forum 2014

The Open Internet and the Digital Economy

The digital economy, innovation, and consumers have benefited greatly from the open internet. The nature of the open internet also presents its own challenges, including how best to protect users and intellectual property against a background of the emerging role of big data and increasing concerns about security, access to content and personal privacy. How can the private and public sectors effectively respond to these concerns, whilst promoting the dynamism of the digital economy?

This year’s UK Internet Policy Forum on “Open Internet and the Digital Economy” brought together a range of speakers and perspectives to discuss these issues, their influence in stimulating or stifling the digital economy, and the evolving impact of the open internet. Thank you to our speakers and delegates for a stimulating and informative day.

Read a summary of the key points from the day.

A recording of the day’s proceedings is now available. If you were not able to attend the event, or would like to see the sessions again you can view each session individually by choosing the appropriate link from the list below. Alternatively you can view all the videos in a playlist.

Opening Remarks by Baroness Rennie Fritchie DBE, Remarks by Dr Simon Moores, and “Why Nominet Believes in the Open Internet” by Lesley Cowley OBE


Session 1: Open internet and the digital economy: Made for one another, or a Gordian knot?

The symbiotic relationship between the open internet and the digital economy means that regulatory developments in the internet space or other sectors can have a stifling or stimulating impact on the digital economy.

This session considered how essential an open internet is to a flourishing digital economy. The panellists and audience discussed how the open internet has challenged traditional industries and businesses to adapt and embrace technological innovation in order to better meet the needs of their customers. We examined whether data protection regulation was a threat or a benefit to the digital economy and the importance of protecting privacy of online users. In addition we discussed the importance of striking the right balance between protection and regulation in order to encourage innovation and ensure the open internet continues to contribute to the success of the digital economy.

Simon Milner, Facebook

Richard Braham, British Retail Consortium, followed by Q&A

Simon Rice, Information Commissioner’s Office

Richard Mollet, Alliance for IP, followed by Q&A


Session 2: The open internet, filtering, and archiving

This session explored whether filtering for political, national security or social (e.g. offence or content related to illegal activity) reasons is ever desirable, acceptable or effective? Speakers delivered presentations on the policy implications for private actors in archiving and publishing content or search results for content, the role of search as a gateway to the internet and the legal aspects of filtering.

Alex Blowers, Nominet

Helen Hockx-Yu, British Library, followed by Q&A

Dave Coplin, Microsoft

Gabrielle Guillemin, Article 19, followed by Q&A


Session 3: Big data, open data and the digital economy

This session examined the value of open data for the economy and society and who pays and who profits from the use of open data. Speakers highlighted where the opportunities for the digital economy are in terms of new business models, how open data can be used to increase efficiency in government services, the link between open data and digital identities and privacy concerns around how companies are using big data.

Carla Bonina, London School of Economics and Political Science

Richard Sargeant, Government Digital Service, followed by Q&A

Gilad Rosner, University of Nottingham

Siraj Datoo, The Guardian, followed by Q&A


Session 4: Interview with Justine Roberts, CEO, Mumsnet

Justine Roberts is Founder and CEO of Mumsnet and Gransnet. Mumsnet is an online community of parents sharing advice, support and friendship. Over the last 14 years it has grown into the one of UK’s biggest online communities with over ten million visits a month.

Interview with Justine Roberts, Mumsnet

© Nominet UK 2015