On 23 September 2023, Open Development Cambodia (ODC) is pleased to host the first ever Youth Internet Governance Forum (YIGF) 2023 in Cambodia at the Cambodia Academy of Digital and Technology (CADT). The event is co-organized by CADT with the support from the Youth Internet Governance Forum Committee, Sec.Dev foundation, Chumrum Digital, APNIC, ICT4D Cambodia Network, and ICANN. The theme of the event is “Digital Empowerment: Ensuring Access, Safety, and Opportunities for All”. Approximately 250 participants from diverse backgrounds and across the country joined the events. 35 honorable guest speakers are rigorously selected based on their digital and technological knowledge, experience, and expertise, locally and internationally such as Japan, Nepal, India, Indonesia, India, Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.
Ms. Ros Chanvoleak, representing the Organizing Committee of the YIGF, kickstarted the YIGF 2023 by welcoming remarks. She began by expressing her gratitude toward the YIGF committees, Open Development Cambodia (ODC), and volunteers for their contribution to making YIGF 2023 happen. She has also briefly discussed the themes and agenda of the event.
Then, Ms. Ngoun Somaly, Director General, the Digital Governance Institute of the Digital Technology Academy of Cambodia (CADT)continued with her remark on Cambodia’s Digital landscape and the importance of the Internet to society. Mrs. Somaly mentioned the structure and function of CADT and its institutions to the audience and provided an insightful speech on the role of Internet Governance. To conclude, she hopes the forum will give the space for participants and professionals to address internet governance, especially for youth to discuss policies regarding the internet, and digital governance, and give youth the chance to address their concerns on accountability of the internet ecosystem.
Executive director of Open Development Cambodia (ODC), Mr. Thy Try gave his remark. He started by welcoming all of the honorable guest speakers and participants to the YIGF 2023. He highlighted one of the important sessions of the event which is the Discussion on the Draft law on personal data protection policies, and encouraged all relevant stakeholders and participants to share their ideas and provide input to the draft law. He also thanked all the organizing teams and the event’s honorable guest speakers His Excellency Sun Rapid, Ministry of Post and Telecommunication, CADT for their continuous support and collaboration to bring technology and digital-related events to Cambodia.
His Excellency, Sun Rapid, undersecretary of state of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication, took the stage and spoke to conclude the opening remark. The topic of digital governance is aligned with the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication agenda on digital development which can be found in policies such as The Pentagonal Strategy Phase 1, Digital Government Policy 2022-2035 and Digital Economy and Society 2021-2030, he added. The Internet has a broad definition that can be found in every aspect of life making the term complex and abstract, he continued. It is necessary for policymakers and users to fully understand their roles and utilize the benefits of the Internet to the fullest through the practice of Internet governance. He has also touched upon the risks, challenges and vulnerabilities of the internet such as online scams, cyber security and cyberbullying and urged youth to learn and understand the principle of internet governance in order to tackle the above-mentioned issues.
Following the opening remarks, there are 5 keynote speeches by the event’s honorable guest speakers presenting consequential internet-related issues. Firstly, Mr. Norbert KLEIN, one of ODC’s original advisory board members, gave his keynote speech about the history of the internet in Cambodia. He is a part of the team to brought the first internet connection to the country during the 1990s. Speaking in front of 129 audiences, he said that the difficulty of reaching out and communicating in Cambodia was the inspiration to bring internet connection to the kingdom. During that time, Cambodia lacked the resources and infrastructure to establish an internet connection. After the internet connection was successfully established, other initiatives also emerged such as the creation of Khmer font on computers and the Cambodian country code “KH”.
Then, the floor was given to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) team to present the topic “What is Internet Governance Forum?” It was a pre-recorded session from Ms. Anja Gengo, Internet Governance Associate Programme Expert and United Nations Secretariat for the Internet Governance Forum. Due to the upsurge in the use of the internet, risks and challenges are also rising. The majority of users have limited knowledge of their role and privacy in the internet sphere. Internet Governance Forum aims to bridge those gaps and enrich users with practical knowledge of online data protection and management.
After that, another keynote speech was presented by Bouy Lina on Introduction to AI. It was indeed an interactive session. Though the session is highly technical, the audience looks focused and carefully listens to the speaker’s in-depth presentation. Dixon Siu, a Japanese software engineer – Fujitsu Limited and representative of the CamIDF Advisory gave his keynote speech on Digital Rights and Online Responsibility. His session was very beneficial as he provided a practical framework for users to surf the internet and online platforms safely.
To conclude, Mr. Nget Moses, gave his keynote speech on Cyber security and Data privacy in Cambodia. He addressed one of the common cyber security problems in Cambodia which is hacking and cyber attacks on social media platforms such as Facebook and Telegram. He also put a strong emphasis on data protection as it is a valuable aspect amidst the digital age. He added that the government recognized the potential harm of security risk and has established various laws and policies to address the issues.
Besides the keynote speech, there is also a panel discussion on the Personal Data Protection Draft Law. There are three panelists from CSOs and the private sector. It was indeed one of the most fruitful and interactive sessions of the event. The panel discussion addresses the advantages and disadvantages of various articles in the draft law in the realms of privacy and personal data protection.
After lunch, participants are divided into three breakout rooms where guest speakers present different topics based on three themes: Cybersecurity and data security, Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Digital Rights and Online Responsibilities. In room 1, Mr. Heng Soklay, Researcher at CADT presented “AI in Education”. “Lessons in the Fight for Digital Privacy from India” by our international speaker Mr, Gyan Prakash Tripathi, “AI in the present world: Current Impact and Trends” by Mr. IM Chantola, “How to prevent being a victim of social engineering” by Mr. Oum Oudom, “Cyber Security” by Mr. Edmon Chung. In room 2, Chumrum Digital Team shared an interesting session on “Phishing Attacks vs Prevention”, “Why Data Ethics Are Important for AI/ML Solutions?” and Why Personal Data Empowerment is the Future and overview of the “My Data Operator Ecosystem?” by Dixon Siu. In room 3, Mr. Na Sambathchatovong presents a session on “Cyber Security”, Mr, Samarn Mardy on “Open Data and Privacy”, another “Cyber Security” session by DigitalHub101, “IUI Internal Universal” by Mr. Phan Daro and “Digital Skill Adaptation in 21st Century” by Mr. Cheang Thornsopanha. The first day ended with a fruitful exchange in which participants learned new insight in the realm of Internet Governance.