The internet and technology have always been an intriguing topic to explore. My name is ROS Chanvoleak. I am no expert in this field, but I am an enthusiast in this subject. I evolved around technology or the internet, practically my whole life. From watching simple videos online to heavy research on international relation, this is my expertise.
I was fortunate enough to be selected to be a part of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) 2023 in Kyoto, Japan by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and Open Development Cambodia (ODC). It was a long road before that. My first step involvement with technology was during my second year in college when I was hired as a product development coordinator. I handled the technological department alone and worked on a new prototype in building management. It was involving both Fintech and Proptech. I was collecting this personal data from many buildings with many residences.
We used the data to help improve our system in matters of management, communication, and payments. We never thought that this data was necessarily vital because it was just names and phone numbers. Afterward, I worked for an international organization, where I saw this small data is meant to be highly confidential. We can see the differentiation of how one company can get mismatched information without the right knowledge or education and what are the relevant legal implications.
This year, Open Development Cambodia recruited an organizing committee to organize the first-ever Cambodia Youth Internet Governance Forum (YIGF). Luckily, I was one of them, thanks to ODC. Though my knowledge of the internet may be lacking but during these couple of months, ODC and the team, supported us in understanding, importance of data management, device protection and what are the legal aspects of these practices in various countries. YIGF was a success with 170 participants. There were over 30 sessions, and each session was equipped with a high level of experts.
We were joined by DEVI Svaradiva, Chairperson of the Internet Development Institute. In addition to her professional accomplishments, she holds a master’s degree in Communication from the University of Indonesia and currently is pursuing a Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence at the University of Malta. She has given us a deeper understanding of AI Ethics and Data Protection Law.
Furthermore, the session with Director Ly Sokphath of the Department of Project Appraisal and Development Programs, the General Secretariat of the Digital Governance Committee on the Digital Transformation of Cambodia’s Government, was well presented. He addressed our concerns on a multitude of factors, like province residences, disability accessibility, transparency, and accountability of the government. It was incredibly insightful for all participants and the organizing committee. With all the sessions of YIGF, I will be more than equipped to be in IGF in early October 2023.
Towards further discussion, the director also mentioned data protection law that is being drafted by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications (MPTC). A sub-decree was released in 2021 by Ministry of Interior (MoI), stating some of the factors that will be introduced but the overall assumption is personal data protection. The more intriguing part for the reader is the level of security management within the MoI and another stakeholder like MPTC and intra-ministerial. This illustrates the co-working relationship that the citizen should see. Moreover, in chapter 2, articles 4, there is an indicator of what data is personal and must kept secured by the ministry level.
The Internet Governance Forum was introduced back in 2006 to facilitate a multi-stakeholder, democratic, and transparent platform for discussions on Internet governance issues. Which links to my passion for joining the organizing committee of YIGF. I want to be a part of the movement to protect and introduce the Internet public policy to the country. For my expectation, I want to have a clear goal of how I can support Cambodian society in protecting themselves online in a cohesive way in the next 5 years. A goal that is achievable and aligns with the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) principles in internet governance processes. Plus, the YIGF educates the youth about Internet public policy and issues on an international level and shows practices from other countries that have good results.
There are over 300 sessions for the next 5 days of the event. Generally, topics are on a specific theme. In this case, the theme is “Internet We Want – Empowering All People.” How is it for all? Law, children, and gender inclusivity will be the focus.
I would like to thank Open Development Cambodia for giving us this opportunity to transport us to Japan to learn about internet governance and also, thank you to UNDESA for organizing the IGF 2023, I cannot wait to be there!