About Internet Society 1 June 2018

The Year That Was Report

A report on the initiatives and activities of the Asia-Pacific Bureau for 2017

Table of Contents


This report was put together to outline some of the key initiatives undertaken by the Internet Society’s Asia-Pacific (APAC) Regional Bureau in 2017. While it is not meant to be an exhaustive record, we do hope that it provides you with a good overview of our activities in the region.

In addition to the Bureau’s core programmes, our Chapters are also very active in their local communities and, as volunteer-led entities, do amazing work in helping to support and carry out the Internet Society’s mission at the local level. We invite you to find out more about our Chapters at http://www.internetsociety.org/who-we-are/chapters

Regional highlights

The year 2017 may be remembered as the year the digital economy began to take shape in Asia-Pacific. Across the region, numerous developments, from the emergence (and to some extent, dominance) of local technology firms to new policies designed to facilitate the growth of connected societies all signify that countries in the largest region of the world–both in geography and population–are finally putting their plans into action.

Nowhere is this more evident than in China, the world’s second largest economy. This year, tech giant Tencent, the parent company of WeChat, became the first Asian firm to break into the 500-billion-dollar league, with Alibaba not far behind. Both made their fortunes cornering a domestic market of 750 million Internet users and earn most of their revenue from mobile users. These companies, like many in Asia-Pacific, thrive on business models that are different from those that have made their Western counterparts successful: Alibaba charges merchants to advertise on its platform, rather than taking a cut from the sale of goods, as Amazon does. Unlike Facebook, Tencent derives most of its profit from selling virtual items, such as emoticons, to its users. China, which has staunchly backed home-grown Internet companies, claims that its digital economy now constitutes 30% of its GDP, and expects a 40% annual uptick on its sharing economy.

The rise of large Internet companies in Asia-Pacific, coupled by the continued expansion of global firms in local markets, has not gone unnoticed by governments, many of which are keen to regulate those that are making money from transactions and engagement with their citizens. Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, this year reached a settlement with Google over back taxes, while Viet Nam is facing pressure from local industries to force foreign businesses like Booking.com to pay contractor taxes currently shouldered by domestic partners. China is taking a different tack, pushing for a 1% stake and a direct role in corporate decisions in some of its biggest tech firms, even as these begin to ignite fears of market dominance. In South Korea, web portal Naver, which occupies 70% of news and media search space, was subjected to parliamentary audit for its monopoly over the country’s Internet ecosystem. Both South Korea and Japan are looking at anti-trust policies to limit technology services companies from having exclusive access to big data.

Notwithstanding hiccups—such as the multiple data breaches that followed the rollout of India’s digital identity system, Aadhar—Asia-Pacific countries remains resolute in laying the groundwork for a more technology-driven economy. Countries like Malaysia and the Philippines are considering new policies to enable interoperability and more inclusive Internet growth. Taiwan, meanwhile, is deliberating proposed laws that would allow telecoms operators and Internet service providers to enter the market without having to secure a license, and to share radio frequencies as it prepares to roll out 5G spectrum bands in 2019.

Perhaps more remarkable is an emerging drive to equip people from all walks of life with specialised skills to prepare them for a digital future—from FinTech courses for university students in Hong Kong, to Singapore’s SkillsFuture for Digital Workspace, which aims to train citizens to maximise ICT use both for personal and for business purposes.

While challenges remain—security issues, for instance, are on the rise in many parts of the region—Asia-Pacific on the whole is waking up to the benefits that the Internet can bring, propelling societies, industries and economies to advance and develop in ways that could transform the region’s countries and communities into models for the rest of the world to follow.

Internal events

Digital Accessibility Workshop [31 March, Colombo, Sri Lanka]


The United Nations estimates that one in six people in Asia and the Pacific live with a disability – equivalent to some 650 million people. Persons with disabilities (PWDs) often face challenges that restrict them from participating in society on an equal basis, including access to, and use of, information and communication technologies (ICTs). These barriers include limited (or no) accessibility features for online content (including websites), limited adaptability in functionality of products and services, and weak policy frameworks to support the provision of an accessible digital environment.

Building on the success and learnings from our prior digital accessibility work in Pakistan, the APAC Bureau organised two workshops on digital accessibility in 2017 to catalyse action in the region. The first of these workshops was held on the 31st March in Colombo, hosted by the ISOC Sri Lanka chapter.

The workshop program included an awareness raising and capacity building session for developers, and a high-level multi-stakeholder panel discussion, providing ample opportunities for PWDs (as core participants), general participants, developers and panellists to discuss and interact with each other.

Workshop Report: http://bit.ly/2E0omFR

Online Privacy Workshop [18 May, Port Vila, Vanuatu]

To aid the development of appropriate guidelines for online privacy in the Pacific sub-region, we brought local experts, stakeholders and community educators together in Vanuatu for a one-day workshop, comprised of panels and breakout sessions. The workshop, which had some 55 participants, was organised in partnership with the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO), and the Telecommunications and Radiocommunications Regulator (TRR), and was co-located with the annual Pacific ICT Days.

The event threshed out online privacy issues and challenges as experienced by Internet users, governments, private sector and other stakeholders in the Pacific, as a way to spur dialogue towards the development of privacy frameworks in the Pacific. It likewise tackled practices and approaches that can be adopted to keep the Internet a trusted space in the sub-region.

Representatives from other Pacific island nations such as Fiji, Samoa and Papua New Guinea, brought their own perspectives to the event, making it a truly regional discussion.

Pakistan Digital Forum [19 July, Islamabad, Pakistan]


Pakistan’s technology sector and Internet usage are booming. Banking, advertising, social interactions, consumer markets and shopping are all rapidly developing to comprise the country’s digital landscape. With 200 million people and counting, digital technologies hold great promise for Pakistan, highlighting the need for action and capacity building to empower a digital economy and society.

To continue our engagement and the impact generated by the INET Islamabad conference, and to encourage local policy discussions, the APAC Bureau in partnership with Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and Ministry of Information Technology organised a one-day conference in Islamabad. The event brought together about 200 participants that included high-level government officials, and a multidisciplinary group of leading experts, industry representatives, civil society organisations, and academic and research institutes.

The forum called for an enabling regulatory and policy environment, that fosters digital transformation in Pakistan, addresses challenges of availability, accessibility and affordability of the Internet; promotes content and services; and follows a multi-stakeholder collaborative approach to converse on issues related to the country’s digital space.

Forum Highlights: https://isoc.box.com/s/jwyoa2t3garral5psyq9zwemvb4qpvx0

Online Privacy Workshop [29 August, Manila, Philippines]

The second in our online privacy workshop series was held in Manila, in partnership with the National Privacy Commission of the Philippines (NPC). The country is in the process of implementing its Data Privacy Act of 2012, following the formation of the NPC. The policy aims to bring the Philippines in line with international data protection standards to encourage investment and maintain the country’s position as a leading IT/business process outsourcing destination.

This one-day workshop oriented participants, many of whom represented organisations that are based on or conduct business online, on the necessary measures to ensure that the data they collect or hold is sufficiently protected. It discussed emerging trends and standards in other parts of the world, such as data portability and the right to object to profiling and provided a venue for stakeholders to share privacy issues and concerns in the local environment, such as the presence of CCTVs in the workplace and harassment by ride-sharing drivers, and seek guidance from data protection specialists and authorities.

Asia-Pacific @ InterCommunity 2017 [19 September]


InterCommunity 2017 (IC2017), an annual, interactive global event, tapped the power of the Internet to bring Internet Society’s global community together. The 24-hour gathering kicked-off with the live presentation of the 2017 Internet Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The Internet Hall of Fame celebrates the extraordinary people who helped to make the Internet what it is today

The main programme comprised lively discussions on the critical factors that will shape the future Internet, led by our Interactive Regional Nodes around the world. The conversations focused on key findings from our 2017 Global Internet Report.

ISOC chapters in the Asia-Pacific region hosted 4 interactive and 7 celebration nodes in four different sub-regions. With over 300 on-site participants, and more than 100 online participants, IC2017 Asia-Pacific nodes demonstrated the diversity of the ISOC community and power of an open Internet in supporting everyone’s right to share knowledge, innovate and get their voices heard.

Community Network Exchange APAC [20 September, Delhi, India]

Across the world, community networks use an alternative bottom-up approach to create community-driven infrastructure to empower local communities to actively connect to and access the Internet. In particular, areas that are unserved or underserved by commercial service providers.

The APAC Bureau, together with Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) organised the first annual Community Network Exchange APAC to foster collaboration within and among community networks in the region. Community Network Exchange (CNX) provides a platform for practitioners and service providers to share their learning, experience, and to collectively come up with solutions to the barriers they face, whether regulatory, spectrum, licensing, or technological challenges. The APAC Bureau and DEF are pioneers of the holistic community focused approach with the W4C programme that was launched in 2010.

Asia Internet Symposium [25 October, Hanoi, Vietnam]


While we have secured great benefits from the exponential growth of the Internet, the number and scope of cyber incidents is significantly affecting consumer trust on technologies. Cyber incidents lead to business interruption, unanticipated costs and threats to user data, security and privacy. These challenges are not bound to go away as the explosive proliferation of mobile devices and the Internet of Things increase these risks.

Hosted by the Vietnam Internet Association (VIA) and Vietnam Network Information Centre (VNNIC), the Asia Internet Symposium in Hanoi provided a forum for different sectors to deliberate on the wider aspects of cybersecurity in Vietnam. Representatives from the Information Security Department (Ministry of Information and Communications), ICANN, VIA and CyRadar shared their views on privacy, consumer trust, cyber threats and incidents in Vietnam.

Coverage: http://vn.tvnet.gov.vn/video/95191/viet-nam-online-24102017/thoi-su

Digital Accessibility Workshop [28 October, Jakarta, Indonesia]


There are about 21 million Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Indonesia, with approximately 11 million working in various sectors or running their own businesses. Held in Jakarta and hosted by Internet Society Indonesia Jakarta chapter, our second digital accessibility workshop was attended by over 80 participants. It was first of such workshop in Indonesia, inviting PWDs to share their opinion and engage in dialogue with local stakeholders on digital accessibility issues, challenges and progress.

Online Privacy Workshop [06 November, Hong Kong, PRC]

The new EU General Data Protection Regulation, set to be implemented in May 2018, introduces new user rights and broader obligations on the collection, storage, use and sharing of personal information, and applies to all organisations that handle the data of EU citizens. Hosted by the Hong Kong Chapter, the third instalment of our online privacy workshop series brought together representatives from local and Hong Kong-based businesses, government, the data protection commission, the technical community and civil society to tackle the implications of the GDPR in the regional business hub of Hong Kong, and to guide local data controllers, processors and service providers as they prepare to comply with the EU regulation.

Several key provisions of the GDPR are currently absent in local data protection policies, and the workshop helped to clarify the government’s role in minimising any negative impact that the former may have on industries in Hong Kong. Some 80 participants contributed to discussions on ethical data handling to build trust and confidence among customers, the relevance of Hong Kong’s data residency provision, managing data breaches, and tools and approaches to help organisations meet emerging standards for data protection.

Trust and the Digital Economy Conference [17 November, Singapore]

To round-up our online privacy workshop series, the APAC Bureau organised a conference on Building Trust in the Digital Economy, with stakeholders from over 25 economies in the region participating in the day-long event. Discussions focused on key topics of interest to the region: (1) implementing privacy by design amidst growing state and commercial incentives to monitor online behaviour; (2) ensuring transparency and accountability as countries in APAC roll out national ID systems; (3) addressing gaps between existing policies in Asia-Pacific and emerging approaches to online data protection, and (4) developing a culture of privacy in the age of online sharing.

Among the key issues raised was the existing policy gaps in the classification of personal data, and the ease by which new technologies can de-anonymise and triangulate collected information to build profiles of end users. Privacy by default was acknowledged as an effective means of minimising data gathering to only what is necessary, while also ensuring that it is adequately protected in its entire lifespan—and properly disposed of thereafter, also reducing the organizational liability that comes with holding a large trove of data.

Asia Internet Symposium [07 December, Tokyo, Japan]


Promoting strong, technology-neutral data-privacy laws, privacy-by-design principles, and ethical data-collection and handling principles is a key approach to protecting and fostering online privacy.

Hosted by the Japan Network Information Centre (JPNIC) and Internet Society Japan chapter, the Asia Internet Symposium in Tokyo convened a multi-stakeholder dialogue to identify relevant and emerging online privacy issues in Japan, exploring relevant socio-economic contexts, and to propose concrete actions that can be taken to address priority issues, working towards fostering online trust as countries in the Asia-Pacific progress with building digital economies.

External Events

SANOG 29 [23 – 30 January, Islamabad, Pakistan]

The Asia-Pacific Bureau participated in the 29th edition of South Asian Network Operators Group (SANOG) conference. The Bureau presented and spoke at different sessions and workshops. The week in Islamabad also included inauguration of Pakistan’s first Internet Exchange Point (IXP) – for which ISOC carried out local advocacy and facilitated capacity building workshops involving government and technical community.

Additionally, the Bureau sponsored the SANOG 29 fellowship program, providing financial support for individuals from South Asia to attend the event and benefit from technical training.

ION Islamabad [25 January, Islamabad, Pakistan]

ION Islamabad took place alongside the SANOG conference and was hosted by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. ION conferences, part of the ISOC Deploy360 programme, bring together network engineers and leading industry experts to discuss emerging technologies and hot topics such as IPv6, DNSSEC and routing security. The APAC Bureau led the event along with other ISOC colleagues.

Pakistan Mobile App Awards Ceremony [31 January, Islamabad, Pakistan]

Last year, the Asia-Pacific Bureau together with the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority, Telenor Pakistan, National ICT R&D Fund, Ministry of Information Technology, Special Talent Exchange Program and Pakistan Foundation Fighting Blindness announced the 2016 edition of the Pakistan Mobile App Awards.

Early this year, the award winners were announced in a ceremony held in Islamabad, with the President of Pakistan as Chief Guest. The Bureau, as co-organiser of the Awards, played a role in the ceremony.

APT 2nd Preparatory Meeting on WTDC-17 [20-22 Feburary, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea]

The Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) organized the 2nd Meeting of the APT Preparatory Group for ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference 2017 (WTDC-17), hosted by the National Information and Communications Technology Authority (NICTA) of Papua New Guinea. The objective of WTDC-17 was to assist APT members in preparing for the WTDC-17 which took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 9 to 20 October 2017. The meeting discussed key issues and developed proposals based on contributions from APT members.

APRICOT 2017 [21 February – 03 March, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam]

The Asia Pacific Regional Internet Conference on Operational Technologies (APRICOT) is the premier technical Internet event in the region, providing a unique forum for Internet builders to learn from their peers and other leaders in the Internet community. APRICOT 2017 hosted the annual meetings of several regional groupings, including the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), Asia Pacific Internet Association (APIA), Asia Pacific Top Level Domain Association (APTLD), and APStar. The APAC Bureau team had a productive and action-packed week, having several speaking slots, and numerous engagement and partnership development opportunities with regional Internet organizations and community leaders.

The Bureau also sponsored the APRICOT 2017 fellowship program, providing financial support for individuals—especially female technical leaders–from developing economies to attend the event, exchange ideas, benefit from technical training and take their learnings back home.

PHNOG [06 – 07 March, Manila, Philippines]

PhNOG was organized by the local technical community with support and participation from the APAC Bureau. The event also included 1st Philippines IP Peering Forum (07 March) discussing the importance and future requirements of local peering in the country.

ITU Regional Development Forum & Preparatory Meeting for WTDC-17 [20 – 23 March, Bali, Indonesia]

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in collaboration with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of the Republic of Indonesia, organised the Asia-Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting for ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference 2017 (WTDC-17), preceded by the Regional Development Forum for Asia and the Pacific.

The APAC Bureau participated in the forum, which provided an opportunity for high-level dialogue, cooperation and partnerships among telecommunication and ICT policy-makers, regulators, industry, academia, regional and international development agencies and organizations on specific regional telecommunication and ICT issues.

MENOG [19 – 20 April, Oman, Muscat]

The Middle East Network Operators Group conference, brings local technical communities in the region together to share experiences and knowledge, present and discuss the latest networking innovations and explore new business models and applications. The APAC Bureau participated and spoke in various sessions.

10th APT PRF [25 – 27 April, Nadi, Fiji]

The Policy and Regulation Forum for the Pacific (PRFP) is a key sub-regional activity of the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity, enabling ministries and regulatory authorities from the Pacific to tackle topical and emerging ICT issues in the region each year. The 10th PRFP focused on licensing mechanisms, OTTs, universal access, spectrum management and ICTs for disaster risk reduction. The APAC Bureau gathered input from stakeholders for the ISOC Ensuring Sustainable Connectivity in Small Island Developing States report.

Asia-Pacific Digital Societies Policy Forum [08-10 May, Bangkok, Thailand]

Co-organized by The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the GSM Association (GSMA), the forum convened senior officials and executives from around the region to discuss policy issues around innovation and the digital economy. The APAC Bureau led and moderated a session on local content development and e-services.

2nd BKNIX Peering Forum [15-16 May, Bangkok, Thailand]

Thai Network Information Center Foundation (THNICF) hosted the 2nd BKNIX Peering Forum (BPF) in Bangkok, Thailand on 15-16 May 2017. The event brought together managers, engineers and business decision makers from both local and international ISPs, IXPs, CDNs, cloud and interconnection service providers. The APAC Bureau sponsored and attended the forum.

Pacific ICT Days [17-18 May, Port Vila, Vanuatu]

Comprising of panel sessions and exhibitions, Pacific ICT Days is an annual gathering of governments, industry, entrepreneurs and NGOs from the Pacific region. Supporting our regional engagement in the Pacific Islands, the APAC Bureau participated and presented on online privacy.

APT 3rd Preparatory Meeting on WTDC-17 [05-07 June, Bangkok, Thailand]

The Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) organized the 3rd Meeting of the APT Preparatory Group for ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference 2017 (WTDC-17), in Bangkok. The meeting deliberated on Preliminary APT Common Proposals (PACPs) for WTDC-17 based on contributions from APT Members. The APAC Bureau attended and engaged with governments at the meeting.

Mobile World Congress [29 June – 1 July, Shanghai, China]

The GSMA’s sixth annual Mobile World Congress Shanghai, its largest mobile industry event in Asia, comprised of exhibitions and a conference, attracting executives from mobile operators, device makers, equipment providers, software companies and Internet companies. Under the theme of ‘The Human Element’, it tackled the impact of mobile on people’s daily lives and user experiences around mobile products and services. The ISOC CEO and the APAC Bureau Director attended and spoke in various sessions, with several engagement and outreach meetings held on the sidelines.

Asia-Pacific School of Internet Governance [22– 26 July, Bangkok, Thailand]

The APSIG aims to build the capacity of Internet leaders to spur local internet governance initiatives in the region. The APAC Bureau was a sponsor and was part of the faculty for the school.

17th APT Policy and Regulatory Forum [24-26 July, Colombo, Sri Lanka]

The 17th APT Policy and Regulatory Forum (PRF-16), hosted by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), provides a platform for policy makers, regulators and industry to network and discuss ICT policy and regulatory issues. PRF-17 focused on improving broadband connectivity, digital financial inclusion and the use of big data in the region. The APAC Bureau moderated a session on ICT as an enabler for development.

APrIGF [26-29 July, Bangkok, Thailand]

Some 26 workshops, a 1-day Youth IGF and several side events were held over five days in Bangkok, the venue for the 8th edition of the Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF). Centred on the theme, ‘‘Ensuring an inclusive and sustainable development in Asia Pacific: a regional agenda for Internet Governance”, participants discussed a range of issues including Net neutrality, access for the next billion, security and privacy in the era of IoT and big data, youth-driven Internet governance, and the digital economy. The APAC Bureau organised a workshop on “Best Practices of IPv6 implementation in APAC”, moderated the opening plenary, conducted a session for new comers, and spoke at and/or facilitated a further 6 sessions. As well, the APAC Bureau Director was elected Chair of the APrIGF Multi-Stakeholder Steering Group (MSG).

The Bureau was also a sponsor for the APrIGF fellowship program and organised a customised version of the ISOC Inforum online course on Internet governance for selected fellows. It also hosted the APrIGF closing social.

APT 4th Preparatory Meeting on WTDC-17 [07-10 August, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia]

The Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) organized the 4th Meeting of the APT Preparatory Group for ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference 2017 (WTDC-17), in Kuala Lumpur. This final preparatory meeting finalised the Preliminary APT Common Proposals (PACPs) based on contributions from APT Members. The APAC Bureau attended and followed discussions in preparation for ISOC’s involvement in WTDC-17.

APAC Internet Governance Academy [07-11 August, Seoul, Korea]

Co-hosted by KISA and ICANN, the Asia Pacific Internet Governance Academy was a 5-day workshop on topics relevant to Internet governance for undergraduate and graduate students from universities and tertiary educational institutions in South Korea and from around the Asia-Pacific. The APAC Bureau spoke in the opening panel and facilitated a workshop on policymaking for the Internet. Participants also took a customised version of the ISOC Inforum online course on Internet Governance as a prerequisite to their participation in the programme.

pkSIG [16-19 August, Peshawar, Pakistan]

The Pakistan School on Internet Governance (PKSIG) 2017, hosted by provincial Government’s Information Technology Board, held lectures and open discussions on Internet governance focusing on political, legal, economic, socio-cultural and socio-technical aspects of the Internet as relevant to the local landscape. The APAC Bureau was a sponsor and was part of the school faculty.

SDG Hackathon [19-20 August, Islamabad, Pakistan]

The APAC Bureau was a sponsor to the country-wide hackathon on Sustainable Development Goals, organised by Code for Pakistan and Ministry of Information Technology. Harish Pillay, from the ISOC Board of Trustees, attended as chief mentor to the participants.

IXP Workshop [21-23 August, Karachi, Pakistan]

Supporting our IXPs development work in Pakistan, the APAC Bureau in partnership with Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, organized an IXP workshop targeted at Internet service providers, network operators, and other stakeholders in the city of Karachi, Pakistan. The workshop provided a learning opportunity and forum for discussion on policy, community, and technical matters related to setting up an IXP. ISOC staff facilitated the two-day workshop, which included sessions on best practices and technical training on BGP. The Internet Society has played a key role in assisting the development of the country’s first neutral IXP.

SGNOG [05 September, Singapore]

The 5th meeting of Singapore Network Operators Group (SGNOG) invited industry speakers to share on network technologies, Internet security, and other best practices. The APAC Bureau attended and presented on MANRS and RPKI.

AusNOG [07-08 September, Melbourne, Australia]

AusNOG 2017 brought the Australian technical community together to deliberate and share emerging trends around IoT and OTTs. The APAC Bureau attended and presented on MANRS and RPKI.

APNIC 44 [07-14 September, Taichung, Taiwan]

Internet operations experts from ISPs, data centres, Internet exchange points, content providers, governmental organizations, and research and educational institutions gathered in Taichung for APNIC 44. The APAC Bureau moderated a session on IPv6, and also sponsored the meeting’s fellowship programme.

Digital Citizen Summit [21-22 September, Delhi, India]

The second edition of the Digital Citizen Summit, organised by the Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), focused on Internet access, privacy, violence against women and communication blackouts. The summit aims to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas, and to thresh out the concept and evolution of individual digital rights. The APAC Bureau moderated a session on online access and was part of the opening plenary.

17th Global LambdaGrid Workshop [26-27 September, Sydney, Australia]

The 17th Annual Global LambdaGrid Workshop, held at the University of Sydney Camperdown Campus, had some 70 participants from 16 countries discuss approaches to supporting high-bandwidth research applications. The APAC Bureau attended the event.

PPFI [29-30 September, Hong Kong, PRC]

3rd Edition of the Privacy, Personality and Flows of Information (PPFI) workshop conference, co-organised by the Office of the UN Special Rapporteur, Digital Asia Hub, and the University of Hong Kong, focused on perspectives for privacy as a global human right in Asia. The APAC Bureau attended the conference.

IXP Workshop [02-04 October, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea]

Supporting our IXP development work in PNG, the APAC Bureau in partnership with APNIC organised an IXP workshop for current and potential members of the first neutral Internet Exchange Point (IX), PNG-IX, at the request of the National Information and Communications Technology Authority (NICTA). The workshop was attended by more than 40 participants from enterprise environments, state universities, financial institutions, telcos and ISPS. ISOC staff facilitated the session on network security.

8th APT CyberSecurity Forum [24-26 October, Dhaka, Bangladesh]

The Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) organized the 8th APT Cybersecurity Forum (CSF-7), hosted by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) and supported by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Government of Japan. The forum sought to address the security aspects of data utilization in the digital society, including personal data protection and privacy issues. The APAC Bureau was part of a high-level panel and facilitated a workshop on data handling
and privacy.

UN Working Group Meeting on SIDS [26 – 27 October, Port Vila, Vanuatu]

The Regional Meeting on Broadband Connectivity for the Asia-Pacific Least Developed Countries, was organized jointly by the Office of the High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) and the Government of the Republic of Vanuatu. The APAC Bureau took part in the expert group meeting on connectivity for small island developing states in Asia-Pacific, and in the panel on fostering Internet development in LDCs
and LLDCs.

inSIG 2017 [24–26 October 2017, Trivandrum, Kerala, India]

The second iteration of the India School on Internet Governance was co-organised by three ISOC Chapters—India Trivandrum, Delhi, and Kolkata Chapter—in the city of Trivandrum. The three-day event facilitated interactions and knowledge sharing around Internet governance in the South Asia region. Five Indian Chapters, the Bangladesh Dhaka Chapter, Nepal Chapter, and Sri Lanka Chapter participated. The APAC Bureau attended and chaired one of the roundtables.

1st AP-IS Steering Committee Meeting [01-02 November, Dhaka, Bangladesh]

Representatives from 56 UNESCAP member economies, along with the international and regional partners, attended the first meeting of the UN Asia Pacific Information Superhighway steering committee. The meeting discussed regional and sub-regional implementation plans for 2017 and 2018. The APAC Bureau participated as a working group member and presented in a couple of sessions on Internet infrastructure and access.

IETF 100 [11 – 17 November, Singapore]

The APAC Bureau attended the 100th edition of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) held in Singapore, assisting the Public Policy team in facilitating the IETF Policy Programme. The Bureau likewise supported the participation of two fellows from South Asia as part of its IETF Outreach Programme.

APT 14th General Assembly and 41st Session of MC [14-22 November, Bangkok, Thailand]

Hosted by the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES), the 14th Session of the General Assembly and 41st session of the Management Committee of the APT invited members to discuss and approve APT work objectives and plans for next three years. The APAC Bureau attended the meeting.

India Cyber Security Challenge [21 November, Delhi, India]

Cyber Peace Foundation (CPF), in collaboration with the Ministry of Electronics and IT organized a global cyber security challenge to build the problem-solving capabilities of the youth by introducing them to real-world cyber threats. The APAC Bureau supported the event.

Global Conference on Cyberspace [23-24 November, Delhi, India]

The Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCCS) is a global event where international leaders, policymakers, industry experts, and think tanks gather to deliberate on cyberspace issues and challenges. The GCCS 2017 focused on the topics of growth, digital inclusion, security and diplomacy. The APAC Bureau organized a side-event on Meaningful Access and Digital Opportunity.

World Internet Conference [03-05 December, Wuzhen, China]

The Fourth World Internet Conference under the theme “Developing Digital Economy for Openness and Shared Benefits,” hosted several forums, in addition to the opening and closing ceremonies. The APAC Bureau attended and held several side meetings.

20th Sustainable Development Conference [05-07 December, Islamabad, Pakistan]

The Sustainable Development Policy Institute organized this annual conference in Islamabad, which comprised of numerous sessions and workshops. The APAC Bureau presented on the history and future direction of information and telecommunication in Pakistan.

APEC TEL 56 [11-15 December, Bangkok, Thailand]

The 56th APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group Meeting was hosted by the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, Thailand. The Meeting is a regular platform among TELWG member economies to share policies, best regulatory and business practices in the areas of ICT development and innovation, liberalization of ICT and promoting a safe and secure ICT environment. The APAC Bureau presented on good practices in universal service obligations, community networks, and routing security at various sessions.

18th APT South Asian Telecommunications Regulators’ Council meeting [19 – 21 December, Kathmandu, Nepal]

SATRC-18, this year hosted by Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), meets annually to discuss the key policy and regulatory issues of concern to SATRC members. The APAC Bureau attended and presented on privacy and security issues.

Regional Programs and Reports

APAC Regional Policy Survey 2017

An initiative of the Asia-Pacific Bureau, the Internet Society Survey on Policy Issues in Asia-Pacific is an annual, cross-sectional study of the attitudes of Internet stakeholders toward topical Internet policy concerns in the region. Now in its fourth instalment, this year’s survey sought to gain insights on Internet users’ sentiments towards online regulation. It also takes an in-depth look at how they perceive and deal with personal information online, and the extent to which various entities are trusted to protect people’s personal data and privacy rights.

The survey was conducted online using the Survey Monkey platform, and ran from 06 March to 19 April 2017, and received over 2,000 responses from close to 40 economies across the region. Links to the questionnaire were disseminated via email to and through the 21 Internet Society Chapters, as well as to individual members, in the Asia-Pacific region. It was also opened up to non-members of the Internet Society to gain as wide input as possible, and was promoted via various online channels, including social media. The full report is available here.

Wireless for Communities (W4C)

Since 2010, the award-winning Wireless for Communities (W4C) project has demonstrated the transformational power of the Internet and how it can contribute to socio-economic development at the bottom of the pyramid. W4C, with ISOC-led locations in India, Pakistan and Nepal, has inspired numerous other projects in South Asia and highlighted the value of community networks as an alternative last mile option. Over the last year, Internet Society has scaled its efforts on community networks from this region-specific program to a more global program.

In 2017, the project work continued to support existing W4C sites in India, Pakistan and Nepal. The project provided its inputs to develop a policy brief on spectrum approaches for community networks. Likewise, we collaborated with the Digital Empowerment Foundation on another phase of the India project, called Zero Connect, in the Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. This video provides an overview of the project.

We also completed our community training phase at Chak 5 Faiz village, Multan – our project location in Pakistan. We worked on a pilot initiative though local partners to deliver online supplementary education classes to grade 6 students. The classes were organized in a local girls’ school that was already connected to the Internet through our W4C project. The objective was to utilize the Internet to provide free extra academic help to students (in rural areas), for them to better understand their study material. The project video provides more detail about this pilot, which was highly valued by the local community.

APAC Regional Issues Papers

This year, the APAC Bureau released 10 regional issues papers on Gender, Digital Accessibility, Online Privacy, Enabling Policies for the Digital Economy, Local and Localised Content, Internet of Things, Social Media, Climate Change, Mobile Internet and Digital Safety. These issue papers outline the issues and opportunities on key areas of concern for the online environment in Asia-Pacific, highlighting the challenges that APAC countries are grappling with, and good practices that address these concerns. The papers are available for download from our Regional Bureau page.

Continuing Support for Network Operator Groups

The Bureau continued its engagement with the regional Internet technical community and put in place a programme for supporting the establishment and growth of country-level network operator groups. In 2017, this included SGNOG, bdNOG, phNOG, MyNOG and JANOG. We also continued our support for larger regional and sub-regional forums, including the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Conference on Operational Technologies (APRICOT) and the South Asia Network Operator Group (SANOG), focused on fellowship programmes with an emphasis on building the capacity of female technical experts, as well as those from developing countries.

IETF Outreach Program

Building on the program’s success in Southeast Asia in 2016, the Bureau worked with partners, including ISOC chapters in three South Asian countries – Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh–to raise awareness of the IETF among students and professionals through technical community meetings, ICT community-operated workspaces, tertiary institutions, technical/professional associations, private companies and network operator groups. In total, over 600 people attended 9 events across these locations. Two program participants were given an opportunity to attend IETF 100th meeting in Singapore to further develop their drafts.

IXP Mapping Project

In 2017, the Bureau launched the Asia-Pacific IXP Mapping Project; an initiative to track IXPs in the region, ensure that there is updated data available, and also help identify locations–based on population and market size – where the establishment of IXPs could improve local connectivity.

High-Level Country Engagement

The APAC Bureau carried out high-level engagement in several countries under its regional engagement strategy. Below are some of the highlights.


This year, the Bureau started its formal engagement in the country, organising its first ever regional Asia Internet Symposium in partnership with local stakeholders, including the Ministry of Information and Communications.


High-level engagement in Pakistan included liaison and partnerships with the Ministry of Information Technology, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Higher Education Commission, Telenor Pakistan, National ICT R&D Fund, Special Talent Exchange Program and Sustainable Development Policy Institute. These involved speaking opportunities, joint events, consultation on policy issues, and collaboration around Internet development matters. The Bureau also organised a C-level forum on ‘Digital Pakistan’.


High-level engagement in Thailand involved bi-lateral meetings with the Ministry of ICT, and the Electronic Transactions Development Agency of Thailand. The APAC Bureau also strengthened its partnership with the regional offices of the Internet Telecommunications Union, Asia-Pacific Telecommunity, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), whose offices are located in Bangkok.


The APAC Bureau had several engagements in India, including partnership with the Indian Government and other stakeholders during the 5th Global Conference on Cyber Space – a global event where international leaders, policymakers, industry experts, think tanks, gather to deliberate on issues and challenges for optimally using cyber space. This partnership included speaking at various sessions, organizing a side-event and supporting the Global Cyber Challenge.


Being a major regional hub, the Bureau continued its engagement in Singapore with a range of private sector and civil society organisations, as well as the government. The Bureau organised a regional conference on ‘Trust and the Digital Economy’. It provided input to the proposed amendments to the country’s Personal Data Protection Act and presented and spoke at various events through the year, including ministerial meetings.

Papua New Guinea

Building on our engagement with the National Information and Communications Technology Authority (NICTA) of Papua New Guinea, the Bureau assisted in building and launching country’s first neutral Internet Exchange Point (IXP). This was a result of engagement and effort initiated by ISOC and APNIC since 2014.


Throughout the year, the Bureau had several engagements in Japan. This included several meetings with local stakeholders including the Government, organizing a number of joint-events, and also supporting local Internet related events.


The APAC Bureau along with the ISOC CEO, had several speaking and media related interviews in China, during Mobile World Congress, Shanghai 2017. The Bureau also engaged with the Internet Society of China (ISC) for feedback on ISOC’s Global Internet report. We also attended the Wuzhen Internet Conference and engaged with government officials and the private sector through the year at
various events.

Chapter and Member Engagement

Internet Society @ APRICOT; Chapter and Member Meeting [01 March, Hon Chi Minh, Vietnam]

The Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Conference on Operational Technologies (APRICOT) is a forum for key Internet builders in the region to learn from peers and other leaders in the global Internet community. The APAC Bureau organized its regular ISOC@APRICOT meeting with ISOC members during which it provided an update on regional activities, as well as updates from ISOC Technology team followed by discussions on a range of Internet related issues.

Internet Society APAC Regional Chapters Meeting 2017 [16 November 2017, Singapore]

The 2017 Regional Chapters Meeting brought together 23 Chapter leaders representing 19 out of the 22 regional Chapters in the Asia-Pacific region. This gathering tackled emerging challenges of ensuring a free and open Internet and identified opportunities for collaboration among chapters.

At the workshop, four key regional issues were identified for discussion – (1) the digital divide; (2) Internet ethics; (3) Internet security; and (4) privacy and trust. Other topics presented and discussed included: the Asia-Pacific School on Internet Governance (APSIG), the Asian, Australasian and Pacific Islands Regional At-Large Organization (APRALO), geographically-focused IETF activities, Internet exchange, Internet of Things security, security by multi-stakeholder design, and Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS). These discussions were relevant to the upcoming key campaigns of the Internet Society in 2018, and focused on aligning shared interests and priorities in executing the campaigns.

The workshop also provided the opportunity for cross-learning on managing and running a Chapter from three long time and experienced Chapter Leaders, and a Board of Trustees member.

Regional Chapter Calls

The quarterly regional Chapter call is an avenue for the Bureau and ISOC Chapters in Asia-Pacific to regularly provide updates on their ongoing projects and upcoming events. The virtual meetings provide chapter leaders with an opportunity to discuss collaboration opportunities with each other. ISOC staff from other departments also frequently attend the calls to share their respective activities and initiatives.

India Chapters Meeting

Along the sidelines of the InterCommunity 2017 celebration in the Indian Capital, New Delhi, all the five ISOC chapters (and one then-in-formation Chapter: India Mumbai) organised a meeting to discuss issues and challenges as well as upcoming plans. The meeting was structured as a dialogue to explore focus areas in India, and to facilitate a discussion by chapters to identify collaborative work areas.

Other Chapter Outreach Activities

Over the course of the year, the APAC Bureau had several outreach opportunities and meetings with ISOC chapter leaders and members from Australia, Bangladesh Dhaka, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia Jakarta, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, Pacific Islands, Pakistan Islamabad, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

Regional Chapter Updates

We invited our chapters in the region to provide brief reports on their work through the year. Following are the contributions received and provide an indication of some of the good work done by our chapters at the local level. The full list of ISOC chapters around the world is available here.

Internet Society Afghanistan Chapter

Founded in 2016, one of the youngest chapters in the region, the Afghanistan Chapter, hit the ground running this year, organising the first National Internet Governance Forum in the country. The two-day-event brought leaders from various stakeholder groups—government entities, civil societies, private organisations, technical, and academic communities. The event was conducted in English, with the content translated into two of the official languages — Pashto and Dari. There were hands-on and other interactive activities with Q&A, along with open around four key areas—Access & Diversity, Cyber Security, Youth and Gender, and Emerging Issues.

Internet Society India Delhi Chapter

Internet Society India Delhi hosted the InterCommunity 2017 node in Delhi, India. This event brought together six chapters from India, and leaders from the Nepal Chapter. The chapter also collaborated with India Trivandrum and Kolkata chapters to organise the second India School on Internet Governance (inSIG 2017) in Trivandrum, from 24 October to 26 November 2017.

Internet Society India Trivandrum Chapter

Internet Society India Trivandrum Chapter hosted and co-organised the inSIG 2017 along with the India Delhi and Kolkata Chapters. The program engaged multiple stakeholders in South Asia to raise awareness on regional issues around Internet Governance. It also helped build skills to enable the participants to join global Internet Governance fora, processes and institutions; ultimately creating champions in the community. There was a good gender balance and representation from different age groups and professional backgrounds among the fellows. For more details on the School, follow the website www.insig.in.

Internet Society Japan Chapter (ISOC-JP)

One of the oldest ISOC Chapters, the Japan Chapter continued to lead a series of important initiatives this year. Starting with the Internet Standard Study Workshop for Youth in early 2017, the Chapter conducted local gatherings at each venue and Report Meetings for IETF98, IETF99 and IETF100. It also hosted one of the InterCommunity 2017 Interactive Nodes, during which the new Internet Hall of Fame inductee Prof. Goto, former ISOC-JP Chapter officer was honoured. The Chapter held the Internet Hall of Fame Commemorate Symposium to share his activities with the local community. It also co-hosted, along with the Japan Network Information Centre, an Online Privacy Workshop during the Asia Internet Symposium (AIS) in Tokyo.

Internet Society Malaysia Chapter (ISOC-MY)

The ISOC Malaysia Chapter led the organization of the Malaysian Internet Governance Forum 2017, the country’s national IGF in October 2017, bringing the private sector, government and non-government entities, civil society, technical community, academia, and others together for the day-long event. Many industry leaders shared best practices on Internet governance during the forum.

Internet Society Pakistan Islamabad Chapter (ISOC-PK)

The Pakistan Islamabad Chapter organized the Pakistan School on Internet Governance (http://2017.pksig.pk/program.html) by bringing multiple Internet stakeholders in the region together for sessions spanning four days. The Chapter worked towards addressing regional issues by organizing the “Child Online Protection” in Govt. College Women University, Sialkot, and in Rahim Yar Khan, in the Punjab province. It also brought together the engineering community by conducting an IETF Outreach Program in Peshawar and Islamabad, which had over 80 participant-collaborators. The Chapter was a celebration Node for InterCommunity 2017.

Internet Society Philippines Chapter (ISOC-PH)

This year, the Philippines Chapter not only took a great step towards engaging with the local government while advocating for the “Open Access in Data Transmission” bill, but was active in organizing a series of activities. It contributed towards the growth of the country’s Internet ecosystem through open discourses on infrastructure, policy, and foreign local support interventions by helping to organise the Philippine Network Operators’ Group (PhNOG) 2017 Conference in Makati. The Chapter also actively participated and supported the first Philippines IP Peering Forum, first Philippines Internet Intermediaries Forum, and the first Philippines Internet Governance Colloquium which overall had over 240 participants.

Welcome Aboard

This year, the ISOC Asia-Pacific Chapters family welcomed a new member, the India Mumbai Chapter.


The Bureau continued to enhance its communication channels in 2017. This included increased publicity for its events through both social and traditional media, as well as its regional newsletter. Through the course of the year, the Bureau had over 100 media spots around the region, including national and regional publications for op-eds, articles, and stories.

Follow us on Twitter @ISOCapac and visit our Scoop.it page where we curate Internet related news and articles from the Asia-Pacific region.

Regional Newsletter

APAC Connections is a monthly e-newsletter released towards the end of every month. It has updates on the Asia-Pacific Bureau’s activities and features insights on the transforming Internet landscape in and around the Asia-Pacific region from guest writers and Bureau staff. We published 12 newsletters in 2017 with an average open rate of 28%.

Newsletter archive: https://www.internetsociety.org/apac-connect

Newsletter subscription: http://bit.ly/ISOC-APAC-signup

Social Media Activity

Real-time updates on ISOC and other regional events were broadcast through our Twitter account and Facebook Page. Our scoop.it page features Internet related news and updates from the region.

Regional Blog

APAC Bureau staff also wrote a number of blog posts through the year, covering activities in the region as well as topical Internet issues. These are available at http://www.internetsociety.org/blog/asia-pacific-bureau

APAC Express

To keep our colleagues on staff at the Internet Society better informed, the APAC Bureau released 12 editions of ‘APAC Express’ this year; a monthly internal one-page newsletter to provide a snapshot of what Team ISOC APAC have done in the past couple of weeks and what is coming up in the next month. This helps us to coordinate better internally across teams.

Media Engagement

Throughout the year, our activities attracted coverage by a range of local and regional media outlets.

These included:

APAC Bureau Team

The Internet Society’s Asia-Pacific Bureau covers South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, and Oceania and has team members located across the region. The APAC Bureau Team with its strong network of contacts, collaborators and contributors, as well as its region-wide reach and relationships, is well positioned to help ISOC face the future of the Internet and the many opportunities it will provide to improve and enhance people’s lives across the region.

Rajnesh Singh, Regional Director for Asia-Pacific (Singapore and Sydney, Australia)
[email protected] Twitter: @rajneshsingh

Naveed Haq, Regional Development Manager (Islamabad, Pakistan)
[email protected] Twitter: @naveedHaq

Aftab Siddiqui, Technical Outreach Manager (Sydney, Australia)
[email protected] Twitter: ‪@aftabsiddiqui

Noelle de Guzman, Regional Programmes Coordinator (Manila, Philippines)
[email protected] Twitter: @nddeguzman

Subhashish Panigrahi, Chapter Development Manager (Bangalore, India)
[email protected] Twitter: @subhapa

Olivia Loy, Regional Support (Singapore)
[email protected]

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