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The GTC Story

.:: Story of the Global Trust Center

The establishment and development of the Global Trust Center follows a global pattern and sequence of events that has been developing since the late 90s.

Unsettling Global Developments:

  • Frustration with lack of progress in multilateral negotiations and collaboration with regard to governance of the digital sphere;
  • Widespread implementation of digital communication and electronic commerce under conditions of fragmented and ineffective identity solutions, providing fertile conditions for cyber-crime and undercutting the standing of users and the preconditions for trust.

The Global Trust Center started in 2003 as an outcome of:

  • Deliberations and recommendations in a number of international conferences (ASEM, OECD, UN);
  • Research and analysis by the International Organisation for Knowledge Economy and Enterprise Development (IKED);
  • The ASEM publication on "the Role of Government, Private Sector and Civil Society in an Information Society" (IKED and the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs), followed by;
  • The establishment of the Global Trust Center International Steering Group.

A feasibility study conducted in 2006 under the aegis of the international Steering Group, further supported this notion, resulting in:

  • Publication on Enabling Trust in the Digital World, including a conclusion on the potential benefits of the implementation of the Global Trust Center concept;
  • A number of presentations made in international conferences, based on the feasibility study;
  • A new funding structure based on collaboration with a private sector consortium;
  • A consultative process preparing for the establishment of the International Council.

The Global Trust Center organised its first International Council Meeting in September 2007

  • Representatives of more than 20 countries endorsed the Global Trust Center Policy on Enabling Trust in the Digital World.

Analysis and evolution of the policy continued in 2008. The 2nd meeting of the GTC International Council took place with representatives from more than 30 countries. The International Council settled on its constitution.

Work has continued in the subsequent years, with further communication on the importance of resolving the underlying issues and in preparation of implementation of the policy. The global financial crisis affected the funding structure, however. In addition, private sector interests that previously provided funding to the GTC, for the purpose of collaborating in efforts to deliver responses to the policy prescriptions, attempted to gain control of the policy agenda. While the associated disruptions to the GTC policy work over the ensuing years ceased in 2010, the challenge remains for the GTC to secure independence and integrity for the long term. Over the last three years, the GTC has provided support to the launch of new activities on identity management prepared by the European Commission, notably the GINI project, which is anticipated to lead to new opportunities for strengthening of the organisation's agenda. Around the world, there is increasing clarity on the importance of resolving the underlying issues addressed by the GTC policy. The GTC will thus take further steps to secure viable long-term funding on a basis that is fully compatible with its independence and integrity.

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..:: Background - Rationale

Following centuries of accelerating scientific and technical progress, information and communication technologies (ICT) started to evolve in the mid-20th century. The movement towards a knowledge-based information society has gone through a number of stages, through which learning processes have accumulated. Today, the digital world knows no borders and transcends the social, cultural, and institutional frameworks of all countries. The potential applications of ICT extend into all areas of human activity, with extensive social and economic ramifications.

The Internet and the frameworks for digital exchange and transactions are commonly presented as a panacea to resolving all sorts of problems. International organizations, governments and public authorities with various geographical and sectoral responsibilities keep pushing for the roll-out of ICT and various commercial applications. Whereas the scope of information flows in cyberspace has exploded, much potential use of electronic transactions is, however, not welcomed by individual human beings or by the markets. Despite its continued expansion, electronic commerce is thwarted and outcomes are twisted by severe problems related to limitations in authentication and security.

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