UNESCO's public consultation: Internet Universality Indicators




In order to address a perceived lack of indicators in order to measure a number of the United Nations policies, UNESCO has decided to propose some indicators intended to measure “Internet Universality” for all. The indicators follow four “ROAM” principles:

  • Rights
  • Openness
  • Accessible to all
  • Multi-stakeholder participation

In addition to that, there are also cross-cutting indicators that affect all other areas. They refer to all those together as the “ROAMX” principles.

The proposal document for Internet Universality Indicators is on public consultation until March 15th, 2018. There is also an online platform where people can comment on specific parts of the document. Besides English, the consultation is also available in six other UN official languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.

While the document covers many important topics, such as freedom of expression, freedom of information, privacy, net neutrality, open standards and open content, many or all of which may interest people involved with Open Knowledge, I call attention upon and reproduce here the indicators that deal specifically with the subject of Open Data:


Open data policies are concerned with making publicly available data that are gathered by governments
(and, sometimes, other stakeholders) so that they can be used by any stakeholder. Data protection arrangements are important in ensuring that open data sets do not undermine individual privacy rights.

E.1 Has legislation been enacted which requires open access to public data, and is that legislation implemented?


  • Existence of a legal framework for access to open data which is consistent with international
    norms [42] and privacy requirements
  • Evidence concerning the extent to which open data resources are available and used online [43]

[42] e.g. the Open Data Charter, https://opendatacharter.net/#
[43] e.g. value and ranking in the World Wide Web Foundation’s Open Data Barometer

E.2 Do government departments and local government agencies have websites which are available in all official languages?


  • Government policy to ensure provision of websites with appropriate language access
  • Proportion of government departments with websites (value/ranking in UNDESA online services index)
  • Quality of government websites (extent of language availability, quantity of content, availabil-
    ity of mobile version)
  • Proportion of adult citizens who have used e-government services within twelve months

E.3 Do government and other public stakeholders provide easy online access to publicly-held data sets, including machine-readable access to original data?


  • Legal framework concerning freedom of information
  • Number and quantity of open data sets made available by government and available through public access facilities
  • Availability of public access facilities that can be used for open data access in e.g. educational
    institutions and libraries
  • Data on the extent of use of open data, in total and within country

E.4 Are provisions concerning the location and duration of data retention consistent with international standards of data protection and supportive of effective access?


  • Legal and regulatory provisions concerning data retention and cross-border data flows

E.5 Can individuals and organisations use and share public data without restriction?


  • Legal framework concerning freedom of information
  • Presence or absence of restrictions in government policy and practice on the use and sharing of public data

E.6 Are open data used by stakeholders in ways which have a positive impact on sustainable development?


  • Number of access requests for open data from government
  • Evidence of developmental use of open data in selected sectors (e.g. environment, health, ag-
    riculture, enterprise)

Considering that these indicators will be pushed by the UN and possibly by governments in all concerning topics, including open data, I suggest that we contribute to the public consultation by criticizing, suggesting and proposing improvements to the document. We have until March 15th to do so, which is when the public consultation ends.