Influencing policy development across the international digital divide

Photo showing members of the Digital Divide project

Since 2014, Professor Kariyawasam has been leading research on the digital economy at ARU Law School, researching the digital divide between those who have access to Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) and those who do not. This work follows on from earlier research published by Kariyawasam: International Economics Law and the Digital Divide: A New Silk Road (Edward Elgar, 2008) and The WTO, Intellectual Property, E-Commerce and the Internet (Edward Elgar, 2009).

In 2007 Kariyawasam was awarded AHRC funding to research those with disabilities who access ICTs in the classroom and those who do not; in 2010, he was awarded the British Academy MC Fellowship to research market dominance, neutrality and privacy on the internet.

In 2015, Kariyawasam was awarded AHRC Newton Funding to research copyright in the digital domain in China. His empirical research on copyright in the digital economy, social media and digital divide issues in China has effected a change in awareness of Chinese copyright law (digital divide and open internet content). This resulted in a set of 14 recommendations for expanding the fair use provisions in China's Copyright Act sent to the Chinese National People's Congress (CNPC) in April 2018.

Over 2015-2018, Kariyawasam was appointed a member of the World Economic Forum/International Centre for Trade &Sustainable Development Digital Economy Expert Group where he reviewed the digital economy provisions in a range of bilateral and regional free trade agreements. This whole body of research also led to suggested developments to World Trade Organisation (WTO) law addressing the digital divide between developed and developing nations; defining in WTO law the dominance of major suppliers (open internet infrastructure).

Objectives of the Digital Divide research