This past week expanded upon the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) that our class touched upon a couple weeks ago. To recap, the IGF brings people together “from various stakeholder groups as equals to discuss public policy issues relating to the Internet” (Internet Governance Forum). It may not necessarily produce solutions, but it is an opportunity for different perspectives to give their insight and understand how to “maximize internet opportunities and address risks and challenges that arise” Internet Governance Forum).
I think this summary touched upon what our guest George Sadowsky explained in terms of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) in development. He mentioned how ICTs serve as productivity tools to further development in areas like governance, politics, economics, and providing further services. He also talked about the evolution of digital technology and how it has evolved from being a cumbersome, expensive setup to a vital component that permeates all aspects of society. The only downside to its widespread use is applying human rights such as privacy and security into the digital world. You have advances such as artificial intelligence (AI) as well as setbacks such as cyberattacks and misinformation that can be easily distributed and sway issues in politics. All of these topics are key in the 14th IGF happening this week. The introduction video on the 14th IGF site spoke about the social problems on the use of media, such as powerful AI, fundamental rights, and cybersecurity. When I was exploring some of their pre-events and main events, I saw workshops and discussions revolving around those central topics. One workshop in particular that I was excited to see was called “Ethics for the Young Digital Talents in the Era of AI” hosted by Universitas Indonesia. It was interesting going through the website and encouraging to see how they promote digital participation. I think that is a central component in the IGF and internet society: we need to include the users and bring in full participation to reach a common understanding on issues related to the internet. This point is also highlighted by GigaNet.
GigaNet stands for the Global Internet Governance Academic Network. It is an international association of academic researchers that “support multidisciplinary scholarship on internet governance” (GigaNet Annual Symposium). Their organization listed four principal objectives: supporting the establishment of a global network of scholars knowledgeable in internet governance issues, promoting internet governance development as an interdisciplinary field of study, advancing theoretical and applied research, and facilitating informed dialogue on policy issues between scholars and internet governance stakeholders (GigaNet Annual Symposium). GigaNet is another crucial organization because it provides the academic side that works to understand the evolution of internet governance. This knowledge and understanding can be translated into the conversations brought up in IGF. I think the video on IGF summed up a key highlight in this week’s discussion: there is no one person you can call to discuss issues about the internet. There is no one person in charge, which makes these discussions and multistakeholder participations ever the more important. You can at least lay down the laws and rules to help make the internet safe and democratic for all.
“IGF 2019.” Internet Governance Forum, United Nations, 21 Nov. 2019, www.intgovforum.org/multilingual/content/igf-2019.
“What Is GigaNet?” GigaNet Annual Symposium 2019 November 25, Berlin, GIGANET, 5 Feb. 2018, http://www.giga-net.org/about/.