Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Internet governance was a very controversial topic at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) from the General Assembly, as an awakening of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. There are many approaches to the Internet governance issue, and we understand that it should be inclusive and responsive. However, to what extent should certain stakeholders be involved and how does the multistakeholder policy dialogue change the ways that the discussions are brought out?

Once exploring the Internet Governance Forum, we are able to see how various stakeholders are involved in order to address the topics of internet through the discussion of public policies encompassing these issues. Hence, the “IGF is a global multistakeholder platform that facilitates the discussion of public policy issues pertaining to the internet. There are many initiatives and topics discussed within the forum. In terms of the issues discussed in the 12th meeting of the IGF in 2017, with the on-going industrial revolution, there are topics regarding the impact of modern technologies in the industry, society, and the economy. The new digital economy and sustainable development, are they really create opportunities for everyone or are they actually creating a digital divide? My understanding of this “deepening of divide” is that while more people who already have access to technologies are become even more powerful and enablers of changing the society through online platforms; those who do not have the internet access and who do not have the available resources to access anything via Internet, they are experiencing and even greater gap and isolation from the society utilizing the Internet as the main platform for important issues like policy making, decision making, and even just basic human rights. Some other topics that are brought about at the IGF are cybersecurity, AI, Blockchains and bitcoins, fake news, access, inclusion and diversity. I find that these topics are quite critical and require an interdisciplinary approach to learning (with cybersecurity, development, sustainability, and technologies) and understanding our “Internet Governance”.

The IGF is an Annual Meeting for Internet Governance Forum which has an overarching theme that differs every year. In 2019 November, the Government of Germany in Berlin hosted the 14th Annual Meeting with the overarching theme: One World. One Net. One Vision. IGF serves to bring people together the stakeholder groups for all of them to be treated equally and discuss the policy issues that is related to the Internet. This forum is intended to influence various public and private sectors to work together and exchange information to have a better understanding of how the Internet can help maximize the opportunities of our international development.


Evolution of a Digital Society

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). Continue reading

Why Multi stakeholder Governance?

This weeks discussions builds upon last week’s readings on ICTs by focusing on internet governance. Internet governance (IG) encompasses all the rules, standards, and practices that regulate and shape cyberspace. Because there are multiple networks that cover a variety of regions, internet governance becomes a multi stakeholder issue due to the different actors, organizations, and individuals it affects. Internet governance therefore expands to multi stakeholder internet governance, which aims to bring all those different actors to participate in decision making, solutions, dialogue, and implementation of policies and rules related to internet governance. Multi stakeholder governance was a focal point to understand IG in each of our readings. For example, ISOC spoke about the multi stakeholder approach and how it has three components: infrastructure, governance, and humans (Internet Society). To have successful multi stakeholder decision-making to guide a progressing internet society, there needs to be inclusiveness and transparency, collective responsibility, effective decision making, and collaboration through distributed and interoperable governance (Internet Society). ISOC stated that multi stakeholder decision making is great for the reasons we touched upon; the process helps issues where decisions impact a wide range of people with overlapping rights across sectors. Continue reading

13th Annual Internet Governance Forum

The Internet Governance Forum is an international forum that brings together various stakeholder groups from the public and private sectors to discuss policy issues relating to the Internet. The 13thannual IGF was hosted by the Government of France at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France this year. This year’s theme centered around “The Internet of Trust.” In addition to hosting the IGF, President Macron announced it to be International Digital Week in France, which included the Peace Forum and the GovTech convention. From discussions on cybersecurity to those on refugee issues, the IGF introduced conversations on multiple subjects. Although I experienced some technical difficulties, I was able to learn more about refugee access to internet through the session on “Refugees digital rights: Necessities and needs.” In some regions, especially those who host large refugee populations, there are restrictive data policies that restrict access. Not only do these restrict access to the Internet, these policies affect a refugee’s ability to access digital learning opportunities and connect with family members. In an evolving technical society, it was interesting to hear the attendees talk about the need to emphasize a refugees human right to digital access.

The IGF is an innovative forum for many reasons. All individuals are representing themselves, not their organizations, which allows individuals to rely on their own expertise rather than being limited by the scope of their organization. It also encourages more open dialogue because there are no negotiations for an “outcome document” similar to other large-scale international forums. In addition, the IGF has a Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG). The MAG was established by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in order to advise on the programming and schedule of the IGF. 55 members from governments, the private sector, and civil society organizations are elected into the MAG and participate in face-to-face meetings up to three times a year. Dialogues are also open to former IGF host countries and representations of intergovernmental organizations. Essentially, the MAG acts as a governance mechanism for the IGF. The IGF also has dynamic coalitions that focus on specific key issues regarding internet governance. The dynamic coalitions first emerged at the first IGF meeting in Athens in 2006. These coalitions are informal, issue-specific groups with members from different stakeholder groups.

One of the most interesting innovations to me is the development of regional IGF’s. These regional forums host discussions that are focused on the issues discussed at the IGF, but are more country or region specific. Because of the regional IGF’s, more individuals are able to participation in these conversations because they are easier to access. Today, there are more than 110 regional IGFs located in all 5 UN regions.

Internet Governance Forum

Last week, the 13th Internet Governance Forum was hosted in Paris, France.  This year’s theme was “Internet of Trust” and was quite a timely topic seeing that the conference was held the same week as the 100-year celebration of Armistice Day. I found the panel titled, “WS80 Hack the Hate: Empower Society to Face Hate Speech-RAW,” to be extremely fascinating seeing the prevalence of hate speech in our world today.  This 90-minute session addressed important policy issues and operational responses like:

  • Hate speech regulations and “the grey area”
  • The complementary approach between States initiatives, platforms, and civil society’s involvement; and
  • Digital literacy.

Continue reading