Entrenched positions at IGF and a few dynamic coalitions

You could scramble all the speeches given on the opening day of the Internet Governance Forum in Greece this week, put them in a hat, pull them out one by one, and I stand a pretty good chance of identifying the speaker every time.

From everything that can be seen in the transcripts, the first Internet Governance Forum meeting in Greece saw very little movement, despite attracting a fair crowd of interested parties. The format for the meeting seems to do little to resolve known issues and to move on to better governance. Heaven knows we need it.

Yawn number one was for ITU, who still insist they could run the Internet better than anyone else and should be in charge.

Yawn number two was for ISOC, who, believe it or not, thinks the forum ought to concentrate on development issues and leave Internet governance and issues associated with the US Government role to those “in the know” (like ISOC).

Yawn number 3 for the US delegation who believe the most pressing issue is competitive infrastructure in third world countries (who would die for any sort of infrastructure in some cases…)

Then there was the Chinese delegation telling me there were no suppression issues in China’s control of national Internet issues. Or Cisco telling me that co-operating with the Chinese government to suppress access was really about protecting innocent children.

I didn’t expect much. Looks like I didn’t get much either. Still, it’s important to continue this experiment.
The new buzzword is dynamic coalitions – groups of people who come together around certain subjects.

Lets hope for some dynamics before Rio next year. Meanwhile, the action moves to Turkey this week, where for the next few weeks governments will meet under the auspices of ITU and discuss many internet governance related issues.


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