This year, the Internet Governance Forum will meet in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, in early November. This is year four of this interesting United Nations sponsored event, and the first to be held in the wake of increased independence for ICANN.
There is a lot on the program – here’s just a summary of some of the sessions I am personally involved in and some preliminary thoughts.
Civil Society meeting – 7pm, November 14. This will be my last civil society meeting as a Co-ordinator of the Internet Governance Caucus, the main coordinating body for non government sector input into the forum. It’s been a difficult year in several respects, and I glad to see my term of office come to an end. The meeting is important, particularly for newcomers to get to meet their colleagues before the meeting proper gets underway.
Workshop on Transnationalisation of Internet Governance – where to from here? 9.30am, November 15. I’m really looking forward to this session right at the start of the meeting proper, which I will be chairing. After expert overview from Drs Wolfgang Kleinwachter (Giganet) and Janna Anderson (Imagining the Internet and Pew Internet Survey), we have a great panel to respond to issues raised, including Dr Jeremy Malcolm, Dr Elena Pavan by remote participation, Robert Pepper from Cisco, and also Robert Kahn, acknowledged by most people as the co-founder of the Internet with Vint Cerf. We are looking to a good exchange of viewpoints here and with the audience as well – in the wake of increased independence for ICANN and some greater emphasis on the multistakeholder model, what will this mean for areas such as cybercrime, and for other bodies such as ITU? Many questions here, it should be a great scene-setter.
Workshop on Core Values, November 16, 2pm. I’m looking forward to speaking at this one, with a great range of colleagues. This identification of core values is important – I am certain the technology will continue to change, but what is it that has made the Internet useful that we need to ensure we maintain amidst the changes? This should be an interesting workshop.
Net Neutrality Workshop, 2pm, November 18. I’ll be speaking here with a group with a wide range of interests in this subject, from activists through to network managers and national regulators. Ive written before on the confusion that surrounds this debate – I am looking forward to being able to say a few things from a consumer perspective about what we really need to achieve here.
And apart from these, I am looking forward to seeing old friends and socialising, and getting a chance to see the pyramids en route home (via Beijing of all places).
It will be interesting to see how the meeting goes. IGF has had a great influence on the Internet, bringing together stakeholders from business, government and non governmental organisations, to get a good exchange of viewpoints on where the Internet needs governance structures. To date its achievements have been facilitating a dialogue between all the key players – perhaps that is all it will ever achieve – and if thats the case, it has still been worthwhile.