Internet Governance

Many voices makes strong policy

By Joyce Dogniez and Sally Shipman Wentworth

As more of the world’s seven billion people move online, it is critical that the policies that govern the Internet in different countries encourage openness. One of the best ways forward is to listen to many different voices when it comes to forming policy.

Internet Society Chapters are some of these voices in their home countries.

The Philippines Chapter “already had existing multistakeholder approaches in public hearings as conducted by our regulator, the National Telecommunications Commission,” explains Winthrop Yu, Internet Society Philippines Chapter member. “Nevertheless, it was after the Internet Society-Infocoms Technology Associaton of the Philippines Symposium in Manila that a Philippine Consultative Working Group on WCIT was convened.

“This served as an example of how cooperative consultation with various stakeholders can enhance the efficiency and efficacy of government agencies.” Different stakeholder groups can bring forward resources and experienced opinions that government agencies may not have access to otherwise.

This specialist knowledge is particularly important when working with some of the more technical aspects of Internet governance.

“We’re trying to show our national regulators that regulating the Internet is a bit different than regulating the water supply, say, or coal mining,” explains Hans Peter Dittler, member of the German Chapter. “We are holding a half-day conference ahead of the Internet Engineering Task Force meeting in Berlin and inviting government officials to talk about how we can work together in the future.

“We work with the government, at the same level as industry groups like telecommunications companies and lobby groups,” said Dittler. “We want to keep the Internet free and open, not only today but in five and ten years time.”