Internet Governance Shaping the Internet's Future

A World Without the IGF

Last week in Geneva, the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) met to discuss preparations for IGF Berlin. The Internet Society is concerned that the IGF community is showing signs of fatigue and believes that certain things must be improved in order for it to survive in an increasingly crowded Internet policy arena. We also believe the world is much better with the IGF than without it.

As the IGF reaches its fourteenth year, we must ask ourselves if it is still capable of dealing with the myriad governance challenges surrounding the Internet and policymakers – and whether the IGF can continue to evolve the Internet way – into an open and distributed global network of networks grounded in voluntary collaboration.

Imagine a world without the IGF. A world where we won’t be able to welcome people from most corners of the earth, from multiple stakeholder groups, and from diverse viewpoints and perspectives to address the Internet’s pressing public policy issues. All sharing a common goal, albeit sometimes speaking different languages.

Certain things have indeed improved. We have seen better advanced planning from UNDESA and the IGF Secretariat, along with a supportive, well-organized, and solid support from the German hosts. We have also welcomed programmatic improvements seeking a more focused and cohesive agenda, with fewer thematic tracks, which should enable more meaningful discussions.

We hope the High-Level Panel recently appointed by the UN Secretary General to foster digital cooperation will support needed reforms of the IGF, while maintaining its open and multistakeholder nature.

If we don’t remain committed to these reforms, we’ll face a world without the IGF, or – perhaps even worse – a world in which the IGF becomes irrelevant. In such a world, the IGF could be replaced by other policy platforms that meet and make important decisions about the future of the Internet without involving all stakeholders. This is why we think the world is better with the IGF than without it.

Read Why the Multistakeholder Approach Works

Internet Governance

IGF 2018: Improvements and a Call for Contributions

The annual meetings of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) have been consolidated as the main space for discussion and exchange of ideas among the stakeholders of the Internet community on an equal footing. However, there are diverse activities which take place throughout the year that require the participation of all the actors of the community.

The Intersessional Activities

The concept of Dynamic Coalitions (DCs) emerged during the first IGF meeting in 2006. These are informal groups, focused on specific topics that report their activities to the IGF Secretariat each year. Currently, there are 17 active coalitions, which involve diverse topics ranging from accessibility and disability to Internet core values. It is possible to join the work of each of them by accessing the site published by the IGF Secretariat.

On the other hand, following the recommendations of the Working Group on IGF Improvements, the IGF community promoted the creation of the Best Practice Forums (BPFs) as a way to generate more tangible outcomes. For the 2018 cycle, four BPFs were approved; all of them are currently seeking feedback from the community. Some of them have a deadline of September 30, while others will receive contributions until October 15. All dates are considered as soft deadlines, so all interested stakeholders are invited to contribute.

Finally, the Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion (CENB) project activated its Phase IV as part of the IGF 2018 preparatory cycle. The project is focused on concrete examples of how connectivity efforts help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 7 (clean energy), SDG 8 (work and economic growth), SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure) and SDG 17 (partnerships to achieve the SDGs). CENB Phase IV accepts contributions no later than September 30, although it is also a soft deadline.

Information about these activities was shared with the community through a webinar whose recording is publicly available.

It’s Time to Strengthen the IGF

Historically, the Internet Society has shown a strong commitment to the IGF. Since its first meeting we have been a support force both logistically (through funding or fellowships), as well as in public debates, by organizing sessions at the annual meetings and by contributing to MAG meetings and Intersessional activities.

This commitment remains intact, as Raúl Echeberría, Vice President of Global Engagement of the Organization, pointed out during the eleventh meeting of LACIGF. We are convinced that the IGF is the most innovative experience of international governance in the last decades, so we must be proud of what we have achieved. However, it is necessary to evaluate what actions can be taken to improve the IGF.

In March, prior to the first MAG 2018 meeting, Raúl shared with the community some ideas to make the IGF more attractive and, thus, be better prepared to face current and future challenges. The proposals are practical and concrete: have more focused discussions, produce more tangible outcomes, reduce the number of parallel sessions that compete among each other and encourage attendees to actively participate in the debates.

The IGF has been fundamental to the Internet community. We have invested a lot in building this unique space, in which the diverse actors have learned to work together, in accordance with the principles of the multistakeholder model. If the IGF is not attractive enough and Internet Governance discussions are taken to other spaces, we must start from scratch and re-create the forms of participation we have created in the IGF.

Some of the changes can be implemented at the 2018 meeting, which will take place in Paris from November 12-14. Some others will have to wait for the 2019 cycle and later, but the most important thing is that the stakeholders of the community find consensus around the idea of the need for these adaptations. It is in favor of the IGF and the benefit will be shared by all.

Learn more about Internet Governance and why everyone should have a voice in helping to shape tomorrow!

Internet Governance

Buenos Aires Will Be the Place for Internet Governance This Week

Without a doubt, this will be a busy week for the Internet Society in Latin America and the Caribbean!  In addition to the 11th LACIGF, we will be holding discussions on gender and youth, as well as a workshop for Chapter leaders in the region.

LACIGF 11: The Coming of Age of the Regional Conversation

From July 31 to August 2, our regional community will meet in Buenos Aires to celebrate the 11th annual Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Internet Governance Forum (LACIGF). More than ten years after the first meeting took place, LACIGF has now been established as a key meeting, and a place to discuss specific issues surrounding Internet Governance in Latin America and the Caribbean.

This year’s agenda includes several places in which the Internet Society will be present: Raquel Gatto will be co-organizer for the session on National and Regional Internet Governance Initiatives, and she will also participate in a discussion on personal data protection. Sebastián Bellagamba will join the debate around community networks. And last, but certainly not least, Raúl Echeberría will be delivering the keynote speech on the future of the global IGF.

The event will be streamed live in Spanish, English and Portuguese, with opportunities for remote participation. Don’t forget to follow the discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #LACIGF11!

Chapters Center Stage

Before the official start of LACIGF 11, there will be a workshop for LAC Internet Society Chapter leadership on Monday July 30. The workshop will focus on continuing the important work the Chapters do in general, with a special focus on the Internet Society’s four key issues for 2018: Community Networks, Internet Governance, Safety and IoT and MANRS.

Andrew Sullivan the newly elected CEO of the Internet Society, who will officially begin on the 1st of September, will be joining the workshop remotely along with Raúl Echeberría, Vice President of Global Engagement, and Sebastián Bellagamba, the Latin American and the Caribbean Office Director.

Gender and youth: reducing the digital divide

We cannot have an Internet that is open, globally-connected, secure, and trustworthy unless we are able to address the problems that together form the digital divide. One of the ways we support this work is through our Special Interest Groups (SIG). Our SIG Women will be leading the LACIGFem 2018 on August 1, and our SIG Youth will be running the 2018 Youth LACIGF, for the third year. Since its beginning in 2106, the YouthLACIGF has grown in its reach and importance every year. This year it will join forces with the Youth IGF Argentina.

Watch the Livestream!

Help to bridge the gender digital divide. Join the SIG WomenInternet Society is committed to Internet Governace that is collaborative and based on consensus. Join the Collaborative Internet governance project!

Improving Technical Security Internet Governance Public Policy

LACIGF and eLAC – Internet Governance Events in Mexico This Week

The 8th edition of LACIGF has started with a good energy and a full room! This is the beginning of a series of events taking place this week in Mexico that are mobilising key leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean that will shape the regional agenda for the information society.

8th LACIGF, 3-4 August

LACIGF stands for the Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Internet Governance Forum from the Latin America and the Caribbean. For the past 8 years, the event has been consistently contributing to leverage the understanding of Internet Governance issues, to give the opportunity for regional stakeholders to come together and share information on the work that is being done on various topics at national and regional level. The main tangible results of previous events has been to draft a Regional Internet Governance Agenda, which has been submitted to the global IGFs sessions.

There is a multistakeholder Program Committee responsible for the overall coordination, comprised with representatives of the various actors and aimed at managing the process in representation of the Latin American and Caribbean community. LACNIC serves as the secretariat for LACIGF. The Internet Society (ISOC) is currently one of the representatives of technical community in this committee, as well as a long-stand supporting organization.

The agenda has been shaped through an open consultative process for a call of topics that are relevant within the region, that culminate in the following topics to be discussed: Human Rights, Surveillance and Privacy; Right to be Forgotten; Intellectual Property and Freedom of Expression, Net Neutrality; Digital Economy; Internet of Things; and Policy Options for Connecting the Next Billion (in reply to MAG`s IGF call to further this theme within all regional and national IGFs). Moreover, the event will tackle the Roadmap for the regional Internet Governance agenda, the national IGFs efforts and the future of the LACIGF structure.

ISOC will be present with a strong delegation: our CEO & President Kathy Brown will deliver the closing remarks, Raul Echeberria will speak at the regional IG discussions, Sebastian Bellagamba is allocated at the Net Neutrality panel, Shernon Osepa will present our Global Internet Report at the Digital Economy session and Raquel Gatto will disseminate the Local IG Events toolkit and the LAC Youth@IGF program.

You can watch online through the live video streaming and participate in the twitter discussions using the hashtag #lacigf8

This year, the LACIGF has been located side-by-side with the high-level meeting on Information Society held by ECLAC, aiming to create more synergies within the regional events tackling the evolution and future of the Internet.

5th Ministerial Conference on the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean 5-7 August

The conference aims to evaluate the achievements of the eLAC, a mechanism for regional policy dialogue created in 2005 to meet the UN MDGs and is also based on the WSIS-Geneva results [the Geneva Declaration of Principles and the Plan of Action]. It is being held in Mexico City because the host country will assume the coordination for the eLAC2018.

The main outcome expected for the meeting is the LAC Digital Agenda for 2018, including the definition of the working groups for 2015-2018.

Initially set as an intergovernmental mechanism in the region, it has been continuously opening for the non-governmental actors. The technical community has a seat as observer, which is currently being represented by LACNIC. The conference in Mexico is starting tomorrow and will be open for anyone interested in participate.

Our CEO Kathy Brown will deliver opening remarks about digital technologies, economy and society, and Sebastian Bellagamba, LAC Bureau Director will moderate the panel 6 about “Implications of the Internet Governance for the regional context”, reinforcing the move to engage multiple actors in the eLAC processes.

Keep tuned as we share news on the event and follow us on twitter @ISOC_LAC. Hashtags for both meetings are #LACIGF8 and #eLAC2018, respectively.