Internet Governance

IGF 2014 Takes Action

After many months of hard work and preparation, last week’s IGF 2014 proved to be an extremely productive one. Building on a busy and compelling agenda, the community was united in its willingness to address concrete issues, with a view to work towards tangible solutions.  

Internet Society CEO Kathy Brown, in her remarks at the opening ceremony, outlined four clear calls to action: 1) demonstrate that the IGF is essential to the future of the Internet; 2) strengthen the IGF by producing tangible results; 3) be fearless in tackling the tough, important issues; and 4) ensure the IGF belongs to everyone through broad engagement both inside and outside of the Forum.  Looking through the lens of these four calls to action, I believe that we can judge the Istanbul IGF as having been a great success, one that offers a strong foundation for IGF 2015 in Brazil.

Throughout 2014, the Internet community has proved its capacity to produce tangible outcomes within multistakeholder collaboration frameworks. Brazil’s NETmundial event was one such achievement, producing key principles and a roadmap for Internet Governance in a bottom-up and inclusive fashion.

At the 2014 Internet Governance Forum, the community faced the challenges head on with new collaborative processes designed to turn dialogue into action and numerous, substantive results: 

  • The first IGF Best Practice Forums developed five draft documents on CERTs, Online Child Protection and other critical issues. They are now open for comments, through 15 September.  New themes are now considered to feed the 2015 IGF in Brazil, including one on Privacy in the Digital Age.
  • A statement requesting the renewal of the IGF’s mandate, and its lengthening to 10 years, was drafted to send to the United Nations; the discussion and review of that draft continues online.

IGF Istanbul tackled difficult, yet important topics such as Net Neutrality and the IANA transition. In so doing, we also made significant progress in demonstrating to the world that the collective work that flourishes in a bottom-up, distributed, multistakeholder environment is the most effective way to ensure an open and inclusive Internet model. 

With an exceptionally high level of participation – nearly 3,500 participants, including 1,000 remotely – IGF Istanbul gathered leaders and stakeholders from all regions and stakeholder groups. As the IGF evolves from an event into a continued working process, it will offer all Internet users a chance to get actively involved in ongoing dialogues, such as the IGF Best Practices.  

But what happens now? The IGF is at a critical juncture. Headway made over the past week, while significant, was but the first step towards demonstrating outcome-oriented reforms and organizational sustainability. 

In order to ensure that the IGF survives and thrives, we must continue to build a collective voice, forge a collective path and focus on a collective goal: to preserve this important Forum for neutral, inclusive, global collaboration, dialogue and debate.

Looking ahead to IGF 2015, strong support of the regional and national IGFs is critical to move the dialogue forward. If we can catalyze the multistakeholder IGF model in every country, city or small village, we will build a stronger global network. And, we also want to encourage the participation of youth representatives to attend and engage in the Internet governance ecosystem.

As Internet-defining issues continue to emerge, the IGF has the potential to play an increasingly important role in the global debate on Internet governance.  Only by working together and expanding the engagement of all stakeholders, can we build, strengthen, and expand the IGF network so that every voice may be heard! 

Development Internet Governance

The Integral Link between Internet Governance and Development

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) has dedicated much of today’s discussions to the linkages between Internet governance and the growth and development of the Internet. I participated in the main morning session with an impressive range of experts from government, industry, the technology community and civil society to exchange views and experiences about how public policies promote global expansion of the Internet, broader, more inclusive access, and empowerment of societies and individuals worldwide. These are issues that have carried high priority for the Internet Society since its very earliest days and why a global, open, resilient and accessible Internet matters.

It quickly became clear to the Internet Society as we became involved locally in promoting expansion of the Internet that there was an integral link between Internet governance and development, whether the latter involves deployment of open standards; extension of infrastructure and localization of traffic exchange; capacity to operate that infrastructure; accessibility and inclusion; or the promotion of permission-less innovation. If economic development of societies and the empowerment and rights of people is the end that we seek, then the means — how we achieve this — matters.  The means by which we get there are important.  

Our experience confirms that a condition precedent to successful deployment and use of the Internet is whether all key stakeholders are at the table and work together to achieve the desired result, and that the results include policies that facilitate effective development.

Let me offer three Internet Society projects that demonstrate this connection between Internet governance and development leading to beneficial human impact.

 Our work with various partners, including the African Union Commission and commercial partners, to build capacity and facilitate the development of national and regional Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in Africa as well as other regions is one case in point.  Studies show quite clearly that by localizing peering and traffic exchange, consumer costs drop, access increases, and local content proliferates.  The partnerships forged at the outset of our IXP Programme between government entities and industry were driven by the push for economic development and consumer interest.  The means were effective and the desired end is being achieved.

Our Asia Pacific Bureau initiated a project a few years ago in rural India to bring the Internet into a remote and poor area of that country via wireless means.  The support of local authorities made it possible to employ the most effective technical approach, one that had not previously been used and opened the door for the local operator to connect with the wireless connection to the rural village.  The impact of this “technical” development project has been a major transformation of the village’s economy as well as the empowerment of women there. Multiple stakeholders worked together to create the conditions that facilitated the employment of the wireless Internet, achieving together the desired end ─ better conditions for the people.  One of the additional benefits of this programme, by the way, is that it is scalable to other places in the world.

And a third set of efforts, which we undertake all over the world, is the work we do locally with policy makers, technical community industry and consumers to help create a healthy Internet ecosystem.  The end that we seek, and we see achieved, is greater economic development, including opportunities for local jobs.  

The Internet Society remains committed to local development, building collaborative relationships with local stakeholders, and achieving together the local benefits for all people of the global Internet.  We are pleased that the commitment within the IGF remains just as strong.  We believe that there is a shared determination within the IGF to achieve this end through approaches to Internet governance that facilitate shared agreement in the desired end ─ human well-being.


Growing the Internet Internet Governance Technology

IGF 2014: Small Island States Bring Big Issues to the Table

Is the Internet more important than clean water supply or transport infrastructure? These and other specific concerns were raised at the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) roundtable, where stakeholders from Pacific and Carribean countries gathered to discuss barriers to connectivity in countries with very limited resources.

One fundamental challenge is prioritisation. As island nations confront the looming perils of climate change while still trying to overcome longstanding problems–lack of safe drinking water, electricity, proper sewage treatment–Internet connectivity may inevitably get sidelined in favour of what states deem as the broader and more pressing needs of basic development. It has been argued that ICTs may just alleviate the bigger socio-economic concerns faced by developing countries, but in the global drive to create knowledge economies, delegates at the rountable could not help but ask whether the information society can indeed fulfill its promise to make a significant impact on social and environmental ills.

Sustainability is another dilemma. Groups which work on ICT development, such as Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific members, tend to rely on donor funding. Grants and loans may last only for two to three years, from which time projects could be stalled or discontinued due to lack of financial, technical and even human resources. These limitations are aggravated by what participants from the Carribean called a ‘lack of elbow room’.  With a number of governments tied to the conditionalities of multilateral funding agencies, the policy space to more readily address Internet-related issues is further restricted. Delegates for instance recognised immense progress in broadband infrastructure rollouts in the Pacific but there are, they lamented, very few efforts to ensure that the Internet becomes affordable, especially for those whom connectivity would be an important enabler.

But it is not all gloom and doom for small island nations. States can look to countries like Fiji and Vanuatu, which have both made great strides in developing universal access policies that seek to bring more marginalised communities online. Governments could make further improvements by revising their telecommunications–specifically spectrum–policies to encourage the set-up of community-based wireless networks and interconnection among service providers. Meanwhile, inter-sectoral dialogues could help policymakers better understand the concrete ways by which ICT tools and infrastructure can bring developmental benefits. These can be further underlined by initially focusing on areas that, as one participant noted, get the ‘maximum bang for the buck’–initiatives which can demonstrate even small successes and show governments that they work.

What small island states need and what they are calling for, most of all, are more partnerships—more groups, businesses and individuals who they can collaborate with for solutions which suit unique contexts—and greater inquisitiveness from the wider Internet community to also consider the diverse issues which are affecting the world’s peripheries.

Internet Governance

What Do You Mean When You Say 'Open Internet'?

By Lyman Chapin, Interisle Consulting Group Founder and Principal, and Sally Wentworth, Internet Society Vice President, Global Policy Development

This week at the IGF, many discussions will focus on how to develop Internet public policies in a wide range of areas in support of an “open Internet.” Janis Karklins, chair of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) for the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), answers his own question about why so many people are coming to Istanbul: “The answer is clear,” he states, “all of these stakeholders care about maintaining a free, open, interoperable, stable, secure and trustworthy Internet.”  

As a general statement, this is undoubtedly true; but what has made the IGF particularly important over its lifespan is the observation that “all of these stakeholders” do not necessarily agree on what all of those adjectives mean. And, this should not be viewed as a weakness of the IGF; on the contrary, this degree of diversity of opinions is encouraged and is seen as its core strength.

In particular, the terms “open Internet” and “openness” have been used so often that everyone thinks they know what they mean, and assumes that everyone else means the same thing when they use them. Because openness is the key enabling principle of the Internet as a system that includes users, applications, and infrastructure, understanding what it means—and what it does not mean—is an essential prerequisite for the discussion of critical technical, economic, social, and political issues at the IGF.

The idea that the Internet is an “open” limitless system is not new, and certainly did not arrive with the current debate about the organization, processes and forums of Internet governance. James Mwangi, in the Foreword to the March 2014 Dalberg Global Development Advisors report “Open for Business? The Economic Impact of Internet Openness,” has this to say about the history and importance of openness:

“We take the capabilities of today’s Internet for granted, as though it was inevitable it would evolve in this way. But in the early days of the Internet, few people knew how profoundly this technology could transform our lives. We’ve witnessed growth that would have been impossible to predict, growth that can only be understood in the context of one essential attribute of the system: the openness of the network. Since its emergence, the Internet has remained an open platform, allowing any of us to innovate, create new services and tools, share freely and widely, and access all of the products and services that others have made available…Without openness, many of the services and tools we rely on in our daily lives would not be possible.”

Advocates of an open Internet are sometimes miscast as proponents of an “anything goes” anarchical approach that would sweep aside the rule of law and other norms of human behavior in favor of “permissionless innovation.” But in the Internet, openness is about opportunity, not ideology: it is about the opportunity for students, entrepreneurs, creators, and inventors to explore, try and test new ideas and new business models without asking permission from any established gatekeeper. Openness is not about promoting the social or political values of one group over others. It is freedom, not disorder. The open Internet enables an environment of social and economic growth and empowerment not because its supporters relentlessly assert “openness is good,” but because openness confers extraordinary tangible benefits that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to obtain:

  • As a tangible network infrastructure composed of hosts, routers, service providers, protocols, and many other technical components, the Internet is optimized for interoperability—peer components interact with each other without extensive prior configuration because information is shared openly, and every developer and operator has open access to the externally visible behavior of each element of the Internet system.
  • As an operational infrastructure that relies on the voluntary participation of many different parties to manage its independent parts, the Internet is an open society of individuals and organizations that fulfill their separate local missions by collaborating to make the global Internet work.
  • As an innovation engine that supports the development of new technical standards and policy initiatives, the Internet succeeds because openness, in terms of transparency, access, and participation, brings the best ideas to the table, distributes them widely, and engages everyone in the process of turning them into new services and applications that enhance the quality of life in all corners of the world.

Openness and multistakeholder participation have consistently walked hand-in-hand and they should continue to do so. Openness can ensure that values like transparency, access and participation – all unique characteristics of a multistakeholder environment – are met and sustained; at the same time, multistakeholder participation strengthens the idea of openness by encouraging a diversity of competing ideas and opinions. At the IGF, there is not a specific topic on openness. But, the entire set of discussions, addressing issues, which range from local content to privacy, network neutrality or new technologies are all essential about openness. This is why we all need to start deliberating on and trying to understand better the value, role and contribution openness has to the Internet and its governance structures. 

To read more about Openness, the Internet Society published a white paper, “The Open Internet: What it is, and how to avoid mistaking it for something else.”

Internet Governance

Reflections from the world of Internet governance: Part 2

Establishment Over

So we have now moved on from the early establishment phase and the NTIA IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group – better known as the ICG – have started to tackle some of the difficult topics on its plate. At the time of writing significant progress has been made on some topics while others are still evolving. In this piece I will give an overview of that progress and point to where work is continuing.

Thankfully now, the charter for the group has been agreed, and I want to thank the many people across the Internet Society community who commented on the proposal. This charter clearly focuses the ICG outward, rather than inward on the thoughts of the individuals that make up the group. For the project to be a success, it needs to have a strong community focus and this was something mandated by the NTIA in its March statement; the charter has set a tone for a community driven process.

Establishing Ways of Working

The main issues before the ICG can be divided between procedural questions around the ways the group will work, and of the work itself. Procedural issues have covered items such as whether there should be a Chair, or a system of Co-Chairs, whether the ICG should be supported by an independent secretariat and how documents should be created, distributed and stored.

The role of the Chairs has also come up for discussion with the tasks identified and split amongst the group. A system of three Co-Chairs was agreed because it was felt that the work was both large in number and substantial in scope. It was also felt that the ICG wanted to signal that no one person was “in charge” in the classical sense of leadership. Often it is easy to assume that the “Chair” of a group can speak on behalf of the group; we all felt that this should not be the case with the ICG.

As with nearly all multi-stakeholder approaches, there is little in the way of a procedures manual and many of us come from different cultures, organisations and stakeholder groups so have very different experiences and ways of thinking and working. Because of that, and even with the deep experience in Internet policy, technology and governance – as well as a broad range of related areas – the ICG collectively has, many of the procedures are having to be created and agreed each part of the way.


The US government contract for the operation of the IANA functions is due to expire on 30 September 2015. The ideal time frame, therefore, would be that the ICG gathers and compiles a final proposal before that time.

The government official, Larry Strickling, has said that this time could be extended. Realistically, also the US government will move to election mode in November 2015, and while it is also important that political parties have the opportunity to put clear policy platforms in place before their electorates, the risk for this process is that it may become needlessly politicized, or that staff and personnel changes may take effect and set the entire process backwards while new people learn the landscape.

Thus the ICG has compiled a “first pass time frame” working backward from 30 September 2015 and it continues to evolve as we flesh out the specific steps along the entire process. To meet this deadline, it is essential that each of the communities involved organizes itself timely and appropriately so that they can decide and reach the best approach. Groups also need to work together across the communities so that, where possible, agreement can cover more than one community.


Even with years of experience at IETF, IAB, ICANN and across the Internet governance landscape, consensus is a concept we are yet to set in stone as a standard. While it might seem a simple fact that consensus means “everyone agrees”, there really are more subtle tones to that state. The IETF has for many years held a position that “rough consensus” was good enough, and in many contexts “rough” was easy to define. The question, however, is how rough is rough, really? And, how is that determined when you can’t all be in the room to hum?

With some of us remotely participating at times, should we take a vote? Does the vote require everyone to vote at the same time (including remote participants)? What if some people abstain?

It turns out also that consensus really exists in grades. Sometimes it is said, that “consensus means no substantive objections”. However to other people this could be interpreted as the opposite of consensus.

I like to compare consensus with water. We all know we need water to survive, but how pure does it really need to be? We not only need it to drink, but also to water the plants that feed us and to wash in. That water doesn’t need to be as pure as the water we need to drink. We can also survive better on impure water than on highly pure water. Even salt water has its place, especially when enjoying the benefits of the sea. Similarly there is the consensus we’d like, the consensus we need, and the consensus we may have to tolerate.

We are certainly aiming at this stage to identify and classify those items carefully along the way that need complete support, clear majority support, areas for greater refinement and others where we need to define and clarify the areas of difference and dissent.

I can assure you that at this stage there is no consensus on the topic of consensus! On the other hand, I can also be confident that at this stage this isn’t cause for worry.

Request for Proposal

The really substantive piece of work for the ICG is yet to come, but significant progress has been made towards defining a common format for proposals to transition the IANA function from the existing approach to a new state has now been drafted. This Request for Proposal (RFP) draft is expected to be out for comment by the community soon, and hopefully soon after that we can start receiving proposals!

Ways to Participate

Once a draft RFP is released, I look forward to hearing the community’s view on it. As usual we have a mailing list (ianaxfer) and more recently a Connect web-based forum. The Internet Society will be holding in person meetings in a range of forums over the next year and we hope to have IANA transition sessions where we can.

At the upcoming Internet Governance Forum in Istanbul, Turkey, there will be a main focus session entitled IANA Functions: NTIA’s Stewardship and ICANN’s Accountability Process on Friday 9:30 – 11:00am where further reflections and issues will be discussed.

Internet Governance

Join us in Supporting the New Internet Governance Forum Support Association to Sustain, Grow IGF

By Bob Hinden, Chair of Internet Society Board of Trustees and David Farber, Internet Society Board Trustee

On the eve of the 9th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Istanbul, the Internet Society’s Board of Trustees is eagerly anticipating the official launch of the Internet Governance Forum Support Association, an organization to support and sustain the IGF.  Despite its great success as a facilitator of open and equal dialogue, the IGF’s financial stability has been in question. The Board of the Internet Society strongly believed that it was necessary to create a legal structure to ensure that the IGF can grow and, indeed, strengthen its role. We are pleased that today at the IGF Support Association’s General Assembly meeting, a committed core of people who passionately support the goals of the IGF will formally organize to raise needed resources to sustain the global and regional efforts.

Why does the IGF matter so much?  The global collaboration that occurs at the IGF is extremely important to those of us who are committed to an open, sustainable Internet, and fostering this collaboration is a key tenet guiding the Internet Society’s Board of Trustees. Unlike some forums for debate on Internet governance, the IGF is inclusive, and anyone can participate. It’s not limited to specific interest groups; it brings all interests—including large and small governments, civil society, the private sector and the technical community—together as equals. The IGF offers a neutral and informal setting, free from binding negotiations, to examine and discuss best practice approaches to policy solutions and the Internet’s global development.

This kind of level-playing-field dialogue and debate is crucial to the Internet’s healthy evolution and advancement: if decisions related to the Internet and its future are not in the hands of the many, they will only be in the hands of the few.  And the responsibility for ensuring that balance falls to us if we want the Internet to evolve in an accessible, sustainable way.

Here’s what the IGF Support Association will do: 

  • provide funds to maintain/strengthen the IGF Secretariat and national/regional IGF initiatives;
  • seek and promote exchange and collaboration with national and regional IGF initiatives;
  • identify new sources of funding and facilitate funding of the IGF;
  • make contributions to the IGF Trust Fund administered by the UN; and
  • award fellowships for participation at IGF meetings, including preparatory meetings.

It’s important to remember that the IGF functions through support from its participants and friends. In order to continue to grow, it needs a robust and sustainable income stream. The IGF Support Association will be a channel for essential funding from individuals, companies, and foundations to ensure the IGF is the premier event for everyone interested in the Internet and its governance. The IGF Support Association is an open membership association – as its membership increases, so does its support of the IGF.

This is why your involvement in the IGF Support Association is vital if, like us, you believe that Internet governance should be directed by all of the Internet’s stakeholders.

Please join us in building a strong foundation for the IGF through your support of the IGF Support Association. For more information on becoming a member or making a donation, visit their website.

Internet Governance

The IGF in Istanbul: Internet governance in the hands of many

I am excited to be in this magnificent city with its vibrancy, vitality, and incredible food! Istanbul lies at the crossroads of cultures; it serves as a hub of commerce, customs and trade. It is centuries old and always young. Its Internet community is as vibrant, vital and important as the city itself. It has been a delight to meet our hosts; I want to thank them all for their warm welcome and hospitality. And I want to thank our friends at the UN who support, champion and nurture this important Forum.

As anticipated, IGF is promising to be an exciting, challenging and productive week. The global Internet community faces important choices. And, never has it been more important that Internet users around the world take the opportunity to influence those choices.  If decisions related to the Internet and its future are not in the hands of the many, they will only be in the hands of the few.

Debates over online privacy, cybersecurity, censorship, online surveillance, and the evolution of the domain name system require serious consideration; and there’s urgency across the globe to restore trust and confidence in the Internet. The ever pressing need to extend the Internet to all the peoples of the world remains; the promised benefits are just within our grasp.

Quite frankly, like Istanbul itself, the Internet is at the crossroads of culture and time.  We are facing – collectively – a historic responsibility:  Building the future Internet we want; an Internet that provides a shared and unique space where cultures can connect and interests can unite beyond technical and political barriers.

As my colleague Raul Echeberria says so eloquently, the IGF is the greatest experiment ever in global self governance. It is thriving and growing beyond its origins to organic collections of regional and national IGFs in countries far and wide. Our Chapters are the organizing force behind many of these Forums, growing the legions of users, new and not so new, who want and will work for the benefits that the Internet provides.

The global IGF brings a broad cross-section of the Internet community together each year. Every person has an equal voice to share their views and experiences, and to speak their minds.  Respect reigns together with candor, passion, concern, resolve and collective genius.

We expect to tackle, this week, not only very specific issues related to the Internet and its future, such as IANA, human rights, development and capacity building, content creation, and others, but also will address challenges to the Internet governance ecosystem itself and to our unique method of decision making: the multistakeholder model.

As I have said elsewhere, NETmundial sparked a renewed appreciation for what a true multistakeholder process can produce.  And, importantly, it gave diverse parties confidence that the process could accommodate different agendas and world views while lending to collaboration, cooperation and compromise. Indeed, the roadmap and principles coming out of NETmundial will carry the conversation forward this week.

The Internet Society is dedicated to strengthening and growing the IGF and its regional movement. To support this goal, we will actively and enthusiastically promote the Internet Governance Forum Support Association. Tomorrow will mark its official launch with a General Assembly meeting here in Istanbul.   Watch for more details shortly.

We believe that the IGF will deepen its influence and extend its reach by sharing its wisdom widely. A major step in this direction is the introduction of the Best Practice Forums as part of the 4-day agenda, which will highlight, in a multistakeholder environment, some of the best practices adopted on key IGF themes and the development of the Internet. 

Through our participation in the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG), the Internet Society has been actively involved with many others in the community to bring these Best Practice Forums to life.  Many elements of this new approach were inspired by work being undertaken by the Internet Engineering Task Force technical community. We expect the Best Practice outcomes from the global IGF to move out into the regional IGFs for local input and practical application.

The Internet Society is participating in a broad range of IGF programs and panels, and the full list can be found on our website. We will be sending out regular updates to our community, via social media, blogs, press releases and other communications.  And, a reminder that you can participate remotely

Special thanks to our Chapters and community for their involvement in many of these hubs.

The IGF has always served as the neutral focal point of Internet governance.  This IGF is our chance to demonstrate that progress on difficult issues, with everyone at the table, is possible.

We look forward to an open, effective, and productive IGF. See you at meetings, here and online, in the hallways, at lunch, dinner and in between. Let’s talk and let’s build the future together.


Internet Governance

Bringing Important Voices to the Internet Governance Dialogue

Internet Society’s Ambassadors to the 9th Internet Governance Forum in Istanbul

Please join the Internet Society in congratulating this year’s cohort of Next Generation Ambassadors to the 9th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) taking place in Istanbul 2-5 September.

This accomplished group of next generation leaders work around the globe and across disciplines. As policy makers, technologists, academics, journalists, activists, and business persons they represent the passions, interests, and voices of their communities.

They also represent the spirit and practice of the IGF through their commitment to engage in multistakeholder mechanisms and to take best practices from the communities to the IGF and from the IGF back to their communities — ultimately designing and delivering local solutions to drive global impact.

Formed in 2011, the Internet Society’s Internet Leadership programme brings under a single umbrella many of the Internet Society’s leadership and education initiatives. This builds on the Internet Society’s deep and broad history of capacity building.

Now in its 7th year, the Internet Society’s Ambassadors to IGF ensures that the next generation of Internet leaders and influencers have visibility and voice — and are equipped to drive the outcomes that are so important to all of us and the billions yet to come online.

2014 is a critical year in addressing the significant challenges for the global Internet. We are excited about bringing these new and important voices to this year’s IGF — and seeing and experiencing their future contributions.

Learn more about their extraordinary and diverse backgrounds on our website.

Human Rights Internet Governance

The IGF 2014 Fragmentation Track


The risk of the fragmentation of cross-border online spaces and underlying technical architecture of the Internet raises increasing concerns among policy makers, business, civil society and the technical community. The Internet Society (ISOC), the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and the Internet & Jurisdiction Project are organizing three workshops on this issue at the Internet Governance Forum 2014, which will take place from September 2-5, 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Together, the three sessions will help frame the broader debate and shed light on complementary perspectives on the risk of fragmentation: What are the processes that could lead to fragmentation, what are the broader costs associated with fragmentation and how can cooperation regimes be developed to prevent fragmentation?

Tuesday, September 2 • 9:00am – 10:00am, Room 8 (Internet Society)

WS112: Implications of post-Snowden Internet localization proposals

Following the 2013-2014 disclosures of large-scale pervasive surveillance of Internet traffic, various proposals to “localize” the Internet have started to emerge. Examples include mandatory requirements for global Internet platforms to build local data centers to serve local populations. While localization of data and traffic routing strategies can be powerful tools for improving Internet experience for end-users, less optimal choices may be made in reaction to external factors. How can we judge between Internet-useful versus Internet-harmful localisation and traffic routing approaches? What are the implications of such measures on the way the Internet works, the ability to innovate online and for users’ rights?

Wednesday, September 3 • 5:00pm – 6:00pm, Room 9 (CIGI)

WS63: Preserving a Universal Internet: The Costs of Fragmentation

As Internet governance and Internet-related public policy issues rise to the top of the international political agenda, a variety of states are exploring measures that may lead, deliberately or inadvertently, to Internet fragmentation.This session will attempt to scope the economic, social, international political, cultural and educational costs associated with Internet fragmentation.

Thursday, September 4 • 2:30pm – 4:00pm, Room 2 (Internet & Jurisdiction Project)

WS97: Will Cyberspace fragment along national jurisdictions?

This session will focus on the challenge to determine applicable law(s) on the Internet, as multiple laws coexist in shared cross-border online spaces. In the absence of appropriate frameworks, uncoordinated national approaches proliferate. A resulting legal competition could have unintended consequences and result in cyberspace fragmentation. How can a multi-stakeholder framework be developed that ensures transnational due process, transparency and interoperability to diffuse tensions through cooperation?

Instructions about Remote Participation will be published by the UN on September 1 at In addtion, webcasts will also be available at

About the organizers:

Centre for International Governance Innovation

The Centre for International Governance Innovation is an independent, non-partisan think tank focusing on international governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports academic research and advances both national and international policy debate by generating ideas for the improvement of multilateral governance. In early 2014, CIGI, along with Chatham House, established the Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG). The Commission is chaired by Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. Over the next two years, the GCIG will bring together senior scholars, policymakers, and public figures to deliberate on the major issues in Internet governance. The GCIG is supported by a Research Advisory Network, which is composed of some of the world foremost experts on various aspects of the Internet and Internet governance.  Twitter: @ourinternetGCIG

Internet & Jurisdiction Project

The Internet & Jurisdiction Project facilitates a global multi-stakeholder dialogue process to address the tension between the cross-border Internet and geographically-defined national jurisdictions. Launched in 2012, it provides a neutral platform for states, business, civil society and international organizations to discuss the elaboration of a transnational due process framework to handle the digital coexistence of diverse national laws in shared cross-border online spaces. Twitter: @IJurisdiction

Internet Society

A global, cause-driven organization, the Internet Society is a leading advocate for the ongoing development of the Internet as an open platform that serves the social, economic, and educational needs of people throughout the world. Founded in 1992 by several Internet pioneers, the Internet Society works in the areas of technology, policy, and development to promote an open, accessible Internet for everyone. A shared vision of keeping the Internet open unites the 60,000 individuals, more than 100 Chapters, and more than 150 Organizations around the world that are members of the Internet Society. Together, we represent a worldwide network focused on identifying and addressing the challenges and opportunities that exist online today and in the years ahead.  Twitter: @internetsociety