Category: Internet Governance

We Need to Talk… about the State of Internet Governance

Pre IGF Speed Dating

In about a month, some of the key stakeholders in Internet Governance will come together in Paris and talk about the public policy challenges facing the Internet in 2018 and beyond. They will do so at the Internet Governance Forum, a UN-supported platform that will meet for the thirteenth time this year.

The IGF traditionally brings different groups of stakeholders into a large conference centre, and provides for the opportunity for these different stakeholders to discuss: the idea being that understanding, consensus and collaboration will emerge between these different communities.

Join us for a pre-IGF stakeholder networking event on Tuesday, 16 October in Brussels.  Learn more and register!

Multistakeholderism: a vivid term with many meanings

The IGF model of multistakeholderism is one of a plethora of different approaches to engaging with actors beyond states in questions of global governance. Some rely more on governments, other processes rely on technical expertise, others have come and gone. Others, like the Internet Society, tend to refer to multistakeholder approaches, rather than one model.

Many observers tend to think this concept was invented by the Internet community, but shaping (global) policy through direct engagement with stakeholders has been an integral part of a range of different policy fields for a long time. In environmental policy, labour relations, and forestry management to name but a few, one of the key questions asked by policymakers has been “how can we develop globally-relevant, fair, legitimate and efficient policies?” The conclusions drawn policymakers often included the strengthening of participatory governance mechanisms, which is where multistakeholder approaches step in. These approaches try to answer the ‘who’ (participation), ‘why’ (purpose), and ‘how’ (process) questions differently from how governments of flesh and steel would normally answer them.

For better or worse, the IGF is one of the biggest platforms for Internet Governance. The IGF undoubtedly serves a purpose at this moment, and is very useful for many of its participants. However, we have been talking about its reform for a while now, and even longer.

What needs to happen?

Does the IGF need another grand review? There are many things that could be done to generate a new momentum behind the IGF. These are not new and do not address all the problems, but as a whole, these elements may work to help us consider some of the ‘who’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions that still linger around the IGFs and other multistakeholder fora.

  1. Sort out our calendars. First of all, this IGF takes place at a time when an increasingly important number of ‘competititors’ will also be discussing Internet Governance. For example, the ITU’s Plenipotentiary is taking place at the same time as the IGF.
  2. Give it time. The IGF also has no day zero this year, to enable different groups to organise fringe events and coordination meetings. Hence, meetings like the Brussels pre-IGF meeting, on 16 October are incredibly important to allow for people to share information prior to the meeting itself.
  3. Work out who does what. Other venues are also venturing into the IGF space, with the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation recently having been announced, amongst others. So, we see a collection of different fora being (re-)established to focus on Internet Governance. Rather than a threat, this is actually an opportunity to think about the next thirteen years of the IGF: a little competition is actually a good thing.
  4. Get real. The IGF has often been touted as the opportunity to gather the world’s Internet community together to discuss how the Internet should be governed. This gargantuan task is not an easy one. What can the IGF actually achieve? The expectations of the forum need to be clearly set out, so that all stakehholders can share the same aim, and then work to deliver it.
  5. Focus. It may be useful to generate common themes and threads for discussion across IGFs, so that reporting, discussion and measurement can be continuous and tell a coherent and consistent story from one IGF to the next.
  6. Make much better use of the NRIs. National and Regional initiatives can feed into discussions at the IGF in a far more constructive way. They can also be platforms to push outcomes from the IGFs.
  7. Ensure all stakeholders are involved. IGFs tend to be open spaces, but that does not mean that self-exclusion, ignorance, or what I have heard termed ‘exclusion by acronym’ does not exist. Despite the diverse and broad nature of the subjects discussed at the IGFs, much of the entrepreneurial community is not present at these discussions; and their discussions on these topics go on in parallel in other spaces, such as this one. Furthermore, if states want the IGF process to be as legitimate as possible, they also need to engage fully in the events.

Join us for a pre-IGF stakeholder networking event on Tuesday, 16 October in Brussels. Learn more and register!

The post We Need to Talk… about the State of Internet Governance appeared first on Internet Society.

Watch the “State of the Net 2018” Live on Monday, January 29

Internet governance, blockchain, algorithms, free speech, net neutrality, IoT, cybersecurity, fragmentation … and so much more!  On Monday, January 29, 2018, the State of the Net 2018 conference will be streaming live out of the Newseum in Washington DC. You can watch starting at 9:00am US EST (UTC-5) Monday morning at:

The SOTN 2018 agenda is packed with many of the leading voices in US Internet policy, including Senators, Representatives, and even an FCC Commissioner. Global organizations and corporations will be represented, too, among the many speakers.

At 11:00am EST, our own Sally Shipman Wentworth, VP of Global Policy Development, will participate in a panel, Internet Governance: Are We In A Post Multi-Stakeholder World?, along with Larry Strickling. Larry is perhaps best known recently for the IANA transition work but has been working with us on efforts to expand the use of the multistakeholder model for Internet governance. Another panelist will be Dr. Jovan Kurbalija from our partner the DiploFoundation. The abstract is:

It will have been one year into the Trump Administration and it is time to take stock of the complex set of International arrangements that the Administration is dealing with. A new set of stages for these issues are fast approaching. World governments and international groups are jockeying for greater control over Internet functions and content. Confabs like the ITU 2018 Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-18) are just one of the many venues that will reveal the struggles for Internet domination. Complex trade deals and national regulations such as the NAFTA and the imminent European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will strain intergovernmental cooperation. Cyber security initiatives and law enforcement cross-border access to citizen data will test the sovereignty of nations. 2018 may be the most significant year in terms of Internet governance since the dawn of the Internet.

It should be a lively and interesting discussion! In preparation, we would encourage you to read our paper: Internet Governance – Why the Multistakeholder Approach Works.

The sessions will be recorded for later viewing. You can also follow the #SOTN2018 hashtag on Twitter to see updates from the event.

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ISOC@OECD, Day 3: Walid Al-Saqaf on Blockchain; IETF Chair Jari Arkko on Network Convergence

It’s the final day of the OECD Ministerial Meeting on the Digital Economy here in Cancun, Mexico, and there are just two more sessions blocks followed by the Closing Ceremony. Here below is where our attention will be focused today – and to understand the broader questions around why we are here, please read our OECD Ministerial Background Paper (All times are local to Cancun – UTC-5.)

You can also view the OECD Ministerial Agenda for a full list of sessions and participants.

9:00-10:45 – Improving Networks and Services through Convergence

In the first session on “Improving Networks and Services through Convergence“, Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Chair Jari Arkko is one of the speakers in a session about the convergence of telecommunications and Internet services. The panel is moderated by U.S. Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda and includes communications ministers, regulators, the CEO of AT&T Mexico and a VP from Facebook.  It should be an interesting session given this tension between the older world of telecom and the newer world of the Internet.

Simultaneously, the other active session will be “New Markets and New Jobs in the Digital Economy” and it includes another ITAC organization, the IEEE, represented by their Managing Director, Konstantinos Karachalios.

11:15-13:00 – Skills for a Digital World

In the final session block, Internet Society Board of Trustee Member Walid Al-Saqaf will be a “key intervener” in the panel “Skills for a Digital World“. As Walid notes in a blog post published today, he intends to ask the panel about what policy makers are doing to stay up-to-date on blockchain technology. (Process note: a “key intervener” is a participant who is designated before the event to ask a question of the panel.)

At the same time, the session in the room next door will be on “Tomorrow’s Internet of Things” and includes a wide range of ministers, executives and others. (We would naturally hope that people there will have read our Internet of Things Overview document that outlines some of the key challenges and opportunities we see with the IoT.)

After that, there will be lunch, the Closing Ceremony and the final press conference… and we’re done!

For more information about what we have been doing here at the OECD Ministerial on the Digital Economy, please visit our event page. We will be adding links there to our articles, videos and more.

Throughout the day you can follow our @InternetSociety Twitter account where we will be providing updates using the #OECDdigitalMX hashtag.

Watch this blog, too, for a wrap-up post coming from Constance Bommelaer tomorrow.

Image credit: a photo I took of the “Official Photo of Ministers and Heads of Delegations”. Our Constance Bommelaer is standing at the front left edge. 

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Watch Live on Friday, 29 April – Kathy Brown At G7 ICT Multi-Stakeholder Conference

On Friday, April 29, you can watch leaders of the technical community, business and civil society address the G7 ICT Ministers at:

The Multi-Stakeholders Conference begins at 9:00 am Japan Standard Time (UTC+9), which is:

  • midnight UTC
  • 2:00 am Central European Time
  • 8:00 pm, Thursday, April 28, Eastern Daylight Time

Internet Society President and CEO Kathy Brown will speak as part of a panel starting at 10:45 am JST. The panel topic is “Sharing common thoughts about Internet governance and cybersecurity“. The other panelists are senior executives from Hitachi, NTT and BT Security. Kathy has published her thoughts about what she will say in the session.

The full agenda for the Multi-Stakeholder Conference is available on the G7 event site.

In preparation for the session, we encourage you to read:

During the event you can also follow our tweets on @ISOCPolicy .

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This Week: Watch Internet Society President & CEO Kathy Brown Speak About Collaborative Governance And Security

How do Collaborative Governance and Collaborative Security bring about a stronger and more trusted Internet that enables more opportunity for people around the world?  What do these approaches mean for the future of Internet governance? What actions can people take as part of our collective responsibility for the future of the open Internet?

Today and tomorrow you will have two opportunities to hear Internet Society President and CEO Kathy Brown speak about these points and more on live video streams.

First, today, Wednesday, July 15, 2015, starting at 12:15pm US Eastern (UTC-4), Kathy will be speaking at an event by the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC, titled: “Collaborative Governance and Security: A Stronger Internet for the Future“. The Hudson Institute staff indicate the live video stream will be available at:

They also seem to live-tweet many of their sessions using @HudsonEvents on Twitter.

Tomorrow, Thursday, July 16th, Kathy will be at the Internet Governance Forum USA (IGF-USA) giving keynote remarks during the session between 1:00 – 1:50 pm US Eastern. My colleague Paul Brigner wrote about the IGF-USA yesterday outlining what is going on and indicating that the live video streams will be at:

The full agenda can be found on the IGF-USA site, as well as information about how to attend in person.

Both of Kathy’s presentations today and tomorrow will be recorded so that you can view them later.

We hope you do get a chance to watch either (or both) of Kathy’s sessions and learn more about what we are doing with collaborative governance and collaborative security.

If you would like to learn more right now you can visit these links:


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