Via the IGF Community Site one can find links to some events coming up (at the time of writing) at Athens, Greece. An anti-spam toolkit, a content creation workshop, another legal aspects workshop, an overview of diversity, yet another on human rights and the internet, workshop on IP-network development….. don’t we need solutions real fast?
Soenke Zehle wrote late on Oct 30: “I just added the official and unofficial IGF-Community feeds to the list of incom sources… seems that http:/ igf2006.intgovforum.org has emerged as meta-site for the IGF in Athens.”
Geert Lovink shot back on via this Incom-L discussion: “Thanks, Soenke. I wonder how many of us are in Athens right now. Are people blogging there? I read some articles about the summit on BytesForAll and was wondering if participants there were as pessimistic as this BBC guy Bill Thompson.”
Actually, here are the unofficial and official “blogs” for the IGF. But it’s happening so fast, it’s probably going to be difficult to keep track! And one can just imagine what the “mainstream media” — with their “space constraints” and filters — are going to be saying! Anyway, isn’t talking about media flows and control all old hat, and a 70s thing?
Is this a shift of power? Is it just a form of tokenism? Does it work? Will it really involve the diversity of people across the globe? Kieren McCarthy posted to the Governance mailing list and Plenary list an announcement of how SMS questions can go to the IGF main session. Full details on the igf2006.info site that takes you to http://igf2006.intgovforum.org/
"Someone from the Pacific Islands expressed that the single main challenge with which his region is increasingly faced with is global warming,” Milena Bokova said. Quite striking indeed that the very first workshop at the IGF would list this major environmental phenomenon as the greatest obstacle to making the internet accessible.
The twist this IGF is giving to this old debate about ‘openness’ makes it that more relevant since it calls into life a confrontation, not only involving national law, but also market law. This is why corporations like Google have been taken for a ride at the IGF by those arguing that it is unacceptable that this advertisement firm – know for its flagship research engine – started operations in China, where restrictions on free speech are, to say the least, restrictive.
"IGF is a process," said Natasha Primo during her speech at the opening ceremony of the first (of three) Internet Governance Forum. What she means by this, is that "Athens will not be the a one-time show. The discussions and debates around how the internet is to be governed will continue way beyond and we don’t want to have this huge down-time in between the three IGFs," later explained Avri Doria of the civil society internet governance caucus.
Here I am, sitting in a plenary room at the opening session of the Internet Governance Forum in Athens. This forum was set a couple of months back, in Tunisia, where the second summit on the information society (WSIS) was drawing to a close. Some of you might have noted back then that the two main issues discussed in that UN-organised summit were internet governance and ICTs for development. Well just about eleven months later, what appears to be the legitimate space for continuing the debate on the future of the internet is called the Internet Governance Forum.
Everyone talks, but no-one listens…. Spam, multilingualism, cybercrime, cybersecurity, privacy and data protection, freedom of expression, human rights, interconnection …. The Internet is one of the most powerful inventions of the digital age…. Given the huge impact of the Internet on our daily lives, states must remain the ultimate guarantors of our Internet rights and freedoms,… Reporters Without Borders will be at the Internet Governance Forum in Athens to remind participants that free expression must be at the centre …. A long-simmering dispute over whether the U.S. government has too much control over the Internet’s underpinnings …. Some voices emerging prior to Athens.
Who really controls the internet? Lot of hints, lots of diversity of views… but plenty of smoke screens too. Here’s a lecture, taking place today and titled Who’s really out to control the internet? UN and USA Governance, If you tune into the Guardian, the story you get is “US loosens grip on running of internet”. And here’s another version of the truth, coming from The Mercury News which says, Internet governance dispute will last years, official warns. A dispute, is it?
PressZoom which describes itself as the “global news service and press release distribution” network, has these figures about the Internet Governance Forum, which begins in Athens, Greece from October 30. Participants: 1200. Main sessions: eight (focussing on the Internet’s openness, security, diversity and access). Workshops: 30 (held in parallel to the main sessions, focusing on specific issues relevant to Internet governance).