By APC Berlin, 22 February 2013
The wealth of topics and depth of discussion was impressive. The good quality of dialogues and true commitment to Enhanced Cooperation makes APC believe that the IGF remains the most legitimate and effective space for internet policy discussions.
Lights on internet rights
APC noticed that the intersection of internet and human rights took a front seat at this Forum. The technical community and the private sector joined civil society actors in using human rights language to frame many of their interventions. More so, of the IGF’s 127 activities, 82 addressed some aspect of human rights on the internet. Recurrent themes included privacy, freedom of expression, access to information, data rights, cyber security, and internet intermediary liability.
Some deep conceptual debates remain though, including on the tension between security (e.g., though surveillance) and privacy (e.g., through data protection), or around the cross border jurisdiction and the rule of law online.
Rough gender landing
For the first time at an IGF gender and women’s empowerment were included as a main topics. Internet development, infrastructure, opportunities and barriers to access and how they relate to women’s diverse realities and human rights could thereby be discussed as one of the central issues in internet governance.
If facilities and logistics were the most visible weakness of the IGF 2012, things turned ugly when UN officials tried removing materials distributed by Azeri civil society, researchers and activists. Not allowing the free flow of information at an IGF is contrary to its mandate. APC also criticizes the fact that local people were denied from participating.
Back to Baku, Front to Bali
Looking back at the IGF 2012, APC proposes that:
- The IGF’s outcomes (e.g informal negotiations on upcoming policy processes – like the ITR revisions in 2012) be captured and communicated by the advisory group.
- Human rights become one of the main themes of the IGF 2013. New human rights issue areas (e.g., anonymity) and the rights of people who are excluded from benefiting from the internet because they are poor, or marginalised in some other way (e.g., LGBT) should be included.
- The establishment of public interest principles for the internet becomes one of the main themes of the IGF 2013.
- Alongside capacity building and development, gender should become a cross cutting thread.
The 8th Internet Governance Forum will be held in Bali, Indonesia from 22 – 25 October 2013.
Read APC’s full 7-page document “IGF 2012: The good, the bad and the ugly“
Internet Governance Forum: http://www.intgovforum.org/