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This article was republished from KICTANet

KICTANet, together with partners Safaricom, Facebook, APC, KHRC, Communications Authority of Kenya, CIO and KeNIC, is holding the first virtual Kenya Internet Governance Forum (IGF) on 29 October 2020. The Kenya IGF is preceded by the Kenya School of Internet Governance (KeSIG) in what is dubbed the Kenya IGF Week.

The proposed theme for this year’s global IGF is “Internet for human resilience and solidarity” Proposed theme for the Kenyan IGF is “Internet for human resilience and solidarity.” This is an important issue in light of the role the Internet has played during the COVID-19 Pandemic which has ravaged the entire globe. Some of the envisioned sub-themes are: data; inclusion; and trust.

The Data track will provide for discussions on the fundamental challenge of ensuring the benefits of the data revolution to contribute to inclusive economic development while protecting the rights of people. The Data track will contribute to identifying best approaches to ensure the development of human-centric data governance frameworks at national, regional and international levels. It will enable an exchange of views on how to support and operationalize the exercise of human rights and the empowerment of individuals in their digital identity in current uses and development of data-driven technologies. And it will consider how to create the conditions needed to facilitate data-driven innovation, to ensure competition, and to foster trust in the development of services and new technologies, including through the use of inclusive data and the fulfillment of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Trust in the online world is a prerequisite for the Internet to develop its potential as a tool for empowerment, a channel of free speech and an engine of economic development. In this context, trust relates to the security, stability, and resilience of the infrastructure, systems and devices, and also to the need for people to be safe and secure. These are both vital elements for enabling a healthy and empowering digital environment, beneficial to all. This track will provide opportunities to discuss strategies and best practices for protecting both systems and users, along with the appropriate roles and responsibilities of governments, industry and other stakeholders, while taking into account multidisciplinary perspectives. The track will also allow for a consideration of the relationship between security and people’s fundamental freedoms and rights, exploring where the balance might be struck or trade-offs might be needed in response to the growing range of threats to the global Internet and to Internet users from all age groups.

Inclusion is about ensuring those with limited or no access to the Internet, such as the unserved and underserved communities, as well as those for which the internet is not accessible due to gender, disability, digital literacy, affordability, or for any other reason, are now included and have equal opportunity to be meaningfully connected to the internet.  Inclusion is also about the activities related to the achievement of an inclusive information society, about engaging all stakeholders and ensuring everyone’s voice is heard and treated equally in the decision-making processes and ensuring that everyone has the right access, skills, and motivations to reap the social benefits of going online and participate in the digital economy.