A pick of the litter of workshops for IGF 2012
Date: 29/10/2012 8:52 pm
Without any attempt at being exhaustive, here is a chronological listing of some interesting (for me) IGF sessions that you may have missed, mostly around intellectual property, freedom of expression and multi-stakeholderism:
- The influence of politics over Internet users' access and diversity. As the workshop description notes, "some countries’ governments consider internet as ... not enough under their control", and institute "blocking activities [which] are a result of political thoughts". This wouldn't be so interesting, except that the organisers of the workshop are from Iran.
- Emerging issues session. Amongst the questions to be raised in this session, the programme paper asks, "What are acceptable and proportionate measures that offer Intellectual Property protection, yet allow for and respect individual users’ freedom to express themselves, to access and share content/culture, and to innovate and create?"
- Internet Policy Infrastructure for Sustainable Internet Development: Lessons from Attempts at IP Enforcement. The Internet Society, EFF and CDT are behind this workshop which looks at new legal frameworks aimed at addressing enforcement of intellectual property, such as the ill-fated SOPA, PIPA, ACTA and the still-pending TPP.
- Broadband access and consumer rights - which I am organising. Often discussions around access at the IGF assume that once a
consumer has Internet access, it is "job done", whereas in fact for
regulators, consumer groups and providers it is only the beginning.
So the purpose of the workshop is to explore how to ensure that
access is provided in a manner that respects the eight consumer
- Evaluating Internet Freedom Initiatives: What works? "proposes to bring together Ministries of Foreign
Affairs, International Organizations and the development community
engaged in drafting, operating or funding Internet Freedom Initiatives
from different parts of the world with NGOs and other civil society
organizations who are operationalizating these initiatives on the
ground ... to assist in assessing how IFIs
could be successful and what political, social and technical factors
need to be considered."
- Protecting the rule of law in the online environment. This workshop is about take-down procedures, noting the quandary that "Internet intermediaries protest that they are unable to evaluate legal
defences and factual disputes, leading them to either reject proposals
for intervention partnerships with complainant groups ... or assume that all allegations by reputable
mass-scale submitters of complaints are well founded."
- Threats to multi-stakeholder internet governance: what are the main problems and how can we solve them? is a workshop at which I will be speaking, in the part about how the multi-stakeholder participation is working at present. Who gets to participate in internet governance processes? How is it working in practice? Are there important IG spaces which are not practicing multi-stakeholder participation? What is the effect of this?
- Intellectual property rights and the freedom to share: are the two compatible? will interrogate such questions as: Is the classical conceptualization of copyright reconcilable with the practices of online culture of sharing? Are the classical copyright enforcement tools adequate or efficient for copyright protection online? What are the ways content creators can thrive in online environment? What unintended consequences can strong enforcement of classical copyright thinking have for creativity online?
- Open Government Partnership and IGF: reciprocal learning. The Open Government Partnership is a multilateral initiative that
aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote
transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new
technologies to strengthen governance. OGP is overseen by a steering committee
of governments and civil society organizations.
- Human rights on the Internet: legal frameworks and technological implications is another workshop in which I will be speaking. I will be drawing a connection between human rights and the need to reform global Internet governance mechanisms, in order that Internet-related laws can be developed consistently against global human rights baselines.
- Main session: Taking Stock and the Way Forward. This could be the most important session of the IGF this year, in which we not only attempt to identify "messages from the IGF", but also to talk about the future of the IGF, such as how it may implement the recommendations of the CSTD working group, and its role in consolidating the various statements of principles and frameworks that various stakeholders have developed.
- Although the workshops prior to the closing ceremony offer slim pickings, most interesting of the bunch seems to be Power grab? Understanding the clash of security communities. The theme is the use of security vulnerabilities and illicit resources such as botnets by national security agencies, which runs up against the traditionally cooperative culture of security practitioners from the Internet technical community.