Internet Governance Forum Next Week: Cyber Security, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data On Agenda 13/12/2017 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The 12th annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum will open in Geneva next week. The United Nations entity, which presents itself as a free electron of internet governance, will host a large number of sessions addressing pressing issues of the digital world, including big data, cyber security, and artificial intelligence. Discussions held at the forum will enhance understanding of the broad issue of internet governance, and help hold actors accountable. The 12th annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) will take place from 18-21 December on the theme “Shape Your Digital Future.” This is the first time the IGF is being held in Geneva, which is the home of the IGF secretariat. Thomas Schneider, Chengetai Masango IGF The schedule of the meeting shows a variety of topics, including data governance, artificial intelligence, big data, internet identifiers, data protection, internet of things, fake news, blockchain technology, and ecommerce. Chengetai Masango, programme and technology manager at the IGF, speaking at a press briefing today, explained that the IGF comes out of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), held in 2003 and in 2005. The IGF, he said, is a multistakeholder forum, bottom-up, which is non-binding in nature. Ambassador Thomas Schneider, vice-director of the Swiss Federal Office of Communications, said in the briefing that the IGF is not mainly about technical issues and governance but rather about the most pressing social and economic issues, the digital transformation, cyber security, and the positive and negative effects of a global digital world. The IGF has a unique inclusive bottom-up approach, he said, and every stakeholder is involved in the discussion on an equal basis. The IGF is not controlled by the host country or by the United Nations, he said. The forum brings together a unique diversity of people of different background and experience, said Schneider, adding that those people would not meet in top-down conferences. The openness and inclusivity of the IGF helps people see the bigger picture of internet governance, he said, and serves as a catalyst for new ideas, new opportunities and ideas leading to solutions. He welcomed the IGF being held in Geneva this year, where the whole discussion began. Geneva is also a place gathering expertise in many fields from development to health, to trade, to human rights for example, he said. All this in a few square kilometres, Schneider noted, making it is easier in Geneva than anywhere else in the world to break the silos. Outcome, Shadow of Silicon Valley Asked about the tangible outcomes of the IGF, Masango said the IGF is a non-binding discussion forum aimed at bringing people together. If the sessions are important, so are the discussions people have in the corridors, he said. There are second order effects when people go home to their institutions and use what they have learned in the discussions in their own work, he added. He also said the IGF develops best practices. Schneider said the IGF does not negotiate outcomes, rather it is a space where people talk. The IGF public space fosters accountability from governments and economic actors alike, he said, and it holds them accountable. So far a chairman’s report is issued on the IGF sessions, with key points on discussions. There is no negotiated text because if people negotiate, they stop listening to each other, said Schneider. To a question about the internet really being governed by big actors such as Google, Facebook, or Microsoft, Masango said representatives of Google, Facebook and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) would be participating in the IGF, and said they are also donors in the IGF trust fund. Schneider said the big providers set the rules of the game for those who use their platforms. Many of those big providers have been supporting the IGF from the beginning, and their participation is important, he accentuated. The list of attendees shows participants from ICANN, Microsoft, Alibaba, and Google. High Level Sessions On 18 December in the afternoon, a high level session will focus on “Shaping our future digital global governance,” and on 19 December, a high-level thematic session will look at the “Impacts of digitalization on politics, public trust, and democracy.” On 18 December, after the high-level session, a reception hosted by the Swiss government will be held at the World Intellectual Property Organization. Image Credits: Catherine Saez Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."Internet Governance Forum Next Week: Cyber Security, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data On Agenda" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.