IGF-USA plenary voices support for global Internet Governance Forum process

Janna Anderson and the talented folks of the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University have compiled numerous stories on the first Internet Governance Forum-USA, held last Friday in Washington DC.  Elon's Colin Donohue covered the closing plenary session, where panelists from all stakeholder groups agreed the IGF is a useful exercise that contributes positively to Internet governance.  Donahue writes:

Panelists on the daylong conference’s closing discussion continued to echo the importance of a multistakeholder dialogue, a concept that was initially raised during the opening session and continually referenced throughout the conference.  “What is important to me about multistakeholderism is not that it’s a formalized exercise in which you have a mechanism that puts a government person and a civil society person and a business person on a panel next to each other and assume they’re all speaking for their group,” said Milton Mueller, a professor in Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies who participated by remote video feed.

“What’s important is to maintain access to all the players that have real operational or political control over Internet governance,” Mueller stated.

“It’s distributed, it’s decentralized. What’s important about the IGF is the extent to which it can bring together all those people and come up with solutions to those problems.
   
“(The IGF) deals with global issues, transnational issues, ones that require coordination across political boundaries, and that is probably the most important thing about the IGF,” Mueller said. “We cannot deal with the Internet in a purely national context. We don’t want to put the Internet back into boxes for the purposes of regulation.”

   
Markus Kummer of the IGF Secretariat was also optimistic, but suggested that the private sector, Internet governance institutions and civil society need to continue to reach out to governments.

“We have been changing throughout but we have maintained some core
principles. Should these core principles be maintained or not? Some
would like to change some of the principles and reorient the IGF more
like a traditional UN body. Many governments are not used to this
freewheeling type of discussion. But there is danger that governments
could have the last word, so there is a need for an outreach.”

You can read full coverage here, including stories on the CIRs, privacy and access panels. You can also join the IGF-USA
website and social network
to receive updates on future events.

IGP played a substantial role in organizing the IGF-USA.  IGP's Brenden
Kuerbis and Derrick Cogburn served on its Steering Committee. Milton
Mueller, Lee McKnight, Cogburn and Kuerbis participated on plenary and workshop
panels and Cogburn's Cotelco project based in part at American University provided remote participation
facilities and made the national event available to a
global audience.

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