Human rights@ICANN: A civil society policy conference at ICANN Toronto

Public interest groups involved in ICANN will gather on Friday 12 October 2012 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Canada. The event, “ICANN & Internet Governance: Security & Freedom in a Connected World,” is sponsored by the Noncommercial Users Constituency (NCUC), the voice of civil society in ICANN. The policy conference will focus on key ICANN policy issues like the need to promote both cyber-security and human rights in the development of global Internet policies.

“The conference subtitle recognizes our shared twin goals of security and freedom, and questions to what extent must we sacrifice one for the other,” said meeting organizer Robin Gross whose organization IP Justice is an NCUC member.

For event details including conference schedule, speaker list, remote participation details, and to register for the free event: http://www.amiando.com/NCUC-ICANN45

The event kicks-off with a morning address from cyber-security expert Ron Deibert, Director of the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies and The Citizen Lab, an inter-disciplinary research and development unit at the University of Toronto.  Deibert will address the need to establish a cyber-security strategy for global civil society.

The afternoon sessions begin with welcoming remarks from Fadi Chehade, ICANN’s new Chief Executive Officer, a Lebanese-Egyptian IT entrepreneur, who took the helm of ICANN last month and pronounced he was committed to strengthening the multi-stakeholder process of Internet governance.  Additional speakers at NCUC’s policy conference include Fiona Alexander from the U.S. Commerce Department and governmental representatives from Brazil.  The all-day event’s four panel sessions include participation from ICANN board members and senior staff, civil society and Internet business leaders.

The conference will explore a broad range of ICANN policy issues including privacy concerns related to the Whois policy that requires the publication of registrants’ personal data and discussion of ongoing negotiations with law enforcement agencies regarding the new Registrar Accreditation Agreement that privacy authorities have called “unlawful”.  The geopolitical landscape of Internet governance models and the shifting role of stakeholders will be addressed by experts from around the world.  NCUC’s conference will also explore policy issues related to controversial new domain names such as protection for freedom of expression in the face of cultural differences and sensitivities.   Concerns about intellectual property rights and new top-level domain names remains an area under rapid development and will be ripe for discussion as well as activities related to extra-territorial domain name seizures.  Including human rights principles in ICANN policy development will be considered, in addition to ways civil society can become involved in the development of ICANN policies, which impact Internet users worldwide.

NCUC represents more than 250 noncommercial organizations and individuals from around the world on ICANN policy matters and was formed in 1999 in Berlin at one of ICANN’s earliest meetings.   Currently NCUC represents a wide range of non-commercial interests in ICANN policy development including universities and educational institutions, human rights organizations, development, promotion of the arts, children’s welfare, scientific research, community networking, and many other non-commercial interests.  NCUC participates at ICANN as a constituency within the Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG) and the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), which makes ICANN policy recommendations and selects board members.

The 2012 conference concludes with an evening reception at the historic Fairmont Royal York overlooking the beautiful Canadian waterfront.  The event is free to attend and open the public, but advance registration is required because space is limited.  NCUC’s conference is held with support from the Brazilian registry CGI.br, the Public Interest Registry (PIR), and ICANN.   Civil Society event partners include The Citizen Lab, the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), the Internet Governance Project and the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) based at the University of Ottawa.

Conference sessions will be audiocast live and archived for later downloading, and remote participation will be available from the event’s website via Adobe Connect for those not able to travel to Toronto on 12 October.

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