The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is an annual event convened by the United Nations which aims to bring people from across the globe together to discuss Internet-related policy issues, exchange ideas and best practices, and help shape the future of the Internet. It is a unique event because all stakeholders – businesses, non-governmental organisations and end users can participate on equal footing with governments. While there is no negotiated outcome, the IGF informs and inspires those with policy-making power in both the public and private sectors.
The global IGF has inspired a large number of national and regional initiatives, including IGF events in New Zealand, East Africa, Brazil, the UK and the Pacific Region. These events feed ideas up to the global IGF, but also allow local stakeholders to gather and discuss issues that are particularly relevant to their country or region.
Late last year, auDA decided that an Australian IGF was long-overdue and so we engaged key stakeholders to help plan and develop the event. We took this decision as part of our obligations to educate and engage the Internet community and act as an industry facilitator and thought-leader. To date, we have secured the support and participation of the Australian Communication Consumer Action Network, the Australian chapter of the Internet Society, APNIC and the Internet Industry Association.
Now that most of the hard preparatory work is done, we are proud to announce that the 2012 AIGF will be held in Canberra on 11-12 October at the Hotel Realm. It will be open to parliamentarians, key government decision and policy-makers, business, peak industry bodies and all Internet users.
The main themes will be “security”, “openness and privacy” and “access”. These have been designed to be deliberately broad so as to facilitate discussion on as many topical issues as possible. We expect to have the AIGF site up and running and open for registrations in July. The site will provide a hub for discussion and planning, and will allow interested attendees to nominate ideas, propose sessions and engage in collaborative preparation for the event.
We will provide more updates as we get closer to the event, though would encourage all auDA members to pencil this important event into their calendars now!