Internet Society Open Forum: What actions should we take today to shape our digital future?

19 Dec 2017 15:00h - 16:00h

Event report

[Read more session reports and live updates from the 12th Internet Governance Forum]

Ms Kathy Brown, President and CEO, Internet Society, opened the session and reiterated that the Internet Society exists to ensure an open, globally connected, secure and trustworthy Internet for everyone. While praising the staff of the Internet Society and the work of Internet Society chapters, she advised the audience to go through the interactive report ‘Pathways to Our Digital Future’, which creates a scenario and presents the outcomes and policy choices that ought to be made. She added that the Internet Society is concerned about the digital divide, security and safety, new technologies, and personal privacy issues.

Ms Brown then presented the contest that was organised by the Internet Society, which received 31 project entries in total. Out of these ‘Coding Sisters’ conducted by the Internet Society, Turkish chapter, won the award. Ms Sonia Herring from the chapter accepted the ‘2017 Chapterthon Digital School’ award for making a valuable contribution to the development of the Internet. 

Mr Pearse O’Donohue, Acting Director, Future Networks Directorate, DG CONNECT, presented the Next Generation Internet initiative. As part of the initiative more women and girls are being encouraged to get involved in science and technology. On the question of shaping the digital future, he added that there is a greater need to build trust based on a bottom-up approach to advance commonly held interests. He added that there is a need to create a human-centric Internet, where humans can control the network, and not be controlled by the network.

Mr Frederic Donk, Regional Bureau Director for Europe, Internet Society, presented the Trust by Design campaign. He said that while there will soon be 20 billion devices with poor privacy and security as part of the Internet, the problem is that only very little has been done to fix this. Hence it is necessary for the suppliers of the Internet of Things to adopt privacy and security norms. Initiatives such as the Online Trust Alliance have been created to enforce strategic sets of principles to ensure minimum levels of safety and security. He stressed that the onus is also on users and regulators to work towards ensuring a safe and secure Internet.

Ms Jane Coffin, Director, Development Strategy, Internet Society, presented the community network campaign. Community networks are infrastructure projects deployed and operated by citizens to meet their own communication needs. These networks play a key role in increasing Internet access. The ISOC community network campaign focusses on four key areas: deployment, capacity building, communities, and policy.

Mr Dawit Bekele, Regional Bureau Director for Africa, Internet Society, presented the governance campaign aimed at tackling the challenges posed by issues such as cyber-threats. The campaign demonstrates the validity of the multistakeholder model and tries to find answers to more recent problems. He added that engagement, capacity building, and awareness are key for Internet governance.

The forum was opened for participants to interact and find answers to questions on engagement, awareness, community networks, and funding.

By Krishna Kumar Rajamannar