The Internet Governance Forum 2010

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This week I’m in Vilnius, Lithania for the fifth meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). I’ve blogged about the IGF before. The fact that it is an unwieldy and esoteric entity hasn’t changed, and the fact that the outcomes from the IGF are non-binding hasn’t changed either. However, the fact remains that the discussions are incredibly important, and have a strong and lasting impact.

Like usual, there’s no shortage of topics up for discussion. The official agenda includes the following topics:

• Managing critical Internet resources
• Security, openness and privacy
• Access and diversity
• Internet governance for development
• Taking stock of Internet governance and the way forward
• Emerging issues, like cloud computing

The event certainly started off with a bang. Yesterday, Lynn St. Amour, the CEO of the Internet Society criticized the lack of transparency in the development of the ACTA.

Next up, Sami Al-Basheer from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a UN agency, stated that attendance at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference is open. This came as a surprise to many of us in the audience, given the recently declined request by ICANN president Rod Beckstrom to attend an ITU conference next month. This immediately brought last year’s IGF to my mind, where Beckstrom and a representative from the ITU got into a full-scale, verbal battle in front of more than 1,000 delegates, eventually having to be pulled apart – literally – by the moderator.

I’ll be speaking about our plans for a Canadian Internet Governance Forum at a session 9 a.m. (that’s 2 a.m. ET)  on September 17. If you’re at the Forum, I hope you can attend. If not, the event will be webcast and real time transcription is available. There’s even a social media aggregator for the 2010 Internet Governance Forum. It is a one stop shop to follow the tweets and discussions at the IGF.

I’ll be writing a more detailed blog post about the IGF when I get back to Canada. In the meantime, here’s a couple of photographs from the IGF:

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