The 2012 Canadian Internet Forum

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On February 27, 2012, we’re hosting the Canadian Internet Forum (CIF) national event in Ottawa. At the CIF, I will present findings from a three-month online dialogue with Canadians about the development of the Internet. There is no cost to attend.

I am happy to announce that Robert Herjavec will be joining us to deliver the keynote address. Robert is the well-known star of CBC’s Dragons’ Den and ABC’s Shark Tank. He’s also a very successful Canadian Internet entrepreneur – he lives and breathes the business of the Internet.

A panel that draws from a diverse section of the Internet community will also be part of the event, including Michael Geist (University of Ottawa), Steve Anderson (Open Media), Bill Graham (Internet Society), Bertrand de la Chapelle (ICANN), and Frédérick Gaudreau (Sûreté du Québec). They will discuss both the challenges and opportunities for the Internet in Canada. And, we have worked a lot of time into the agenda to hear from you. We want to hear your opinions on how you think the Internet should develop.

If you will be in Ottawa, please join us. If you’re not, you can still participate via webcast. And while the Internet continues to have a huge impact on society – it has had immeasurable impact on the global economy and the spread of democracy – there are few events like the CIF that give a voice to Canadian Internet users. In light of issues that have gotten a lot of attention recently (like SOPA and ACTA), I strongly encourage you to get involved in this unique event.

The Internet has become the driver of a new, knowledge-based economy, and has radically altered the ways in which we communicate with each other. I believe it is the greatest driver of social change since the printing press.

However, most of us do not give a lot of thought to how the Internet is run, nor who runs it. Nor are there many venues for the average Internet user to have a say in how they think it should develop. Yet in light of recent events – SOPA for one – the Internet is too important to be left to ‘someone else’ to look after. Yes, the SOPA protest was a great example of digital citizens exercising their digital rights. Collectively, we shut down legislation that would have done away with the free and open Internet. But with those rights include responsibilities, including the responsibility to voice your opinion, in a reasoned and thoughtful way, about how it should develop.

This is why I think it is critical for Canadians to participate in the CIF. Please register for the national event, and take the time in the next day or so to join the conversation at the CIF discussion forum.

There’s still time to have your say in the CIF online forum. You have until February 12 to engage in the discussion. Hot topics among Canadians included digital literacy, security and safety, access/cost, digital economy, policy and governance, and technology and regulation.

Please visit cif.cira.ca to talk about the issues on your mind, and join us on February 27 for Canada’s best Internet event.

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