Challenges and Threats to Neutral Internet Governance to be discussed at auIGF Conference
The Internet is a remarkable communications technology that has grown from a specialised technical system 30 years ago, into a network of two billion users that is integral to our economy and everyday lives. But who controls the Internet?
Put simply, no single government, country, business or organisation holds the reins. The Internet is managed by a diverse group of organisations that represent the interests of all governments, businesses and individuals globally. As effective as this “multi-stakeholder approach” has been, the model is constantly under threat from those that would seek to exert greater regulation and control.
The Internet has transformed global communications, sparked new levels of innovation and is estimated to have generated as much as 10% of GDP growth in developed countries in the past 15 years. In Australia alone, we have over 2.5 million registered .au domain names which contributed half a billion dollars to the Australian economy in 2011.
As the Internet continues its unrivalled growth in both scale and complexity, there are increasing efforts by some governments and special interest groups to control it. Countries like China, India and Russia argue the multi-stakeholder institutions are unfairly dominated by the United States, European Union and other Western-aligned nations. The International Telecommunications Union, a United Nations organisation with 193 member countries, is currently reviewing international agreements governing telecommunications and is proposing to expand its regulatory authority of the Internet. The ITU will make its case at an international conference in Dubai in December this year.
.au Domain Administration (auDA) CEO Chris Disspain defends the multi-stakeholder model, saying “The Internet’s open and democratised governance model helped make it the massive success it is today. It allows individuals, organisations and businesses to meet governments on an equal footing and offers the greatest opportunity for all people to shape their Internet future. We all have a stake and need open fora to have our views heard. That is precisely why we have arranged an Australian Internet Governance Forum.”
The auIGF is a multi-stakeholder conference that will bring government, industry and community members together to discuss Internet-related policy issues, exchange ideas and best practices and help shape the future of the Internet in Australia.
It is jointly convened by auDA, the Internet Industry Association, the Australian chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC-AU), the Australian Communication Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) and the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC). It also has industry support from partners including Google, Facebook, iiNet, AusRegistry and Maddocks.
In addition to Internet Governance issues, the main themes of the auIGF include security and privacy, access and digital inclusion, openness and copyright.
The 2012 auIGF will be held at the Hotel Realm in Canberra on 11 and 12 October./* */?>