IGF topics agreed

The topics that will be discussed at the first ever [tag]Internet Governance Forum[/tag] have been announced at the end of a two-day meeting of the advisory group.

There are four and they are:

Access:
Internet connectivity: Cost and Policy

Security:
Building trust in an online environment
Protecting users from spam, phishing, and viruses.
Maintain security while protecting privacy.

Openness:
Free flow of information, idea and access to knowledge.

Diversity:
Promoting multilingualism including IDNs and promoting local content.
Respecting geographical diversity

What I read from this is that the Americans were wholly successful in making sure that [tag]ICANN[/tag]/IANA didn’t become a topic with some back-up from the EU, but largely thanks to the G77 agreeing not to mention it in return for putting Access top of the list.

I also strongly suspect that the chairman, Nitin [tag]Desai[/tag], continued to push very heavily for access in developing countries and used argument in the room to help broker this through.

Security was always going to be a lead topic as everyone agrees that it has to be dealt with. But the fact that access has usurped it at the top is telling. It is also interesting that there are four topics when everyone was previously looking at two main topics – a lead and a sub-topic and then a few much smaller topics. But these four have comparatively equal weight.

Openness no doubt brought some argument from the US because of the huge influence of US software companies scared about open-source, and from China worried about freedom of speech being written into the IGF agenda. A political solution was found: namely not to mention either.

And Diversity is, well, just commonsense. The Net in foreign languages was going to be a part of the IGF no matter what. “Respecting geographical diversity” reads to me as well as careful language to make sure there is an easy exit for any country that doesn’t like IGF recommendations. Just point to the importance of geographical diversity, and you can ignore whatever it is you don’t like.

I will endeavour to speak to a few people tomorrow and see if my assumptions are right – and try to find out what happened in the locked Geneva room for two days.

I should book my flight to Athens soon.

[tags]IGF, Internet[/tags]

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