Archive for the 'IGF' Category

Welcome to Geneva – the entire city is fully booked

If anyone every wondered whether the Internet was vital, or if the new Internet Governance Forum suffered from a lack of interest, worry no more.

Next week, a series of events will be held in Geneva covering the follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society and most importantly a preparatory meeting for the next IGF in Rio in November — and there is NOT A SINGLE hotel room available in the entire city. I tried four different online booking sites and nothing. So I found hotels where you can’t book online and called them. Nothing. And I have just got off the phone to the official hotel reservation service in Geneva, part of the tourist information office, and they tell me that Geneva is officially completely booked for 22-25 May.

Where the hell am I going to sleep?

Update: I’ve had to book a villa three miles out of town and actually in a different country (France). At one point I was seriously looking at Lausanne – a 40-minute train journey away. I will call around on Monday and see if there any late cancellations, but it looks like I have a long trip each morning and evening. Lesson learnt: book hotels in Geneva early.

Dynamic Coalition for Online Collaboration

I have just announced the creation of the “dynamic coalition” for online collaboration in the IGF meeting in Geneva. Effectively this is a group of people who plan to test and run online tools to help governments, businesses, civil society, NGOs and so on, have discussions and arrive at solutions, conclusions, recommendations, whatever. It is open to anyone who wants to constructively contribute. Found out more at This is what I said:

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Some stats on the IGF Athens meeting

The Greek delegate has just spoken at the stocktaking meeting of the Internet Governance Forum in Geneva.

He gave some stats from the first Athens meeting in November 2006 that might be worth preserving:

  • 1350 participants (including 152 media, and coming from 97 countries)
  • 8 translation booths and 20 translators
  • 50 buses
  • 7 metal detectors
  • 4 X-ray machines

By the way, there is an IRC chatroom on in the room #igf going on as we speak.

The Internet rollercoaster starts up the track again: IGF in Geneva

I am in Geneva for a stock-take of the first Internet Governance Forum in Athens last November.

It should be an interesting meeting. The one thing that no one is any doubt about is that the IGF will be bigger and more important in 2007. Born out of international discussion (some might say argument) at the United Nations over problems thrown up by the Internet – especially the best way to agree to fix problems – the IGF caught most people by surprise when it became a tremendous success, despite all the opportunities for it to be otherwise.

This year the meeting should get the resources it was starved of last year but at the same time the 2007 meeting in Rio de Janeiro could prove explosive mostly because of continued disagreement about how the Internet is currently run and who gets to make the decisions.

That argument is still ruminating so this 13 February meeting should be an opportunity for people to review and enjoy IGF 2006, discuss what worked and what didn’t, and agree on how to make this year’s meeting better. To this end. the organisers asked people to send in comments to help form discussion and have posted them on its website.

I have been through them all and have put together this quick summary of what everyone agrees on; what most people agree on; and where there will be argument. Where there’s argument, I have given what I hope is a balanced and objective review of what the argument is about and why it’s happening, plus predicted what is likely to happen.

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So, I took this job at ICANN…

Starting 5 February, I will be the “general manager, public participation” for ICANN – an organisation I have closely followed and frequently criticised almost since its inception in 1999. I’m excited about it, and the possibilities the position holds.

Here then is a blog post about why I took the job and what I hope to achieve.

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Vista and Net governance discussion on the BBC

I took place in a discussion with various notables just before Xmas for an edition of the BBC’s Digital Planet radio programme and just remembered it has now come out and you can download and listen to it from its website (although I will also stick it below for ease).

The discussion was on two things: Vista, tying in “trusted computing”, and Internet governance – and on it were host Gareth Mitchell (a lovely bloke I met in Tunisia at the World Summit), woolly mammoth and terrific IT journo Bill Thompson, the unnervingly smart John Palfrey from Berkman/Harvard, and the Iranian blogger bloke who name I have forgotten and just looked up – Hossein Derekhshan – and, well, me.

To make matters worse, the producer Colin Grant, called me up and we were discussing what I thought about Vista and Net governance and I said I’d get hold of a copy of Vista before the programme. This I failed to do because Microsoft for some peculiar reason had refused to hand them out until – well, until about now, early Jan.

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Online participation: the possibilities and the realities

I’ve spent quite a bit of time recently building and running online participation websites – or, in English, trying to get people on the Internet learning about and interacting with physical meetings.

Both have been for Internet organisations, which should theoretically make things easier. The first was the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Athens in early November, and the second ICANN’s Sao Paulo meeting now in early December.

I figured while some things were fresh in my mind, I’d do a blog post about what I’ve learnt. And the title “the possibilities and the realities” took about two milliseconds to pop into my mind.

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How to avoid learning perhaps a little too much about Kieren’s life

I mentioned about a month ago how I was considering setting up a second blog so I could more easily separate my personal and professional life. And yesterday, twice, I was reminded that there is a bit of an unusual overlap when I spoke to two people: one, the spokesman for a company I regularly report on; and the second, the CEO of a company I also follow closely.

Both of them made mention of my paella (I note with sadness that only one was interested in the actual recipe however). Now this was a tremendous paella, there’s no doubt about that, but I suspect that there may be a few people out there that don’t want to know about my lunch and so I am going to highlight here an easy solution to the problem: separate RSS feeds.

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UN asks for Net governance forum feedback

The secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum, part of the United Nations, has updated its website to include all the session transcripts, plus Markus Kummer’s “informal summing-up” of them.

More interestingly though it has also stuck up an online form asking for feedback on the meeting, asking the broad questions: What worked well? and What worked less well? Plus asking for comments and suggestions for improvement.

And it has set up a page for the so-called “dynamic coalitions” that were formed during the meeting, which is good news as it provides a connection between the groups and the IGF – to both parties’ benefit.

I note that the webcasts are still not up though (have to be shifted into a non-Microsoft format) – and the site itself is still a mess, no more than tracts of text piled onto HTML pages. But that aside, if you went – or if you accessed the IGF online – here’s your chance to have your say. It will be interesting to see the results.

Guardian article on the IGF

I’ve a piece in The Guardian today which is a broad summary of the IGF last week. It basically says that what could have been a disaster ended up being a success and finishes with Nitin Desai’s arranged marriage analogy – which I think was brilliant.

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