Response from Phil Bond, TechAmerica, to Lee Rainie’s ‘What We Don’t Know About the Future of the Internet’
“It’s fantastic to have a public forum like this to talk about Internet governance and public policies. In terms of the key uncertainties Lee outlined, my summary response is ‘Yes, but…’” responded Phil Bond of the industry umbrella organization TechAmerica.
“That uncertainty is not a bad thing, in fact it can be quite the opposite. That uncertainty is what’s going to fuel innovation, architecture – certainly there is some uncertainty… The founders of the Internet say they are surprised about where it has gone. Innovation has yielded where it has gone, so some uncertainty there can be a good thing.”
Bond noted that for those who make policy and business decisions it is good to have some idea of what lies ahead. “Certainly you need some predictability in the marketplace so you can get investment and innovation,” he said. “But you also need some flexibility so that policy can be open to where the next billion people want to take this phenomenal medium. We don’t know exactly what the full impact of the Internet is going to be, but we do know that the net impact is going to be positive. Some uncertainties, yet, but we can look at those with anxiety or with excitement, and I would urge excitement as we reach out to those next billion people.”
He said there is certainty in the need to address security issues online.
This will have implications for architecture, for authentication, for policy. But if the medium, as we probably all believe, the world’s greatest medium for innovation and connectivity with other human beings, if it’s going to be the greatest platform for innovation, it must be a platform for participation. If more people feel trust and confidence as they connect it yields more innovation. – Phil Bond
Bond made a direct appeal to the business community he serves to urge that its top leaders become more directly involved in the Internet Governance Forum process.
“It is vital as a multistakeholder, global conversation for a global medium – the most important business and social medium,” he said. “What the business community needs to assess is how engaged they are in the conversation. There should be more, it should be deeper, it should be more senior, because this is what makes the economy and the individual companies succeed.”
Bond explained that TechAmerica is the largest advocacy group for technology in the United States, touching a total of some 40 associations across the U.S. and 16,000 companies.
We need to challenge ourselves to be more engaged. As we do that, it is possible for us in a multistakeholder venue to accept a consensus view of businesses’ role in the conversation. – Bond
“It is the business element that is driving the economic element of the Internet and therefore the employment element. That makes it a critical partner for government. Government must adopt policies for positive growth of the medium. There are positive aspects for civil society and that makes us partners there, too.
“It’s natural for us to come together and form partnerships and have the role of business accepted. The challenge for business is more involvement.”
-Janna Anderson, http://www.imaginingtheinternet.org