Posts Tagged ‘ICT strategies’
Brief session description:
Thursday, July 26, 2012 – The Internet Governance Forum-USA opened with general remarks from Marilyn Cade, IGF-USA chief catalyst. Cade is chair of the Business Consituency at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and CEO at ICT Strategies. She is a longtime leader in the WSIS and Global IGF processes and is a principal in the G20 ICT Policy Network and she has extensive expertise in multilaterial organizations including the ITU, OECD and APEC. She previously worked as vice president for Internet and Internet governance for AT&T.
Details of the session:
Marilyn Cade, chief catalyst of Internet Governance Forum-USA, opened the 2012 conference at Georgetown Law Center July 26, 2012, by welcoming the gathered guests and discussing the goals of IGF during her quick 4-minute introduction.
Cade, an expert and international adviser on Internet policy, discussed the importance of regional and national initiatives such as IGF-USA as part of the international Internet policy debate.
The multistakeholder event, which includes representatives from government, NGOs, civil society and private enterprise, will feature what Cade called “frank discussion” on controversial subjects related to telecommunications.
“We do try to expand the learning about each other’s diverging points of view about tough topics,” Cade said. “We can talk about tough topics but we don’t have to tough while we do that.”
Plenary sessions and workshops will address topics including human rights, Internet freedom, cyber security and disaster response.
“The IGF-USA focuses more on the meta-level of building and supporting the multistakeholder models and to enhance awareness about what that means,” Cade said. “So we follow the practice of the IGF, hearing all voices. We don’t make decisions, per se. We don’t negotiate text.”
— Brennan McGovern
IGF participants broke into three different rooms to discuss three different, possible potential-future scenarios for the Internet in 2025. In this session, the brief description given to the discussants noted that “Government Prevails” scenario imagines a future affected by man-made and natural challenges and disasters – wars, civil strife, an aging world and interventionist governments. This scenario assumes that while “the ICT industry, media companies and NGOs” are the leading players on the Internet stage today [some people might disagree with this assumption], by 2025 governments and inter-governmental organizations will have come to rule the Internet as a result of actions taken to protect particular interests from negative exposure.
Details of the session:
A small group of Internet stakeholders from various sectors met to discuss the Government Prevails potential-future scenario at the Internet Governance Forum-USA 2011 at Georgetown University Law Center.
This scenario sets up a closed-off future for the Internet. You can read the one-page PDF used to launch this discussion here:
The potential future drivers of change people were asked to consider included:
- Manmade and natural disasters push governments to exert more control over Internet resources.
- Changes in the Domain Name System force intergovernmental organizations to impose new global regulatory regimes.
- Networked image sensing through devices such as Kinect and GPS are used to identify and track people, with positive and negative effects, but the net result is a global surveillance culture.
- Governments limit bandwidth for video conferencing when they find revenues for hotels, airlines and other travel-related economic entities in sharp decline.
- Lawsuits and other developments cause governments to create blacklists of websites prohibited from Internet access.
- Anonymity on the Internet is brought to an end as a response to viruses, worms and credit card fraud and user authentication is required.
- Governments take every opportunity to coordinate and consolidate power under various mandates for global solutions and by 2025 governments and law enforcement are deeply embedded in all aspects of the Internet.
NetChoice Executive Director Steve DelBianco began the session by sharing the drivers of this future and what the Internet might look like in 2025.
“The scenario at its key is an attempt to be provocative about a potential future,” said DelBianco, who emphasized this session was supposed to search for what could be plausible and to develop opinions on the possible benefits and disadvantages of a future and what could be done to mitigate its impact.
“Is this the George Orwell scenario where it is a question of not whether but when?” Roseman said.
Although there was a list of questions the leaders intended to discuss, the session quickly turned into a running debate, bouncing from topic to topic as the participants introduced them. Two main themes quickly emerged.
The first was the conflict between security versus privacy.
Carl Szabo cited the situation in London, where hundreds of security cameras were added to city streets with the intention of reducing crime. The result was criminals adapting to the increased surveillance by wearing hooded sweatshirts.
“As we give away these rights and privileges for alleged increased security, it’s not necessarily going to return with security,” he said.
Slava Cherkasov, with the United Nations, brought up the recent case of Brooklyn boy Leiby Kletzky, who was allegedly abducted, murdered and dismembered by a stranger, Levi Aron. In that case, it was a security camera outside a dentist’s office that led to Aron’s arrest, confession and the recovery of the boy’s body within an hour of viewing the footage.
Judith Hellerstein, with the D.C. Internet Society, said that government use of data is acceptable when there is an understanding about privacy and intent.
“You also have to sort of figure out how governments are going to use that technology in hand,” she said.
In the scenario, an issue was introduced, based on reality, where pictures of protesting crowds were tagged, allowing for the identification of people at the scene of a potential crime.
Elon University student Ronda Ataalla expressed concern over limiting tagging in photographs, because it was a limit on expression.
But David McGuire of 463 Communications reminded the room that civil liberties traditionally don’t poll well.
“Free speech isn’t there to protect the speech we all like,” he said.
DelBianco expanded the tagging issue to raise the issue of “vigilante justice,” people using debatably privacy-violating practices to identify people they consider wrong-doers, and brought up Senate Bill 242 in California, which would alter the way social networks create default privacy settings for users. This bill was narrowly defeated 19 to 17 June 2.
Chris Martin with the USCIB talked about how not all companies are interested in using their technology for ill or personal gains, listing Google and their withholding of the use of facial recognition technology to protect people’s privacy.
This subject is also related to the second main discussion topic: the government versus industry and the private sector.
Covington questioned Martin about whether he saw governments developing that same facial recognition technology, as described in the scenario, and using it to monitor citizens.
“Some,” was his reply, before adding that all Internet governance was about maximizing good and minimizing evil.
There was then a brief discussion about the Patriot Act and relinquishing civil liberties online in the circumstances of a national emergency. Who decides when the emergency has passed?
Szabo and others questioned if the government was even the right organization to take over in the event of a disaster.
“It’s much easier to say, ‘Let them deal with it so I don’t have to,’ but the question is, ‘Will they do it better?’” he said.
Cherkasov said not necessarily, mentioning that when Haiti was struck by the severe earthquake in January 2010, it took two weeks for government organizations to develop a database to search for missing people, but in Japan in March 2011, it took Google only 90 minutes to come up with the same technology. He then returned to the security camera situation, concluding that citizens were the first line of response and information in a disaster scenario.
“There will always be maybe an ebb and a flow but it’s the power of the people that will ultimately be able to create that balance,” Roseman said. “But it’s going to have to be a proactive effort to get and keep that balance.”
Roseman also said one of the benefits of the industrial and private sector was an ability to use funds more freely than the government, which, presumably, does operate on a limited budget.
“When you have governments and the private sector and industry working together, you generate a lot more money and opportunity to drive change,” she said.
McGuire, though, expressed concern that industry and the private sector have some misconceptions about the power of the Internet, believing that it is too powerful for any law or government to cut it down. He said many, including those in the area of Silicon Valley, Calif., think the Internet will always be able to circumvent policy.
Most session participants seemed to agree that the potential scenario was troubling.
“It makes me want to move to somewhere where there are more sheep than humans,” joked Covington.
But Brett Berlin, of George Mason University, said that the Internet, and the choices that are made about governing it, are ultimately people-driven decisions, reminding the rest of the room that technology works for people and not the other way around.
“If we are foolish enough to think that open Internet will fundamentally allow us to be better, we are making a mistake.”
– Rachel Southmayd
Marilyn Cade, chair of the IGF-USA Steering Committee, led a closing discussion that also included remarks from Markus Kummer, executive administrator for the global IGF Secretariat; Larry Strickling, assistant secretary of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce; and Deimante Bartkiene, a representative of the Lithuanian Embassy, invited IGF-USA attendees to the global IGF, taking place in Vilnius, Lithuania, Sept. 14-17.
Details of the session:
Marilyn Cade, president of ICT Strategies, asked the gathered audience during the closing session of IGF-USA 2010 to suggest at least five ways the IGF process can be improved in the future. She received more input than that. Here are a few of the ideas:
- The “users reign” scenario isn’t based in reality right now. The only way the scenario can come to fruition is if the people involved in global IGF efforts help design it and make it work.
- People should not demonize innovative companies that make mistakes. When companies take risks, let them fail, call them out but don’t overreact or issue calls for new laws to stop an experiment from ever happening again.
- The people involved with IGF should embrace transparency, inclusion and collaboration. Inclusion, in particular, means reaching out to parties that don’t show up to participate in opportunities like IGF-USA. The IGF effort should increase awareness, extend more outreach and have broader information available to people.
- The organizers of IGF should extend participation, particularly remote participation (ability to “attend” virtually, online), to the conferences.
- The Internet is inherently not like real life, and the more we try to make it like real life, the less appealing it will be to users. The people participating in the discussions at IGF should to keep this sentiment in mind going forward.
- The IGF organizers should more clearly articulate the roles of the different Internet stakeholders and organizations, define and implement a funding model for IG and enact some form of output for the IGF itself.
- The IGF should have more voices from emerging markets and the private sector at the table.
- A final piece of advice: Make sure what the people involved in IGF ask for is going to gain the best result. Don’t change the mandate, just renew.
Strickling said in his closing remarks that the U.S. government is committed to the continuation of the IGF in its current form. He said allowing a multistakeholder discussion will only enhance the accessibility of the Internet.
“Internet stakeholders across the globe are committed to this type of forum,” he said. “We want to make sure IGF is not just about dialogue. We need to make sure lessons learned from these discussions are put into action. I don’t imagine I am alone in thinking that open dialogue in IGF is an ideal way to enhance trust in these stakeholders.
“Changes that place one group above another in IGF would ultimately undermine this model.”
Kummer closed by saying that the IGF mandate will be up for a vote in the United Nations’ General Assembly later this year, and he added that the general assembly should almost certainly vote to extend the IGF mandate. But he’s concerned about what kind of changes might be suggested.
“Now we will have to find synthesis between two tendencies: the Internet will stay with us and nation-states will stay with us,” Kummer said. “We see the IGF as a synthesis between these two tendencies.
“I hope they will not do much tweaking moving on. All of you can have a role to play in this by reaching out, talking to governments.”
Click here to go to the main site used by
the organizers of IGF-USA: http://www.igf-usa.us/
-Colin Donohue, http://imaginingtheinternet.org