IGF sparks UK interest

16 Nov 2007 View Comments
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The second meeting of the UN backed Internet Governance Forum event ended in Rio yesterday having made ground on key issues of diversity, openness and security, and could lead the way for a similar UK-based event.

The IGF was set up as a result of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis two years ago with the aim of bringing all internet stakeholders together to share best practices and air their views.

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Key themes of the event this year were access and diversity – in particular how to get "the next billion online", and meeting the needs of different disabilities, according to Emily Taylor of .uk registry, Nominet.

Security was also a major topic, especially in relation to issues of trust and confidence in online transactions, and much effort was made to create understanding of these issues between all stakeholders, she added.

"How can you hope to come to a negotiated outcome if you can't agree what the problems are?," she asked. "That’s the value of the IGF – it's inclusive and multi-stakeholder and about knowledge transfer – not in a didactic way but in a pick and mix way."

The event also spurred British parliamentarians attending to prepare the way for a similar UK-based event where internet stakeholders at a national level can debate the relevant issues, said Taylor.

"We're working very closely with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and Alun Michael MP and are hoping to have something in place for the next IGF meeting in Delhi," she added.

Also at the event, internet governance body Icann announced it is to work with the International Telecommunication Union and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in order to promote universal language standards on the internet. Central to this initiative will be internationalised domain names, which are currently being trialed, said Icann.

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