An Internet Governance Forum is coming to the Australian capital of Canberra in October with the goal of bringing government, industry and community members together in an open, apolitical forum, to discuss Internet-related policy issues, exchange ideas and best practices, and help shape the future of the internet in Australia.
Hot topics for the inaugural auIGF down under include security, the IGF landscape, openness, privacy and access and digital inclusion. The latter is an issue in Australia due to the difficulty in getting remote and regional communities online and engaged, as well as people of lower socio-economic backgrounds along with people with disabilities.
There will also be a number of interactive, community-led workshops, investigating specific internet policy issues in greater depth.
“The Internet was built with a spirit of openness, collaboration and accessibility”, said Chris Disspain, CEO of .au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA) in a statement. “In establishing the auIGF, we aim to embrace these principles and provide a mechanism to ensure Australians have a prominent and well-informed voice in Internet discussions.”
Speakers lined up come from both Australia and New Zealand and include representatives from Facebook, Google and the Australian Privacy Commissioner.
The auIGF is coordinated by a number of prominent industry stakeholders, including auDA, the Internet Industry Association (IIA), the Australian Communication Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), the Australian chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC-AU) and the Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC). It also has the support of the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) and corporate partners including Google, Facebook, AusRegistry and Maddocks.
“The collaborative nature, timing and agenda of this forum is strongly supported by the IIA”, said Peter Lee CEO of IIA. “Given the significant focus on issues such as security, privacy and convergence in a digital world, it’s important to facilitate open discussion of those issues with all stakeholders.”
“Access to the Internet is essential for participation in today’s society across a range of areas including employment, community, education and access to services”, noted ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin. “The auIGF will be an excellent opportunity to share experiences and strategies aimed to promote digital inclusion, to ensure that everyone reaps the benefits of a connected society.”
“Given the importance of the Internet to the Australian economy, forums such as the auIGF are vital in facilitating policy discussions that promote the continued expansion and innovation of the Internet”, added Adrian Kinderis, CEO of AusRegistry. “The open, participatory, multi-stakeholder model has made the Internet a successful driver of social and economic growth and this is set to continue in Australia under the guidance of the auIGF.”
The outcomes of the auIGF will help influence domestic policy and decision-making and will be fed into international policy processes including the UN’s World Conference on International Telecommunications and the 2012 IGF in Baku, Azerbaijan.
“The IGF format has proven to be influential in global decision-making – both as a reference point and a repository of essential information that should be considered in policy-making processes” said Paul Wilson, Director-General of APNIC. “I invite all stakeholders to show their support for this model, both through the auIGF and other national and regional initiatives that will feed into the global dialogue.”
For more information or to register ($50 per person) for the auIGF, check out the website at igf.org.au.