Welcome to the United Nations | Department of Economic and Social Affairs

The second day of IGF 2013 featured three focus sessions and several other workshops, open fora and dynamic coalitions meetings on issues ranging from principles of Internet governance and multistakeholder cooperation to cybersecurity, network neutrality and open Internet.

Seeking greater consensus on the principles that should define Internet governance among various stakeholders, the first focus session of the day was devoted to trying to identify some non-binding, high-level principles that would constitute a common ground for the future of cyberspace.  Key issues on which to reach consensus included finding agreement to a process of globalizing the Internet governance principles and ensuring that these would come about through a multistakeholder process.

Spam, hacking and cybercrime were discussed during the another focus session, while the discussants centered on the need for international capacity building, sharing best practices, international and regional cooperation modalities for addressing the challenges raised by existing cyber threats.The search for a reasonable balance between national interests in protecting citizens’ security in cyberspace and upholding citizens’ rights was also debated.

Several sessions looked at possible solutions for expanding Internet access in remote, unconnected areas and integrating the voices of disadvantaged and marginalized groups in the discussion on Internet governance. Specific issues addressed included: broadband penetration and access to Internet infrastructure in remote areas, transforming the digital divide into digital opportunity, gender balance in Internet governance, inclusion of persons with disabilities. 

Protection of human rights on the Internet, especially with regard to freedom of expression, was hotly debated during the day. Emerging threats to human rights in the cyberspace, strengthening citizens’ ability to exercise their rights online, privacy and data protection represented some of the topics reviewed, a special attention being paid to how to achieve a careful balance in fully enabling the Internet’s socio-economic benefits while respecting the right to privacy of each and every individual.

A session dedicated to network neutrality also picked up on the human rights and freedom of expression on the Internet discussion, in the context of recent trends by network operators to manage traffic flows in ways which may aim to block, filter and throttle different data flows in order to prioritise or impede access to specific applications, services or content. Internet surveillance practices were also debated and it was underlined that there is a pressing need for ensuring their adequacy, proportionality, due process and judicial oversight.

For more information, please refer to the media releases.