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Press Release Opening Internet Governance Forum 2014 2 September final




Issues expected to impact most Internet users brings diverse group to Internet Governance Forum


Internet Governance Forum opens with many debates planned on Internet governance topics, including network neutrality and transition of many Internet technical functions to the global community


Istanbul, Turkey, 2 September 2014—The Ninth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) opened here today with more than 2,500 participants joining on-site and more joining remotely to debate over the next four days many key issues facing the future of the Internet, including network neutrality, cyber-security, spam, child protection, privacy, freedoms of expression and human rights.


“We want to foster an accessible, open, secure and trustworthy Internet, and people are coming to the Internet Governance Forum to debate the actions that could affect every Internet user today and tomorrow,” United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs Thomas Gass said.


Network neutrality crucial for inclusive development

The first day of the IGF saw discussions on a range of topics including network neutrality, which considers whether Internet traffic and data should be treated equally or be regulated in a way that prioritizes certain content over others for a price. Network neutrality debates also have implications for economic development, Internet users, and social and human rights.



Some believe that all data should be treated equally, and that in connection with this, the rights held by people offline must also be protected online.


Several countries have already implemented laws ensuring network neutrality, while others are deciding on whether to adopt network neutrality legislation. As the debate continues, some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have made provisions that require certain content providers to pay for faster access to consumers, which in turn may drive up consumer prices or limit Internet access. At the Forum, many views were expressed on whether or not network neutrality should be enshrined in law.


Vint Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, said that the debate boiled down to consumers’ choice, and that “The question is, are the consumers in charge of where in the Internet they go and what they do with it?”


Countering Mr. Cerf’s claim that often there was not enough competition of service providers, some participants said that competition was a choice between technologies, such as choosing broadband or mobile phones, and not necessarily an issue of a limited number of competitors providing service. Others expressed concerns that network neutrality may have already been lost because economic forces may be driving the decisions of legislators more than consumers’ choices. More events at the IGF are planned to focus on furthering the debate on network neutrality.


Network neutrality is one of the top issues which will determine the future of the Internet. IGF aims to drive discussions forward to help policy makers determine upcoming decisions that to consider an inclusive, multistakeholder approach. 


IGFs lead to actions

At the opening session of the IGF, Jānis Kārkliņš, Chair of the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group of the IGF, said that discussions are not enough to advance the Internet Governance agenda. Actions and decisions are needed. Mr. Kārkliņš noted several actions taken as a result of past IGFs, including: the development of the Global Internet Policy Observatory; the creation of the Council for Digitization in Poland and the Security Incident Response Team in Indonesia; the establishment of the Online Freedom Coalition; and the development of a school online safety curricula by Disney in Latin America.


Oversight of Internet names and numbers going to global community

Another key area to be discussed at the IGF will be the transition of many Internet technical functions to the global community. In March 2014, the United States announced plans to transition its stewardship of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) function to the global multi-stakeholder community. The IANA performs a set of tasks that involve the administration or coordination of many of the identifiers, including domain names, that allow the global Internet to operate. Debates on this IANA transition are expected to help the global community carefully consider next steps for the transition and ways to enhance accountability for what comes next.



About the Internet Governance Forum

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr. Gass told participants, “I invite each of you regardless of country, role, or status, to express your views this week, to make yourselves heard, and understood, and to understand the views of others in the spirt of inclusive and open debate.”


With many more participants to join remotely, the IGF will bring together many high-level government officials, executives of major global private entities, as well as leaders of civil society organisations to address a wide range of Internet governance issues, including the Internet's sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development.


The theme for the Istanbul meeting is ‘Connecting Continents for Enhanced Multistakeholder Internet Governance,’ and an emphasis is being placed on strengthening the evolving multistakeholder model for Internet governance. The IGF aims to provide a comprehensive dialogue among all stakeholders across a wide and diverse range of agendas.


Each year, the United Nations convenes the IGF meeting, through the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, to bring together various stakeholders to discuss current and emerging Internet governance issues, as well as related opportunities and challenges.   


For additional information, visit: http://www.intgovforum.org

A webcast of all IGF events is available at http://webcast.igf2014.org.tr/


For more information, please contact the UN Information Centre, Ankara:

Mr. Ahmet Parla                                           This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                                          +90 533 500 1497

Ms. Tuba Coskun                                          This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                                      +90 533 392 0639

Mr. Emile Kaboré                                         This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                                   +226 5031 3397

Mr. Wynne Boelt                                          This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                                          +90 535746 5481

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