IGF 2021 Open Forum #29 Internet Society Open Forum 2021

Thursday, 9th December, 2021 (08:30 UTC) - Thursday, 9th December, 2021 (09:30 UTC)
Ballroom C

Technical Internet governance: How can the technical governance of the Internet (e.g. the development of standards and protocols, and the management of critical resources) take into account the needs and views of all stakeholders?

Round Table - U-shape - 60 Min


From its inception, the Internet has gone through a series of transformations - technological, economic and political, adding complexity to its nature and definition. To this end,  there is lack of common understanding regarding what it means to be open, globally connected, secure and trustworthy. Even less so – what should and shouldn’t be done to foster these qualities. Participants from different stakeholder groups will offer different perspectives on Internet “openness” (IWN), as well as what benefits these qualities bring to the economy, society and people’s lives. 

We will use the recently released the Internet Impact Assessment Toolkit by the Internet Society to lay the foundation and set the context for this discussion.

  • Agustina Callegari, Sr Manager, Community & External Engagement, Internet Society
  • Carl Gahnberg, Senior Policy Advisor, Internet Society
  • Andrei Robachevsky, Senior Director, Technology Programmes, Internet Society
  • Welcoming remarks: Rinalia Abdul Rahim, Senior Vice-President, Strategy, Communications, and Engagement
  • Moderator: Carl Gahnberg, Senior Policy Advisor, Internet Society
  • Andrei Robachevsky, Senior Director, Technology Programmes, Internet Society
  • Mehwish Ansari, Head of Digital, Article 19 (Civil Society perspective)
  • Mirja Kuehlewind, Chair of the Internet Architecture Board; Master Researcher at Ericsson (Technologist perspective)
  • Nick Pickles, Senior Director, Global Public Policy Strategy, Development and Partnerships, Twitter (Business perspective)
  • Maimouna Diop, Senior Technical Advisor, Ministry of Digital Economy and Telecommunications, Senegal (Regulator perspective)


Onsite Moderator

Won't have onsite moderator, as the session will be entirely online.

Online Moderator

Carl Gahnberg, Senior Policy Advisor, Internet Society


Agustina Callegari


9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
17. Partnerships for the Goals

Targets: The Internet has been recognized as a powerful enabler for the Sustainable Development Goals. As the Internet Society (ISOC) works to grow and strengthen the Internet, it directly contributes to SDG 9. In addition, as ISOC's work it's done in partnership with its community and other organizations, there is also a link to SDG 17. 

Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

While there is no single definition of what Internet openness means, an open internet is an accessible internet. An open network allows easy and unrestricted access: it provides unrestricted use and deployment of internet technologies.

Competition was identified as a highly desirable characteristic of the Internet across the various participants representing diverse stakeholders. Competition was welcomed in every aspect from connectivity, creation of inclusion, accessibility, small-players, geographically (Global south) etc.

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Produce an Internet Impact Brief: if an issue that could impact the Internet is identified, you can conduct an Internet impact brief. This is a quick analysis that identifies whether a proposal, development or trend could benefit or threaten the Internet.

Session Report (* deadline 26 October) - click on the ? symbol for instructions


Summary of Issues

Experts from the civil society, private sector, and the technical community unpacked, provided nuance, shared ideas and knowledge on what contributes to openness in the Internet ecosystem through the protocols and processes in place.

It was discussed an open, globally-connected, secured and trustworthy internet is central in transforming economies and integral in social development. It was also established enablers of the open internet thrive on competition, Internet interoperability, and meaningful multi-stakeholder participation at the regional levels.

The benefits of an open Internet are enormous—it fills the infrastructure gap, the gender gap and gives full control of personal data and privacy.

                    Key  takeaways

Throughout the discussion, it was established that the regulation of competition is central to the openness of the Internet. 

Salient to the conversation was how competition is a highly desirable characteristic of the Internet—competition stimulates the creation of inclusivity, meaningful connectivity, and accessibility. The technical community should strengthen, innovate the internet while a strong regulatory policy was underscored. The private sector and technical community should promote competition which is a tradeoff for centralization.

Also, the creation of a multi-stakeholder environment should happen in a diverse setup of multi-stakeholder environment, this multi-stakeholder approach shot or be at the global level but regional and national levels.

Moreover, protocols should act as the building blocks and units in driving innovation; protocols should be promoted in a way to keep the decision making open while avoidance of throttling and blocking content is necessary for keeping the Internet open.

Report was written