IGF 2023 WS #341 Mythbusters! Debunking Myths about Internet Governance


Organizer 1: Jane Roberts Coffin , 🔒Connect Humanity
Organizer 2: Alejandro Pisanty, 🔒

Speaker 1: Vinton CERF, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Rajnesh Singh, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Nii Quaynor, Technical Community, African Group
Speaker 4: Christine Arida, Government, African Group
Speaker 5: VANDA SCARTEZINI, Private Sector, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 6: Inne Anne-Rachel, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization
Speaker 7: Theresa Swinehart, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 8: Lynn St.Amour, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Alejandro Pisanty, Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Online Moderator

Jane Roberts Coffin , Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Jane Roberts Coffin , Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Round Table - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

1. What policy-lessons did the Internet Technical Community (ITCG) learn in the June 2005 WGIG that influenced policy(ies) related to IG?
2. What role did the ITC Community play as resource organizations at ITU plenipotentiaries, and did that influence the way the Community works with Governments and other stakeholders?
3. What role can/should the Community play in IG debates, GDC, and in other multi-stakeholder fora?
4. How can the Internet Technical Community’s contribution to policy-making be absorbed better in decision-making processes, so that decisions are technically sound & profit from the full extent of technology’s benefits while managing risks?

What will participants gain from attending this session? The session will bring a range of stakeholders together in two fast moving discussion rounds. The moderators and panelists will list, discuss, and dispel some entrenched myths, half truths, and obsoleted but widely circulating facts about Internet governance. Direct witnesses of the original events will be present or cited after interviews by the organizing team. The session will be valuable to new IG entrants, who often face a maze of assertions that are hard to investigate in depth, yet have the power to obfuscate and bias critical decisions.

Presenters will discuss some of the basic assertions, listen to the audience and workshop panelists, to find facts and sources, and trace and understand how the misconceptions work and their possible origin and functions.

Participants will have a valuable take-home verification of oncoming news and social media content and an appreciation of the points of this tangled maze.


Mythbusting at IGF 2023! A bit more than a quarter century of “Internet governance” (using as a reference Kahin and Keller’s publication “Coordinating the Internet”) has given rise to innumerable myths, half truths, and fossilized but obsoleted information. This session endeavors to dispel the most crucial of these myths from people that were in the mix and involved, and calls for an open discussion with the audience. A mix of speakers from all stakeholder groups and regions, with foundational experience as well as active participation today, will address and dispel stories like “ICANN was created by the IGF” or that “the RIRs were all formed at the same time”. The roundtable will help establish a shared knowledge base about the role stakeholders played throughout the multi-stakeholder Internet governance journey. It also will help surface other new data-points to share across the community!

Expected Outcomes

Expected Outcomes:
1. Provide information about Internet Governance from 1998 to the present from some of the participants in various critical policy-making and international debates.
2. Inform current debates related to Internet Governance by highlighting the important role the IGF played, how stake-holders mobilized and coordinated, and lessons-learned along the way.
3. Create a living-compendium or human resources, technical organizations, sources used in Internet Governance debates.
4. Understand the motivation behind some misinterpretations so that actors can engage in understanding their counterparts better.

Future Publications:
Short-paper on Mythbusting at IGF 2023
Follow-up Events:
1. We expect these "roundtables" to feed into future informal Internet Technical Community webinars on a range of Internet Governance and community knowledge-building activities.
2. We hope this event (2 roundtables) feeds into the dialogue/debate on the Global Digital Compact, and other Internet Governance conversations in the future.

Hybrid Format: 1. Interaction between Onsite and Online Speakers and Attendees: The team moderating and participating in these Roundtables have extensive experience with in-person and on-line events. We will ensure that: 1. we have online participants and facilitate active debate between and among in-person and on-line participants 2. we will be monitoring the Zoom chat to track questions or data-points for in-person and on-line participants, and 3. we will have prepared the team prior to the IGF and ensure that all are sensitive to the hybrid format.
2. We will have a prepared list of questions for panelists and solicit questions in advance/during the session so that online participants and the audience are a part of the overall experience. See other preparatory measures above.
3. We will ensure social-media alerts prior to IGF and ask for questions via online platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn.