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IGF: Internet Governance Forum

Many in the Internet community and some governments see a growing need for global cooperation on polices that address the development and use of the Internet.

In November 2005 at the WSIS (World Summit for the Information Society) meeting in Tunis, Tunisia, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan was asked to convene a new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialog on the future of Internet Governance. In response, Annan convened the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) to facilitate the dialog on Internet policy issues.

The IGF’s mandate is to establish a forum to discuss the main public policy issues related to Internet governance in order to foster the Internet’s sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development. 

The IGF Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Group is Chaired by Nitin Desai from India, and Switzerland’s Markus Kummer serves as its Executive Coordinator.  In May 2006 IP Justice Executive Director Robin Gross was named to the IGF Advisory Group as a representative from civil society.

The inaugural meeting of the IGF was held in Athens from 30 October - 2 November 2006. Read IP Justice’s report on the Athens IGF 2006 meeting and check out our videos.

The 2007 IGF meeting was by Brazil and held in Rio de Janeiro on 12-15 November 2007 at the Windsor Barra Hotel. The Brazilian hosts published a website with more detailed information on IGF 2007 in Rio including text, videos, and audio recordings of the proceedings. Read IP Justice’s Report on 2007 IGF-Rio.

The 2008 IGF will be held in Hyderabad, India from 3-6 December 2008.  The first Open Consultations in preparation for IGF 2008 was held on 26 February 2008 in Geneva at the United Nations and the 2nd Open Consultation will likely be in May 2008.  IGF posted an online discussion forum to encourage remote participation here.   Egypt has offered to host the 2009 IGF in Cairo. 

IP Justice is member of the following IGF Dynamic Coalitions:

More Info on the Internet Governance Forum (IGF):

Important WSIS Documents:

Photo of IGF Chairman Nitin Desai and Secretariat Markus Kummer above; and lunch-time for some Advisory Group members at Sept. 2006 IGF meeting at United Nations below.

Sept 2006 IGF Advisory Group at Lunch

The Mandate of the IGF

The mandate of the IGF is set out in Paragraph 72 of the WSIS Tunis Agenda:

72. We ask the UN Secretary-General, in an open and inclusive process, to convene, by the second quarter of 2006, a meeting of the new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue—called the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).The mandate of the Forum is to:

  1. Discuss public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance in order to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the Internet;

  2. Facilitate discourse between bodies dealing with different cross-cutting international public policies regarding the Internet and discuss issues that do not fall within the scope of any existing body;

  3. Interface with appropriate inter-governmental organizations and other institutions on matters under their purview;

  4. Facilitate the exchange of information and best practices, and in this regard make full use of the expertise of the academic, scientific and technical communities;

  5. Advise all stakeholders in proposing ways and means to accelerate the availability and affordability of the Internet in the developing world;

  6. Strengthen and enhance the engagement of stakeholders in existing and/or future Internet governance mechanisms, particularly those from developing countries;

  7. Identify emerging issues, bring them to the attention of the relevant bodies and the general public, and, where appropriate, make recommendations;

  8. Contribute to capacity building for Internet governance in developing countries, drawing fully on local sources of knowledge and expertise;

  9. Promote and assess, on an ongoing basis, the embodiment of WSIS principles in Internet governance processes;

  10. Discuss, inter alia, issues relating to critical Internet resources;

  11. Help to find solutions to the issues arising from the use and misuse of the Internet, of particular concern to everyday users;

  12. Publish its proceedings.

 

Internet Governance Forum
Dynamic Coalition on Open Standards (DCOS)
  • 16 Sep, 2008: UN Agency to Curb Anonymous Internet Communications
    An alarming report shows that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations agency that coordinates global telephony policy, is quietly working to make anonymous Internet use impossible. The ITU's "IP Traceback" proposal would enable governments (and some big companies) to spy on every individual's Internet use via embedding specific technical standards in Internet communications protocols. The surveillance ...

  • 17 Jul, 2008: IP Rights In Standards Impede Competition, Disadvantage Developing Countries (IP-Watch)
    "Standards and intellectual property rights appear to be worlds apart and to respond to opposite purposes, according to a recent panel of legal and policy experts. While standards are established to ensure compatibility in technology to the advantage of all users at national, regional or international levels, intellectual property rights are meant to provide an exclusive use, reward innovation, and ...

  • 16 Jun, 2008: Civil Society & Organized Labour Seoul Declaration (OECD Ministerial in Korea)
    Framework for the Future of the Internet Economy. Freedom of Expression. Protection of Privacy and Transparency. Consumer Protection. Promotion of Access to Knowledge. Internet Governance. Promotion of Open Standards. Balanced Intellectual Property Policies. Internet Governance. ...

  • 18 Mar, 2008: Public-Interest Principles for the Networked Communications Environment
    Why is Free Expression Important in an Information Society? The UK-based "Freedom of Expression Project" posted "Public Interest Principles for the Networked Communications Environment". The draft document provides useful analysis on the importance of freedom of expression, open standards, interoperability, respect for privacy, and balanced copyright law as key policy goals for a healthy and robust information society. ...

  • 13 Mar, 2008: Sign the Petition to EU Parliament to Use Open Standards and Promote Interoperability
    If you are a European citizen, sign the petition to "Open Parliament" and encourage the use of open standards and interoperable systems in the European ICT sector. The Open Parliament Petition states that citizens should not have to use the software of a single company in order to communicate with their elected officials or participate in the legislate ...

  • 6 Mar, 2008: Complaint Lodged Over EU Parliament’s Exclusive Use Of Microsoft Systems (IP-Watch)
    A formal complaint has been lodged with the European Parliament over how its information technology systems rely almost exclusively on software manufactured by Microsoft. Advocates of open standard software, which is developed on a not-for-profit basis, allege that the Seattle-based giant enjoys an effective monopoly or ‘lock-in’ within the European Union institutions. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and ...

  • 29 Feb, 2008: Free, Open Software Supporters Advocate Against Microsoft Document Standard (IP-Watch)
    Free software and open standards proponents met this week in Geneva to discuss the importance of standards-setting and to debate the role of patent protections and advocate freedom of information sharing in the digital economy. Organised by open source software advocacy group OpenForum Europe and happening against the backdrop of Microsoft’s bid to have its document format Office Open ...

  • 10 Feb, 2008: 25-27 Feb. 2008 Conference on Standards and the Future of the Internet in Geneva
    OpenForum Europe are pleased to invite you to a conference on: "Standards and the Future of the Internet - the role of open standards, standards development and standards organisations for innovation and healthy marketplaces" 25-27 February at the International Conference Centre, Geneva In a keynote session on 26 February, OFE Chief Executive, Graham Taylor, will moderate a panel of highly distinguished speakers: ...

  • 30 Jan, 2008: French Police Move to Open Source
    The French paramilitary police force said Wednesday it is ditching Microsoft for the free Linux operating system, becoming one of the biggest administrations in the world to make the break. The move completes the gendarmerie's severance from Microsoft which began in 2005 when it moved to open sourcing for office applications such as word processing. It switched to open ...

  • 24 Jan, 2008: Why Does ‘Openness’ Matter for ICT?
    IT is increasingly embedded into our daily lives and continues to meld with traditional industries and applications such as healthcare, transportation, media, security, and telecommunications. Battles over non-interoperability and consumer access due to a lack of open IT standards are popping up in unexpected places. The automotive repair industry provides a good example of this: consumers and non-dealer-owned repair shops are fighting for access to technical ...

  • View all entries under Dynamic Coalition on Open Standards (DCOS)
Freedom of Expression & Media Dynamic Coalition
  • 16 Sep, 2008: UN Agency to Curb Anonymous Internet Communications
    An alarming report shows that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations agency that coordinates global telephony policy, is quietly working to make anonymous Internet use impossible. The ITU's "IP Traceback" proposal would enable governments (and some big companies) to spy on every individual's Internet use via embedding specific technical standards in Internet communications protocols. The surveillance ...

  • 6 Jul, 2008: Public’ online spaces don’t carry speech, rights (Associated Press)
    First Amendment protections generally do not extend to private property in the physical world, allowing a shopping mall to legally kick out a customer wearing a T-shirt with a picture of a smoking child. With online services becoming greater conduits than shopping malls for public communications, however, some advocacy groups believe the federal government needs to guarantee open access ...

  • 6 Jul, 2008: ICAAN – Preventing Hatred v. Censorship of TLD Applications (Digital Journal)
    With all the excitement over expansion of IP addresses to be expanded from 4-string to 6-string format, little has been reported on the current and proposed regulations to restrict new domain registration. Watchdogs are deeply concerned over censorship. ....

  • 1 Jul, 2008: Work Remains For ICANN’s New Top Level Internet Domains (IP-Watch)
    Internet Technical Body an Authority on Morality? ICANN announced the "biggest extension of the DNS [domain name system] in 40 years" after its decision last week to finish implementation of a new policy for introducing new top-level domains (TLDs). According to the timeline presented at the ICANN meeting in Paris, new TLDs to compete against the existing .com, .biz ...

  • 26 Jun, 2008: ICANN Board Approves Censorship Policy for Domain Names Based on Morality: 2 Board Members Speak Against It
    Today in Paris the ICANN Board passed the GNSO's controversial recommendations to censor top level domains based on notions of "morality and public order", and broadly defined "community" wishes. However, 2 ICANN board members, law professors Wendy Seltzer (on behalf of the At-Large Internet Users) and Susan Crawford, made very powerful and compelling statements to protect free expression on ...

  • 16 Jun, 2008: Civil Society & Organized Labour Seoul Declaration (OECD Ministerial in Korea)
    Framework for the Future of the Internet Economy. Freedom of Expression. Protection of Privacy and Transparency. Consumer Protection. Promotion of Access to Knowledge. Internet Governance. Promotion of Open Standards. Balanced Intellectual Property Policies. Internet Governance. ...

  • 2 Jun, 2008: US Supreme Court Hands Big Win to Free Speech Advocates in the IP World
    [Major League Baseball v. CBC Distribution] By Allonn E. Levy, Esq. "An obvious “win” for Free Speech advocates and “netizens” concerned with ensuring open access to information on the Internet, the case also helps the burgeoning field of Internet information consolidators who help consumers collect information and process it. Expect to see the case cited frequently in the ...

  • 15 May, 2008: US Congress Cites Free Expression as Reason ICANN Must Remain Controlled by US Govt.
    US Congressmen are up to their old tricks of pretending to care about free expression publicly, while undermining it's practice with their policy decisions -- especially when it comes to free speech on the Internet. Congressman Edward Markey, the Chairman of the Congressional Sub-committee on Telecommunications and the Internet sent a letter urging the US Government to refuse ...

  • 18 Mar, 2008: Public-Interest Principles for the Networked Communications Environment
    Why is Free Expression Important in an Information Society? The UK-based "Freedom of Expression Project" posted "Public Interest Principles for the Networked Communications Environment". The draft document provides useful analysis on the importance of freedom of expression, open standards, interoperability, respect for privacy, and balanced copyright law as key policy goals for a healthy and robust information society. ...

  • 11 Mar, 2008: US Govt Seizes Blacklisted Domain Names of European Company for Selling Cuba Trips
    "An interesting story broke recently in the NY Times about a Spanish travel company that had its domain names taken away by the US Government for selling Europeans vacations to Cuba. Even though the company's business was not targeted at the US and was lawful in its national jurisdiction, the company's websites were put on a domain name ...

  • View all entries under Freedom of Expression & Media Dynamic Coalition
IGF Athens 2006
  • 7 Aug, 2007: Internet Governance Forum 2006 Videos from “Imagining the Internet” Project
    "Imagining the Internet", a video production of the Pew Internet Project and Elon University, published 27 interviews from the 2006 Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Athens, Greece. The crew interviewed me in Athens, and 26 others, including ICANN Chairman Vint Cerf, IGF Secretariat Director Markus Kummer, Susy Struble of Sun MicroSystems, and Steve Ballinger from Amnesty International. Check out ...

IGF Rio 2007
  • 27 Nov, 2007: APC Makes Recommendations for UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF)
    The second Internet Governance Forum (IGF) concluded on November 15 and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) presents an initial assessment of the event and makes suggestions for moving towards the third forum in New Delhi in a year’s time. The Rio IGF, like the first IGF in Athens, succeeded as a space for inclusive policy dialogue. The openness ...

  • 19 Nov, 2007: IP Justice Report on 2007 Internet Governance Forum (IGF)
    Links to Audio, Video, and Photos of IGF-Rio. Where 2007 IGF Excelled: High Quality of Independently Organized Workshops, World-Class Technical Capabilities, Offline Interactions & Networking Opportunities; But: Human Rights & Controversy Avoided, Glaring Lack of Gender Balance & Youth Voices, Last' Year's Speakers ...

  • 19 Nov, 2007: Open Standards, Access To Knowledge Discussed At IGF (IP-Watch)
    "Intellectual property-related issues were a topic avoided by governments during the 2003-2005 World Summit on the Information Society, which gave way to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). But at the second IGF in Rio de Janeiro last week there were several IP-related workshops. Organisers of the dynamic coalitions on open standards, access to knowledge and the newly formed coalition ...

  • 15 Nov, 2007: Remarks of Magaly Pazzelo of IGF Dynamic Coaliton on Gender and Internet Governance (IGF-Rio 2007)
    "The organizations and individuals who convened this dynamic coalition here to the IGF have contributed to the discussions of the last few days by bringing the dimension of women's rights and gender perspectives included in the key debates around Internet Governance issues, such as access, content regulation, privacy, freedom of expression, among others. We are here to ensure that we ...

  • 14 Nov, 2007: MP3 of Micheal Geist’s Remarks at IGF-Rio “Openness” Session
    Listen to an audio recording of University of Ottawa (CIPPIC) Law Professor Michael Geist at Internet Governance Forum (IGF) during the main "openness" session on intellectual property rights.

  • 14 Nov, 2007: MP3 of Ronaldo Lemos’ Remarks at IGF-Rio “Openness” Session
    Listen to the audio of FGV-CTS Law School Director Ronaldo Lemos during the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Rio de Janeiro. Professor Lemos chaired the main session on "openness" and discussed several key features of openness on the Internet.

  • 13 Nov, 2007: Robin Gross’ Remarks at IGF 2007 on Internet Bill of Rights
    Today I’d like to address a few issues that are specifically relevant to the positive development of the Internet and a healthy information society. 1. Freedom of Expression Rights. 2. Access to Knowledge Rights. 3. Communication Rights. 4. Privacy Rights and Data Protection. 5. Anonymity. 6. Excessive and ...

  • 12 Nov, 2007: Amnesty International renews its call on governments and companies to make human rights central to internet governance at IGF-Rio
    Amnesty International said today that restrictions on freedom of expression online are increasing globally. Amnesty International believes that numerous allegations of corporate involvement in suppression of human rights necessitates both companies and governments taking their responsibilities more seriously. The organisation is calling on governments to halt prosecution and legislation aimed at limiting freedom of expression online and to release prisoners held ...

  • 11 Nov, 2007: IP Justice International Cyberlaw Clinic to be Showcased at IGF-Rio
    On Wednesday 14 November 2007, the IP Justice International Cyberlaw Clinic will be showcased at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The IP Justice International Cyberlaw Clinic is a network of top law schools from different continents working together to promote the public interest in Internet law and policy matters. The IGF is an United Nations ...

  • 8 Nov, 2007: IP Justice at Internet Governance Forum 2007 in Rio de Janeiro
    IP Justice is proud to be involved with a number of different substantive discussions scheduled for the 2007 Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. The IGF is a United Nations conference bringing together various stakeholders such as government, civil society, and business to discuss issues related to Internet governance. IP Justice is either an organizer, speaker, ...

  • View all entries under IGF Rio 2007
Internet Bill of Rights Dynamic Coalition
  • 16 Sep, 2008: UN Agency to Curb Anonymous Internet Communications
    An alarming report shows that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations agency that coordinates global telephony policy, is quietly working to make anonymous Internet use impossible. The ITU's "IP Traceback" proposal would enable governments (and some big companies) to spy on every individual's Internet use via embedding specific technical standards in Internet communications protocols. The surveillance ...

  • 16 Jun, 2008: Civil Society & Organized Labour Seoul Declaration (OECD Ministerial in Korea)
    Framework for the Future of the Internet Economy. Freedom of Expression. Protection of Privacy and Transparency. Consumer Protection. Promotion of Access to Knowledge. Internet Governance. Promotion of Open Standards. Balanced Intellectual Property Policies. Internet Governance. ...

  • 17 Apr, 2008: Internet Bill of Rights Coalition on “Search Engine” (CBC Radio)
    Radio interview (.mp3) of Robin Gross and Robert Guerra discuss the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Dynamic Coalition for an Internet Bill of Rights on CBC's "Search Engine" with host Jesse Brown.

  • 18 Mar, 2008: Public-Interest Principles for the Networked Communications Environment
    Why is Free Expression Important in an Information Society? The UK-based "Freedom of Expression Project" posted "Public Interest Principles for the Networked Communications Environment". The draft document provides useful analysis on the importance of freedom of expression, open standards, interoperability, respect for privacy, and balanced copyright law as key policy goals for a healthy and robust information society. ...

  • 26 Feb, 2008: Statement of the IGF Dynamic Coalition on an Internet Bill of Rights at the IGF Consultations in Geneva
    Our mission is as follows: Bring awareness and promote fundamental human and civil rights and liberties on the internet; Identify ways in which these rights and liberties can be translated on the Internet, and evaluate the applicability of existing legislation; Promote the addressing of issues of human and civil rights in policy-making proposals by all stakeholders; Promote the specification of ...

  • 13 Nov, 2007: Robin Gross’ Remarks at IGF 2007 on Internet Bill of Rights
    Today I’d like to address a few issues that are specifically relevant to the positive development of the Internet and a healthy information society. 1. Freedom of Expression Rights. 2. Access to Knowledge Rights. 3. Communication Rights. 4. Privacy Rights and Data Protection. 5. Anonymity. 6. Excessive and ...

  • 8 Nov, 2007: IP Justice at Internet Governance Forum 2007 in Rio de Janeiro
    IP Justice is proud to be involved with a number of different substantive discussions scheduled for the 2007 Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. The IGF is a United Nations conference bringing together various stakeholders such as government, civil society, and business to discuss issues related to Internet governance. IP Justice is either an organizer, speaker, ...

  • 4 Sep, 2007: 27 Sept. 2007: Digital Forum on Internet Rights Meeting in Rome
    The Italian Government, in the framework of the Internet Governance Forum process, and in cooperation with the UN and the IGF Secretariat, will organize a “Dialogue Forum on Internet Rights”, to be held in Rome on 27 September 2007. The Government of Italy invites all stakeholders - Governments, private sector, civil society, academic and technical communities, and international organizations - ...

Privacy Dynamic Coalition
  • 6 Oct, 2012: EU Privacy Officials Warn ICANN that Its Proposals Violate Internet Users’ Legal Rights
    European privacy authority, the Article 29 Working Party, asks ICANN to hear from privacy officials in the course of its policy development process. Presently, ICANN only hears from law enforcement agencies and thus lacks the balanced input required for governance.

  • 16 Sep, 2008: UN Agency to Curb Anonymous Internet Communications
    An alarming report shows that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations agency that coordinates global telephony policy, is quietly working to make anonymous Internet use impossible. The ITU's "IP Traceback" proposal would enable governments (and some big companies) to spy on every individual's Internet use via embedding specific technical standards in Internet communications protocols. The surveillance ...

  • 16 Jun, 2008: Civil Society & Organized Labour Seoul Declaration (OECD Ministerial in Korea)
    Framework for the Future of the Internet Economy. Freedom of Expression. Protection of Privacy and Transparency. Consumer Protection. Promotion of Access to Knowledge. Internet Governance. Promotion of Open Standards. Balanced Intellectual Property Policies. Internet Governance. ...

  • 8 Nov, 2007: IP Justice at Internet Governance Forum 2007 in Rio de Janeiro
    IP Justice is proud to be involved with a number of different substantive discussions scheduled for the 2007 Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. The IGF is a United Nations conference bringing together various stakeholders such as government, civil society, and business to discuss issues related to Internet governance. IP Justice is either an organizer, speaker, ...

  • 4 Nov, 2007: Explanation of NCUC’s Votes on Whois at LA ICANN Meeting - “Halloween Vote” on Whois
    NCUC strongly supported Motion #3 because it provided a mechanism to spur uncompromising parties to the negotiating table on Whois in good faith. Without a mechanism to bring to the negotiating table parties who already have what they want, there is no incentive to voluntarily agree to any changes to the status quo with whois. NCUC continues to ...

  • 30 Oct, 2007: EPIC & NGO Letter to ICANN Board on Need for Whois Reform
    "The purpose of this letter is to express our support for changes to WHOIS services that would protect the privacy of individuals, specifically the removal of registrants' contact information from the publicly accessible WHOIS database. It is also to propose a sensible resolution to the long-running discussion over WHOIS that would establish a bit of "policy stability" and allow ...

  • 22 May, 2007: Debate Over Confidentiality of Web Site Registration Information Continues (Law.com)