Curious Minds Unite: Here’s What You Need to Know About Internet Governance

Recently, you may be hearing the term “Internet Governance” a lot, and wondering what that means. Keep reading. We put together a guide that explains everything you need to know about Internet governance.

What Is Internet Governance?

Internet governance refers to the application and development of norms, rules, decision-making procedures and programs. This development helps mold the use and evolution of the Internet. Governance does not mean regulation, instead, it’s based on a “multi-stakeholder” approach.

A multi-stakeholder approach involves government representatives, international organizations, businesses, civil society, and the technical community. It ensures that these parties all have the same technical standards, economic and social objectives.

Internet governance essentially focuses on the policies, rules, practices, and standards that shape and coordinate global cyberspace. The Internet is a massive network of various independently-managed networks that are webbed together by global protocols (Internet Protocol, TCP, UDP, DNS, and BGP). So it’s necessary that there is a common adoption of these protocols within the complex cyberspace.

The Internet has provided innovative new capabilities and services. As the Internet grows, so do new forms of abuse, crime, and surveillance. Internet governance allows cyberspace users to resolve issues in a constructive order.

What Is The IGF?

The IGF stands for the Internet Governance Forum and it is a United Nations multi-stakeholder discussion platform. This forum addresses current political, social, legal and other technical aspects of the Internet. The IGF deals with how the Internet can be improved while maintaining human rights, technical standards, and opportunities for social and economic development.

IGF also provides advisory as opportunities for all members to be part of discussions.

Why Take Part In The IGF?

The IGF has an Annual Meeting where they network, share views and provide information. This forum is a major global discussion platform in terms of the Internet’s future. The IGF also works hard to include the Global South in these discussions.

Being part of the IGF lets businesspeople develop new technological perspectives while attracting the attention of an international community. You can gain insight into what’s going on with the Internet’s future while talking to like-minded people.

This is because all IGF stakeholders get to contribute in shaping the Internet.

What Issues Does the IGF Handle?

The IGF handles a range of issues from current legislation to Internet policy trends. IG memebers deal with many challenges and opportunities on how to fully tap the potential out of the Internet in the future. This work is key for medium and small enterprises or SMEs, specifically in traditional industries.

All stakeholders can submit proposals for what issues they want to tackle. However, there are priorities that are identified early on. Including matters about access and participation of equal footing known as inclusion.

There’s also data governance which is the legal, technical and organizational areas of exchanging and dealing with data. Then there is security and safety which covers any issues about data security and protection of people in the digital age.

How Is The IGF Organised?

The IGF is organized by the United Nations Security-General. As of 2006 IGF’s annual meetings have been held in various locations. This year, Germany will host for the first time.

There is also a Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) which is set up by The UN Secretary-General. This group decides which issues are discussed. The MAG is made up of more than 50 government members, civil society, private sector, and a science a technological community from around the world.

In addition to the International Annual Meeting of the IGF, there are also regional and national initiatives that are independently organized.

These initiatives include the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) and the Internet Governance Forum Deutschland (IGF-D). This meeting took place in June of this year in the Hague, Netherlands.

Participating In The IGF

If you want to participate in the IGF, you can. It just depends on what the active participation of stakeholders is. There are different ways and you can be involved or participate.

You can help with the IGF as a visitor by registering online starting this August. If you want to be part of the IGF planning process, you can help with planning MAG meetings.

Here you will get first-hand information on what’s going on, and you can make suggestions. You can do this in person, or online, but you will need to register for MAG meetings in advance.

You can also help out by being an organizer of workshops. For this, you’ll need to submit your proposals to the UGF Secretariat from now until mid-April. These proposals then get discussed, evaluated, and examined by MAG to make sure that a range of views is represented.

For example, workshops should have a good balance of gender and religion among stakeholders. You can also take part in different conference formats like Best Practice Forums (BPF). BPF provides a chance for an exchange that is continuous.

As of now, there are four of these forums: “Gender and Access,” “Cybersecurity,” “Local Content,” and “Internet of Things, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence.” There is also Dynamic Coalitions (DC), which are groups of multi-stakeholders who work collaboratively on certain topics.

You can also attend events in the run-up. Here you can present ideas for events to the IGF. The goal here is to make sure the public is informed on what the IGF is doing with any Internet governance issues.

For example, there is an annual meeting of “Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network” which took place in Berlin this June. This meeting was funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

Get Involved

Now that you know and understand what internet governance is and what issues the IGF handles, you can see internet governance is really not a bad thing. Internet governance keeps the Internet free, safe and secure for all.

There are many ways you can get involved with the IGF. This will help you stay in the know with what’s going on. If that interests you, get involved with the IGF today.

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Melissa Thompson

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.