2012 Australian Internet Governance Forum

Posted by Paul Szyndler on 30 November 2012

On 11 & 12 October 2012, The Hotel Realm in Canberra played host to the inaugural Australian Internet Governance Forum (auIGF). auDA was one of the main supporters of the event along with other industry stakeholders such as ACCAN, APNIC, ISOC-AU and the IIA and corporate sponsors including Google, Facebook, Maddocks and AusRegistry.

The event attracted a range of excellent local and international speakers, government delegates, industry peak body groups, businesses, academics and Australian Internet users. Senator the Hon. Kate Lundy and Senator Scott Ludlam headed up the VIP list, and overall, approximately 225 participants attended.

The aim of the auIGF was to bring all of these stakeholders together to discuss a wide range of Internet-related policy issues, to raise their collective awareness of local and international developments relating to Internet Governance, commence an ongoing dialogue within the community, and to lay the platform for future events.

The agenda comprised of one day of panel sessions on topics as diverse as security, accessibility, privacy and copyright and one day of smaller workshop sessions where participants could discuss specific issues in greater detail.
auDA supported the event for two main reasons. Firstly, it is part of auDA’s role to facilitate education and awareness-raising among the Australian Internet community. While our core role is to maintain policy and industry frameworks that facilitate the secure and stable operation of .au, we are also required to engage in broader industry-wide discussions to ensure that the interests of .au stakeholders are represented and protected. The auIGF certainly ticked these boxes.
We also wanted to raise awareness of what is going on overseas (just type “WCIT” or “UN seeks to take control of the Internet” into your search engine of choice), explain to Australian stakeholders why these global developments should matter to them, and to collect their views and reactions. By holding the auIGF in Canberra, we were able to ensure the discussions were held in front of, and included, key policy and decision-makers in government.

The “big picture” goal of the auIGF is to provide an ongoing forum for Australian Internet stakeholders to discuss topics related to the governance of the Internet and feed Australia’s informed views into relevant international fora. Without a regular mechanism for engagement and discussion, Australians’ voices will not be heard by organisations, companies and governments that have the power to shape the future of the Internet. Given the Internet’s vital role in our daily social, economic and business interactions, not being able to express our collective wants and needs for its future would be a Very Bad Thing.

auIGF 2012 was only a kick-off point – rather than a stand-alone event. We hope it generated the interest and momentum to help build a vibrant community of interest that will last long into the future and we will continue to encourage everyone to join in the conversation. For further information visit www.igf.org.au

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