Access will be at the 2013 IGF in Bali — join us!

Next week the Internet Governance Forum will kick off in Bali, Indonesia. Access staff will be there, participating in a variety of pre-events, workshops, and high-level meetings — and we want you to join us.

The IGF is the annual meeting that brings everyone interested in internet policymaking together on an equal footing. Members of civil society, the technical community, governments and more can share their new ideas, test out their theories or agendas, and challenge conventional wisdom — all in the company of some of the most influential and experienced people involved in internet governance today.

Taking place from October 22nd to 25th, this year’s theme is “Building Bridges: Enhancing Multistakeholder Cooperation for Growth and Sustainable Development.” That technical-sounding title masks an important milestone: for the first time, the IGF will host a session on human rights, affirming the relationship between human rights and the internet as a global policy issue. And with more than 1,500 panelists, including representatives from the technology industry, civil society, governments, and others, there will be a substantial audience for that message.

This IGF comes at an important time: Revelations of mass online surveillance are impacting the politics of internet governance in real and immediate ways. Just last week, the core technical bodies that manage the internet’s critical infrastructure announced their intention to break their current relationship with the U.S. government, citing “strong concern over the undermining of the trust and confidence of Internet users globally due to recent revelations of pervasive monitoring and surveillance.” Only days later, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Fadi Chehade, head of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced their intention to hold a global summit on internet governance next spring on upgrading Internet security. Similarly, other governments have made suggestions for reform at the U.N. Human Rights Council and through drafting a new optional protocol to the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights.

It’s more critical than ever that the various stakeholders come together to use this opportunity to identify pragmatic, concrete steps to address these immediate challenges and focus on long term, systemic solutions to safeguarding human rights in the age of mass surveillance. It is an opportunity to make specific asks of companies and governments, to map out priorities for the years ahead, and convene diverse stakeholders to tackle difficult issues.

Remote Participation

As important as IGF this year, we know it’s a long way to travel for most of civil society — so far, in fact, that Access has been working with the Best Bits network to support fundraising efforts to bring in members of civil society that would otherwise not be able to afford to travel to Bali.

The organizers of the IGF know that a lot of people won’t be able to make it to Bali next week, so they’ve arranged for a number of avenues for remote participation. Want to watch via webcast, or send in your questions to panelists? Register as an individual, organization, or group of internet rights activists by creating a hub.

Here’s a list of existing hubs, in case there’s one in your city already — if not, it’s easy to create one of your own. All you need is (1) a place to convene as many people as you want, (2), a computer with a broadband connection and a projector, and (3) a hub moderator — then go ahead and get registered!

There’s a lot going on, and we encourage you to check out all the options on offer. But if you want to join us in the discussion, you can find a quick and easy cheat sheet of events Access will participating in below. For a full list of all the events, click here. (please note: the following are in Bali local time, or GMT +8. To convert to your time zone, check here.)

Access @ IGF

No. 224: Finding workable models for enhanced cooperation [Access co-organizing]

Day 2 (October 23) : 14:30-16:00. Room # 7, Kintamani 1

This discussion seeks to identify cases where enhanced cooperation [definition] has occurred, to examine what has and has not worked, and to articulate best practices that could inspire frameworks for application world-wide. A series of national cases studies – from Brazil, India, and Kenya – will be presented to examine enhanced cooperation in internet-related public policy. The discussion will also evaluate whether enhanced cooperations on an international level is fundamentally different from national level processes, and whether these lessons can inform international efforts to operationalize enhanced cooperation globally.

No. 231: Addressing Impacts & Remedies of Network Disruptions [Access co-organizing]

Day 1 (October 22): 11:00-12:30. Room #3, Nusa Dua Hall 3

This workshop will discuss the unique roles of different stakeholders in addressing the threat or implementation of network shutdown and throttling. It will seek to understand the security-related motivations for such disruptions and their consequences in terms of the economic, societal, and governance costs, and their impact on fundamental rights.

No. 285 State surveillance online: which principles and safeguards? [Access co-organizing]

Day 2 [23 October,] 11:45-12:30, Room # 8, Kintamani 2

This flash session will review and discuss efforts that are being made to counter invasive surveillance from human rights, technological and other perspectives. The flash session organisers will briefly introduce the topic, including by introduction of the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights To Communications Surveillance and invite all session participants to a discussion on the avenues and responses available to advocates and others seeking to address and mitigate the impact of disproportionate surveillance.

No. 68 E-participation in IG processes [Access presenting]

Day 3 [October 24]: 14:30-16:00. Room #7, Kinatamani 1

This workshop will focus on ways to improve year-round participation and inclusion in regional and global IG processes. It will start by reviewing the current IGF Remote Participation Working Group draft of e-participation principles. Access will speak about how to ensure user participation in internet policy making through remote participation.

No. 203: Big data: promoting development and safeguarding privacy [Access presenting]

Day 2 [October 23] 11:00-12:30. Room #6, Uluwatu 7

Participants will discuss three main dimensions of global data cooperation and collaborative knowledge creation: (1) global access to data for better policy making; (2) access to data analytics capacities located in other countries; and (3) privacy and implications of big data for security and surveillance purposes.

Focus Session: Human Rights, Freedom of Expression and the Free Flow of Information on the Internet [Access presenting]

Day 3 [October 24] 14:00-18:00. Main Hall, Nusa Dua Hall 5

This session will offer a multistakeholder overview of the current status of human rights, freedom of expression and free flow of information on the Internet. The interactive discussion will touch upon many of the key issues that will be discussed in related workshops prior to the session and will give all stakeholders an equal platform to address issues related to human rights and the Internet to find points of consensus, points of convergence and points of further action/research/referral to other institutions or actors if appropriate.

Access will also be participating in a number of pre-events including the Best Bits civil society meeting, the High Level Leaders Meeting on Cyberethics, the Association for Progressive Communication’s Human Rights and the Internet capacity-building workshop, and the Internet Jurisdiction Project’s Digital Coexistence event.

See you in Bali!