Access hosts human rights, spectrum, and telecoms talks at IGF 2012

1:40pm | 1 November 2012 | by Peter Micek, English

The Internet Governance Forum holds an annual meeting that brings public and private stakeholders, from developed and developing nations, together to discuss public policy issues relating to the internet. This year’s meeting comes at a crucial time, as the future of the open internet faces a challenge at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in December. The WCIT is not the right forum to address internet governance, in part because it lacks the multi-stakeholder participation of the IGF. Read more about the WCIT on our ITU page.

This year’s IGF meeting will take place in Baku, Azerbaijan, from Nov. 6-9, 2012. This marks the 4th year Access has participated in the IGF. Access supports the IGF mission by engaging multiple stakeholders to find tech-driven policy solutions that protect users at risk around the world. The event makes efforts to include remote participants, and will be live-streamed at the IGF website. Here's a guide to the panels Access is organizing, co-organizing and participating in:

How to engage users on Internet Policies? (WS 120)
Nov 6th (Day 1) | 14:30-16:00 | Conf. Room 3 | (Access co-organizing)

2012 has witnessed an incredible galvanization of internet users who were often politically uninvolved, but now are rising up and taking an interest in what was once arcane internet policy. Engaging these users has allowed political and human rights activists to make real progress against threats to digital rights and other key freedoms. This panel will examine why and how this happened and what governments and corporations can do to more proactively and positively engage users in the future.

Panelists: Joana Varon Ferraz, FGV/CTS; Jochai Ben-Avie, Access; Smàri MacCarthy, innovator and information activist, Iceland; Farid Alakbarov, Wikipedia Azerbaijan; João Carlos Caribé, Meganão Movement; Max Senges, Google

A transcript of the panel is not available at this time.

A video of the panel can be seen here.

Is access to the Internet a human right? (WS 157)

Nov 7th (Day 2) | 14:30 - 16:00 | Conf. Room 2 | (Access co-organizing)

The Internet has increasingly become a fundamental medium for trade, education, government-citizen interaction, as well as individual communication needs. Though some critics strongly criticize any technology or medium being given the status of basic human right, such centrality poses the question if every individual should have a right to access the Internet.

Panelists: Vint Cerf, Google; Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression; Richard Allan Policy Director, Europe, Facebook; Allon Bar, Odyssey / IRP Coalition; Brett Solomon, Access; Elvin Mejidov, Azerbaijan; Alice Munyua, Kenyan government 

A downloadable transcript of the panel can be found here.

Conflict in the Cloud - Policy Challenges for Stakeholders & Practical Solutions for Sustainable Economic Growth (WS 77)
Nov 7th (Day 2) | 16:30-18:00 | Conf. Room 7 | (Access participating)

Cloud computing is the natural evolution of the continued growth and advancement of the internet. However, the dialogue around cloud computing is currently moving to the next level. We intuitively know that cloud computing is a huge economic driver of growth and advancement in developing countries. How can cloud computing provide for sustainable economic growth, particularly in light of potential conflicts of national and regional laws involving privacy and government requests (for example the PATRIOT Act in the United States and other similar laws in other countries)? And are these national laws in effect trade barriers?

Panelists: Marc Crandall, Google; Scott Marcus, Wissenschaftliches Institut fuer Infrastructur und Kommunikationsdienste; Bertrand de la Chapelle, Academie Diplomatique Internationale; Nii Quaynor, Ghana Dot Com Ltd; Jochai Ben-Avie, Access; Alejandro Pisanty, Universidad Autonoma de Mexico 

A downloadable transcript of the panel can be found here.

A video of the panel can be seen here.

A plan for rights-respecting telecoms (WS 98)
Nov 8th (Day 3) | 14:30 - 16:00 | Conf. Room 3 | (Access organizing)

With great new powers over information dissemination and communications networks, telecom companies are facing new responsibilities to governments, customers, and investors. This discussion will help map the options for sustainable, rights-respecting service and infrastructure provision by the private companies in varying situations.

Panelists: David Sullivan, GNI; Johan Hallenborg, Swedish Gov’t; Veridiana Alimonti, Brazilian Consumer Defense Institute (IDEC); Antoaneta Angelova-Krasteva, European Commission; Patrick Hiselius, TeliaSonera; Vivek Krishnamurthy, Foley Hoag LLP; Brett Solomon, Access

A downloadable transcript of the panel can be found here.

WS 102 Spectrum for democracy and development (WS 102)
Nov 9th (Day 4) | 09.00 - 10:30 | Conf. Room 2 | (Access organizing)

Democratic spectrum regulation can lead to growth in broadband internet penetration, widespread sharing of information and exchange of ideas, technological innovation, and long-term economic growth. This panel will explore ways in which spectrum policy can be reshaped to suit a new and global democratic era and further development.

Panelists: Kate Coyer, Central European University; Gary Fowlie, ITU; Jeff Brueggeman, AT&T; Moez Chakchouk, ATI; Paul Mitchell, Microsoft; Jochai Ben-Avie, Access

A downloadable transcript of the panel can be found here.

FYI: On the eve of IGF Azerbaijani parliament proposes to toughen legislation surrounding freedom of assembly - read more here.

For more information, contact Peter Micek, Policy Counsel,