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Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Japan 2023

8 October 2023 @ 8:00 am 12 October 2023 @ 5:30 pm Japan/Kyoto

The 18th annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum will be hosted by the Government of Japan in Kyoto from 8 to 12 October 2023. The Forum’s overarching theme is: The Internet We Want – Empowering All People.

Building on the results of the call for thematic issues the MAG decided that the 18th annual IGF programme will develop around the following sub-themes:

  • AI & Emerging Technologies 
  • Avoiding Internet Fragmentation    
  • Cybersecurity, Cybercrime & Online Safety
  • Data Governance & Trust
  • Digital Divides & Inclusion
  • Global Digital Governance & Cooperation
  • Human Rights & Freedoms
  • Sustainability & Environment

Below are some of the events Access Now will be joining at IGF 2023. Go to the official website for the registration process, and to confirm time, date, and locations of sessions, which may change.

Sunday, 8 October, 2023

Day Zero #149: Scoping civil society engagement in digital cooperation
Sunday, 8th October, 2023 (04:30-06:30 UTC) | Room I

Based on the United Nations (UN) Global Digital Compact (GDC) process’ most recent developments such as the thematic Deep dives and the UN SG Policy Brief, this session aims to gather input from Civil Society members in order to better scope our stakeholder engagement. During this opportunity, we also plan to discuss what are the better paths of engagement in moments such as the beginning of negotiations at the Ministerial meeting that will be initiated after the Issues Paper, as well as the Summit of the Future.

Moderated by Sheetal Kumar (on site) and Bruna Martins dos Santos (online), this day zero event features rapporteur Michaela Shapiro, and speakers Valéria Betancourt and Peter Micek.

Monday, 9 October, 2023

Session #166: Digital ID and human rights civil society community
Monday, 9 October, 2023 (08:45-09:45 UTC) | Room C-2

This session is the first public gathering organized by a new transnational civil society community focused on digital ID and human rights. Members of the community will discuss their goals and collaboration, inviting IGF’s unique multistakeholder audience to participate and learn about the vision and current work of the coalition. 

Organized by Access Now, OSF, Karisma, and Temple University on behalf of the Digital ID coalition, the gathering is moderated by Marianne Díaz Hernández and Temple University’s Laura Bingham and features Rapporteur Juan de Brigard, and speakers Yussuf Bashir, Haki Na Sheria, Thomas Lohninger, Matthew McNaughton, Ashanut Okile, and Laura Goodwin.

Workshop #356: Encryption’s critical role in safeguarding human rights
Monday, 9 October, 2023 (23:30 UTC) – Tuesday, 10 October, 2023 (00:30 UTC) | Room B-1

How can policymakers ensure that individuals who use encryption to protect their privacy and security are not subject to discrimination, surveillance, or other forms of harassment or repression? Should encryption be regulated at the national or international level, and how can this be accomplished without hindering technological innovation, impeding the free flow of information, or compromising users? Who stands to gain or lose if we have systems that cannot comply with access desires to encrypted communications from authorities? In exploring these questions, participants will gain a deeper understanding of how public discourse is shaped to malign the terminology and concept of “encryption” to influence decision makers and legislators to advocate for building in backdoors. This session seeks to advance the encryption discussion by bringing together a panel of privacy-preserving technology providers, advocates, and grassroots organizers working on the frontlines defending people’s digital and human rights.  

Organized by the Tor Project, the workshop is moderated by Tate Ryan-Mosley and Pavel Zoneff, and features rapporteur Roger Dingledine and speakers Rand Hammoud and Sharon Polsky.

Tuesday, 10 October, 2023

Town Hall #39: Elections and the internet: free, fair, and open?
Tuesday, 10 October, 2023 (00:45-01:45 UTC) | Room I

How can states, civil society, and the private sector work together to anticipate, prepare for and, where possible, prevent internet shutdowns ahead of elections? This session will feature a panel of experts to examine the causes, trends and impacts of internet shutdowns – including on human rights, information integrity and democratic participation – in the context of elections. This Town Hall is facilitated by the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) Taskforce on Internet Shutdowns (TFIS). During 2023, the United Kingdom is chairing the FOC TFIS alongside FOC Advisory Network (AN) members, Access Now, and the Global Network Initiative. TFIS serves as a multinational and multistakeholder coordination and response mechanism on Internet shutdowns. TFIS works to improve coordination among like-minded countries, civil society, and the private sector in order to anticipate and respond to Internet shutdowns around the world. 

This session is moderated by Kanbar Hossein-Bor, and features rapporteurs Laura O’Brien (on site) and Nicola Burgess, and panelists Felicia Anthonio (on site), Sarah Moulton, Nicole Stremlau, and Ben Jones.

Town Hall #28: The perils of forcing encryption to say “AI, AI captain.
Tuesday, 10 October, 2023 (01:15-02:15 UTC) | Room E

Increasingly, proposals across jurisdictions are pushing for content scanning or detection mechanisms in end-to-end encrypted environments. Many of them are premised on the claim that artificial intelligence and machine learning tools can be utilized to scan content “without breaking encryption.” This claim is contentious and has received pushback from security experts, as such tools have serious limitations, are not a silver bullet that will solve the difficult questions around content moderation on encrypted platforms, and will indeed undermine encryption — an essential tool for online privacy and security. This panel will bring together experts on encryption and AI to create a platform for dialogue. We will explore questions such as “How can policy dialogues on these subjects be approached to ensure that the false binary of ‘privacy v. safety’ is not perpetuated, and to facilitate the development of a trust-based framework that equally prioritizes both?” 

Moderated by Namrata Maheshwari (on site) and Daniel Leufer (online), this town hall features speakers Dr. Sarah Myers West, Udbhav Tiwari, Riana Pfefferkorn, and Eliska Pirkova. 

Wednesday, 11 October, 2023

Open Forum #84 Shaping a UN Cyber Programme of Action
Wednesday, 11 October, 2023 (23:30 UTC) – Thursday, 12 October, 2023 (00:30 UTC) | Room B-2

The Cyber Program of Action (PoA) is a proposal by a group of UN member states in 2020 for a permanent forum of institutional dialogue on responsible state behavior in cyberspace. So far, discussions relating to the Cyber PoA have not reached a wide audience, and has been limited to states and other actors active within discussions of the UN’s Open Ended Working Group on ICTs. This session will provide a much needed opportunity for stakeholders to receive updates on the proposal, the consultations held thus far and to provide their views into this ongoing process. 

Moderated by Sheetal Kumar (on site) and Ellie McDonald (online), this open forum features rapporteur Raman Jit Singh Chima, and speakers David Fairchild, David Hevey, and Margaux Courteille.

Thursday, 12 October, 2023

Workshop #307: Data governance in broadband satellite services
Thursday, 12 October, 2023 (01:30-02:00 UTC) | Room A

How are national and international laws applied in the governance of LEO satellites and multi-orbital solutions in the context of data flows, privacy, personal data protection, and cybersecurity? What are potential benefits and challenges of satellite-dependent internet access in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? How can we ensure this technology is implemented sustainably, respects privacy and personal data protection, and addresses cybersecurity concerns? How can internet access be considered a fundamental human right and be made accessible to all, including marginalized communities and developing countries? What regulatory frameworks and policies are needed to ensure equitable and inclusive access to satellite-dependent internet services? 

Organized by the Internet Society and civil society leaders from Eastern European Group, this roundtable is moderated by Kulesza Joanna (on site), and Dan York (online), and features panelists Akcali Gur Berna, Peter Micek, Larry Press, and Dr. Uta Meier-Hahn.

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