Post-WCIT, pre-SIF13

 

After what seems to have been an extended holiday, it is now certainly about time to update the internet freedom blog.

As you may have noticed in the media, the WCIT conference in December did not reach an agreement. The outcome document from the conference did not meet our expectations and hence Sweden and the EU, together with a number of other countries around the globe, could not accept it. An illustrative map of the result is found here.

At stake at WCIT was i.a. the role of governments in the governance of the internet. While we and others solidly backed the existing so-called multistakeholder model for internet’s governance, many governments would prefer more influence by themselves at the expense of civil society, the business sector, the technical community etc. Although the treaty that was discussed in Dubai has limited relevance, it remains to be seen what this controversy and apparent rift between different opinions will bring to future discussions. And also what this process means to the credibility of the ITU.

The planning process for our work on internet freedom in 2013 is in full swing. The most important event during the spring is of course the second Stockholm Internet Forum on Internet Freedom for Global Development (SIF13) at Münchenbryggeriet, 22-23 May. The names of possible participants, panellists, moderators and digital curators are now constantly being tossed around during our different planning meetings which we have several times a week. A first batch of invitations has been sent out and we are currently working hard to get the programme in order. Many thanks to all embassies that have been assisting us with proposals for participants! Your input is very valuable.

And slowly, SIF13 is coming together. Last week the City Hall confirmed our opening night there, which made us very happy! We recall from last year that the visit and dinner at the City Hall was a memorable night to many of our participants, I even think to some it may have been the highlight of the entire conference…

But before SIF13, many other things on the agenda. First, a one-day seminar on freedom and security on the internet taking place in Stockholm already next week. This seminar was initiated by the British Embassy and is co-arranged with MFA’s departments of security policy, and international law, human rights and treaty law. The participants represent the governments of the Nordic and the Baltic countries plus Poland and the UK, and this is the first time such a meeting takes place in this group. The agenda includes several in-depth discussions on some profound issues, so I look forward to this event. Hopefully, a short report could be included in the next blog post!

 


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