How we can make the internet a better place

World Summit on the Information Society

10-Year World Summit on the Information Society

The United Nations’ next World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) + 10 will take place in New York, in December 2015.

Its goal is to build a “people-centric, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information and knowledge”.

The history of this event started in Geneva in 2003, followed by a second phase in Tunis in 2005 when a set of targets, declaration of principles and plan of action were decided upon.

Fast forward a decade later, these targets are due to be reviewed, progress will be assessed, challenges will be addressed and a “Post-2015 Development Agenda based around Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” will be laid.

The importance of using the information technology to achieve human goals

The major breakthrough of the previous WSIS edition was the recognition of the fact that not only governments have a say in the development of the future of the Internet, but also businesses, society, developers, and essentially anyone.

In the pre-internet world, the sovereignty over our freedoms, or lack thereof, was controlled almost entirely by nation states and government laws. Now we have this privilege of private sovereignty in the online space. Online information has more impact than ever on the actual exercise of power in the physical world.

The Internet has become a critical facilitator of social and economic change, transforming how people, businesses and governments interact and offering new ways of addressing development challenges.

The main challenge of the internet community is to create the linkage between the internet and technology and their impact on human life.

WSIS+10 meeting in New York – what’s on the table?*

The upcoming discussions in December will focus on the following directions:

  • sustainable development
    • underpinning the infrastructure for economic and social progress
    • connectivity and access for all – broadband services for all people as well as those in rural and remote areas;
    • expanding access to and use of ICTs to all, including broadband and mobile services, particularly to vulnerable and marginalised people
    • affordability
    • reliability and resilience
    • ensuring the preservation of digital heritage
    • encouraging the full deployment of IPv6 to ensure the long-term sustainability of the addressing space
  • internet security and trust
    • a collaborative security approach
    • promoting a culture of online security and safety, and encouraging cybersecurity strategies to protect users
  • human rights
    • the need to protect and reinforce all human rights
    • gender equality
  • governance, multi-stakeholder cooperation
    • encouraging and facilitating people-centered and inclusive governance models
    • enabling legal and regulatory environment
    • open, universal, interoperable standards
    • enabling all stakeholders to participate according to their respective roles and responsibilities

What did World Governments have to say so far?

In preparation of the United Nations’ WSIS + 10 meeting, the viewpoints of world governments are available via a Matrix put together by the Internet Society.

The Internet Society is doing a tremendously valuable work in connecting internet stakeholders with governments, international agencies, the private sector and civil society to achieve sustainable development for an open and collaborative internet.

If you want to see what your country had to say, check the Matrix**.

What can we do?

The internet does not only connect people, it affects their lives. All decisions taken at high-level will have a direct impact on the ground, in all parts of the world.

All stakeholders, internet players, companies like ours and yours should be involved in the decision making process, and take actions to ensure a universally available, safer, and more secure Internet for present and future generations.

All events preceding the WSIS high-level meeting (including Internet Governance Forums, M3AAWG) represent a great opportunity for internet players,  non-governmental bodies  and governments  to exchange ideas, share information and keep the values of an open and safe internet going.

Are you involved? Drop a line in the comments section below.

SpamExperts will also be present at the ICANN and M3AAWG meetings this October. Happy to meet and discuss more with anyone interested!

*Sources:
Q4 Community Forum of the Internet Society, public broadcast, Oct 8th 2015
WSIS+10 Vision for WSIS Beyond 2015, final agreed draft, Geneva 2014
**Disclaimer:
The matrix is published by the Internet Society under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

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