This year is turning out to be one of much intrigue and significance in the world of Internet governance. It's certainly one of the busiest many can recall. Just recently, stakeholders from across the United States brought their voices to discussions ranging from net neutrality to the Internet of Things last week at the Internet Governance Forum-USA (IGF-USA) 2014 at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
The meeting started with representatives from the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. Government delivering remarks. National Telecommunications and Information Administration Assistant Secretary Lawrence Strickling discussed the process for transitioning the U.S. Government's legacy role in stewarding the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda from the State Department provided a snapshot of where the U.S. has been and will be going, through the lens of the 2014 Internet governance calendar, touching on high-profile events such as NetMundial, the upcoming IGF in Istanbul, and the United Nations Plenipotentiary meeting in October. Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) contributed thoughts from a domestic policy point of view in his capacity as Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology – touching on the IANA stewardship transition and other major Internet, communications, and technology issues.
The event however went beyond the thoughts of governments – with breakout sessions that offered something for everyone - business and not-for-profit, experienced and novice. Participants were able to take in comprehensive sessions on human rights online; net neutrality; ICANN accountability; and big data to name a few – many moved between concurrent sessions to learn from each panel of experts. One of the most interesting sessions of the day was a "Policy Slam", where participants offered three-minute solutions to a host of problems facing the online policy space.
The ability to bring a large swath of stakeholders together from a multitude of sectors to discuss solutions to common issues is perhaps the greatest strength of the IGF, and its regional counterparts. Input gathered from the IGF-USA will be fed into September's global IGF in Istanbul, along with input from other countries and regions that have held IGFs. Visit the IGF website for a complete list of current and past meetings.
And catch all you might have missed in D.C. during the IGF-USA 2014 by viewing the recordings from the day. You can also follow the IGF-USA throughout the year on Twitter, Facebook, and at www.igf-usa.us.
Joe Catapano is Coordinator, ICANN Global Stakeholder Engagement for North America