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Internet Governance Forum to tackle broad range of topics, UN official says

Internet Governance Forum to tackle broad range of topics, UN official says

The Internet Governance Forum to be convened later this year will take up such issues as cybercrime, multilingualism and enhancing the role of the Internet as a tool for development, a United Nations official said today.

As two days of consultations on the scope and structure of the meeting concluded today, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Adviser for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), Nitin Desai told a news conference in Geneva that the inaugural meeting of the Forum was scheduled to take place in Athens, Greece, in October or November, with more than 500 participants.

Those taking part in the consultations had reached a general agreement that the management of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) would be done jointly by governments, civil society, business organizations and the Internet community, he said.

On other issues, he said, one proposal was to have the IGF address specific management issues, such as SPAM and the illegal or malicious acts known as cybercrime, noting, however, that certain acts, such as sending or posting pornography, might be seen as a crime in one country and not in another. Another proposal was to have the Forum focus on issues of transparency and capacity building, although the IGF has had no decision-making power.

In any case, developing countries wanted to ensure that the IGF was relevant to development concerns. In this regard, they had introduced issues of interconnection costs, Internet access and the terms under which Internet users in developing countries could acquire software, he said.

The Forum would provide a space where different actors could openly discuss the technical, political, social and economic dimensions of the Internet, Mr. Desai added.