An introduction to the world of internet governance

There has been a lot of dispute over how the internet is governed since its inception. This is because the internet is considered a trusted global platform for creativity, invention, and freedom of expression. It is influenced by how varied stakeholders work to manage this crucial global resource. Those who use the internet contribute to the creation of its rules, which is a centralised network of networks.

Private sectors drove the internet’s initial stages while government-funded research served as a foundation. Global internet resources (domain name system) have relied more on bottom-up management and direct engagement by people interested in and influenced by relevant decisions since their early origins.

Internet standards were approved by the technical groups in a centralized and people-driven manner, which has supported the amazing growth that indicates the internet’s success.

To help you know more about the various groups and events that support rightful internet governance, Nigeria, Nigeria Youth IGF gives you this guide.

What is internet governance?

Internet governance is the process by which governments, private companies, and members of civil society work together to define and implement common concepts, norms, rules, and projects that influence how the internet develops and is used today.

What makes internet governance important?

Thanks to internet governance, everyone has a chance to compete on an equal level. Using this global tool, we will be able to draw more from our collective intelligence as more people use it. The only way to achieve this is to erode internet fairness and impose censorship.

With good internet governance, the internet can continue to be a major force for society’s future growth.

How is internet governance managed?

Since the internet has a centralised design, no single authority is in charge of managing the Internet. Instead, the internet is controlled in a collaborative manner that assures that concerns can be handled at the level closest to their source. 

Guiding principles of internet governance

It is not easy to implement rightful internet governance. Since many are involved in managing the internet, there are basic and vital principles one must follow for efficient and effective internet governance.

  • Innovation for all – Due to the open paradigm of internet access, the internet has grown at an incredible rate. Anyone on the internet can create a new application without the need for central authority permission. People and private sectors are now free to develop new standards, apps, and services without restriction from the internet governance arrangements.
  • Transparent and inclusive – An effective internet governance can only be achieved with the involvement of interested and qualified stakeholders. Engagement of stakeholders and access to data are two more benefits of this approach.
  • Stewardship – Governance structures and principles should be built in a culture of strong teamwork among all stakeholders who each bring their own unique skills to the table to ensure the internet’s long-term stability and resilience.
  • Pragmatic approach – Discussions, debates, and decisions about internet governance must be based on factual and scientific data.
  • Consensus – Both practical experience and the knowledge of a variety of stakeholders should be used in policy-making processes. Consensus should be the basis for decision-making that is based on transparent processes.

Internet Governance Forum

The UN Secretary-General officially announced the creation of the IGF. Since then, there has been a meeting every year since it was formed in October–November 2006. IGF was established to facilitate policy talks on internet governance challenges. The technical and academic groups involved in internet governance are brought together on an equal footing through methods that are both open and inclusive.

NYIGF

The Nigerian Youth Internet Governance Forum (NYIGF) is similar to the IGF in a way that they strive to provide a platform for people, especially in Nigeria to voice out their thoughts and ideas with regard to internet governance. NYIGF is a safe place where Nigerian youth can have the freedom to express what they want and connect with other people to do the same.

NYIGF is also an open and inclusive platform for Nigerian citizens and people from different countries that operates by closely adhering to the Internet Governance Forum principles. 

Internet governance events

Since the worldwide members gather at least once a year, anyone can attend an IGF or NYIGF event at any time of year. People from all walks of life get the chance to meet and exchange ideas at these events that promote the freedom to express one’s thoughts and ideas.

No one has to worry about being silenced because this isn’t a decision-making body. However, those who are constructing a more diverse internet are notably influenced by the IGF and the NYIGF.

Benefits of attending internet governance events

Attending an internet governance conference not only allows you to express your ideas and voice your opinions, but it can also help you learn more about how internet governance works. Some of the other benefits of attending internet governance events are:

Learn about key innovations

Changes in new technologies will have a major impact on internet governance and how we do business in the future. Blockchain and AI have the potential to help society, culture, and the world as a whole.

For businesses, internet governance events are a great platform for discourse about the latest advancements and concerns around these new changes. Businesses can also take full advantage of the new technology while also managing the potential costs in terms of ethical behaviour, security, and employment.

Find partners for projects

As a commercial, academic, or civil society group, the internet governance events allow you to meet like-minded people and discuss your interests and goals. With this, you’ll meet various types of people who can help you with your business and future projects.

Learn new ideas from others

Every stakeholder has a unique point of view, which is why internet governance attendees from every country around the globe attend. Every person leaves the conference with a greater awareness of the needs and views of others, or an outlet to address some of today’s most urgent internet-related issues together. 

Inclusion in the digital age

Talks about what can be done to ensure or increase meaningful equal opportunity in the digital era. Access to online services, local information, and the essential skills and trust are all part of what we mean when we talk about digital inclusion. 

In addition, promoting digital inclusion helps to promote a stronger economy and improved economic growth through shared assets, employment, and social equality.

Security

When you attend an internet governance event, you’ll learn how digital networks can be built on trust, security, data protection, and privacy to support economic growth. This includes the protection of systems, structures, devices and people who utilise them.

Attending internet governance events also allows you to have a better understanding of risks and potentials, while also pushing for the improvement of the global internet’s openness and security. 

This also includes maintaining rule of law and economic and social benefits. Internet governance forums develop essential messages and briefing materials to assist you in staying informed and engaging with maximum impact on all of these key themes.

Shape the future

When you attend an internet governance conference, you can influence internet policy and practise growth by joining in debates and engaging with stakeholders from government, business, the technical community, and civil society throughout the world.

The role of the government

The function of governments in this diverse and centralised environment is a major topic of discussion. There are critical public interests that governments must fulfill and policies that have a massive effect on the whole internet structure. That is why the governments’ engagement in internet governance debates is essential.

The Tunis Agenda, for example, recognises that governments play a vital role in the construction of an information society that is centred on people and is inclusive.

When it comes to the role of government, there are two major issues that are argued in the Tunis Agenda. Adapting to a multisystem model and defining a concept of governance that extends beyond governments and includes all stakeholders, including outside sectors.

An effective approach to dealing with global and local internet issues has been adopted by several government entities as a multisystem model of internet governance. However, there are still many who aren’t convinced by the multi sector approach.

Issues in internet governance

The internet’s issues can span geographic, sectoral, and technology barriers. It’s not uncommon for issues like internet censorship and security to cross state borders, involving a wide range of stakeholders from across the globe. 

A broad range of skills and knowledge, such as the capacity to interact with industry specialists, be they technicians, businessmen or public employees are required to handle these problems.

How exactly do they navigate a centralised process? Formal rules and legal procedures can take a long time to change. The old methods of making decisions, such as casting votes, can produce decisions that are less responsive.

It also results in a greater range of fair and reasonable concerns, especially those made by minorities. When everyone has a say in the decision-making process, it’s much easier to reach a successful conclusion.

Not to mention, many stakeholder groups solve this difficulty by engaging in forums and projects. In addition, certain organisations and forums have an open principle and allow for remote involvement in their activities.

It is easier to deal with the issues of centralized processes when materials and online discussions are freely available and distant engagement is possible.

For more information about internet governance and policies, visit our site, Nigeria, Nigeria Youth IGF.

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