Category Archives: Convenings

Participants Discuss Public Access in Libraries at Internet Governance Forum 2015

Source: IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions)

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) 2015, with the theme ‘Evolution of Internet Governance: Empowering Sustainable Development,’ took place in João Pessoa, Brazil, from 10-13 November, with 2,400 onsite participants and additional remote participation. The barriers to increasing access to information as identified in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was a frequent focus of conversation.

Statement of Principles on Public Access in Libraries

Christina de Castell, Manager, Policy and Advocacy, reported on the work of the Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries (DC-PAL) and presented a statement of principles for feedback. Initial feedback on the principles was positive, and further comments can be provided online until the end of December 2015. Comments are also open on the statements of other Dynamic Coalitions, such as on net neutrality.

Statement of Principles on Public Access in Libraries 

  • Libraries should be recognized as an existing vehicle for ensuring universal internet access and be used when available to initiate infrastructure and connectivity for all.
  • Governments should provide an enabling environment for universal access to information by providing policy and legislation (including allocation of funds where needed) to support the role of libraries in providing public access to ICTs, internet connectivity, related training and access to information and knowledge so that all people can participate fully in society.
  • Libraries should be supported in their role of offering training and skills development for technology, information and media literacy to all.
  • Individuals have the right to privacy when they seek information; internet users in libraries must not be subject to surveillance of their activities.
  • Libraries should be supported in enabling the creation of local content and in promoting and providing online access to local, government and open access content.

Background Info:

The Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries (DC-PAL) was formed following the 2011 annual meeting of the IGF and is coordinated by IFLA and EIFL. The DC-PAL aims to engage the IGF community in discussion about public access to the internet and the role and potential of libraries. The IGF is a multistakeholder platform that enables the discussion of public policy issues pertaining to the Internet.

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Why the Internet Governance Forum is Important to Us


Since the IGF’s inception at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in 2005, it has served as an invaluable space for governments, civil society, academia, the technical community, and the private sector to learn from one another, share best practices and policy recommendations, and collaborate with new partners. Over the years, Public Knowledge has welcomed this opportunity for stakeholders to come together and develop their vision for the future of the Information Society. However, the IGF’s mandate is set to expire at the end of this year and its course will be determined at the ten-year review of the WSIS (WSIS+10) on December 15-16. For this reason, Public Knowledge signed a joint statement on the final phase of the WSIS+10 negotiations to convey that it is time to do the following:

  • renew the IGF and implement recommendations for its improvement;
  • preserve the multistakeholder model of governance; and
  • promote access to an open and inclusive Internet.

Platforms like the IGF are a crucial venue for open and collaborative multistakeholder dialogue that will help shape the future of the Internet. Extending its mandate will be a step towards achieving a secure and open Internet. Over 100 organizations and individuals have already signed on to the joint statement, and we urge you to add your support as well.


Discussions about cybersecurity and human rights online were prevalent at this year’s IGF.  Public Knowledge contributed to these topics through various meetings, panels, and workshops. This included hosting a cybersecurity strategy meeting with Latin American digital rights advocates to identify venues and ways for Latin American civil society to engage in the cybersecurity debate. This effort is also tied to our forthcoming cybersecurity program to support civil society’s engagement in the development of their respective national cybersecurity agendas. To learn more about our work in this area, please see our Cybersecurity and Human Rights issue page

Additionally, Public Knowledge’s Vice President of International Policy, Carolina Rossini, co-organized and moderated a panel entitled “How Trade Agreements Shape the Future of Internet Governance.” The session included a diverse group of representatives from civil society, the European parliament, business, academia, and the U.S. government, and the discussion focused on the impact of bilateral and multilateral trade agreements on Internet governance.

This is a particularly important topic that we believe more digital rights activists need to follow. Trade negotiations are increasingly becoming the vehicles for norm setting on Internet policy issues, such as intellectual property, domain names, e-commerce, human rights, privacy, cybersecurity, spectrum, access to telecommunications, and the free flow of information. Many of these negotiations are being held in secrecy, among governments and few private sector lobbies. The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the current negotiations of the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are prime examples of this. The panel assessed how the inclusion of these Internet policy issues, in closed door, state-to-state agreements, impact the future of multistakeholder Internet governance and the digital rights at stake.

Finally, in an IGF pre-event, we joined the Association for Progressive Communications, the Center for Democracy and Technology, Coding Rights, and Global Partners Digital in a WSIS+10 strategy meeting to discuss the main issues at stake and coordinate with other organizations to ensure that civil society priorities are strongly reflected in the WSIS+10 review. Such priorities include aligning the WSIS+10 review with the Sustainable Development Goals, bridging the digital divide, and protecting human rights online, such as the right to privacy and access to information.

Theorizing the Web: Call for Papers

Theorizing the Web 2016
April 15–16 in New York City
Venue: the Museum of the Moving Image, in Queens

Abstract submission deadline: 11:59 pm (EST), January 24, 2016

Theorizing the Web is an annual event featuring critical, conceptual discussions about technology and society. We began in 2011 to advance a different kind of conversation about the Web, one which recognizes that to theorize technology is also to theorize the self and the social world. Given that technology is inseparable from society, the ideas and approaches that have historically been used to describe social reality must not be abandoned. Instead, these historical approaches must be applied, reworked, and reassessed in light of the developing digitization of social life.

We are now seeking presentations for our sixth annual event, which will take place on April 15 and 16 at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City. We invite submissions that engage with issues of social power, inequality, vulnerability, and justice from a diverse range of perspectives. Theorizing the Web is not an event just for academics or “tech” thinkers: activists, journalists, technologists, writers, artists, and folks who don’t identify as any of the above are all encouraged to submit a presentation abstract.

We are looking for abstracts that feature clear conceptual arguments and that avoid jargon in favor of more broadly accessible critical insight. Submissions on any topic are welcome, but some specific topics we’d like to address this year include:

  • moving images, gifs, video, live streaming, copcams
  • social photography, filters, selfies, posing
  • race, racism, race posturing, ethnicity, #BlackLivesMatter
  • sex, gender, feminism, queer and trans* politics
  • sexuality, sexting, sex work, consent
  • mental health, illness, neurodiversity
  • (dis)ability and ableism
  • non-Western Web(s), language barriers, hegemony, globalization
  • social movements, protest, revolution, social control, censorship
  • hate, harassment, intimidation, trolling, bullying, resistance
  • pain, sickness, loss, death and dying
  • parenting, birth, life course
  • bodies, cyborgs, wearables, trans/post-humanism, bots
  • the self, identity, subjectivity, (in)authenticity, impression management
  • privacy, publicity, surveillance
  • encryption, anonymity, pseudonymity
  • presence, proximity, face-to-face, (dis)connection, loneliness
  • capitalism, Silicon Valley, venture capital
  • crowd funding, micro currencies, crypto currencies, blockchains
  • work, labor, “gig” or “sharing” economy, “Uber for”, exploitation
  • transportation, self-driving cars, drones, cities
  • code, affordances, infrastructure, critical design
  • knowledge, “big” data, data science, algorithms, positivism
  • memes, virality, metrics, (micro-)celebrity, fame, attention, click-baiting
  • underground markets, child porn, revenge porn, the extra-legal web
  • fiction, literature, visual narratives, storytelling, self-publishing, fandoms
  • time, (a)temporality, ephemerality, history, memory, right to forget
  • games, gaming, gamification, free-to-play, fantasy sports, gambling
  • elections, campaigns, presidential politics

More Information:

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Africa Needs More Youth Engagement Initiatives, Says Aficta


One major challenge Africa has, is not giving the youths more opportunity to express their talents and innovation in governance. That partly may have resulted in very low engagement of youths in problem solving among many African states.

However, as part of its vision to meet African youths’ employment challenges and assist government of the region in providing and creating jobs opportunities, Africa Information and Communication Technologies Alliance, AfICTA has disclosed that it is committed to creating one million jobs in Africa by the year 2020.

This was part of the declaration released at the end of its 3rd summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa recently.

Recall that on 18th February 2009 in Addis Ababa, African heads of state declared 2009-2019 as the decade of youth development in Africa. They resolved to advance youth development and ensure increased investments in youth development programmes at national levels so as to create employment.

The Vice-Chair, Egyptian ICT Alliance & Chief Executive Officer ECCO Outsourcing Egypt and Chair AfICTA Programme/Project Committee, Mr Alaa El Khishen who articulated the initiative in his presentation during the summit said that “AfICTA is able to deliver on this commitment especially with support of traditional captive investors and relevant stakeholders that will be engaged.”

Global competitiveness

Meanwhile, the summit among other declarations expressed support for the renewal of the Internet Governance Forum, IGF, mandate. Considering the inherent value of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the summit also declared support for the goals and motivate the required national and international political will.

Given that citizens, users and diverse stakeholders views are important to public policy articulation and implementation with respect to the realization of the SDGs, participants from the forum also expressed support for enhanced cooperation within the context of multi-stakeholderism involving governments, private sector, civil society, and technical and academia community stakeholders. Concerned about the need to sustain the rise of Africa, the forum further urged the African Union (AU) and African governments to partner with all stakeholders including the private sector in the spirit of enhanced cooperation and collaboration.

Lamenting the dearth of Internet domain name uptake in Africa, the summit among other things urged African governments to express pride in their ccTLD identity and use them in governance to create the necessary “locomotive” effect to boost demand.

Affirming that Internet access in particular engenders sustainable development and prosperity, the forum urged African national governments and parliaments in particular to enact laws, articulate strategies and policies that promote trust and confidence on the Internet.

SXSW Cancels Panel on Harassment Citing Threats of Violence

Author: Cassandra Vinograd
Source: NBC Tech News

The popular South by Southwest festival said it was cancelling two panel discussions about harassment and the online gaming community due to threats of violence.

The festival — known as SXSW — said it had hoped that hosting the two panels “SavePoint: A Discussion on the Gaming Community” and “Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games” would lead to a “valuable exchange of ideas.”

However, it said SXSW had received “numerous threats of on-site violence” related to the programs in the week since the March 2016 SXSW Interactive event panels were announced. It did not detail the nature of the threats.

Official SXSW statement: “SXSW prides itself on being a big tent and a marketplace of diverse people and diverse ideas,” it said in a blog post. “If people can not agree, disagree and embrace new ways of thinking in a safe and secure place that is free of online and offline harassment, then this marketplace of ideas is inevitably compromised.”

The “Level Up” panel was due to feature experts on online harassment discussing how to combat and move away from harassment.

The Online Abuse Prevention Initiative’s Randi Harper was one of the panelists, and she posted what appeared to be the SXSW cancellation email on Twitter which said the festival had canceled sessions that “focused on the GamerGate controversy.”

The Opening Gaming Society said the “disheartening” move to cancel the panel came “as a shock.” It said that SXSW had been in touch to explain the decision — which came after receiving countless emails, phone calls and social-media messages about the panels.

“SXSW feels that both the organization and its staff have been under siege from all sides and from all parties since they announced the panels,” it said in a statement urging gamers not to attack the festival over its decision. “They want to encourage open discussions, but they don’t want to fuel a vicious online war between two sides who are extremely opposed to one another.”

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HEC is launching ‘Pakistan School on Internet Governance

Author: Maryam Dodhy
Source: TechJuice

Higher Education Commission (HEC) is all set to launch Pakistan School on Internet Governance (pkSIG), with an inaugral four-day workshop to be held from 5 – 8 October. The workshop is being organized in partnership with Asia-Pacific Network Internet Centre (APNIC), Internet Society (ISoc) and Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

The governance of our ecosystem has long been the concern of a selected group of stakeholders. Internet Governance is a contested topic, where the Pakistan School on Internet Governance (pkSIG) will try to offer understanding, framing, and actions to be taken in this Internet governance environment. At this point it should be mentioned that Pakistan is the first SAARC country to embrace e-governance and recently 13 of our ministries upgraded to the e-governance model.

The main aim of pkSIG is to provide a comprehensive course that will cover political, legal, economic, socio-cultural, technological and other dimensions of Internet Governance within the context of Pakistan’s national objectives. The pkSIG will help individuals from Pakistan to better understand the global and regional Internet Governance issues, settings, and processes while gaining access to comprehensive and structured knowledge on the various aspects of Internet Governance, and the actors, issues and settings surrounding it.

The workshop will offer potential governance scenarios and analyze its international, regional, and national political, economical, and technical implications and a complete history of the Internet starting from the early days. Speakers will try to highlight various topics like social media, local content and other relevant modern internet topics.