Internet Governance Forum - Guadalajara

The Mexican city of Guadalajara hosted last 5-9 December the Internet Governance Forum, whose theme topic was ‘enabling inclusive and sustainable growth’. It was organised under the aegis of the United Nations.

Various sessions focused on major themes associated to internet governance in a context whereby the internet and information and communication technologies are considered a good at everyone’s disposal for humanity’s progress, and are part of an ecosystem for attaining the sustainable development goals.

A noteworthy fact is that nearly half of humanity is not yet network linked and that in less developed countries only one in seven people are connected to the internet. Various workshops and open forums focused on how to link the next billion people to the internet and what the predictable impact would be in technical, economic and social terms. The issues of internet regulation, the internet of things, fifth generation mobile communications, over-the-top (content) services and freedom of expression were earnestly debated.

It was once again noted that there is a democratic deficit in internet governance and that this is a serious problem that is tending to get worse and which should be countered. The multistakeholder model’s goal is open and democratic governance, but it does not take into account social and cultural realities or individual countries, whereby the Internet Governance Forum is the appropriate forum for creating alternatives to the model and ensuring that it evolves legitimately, representing the participants.

Another major concern is that the internet should continue to have suitable prices and accessible infrastructures and that it must be safe and endowed with appropriate mechanisms to protect privacy and personal data. Also noteworthy was the assumption that there is a certain degree of paralysis in internet governance and that steps must be taken to deal with that situation, basically by means of initiatives of this kind at global and local level.