thoughts and observations of a privacy, security and internet researcher, activist, and policy advisor

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Privacy Workshops at the UN Internet Governance Forum in Athens

The founding of a new United Nations Internet Governance Forum was one of the main outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society process that ended last year. It is meant to be a global inclusive policy forum for all things related to the governance of the internet - from the the root master file and the control over ICANN to WHOIS privacy and international interconnection costs. The inaugural meeting of the IGF will take place in Athens from 30 October to 2 November, with an academic symposium on 29 October.

I was pretty much involved in the World Summit since 2002 and among other things have been coordinating the civil society working group on privacy and security. Together with Privacy International and the London School of Economics, we submitted a proposal for two workshops on privacy to the IGF secretariat. Now we formally got the confirmation that indeed both were accepted. The workshops will take place on 31 October, so that folks who want to visit the international data protection commissioners' conference in London on 1 and 2 November can even do that. We will have two consecutive workshops:
I. Privacy and Identity Matters: The emerging digital identity infrastructures that to date have received little public scrutiny and attention. We will highlight the increasing importance of identity and authentication systems, and discuss the challenges and legal implications.
II. Privacy, Development, and Globalisation: The pressing issues surrounding cross-border data flows. We will address the links between privacy, economic development, and good governance, and map out the likely landscape of future policy issues.
The people who have confirmed participation so far are from entities as diverse as the OECD, the OSCE, APC, Microsoft, at least one official Privacy Commissioner's office, and of course Privacy International. We are currently finalizing the programme, so stay tuned.

Of course I am excited that both workshops were accepted, and I look forward to the discussions there (Here is a kind of preview from a run-up event our colleagues had in London in July).
I am also happy that I'll see many of the other folks from the world summit again, as some of them were the brightest and most committed people I have ever met. By the way: Participation in the whole four days of interesting and high-level global internet governance discussions and politicking is free.

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