Global Agenda Council on the Future of the Internet 2012-2014
Awareness concerning the impact of the Internet on a range of areas, including consumer rights, human rights, business models and political security is increasing. The number of devices that can connect to the Internet continues to increase, as does the breadth of access and volume of data involved in online interactions.
Despite this increase in awareness, traffic and usage, the public discourse surrounding Internet governance remains unclear; as a result, there is a risk that the benefits and opportunities offered by the Internet could be eclipsed. This lack of clarity has been heightened during recent debates over regulation and security, demonstrating that key leaders and decision-makers are not well acquainted with the technology and its effects. At the same time, technical and academic discussions surrounding the Internet are often difficult to understand or communicate, making them inaccessible to the general public.
The challenges surrounding this issue reveal that, although the value of the Internet is clear to many, its future is uncertain. This has been complicated by the plethora of different organizations that claim responsibility for different areas of the Internet, and by the private companies who supply the infrastructure to maintain it. Recent events, for example the World Conference on International Telecommunications, have been extolled as both a threat to a “free and open” Web, as well as an opportunity to redistribute the balance of power between nations.
What the Council is doing about it
Over the past year, the Global Agenda Council on the Future of the Internet has opened a discussion on how to most effectively communicate the opportunities and pitfalls surrounding different models of Internet governance. In developing a clear and neutral framework for this conversation, the Council produced an infographic outlining the issue, accompanied by a preliminary set of recommendations for world leaders that was distributed during a cross-industry session of chief executives at the Annual Meeting 2013, and a workshop on hyperconnectivity organized by the Forum in June 2013.
“The challenges surrounding this issue reveal that, although the value of the Internet is clear to many, its future is uncertain.”
In the next 12 months, the Council intends to further develop its initial recommendations and make them more relevant and actionable for the target audience. The key priority for the Council is to ensure that the benefits and advantages of the Internet are properly understood, both at the legislative and public levels. After initiating this conversation in 2012-2013, the Council will continue to engage the relevant stakeholders in discussions during the coming year.
To get involved please contact
Research Analyst: Stefan Hall, Global Agenda Councils, email@example.com
Council Manager: Derek O’Halloran, Associate Director, Head of the Information Technology Industry, firstname.lastname@example.org
Forum Lead: Alan Marcus, Senior Director, Head of Information Technology and Telecommunications Industries, email@example.com
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