Today I have a good friend of mine from Brazil, Raquel Gatto. We met back in 2007 at the first preparatory conference for the IGF in São Paulo under the organization of RITS and FGV. She was doing her masters focused on Internet governance and since then a lot of interesting things happened!
SEIITI: Raquel, there was an important meeting recently held in Rio de Janeiro - the II Latin American and Caribbean Preparatory Meeting for the IGF. Can you tell us more about it?
RAQUEL: Indeed, from August 11 to 13, several representatives from governments, civil society, academia and private sector have met to identify, discuss and take a proposal as Latin America and Caribbean goals to Internet Governance.
SEIITI: How was this organized?
RAQUEL: The meeting had 7 main themes: (i) access, (ii) critical internet resources, (iii) multilingualism and accessibility, (iv) dialogue and openness, (v) privacy, (vi) openness and security and (vii) the future of the Internet. They were presented by panelists and then discussed with the floor. The outcomes were summarized by the rapporteurs and were approved in the last session. They will be made available at the event website: www.nupef.org.br/igf
to public comments.
In general, there are some ongoing discussions important for the region such as: to increase broadband access, to have cheaper international access cost, to promote an independent discussion for dialogue and openness; to continue the dialogue and promoting best practices for privacy, openness and security; and finally to promote the multistakeholderism in IGF dialogue. Regarding the IGF process, it has also happened a good debate if it should have a decision making or a recommendation role and it has been pointed out that recommendations are already under the IGF mandate – paragraph 72 of Tunis Agenda.
SEIITI: Very nice. Can you share with us what are you doing today professionally related to Internet governance?
Professionally I am currently working as a researcher for the Coordination and Information Center (known by the acronym in Portuguese NIC.br), the executive NGO for the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee which has among its attributions the allocation of IP addresses and the registration of domain names under .br
One of the projects I am involved is the Survey for ICT Usage in Households and Enterprises which is collecting data to understand the Internet growth and usage in Brazil since 2005. The results can be found at www.cetic.br
and it aims to support public policies to better develop Internet in Brazil.
Regarding academic activities, I have recently been elected as Chair for the GigaNet Program Committee for a two years mandate and we are organizing the IV GigaNet Symposium to be held jointly the IGF in Sharm-El-Sheik this year on November 14, 2009.
Besides, I am also writing and lecturing about Internet Governance in academic opportunities.
SEIITI: Raquel, please tell us more about how your career has evolved from private law practice to Internet governance. What type of advice can you give to people interested to get to the practical side of this interesting field?
RAQUEL: I have started my professional career advocating for Intellectual Property Law and especially Domain Name vs. Trademark Owners conflicts, which lead me to get more information about some organizations attributions like ICANN, ITU and IETF. The professional experience also lead me to investigate deeper the internet governance structure in International Law doctrine and I have started a Master Course to investigate the impact of Internet Governance under the sovereignty principle. While I was researching for my dissertation, I had a poster presentation accepted for GigaNet
meeting and I had the opportunity to attend the IGF-Rio in 2007. During that event, I had also the opportunity to know Diplo courses and attend it the next year which enlarge my knowledge in Internet Governance and introduce me to a great network.
So far research was was expected to happen in academic environment, but in Brazil we have a special scenario because we already have the multistakeholderism governance. So just after I have finished my Master dissertation I have got a researcher position in Brazilian Internet governance structure. Before that I have never really thought about Internet Governance and research as a career beyond university and I had a great opportunity because academia is already part of the structure we have.
(the history of course doesn`t stop here, but it deserves another chapter…)
Thinking about some steps that could be followed anywhere, I would advice to: (i) identify the structures in your country (or abroad if applied) that deal with Internet Governance, making some marks, for example, separating three fields: infrastructure, administration and regulation; (ii) follow the events (physically or remotely) and publications in the fields, in order to keep updated, to identify best practices and references; (iii) introduce yourself writing about your research or to other researchers, it can be a formal (article, paper proposal etc) or informal (blog posts).
SEIITI: Thanks a lot, Raquel! For those interested to continue to know more about Giganet research activities and the Brazilian regulatory scene, do add Raquel Gatto as a friend and share messages with her. She is also one of the top Internet governance people to follow on Twitter!