MARILIA: The panel about openness and security was quite instigating. On the one hand, the theme was discussed from a technical perspective. One of the speakers analyzed individual behavior and common threats that could be found online. The number of “fragile points” and deficiencies that can be used to introduce threats is shocking. It´s also amazing the number of actions that one has to take in order to try to be safe online. In the end, the panelist showed that even an experienced person with technical skills is not 100% protected. This continuous state of alert can alter our behavior and tendency to share online.
SEIITI: And how this panel debated the issue?
MARILIA: On the other hand, the theme was examined from a juridical perspective. One panelist brought into consideration that some policies aimed at improving security fail to reach a balance with other important principles that one should care for, such as privacy. In addition to that, most of the times behaviors that are very different in nature, such as identity theft and download of copyright protected material are treated together, as criminal behavior. It´s important to always question if criminal law is in accordance with current social values, in order to prevent mass criminalization of Internet users, based on generalized online practices, such as file sharing. This is very important in order to foster openness, understood in a broad sense: from the infrastructure layer to the online content and new business models flourishing on the Internet.
SEIITI: What concrete, specific achievements you could tell about the meeting for those of us who could not be there?
MARILIA: To begin with, the existence of these regional fora for the debate of Internet Governance in several regions is in itself a major achievement. First, it corroborates the general perception that the IGF is a positive experience and should continue to exist. Secondly, these fora are examples of a grassroots movement of regionalization which may have a positive impact on legitimacy, bringing the debate closer to people and to concrete local issues. The Internet Governance regime is not only multistakeholder, but also multilevel, and my guess is that these regional fora will play a pivotal role in the processes of discussion and decision-making of Internet Governance issues in the near future.
Having said that, something very concrete that took place in the LAC preparatory meeting was the exchange of information about projects that have been developed in the region, specially regarding access.
SEIITI: I agree with you that this is something that really adds a lot of value. Please give us some examples.
MARILIA: For instance, representatives of projects of digital inclusion that have been put in practice in our countries had the chance to share best practices as well as to discuss difficulties and setbacks. This exchange provides invaluable resources for us to think about how the main themes under the IG umbrella (access, security, openness, infrastructure, privacy) should be structured in a local context, and which issues are really relevant to our region.
SEIITI: What else do you see on the way ahead?
MARILIA: This was our second regional meeting and, of course, there´s still a long way to go. In my opinion, it´s important to transcend the national contexts and to start making plans regionally conceived, based on a broad multistakeholder cooperation. Regional integration processes can offer a good institutional platform to start planning. Mercosur, for instance, is formally committed to increase the levels of digital inclusion of its population. Resources from our regional convergence fund (FOCEM) has been used with this aim. Civil society should put pressure and find ways to be involved.
SEIITI: Marilia, we have been in touch recently and I know you have a lot of news since we published the Capacity Development publication just after Hyderabad. Can you tell us a little of the new ideas and projects? Which issues are you concerned with that people working on similar themes can contact you?
This project embodies three main lines of research:
a) New media: to analyze the public sphere that is being build around new social media the regulatory framework that is impacting this media;
b) Intellectual Property: to foster fair use and suggest changes in copyright law that could include fair use exceptions;
c) An observatory of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This organization is the locus of a constant tension between strengthening the protection of intellectual property and guaranteeing Access to Knowledge, a fundamental debate. The Development Agenda, currently under debate in WIPO, aims to bring more balance between this two poles and its actual implementation is of ultimate importance for developing countries. The Center of Technology and Society is one of civil society´s organizations that has been accepted as observer in WIPO. We report and analyze the main meetings and publish our findings in Project Cultura Livre website: www.culturalivre.org.br. We would be more than happy to develop partnerships with people and organizations working on similar topics.
SEIITI: Brilliant! All readers are recommended to add Marilia as a friend, and exchange ideas with her about this topic, and also to join the group on Intellectual Property Rights and start public discussion with the Community!
What about the other project, Marilia?
MARILIA: The second project I am devoted to aims at implementing remote participation options in the IGF.
A group of people – the Remote Participation Working Group – has joined in 2008 to encourage the creation of local IGF hubs. The hubs are local meetings that take place in parallel with the IGF, where people are able not only to watch the webcast of the event, but also to send their questions to be answered by the panelists. We are currently working on guidelines that will help to improve the quality of interaction among the remote participants and the people physically present in the event. This is an extremely interesting project with very positive and concrete outcomes. We welcome the involvement of new people and would be glad to have them on the team.
The full text of the book An Introduction to Internet Governance (6th edition) is available here. The translated versions in Serbian/BCS, French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Chinese, and Portuguese are also available for download.