Christian Moller explores the future of the Internet Governance Forum as the November 2015 IGF meeting in Brazil approaches.
2015 continues to be a decisive year for Internet governance. As in 2014 with the passage of Marco Civil and the NETmundial Meeting, Brazil is again in the focus of this year’s developments as the tenth meeting of the UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF) will convene in João Pessoa in November. Titled “Evolution of Internet Governance: Empowering Sustainable Development,” in anticipation of this year’s IGF, human rights advocates have already begun to ask whether Brazil’s approach to internet governance might serve as a model for the rest of the world.
Brazil 2014: Marco Civil and NETmundial
In April 2014, a Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance, also known as NETmundial, was hosted by the Brazilian government in São Paulo. NETmundial brought together over nine hundred attendees from governments, international organizations, the private sector, and civil society and resulted in the adoption of a (non-binding) Internet Governance Roadmap. Following the meeting, a number of pieces reviewed and commented on NETmundial’s outcome and final documents. The Center for Global Communication’s Internet Policy Observatory, for example, published Beyond NETmundial: The Roadmap for Institutional Improvements to the Global Internet Governance Ecosystem to explore how sections of “NETmundial Multistakeholder Statement” could be implemented. The meeting also played host to a series diverging narratives not only between governments, States, and civil society, but also among various civil society actors.
Exploring ideas, innovations and fresh approaches to our world is at the heart of the public sphere. People, Spaces, Deliberation brings you significant voices from academia and the practice of development through a series of interviews.
Do conventional notions of privacy still exist? Are we trading privacy for convenience? If privacy is a thing of the past, is this a bad thing?
According to Professor Silvio Waisbord, an expert on global media, development, and social change, the answer is mixed. People trade the downsides of losing privacy in exchange for convenience, simplification, and other social factors.
The interesting question for him is, "What do people typically do when they are confronted with the fact that you are one of the main perpetrators of your loss of privacy. What do you do about that? Are you willing to make changes about that?"
The concept of privacy itself is notoriously difficult to define. In reading around the subject, I found this description of it by Larry Peterman in a 1993 essay in The Review of Politics titled ‘Privacy’s Background’:
We look upon the private as that part of our lives insulated against the communal or public broadly constructed, protected from unwarranted intrusion by others, including political authorities, and the place where, in the last resort, we can clothe ourselves in anonymity.
I think that is exactly right. It is what Grant Mindle, in an earlier essay, calls ‘concealment and seclusion’ that protected place where we can have parts of our lives that will not leak into the public arena.