As far as I know, the internet is the single most effective tool in human history. It allows billions of people to communicate with each other in a glimpse of an eye, on the other side of the planet, using different mediums as suitable vehicles of that information. We can search for information that other people have created and learn of distant cultures as well as obscure professional and academic disciplines.
The internet is still evolving organically, but it has already assumed its function as an ubiquitous tool for communication anywhere on our planet. It can also be scary, especially if you happen to be a dictator of some authoritarian state. Even in 2017, there are dozens of countries, that censor the internet and especially social media, in an effort to undermine people’s access to information freely. During the revolutions of the new millenium, the internet is partially blacked out, almost without exception.
I see internet as a digital force of nature, and if it has to be governed, it must be done responsibly, with respect to human rights. Otherwise it will likely keep on fragmenting and creating walls in itself, like in the case of China, Cuba and many middle eastern countries.
If Internet Governance is done properly, the internet can remain a great motor for the future of humankind and its social and economic development. We need to give people access to their own personal data as well the data produced by the government with tax money. The more relevant information people can access, the faster our collective development will be.
Internet is affecting thinking and attitudes of billions of people daily. We can contact other people and read their advice to find solutions to our problems and manage our projects, which are produced internationally. Even people of extremely small minorities and niche interests are able to find peers and support from elsewhere in the globe. People can now learn new things in their home by a few clicks of button. Needless to say, all this buzz creates millions of financial transactions too.
Internet has also brought us closer to a global marketplace, with perfect information. It’s now harder to sell inferior products that are more expensive. However, projects can now be crowd-funded, which has lead to a plethora of innovations that would otherwise have never seen the light of day.
When governing and regulating the internet, we must strive to keep it free, neutral and accessible for all. We need to open data, while protecting our privacy. A good example of such an issue is the debate in ICANN on the Registry Directory Services (RDS), where private citizens and associates of NGOs can have their personal information hidden, while maintaining access to a wider set of data elements for the usage of the law enforcement.
Internet Governance plays a crucial role in making sure the playing field stays as equal as possible for all mankind. The more people we are able to engage with this universal tool, the more we’ll be able to draw from our collective intelligence. That can not be achieved through censorship, fragmentation or eroding net neutrality.