This article is part of a series highlighting the work of IEEE’s global offices.
Known as the forum for European Internet Governance, EuroDIG 2015 was held this year in June in Sofia, Bulgaria, bringing together thought leaders and policymakers from several countries to create a dialogue on the subject.
The event aimed to promote a better understanding among Europe stakeholders on the issues surrounding Internet governance, raising their awareness and encouraging participation in related regional and global activities. It brought together a community of researchers, social scientists, policymakers, as well as significant representation from governments across Europe. The participants engaged in fruitful dialogues, discussing Internet governance activities in countries such as Georgia, Russia, Spain, and the Netherlands.
In a number of breakout sessions, the delegates discussed ways to enhance the visibility of Internet governance among various stakeholders, and in particular the end users of the Internet. Two important topics were net neutrality and security. The latter was discussed in a number of sessions and from various angles, including the security of personal data from unintended access points as well as government oversight.
The atmosphere of the event was collaborative and focused on producing tangible outcomes with participants echoing various voices not always represented at these events, including nongovernment organizations and youth group representatives. Multi-stakeholder was more than just an empty aspirational term at EuroDIG.
The IEEE Internet Initiative, with support from the IEEE European Public Policy Initiative (EPPI), organized a plenary session on privacy and data protection in the emerging world of big data and new services. Bhashar Choubey, a member of EPPI, was a panelist at this session.
The breakout session “NETmundial” provided the participants with an overview of its larger conference that was held in Brazil last year and its takeaways. The session added extra value to the debate by providing a more global perspective and allowed the group to identify some real-world examples of the current challenges facing Internet governance. It also provided an opportunity to discuss how they can be better addressed.
Another session, “Should I click for Internet Governance? Where?” divided the group into three, challenging each one to define the main issues preventing the general population from becoming active in Internet governance processes. Although there was no magic bullet to solve the puzzle, an overview of the various institutional, technical, socio-economic, political, and personal issues that inhibited citizens from participating in these processes was created.
The event also provided people with unique opportunities to talk to each other and network, exchanging ideas and expanding people’s understanding of what Internet governance means in the European context. Overall, EuroDIG re-emphasized the importance of a multi-stakeholder process and encouraged people to become more engaged with these important questions.
Karine Iffour is the director of IEEE Business Development Europe, based in the IEEE Brussels office.