IGF-D: Gaining Speed In Shaping Digitalisation For Society At Large

At the Internet Governance Forum Germany co-organised by DENIC on 11 September in Berlin, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier emphasised that the political sector was dependent on the incentives and the expertise of non-state actors.

Understanding 5G expansion as a strategic task, that is one of the requests of those participating in the United Nations' process "Internet Governance Forum"  in Germany (IGF-D). The IGF-D met on 11 September 2019 at the Federal  Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in Berlin. More than 300  attendants discussed with experts from academia, the technical and the  private sector, politics, civil society and the ministries about the  guiding rules of an open and free Internet and a digitalisation geared  towards the common good.

German Government Supports Multistakeholder Approa

In his keynote speech, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier emphasised the great importance of the multistakeholder format of the event, and assured that the political sector needed the incentives and expertise of non-state actors. Especially with a view to the global conference at the end of November, the Internet Governance Forum of the United Nations  which, for the first time ever, will also be held in Germany – he said that the Federal Government would continue to support the inclusive and  broad approach of involving as many actors as possible in shaping the  most important development for the future.

Catalogue of Requirements of the IGF-D Conference 2019

The discussion between the panellists, participants and the very active representatives of the Youth Internet Governance Forum yielded the following findings:

  • Digitalisation is a promising path towards more efficiency, which we must use. However, we need regulatory means to ensure that digitalisation does not run counter to the goal of sustainability. On the contrary, digitalisation must contribute to creating greater sustainability and thus serve the common good.
  • The issue of Artificial Intelligence (AI) implies geopolitical and strategic aspects. It must be avoided that Europe becomes even more dependent on external players because it falls behind in the technological field.
  • We should discuss the respective objectives of the use of AI also from the societal point of view and have the courage to reject certain developments because not every conceivable application is sensible and wise. On the other hand, we should pay more attention to options that allow to use the technology for purposes and goals that are beneficial to society.
  • The existing laws already offer possibilities for prosecuting hate speech on the Internet; but they must be implemented and exploited more consistently. This requires in particular a sharpened awareness and appropriate training of the competent authorities and the establishment of new institutions.
  • The market gives little incentive for implementing new developments in digital infrastructures. Providers shy away from operational risks, for instance with regard to the establishment of new structures like IPv6 or  DNSSEC. Consequently, "whoever moves first will lose" is what currently  applies. There must be incentives to make these structures universal.
  • More  guiding rules instead of pure regulation: The focus of platform economy  should not be on regulation but rather on rules, which should allow,  for example, start-ups access to markets. Since Europe is organised on a  federal basis and the rules apply on a pan-European level, Europe needs  an ecosystem that allows also smaller platforms to grow.

DENIC - an Active Co-Organiser of the IGF-D

The Internet Governance Forum Germany (IGF-D) has been in existence since 2008 and discusses issues of Internet policy and governance at its annual event. It is the national forum of the corresponding international process of the United Nations.

DENIC has been  co-sponsor and member of the advisory board of the Internet Governance  Forum Germany from the very beginning. As co-organiser and contributor  to this year's panel discussions, DENIC was actively involved in  designing the program of the 2019 annual conference and supports its  concrete demands for the preservation of the open, free and secure  Internet.

The global Internet Governance Forum  was founded in 2005 at the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) with the aim to enable continuing discussions of Internet governance issues. Over the last thirteen years, numerous regional and national forums have emerged that shall facilitate the exchange on pressing digitalisation issues between the local and the global level.