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What is the role of private sector in the IGF?

International Governance Forum (IGF) has been a favorable internet governance platform and has preconditioned the internet to provide continued investment, innovation and development to businesses. Without the IGF there would be no adequate global space for discussion on current Internet governance issues among all relevant actors.Businesses continue to support the multistakeholder approach used in the IGF where all stakeholders participate on an equal footing. The private sector is part of this multistakeholder; it has an important role to fuel IGF efforts through constructive mechanisms towards internet policy development.

CIO East Africa spoke to Jeff Brueggeman, AT & T, Public Policy Vice President, during the IGF conference held in Nairobi on what roles the private sector organizations play as part of the forum.

What role does AT & T have as a private sector in supporting IGF multistakeholder model?

Well, AT & T is part of Business Action to support the Information society (BASIS) initiative, started by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). This initiative is focused to pull private businesses together towards developing internet policies.

Like other members of BASIS, AT&T strives to increase participation of private businesses to work together and define their priorities to IGF. These businesses collaborate to feed in their views to IGF that will attract investment and promote innovation over a well governed internet platform.

Microsoft, Verizon, Cisco are some of BASIS members. The initiative has also other Africa companies as part of it. Briefly describe the relationship between the private sector and IGF, why is the private sector relevant?

We bring the voice of ICT and business companies which constantly relay on the internet to this forum. By participating collaborating with IGF, the private sector ensures that policies are set to cover new technologies and also keeping pace with these developments, ensuring that network protections are in place and individuals are not vulnerable by virtue of their use of new technologies.

Businesses constantly develop and deploy measures designed to ensure the security of networks and the content residing on these networks to protect them from attack. However, government action may also be needed to ensure that the necessary laws are in place to make such attacks illegal. The private sector therefore channels its concerns through IGF, who then passes them to the government.

Therefore effective multistakeholderism (Government, private sector and academia cooperation) is essential to strengthening Internet security and responding to the large and growing range of cyber security threats through having global Internet policies.

Briefly comment on the internet openness, privacy and security

All of these zeros in to the having free flow of information on the internet and at the same time have individual privacy rights. Business therefore should support the open exchange of ideas and free flow of information in a manner that respects the rights of others and the rule of law.

ICTs increase access to information and promote free speech, even where local laws contradict human rights principles. While companies must comply with local laws wherever they operate, they seek, together with governments, sensible solutions that endeavor to enhance communication within and across borders and to minimize restrictions to expression.


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