The 2019 Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Berlin will end on November 29. The forum involves over 3,000 representatives from different countries and organizations, and is held under the auspices of the United Nations and hosted by the German Ministry of Economic Affairs.
The final legislative session at the forum includes a speech by Leonid Levin, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, Information Technologies and Communications. Leonid Levin and German parliamentarian Ulrich Lechte spoke together at a session on international cooperation for a stable, safer and open internet. In the presentation, Leonid Levin emphasized the most important challenges faced by legislators in many countries today concerning internet regulation and the fight against cybercrime, Russia’s position on these issues and the overdue change in the role of the IGF itself.
“It has already been said here that this forum was established exclusively as an expert platform, but now it is obvious that the community expects more specific recommendations and political decisions. The role of lawmakers in the IGF becomes more noticeable every year, as does the general attention to regulation in various countries. Therefore, it can be said with certainty that the resolutions on internet issues adopted by the United Nations, which often contradict one another in terms of meaning, can be discussed via the entire system of internet governance forums. It is worth revising IGF status with the possibility of making it a platform for a preliminary discussion on binding UN documents, at which it would be possible to resolve contradictions before submitting them to the General Assembly. German Chancellor Angela Merkel mentioned at the opening ceremony that she would like to see how international agreements are reflected in national legislation, and the IGF can play a much more significant role in this,” said Leonid Levin.
One of the important topics discussed at IGF 2019 is Universal Acceptance (UA), and a separate session was devoted to this topic, where representatives from IT companies and delegates from different countries spoke. Microsoft representatives reported full universal acceptance in their products. Delegates from the German government spoke on state support for UA, which, according to their concept, should accelerate the processes of universal acceptance in the country and simplify this effort with large technology companies. The session was also used to focus on the planned participation of specialists from the Coordination Center for TLD.RU/.РФ in a working group to launch an IDN domain for Laos. IGF 2019 participants were introduced to the report of the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace. The report, which took three years to complete, included the main threats to the stability and security of the global internet and recommendations on how to combat them. In particular, the authors recommend that states and other stakeholders adopt a code for responsible internet behavior and recognize the public core (internet infrastructure) as the highest value, and ensure that state initiatives do not infringe on this core. The report also talks about the unacceptability of cyberattacks, which aim at interfering in elections, referenda and plebiscites.
The Russian delegation also took part in a session on national and regional initiatives, held on November 28. Leonid Levin spoke about the main results of the RIGF. He noted that it is worth creating permanent working groups at international organizations that consist of representatives from government agencies in countries that participate in internet governance processes to develop balanced solutions that meet the interests of all stakeholders. Leonid Levin emphasized that the Russian segment of the internet has been and remains an integral part of the global digital space, and maintaining the bilateral openness of digital borders, the openness of the domestic market for startups and investment is a priority for Russia.
“The Internet Governance Forum is being held for the 14th time, and we can see how the forum has developed. New approaches and new forms of communication with participants appear, new and sometimes completely unexpected topics are discussed, and leading world politicians participate in the forum. We have found many ideas here that will be useful to us when organizing the Russian Internet Governance Forum,” Andrei Vorobyov, Director of the Coordination Center for TLD .RU .RF, said in his impressions of IGF 2019.