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Access, Trust and Freedom: Coordinates for the Future Internet

I am now in Bucharest, Romania at the INET Conference organised by the Internet Society (ISOC). The Internet Society:

[brings] together Members, Chapters, and partners [and] is at the center of the largest global network of people and organizations focused on ensuring the Internet continues to evolve as a platform for innovation, collaboration, and economic development. By tackling issues at the intersection of technology, policy, and education, [they] work collaboratively to preserve and protect the multistakeholder model of development and management that has been key to the Internet’s success.

The one day conference, titled “Access, Trust and Freedom: Coordinates for the Future Internet” had the following topics:

  • Internet access in Romania (from a national and international perspective)
  • Trust and Privacy
  • Freedom of speech
  • The future of the Internet

Opening

The day opened with a short speech in Romanian by Emil Zahan, Director of Cabinet of the Romanian Ministry of Communications. I missed picking up the headsets with the simultaneous translation, so I am not sure what he talked about. Neelie Kroes had recorded a video message for the conference. This is now the third time I have looked at Kroes’ big blown-up face talking about broadband access, privacy, e-inclusion and how there has to be a balance in rights and freedoms on the net. I am not sure that this is an effective way of getting her message out or influencing stakeholders.

Protection, Trust, Privacy: Can we have it all?

View on Bucharest from the Eight Floor of the Palace of the Parliament

View on Bucharest from the Eight Floor of the Palace of the Parliament

After a morning session about Internet in Romania (did you know Romania has the fourth fastest broadband access in the world?) and a very quick visit to the baffling and partly obscene Palace of the Parliament, I attended a panel session about trust and privacy.

According to one of the panelist “privacy” is recognized as a universal right in the Declaration of Human Rights, but there is no universally recognized definition of what “privacy” is.

The stage was set by the CEO of Bitdefender who made us all realise that consumers have no idea about how vulnerable they are and where the problem might lie. There was a lot of discussion about whether educating citizens would be helpful. I personally don’t believe this at all and think most of the speakers underestimated the need for solid architecture that enables smart behaviour by users of Information Technology.

The panelist were too diverse to come to any real discussion. One of them was a policy adviser who had to read from a script, the next person was partly responsible for Romania’s network security and he kept warning people that they need to be aware. A technical director from Microsoft assured us that Microsoft is on top of all the Net’s problems (“probably the only major IT vendor”). The only person who was refreshingly straight in making his point was Professor Joseph Cannataci who clearly had a much better understanding of a problem as whole than his fellow panelist and the audience (not that he had any straightforward answers on how to solve the conundrum).

Scenarios for the Internet of tomorrow

Spread over the day the organisers showed the four scenarios for the future of the Internet that have come out of their scenario planning exercise. You can watch the trailer here:

All videos can be seen on this page. Which scenario tickles your fancy and which one do you think is the most likely to be the outcome in ten years?

Tomorrow…

There will be a workshop for ISOC chapters. Expect another post!

Written by Hans de Zwart

09-11-2011 at 23:12

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