From 22-25 October 2013, over 2,000 government, civil society and private sector delegates from around the world gathered in Bali, Indonesia for the 8th Internet Governance Forum (IGF 2013).
Along with the Citizen Lab, twelve members of the Cyber Stewards Network participated in the Forum and its many side events. Cyber Stewards participated on various panels, such as Hivos’ Civil Society and Internet Governance: Multi-Stakeholder Engagement Practices from Southeast Asia and Beyond, as well as the Google Open Forum. The IGF organising committee, which includes Cyber Steward Donny Utoyo of ICT Watch, was commended by many for making a valiant effort in encouraging a vibrant civil society presence.
On 21 October, Citizen Lab Director Ron Deibert addressed the High Level Leaders Meeting. In his remarks, Deibert emphasized the need for civil society to put forward a security strategy for cyberspace from the starting point of human rights and the rule of law, as well as the need to give meaning in the real world to the idea of “multi-stakeholderism.”
“The term is mouthed so often by those who do not practice what they preach that it has become an empty euphemism,” Deibert said.
The comments are particularly relevant as the overarching theme for IGF2013 is “Building Bridges”- Enhancing Multistakeholder Cooperation for Growth and Sustainable Development”.
On 25 October, Citizen Lab co-hosted a panel with Google Research on “Measuring Internet Rights and Openness”. The panel featured Cyber Steward Shahzad Ahmad and a local researcher.
The elephant in the room at this year’s IGF was Edward Snowden, as government delegates fielded questions about the role of the state in cyber surveillance. The Bali IGF is the first IGF since Snowden released revelations about NSA spying activities.
The Citizen Lab also launched a series that explores online freedom of expression and the state of information controls in Indonesia in the context of their role as host of this year’s IGF.
Titled “Monitoring Information Controls During the Bali IGF,” the series compares Indonesia’s information controls with similar practices in the region, the rest of the world, and events similar to the IGF, and examine how these practices are driven by Indonesia’s social, political, and cultural context, and the role that international norms play in influencing a country’s information controls.
Several Citizen Lab staff, associates and Indonesian members of the Cyber Stewards Network who are attending the IGF are participating in the research for these posts, including those who have been situated in Indonesia for some time as part of the civil society stakeholder preparations for the IGF.
Citizen Lab also held a press conference which was attended by a number of local press groups and resulted in much press coverage (see the following news coverage in Bahasa Indonesia here, here, here and here).