Last week, the three of us were in Bali, Indonesia, where we attended the 8th Annual Internet Governance Forum in Bali, Indonesia, to continue our ongoing advocacy for the preservation of a free, open, and secure Internet, while also listening to the concerns related to surveillance issues that permeated the dialogue. The discussions throughout the week were intense and thoughtful, provoking questions about the nature of Internet governance and how it affects the average user. And we want to hear from you: how can the State Department help ensure a vibrant, innovative, global Internet?
The Internet was built as an open and inclusive platform, and the United States government is committed to keeping it that way. We believe the global community is best positioned to benefit from a vibrant, growing Internet when industry, civil society, technical communities, and government stakeholders participate jointly in its governance. During our time at the IGF, we reiterated this strong conviction while we collectively seek pathways to increase multistakeholder participation from developing countries.
The dialogue encompassed pressing issues that impact Internet users every day. We discussed the need to deal with cyber threats in an international, collaborative way while finding ways to share the job of cybersecurity across stakeholders and across the globe. In order to maintain a free and open Internet, issues of cybersecurity must be addressed as threats are increasingly broad, sophisticated, and dangerous.
At the same time, we must protect people’s human rights online as we do offline. As we made clear at IGF, our goal is to ensure that anyone, anywhere in the world has access to the Internet as an open platform on which to innovate, learn, organize, associate and express him or herself free from undue interference or censorship. We are proud to have funded the IGF participation of Internet freedom advocates from around the world, and to partner with other likeminded governments through the Freedom Online Coalition to advance this agenda.
During the conference, the recent allegations regarding intelligence collection programs were part of the conversation and the specific subject of a focus session on emerging issues, in which the United States took part. We listened closely to the concerns raised by the international community and committed to taking those concerns back to Washington. We vowed to continue to engage, listen, and work toward constructive mechanisms for addressing the challenges before us while preserving the system that has enabled the success of the global Internet.
We strongly support the IGF as a premier venue for government, industry, civil society, and the technical community to address Internet issues in a broad, creative and collaborative manner. In a demonstration of our commitment to this forum, the United States government recently made a $350,000 contribution to the IGF Secretariat to help ensure its continued vitality. Our sincerest thanks go to the IGF Secretariat, the Multistakeholder Advisory Group, our Indonesian organizers and hosts, and all participants for putting together an informative forum. We are heartened by the continued commitment to the IGF, with the announcement of host countries Turkey, Brazil, and Mexico for the next three years, and we look forward to next year’s Internet Governance Forum in Istanbul.
About the Authors: Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda serves as U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy. Christopher Painter serves as the Secretary of State's Coordinator for Cyber Issues. Scott Busby serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.