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Internet Leaders Convene At IGF 2014 In Turkey; Forum On ‘Connecting Continents’ Hear Ideas, Questions On Future Of Cyberspace

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By Arlene Paredes | September 5, 2014 4:03 PM EST

Internet leaders from different parts of the world have gathered in Istanbul, Turkey for the ninth annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), where key issues on the future of the cyberspace are tackled.

According to its official website, the IGF "provides an interactive, collaborative space where all stakeholders can air their views and exchange ideas." This year's theme is "Connecting Continents for Enhanced Multi-stakeholder Internet Governance."

"We want to foster an accessible, open, secure and trustworthy Internet, and people are coming to the Internet Governance Forum to debate the actions that could affect every Internet user today and tomorrow," UN Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs Thomas Gass of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs was quoted in this UN report.

"(W)e will [focus] on critical Internet resources, cybersecurity, international copyright issues in developing nations and capacity building in emerging nations,"

"Look at how the economy is, this Internet economy is bringing more inequality," Diego Molano Vega, Minister of Information Technologies and Communications of Colombia, said at the Opening Ceremony of IGF 2014. He called for an in-depth look into the situation of the cyberspace in relation to the real world.

The global economy, unemployment rate, human rights violations, as well as protection of the children's welfare in the Web are among the topics being discussed at IGF 2014.

"[IGF 2014] should answer the question: 'Where is cyberspace?'" says Pan Jung Lee, CEO of Seoul-based Netpia.com.

"If [internet leaders] would realise where the cyberspace is, then it will be clear to them that it is being misused and abused right from the entrance. I personally would like to address the issue of the proper use of the Internet Address Bar," Mr Lee added, noting that small to medium businesses around the world will be saved if only the address bar is used fairly. (He explains the details in this blog.)

"Every employee is part of a certain company division. Why is it that when the employees go online, they work in portals, not in their division's website?" Mr Lee stressed.

Some resource speakers are also calling for greater awareness on how the internet is affecting various commercial industries.

"Internet is not -- as many people honestly and truly believe -- the solution to the problems of job displacement and job creation," Prof. Eli Noam of the Columbia Business School said in one of the IGF 2014 workshops.

"[The Internet] actually really (is) a significant part of the problem itself," added Prof. Noam.

Various internet and society leaders are bringing up their advocacies at the IGF 2014. Ideas on protecting the Internet end-users, as well as questions like "where is the cyberspace," are expected to get more engaging as the event draws to a close on Friday.

The IGF exists "to support the United Nations Secretary-General in carrying out the mandate from the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) with regard to convening a new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue."

IGF 2014 runs from Sept. 2 to Sept. 5 (GMT +2). Online participation is made possible by the forum organisers.

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