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Internet Governance Forum in Hyderabad, India

Tomorrow Internet Governance Forum (IGF) starts. The overall discussion topic this year is How to reach the next billion(s), and that builds on the fact that today we have around one billion Internet users. A number that will explode when all different kinds of devices, from cellphones, to TV sets to toasters will be Internet connected.

Myself, I am working on coordinating the session(s) related with multilingualism. The main panel is in the morning, and actually the first session of the IGF (together with some workshops that are in parallel).

Some workshops have been cancelled and panelists have been replaced as many people and organisations have made the decision to not go to India. Although Hyderabad is quite far from Mumbai where we saw the tragic terrorism last week, I do understand that people are worried. And one should never force people traveling or doing what they are worried about.

I do hope this weeks meeting will connect many people, and show the world that the UN process can be used for discussions. Even in new ways, such as this multistakeholder process the IGF is. Given the words from the incoming president in the USA, Barack Obama, that the UN is an important organisation in the world, it might be that the IGF is a more important trial of a multistakeholder process than what even we that participate think.

Unfortunately, we might only know 20-50 years from now how important IGF is. Maybe only 5 years from now after ITU have had their next plenipotentiary conference.

By Patrik Fältström, Technical Director and Head of Security at Netnod

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