UN Secretary-General António Guterres (r) addressing the Internet Governance Forum in Paris, France, on 12 November 2018. With him on stage are President Emmanuel Macron of France (l) and UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.
Delegates representing a broad range of interests — from Governments to technology companies — focused on efforts to promote “digital growth” while overcoming many of the abuses of the Internet, as the thirteenth Internet Governance Forum opened in Paris on Monday.
United Nations Secretary‑General António Guterres and President Emmanuel Macron of France called for bolstering policies to contain malicious use of transformative technologies and for turning risks into opportunities.
The Secretary‑General cautioned against emerging negative use of the Internet, emphasizing that cyberattacks, data breaches, hate speech, repression, censorship and control must all be addressed and overcome.
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“Discussions on Internet governance cannot just remain discussions,” he said. “Policy, and relevant normative frameworks, must be developed to ensure impact. We cannot leave our fate in the digital era to the invisible hand of market forces.”
Running from 12 to 14 November, the 2018 Forum brings together more than 3,000 onsite and remote participants from over 99 countries, including representatives of Governments, the technical community, business and civil society as to discuss amplifying digital cooperation.
The Secretary‑General said technology should be harnessed to “empower rather than overpower”, encouraging participants to reach out beyond the “usual suspects”, break out of existing silos and take a more multidisciplinary approach.
That entails engaging with specialists who may not typically be included in technology discussions, including Governments of developing countries, and amplifying the “weak and missing voices” in the conversation.