Accountability challenges facing Internet governance today

04 September 2014 - A Workshop on Istanbul,Turkey


IGF 2014 sub theme that this workshop fall under

IGF & The Future of the Internet Ecosystem


Critics of multistakeholder Internet governance have long focused on ICANN accountability and transparency. But issues of who is accountable to whom exist throughout the Internet governance ecosystem. Traditionally, Internet technical organizations have prided themselves on the way that people participated as individuals, rather than as representatives of organizations or businesses, when developing standards and policy. However, as the Internet has grown and become more integrated with all aspects of life, more stakeholders are wishing to participate. Resource limitations, however, mean individual voices are becoming less common and more organizations are beginning to represent, or claim to represent, their communities in wider Internet governance discussions. In addition, as more stakeholders enter Internet governance discussions, it becomes more difficult to assess via direct experience whether the individuals and those stating that they representing wider groups of stakeholders are acting as responsible stakeholders or have other reasons for engaging in processes.

This workshop will discuss accountability mechanisms and gaps in today’s hybrid multistakeholder Internet governance system where stakeholders participate as individuals, as representatives of organizations or groups of stakeholders, or as representatives of entire nation states. Using accountability literature available in (non-Internet) governance as a starting point, the workshop will examine ways to strengthen the accountability mechanisms available to:

• Stakeholders participating directly in multistakeholder Internet governance decision-making processes;
• Organizations representing the collective voice of their communities in high-level Internet governance discussions such as the UN and IGF; and
• Organizations tasked with implementing policies and decisions by their stakeholders.

Name(s) and stakeholder and organizational affiliation(s) of institutional co-organizer(s)

Samantha Dickinson
Technical community
Lingua Synaptica

Mark McFadden
Technical community
InterConnect Communications

Paul Szyndler
Technical Community

Has the proposer, or any of the co-organizers, organized an IGF workshop before?


Type of session


Duration of proposed session

90 minutes

Subject matter #tags that describe the workshop

#multistakeholder #governance #accountability

Names and affiliations (stakeholder group, organization) of speakers the proposer is planning to invite

Anne-Rachel Inné
Technical community

Patrik Falstrom
Technical community
NetNod, Sweden

Rinalia Abdul Rahim
Civil society
Compass Rose Sdn Bhd, Malaysia

Laura Denardis
American University, USA

Adiel Akplogan
Technical community
AfriNIC, Mauritius

Name of Moderator(s)

Maria Farrell

Name of Remote Moderator(s)

Mark McFadden

Description of how the proposer plan to facilitate discussion amongst speakers, audience members and remote participants

The workshop organizers will post a list of questions for discussion in advance of the session and encourage participants to “BYO” (bring your own) examples of accountability successes and not-such-successes from their own experiences.

A report from an auIGF 2014 version of this workshop will be used to stimulate discussion.

To encourage the involvement of less confident participants in the workshop, the moderators will encourage people to use Twitter to post their thoughts. The workshop organizer plan to use the screen in the room to display a Twitter wall to enable members of the room to track can respond to in realtime.

At least one of the two moderators will follow the remote participation room to ensure remote participants can engage, in realtime, with the flow of onsite discussions, preventing the all-too-common problem in remote participation where, by the time the remote moderator reads out a comment, the conversation in the room has already moved on.

Description of the proposer's plans for remote participation

The organizers will use a Twitter hashtag, #accountableIG, before and during the workshop, to encourage remote engagement in the workshop. Any panelists unable to travel to IGF 2014 will be included as remote panelists. To cater for potential network connectivity issues that may prevent realtime participation, remote panelists will be encouraged to produce a short video that can be played onsite.

Background paper

background paper