In Summary
  • Last week, the annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) week – Kenya edition came to a close at a Nairobi Hotel.
  • This year’s policy matters included but are not limited to data governance, digital inclusion, security and safety online.
  • The IGF was precisely made for this type of reality and Kenya continues to make its contributions both locally and at the global level.
  • Its is therefore important to keep the IGF alive by staying engaged and, more importantly, bringing different voices and perspectives to the table.

Last week, the annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) week – Kenya edition came to a close at a Nairobi Hotel. Hosted by the Kenya ICT Action Network and now in its twelfth edition, the IGF week presents the best platform for ICT policy dialogues.

Fashioned along the annual Global Internet Governance Forum, it aims to bring together different stakeholders with different perspectives to discuss contemporary policy matters that the ever-evolving ICT technologies present.

The unique proposition that the IGF presents is that all stakeholders are on ‘equal’ footing.

In other words, whether you are from government, media, academia, civil society or whatever else your stakeholder grouping maybe, your views will be heard and adopted on merit.

APPROACH

Also commonly known as a bottom-up approach to policy making, this is in contrast to the traditional top-bottom approach that nation states are familiar with.

Governing the Internet is therefore quite different from governing countries or state agencies. The Internet’s pervasive nature that cuts across different countries and sectors means that a top-down approach to addressing its emerging challenges would, at best, be ill-suited and, at worst, detrimental to its growth.

This reality was recognised fourteen years ago when the UN Secretary General commissioned the first global IGF, IGF Greece, in 2006.

Since then, there has been an annual gathering of policy makers to discuss challenging public policy matters that technological developments of the Internet present to society.

This year’s policy matters included but are not limited to data governance, digital inclusion, security and safety online.

Data governance is something that Kenyans can identify with, particularly in light of the current effort by government to collect citizen data with respect to the Huduma Namba project.

Typical questions that may arise include the validity of the scope, purpose, security and which third parties would subsequently access this data and under which parameters.

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