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Internet Governance remains Crucial for Safer Internet for All by Oludaisi Omokungbe

Without mincing words, the internet is the strongest phenomenal evolution of this century that has altered the way we interact, communicate, conduct business and most importantly, how citizens now engage their governments on accountability, transparency and consensus building to drive and amplify developmental issues. The development of several platforms and channels for internet citizens to dwell, transact and communicate has given rise to see the internet as a building with many rooms for different purposes. This gives rise to why the internet is a multi-dimensional environment with different players and stakeholders pushing separate interests on the same space called the internet.

Without mincing words, the internet is the strongest phenomenal evolution of this century that has altered the way we interact, communicate, conduct business, and most importantly, how citizens now engage their governments on accountability, transparency, and consensus-building to drive and amplify developmental issues.

The development of several platforms and channels for internet citizens to dwell, transact and communicate has given rise to see the internet as a building with many rooms for different purposes. This gives rise to why the internet is a multi-dimensional environment with different players and stakeholders pushing separate interests on the same space called the internet.

The multi-stakeholderism of the internet space calls for an accurate internet governance platform bringing stakeholders on a roundtable to discuss issues of interests peculiar to each stakeholder translating to policies and regulatory framework to make the internet available, affordable, efficient, safe, and reliable for all to push their agenda. It is important to know that no one owns the internet as we must unlearn our belief that government is the Lord of the internet and therefore, could shut down the internet at will.

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According to the Working Group on Internet Governance, it defines “Internet governance is the development and application by Governments, the private sector, and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.”

From this universal definition, we could understand that everyone has a role to play in the governance of the internet space in setting and applying principles, norms, rules, decision-making, procedure, and programs to shape how the internet is governed and used to benefit the different categories of internet citizens that we all are in our respective sectors.

As a user of the internet, you might be asking why you need to be part of internet governance debates; the fact is clear. As a user, you have interests that are peculiar to you which must be protected. Whether as an entrepreneur, who runs a legal and legitimate businesses and brands online, as a consultant with several contents on the internet, or as a user that buys things online; have you ever asked questions about how safe is your personal data that you always supply when accessing internet platforms? You even supply your bank details and pin when shopping online. Don’t you think these are enough reasons for you to join internet governance debates so that your interests could be captured in policy and regulatory formulations?

With the tendencies of the internet taking over almost everything we do on a daily basis, the need for the use of the internet will continue to be on the rise. Understanding emerging topics such as cybersecurity, cybercrime, data protection, and privacy, eCommerce, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), data science and business intelligence become a necessity.

These topics are already defining the future of how we interact, the future of works, and the works of the future. All these puts together are the characteristics of the fourth industrial revolution that would leave behind indelible marks in Africa. For instance, eCommerce has become a phenomenal retail revolution in Africa with growing at 26.8% making it the fastest-growing in the world while other regions are growing by 16.8%.

As of today, only the private sector and the civil society seems to be concerned about how Africa should harness the potency of emerging technologies to drive growth and development in critical sectors while the government is spending huge resources laying siege on how to probably capture and kill any emerging trend which threatens its dominance instead of empowering young innovators to enable and grow our economy. Academia still standing far apart from the current realities of economic trends as no university or polytechnic is offering courses on these emerging subjects. This largely making new graduates unemployable which will continue in the boom of the unemployment market before it would eventually burst.

It is only an internet governance forum that provides multi-stakeholder platforms to address the concerns of all stakeholders to debate and establish the common code and principles on the use of the internet for advancement, effective service delivery to stimulate the growth of actors, and users of the platforms driven by the internet.

The Nigeria School on Internet Governance convened by the Nigeria Internet Governance Forum and Internet Society Nigeria Chapter in Lagos provided a platform for emerging leaders from various parts of Nigeria who emerged 2019 fellows were brought together for one week in Lagos to learn, debate, and draft new policy recommendations for internet governance. Fellows were drawn from the private sector, civil society, academia, technical community, government, and public service sector. The school had in attendance forty-five fellows with one at least from each state of Nigeria.

This is a call for you to join the internet governance forum in Nigeria to advocate and protect your interests, data, and privacy in the internet environment.

Daisi Omokungbe is a Chief Executive Officer of Technocrat Media Nigeria and 2019 fellow of the Nigeria School on Internet Governance. (oludaisi@technocratmediang.com).

This news content remains the copyright of TECHNOCRAT MEDIA, to republish, please seek the consent of our News Editor via editor@technocratmediang.com

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