Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Resources Page


The seventh annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) will take place in Baku, Azerbaijan on November 6–9, 2012. Convened under the auspices of the UN, the IGF is a forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue covering access, diversity, freedom of expression, security and privacy, development, standards, and cloud computing. On this page, we compile information about CDT staff participation at IGF as well as recent CDT projects and resources that may be of interest to IGF participants.


Kevin Bankston Director of CDT’s Project on Free Expression, will participate in the following panels at IGF 2012:

Title Time Role
Operationalizing cybersecurity nationally and trans-nationally Tuesday Nov 6, 3pm Panelist in workshop (No. 161) on cybersecurity
Internet Policy Infrastructure for Sustainable Internet Development: Lessons from Attempts at IP Enforcement Wednesday Nov 7 at 9am Panelist in workshop (No. 169) on cross-border law enforcement and copyright
Solutions for Enabling Cross-Border Data Flows Wednesday Nov 7 at 2:30pm Lead discussant in workshop (No. 86) on cross-border data flows
Cybersecurity that Achieves Privacy and Civil Liberties Panelist in workshop (No. 173) on cybersecurity



ITU Resource Center

This December, member states of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will gather to update the International Telecommunication Regulations, a treaty of the ITU. Some governments are advocating expansion of ITU authority to include Internet regulation. The issue poses risks to free expression, access to information, and privacy. Since last spring, CDT has been working to analyze treaty proposals and engage global civil society in advocacy on this issue. Find CDT’s analyses, resources for advocates, and other key tools at our ITU Resource Center.

Free Expression

Comments to European Commission on Notice-and-Action
CDT submitted these brief comments in response to a questionnaire from the European Commission on notice-and-action procedures (including the more familiar notice-and-takedown) and Internet intermediaries. The comments offer principles for ensuring that notice-and-action frameworks do not come at the expense of online free expression and access to information.

Regardless of Frontiers: The International Right to Freedom of Expression in the Digital Age” (2011)
This report lays out a broad policy framework, rooted in human rights norms, for advancing free expression in the digital age. This report also surveys current jurisprudence under major international and regional human rights instruments around how the right to free expression has been and should be applied to the Internet.

The Perils of Using the DNS to Address Unlawful Content” (2011)
Policymakers have become interested in using the domain name system (DNS) to block access to unlawful or objectionable content online. The proposals range from seizing domain names to requiring ISPs and other DNS service providers to block domain name lookup requests. This report explains how such approaches are both ineffective and harmful to the open Internet.

International Free Expression on the Internet Resources
CDT has complied links to all the major international and regional human rights agreements, with excerpts of the sections related to free expression. The page also includes links to reports and papers discussing free expression and the Internet.

“Intermediary Liability: Protecting Internet Platforms for Expression and Innovation” (2010)
Internet intermediaries are ISPs, Web hosts and other service providers that transmit or store information created by third parties.  The Internet policy framework in a number of countries limits the liability of these technological intermediaries for the content created by their users.  However, several countries are moving to impose liability on intermediaries.  This paper concludes that policies protecting Internet intermediaries from liability are critical for innovation, development and free expression.

See also CDT Policy Post, “Protecting Internet Platforms for Expression and Innovation” (May 3, 2010)

“Revisiting User Control: the Emergence and Success of a First Amendment Theory for the Internet Age” (2010)
This paper examines the importance of “user control” as an alternative to government regulation of Internet content.


Resources on Data Retention Mandates (2012)
Legal mandates requiring Internet and other communications service providers to retain certain data about all of their users can threaten privacy, free expression, business development and innovation. CDT has created a set of resources on data-retention mandates intended to assist to civil society advocates evaluating national proposals for such mandates. These materials may also be of interest to government officials, businesses, and journalists.

CDT Comments to the European Commission on Consultation on the Legal Framework for the Fundamental Right to Protection of Personal Data” (December 2009)
The EU Data Protection Directive is an important model for protection of personal data in commercial and governmental contexts.  The European Commission is reviewing the Directive, to determine if it needs to be updated to account for changing technology and business practices.  CDT’s comments stress that the privacy principles known as Fair Information Practices remain the best framework for privacy protection.

Internet Governance

The ITU’s WCIT Negotiation: Internet Governance or Just Governing the Internet?
In the debate surrounding the ITU’s World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) a point of contention has been whether “Internet governance” will be on the table. Both industry and civil society actors have raised concerns about the WCIT’s potential to stray into areas of Internet governance and policy, while others have dismissed these concerns as “rumors,” asserting that there are no references to “Internet governance” in WCIT preparatory documents. As we discuss in this post, the answer may depend on who’s defining “Internet governance.”

A Deeper Look: Multistakeholder Organizations and Questions of Legitimacy
This paper explores the question of how multistakeholder organizations establish and affirm their legitimacy as a form of governance. In some cases, legitimacy is simply based on the consent of those who are governed. In other cases, however, a multistakeholder process may involve decisions regarding third parties who are not consenting participants in the process, making legitimacy a much more complex question. The most serious legitimacy concerns arise when actions regarding third parties have the potential to directly impact or limit the fundamental rights of individuals. The paper concludes by posing a set of questions about how to strengthen the legitimacy of existing and proposed multistakeholder organizations.

What Does ‘Governance” Mean?  What Are ‘Critical Internet Resources?‘” (2007)
This paper, prepared for the Second IGF, held in Rio de Janeiro, defines “governance” and “critical Internet resources.”  It shows how different  institutions and different processes – some national, some global, some governmental,  some non-governmental – “govern” different aspects of the Internet.  It explains why certain Internet governance issues are not international but rather in the hands of national governments.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Global Network Initiative
The Global Network Initiative (GNI) provides a framework for companies to systematically examine and mitigate the human rights risks their businesses face in  various countries. The GNI has issued a set of high-level Principles and detailed Implementation Guidelines that  begin to develop a standard for corporate responsibility and human rights due diligence  in the ICT sector.