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Community Projects 19 February 2015

Asia-Pacific Bureau prepares for Year of the Goat

By Rajnesh Singh Regional Bureau Director for Asia-Pacific

(Photo: The Goat is Coming! -  CC BY-SA)

There has been a lot of conjecture about the upcoming Chinese New Year in Asia, much of it centering on whether the region will be starting the Year of the Sheep, the Goat or even the Ram. The confusion arises from the fact that the pinyin character involved can mean either sheep or goat, with more specific words to differentiate between them.

The Internet Society’s Asia-Pacific Bureau prefers the goat because of what this animal represents and how some of the goat’s characteristics may come in handy over the next 12 months. Consider the goat’s reputation for hardiness, and for being able to climb almost any territory, even over many obstacles. Likewise, on the Internet policy horizon, we have a number of things that we will need to collectively climb ─ and we hope to have the goat’s skills and abilities in doing so.

Already this month, the WSIS+10 review process is well underway, with in-person meetings and resolutions scheduled throughout the year concerning the future of the Internet. Much as the original WSIS did in 2003 and 2005, the outcomes of WSIS +10 will likely have far-reaching impact on how we all use and understand the Internet in years to come.

The smooth transition of the IANA functions to the global multistakeholder community was one of the key issues at the recent ICANN 52 meeting in Singapore, and will need a great deal of collaboration and cooperation to ensure the multistakeholder model that has been successful to date continues. The Internet Society Board of Trustees during its February 2015 meeting also highlighted accountability and transparency as two core principles for the continued evolution of the Internet ecosystem.

Also high on the Internet Governance list of topics is the IGF mandate renewal, which can have significant implications on data security and privacy. The European Parliament earlier this month voted for the renewal of the IGF mandate, and cooperation by the wider international community and stakeholders will be necessary to help push this at the UN level.

As the mobile Internet increasingly becomes the primary method of access the world over (indeed in Asia, we tend to say it’s already a mobile-first Internet) and more and more people become connected, discussions continue on topics such as freedom of expression, human rights, censorship and surveillance, privacy and data protection.

Moreover, our ability to continue to trust the Internet is essential. We all need to play a part in ensuring that this trust can continue. Security is not just the domain of a few, but it is every single person’s concern, and everyone should get involved via continued collaboration, cooperation and education to ensure that the Internet of today and of the future remains trusted, open and safe.

So as we head into this Chinese New Year, let’s all make a vow to be more goat-like: tenacious, hardy and able to climb the toughest mountains and surmount all obstacles. Come next year, the Internet will be the better for it. And hopefully smarter – it’ll be the Year of the Monkey next.

Happy Lunar New Year from the team at the Internet Society!

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