IGF USA - A Growing National Presence for Digital Initiatives

July 21 2020

Authored by: Dustin Loup 4 Minute Read

About.us article

Disclaimer: I serve as the Co-Chair of the IGF-USA, along with my Co-Chair Melinda Clem.

The Internet Governance Forum USA (IGF-USA), which can be found online at igfusa.us, is a community-driven initiative that brings together participants from industry, government, civil society, academia, and technical experts to develop programming that promotes and advances dialogue on the most important issues facing the Internet in the USA.

The IGF-USA is the best opportunity in the US to participate in open, inclusive and transparent discussions around the issues facing the future of the Internet. Every year the IGF-USA community kicks off its work by surveying the Internet policy community to identify major issues that should be addressed and discussed at its annual conference in July. Following the survey, the community works together in a bottom-up process to develop programming, in the form of panels of experts that address the topics that were identified as priorities.

It is also an opportunity for businesses and organizations with an online presence, both big and small, to learn about the technical and governance environments that they operate in.

IGF-USA 2020

This year the IGF-USA will be held as a virtual conference for the first time and will happen online on July 22 and 23. As could be expected, the COVID-19 crisis has become a major focal point of this year’s event, as the Internet has been essential to our lives in ways that we didn’t envision just a few months ago.

The global pandemic has demonstrated the immense value that the Internet brings to society, while raising awareness of the gaps and concerns about the implications for privacy, security, and more. The issues that we will discuss at the IGF-USA 2020 are more important than ever and you can expect the high level of dialogue and exchange of ideas that this conference is known for.

Below is a list of topics, based on community feedback, that will be presented during the conference. It is free and open to all participants. You can register here.


Did America’s Tech Industry Deliver for Americans during the COVID Crisis?

This panel examines the role of technology in our lives during COVID-19.

5G, Security, and the Internet of Things

This panel discusses the security of the next generation of wireless technology and IoT.

Policy Debate on the Encrypted Internet and Lawful Access

During this session two teams on opposite sides of the encryption issue will debate each other.

Should Online Platforms Moderate and be Accountable for User-Created Content?

This panel examines competing pressures on platform content moderation.

Privacy in the Age of COVID-19: Public Health and Individual Rights

This panel will address digital privacy policy in the U.S. in the context of the public health crisis through short and long-term lenses.

What does Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Big Data Mean for the Internet?

This roundtable will explore real-world use cases where AI could the Internet better or worse.

Network Security and Cyber Attacks Users Don’t See (or Understand)

This panel will discuss ways of securing the Internet for users, with a specific focus on the infrastructure.

Impact of COVID-19 on Learners and Educators

This panel will discuss digital inclusion and education and the ways in which COVID-19 has highlighted the digital divide.

COVID-19 and Internet Governance: Where do we go from here                                        

This closing session will be focused on what COVID-19 means for the future of Internet governance!

A Unique Year

The IGF-USA 2020 is fully virtual for the first time in the 11 year history due to the circumstances with COVID-19. In doing so, we have been able to expand the conference from 1 to 2 days, which has allowed us to provide a dedicated time slot to each session, meaning that there are no concurrent sessions. This will allow participants to engage at a deeper level with all of the subject matter that we are tackling at the IGF-USA 2020.

We are also excited about the prospects for growing our national audience, which has been a major focus of the IGF-USA for the past several years. WIth this year’s conference being fully remote, everyone can participate in the IGF-USA on an even playing field regardless of location!

A Growing National Presence for a National Initiative

The IGF-USA has had a strong national and international presence over the course of the last 10 years, holding its own annual conferences in Washington, DC and participating in global conferences across the globe. In recent years, we have focused on facilitating discussions across the US.

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