David McGuire in Rio -- Well that was entertaining. I'm sitting in the lobby of the Windsor Barra hotel in Rio de Janeiro, and all around me (iPhone photo from my balcony above), the detritus of the Second Annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is being disassembled and packed away. (Ed note: Detritus? WTF, who is this McGuire guy?)
Hard to draw any real conclusions out of the event and that's probably a good thing. In one of the final sessions of the day, Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet, remarked on what made the IGF a good thing.
"It's a non-negotiating climate. Sometimes people disagree, and that's ok."
I certainly can't put it any better than that. In the end, those who had concerns about the current state of Internet governance were heard, as were those opposed to wholesale changes. Companies, advocates and governments were able to collaborate and share best practices, and no chairs were
thrown. Mission accomplished.
If there was any worrisome note in the whole thing, it came toward the end, when one of the Russian delegates announced his intention to ask the UN to create a special working group charged with transitioning control of ICANN to a multinational bureaucracy.
That would obviously be a nightmare scenario, but he's got a tough row to hoe, and it seems unlikely the UN would want to reopen this can of worms so soon after the conclusion of the controversial two-year process that created the IGF.
For the most part, the IGF stayed true to its original purpose. As long as it keeps to that path, it will be remain a unique and worthwhile component of the global Internet governance discussion.