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Ten urgent issues and their solutions
The UNDP Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme launched a major initiative called the Open Regional Dialogue on Internet Governance (ORDIG) in October 2004 with support from IDRC. The first phase of ORDIG, carried out from October 2004 to February 2005, focused on raising awareness and canvassing the views and priority concerns about Internet governance of all stakeholder groups in the Asia-Pacific region.
The initiative sponsored a series of consultations on Internet governance at civil society, governmental and Internet industry meetings across the region. This face-to-face activity was supplemented with a five-week online forum that attracted 180 participants from more than 25 countries in the region. The spirited debate and the wealth of case studies that emerged in both the consultations and the online forum clearly highlighted that Internet governance is far from being an abstract affair, but that it is closely intertwined with and influences the practical experience of providing and using the Internet in many significant ways.
The consultations brought to light a considerable disconnect and some misunderstanding between different stakeholder groups, underscoring the need for a more sustained dialogue and a stronger focus on concrete Internet policy issues, rather than abstract dichotomies such as government versus markets that tend to exaggerate differences and unduly polarise the debate.
The following are the major Internet governance issues that emerged from these regional consultations and from preliminary analysis of a survey that covered 1,240 respondents: (1) viruses; (2) online fraud and cyber crime; (3) spam, or unsolicited commercial email; (4) privacy and personal data protection;
5) domain names and IP address management; (6) harmful content; (7) wireless Internet policies; (8) availability and affordability issues; (9) reliability and speed issues; and (10) availability of public information. Suggested solutions to these problems varied significantly. However, it was generally recognised that no quick fixes exist and most problems require active cooperation between different stakeholder groups for effective solution.