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The session started with introductions by Cristina Monti, European Commission on how and why the Global Internet Policy Observatory (GIPO) was created. Monti talked about the increasing importance of Internet governance globally in the last ten years and how, due to the complex nature along with the multistakeholder approach, a platform which summarised, simplified and up-to-date news on the field was needed. With features like real-time monitoring, analysis and information sharing functions, GIPO was created to be a tool for everyone, using open source technologies as much as possible alongside with automation. At the same time, transparency is also an important feature, she stressed.
Kasia Jakimowicz, GIPO Team, explained how GIPO started a mapping process of 33 initiatives identified through surveys. Most of them were relatively small and with limited budgets. She stated that GIPO is an automated tool that feeds from other platforms, looking at the broader perspective, adopting a federation approach which works two ways. Stakeholders and users can learn from it as well as contribute to it. It’s an initiative that brings together many platforms to provide information about developments in the Internet governance sphere.
She mentioned that the issues are listed around a taxonomy developed by DiploFoundation. GIPO users also have an option to visualise and customise the information according to their interests and needs. Users can choose maps from the dashboards and see which topics are unfolding in which regions and countries. It is possible for users to customise GIPO depending on their skills, for example with basic HTML skills one can have a RSS feed option, with basic developer skills one can have AP and so on. Another feature of the tool is to connect GIPO to individual websites in order to create one’s own observatory. This helps users to focus on curation of information and have a live feed of information flow. Examples of different customised options of GIPO were displayed.
As for the next steps for GIPO, it was stated that the development is ongoing, release of improved versions was continuing based on feedback from stakeholders. Another aim is to reach more people in the following year.
Andrea Calderaro, Director and Lecturer in International Relations, Centre for Internet and Global Politics, Cardiff University, talked about the role of the advisory group in creating and improving GIPO. Its members are geographically diverse with individuals who are experts in their fields and passionate about Internet governance. As an initiative supported by the European Commission, one of GIPO’s main goals is to connect the somehow fragmented discourse around Internet governance.
He stated how ten years ago, mostly connected and developed nations were in the discussion revolving around Internet governance and now fortunately many more countries have joined and are still joining the discussion in recent years. On the downside, this made following the discussion and the amount of information increase in a huge way. Calderaro said, ‘GIPO’s aim isn’t producing new documents or guidelines but to make the info more accessible and available online.’ And while there’s still a lot of work to do from a technical perspective, in terms of sustainability the tool needs to stay alive over time.
The session continued with the explanation of the various features of the tool including its multilingual nature. The participants were invited to explore and experience the tool themselves especially the visualisation tools.
Afterwards the floor opened to participants for questions and comments. Questions from participants included if any statistics of the use of the tool was available especially concerning different language aspects. The audience was informed that the platform is designed to recognise the metadata across different languages, even if exact percentages aren’t available, users can follow which topics are more prevalent in different countries. A UK government representative asked if there was an opportunity to have collaborations with an audio visual observatory and if the tool could be tailored for the use of national and regional IGFs. Monti stated that IGFs could customise and embed the tool in their websites very easily and that the global IGF website was testing the use of GIPO on their website, and that GIPO was already in touch with the audio-visual observatory.
The speakers also mentioned a dedicated session on observatory co-operation that will take place in Day 3.
Calls were made to contribute to the program and attend the next EuroDIG which will be held in Tallin, 6-7 June 2017 by Piret Urb from the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
by Su Sonia Herring, Internet Society Turkey