Australia’s Ambassador calls for stronger government role in tech future

Ambassador Dowling’s address emphasises the need for greater government involvement in shaping the global technology future and advocates for a multistakeholder approach to internet governance.

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Australia’s Ambassador for Cyber Affairs and Critical Technology, Brendon Dowling, called for greater government involvement in shaping the global technology future.

Speaking at the NetThing 2023 conference, Dowling expressed concerns about the dominant influence of tech companies and other states in shaping the global technological landscape. He called for a united front from the Indo-Pacific region to champion its interests against powerful global players. Dowling expressed optimism that the region would endorse the ongoing multistakeholder model of internet governance during the 18th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) that is scheduled for October.

Dowling raised concerns about the UN potentially diminishing the influence of the technical community in shaping the future of the internet. He underscored the significance of defending a multistakeholder approach, which prevents any single group from exerting undue influence over internet governance.

Ambassador for Cyber Affairs and Critical Technology highlighted the importance of internet governance, noting that it serves as a battleground for geopolitics and ideological differences. He expressed concerns over the intentions of authoritarian states, who aim to curtail the involvement of non-governmental stakeholders in the decision-making process, with the objective of creating a more government-controlled internet.

Upcoming Australian Cybersecurity Strategy

Dowling affirmed Australia’s commitment to transparent international standards development, defending open internet governance, upholding responsible state behaviour in cyberspace, and countering malicious cybercriminal activity.

Ambassador touched upon the forthcoming cybersecurity strategy, expected to be released later this year. He believes it will play a significant role in advocating for the region’s interests in global digital technologies, internet governance, and cybersecurity. The strategy will include initiatives that promote international engagement and cooperation while safeguarding transparent decision-making processes, he concluded.