of Communications Faculty-Student Team
Conducted Research at World Internet
team that included two faculty members, four students and two
staff members did research and reporting at the Internet
Governance Forum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Nov. 9-16. The
conference was administrated by the United Nations. The group
represented Elon's Imagining the Internet Project.
Partial funding for the trip was provided by the Pew Internet
& American Life Project.
School of Communications faculty members Janna Quitney
Anderson and Connie Book led the initiative.
>> Click here to access the daily reporting and
videos produced by the School of Communications
Anderson oversaw reporting on the Internet Governance Forum
(IGF), writing articles for North Carolina newspapers and the
Internet Web site, and working with students and staff
members to produce a series of daily video reports on the
issues that make up the agenda of the forum. (Click
here to read Anderson's article in the Nov. 11 Raleigh
News & Observer)
Book led the data-gathering for a survey of the more than
2,000 people from around the world who have gathered to
discuss critical Internet issues at IGF, an event facilitated
by the United Nations to allow people to come together to
discuss the future of the Internet and their hopes and
concerns about this evolving technology.
The first IGF took place in Athens in 2006, and was attended
by Anderson, student Erin Barnett and audio producer Bryan
Baker. Anderson was a featured speaker on an IGF Rio de
Janeiro Dynamic Coalition panel on access and the digital
divide that includes Internet protocol co-inventor Vint Cerf,
the chief Internet evangelist at Google. As part of her
presentation, she showed a 5-minute excerpt from the
documentary film that Barnett created from the Athens IGF
footage as part of a Summer Undergraduate Research Experience
project at Elon.
Future IGF gatherings are scheduled for India, Egypt, and
Lithuania or Azerbaijan.
who produced the videos and assisted with the Future of
Internet Policy survey work at IGF Rio de Janeiro were senior
Michele Hammerbacher, junior Anne Nicholson and sophomores
Dannika Lewis and Eryn Gradwell. Assisting with photography,
video production and technology for the initiative were J.
McMerty, coordinator of video projects for the School of
Communications, and Dan Anderson, assistant vice president
and director of university relations.
The team will explored the following issues:
How can we allow more people to connect to the
What are the infrastructure barriers? What are the
What about people in developing countries, rural areas,
What about the threat of economic barriers that could
impede access to parts or all of the Internet?
What about the threat of some nations creating separate
Internets that act as "walled gardens" that limit
access to other networks?
The Internet is currently dominated by Western culture and
languages, because that is where it got its start. How can
we expand the scope and make it more diverse in
How do we make certain that ICANN and other groups that
control the root servers and domain-naming systems of the
internet are fair and inclusive?
How can we encourage and support more local,
How can we adapt the technology to reach disabled people?
The elderly? The illiterate?
How can we foster freedom of expression?
How can we protect privacy and property rights
without limiting freedom of expression?
What about the filters imposed by governments?
How do we balance the relationships between human rights,
private enterprise and government rules?
How can we promote open-source software and guard against
How do we deal with threats to countries? Businesses?
What can we do about identity theft?
What can we do to deal with cyber crime? Cyber terrorism?
How can we create laws that cross borders? What are the
threats to international relations?
How do we balance the need for authentication vs. the
advantages of anonymity?
What about the threats against children, abuse and
exploitation? Pornography? Scams? Spam? Viruses? Network
Critical Internet Resources
How should the control systems, infrastructure, domain
name system and other important mechanisms that allow the
Internet to function evolve? Who should control these