Elon University

2010 Global IGF Survey: Eight questions about the future of the Internet

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IGF Survey Taker 2010 Photo A research team from Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center conducted interviews at the Global Internet Governance Forum, in Vilnius, Lithuania, Sept. 14-17, 2010. The survey assessed people’s attitudes about the future of the Internet, informing policy, identifying key issues and providing a record of what people today think about the likely future of communications and human networks. The following links lead to pages with hundreds of video clips that offer up a selection of representative answers to the following questions:

> Is Internet access a fundamental human right? Explain.

> Intermediaries are at work as the Internet grows. Five years from now will the Internet be more open and accessible, about the same, or less so? Will it be fragmented. How do you see this evolving?

> If the mandate is extended to 2015 how could IGF change the world? What are top goals, issues, the differences that might be made?

> What is your greatest hope for the future of the Internet?

> What is your greatest fear or concern for the future of the Internet?

> What are the most important positives and negatives of cloud computing?

> What is the biggest challenge, opportunity or change that the mobile Internet will bring?

> What does the Internet mean for the future of the world? (Say it in 10 seconds or less.)

Methodology for video survey: Thanks to all participants who shared their time and expertise by granting interviews. If you were interviewed and do not see your comments here, the content was not used due to technical difficulties; no interviews that were completed and viewable were left out of these question-answer sets.

IGF participants were invited to stop by at the Imagining the Internet location in the IGF Village, where interviews were conducted in an open, public setting during the four days of IGF. Additional interviews were conducted with people randomly selected as they emerged from IGF workshops. Questions were asked in English.

All respondents were given a release form to sign that had the survey questions on it. All respondents were asked the questions in the same way, with a brief objective elaboration added on the rare occasion when interview subjects asked for reinforcement. (English is not the native language of many respondents.)

Video clips contain respondents’ full answers when possible; if they were too lengthy, they may have been edited slightly to fit while still retaining the respondent’s key points; if some people seem to have been given a longer time to share their views, it is because they took more time to answer the questions. Respondents were allowed to speak as long as they wished in answering each question, but because the forum is heavily scheduled with many important events and people were fitting the interviews into tight schedules it is highly likely that some may have been rushed and they may not have the time to give longer, deeper answers. Thus most responses recorded are likely to be participants’ quick, top-of-mind reactions.

Participants in the Internet Governance Caucus, members of the UN IGF Secretariat staff and members of the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group were asked to contribute their suggestions for survey questions, which were formulated after an assessment of their contributions and of IGF preparation documents and transcripts.

Interviews were conducted by Samantha Baranowski, Kirsten Bennett and Drew Smith, researchers from Elon University’s School of Communications, under the supervision of Glenn Scott, associate professor, and Janna Anderson, associate professor and director of the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon.

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