auDA was proud to be a sponsor and an active participant at the 2021 NetThing Forum, which was held as a virtual event on 4-5 November. NetThing is Australia’s Internet Governance Forum, an annual event for multi-stakeholder discussion of Internet-related public policy issues in Australia.
NetThing aims to provide an open, diverse and inclusive platform for participants from industry, government, the technical community, academia and civil society to explore ideas for solutions to policy problems and to connect Australia to the regional and global Internet Governance Forums. It’s open to all interested stakeholders.
This year’s theme was ‘Building Bridges’. Sessions were developed following an open call for submissions and covered a wide range of topics, including:
- Protecting Australia’s critical infrastructure
- Vaccine passports and digital rights
- Misinformation and disinformation
- Digital platforms
- Technology and environmental sustainability
- The Internet as an essential service.
You can read more about the sessions and speakers here.
The opening keynote on Day 1 was delivered by Australia’s Ambassador for Cyber Affairs and Critical Technology, Dr Tobias Feakin, who noted the bottom-up multi-stakeholder Internet governance model is under increasing pressure from those seeking to establish state-based control of the Internet. Ambassador Feakin confirmed the Australian Government will continue efforts to push back against a more authoritarian vision for the Internet. He encouraged greater industry engagement with Internet governance and technical standardisation processes to develop appropriate policy and strategies to support and maintain the multi-stakeholder governance model into the future.
Associate Professor Johanna Weaver, Director of the Australian National University’s Tech Policy Design Centre, delivered the keynote on Day 2, speaking about maturing the tech policy ecosystem. Johanna spoke about the importance of having tech policy frameworks that are fit for purpose, and noted the existing policy structures are struggling to keep pace with the rate of tech innovation. She highlighted the need to foster mature public debate on tech policy issues and explained the Tech Policy Design Centre aims to play a key role in this.
auDA also featured on the agenda. Our CEO, Rosemary Sinclair AM, joined auDA Director Sandra Davey in a fireside chat on administering the .au domain for the benefit of all Australians and how auDA delivers value for the Australian community. They discussed auDA’s strategic focus areas of building trust in the .au domain, how auDA supports innovation, and auDA’s commitment to multi-stakeholder engagement.
Our Chief Operating Officer, Dr Bruce Tonkin, joined Alan Woods, Senior Manager of Policy and Compliance, Donuts Inc, and Henry Shirer, Technical Analyst, Cybercrime Operations, Australian Federal Police, in a panel discussion on DNS abuse, moderated by Chris Disspain, Chair of DNS Capital Ltd. The panel discussed what DNS abuse is and how the domain name industry is collaborating to develop solutions to combat it, including through the work of the DNS Abuse Institute. Bruce, who is a member of the Institute’s Advisory Council, noted that around 0.04 percent of domain names in .au are associated with DNS abuse. This is well below the global average but auDA is committed to driving this down even further.
Bart Hogeveen from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute demonstrated the .auCheck webtool, which was developed with support from auDA. .auCheck is designed to help promote the uptake of common Internet security standards by providing a suite of open-source tests that allow users to check whether websites, email domains and connections are set up using the latest, secure Internet standards. .auCheck is currently going through final testing and will be released publicly in 2022.
NetThing 2021 was livestreamed and recorded. To learn more and catch up on any sessions you missed, visit the NetThing website.