Internet2 Community Voices Series: Leveraging the Power of the Research and Education Community for Internet Advocacy

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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Register for The Important Role for R&E in Internet Governance and Technology Policy event held Thursday, June 3 at 1 p.m. ET.

By Andrew Gallo, Principal IT Architect at The George Washington; Anita Nikolich, Director of Research and Technology Innovation and Research Scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Mark Johnson, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Communications Technologies at UNC-Chapel Hill

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Technology policy and internet governance decisions directly affect the research and education (R&E) community. Broadband funding, strong encryption, 5G deployment, metadata collection from test proctoring and student success software, spectrum allocation, the ability to research Internet security vulnerabilities, freedom of expression on the Internet, and online censorship are just a few issues that are critically important to the academic enterprise. 

The R&E community used to have a larger say in such debates. The loudest voices are now large companies, equipment vendors, and content providers, each of which have substantial numbers of lobbyists and a financial interest in the outcome.

The same is true of Internet governance. Operators of R&E networks and academic researchers have not been as active in recent years, eclipsed by more powerful, for-profit entities. This has shifted the balance of power toward other organizations whose interests may differ from those of the R&E community.

We’ve assembled a group of leaders who have participated in the policy making process, either as members and advocates of the R&E community, or as government officials receiving and acting on public input:

  • Steve Corbato, Executive Director, Link Oregon
  • Jack Seuss, Vice President of Information Technology and CIO, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • Greg Jackson, former Vice President for Policy, EDUCAUSE

This dynamic group of speakers will cover topics on broadband policy, advocacy, cybersecurity and identity management, and tips on how to talk to policy makers. We’ll provide examples of past successes of the collective power of R&E in policy debates, talk about the difference between lobbying and advocacy and what are we allowed to do, and suggest high profile topics the R&E community should consider addressing first.

The R&E community has a vested interest and responsibility to actively engage in these areas to inform policy makers and continue to advocate for the public interest in an open and free Internet. I hope you will join us on Thursday, June 3 at 1 p.m. ET as we present on the need for advocacy and discuss how your institution can engage with policy makers at both the state and federal levels.

The Internet2 Community Voices Series provides the opportunity to hear from experts, learn from their research, and connect with the community each month beginning in May 2021. Each talk is a stand-alone event, with a registration to access the live talk and the post-event recording and supporting materials.