UN Digital Summit – Internet Governance Forum 2021 will take place from 6 December to 10 December 2021 in the International Congress Centre in Katowice (Sławika i Antalla 1). It’s one of the largest international conferences on internet governance. The slogan of this year’s edition is “Internet United” – open, free and undivided Internet in which users can enjoy their rights.
The summit will be attended by the UN Secretary General António Guterres, Vice-President of the European Commission Margrethe Vestager, dozens of ministers for digitisation from around the world, business representatives of various continents, as well as activists from non-governmental organisations and the scientific community. During the event, the most important decisions regarding the future of the Internet will be made.
The University of Silesia in Katowice is a partner of the event.
Initiatives of the University of Silesia during the UN summit
The premiere of the monograph “Internet and New Technologies Law. Perspectivies and Challenges” is planned during the summit. The agreement on the establishment of the CYBER SCIENCE Silesian Centre for Legal Engineering, Technology and Digital Competence will be signed as well.
The publication entitled “Internet and New Technologies Law. Perspectives and Challenges” is the result of a research project under the same title, led by Dariusz Szostek, PhD, DLitt, Associate Professor and prof. Mariusz Załucki. The project was carried out as part of the activities of the Virtual Department of Ethics and Law, of which the University of Silesia is a member. The monograph was published by the prestigious German publishing house NOMOS and will be distributed to all participants of the UN Digital Summit.
In the monograph, researchers from five continents (Australia, Asia, South America, North America and Europe) indicate the threats to the future of the Internet and propose their recommendations for UN activities. The group of scientists includes many employees from the University of Silesia: prof. Ewa Rott-Pietrzyk, Monika Jagielska, PhD, DLitt, Associate Professor, Dariusz Szostek, PhD, DLitt, Associate Professor, Gabriela Bar, PhD, and Magdalena Stryja MA. A discussion panel on this topic will tke place during the summit on 6 December 2021, at 4.30 p.m.
Four research centres will cooperate in order to establish the CYBER SCIENCE Silesian Centre for Legal Engineering, Technology and Digital Competence. The innovative unit will combine science and teaching of: University of Silesia, University of Economics in Katowice, Silesian University of Technology, and National Research Institute NASK.
The scope of scientific cooperation (joint research projects) and didactic cooperation (postgraduate studies, and later also lectures for students) will include such issues as: cybersecurity, LegalTech, FintTech, Digital Economy, AI (artificial intelligence), blockchain, and electronic identification. As a result, classes at the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Silesia, devoted to e.g. the legal aspects of AI, can be supplemented with lectures in the field the technological approach to AI by scientists from the Silesian University of Technology and lectures in the field of AI certification and its use in counteracting cyber attacks conducted by NASK specialists.
The Centre also intends to promote the introduction of new technologies at universities and to teach students how to use them. The students of the Faculty of Law and Administration US will be able to develop in the field of contract encoding in smart contract. They will also learn about the issues related to the risks of Internet addiction. The students of Silesian University of Technology, on the other hand, will be able to learn about the legal aspects of technology and related limitations, as well as learn how applications can negatively affect children.
The activities of the Centre will be based on the experience of professionals on the market, not necessarily scientists. The education will be supplemented with practical aspects and a business perspective.
The new unit will combine interdisciplinary science, technology, academic community and business. The centre is to be available to all students at the same time, therefore its activity will be mainly functioning in cyberspace.
The agreement will be signed on 6 December 2021 at 4.30 p.m. during the UN Digital Summit. The document will be signed by: the Rector of the University of Silesia, Prof. Ryszard Koziołek, the Rector of the Silesian University of Technology, Prof. Eng. Arkadiusz Mężyk, the Rector of the University of Economics in Katowice, Prof. Celina Olszak, and NASK director, Wojciech Pawlak.
Graphics promoting the UN summit – IGF 2021
The programme of the main phase of the Digital Summit (7-10 December) and the so-called day zero (6 December) includes over 300 different activities such as workshops, open discussion forums, group and networking sessions, high-level sessions with representatives of different countries and international organisations, as well as a parliamentary session.
Participants will also be able to take part in workshops led by people from all over the world. They will be devoted, among others, protecting children online, sustainable consumption in e-commerce, digital rights and obligations, as well as freedom of speech (full list of workshops).
The programme is available on the event website and is constantly updated.
In order to participate in the event, you must complete the registration form, which is available at: www.intgovforum.org. Then, please confirm your application by clicking on the link sent to the e-mail provided in the form. Registration is free.
“Youth Summit” Project
The event includes the “Youth Summit” project, directed towards people between the ages of 18 and 30. Its aim is to create a space for young people to actively participate in the process of internet governance via a dialogue between representatives of governments, international organisations, the private sector, and academia on topics such as cyber security, digital inclusion, and sustainable digital development.
The theme of this year’s project will be policy-making and skills connected with reaching various interest groups.
Currently, 81 selected people are participating in the “Youth Summit” project. They are divided into different, dedicated working groups such as government administration, the private sector, the information society, and technical community. The participants come from all over the world: Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, North America, Asia and Europe.
Youth IGF Poland is an initiative created in 2020 in cooperation with the National Research Institute NASK. It is an open forum for the exchange of experiences and views on Internet governance in the national and international arena operating within the UN.