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IGF USA Welcome Statement

It is a pleasure to have you here on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the IGF USA. This event is only possible with the support of our sponsors and the tremendous effort of our volunteers, several of whom have been involved since the first event in 2009. I thank all of you; we are sincerely grateful for your contributions.

I am also inspired. Throughout the planning process that brought us here today, I see a commitment to protecting and enhancing this one internet. I see companies, non-profits, individuals, academics, and public sector friends uniting to have a constructive dialogue and find solutions and methods of maximizing the benefit of this one internet.

It is an unwavering commitment to examine data, share impacts, perspectives and research, that brings us here today. In this forum we acknowledge there is work to be done, and that we will explore solutions through this exchange of facts. It is through this information - not anecdote or perceptions or posturing - that we will find solutions. It is a commitment to constant improvement and understanding of the ever-evolving nature of technology that drives us. A commitment to collaborate, here, and with our colleagues around the world.

And we have a large body of information, positions and perspectives to share. We begin today discussing the state of internet privacy in the United States in the context of current models in the EU and California. We also will look to the future at emerging technologies like 5G and AI and the benefits they will bring. We take a look at current legal reforms being discussed - platform liability and antitrust in big tech - from the perspectives of both those providing services and the ways they could impact users and the marketplace. We will examine the efforts to make the core of our internet infrastructure safer and resilient, and talk about ways to make the benefits of the internet available to everyone - because every single American deserves safe, affordable and secure internet access. We close our day talking about how all these things shape public perception and how that potentially impacts the regulatory and governance environment.

With the 50th Anniversary of the moon landing by Apollo 11 we are reminded of the tenacity and effort it takes to accomplish great things. As President Kennedy said, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept... ” I think we can take inspiration from this in how we approach the internet. We are all here, and involved in internet governance, because we accept there is more work to be done and are not daunted by it. We have seen the rewards - in our access to information, healthcare technologies, education, and communication to just name a few. And we choose to continue our work to protect those benefits and to create new ones. We chose not to accept there must be technical trade offs: we can have both encryption and privacy, we can have both high speed and reasonable cost, we can have it all. Because we choose to make this one internet the very best it can be.

So friends, let’s begin.

NOTE: the 10th Internet Governance Forum-USA began today (July 25, 2019) at 8:30 AM in Washington D.C. Tune into the livestream here.