Broadening Voices: Grassroots Tech Groups and Policy Objectives for Internet Governance

21 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2016

See all articles by Stefania Milan

Stefania Milan

University of Amsterdam

Arne Hintz

Central European University (CEU)

Adilson Cabral

Universidade Federal Fluminense

Date Written: November 11, 2007


This paper presents the results of email interviews that we conducted with members of grassroots tech groups shortly before the second meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Rio de Janeiro in November 2007. With the IGF having emerged from the WSIS process, focusing on a policy area in which civil society actors have traditionally played a crucial role, and allowing broader civil society participation than most other policy arenas, it constitutes an interesting test field regarding the inclusion of grassroots actors. Furthermore, with the Internet having developed largely through the work of actors such as grassroots tech groups, it is crucial to explore whether their policy concerns are reflected in the IGF debates and whether the IGF represents an interesting and worthwhile space for them.

In this paper, we therefore look at policy preferences and at attitudes towards a policy space such as the IGF. However the paper only reflects the initial stages of the project. We are planning to expand our initial focus towards a broader perspective on the relation between grassroots activists in the field of media/communication and policy arenas. In this paper we will first summarise the multi-stakeholder experiences at WSIS as the basis on which civil society participation at IGF developed, then define what we mean by ‘grassroots tech groups’, summarise their responses to a questionnaire on policy objectives and governance structures, and finally make some suggestions on Internet governance, based on these results.

Keywords: GigaNet

Suggested Citation

Milan, Stefania and Hintz, Arne and Cabral, Adilson, Broadening Voices: Grassroots Tech Groups and Policy Objectives for Internet Governance (November 11, 2007). GigaNet: Global Internet Governance Academic Network, Annual Symposium 2007, Available at SSRN: or

Stefania Milan (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam ( email )

Department of Media Studies
Turfdraagsterpad 9
Amsterdam, 1012 XT


Arne Hintz

Central European University (CEU)

Nador utca 9
Budapest, H-1051

Adilson Cabral

Universidade Federal Fluminense

Rua Miguel de Frias, 9
Niteroi, WV Rio DeJaneiro 24220-900

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