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Net Industry and users unhappy with conference
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A number of individuals and representitives of Internet Industry and User groups have lambasted the organisers and supporters of a conference scheduled for later this week.

The conference, titled "Governance in Cyberspace" is billed as appealing to CEOs, CIOs, Senior Managers and IT Managers, opinion shapers, ISP managers and consultants. Its is intended to focus on issues relating to the control and regulation of the Net, particularly in the areas of:

  • the importation of amphetamine and explosives recipes
  • censorship, cryptography regulation and the effect on economic development
  • Customs and Internal Affairs investigations of NZers accessing "adult" sites
  • Trevor Rodgers' Technology Reform Bill
  • moves to classify documents on the Net
Critics of the conference complain that the presenters do not include an adequate number of truly knowledgeable Net Industry members and that the fee of $450 will ensure that only a select few will be able to attend.

A number of well known Net-Industry figureheads have also called for such conferences to be conducted over the Net, or at least provide some method for Net users to become "virtual attendees" or participate in the discussions using IRC, Real Audio or even usenet. Many consider it farcical that a conference which focuses on the Net as its subject does not seek to to use the Net in any way to reduce the costs and increase the access of its content to those who are affected most by its outcome.

Lin Nah has likened the conference to the recent Social Welfare Dependence Conference which also set ridiculously high attendance fees, effectively denying access to those who perhaps had the most to contribute. Nah mooted the prospect of organising an alternative conference which could also have an on-line component.

Perhaps popular opinion on this conference was best summed up by the phrase "the blind leading the rich".

More information on this issue can be found by following the threads of discussion in the nz.org.isocnz newsgroup.

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