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Ordinary internet users will have a chance to make points and ask questions of the world's governments, not to mention business, engineers and media, over the next four days as the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) opens its doors - both physically and online - for the first time.

The IGF, beginning tomorrow in Athens and continuing until Thursday evening, has been designed to allow everyone to have their say over the problems thrown up by the internet from spam, porn, and cybercrime to censorship, privacy, and open software standards.

Run by the United Nations and with top-ranking officials from governments across the globe including the US, UK and EU in attendance, not to mention leading net companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Cisco, the meeting is the most far-reaching ver held over the internet.

The main sessions of the meeting will be webcast, with audiocasts of the three workshops rooms also provided. In an effort to provide the maximum number of people with input into the discussion however, the IGF will introduce comments from the wider internet into the process itself.

A collaborative website to help build and encourage discussion online has been set up at http://igf2006.info, complete with full information on what is happening in Athens. Those that sign up to the site are given their own blog which feeds into the process, as well as the ability to take part in discussions and forums with those in the room and across the world.

With many of the world's experts and legislators in the room, the meeting plans to make others aware of what is really going on online, and so prevent future mishaps in internet law and policy.

So if you feel strongly about an issue being discussed, or have some insight you feel might be useful - or even if you want to see what the world's experts make of the internet's problems - the next four days provide the chance for you as an ordinary internet user to get involved.

The Register will be providing regular reports from the Athens meeting. ®

Related links

IGF2006.info
Official IGF website
Official Greek website

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