The 2021 NetThing Forum will take place online on Thursday 4 and Friday 5 November and will focus on a metanarrative of ‘Building Bridges', a theme which encompasses all that NetThing stands for and hopes to achieve.
Bridges connect people. They span across those spaces which divide us to make connections and provide an opportunity to share ideas, thoughts and perspectives. NetThing acts as a bridge, existing to provide an open and inclusive platform for the discussion of public policy issues pertaining to the internet in Australia. It was formed under a common will to generate a better understanding of Australia’s internet and technology issues and bring together a multidisciplinary community of stakeholders, each with their own unique perspective on the topics brought forth every year.
The forum bridges the invisible divide between stakeholder groups, bringing them to meet in the middle, a place of neutrality, to discuss their perspectives in a safe and moderated environment.
Once a bridge is built, it remains as it is. It does not collapse or disappear once the day is done. It can be used again and again to serve its purpose as a means of connecting people and keeping communication possible and accessible.
Beyond the spectre of COVID-19, there are important health issues to cover. Did Australia do a good job of communicating the health crisis through the Internet? Are we on the verge of important healthtech breakthroughs?
How can we make the Internet in Australia a more inclusive place? Are we conscious enough of the demographic divide in the Internet, issues of accessibility, remote communities or gender?
Over the last few years, the environment has grown to be an ever more important digital issue. Is Australia dealing with its e-waste in the most sustainable way? Can a ‘smart city’ become more than just an academic buzzword and mean something? Is the negative focus on the Internet’s environmental impact unduly ignoring the power of the Internet in mobilising momentum on climate change.
Some might say we live in a ‘zero trust’ world, but do we really believe it? Here, it would be great to hear about issues of security, digital rights, ethics, disinformation - and everything in between!