The IE Domain Registry (IEDR), the company responsible for managing and maintaining Ireland’s country domain name, .ie, has called for the creation of a national Internet Policy Forum.

The Internet Policy Forum will provide a platform for Irish businesses, particularly SMEs and micro-businesses; representative bodies like the SFA, REI and IIA; and citizens, through organisations like Cyber Safe Ireland, the ISPAI’s Hotline and CoderDojo, to discuss and debate the implications of Irish and international internet regulations, and the challenges of implementation and enforcement.

Home to the European headquarters of many US corporations, and as a member state of the EU, Ireland is, according to David Curtin, chief executive of IEDR, “between the hammer and the anvil”.

“As a member of the EU, Ireland is obligated to enforce far-reaching data and privacy directives, like GDPR and the NIS, that directly impact US companies operating in this country. Of course, Ireland is also the European operations base for many of these US companies, which support thousands of jobs and businesses,” said Mr Curtin.

“The regulatory decisions made by Europe and America therefore directly and disproportionately affect Ireland. Far from just impacting governments and multinationals, thousands of Irish SMEs are compelled to take on extra costs and administrative work, as well.

“By establishing a national Internet Policy Forum, we can give Ireland’s internet community a platform to discuss and assess the impact of implementation of these regulations, and work together to form recommendations and solutions that can be presented to national and international decision-makers.”

Speaking ahead of Ireland’s third annual Internet Day today, Mr Curtin called on Ireland’s internet community to come together to establish the Forum, challenging those involved or interested in the internet to commit to having it set up by the next Internet Day, in October 2018.

Hosted by IEDR, Ireland’s Internet Day, which coincides with International Internet Day, aims to promote awareness, knowledge, use and understanding of the internet in Ireland by its citizens, businesses and communities. It highlights the achievements of Irish and international internet entrepreneurs and the impact of internet innovations and technologies on society.

This evening, as part of Internet Day celebrations, IEDR will host Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales at a public event in Trinity College Dublin.

Jimmy Wales, previously named as one of TIME Magazine’s most influential people in the world, founded the free encyclopaedia, Wikipedia, in 2001. It is the fifth most visited site globally and counts half a billion unique users each month.

On a mission to combat the rise of ‘fake news’ with evidence-based journalism, this year Mr Wales will launch WikiTribune, a collaborative online news publication that ensures that articles are authored, fact-checked, and verified by professional journalists and community members working side by side as equals.

Mr Curtin said: “Jimmy Wales has been one of the key architects of the modern internet age. His vision of a more open internet, accessible to everyone, is something that aligns with IEDR’s objectives for the internet in Ireland and the overarching theme of Internet Day. We want the internet to be trusted by consumers and small businesses as a platform for e-commerce. We want internet safety so that it is a source of knowledge, information and entertainment for citizens, and particularly for our children.”

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