IGF 2021 Reports

IGF 2021 DC-Sustainability Internet governance and news media sustainability

Updated: Wed, 18/05/2022 - 09:32
Emerging Regulation: Market Structure, Content, Data And Consumer Rights and Protection
Key Takeaways:

Journalism has a fundamental role in ensuring accountability and transparency in all areas of society. Journalism’s independence and health is prerequisite for other areas of development.

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Trust initiatives are also about making media organisations visible. Being trusted has become a major challenge for most media outlets.

Calls to Action

The sustainability of journalism has to be a more central concern of the Internet governance policy agenda.

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Need for engagement of both media organisations and tech companies in trust initiatives to make these solutions more scalable and inclusive.

Session Report

At the Internet Governance Forum in Katowice, Poland, GFMD’s Courtney Radsch chaired a discussion on the role of trust-building initiatives in fighting disinformation and strengthening media sustainability.

The growing recognition of journalism’s fundamental role in ensuring accountability and transparency in all areas of society and that journalism’s independence and health is prerequisite for other areas of development, is – not before time – leading to the sustainability of journalism becoming a more central concern of the Internet governance policy agenda.

One of the drivers of this change in perspective is the Dynamic Coalition on the Sustainability of Journalism and News Media which hosted a panel discussion on 9 December at the 2021 Internet Governance Forum in Katowice, Poland. The “DC-Sustainability” – launched in 2019 – is an official dynamic coalition of the IGF and provides opportunities for coalition building around how to inform the broader debate over how to ensure news media sustainability in the digital age.

Chaired in-person by Dr Courtney Radsch, GFMD’s Tech Policy Advisor, and online by Daniel O’Maley of CIMA, the panel brought together members of the coalition to discuss the progress, effectiveness and interoperability of some of the leading journalism trust initiatives.

 

Ads for News

Jason Lambert, Senior Director of Media Business at Internews, explained that Ads for News was created in response to a crisis of trust between advertisers, news publishers and platforms.

“Back in 2017 many of the world’s largest brands pulled their advertising from the big platforms after finding their ads were being placed next to extremist content or web pages.”

This wake-up call for the news industry was the catalyst for the formation of the United for News Coalition that develops and maintains an inclusion list of 8,000 trusted news media in 30 countries that is available for free to media buyers. Being trusted has become a major challenge for most media outlets. Being proactive and engaging in Ads for News and other similar initiatives, Lambert said, can help build trust not just with audiences and advertisers but also inside the media ecosystem, such as identifying who to collaborate with for cross border investigative stories.

 

Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI)

The Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI) aims at a healthier information space. It is developing and implementing indicators for the trustworthiness of journalism and thus, promotes and rewards compliance with professional norms and ethics. The JTI was originally launched and is now operated by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The Head of the Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI) Olaf Steenfadt, RSF explained that among the ingredients to make the Journalism Trust Initiative work Olaf Steenfadt are:

  • Scalability
  • Machine readability
  • Enabling environment of regulation and co-regulation

Steenfadt described JTI as an example of “Middleware” – a middle layer of different tools and instruments between big tech and consumers which offer a choice and empower the users – a term coined by Francis Fukuyama and others in a 2020 article for Foreign Affairs: How to Save Democracy From Technology.

Fukuyama and his co-authors postulated that if efforts to break up the monopolies of big tech, search and social media fail, an alternative could be to create a middle layer of different tools and instruments and plugins, between big tech and to the consumer. These tools, Steenfadt said, have the potential to create pluralism and empower users by offering choice even if we still have to live with monopolies in certain areas.

 

The other side of disinformation: the sociology of information consumption.

Platforms and algorithms are only the technological side of the problem, we also have to consider the human aspects of information consumption – how people consume information and why.

Claire Wardle, US Director of First Draft News, told even that “the real challenge that everybody is trying to solve here is this idea of heuristics”, a mental shortcut that allows people to solve problems and make judgments quickly and efficiently.

“When we’re scrolling everything online looks similar. So our brains are looking for these cues to try and make sense of it. So enabling people to understand through a visual cue that this is a trustworthy organisation is important”.

To understand the sociology behind disinformation, Wardle argued, it is also crucial to understand the participatory and dynamic nature of the information ecosystem where “consumers have choices and can “seek out and consume information that reinforces their worldview”.

Wardle challenged those that work countering disinformation to consider how we can “learn from the disinformation ecosystem where people feel heard and feel they have agency?”

“It doesn’t matter how many credibility indicators we have, if we don’t fundamentally understand that relationship that audiences want to have with their information providers.”

 

“Glocal” Trust: how can we create scalable solutions?

What about scalable solutions for developing countries? They are less connected, have fewer news sources and can’t compete in the engagement algorithms because their audiences sometimes are too small. And, last but not least, how does this work in other non-western character languages?

Speakers noted that it is crucial to decipher the markets and to understand the local context. Testing of instruments to implement could also be quite useful as it helps to detect flaws, address them, upskill the staff and come out of this process more experienced. The linguistic aspect is also related to our ability to listen to what’s going on in the field.

“Most trust initiatives have been built in US or Western Europe. We need more research, more understanding, more partnerships with people on the ground. Existence of different media ecosystems – not an easy way of describing them. Funding research to answer what does credibility look like in Thailand? What does it look like in Malawi?, because without that, without a true understanding, we’re not going to be able to scale at all, we’re going to scale with some really problematic unintended consequences that we’ve seen the platform’s do. So I think we have to learn from the mistakes they’ve made. We can’t scale similarly, unless we have a true understanding of what’s happening on the ground.” Claire Wardle, US Director, First Draft News.

Claire Wardle acknowledged the importance of an organisation like UNESCO which not only has a global view, but also the ability to connect with partners on the ground. For her, this “hybrid approach […] has to be the key to this to make it sustainable, and again, prevent the unintended consequences.”

 

Transparency of Internet companies

This year, information as a public good became the main topic of World Press Freedom Day.

“In the Windhoek+30 declaration that just two weeks ago was endorsed by all the 193 member states of UNESCO, the issue of media viability was at the very centre of this idea that information is a public good, but connected with another element that is very much related to the main topic of the session. We can’t move forward without more transparency of the internet companies, and particularly the social media companies”, said Guilherme Canela De Souza Godoi, Chief of Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists Section at UNESCO.

According to him, currently, UNESCO is working on a broader strategy that started with the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC). IPDC handbook that is going to be launched next year in January will contain useful practices from various countries. It will also highlight some trends that are common for all those countries. For instance:

  • The way the algorithms of the major social media platforms are calibrated: they don’t help people find the news they want to find in local independent media, because their news feed receives specific indications that the algorithms want them to see.
  • It’s very difficult for small or medium-sized independent media to interact directly with the social media giants. So one of the things they are precisely asking is for more media alliances around those issues.

 

Where do we go from here and what’s next?

Dan O’Maley, Co-chair DC-Sustainability and Center for International Media Assistance concluded that the main common goal is democratic accountability, inclusivity and visibility of organisations. “The other takeaway is figuring out how to make news information, ecosystems, financially viable is really about our societies, and what kind of societies we want to live in”, he summed up.

IGF 2021 WS #200 Security of digital products – A coordinated approach

Updated: Thu, 10/03/2022 - 16:07
Trust, Security, Stability
Key Takeaways:

Building blocks exist. Industry has good practices, certain standards are globally recognised, global norms and principles (like the UN GGE and OEWG) call for states to focus on security of supply chain and reducing vulnerabilities, and regulatory instruments – like labelling and certification schemes – are emerging. There is a need to find a way to ensure all stakeholders are aware of these building blocks, and base their work on them.

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Importantly, there are many ongoing initiatives and fora that address challenges of security of digital products, and gather actors together: Geneva Dialogue on Responsible Behaviour in Cyberspace; OECD’s Working Party on Security in the Digital Economy; Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace; Charter of Trust; Cybersecurity Tech Accord; IGF Dynamic Coalition and Best Practices Forum; ISO, ITU and other standardisation organisations.

Calls to Action

Broaden the dialogue of industries with standardisation organizations and regulators in the field of security of digital products. Geneva Dialogue and the IGF can play an important role in this regard.

Session Report

 

The exploitation of vulnerabilities in digital products is an essential component of cyberattacks. Several multilateral and multistakeholder forums develop norms and principles to reduce such vulnerabilities. Standard-setting organisations cope with developing new standards, while national regulators propose baseline requirements and certification and labelling schemes. The Geneva Dialogue on Responsible Behaviour in Cyberspace project (Geneva Dialogue) brings together global companies to develop a set of good corporate practices that translate high-level principles into day-to-day operations. The session, moderated by Mr Vladimir Radunović, was built on the workshop on the security of digital products organised by the Geneva Dialogue at the IGF 2020 and its ongoing work in this field.

The Geneva Dialogue initiative was introduced briefly by Mr Benedikt Wechsler (Head of Division for Digitalisation, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) of Switzerland) who explained that its purpose is to build a bridge between the principles and the practical level by applying a bottom-up approach. This approach brings together the private sector, the regulators, the information technology (IT) community, and the civil sector. Its main strength is its ability to be practical and non-ideological and to develop actionable principles for the security of digital products.

Mr Lexey Kuznetsov (Head of Security Analysis, BI.ZONE) elaborated on the magnitude of the problem derived from the security of digital products today. There is an increase in the number of attacks and vulnerabilities these days, especially since IT infrastructure is becoming more code-based. As codes become more complex (with digital products ending up as part of the critical infrastructure) and developers don’t have enough security knowledge, there is a need to improve transparency and apply a more responsible approach to digital products.

From the perspective of policy and regulation, digital products constitute a new field of governance and regulation. Ms Nele Achten (Senior Researcher for Cyber Security and Foreign Policy, ETHZ Center for Security Studies) presented her research on the topic noting that the term digital products is not used in regulatory instruments or guidelines on the operational level. Furthermore, her analysis revealed that the industry is not against mandatory security requirements, but there is a need for better transnational recognition of certifications. This raises two questions: Which actors are capable of advancing policies of digital products security on an international level? Can we develop policies applicable for all types of digital products?

Mr Edwin Sin (Singapore Cybersecurity Authority) provided a possible answer to some of Achten’s questions by presenting the Singapore CLS initiative. The CLS demonstrates how stakeholders can collaborate (in this case, the regulator and the private sector) in creating labels for securing digital products. Furthermore, the collaboration between Singapore and Finland in recognising each other’s labels demonstrates that states can collaborate and bridge the gap on a more international level.

Work by the Paris Call provides another example of a multistakeholder initiative dealing with ICT supply chain security. Ms Anastasiya Kazakova (Senior Public Affairs Manager, Kaspersky) presented the project in brief. The objective of the work is to shed light on the implementation of the existing OECD recommendations on the topic and share practical, actionable steps stakeholder groups can take for stronger ICT supply chain security. The main conclusion is that all actors have a role to play towards stronger ICT supply chain security. She explicitly highlighted the need to create incentives for security-focused behaviour on both the supply and demand side, enhancing ICT supply chain transparency by the public and private sector, and ensuring harmonisation across emerging national regulatory and industry approaches.

The topic of harmonisation was echoed in the discussion that followed around the issue of standardisation organisations and regulators and the need to incorporate them in the talks.

IGF 2021 DCAD Challenges & Opportunities for PWDs in a Post Covid World

Updated: Tue, 01/03/2022 - 18:40
Universal Access and Meaningful Connectivity
Key Takeaways:

The need for meaningful of involvement of person with disabilities at all levels of IT organisations
The need for PWD to be involved in planning, implementation and evaluation of IT projects to assure accessibility.
The need for accessibility measures to be developed and implemented in countries outside of the Global North and in non English-speaking cultures

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The need for digital accessibility to be recognised as a fundamental right and a necessity, regardless of the experience of individuals who may or may not be directly impacted
Speakers and participants recognised that existing digital accessibility barriers have been exacerbated by the increased reliance on online technologies during and post Covid.

Calls to Action

Work with IGF and other stakeholders, Dynamic Coalitions, Best Practice Forums and Policy Networks on web and content accessibility as well as accessibility issues with PowerPoint, documents and other tools The national coordinators to add in their advertisement for their National/ Regional/ Youth events the accessibility features that they plan to have in place and secondly, to add this feature to their IGF reports. Ensure that all sites and d

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Call for the IGF and related entities to recognise and abide by the UN Disability Inclusion Strategy as recommended in its 2021 report. This includes: Embedding disability inclusion in strategic plans and establishing institutional ownership. Building the knowledge and capacities of staff on disability inclusion. Improving physical and digital accessibility. Supporting meaningful participation of persons with disabilities and

Session Report

DCAD Challenges & Opportunities for PWDs in a Post Covid World

Rapport IGF 2021

Moderator: Judith Hellerstein

Rapporteur: Peter Crosbie

Judith Introduced the session, the role of DCAD and the speakers.

Gunela Asbrink spoke of the need for accessibility to be included from the ground up, that people with disabilities need to be included at all levels of organisations, including leadership where a disability champion at senior levels makes a real difference. Gunela reinforced that it essential that  websites and documents are accessible and that staff understand accessibility requirements. She referenced the UN Disability Inclusion Strategy which discusses embedding disability inclusion and plans, establishing institutional ownership, building the knowledge and capacities of staff of disability inclusion, improving digital accessibility, and supporting the meaningful participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations.

Gunela also spoke of her experience on the MAG and of her recommendations. Firstly, there should be a comprehensive accessibility evaluation of the IGF website and possible remediation based on that evaluation and that evaluation should be undertaken by persons with disabilities. Secondly, of the need for training for members of the IGF community in making web content accessible to ensure that accessible websites and documents remain accessible. And thirdly new online tools need to be developed by companies that have documented experience in accessibility and are staffed by people with disabilities in order to test the tools. This requirement could be part of procurement documentation. There are already guidelines that could be used as a reference, such as section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act, and the European standard for ICT products and services (EN 301 549).

Muhammad Shabbir also spoke of the need for people with disabilities to be included in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of all digital projects. In the context of IGF, he pointed out that while accessibility and participation have been improved at the national level for some countries, there are still many countries, particularly in Asia and Latin America, where it is lacking. He spoke of the workaround accessibility that has been undertaken by the United Nations, ICANN, and similar organisations, but commented that this work needs to be structured from bottom-to-top and top-to-bottom and applied at all policy and implementation levels. He gave the example of the Internet Society, where he has become the first elected member of the board of trustees of the Internet Society to have any lived experience of disability in spite of the fact that ISOC has a number of accessibility programs and initiatives for PWD. In other words, while ventures are starting to be put in place, what’s lacking in Internet governance discussions is the actual participation of people with disabilities.

Muhammad then made the observation that there tends to be less participation of PWD in discussions on Internet Governance. Regardless of the reasons, people with lived experiences of disability need to be proactive and included in these discussions.

Finally, Muhammad reinforced the need for PWD to be included at the leadership level and repeated Gunela’s point for the need for a disability champion. He pointed out that while the Secretary-General started an inclusion initiative in 2019, there is no one with a disability on that panel.

Muhammad concluded by reinforcing the need for digital accessibility for people with disabilities, pointing out that whether a disability is temporary or permanent, many of us will at some stage need accessibility requirements. We can ensure that these requirements are put in place if there is a will and desire to do so.

Lidia Best also reinforced the need for PWD in leadership, and spoke of the need for a greater understanding of disability needs, especially in digital and online meetings. She commented that in Poland and other countries there’s still a lack of accessibility and lack of understanding of the need for additional support such as assistive listening devices and captioning. Improving this situation, even at a basic level, still faces resistance. Lidia gave the example of public announcements regarding Covid, where live captioning was not provided.

Lidia also spoke of how this lack of accessibility has an impact on those who speak minority languages where available access technology and approaches are not always implemented, which means that these populations are excluded from participation. She highlighted that even though the IGF conference was held in Poland, captioning was only available in English, excluding many disabled Polish speakers. This lack of support for speakers of minority languages extends to published material. For example, while there are guidelines on accessible meetings, these are often only available in English or the majority languages.

Judy Okite addressed difficulties that arise within the disability community itself, where there can be a lack of understanding of accessibility in a broader sense. This can extend to a lack of support for accessibility measures that are outside of those that a particular individual or group requires, and through that, to a lack of consensus. Judy spoke of the difficulty of bringing people outside of the disability community on board when the disability community itself is fragmented on just what accessibility means. Judy concluded by highlighting the need for advocating for accessibility on a local and regional level, not just at a national level.

In follow-up discussions, Muhammad Shabbir spoke of his work with the Internet Society (ISOC) where he is a member of the board, and where he has been focusing on raising awareness around the need for accessibility. This has involved working to overcome an inbuilt organisational cultural mindset that tends to see accessibility as an optional added extra rather than a fundamental necessity, He highlighted the success he has had in ensuring that ISOC board meetings are now captioned.

Peter Crosbie highlighted the importance of including accessibility measures for people with cognitive disabilities, especially in a post-Covid world where there has been an increase in online and virtual meetings, classes, and presentations. He also highlighted that there are more children with cognitive disabilities than all other disabilities combined and that these children are being disproportionately excluded through a failure to adequately apply digital and online accessibility measures.

The Bangladeshi chapter also highlighted difficulties with accessing health and education services when online and digital accessibility measures are not implemented, which is resulting in people not being able to access these services.

In winding up, Judith Hellerstein also pointed out the importance of Chat in online discussions for people with disabilities, and the necessity for it to be included in official records and transcriptions.

IGF 2021 DC-SIG Rising to current challenges facing Schools of IG

Updated: Tue, 15/02/2022 - 23:20
Inclusive Internet Governance Ecosystems and Digital Cooperation
Key Takeaways:

With many Schools on Internet Governance (SIG) emerged globally within 15 years it is clear that not one size fits all. Albeit we share the same vision, the regional challenges are manyfold and have to be addressed. The cooperation with the IGF Secretariat should serve to promote the SIGs, provide information for fellows, faculty and organisers interested in any SIG and be active to connect SIG organisers.

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Looking forward: 1. Address both the technical layer and the policy layer of Internet Governance. 2. Establish a SIG library, an archive, populate the wiki on www.ig-shools.net 3. Streamline capacity building globally, specific coursed on certain issues, focused outreach to special target groups

Calls to Action

1. Find a way to connect schools of IG to the various governmental calls for capacity building.

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2. Find a way to extend reach of IG schools to local needs for IG understanding and participation.

Session Report

Report on DC SIG meeting - IGF 2021                                                         

Session Description can be found at: https://www.intgovforum.org/en/content/igf-2021-dc-sig-rising-to-curren…

Slides can be found at: https://www.intgovforum.org/en/content/igf-2021-dc-sig-rising-to-current-challenges-facing-schools-of-ig

The session was held on Thursday, 9th December, 2021 at the Katowice IGF meeting. The meeting was held in a hybrid manner with a dozen or more in room participants and an equal number of remote participants. The contributions between the online and in person participants was well balanced. Gender, stakeholder designation, and geographical distribution also appeared to be well distributed. The meeting was chaired by Avri Doria, coordinator of the Dynamic Coalition.

The first part of the meeting was dedicated to presentations by several existing schools of internet governance including: the North American School, the Virtual School, The African School, Ghana School, the South School, the Argentina School, the Russian School, the Nigerian School, the Asia Pacific School, the India School, the Armenia School, the Pakistan SChool, and the European School.  Each of the schools not only discussed their origins and programs but discussed how they had dealt with putting on a school during a year when concerns about Covid predominated. The group also heard from several schools that are in the process of formation or have just held their first sessions: by the Free Moscow University, an initiative in Chad, which had its first session in 2021, a first year of a Central Africa school in Cameroon, and a school in Somalia. Comments were made during the discussions on the importance of these Schools of Internet Governance in the continuing spread of information on the issues that are gripping the world in terms of internet usage around the world, locally, regionally, and internationally. There was also a recognition of the number of youth leaders in internet governance that emerge from these schools; young leaders who are frequently seen among the active participants of many organizations. The various schools have done a good job of educating those who are interested in furthering the multistakeholder discussions of internet governance.

The second item on the agenda was a recap of the year's activities in the Dynamic Coalition. Basic activities included continuing work on the DC’s web site, where information about schools and curricula can be posted by the participating schools, and continued work on the two living documents that the DC maintains; one a toolkit on how to start a school and one a document, still in its early stage of development, on operational advice on running a school. Additionally, a program was run where interviews were done by Glen McKnight with the founders and organizers of many of the existing schools. These interviews can be found at: https://www.igschools.net/sig/sig/video-interviews/. The group discussed some of the challenges that were brought up in these interviews.

The third item on the agenda involved planning for 2022. Each year, the DC tries to chart its plan of activities for the following year. The first item to be discussed was an initiative by the IGF Secretariat to work with the DC on Internet Governance schools and its  members, as well as with the broader community, to design a global Internet Governance syllabus. Farzaneh Badiei, the consultant hired by the IGF Secretariat for the task spoke to the group about her plans for the project. 
In the discussion of future project, some of the suggestions for 2022 include:

   * There was a discussion of what collaboration would be possible with the IGF Secretariat project to design a syllabus. While the consultants plans to collaborate in producing a version of such a curriculum, it was unclear to what extent the IGF Secretariat project included participation by the DC in the long run.
   * There was discussion on  ideas for collaboration among schools  This include both linkages among the fellows and the faculty from the schools, not only those from the same school but also the possibility of communication among the schools.. Some of the current methods of communication, such as email list and social media, were discussed.
   * There are plans to update current SIG documents. The Toolkit needs to be updated each year so that it does not become stake. Additionally there are sections of that document that need further work. In terms of the Operations Guide, it is currently an annotated outline of the issues an organizer needs to deal with. The Guide needs further work, the kind of work that can only be done by volunteers who have the experience establish a program that focuses on methods for obtaining sustainable funding for schools of Internet Governance. A near universal problem that schools have is finding adequate funding for schools, faculty, and support of the fellows. 
   * There was a discussion of establishing schools that paid special attention to the issues within countries. Most schools have focused on the international and regional scope of governance issues. More programs are needed that look at the issues in terms of their national and local effect. The idea was presented of producing curricula and support for specialized schools for parliamentarians and legislators..

These items will be discussed in the meetings during 2022, and volunteers will be sought for the various tasks involved.

The final item was a presentation by Wolfgang Kleinwachter, the founder of the first School on Internet Governance, the European Summer School of Internet Governance. His remarks are included in full:

Thank you, Avri.  Thank you very much.  I'm really fascinated, you know, how this idea which came out of the early days of the Information Society was 15 years ago has evolved over the 15 years, and we have now this wonderful network of national and regional and global Schools of Internet Governance. 

On Monday, in the Day 0 event, I met again virtually Francois from Singapore, because he, like Avri, was a member of the WGIG and was with the President of the International Information Society and I was with the International Association for media and communication research NGOs and UNESCO.  And we organized a meeting, like the Day 0 meeting on the eve of the World Congress of the ICE, in a small village where we said, what can we do now with this agenda as academic persons? 

So, two ideas came out.  One was the Giganet and the other one was the concept of the summer school.  And the concept of a summer school was driven by two basic ideas.  One basic idea was that Internet Governance is a multidisciplinary phenomenon.  And normally, universities and academic institutions are organized around disciplines.  You can study law, business, infomatics, political science.  But Internet Governance goes across a lot of disciplines.  And so far, we had to invent something new and an interdisciplinary course. 

And the second thing was, it's not enough to have academic teachers.  So, it's learning in a multi‑stakeholder environment.  You have to understand your role of technical people who manage this.  You have to see the business perspectives, you have to see what are the users' perspectives, and you have to understand the role of government.  So, these two basic ideas, the multidisciplinary and the multi‑stakeholder approach, where the starting point for the pilot project, which we did 15 years ago, and I'm very happy to see that, you know, more or less now more than 20 schools have taken this concept and have further developed. 
So, I remember in 2008, '09, '10, we discussed, why not take a global academy?  But then we rejected this idea and established the Dynamic Coalition.  And I think this was a very wise decision, because this Dynamic Coalition gives you a lot of flexibility, because you have different local needs and you have different experience of different models, you know, how to design a special school in your country, in your region. 

So, the beauty of the whole process now, which has started 15 years ago, is also the pluralism, the diversity and the different models that have emerged.  So, I think this is very good because we can learn from different models and can be inspired. 

And I'm in particular thankful for Avri, which has collected all of the experience and channeled this now via her leadership as [Coordinator] of the Dynamic Coalition.  I'm also thankful to Rainer, because he is the good ghost behind the managing of this network.  And I'm also, in particular, thankful to all the sponsors for the various schools, because this is really a community effort.  So, we have not a state budget or other big budgets.  Each school has to find its own way.  And with engagement of many units from the Technical Community, from the private sector and other organizations, in particular, the various constituencies, ISOC and in particular ICANN.  I think this is extremely helpful. 

So, I'm looking forward.  I would see three issues which could be further discussed.  I think it's very good that Farzaneh is now on board and will help streamline work plan for the years ahead of us.  This is also a conclusion from the debates we had now in the IGF, is that I see a low level of understanding of many new stakeholders on the differences between public policy issues and the technical issues.  So, I think to understand that this is a layered system, that the governance of the internet on the technical layer has to be different from the governance model on the public policy layer.  I think this is an important thing that has to be delivered also by our schools.  And as somebody has said, you know, this is a moving target, to substance and curriculum of the summer schools has to evolve according to the special needs.  And 2022 is different from 2012 or even earlier. 

What I would also see is an opportunity to establish something like a SIG library.  So, we have now seen a lot of documents which came out, you know, the great video series published by Glenn McKnight.  But this is still unorganized, I think to have something like a SIG library, where we have online materials, in printed form, or can be downloaded as PDFs or videos.  I think this would be a very good step forward. 

And then, the third and final point is, we have to look at, you know, what is going on in the more broader environment.  What I see now as a new beginning is the decision by the General Assembly of the United Nations for the establishment of an open‑ended Working Group for cybersecurity where capacity‑building is a high priority.  So, they have a five‑year plan now for capacity‑building in cybersecurity.  And certainly, we can make a contribution to this. 

And this is also then related to how we focus our activities, so in two directions, whether we develop curriculum for special issues, like cybersecurity, digital economy, human rights, or what else, and then how we have to right target the Fellows.  So, the capacity‑building processes are merely for diplomats.  But what the lady from Tanzania said, we could also develop a special course for parliamentarians.  Because they are the lawmakers, and they have to understand what's going on, then, to make the right laws.  So that means there are two lanes for further development for specific causes on specific issues which are pressing now and on the global agenda, also powers the Global Digital Compact, which is proposed by the UN Secretary‑General, and then special targets, diplomats, structures, parliamentarians, and also young people. 

You know, our model, learning in a multi‑stakeholder environment, so we want to have a right mix so that people can learn from each other.  This is good.  But on the other hand, if you want to go to a high level, you need specialized courses, and probably this is the next step in a process, you know, which, hopefully, will bring us forward to the 2030 when we have the final day for the Sustainable Development Goals, because capacity‑building, learning, education is one of the key aspects of the SDGs. 

And I was just saying thank you very much and I hope we can find good successes in the future.  Thank you.
 
The meeting was then adjourned.
This file: <https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GJ2m1dlOYmf_xwm_8gQJGfQ1lteyFJ6UzBK…;

IGF 2021 Main Session Trust matters: exploring ways for building a safe and secure cyberspace

Updated: Mon, 07/02/2022 - 18:49
Trust, Security, Stability
Session Report

 

Key messages from the session

Cybersecurity norms must be implemented. This must be done in a way that follows the lines of multi-stakeholder involvement, and in a way that protects the decentralised model that has ensured several decades of innovation on the Internet. Cybersecurity norms must be implemented and translated into Security by Design. In Europe, several initiatives, including NIS 2, aim at reaching this goal.

There is agreement between participants that CERTs and law enforcement authorities must improve cooperation, which should not be limited to information sharing. It should also include capacity building and joint operations. This must be done in a way that respects human rights. Therefore, new agreements should focus on cooperation, not on shifting definitions that may criminalise the exercise of fundamental rights like freedom of expression. Targeted surveillance of activists and politicians, including heads of state, should be addressed. They constitute a fundamental threat to global security.

With regards to effective implementation of cybersecurity norms, participants insisted on the need to improve mechanisms for responsibility, liability and attribution. There should be a focus on who benefits from cybercrime, including online hate and including the growing number of ransomware attacks which have targeted hospitals during the Covid crisis. States should take responsibility for cybercrime originating from their territory, even when victims are abroad. The IGF was mentioned by several participants as an appropriate forum to engage with all stakeholders, including lawmakers. Young people and people from developing countries must be represented, as they are a critical part of regulating the online space so that it works for them.

Agreement should be reached on investing in cybersecurity research, including in agreeing on a framework for responsible vulnerability disclosure. Some participants discussed the topic of zero-day hoarding and the necessity to regulate zero-day disclosures, enhance transparency on this topic, and implement export controls on surveillance tools in line with the Wassemaar Agreement.

Funding is another topic that was mentioned. This topic is especially sensitive for developing countries where governments may not have the resources to commit sufficient resources to combat cybercrime.

Finally, the matter of support provided to victims was raised by several participants.

Calls to action:

  • Improve work on responsibility, liability and attribution and provide support for victims in the shaping of cybersecurity norms in a way that respects human rights
  • Ensure effective implementation of cybersecurity norms through Security by Design, achieved through cooperation and multi-stakeholder dialogue, in line with the core basic principles such as openness and decentralisation that have made the success of the Internet

 

 

 

 

 

 

IGF 2021 Main Session: How Can We Achieve a Multilingual Internet?

Updated: Thu, 03/02/2022 - 15:54
Universal Access and Meaningful Connectivity
Session Report

 

Two Key Takeaways:

Multilingualism is a foundational component of Internet inclusivity.

Development of local language content and the widespread adoption of Universal Acceptance are key to creating a truly multilingual Internet - a driver of peace.

One Call to Action:

All stakeholders should promote policies that support the development of local language content and the adoption of Universal Acceptance.  Governments in particular can drive multilingualism on the Internet by incorporating these policies in their procurement contracts.

 

 

 

 

 

IGF 2021 Main Session: The impact of environment data on sustainability and internet governance

Updated: Thu, 03/02/2022 - 15:54
Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change
Session Report

 

Key Takeaway 1

The key takeaways from this session are:

  • Promoting capacity building especially within the Global South to minimize climate change impact as and accelerate adaptation
  • Collection and sharing of environmental data openly across communities, and particularly impactful when modern technology is coupled with indigenous knowledge and methodologies.
  • Necessity of considering and involving the population who are most impacted by the depletion of resources, pollution and the destruction of ecosystems.
  • Taking local experiences and knowledge particularly from the Global South instability into consideration during the policy writing since it will only be possible to realize the SDGs and the UN23 agenda as well as foster environmental accessibility by bringing the diverse local experiences and knowledge to the forefront.

Key Takeaway 2

Other takeaways from this session are:

  • IGF can contribute to the building of understanding of co-shared responsibility of diverse stakeholders as IGF embrace human rights and environmental justice multiple intersections.
  • New technology systems make it possible to access information target at the broadly understood public.
  • New system of environmental data collection can be set up to facilitate operation of diff. public entities.
  • Policies could be adopted based on data, and indicators used to monitor environmental protection action

Call to Action 1 

  • Bringing local experiences from global South to forefront
  • Focusing on environmental impact assessments, digital literacy for environmental data, and committing to building sustainable digital infrastructure.

Call to Action 2 

  • Having an inclusive approach to achieve a sustainable development
  • Building a research community around the issue

 

 

 

 

IGF 2021 Main Session Regulation and the open, interoperable, and interconnected Internet - challenges and approaches

Updated: Thu, 03/02/2022 - 15:53
Emerging Regulation: Market Structure, Content, Data And Consumer Rights and Protection
Session Report

 

Key Takeaway 1

Interoperability is key for everything that happens on the Internet and is key to enable data flows. We need rules and regulations that work, uniform and are globally interoperable as possible

Key Takeaway 2

We need to make sure all countries, communities are part of the conversation - access to Internet for all is starting point, to make sure we take everyone along on the road toward universal solutions. We should work on piloting, trying out approaches, perhaps regulatory and policy sandboxes. Corporate responsibility should also involve the responsible use of data, just like companies mind their CO2 emissions, they should mind good governance policies for data

Call to Action 1

Wise and balanced approach to regulation with the interests of all the stakeholders taken into account is needed

Call to Action 2

We need to keep sharing the best practices of formal and informal policies and continue discussing the new approaches during the next IGFs.

 

 

 

 

 

IGF 2021 Main Session: Digital Cooperation- Quo vadis?

Updated: Thu, 03/02/2022 - 15:53
Inclusive Internet Governance Ecosystems and Digital Cooperation
Session Report

 

Key Takeaway 1

The perception on whether the Roadmap has been succeeding in fostering and consolidating cooperation and promoting a less fragmented more holistic approach was very divers, ranging from a clear no to partly yes, successful, in particular for making the cooperation within the UN more coherent. It is expected from the "Global Digital Compact", as proposed in the Secretary-General’s Common Agenda, that it will not be the breakthrough. However, due to lack of alternatives it remains imperative to support und further engage in the efforts by the UN SG.

Key Takeaway 2

More digital cooperation will happen when the world's major powers are ready cooperate, as it is widely appreciated that the applications of the Internet have simultaneously given rise to powerful, collaborative capabilities such as the development of a response to the global COVID-19 pandemic and also to opportunity for harmful, cross-border behaviors.  Yet, "ready to cooperate” means to stop engaging in intrusive forms of cyber espionage, ready to stop seeing trade in ICT as a national security threat, ready to stop building walls around their digital economies and their citizens access to information.

Key Takeaway 3

The IGF is not and never will be a policy making body. It is an open forum where stakeholders of all types can meet in equal status. It affects policy indirectly by bringing networks of influencers together where they come to trust each other, learn from each other, and possibly go off and do something together. Cooperation requires trust and familiarity, and IGF can help build that.

Call to Action 1

To adapt to the future, the IGF has to boldly embrace the real policy controversies that face the Internet. This means that the MAG needs to be strengthened. Separate tracks that are run by the Secretariat and not from the bottom up need to be eliminated. The people on the MAG should be people with real ideas about what issues are important, not people selected because they conform to some category token. And those issues should be truly global internet governance issues.

Call to Action 2

To cope with a global system, one must apply global methods and thus the call for digital cooperation extends to law enforcement and the apprehension of criminals. There was recently some very effective cooperation among national and international law enforcement agencies and the private sector in aid of such work, such as tracking down and apprehending ransomware. This needs to be extended and continued.

 

 

 

 

IGF 2021 Main Session BPF Cybersecurity

Updated: Thu, 03/02/2022 - 15:53
Trust, Security, Stability
Key Takeaways:
The work of the BPF is unique and illustrates the value of multistakeholder engagement, particularly the roles of different stakeholders in socialising norms, supporting their implementation through specific, concrete analysis and ensuring that implementation is evidence-based and informed by their impact on humans.
Calls to Action
Discussion with the multistakeholder community at the BPF’s most recent session during IGF 2021 also made it clear that some progress is being made on norm implementation but that much more need to be done. , The discussions at the BPF session made clear that the only way to ensure implementation of norms in a way that would benefit all stakeholders and contribute to more effective implementation is to broaden cyber norms development and implementation beyond high-level forums, engage victims, first responders, and frontline defenders, and be based on the research and analysis which include these communities.
IGF 2021 Main Session BPF Gender and Digital Rights

Updated: Thu, 03/02/2022 - 15:53
Inclusive Internet Governance Ecosystems and Digital Cooperation
Key Takeaways:
Gender and disinformation has an impact on the participation of women in public spaces. The experience of gender and disinformation or witnessing it happen to others has a chilling effect for their participation online. It hinders the political equity of groups. Action: There is a need to engage all political players, in particular political parties as well in understanding the impacting of gender and disinformation in reaching political equity, The multistakeholder process provides a mechanism where solutions beyond legislation and regulation maybe developed. It would also see stakeholders recommending solutions based on their role in the digital ecosystem
Calls to Action
The multistakeholder process provides a mechanism where solutions beyond legislation and regulation maybe developed. It would also see stakeholders recommending solutions based on their role in the digital ecosystem, Action item what would be the best practice that we can develop that would see it being adapted and contextualised by governments. It is important to use the UN forum to actually have stakeholders commit to an intervention.
Session Report
IGF 2021 Main Session: The good, the bad and the ugly of the Internet in times of crises

Updated: Thu, 03/02/2022 - 15:52
Inclusive Internet Governance Ecosystems and Digital Cooperation
Key Takeaways:
Whatever the country, the reality is almost the same during a pandemic.
Calls to Action
At the end of this session, the NRIs shared their experience and wished that their work would be more taken into consideration.
Session Report

The discussion focused on the good, the bad, and the ugly internet experiences of various communities during COVID-19 via NRIs experiences. 

For the good, in most countries, the NRIs testified that during this period, many innovations appeared: 

  • solutions for e-commerce
  • end-user privacy awareness
  • Increasing of e-learning platforms
  •  digitization of several public services
  • the increase of users' online presence
  • e-health solutions
  • cooperation on ID for vaccinated people, open source efforts, national countries, track illness and great achievement

For the bad, several challenges have emerged: 

  • unequal access to the Internet
  • poor connectivity in some countries
  • the marginalization of rural and marginalized communities
  • limited access in some rural areas resulting in low economic indices 

The ugly side of the Internet in this times 

  • Scam incrase 
  • censorship
  • surveillance of citizens
  • violation of human rights
  • Technological pressure on developing countries
  • youth suicide 
  • growing power of governments and Big Tech
  • lack of transparency in community guidelines of social media content moderation
  • increase in internet addiction
  • lack of local content, and inadequate legislation for protecting the rights and safety of citizens.
IGF 2021 Main Session Economic and Social Inclusion and Human Rights

Updated: Thu, 03/02/2022 - 15:49
Economic and Social Inclusion and Human Rights
Session Report

 

We need to reflect how tech serves humanity, versus just putting up safeguards around the edges and wait till harm occurs.

What is needed: Reliable human rights due diligence and impact assessments.

Covid Pandemic: Legitimate health concerns are being twisted to exclude people and violate their human rights.

Surveillance versus inclusivity - how can we make sure that more inclusion is not leading to more surveillance?

There exists the danger that surveillance measurements imposed during the pandemic are going to stay in place endlessly.

The concern was voiced that a whole new range of entry points for authoritarian regimes to silence critical voices and invade the public space have emerged.

It is the states’ duty to regulate technology and prevent potential harm of human rights.

There needs to be effective access to remedy when people are victims of human rights violations.

A moratorium for certain human-rights violating technologies that are not (yet) regulated adequately was discussed, namely facial recognition and biometric data collection and analysis.

There is an opportunity for positive change. But we need more transparency and ‘neutral’ research to address social and economic inequalities and human rights.

There needs to be a multi-stakeholder approach that is inclusive and democratic.

An increase of transparency and accountability in global decision-making and business practices of tech companies was demanded by participants.

The need for a legally binding agreement on technology and human rights was discussed. We would not need to start from scratch, but can build on already existing normative frameworks, among them most importantly the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There already exists legally binding treaty law, too, namely the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

There was a broad consensus that tech companies need to live up to their responsibility. > What does that mean? Human rights can give us a framework that is legally binding and universally valid.

IGF can set the compass to guide state actions and policy decisions.

 

 

 

 

IGF 2021 WS #272 Youth in IG policy-making process: Let's talk about the MHLB

Updated: Fri, 21/01/2022 - 00:17
Inclusive Internet Governance Ecosystems and Digital Cooperation
Key Takeaways:

Young people need to continue to join efforts from different stakeholders to turn the IGF into a more concrete and open space. Tokenism is still a problem in the ecosystem and we still do not see the response we wish. We have provided several recommendations to the IGF and one of them is to give young people meaningful participation

,

There are many controversies regarding this body (Leadership Panel) , because the IGF could become a top-down body and break the equality between stakeholders.

Calls to Action

We make a call to action to the IGF Secretariat and all the stakeholders to consider youth as a recognized stakeholder, and consider the importance of youth for the intergenerational exchange and change in the Internet Governance ecosystem; and work in collaboration with youth avoiding tokenism.

,

Governments and private sector should provide support to youth in: bringing capacity building tools, high level mentorship and engagement in all workstreams. Youth’s viewpoint can enrich the conversation and foster the improvements to make more inclusive Internet Governance.

Session Report

IGF 2021 WS #272 Youth in IG policy-making process: Let's talk about the MHLB

Panelists and moderator: João Moreno, Emilia Zalewska, Bruna Santos,  Nicolas Fiumarelli, Juan Pajaro, Eileen Cejas

Rapporteur: Juliana Novaes

 

Bruna Santos

Bruna Santos introduced the Multistakeholder High Level Body (MHLB) as an initiative to bring concrete outcomes to the IGF, since one of the main criticisms the forum faces is related to its non-binding nature.

In 2018, there was a discussion about digital cooperation and the role of the IGF, which was a process sponsored and led by the United Nations. As an outcome of this whole process, there was a report created with some suggestions of improvements that could be made in the IGF, so that the forum continues to be relevant and an important element of the discussions on Internet policy.

The MHLB is therefore the product of these discussions. There has always been a discussion about its role in contrast to the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG), because the MHLB does not have the objective to replace the MAG, but to complement it and give the IGF more concrete policy outcomes.

Last month, the Secretariat of the IGF announced the IGF Leadership Panel, which has opened its call for applications for members from the civil society, academia, technical community, governments and private sector. There are many controversies regarding this body, because the IGF could become a top-down body and break the equality between stakeholders.

Juan Pajaro

Introduced issues regarding youth participation in the MHLB.

During these last few years, he has seen many initiatives with the objective to achieve a community that has one voice in the policymaking process. He highlighted the importance of having a diverse ecosystem of actors and voices in the IGF, also one of the messages of this years’ Youth Summit. Young people need to continue to join efforts from different stakeholders to turn the IGF into a more concrete and open space.

Eileen Cejas

Discussed the role of the Youth Coalition in Internet Governance. A document called DC paper was created to relate the works of the dynamic coalitions and the policy processes related to Internet governance.

The Youth Summit was an open event that counted with the participation of the Polish government and several other organizations. Nonetheless, young people still face a lot of skepticism when developing their projects at the IGF. Tokenism is still a problem in the ecosystem and we still do not see the response we wish. We have provided several recommendations to the IGF and one of them is to give young people meaningful participation.

Emilia Zalewska

Introduced the project Youth Summit, an initiative in partnership with the Polish government and other organizations.

The idea of the youth summit started from the idea of having young people being listened to, making youth postulates become something concrete and visible. We partnered with the Youth Observatory and divided ourselves into groups. So we divided ourselves into groups and tried to address some of the challenges of Internet governance in that particular field. We wanted to create these points of action, because they could be addressed to several groups of people, like governments, private sector, technical community etc. The outcomes of the Youth Summit will be publically available and we want young people to be engaged in this process.

After the speakers presentation, participants were invited to collaborate on a document called "Youth position toward the present and future of Digital Cooperation". This document was edited and tailored into PDF format, and can be accessed here: 

 

 

 

IGF 2021 Open Forum #66 Moving Forward – Guiding Principles on Diversity of Content Online

Updated: Thu, 20/01/2022 - 16:35
Inclusive Internet Governance Ecosystems and Digital Cooperation
Key Takeaways:

The panel agreed that multi-stakeholderism continues to be the most appropriate approach in this space, despite its challenges.

,

There is appetite across the world, from North America to Africa, to the Middle East and Europe, to address the issues around diversity of content online.

Calls to Action

The Multi-Stakeholder Working Group welcomes stakeholders to share different projects or initiatives, particularly from the Global South, that are underway that align with the Guiding Principles on Diversity of Content Online.

,

Interested countries, civil society organizations, and private sector actors are encouraged to be signatories to the Guiding Principles on Diversity of Content Online.

Session Report

UN IGF Session Report

Open Forum #66 – Moving Forward – Diversity of Content Online
December 7th, 2021

Session Overview:

The Government of Canada facilitated a panel discussion at the IGF entitled: Moving Forward - Guiding Principles on Diversity of Content Online. The panel included members of the Multi-Stakeholder Working Group on Diversity of Content Online, whose mandate is to develop Guiding Principles that help foster greater exposure to diverse cultural content, information, and news online.

The purpose of the session was to discuss the benefits and challenges of working on a multi-stakeholder initiative; and consider actions needed to ensure greater access and exposure to a diversity of content in an evolving Internet and information ecosystem.     

Session Summary:

The moderator opened the session by asking the panelists to share if and why they found the Diversity of Content Online initiative to be meaningful and relevant. Panelists cited the importance of citizens and users having access and exposure to diverse points of view and opinions and access to pluralistic sources of news and information as a means of building resistance to dis and misinformation. Panelists also mentioned that the issues related to diversity of content online go beyond what governments can address on their own and as such,  a multi-stakeholder approach is needed.

Following the introductions, officials from the Government of Canada provided a presentation on the Diversity of Content online initiative, which is available at this link.

To begin the roundtable discussion panelists, were asked why, in their opinion, the multi-stakeholder approach was optimal in the development of the Guiding Principles on Diversity of Content Online (the Guiding Principles). The panelists’ reactions included that:

  • The Internet crosses all borders, and each stakeholder has a different area of influence to contribute. A range of stakeholders offers a variety of perspectives to develop solutions.

  • Different stakeholders have different incentives and compromises are sometimes more difficult to find than others.  The multi-stakeholder model forces different groups to explore the issues to try to find common ground and incentives. 

  • The Multistakeholder approach enables more transparent and inclusive conversations between the various stakeholders groups, which provides more legitimacy to addressing the issues.

When asked about the challenges of a multi-stakeholder approach, panelists noted that:

  • With the private sector at the table, there is a heightened internal sensitivity concerning their contributions and participation in the working group because they are under intense scrutiny and facing regulatory discussions in many regions and jurisdictions. This can limit how ‘active’ they are in the working group.

  • A greater diversity of voices, particularly from the Global South and others in the private sector is needed in the working group.  

  • On the question of whether these guidelines are enough to drive greater change, it was noted that to establish a common vision to work towards desired concrete changes, work needs to start somewhere.  

  • Technologies are advancing so quickly, they are outpacing regulatory and policy developments. Making policy choices that attempt to keep pace and with the least number of unintended consequences requires a reflective and sensitive approach.

The moderator then sought opinions on whether multi-stakeholderism was the best means of developing solutions and furthering cooperation on these complex and far-reaching issues. It prompted the following reactions from the panelists:

  • Key stakeholders must collectively continue to gather information and conduct research to understand the problems. In the scope of the content environment and online content distribution, if key stakeholders really want to achieve certain standards of diversity, they need to come to consensus on these standards.

  • To achieve a common goal on a global matter, it is useful to consider perspectives at the local, national, or personal level.

  • Despite the limits of multi-stakeholderism, particularly when countries begin to work on national regulations in a particular sector,  it still offers the best array of tools.

The final question asked the panelists to share their reflections on the next steps for the Guiding Principles, which are to:

  • Raising awareness about the Guiding Principles to acquire more signatories and broader adoption from the international community, including other countries, civil society, and other members of the private sector;

  • Extend the working group membership to include more diverse voices, particularly from the Global South; and

  • Develop high-level voluntary actions that different stakeholder groups can adopt in order to implement the Guiding Principles.

IGF 2021 DC-CIV Internet Regulation during Crisis One Year Later

Updated: Mon, 17/01/2022 - 09:09
Trust, Security, Stability
Key Takeaways:

There is sustained growth in cyber criminal activity on the Internet, catalysed by COVID19 and the increased global reliance by the world on the Internet for everything from health, education, socialising to business. Political boundaries on the Internet are technologically possible and psychologically demonstrable and are exploited to bring forth legislation. Some stakeholders are asking for more regulation in the interest of vulnerable groups.

,

The impact of regulation should not harm legitimate users under the pretext of protecting another stakeholder

Calls to Action

Any regulation that is drafted should be human-centered and take into account: Its societal impact on Human Rights and Freedom of Speech, its technological impact on Internet Core Values, the needs of all actors, but in particular, those of Internet Users

,

Avoid drafting regulation that will result in fragmentation of the Internet.

Session Report

 

 

IGF2021 meeting of the Dynamic Coalition on Core Internet Values: on the topic of “Internet Regulation during Crisis” - One Year Later 

 

Over the last ten years our work as an IGF Dynamic Coalition is focused on defining and emphasizing Core Internet Values, which comprise of the technical architectural values by which the Internet was built, and, more importantly, what can be called ‘social’ or, in other words, ‘universal’ values that emerge from the way the Internet works.

The first is that the Internet is a global medium open to all, regardless of geography or nationality. It's interoperable because it's a network of networks. It doesn't rely on a single application. It relies on TCP/IP, a common, open protocol. It's free of any centralized control. The only supposed control is the domain naming system, which provides a single translation system between domain names and IP addresses, and that's, of course, needed by design. It's end to end, so traffic from one end of the network to the other end of the network goes unhindered. It's user centric, and users have control over what they send and receive. And it's robust and reliable. These values have been under stress due to various developments, particularly during the Pandemic. Also, as the Internet expands with newer products, services and applications, there are emerging needs for focused pursuits on important aspects of the Internet , for instance, freedom from harm.  (In 2017, the Coalition put together a discussion paper focusing on freedom from harm as proposed by Vint Cerf in the context of addressing the rise of criminal use of the Internet and the solutions towards prevention of harm to the users of the Internet, including the harm that arises unintended from the staggering growth of IoT technologies, causing billions of devices connected to the Internet which in turn bring about new regulatory concerns.)

The Coalition was formed following the IGF Egypt workshop in 2009 titled “Workshop on Fundamentals: Core Internet Values” chaired by the then Internet Society President Lynn StAmour. As a DC, meetings were held at the IGF annually since IGF2010 and has also held sessions at EuroDig. 

The 2021 session, Chaired by Olivier Crépin-LeBlond and moderated by Alejandro Pisanty included as panelists Olga Makarova from Mobile Telesystems, Alison Harcourt from the University of Exeter, Bob Franskston, Internet Pioneer and author of The Regulatorium and the Moral Imperative, Gregory Name, Jutta Croll from the German Digital Opportunities Foundation, Desiree Miloshevic from the Global Initiative for Human Centered Digital Governance.

What do we mean by the term "the Internet"?  Our attempt to understand the Internet is not unlike the story of  the blind man trying to understand what an elephant is. The Internet is sort of a use case for something larger. The set of protocols and everything we call the Internet works on the principles of “best effort” connectivity: we assume it works because every component across the network is following best efforts to make the Internet work. In Internet architecture the architects did not try to solve all problems at once. In the Internet, the application problems are on a different layer, and are distinct from the problems of the network, which is the foundation infrastructure. There is some confusion as most people think of the Internet as Facebook, Google, as the World Wide Web- these are applications, not the Internet. 

In the Internet way of Networking, infrastructure is decoupled from what we do with it. This is a core design aspect, which needs to be understood before considering proposals which try to tie everything together into one lump as for instance 5G which is “anti-Internet” in the words of an Internet Pioneer and Technologist who has been studying the design of the Internet even before there was the Internet. One of the reasons why 5G is anti-Internet is because this technology bundle proposal tries to tie up all layers in one lump.  The Internet is to be understood as a prototype that is evolving rapidly. It's even more so for the Internet of Things. Viewed with this understanding, the evolutionary phase problems are better understood, for eg.,  routing still has major problems that aren’t always visible on the surface, according to the MANRS review report. The Domain Name System has its own challenges and is evolving. The complexities and nuances need to be understood before governance decisions are made.

The DC session on Core Values during IGF 2020 published a statement on excessive controls which are problematic practices adversely affecting Core Internet Values. These included Internet shutdowns, suppression of political dissent and fragmentation; There is a sustained growth in cyber criminal activity on the Internet, catalysed by COVID19 and the increased global reliance by the world on the Internet for everything from health, education, socialising to business. Some vulnerable stakeholders have asked for more regulation.

During the last two years we have seen 100+ Internet shutdowns by 29 governments (2020); Continued suppression of political dissent; Calls by some governments for encryption to be weakened; a visible trend towards fragmentation through national regulation, resulting in: Multiple layers of accountability that do not necessarily work together and weakened technical resilience of the global Internet. 

The word "regulation" comes back more and more often. The Core Values coalition shared a statement on excessive regulation with the community supported by several other Dynamic Coalitions.  More and more we are turning to strict legal regulation on state level and on international level. While the issues are not resolved without regulation, it is still unclear as to how regulation would resolve every problem. 

We have to defend the Internet from regulation because regulation will break the core values, the basic principles of the Internet. The Internet we have today is not the original Internet that was designed as global, end-to-end, interoperable, free and open.  It's much less open, much less interoperable, much more concentrated and based on flawed systems and stuff that the user has no control over.We have to emphasize that even the regulation has to be in conformity with the values on which the Internet is built. There should be governance values as well.

A balanced approach is needed.

In the EU GDPR, in Germany the NetzDG known as the Facebook law, in France the 2018 disinformation law, there are upcoming proposals for online safety in the UK. In the UK, certainly there's more of a self regulatory approach, which may be seen as overly interventionist, there have been discussions in Germany as to over-application. So in terms of core values we need to look at a global level and examine how we can integrate them into implementation of these national regulations, but seen as in conflict with inadequately defined notions of digital sovereignty: there seems to be confusion between cyber and internal market and national champion policies in particular. 

There's been greater State cooperation in the recent past, in particular in the area of emerging technologies, which has really gone hand in hand with a move towards data sovereignty. Most of these can be found in trade agreements with increasing cooperation between the United States and the EU. The EU and US agreed on regulatory cooperation on Trade, one of which “intensified dialogue on standards for the strategic sector, in particular those related to emerging technologies, [in particular] 3D printing, robotics and connected vehicles” This needs to expand on a global level, expand to various Internet technologies, and expand to non-governmental stakeholders. At the global level, as many authors have pointed out, there's a potential for incorporation of core values in standard setting based upon principles set out in a number of organizations, notably the IGF, but also more formalized fora like the ISO and WTO, but there's very little evidence of reference to these principles in day-to-day decision-making on the ground. But how can we translate these developments into decision-making? The integration of core values and principles in standard settings has always been very challenging, but now we have more tools at our disposal than ever before. The most effective method to date has been the integration of third sector scrutiny into decision-making, particularly if you look at voluntary SDO standards, making the funding of third sector involvement is important, the recognition of core principles within decision-making across the board has been important as well.  

This cooperation as of now has expanded to a new EU - US agenda for global changes to “help facilitate trade, develop compatible international standards for e-commerce etc, which is an agenda for “renewal of cooperation on regulation and standards, starting by re-engaging conformity assessment regulation and aligning positions in International bodies”

We continue to see the implementation of national security laws that regard political dissent as terrorism and restrict freedom of expression on the Internet. Around 30 countries resorted to Internet shutdowns last year, including in Europe. This is not a trend that is diminishing, to the extent of attracting the attention of the United Nations Human Rights Council Political suppression continues to happen by implementation of more and more national security laws that regards political dissent as terrorism and by restricting freedom of expression on the Internet.

Encryption is fundamental. There have been calls to weaken encryption to tackle cyber crime, including terrorism and child abuse. Weakening encryption will allow private legal content to be scrutinized, also legal content. To quote from the Open Rights Group, “there will no longer be any such thing as personal communications” [if encryption is weakened]. Everything we say, no matter how private, will be accessed under the bill. It is equally important to note that the overall weakening of encryption is likely to harm privacy, political activism and investigative journalism

This is an approach that makes security look like a binary choice between favoring the rights of this or that group in society. This is dangerous. 

There is no contradiction between privacy and the protection of children, although the human right of privacy cannot overrule the rights of children. Child sexual abuse material can be detected without abusing the technology.  While using technology to detect criminals and bad actors, necessary caution is needed on the possibility that governments, especially those that function on non-democratic frameworks, might misuse technology.

Child sexual abuse, women’s issues, child pornography are issues that must be dealt with, but when repeated over and over again, it opens the flood gates to legislation, and paves way for excessive legislation of the Internet space. COVID increased legislative attention to the Internet, to some extent necessitated certain changes away from the Internet Way of Networking. We are all committed to protecting the rights of the children, but the way the issues are raised is not like the issues brought to the Internet. 

There is a trend towards a fragmentation of the Internet. In some countries, we have the creation of a national Internet. Other countries are suggesting to force DNS services to meet regulatory requirements. A recent example is the European Directive on Network and Information Security. NIS2. To quote from a statement of the Internet Society: This approach risks the creation of multiple layers of accountability and clashing obligations, threatening the autonomy of DNS services and resilience of the Internet. These are global challenges. For a long time, the belief was that they could be tackled by voluntary action based on best practices. But the reality is that obviously many governments now clearly disagree. But this doesn't mean that every country should go its way. As many governments try to reinvent the Internet, we need to work globally in place of national actions. 

The Internet merely mirrors our lives. Various forms of abuse exist not because of the Internet, but because of crime (on the ground). The Internet is just an environment that can be used by all participants. We need to fight with the criminals, not with the Internet. The main problem of the Internet is it is global, we should fight with real causes, not with the Internet, to stop abuse, to stop harmful content, to stop any harm, any crimes that we see through the Internet.

Harm that is planned, or otherwise originates online requires a physical location both at origin and destination. Geographic laws - local, national (state) law, and/or international law are violated in any act of harm that APPEARS to be online harm. Tackling the only online part is not useful.  We need the online and offline parts working in harmony.  We can’t solve all problems by just looking at the wire.

Online measures should not be the shortcut to not do the job in the offline world. At the IGF our focus is to develop solutions altogether by the multistakeholder process, which is in a way an expanded Think Tank process for effective and balanced solutions. We need to come up with further technological alternatives. The challenge is how do we solve social problems and societal problems without breaking the basic underlying mechanism, its global interconnectivity,  interoperability and without hurting its Core Values. 

Governments are more and more understanding that all stakeholders are to be involved in the intergovernmental processes, and it's gradually becoming multi-stakeholder. However, Governments are not quite asking the Internet: Here is the problem. Solve the problem. Rather, the concerns are raised in such a manner that there is a problem (because) the Internet is not (good) it is not working, so let's take over the Internet. And that is what is doing a lot of harm. 

There has to be a balance of rights, the  technological challenges are mostly in finding a balanced solution that would work for everyone, for every group of society that deserves to be protected. And we need to be careful not to rush into solving a problem by creating another, as often the choice available is binary, as a choice between two Rights. For example, Weakening encryption gives access to States, but that opens doors for other kinds of actions that may be undesirable in terms of law, democracy, and common good. 

We need to resolve the problems and get back to the Internet model and anchor the Internet on the Core Internet values.

The panel then discussed “Human Centered Digital Governance”, an idea born when the pandemic started, out of concern for "surveillance capitalism" that is affecting and undermining Western values that are several hundred years old. The required policy changes and the needed shifts in thinking and the need for new concepts are discussed as solutions. Human-centered digital governance addresses mainly one problem, that of the misalignment of Internet users and suppliers who provide digital services. Users pay with personal data that are collected. There is a central flaw in this whole complex system, that of the absence of informed consent and invisible third-party digital barters in the digital economy, unknown in traditional economic channels. Apart from threatening the economic models,  it also weakens users' mental health, and erodes the appreciation of objective truth, and the list is long. 

The challenge of digital governance is to find ways on how to use technology benefits while keeping them human centered. Collection of data should be transparent to the data subject. To achieve that transparency, the Human Centered Digital Governance working group suggests classification of personal data in three major realms or categories: Official data O-Data, Privy Data P-Data and Collective Data C-Data.

The solutions from this approach align with the EU GDPR: Data needs to be classed into official data, privy data, and collective data. The official data is something that should be verified by a third party. Official data needs official authentication, and should be the only legal source of that data, with individual users having genuine control over the use of the data through easy tools and supporting institutions. Privy data is data generated by individual users who generate the data themselves, (blog posts, photos) or data generated about data subject by second parties (apps, companies). In both instances, users/data subjects need to have control over their first and secondary data. This is currently not the case and the processes are opaque. We need to create legal structures to support the establishment of data commons, for what may be called C-data, which is to be under the control of trustworthy and competitive organizations that would then promote benefits of data subjects and the broader society. This new classification of data and the supporting organization institutions will then be able to address some of the digital asymmetries and could eliminate the third-party financed digital barters.

The integration of Core Values and Principles into decision making has always been challenging. Standardisation and the definition of norms of regulation at international level by many organisations or bilateral trade agreements are starting to see an inclusion of human rights and of core values, but this is not the case with every process. Political boundaries on the Internet are exploited to bring forth legislation. It is impossible to solve a global problem in one country as a local problem.

 

Call to Action: 

On many aspects of the Internet there is deregulation, non-regulation and self-regulation but in some aspects, especially in matters pertaining to security there is a trend towards the regulatory approach.  The sustained growth of criminal activity has triggered the understanding that we are reaching a point where more regulation is needed in cases where self-regulation has failed.

However, the impact of regulation should not harm legitimate users under the pretext of protecting another stakeholder. The coalition wishes to call upon stakeholders to be considerate in drafting regulation that will result in fragmentation of the Internet. Inadequately defined notions of Digital Sovereignty together with national and regional regulatory initiatives that are not harmonized would not only fragment the Internet but might space out the Internet as an Internet of many dimensions.  The present notions of Digital Sovereignty needs to be refined in matters related to Internet Governance  Any regulation that is drafted needs to be human-centered and take into account ts societal impact on Civil Liberties, its technological impact on Core Internet Values and the needs of all actors, but in particular, those of the average Internet User. There is a move towards a good degree of cooperation between the EU, Europe and other states in matters related to Technology and Commerce. The Coalition would like to see this degree of cooperation extended worldwide, and in matters related to Internet Governance, involve non-state actors, Internet Technical Community in a multi-stakeholder setting. We wish to recommend that the Core Internet values are referenced and integrated in the Internet Policy processes and implementation.

– Report by the Dynamic Coalition on Core Internet Values. 

Updated December 24, 2021

IGF 2021 Launch / Award Event #62 Mapping and measuring digital trade integration

Updated: Thu, 13/01/2022 - 17:36
Key Takeaways:

More efforts have to be put into project that support the mapping and measuring of policies related to digital trade. In this way, empirical analysis can be conducted to identify the impact of these measures.

Calls to Action

Promote transparency on policies related to digital trade

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More efforts have to be put into project that support the mapping and measuring of policies related to digital trade. In this way, empirical analysis can be conducted to identify the impact of these measures.

Session Report

The new trade issues arising from digital trade are being addressed today either unilaterally or in trade agreements, but very little has been done at the multilateral level with the WTO. Since the internet is one, more effort should be put to address new issues in the multilateral context.  A major barrier to analyse digital trade policies is the lack of comprehensive and updated analysis and indicators of policies and practices that restrict trade. In the absence of quality analysis and indicators, governments and stakeholders tend to misconstrue their national capabilities in trade and also face great uncertainty as to how to solve the issues, thus impeding the collective governance aspects. New ideas and information are crucial to clarify the thinking of the actors and map paths forward in digital trade. The expertise, credibility and independence of the digital trade actors advancing these efforts are key to the reception of the novel messages.

There are several initiatives that are aiming at bringing transparency to digital trade. Here the most relevant:

  • The Digital Policy Alert (https://www.globaltradealert.org/digital_policy) was formulated to address the risk of fragmentation on the Internet by tracking policies restricting digital trade. Consumers in the small markets may also lose out on the benefits that the internet promises as a borderless area for exchanging ideas and commerce. The Digital Policy Alert created a timely public inventory for policy and regulation and is made available through two tools: Activity Tracker and Detailed Policy Mapping. The DPA has tracked more than 700+ policy and regulatory activities in 2021 alone in the G20 countries. The EU and USA contribute with a significant amount of activities. Data Governance, Competition, Content moderation, Operating Conditions and Taxation are the current areas of policy and regulatory activity showing the most activity.
  • The Digital and sustainable Regional Integration Index (DigiSRII) by UN-ESCAP (https://www.unescap.org/resources/DigiSRII): UN-ESCAP has collaborated with the European University Institute and OECD to collect data for building tools to support policy makers. One of these tools is the Digital and sustainable Regional Integration Index (DigiSRII), which looks into many parameters which includes Trade and investment, Finance, and also the critical pointers like the Digital Economy through Conventional Integration part (Trade and regulation, Infrastructure) and Sustainable integration part (Inclusive, Cyber security). Openness and Harmonization in Regional Digital-trade Regulation allow interoperability and pave the way for more integration at the regional level. The result of the analysis shows that most countries have modest performance in terms of the component which takes into account sustainability, especially when it comes to least developed countries, which are not only behind in infrastructure but also in terms of regulations. These countries also find it difficult to attract FDI which could bring them capital or technology they lack to close the gap. Evidence from these initiatives can be used to build capacity for policy makers and to support their reforms of the policy.
  • Digital Trade Restrictive Index for Africa by UN-ECA: The main objective of the new project by UN-ECA is to assess the readiness of African countries to effectively engage in digital trade and e-commerce. The initiative started during the first part of negotiation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) and allowed to give some indications and policy recommendations to negotiators. Data is collected at national level in two separate datasets. Firstly, UN-ECA is assisting member states to expand the coverage of African countries in OECD Digital Trade Restrictive Index, secondly UN-ECA is supporting the collection of data for the Regional Digital Trade Integration Index. The data collected is used to calculate the restrictiveness index of 28 African countries. Preliminary results show that African countries are relatively integrated in terms of digital trade, but the countries that were covered lacked legislative frameworks in core digital areas that could affect digital trade. It is important to have harmonized rules and regulations across Africa, especially on cross-border transfer of data. Consumer protection regulation also helps to increase the confidence in the digital trade environment in Africa.
  • The Digital Trade Integration (DTI) project by the European University Institute (https://globalgovernanceprogramme.eui.eu/digital-trade-integration/): The project has just started, but it is building on the work done by ECIPE with the Digital Trade Restrictiveness Index, which now has been discontinued. It was the first initiative to map the measures affecting digital trade across 64 countries. The results showed that China, Russia, and India were the main countries imposing top restrictions while Norway, Iceland, and New Zealand were imposing the least restrictions. The new project, which brings together the EUI, LSE, Hertie School, Bocconi, UN-ECA, UN-ESCAP, UN-ECLAC, TIISA and ECIPE, is justified by the fact that there is a need to provide more transparency and understanding on the type of measures which affect digital trade. By collecting high quality data, it is possible to conduct empirical research and identify best practices. The project covers 90 countries and the datasets and index will be released in 2022.

Among the concluding remarks, it was highlighted that there is a need for aggregated data to be able to create indices. These will help to spot issues of particular interest and that require most action. Having a multi-stakeholder discussion on this topic is very important.  ESCAP has used the data collected in its research to prepare recommendations for the Philippines government, which proved to be a great pilot country for similar initiatives.

IGF 2021 Open Forum #29 Internet Society Open Forum 2021

Updated: Wed, 05/01/2022 - 10:41
Inclusive Internet Governance Ecosystems and Digital Cooperation
Key Takeaways:

While there is no single definition of what Internet openness means, an open internet is an accessible internet. An open network allows easy and unrestricted access: it provides unrestricted use and deployment of internet technologies.

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Competition was identified as a highly desirable characteristic of the Internet across the various participants representing diverse stakeholders. Competition was welcomed in every aspect from connectivity, creation of inclusion, accessibility, small-players, geographically (Global south) etc.

Calls to Action

Produce an Internet Impact Brief: if an issue that could impact the Internet is identified, you can conduct an Internet impact brief. This is a quick analysis that identifies whether a proposal, development or trend could benefit or threaten the Internet.

Session Report

 

Summary of Issues

Experts from the civil society, private sector, and the technical community unpacked, provided nuance, shared ideas and knowledge on what contributes to openness in the Internet ecosystem through the protocols and processes in place.

It was discussed an open, globally-connected, secured and trustworthy internet is central in transforming economies and integral in social development. It was also established enablers of the open internet thrive on competition, Internet interoperability, and meaningful multi-stakeholder participation at the regional levels.

The benefits of an open Internet are enormous—it fills the infrastructure gap, the gender gap and gives full control of personal data and privacy.

                    Key  takeaways

Throughout the discussion, it was established that the regulation of competition is central to the openness of the Internet. 

Salient to the conversation was how competition is a highly desirable characteristic of the Internet—competition stimulates the creation of inclusivity, meaningful connectivity, and accessibility. The technical community should strengthen, innovate the internet while a strong regulatory policy was underscored. The private sector and technical community should promote competition which is a tradeoff for centralization.

Also, the creation of a multi-stakeholder environment should happen in a diverse setup of multi-stakeholder environment, this multi-stakeholder approach shot or be at the global level but regional and national levels.

Moreover, protocols should act as the building blocks and units in driving innovation; protocols should be promoted in a way to keep the decision making open while avoidance of throttling and blocking content is necessary for keeping the Internet open.

Report was written

 

IGF 2021 WS #137 Multi-stakeholder approaches for the Design of AI Policies

Updated: Wed, 05/01/2022 - 08:33
Economic and Social Inclusion and Human Rights
Session Report
  • This workshop builds on the conclusions of the UNESCO report, “Steering AI and advanced ICTs for knowledge societies: a Rights, Openness, Access, and Multi-stakeholder Perspective”, to operationalize the ROAM-X indicators for multi-stakeholder approaches for AI policy making and to provide evidence-based guidance on policy co-creation efforts. The event aimed to address existing AI policies and digital strategies and examine them with the ROAM-X indicators emphasizing the multi-stakeholder lens.
  • All decision makers must make sure that each participant, especially those from traditionally marginalized groups, can voice their opinion and add to the discourse of AI Policy Development. AI-related discussions should be made more accessible, which includes knowledge sharing so all participants can contribute to the discussions. Meaningful inclusion should focus on the empowerment of all participants.
  • However, it is also important to acknowledge that much progress has already been made to create a multi-stakeholder environment in AI policy discussions. For instance, there is significant progression of gender diversity in the field of AI. Crucially, inclusion also means the acknowledgement of each person or country’s unique background and experience. Therefore, more attention should focus on AI policy work done by countries in the Global South.
  • To develop an effective multi-stakeholder approach, meaningful engagement with underrepresented groups including youths should be institutionally mandated in the principles of all UN programmes. Inter-generational partnerships are needed because young people need allies and partners who are currently in key positions and holding the power to make the change.
  • On the global level, valuable perspectives from developing regions often fall short due to the trap of tokenism which wrongly assume that a single person can represent an entire region. Meaningful diversity requires more fundamental changes to the status quo. To be truly inclusive, AI discussions should be conducted in languages beyond just English. 
  • Constraints for stakeholders from Civil Society, Government, Academia, Private Sector and beyond to meaningfully participate in processes to AI Policy Development are manifold and need to be addressed. These include but are not limited to: Connectivity, Access, Basic Digital Skills and understanding of AI systems.
IGF 2021 WS #167 Digital Human Rights:How IGF-born guides support the Roadmap

Updated: Fri, 31/12/2021 - 12:50
Economic and Social Inclusion and Human Rights
Key Takeaways:

(1) Participants affirmed value of exchanging knowledge and experience about ongoing and emerging undertakings putting human rights instruments at the heart of internet governance deliberations: projects underscored the sociocultural and geographical range of human rights-based documents for policymakers at the intersection of online and offline domains. Working together, being open to debate crucial to healthy and sustainable internet futures

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(2) Addressing the query about the added value of ever-expanding repertoire of digital human rights charters, guides - and law making (e.g. Brazil’s Marco Civil (2014), Portuguese Charter of Human Rights in the Digital Era (2021)) - participants affirmed that all initiatives have intrinsic worth. Main finding is how important building - and crossing - the bridges that such initiatives embody remains for digital human rights standards.

Calls to Action

(1) Work on keeping up opportunities for collaborating, sharing ideas, and mutual support between various digital human rights projects; at global, regional, national, and local levels.

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(2) We ask the IGF Secretariat to actively acknowledge these human-rights informed outcomes in official outputs of the UN-hosted annual meetings, regional and national IGFs: only in this way can the intersessional work underpinning these outputs make visible the concrete achievements of the IGF itself.

Session Report

This session explored how digital human rights documents emerged or inspired by the Internet Governance Forum and its community support the UN Roadmap for Digital Cooperation on the promotion of human rights online and help achieve the sustainable development goals.

It focused on selected documents analysing  how they emerged, how they translated existent human rights law and norms to the online environment and reflected on its relevance, achievements and main challenges. The session was moderated by Claudia Padovani, Dennis Redeker and Jacob Odame-Baiden. Michael J Oghia was the Emcee in Katowice.

The first part of the session looked at documents that emerged within the IGF community by focusing on their background and context and how they sit in the tradition of international human rights documents.

Speaking on behalf of the Internet Rights and Principles Coalition’s Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet (IRPC Charter), Marianne Franklin explained how the Charter draft initiated in 2009 was an attempted to bring all sector together to translate existing international human rights documents to the online environment. It draws on the United Nations’ Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) and its covenants. It worked as a bridge connecting the digital world with human rights which at the time was not an obvious connection.

Edetaen Ojo spoke on behalf of the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms (African Declaration) and gave some insight on the context that led to the African Declaration African Internet Governance Forum (the African IGF) that took place in Nairobi in Kenya in 2013 at a time when many African countries were developing laws regulating various aspects of the digital space. These were mostly not human rights-respecting norms and the idea was to establish a set of rights-based principles that would guide law and policymaking as well as advocacy around the Internet. 
Both documents draw on established international human rights and norms which were translated to the online context and the African Declaration paid particular attention to Human Rights instruments on the African continent, especially the African charter on human and people's rights adopted in 1981. Marianne Franklin and  Edetaen Ojo shared how over the years both documents have been disseminated within and outside the IGF Community how they reached out to policymakers, judiciaries, civil society organisations, the technical community, and academia. And how international initiatives and international organisations such as the UNESCO, UN, or the Council of Europe have acknowledged, collaborated, and endorsed these documents. Local and regional outreach has been crucial to helping disseminate these documents and translations play a significant role: the African Declaration has been translated into Portuguese, Arabic, and French while the IRPC Charter has been translated into 12 languages and 11 of those are now in booklet form.

As for the relevance of these documents in the current times both speakers considered that they are more relevant than ever: the prosecution of journalists, bloggers and rights defenders, internet shutdowns, online surveillance, and other human rights violations are happening in the digital world, and the current pandemic crisis has not only highlighted the digital divide but also created opportunities for human rights violations online.  The African Declaration initiative published the paper Impact of COVID‑19 on Digital Rights in Africa looking at how the principles in the African Declaration have been impacted by COVID‑19 and the response of various governments on the continent to the pandemic.

Sean O Siochru intervened on behalf of the Just Net Coalition noting on the Delhi Declaration, another IGF inspired initiative emerged and urging on the importance of looking at the whole spectrum of human rights online as some are not getting the same level of attention and the need to move from declarations to action, which is now the focus of the Coalition. Marianne Franklin highlighted the connections between IGF-led documents: e.g., the IRPC Charter is strongly connected with the Council of Europe’s Guide to Human Rights for Internet Users (CoE Guide) and the Brazilian Marco Civil. Wolfgang Benedek who was part of the expert group on both the IRPC Charter and the CoE Guide shared insights on how this document emerged as a result of the IRPC Charter but covering a less wide range of rights and aimed as an educational tool. On the Marco Civil, which passed into law in 2014, Marianne Franklin explained how this document was a very inspiring process with a very broad national Civil Society consultation framework.

Ana Neves spoke on behalf of the Portuguese government, which recently adopted The Portuguese Charter of Human Rights in the Digital Age (Portuguese Charter) and shared that the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the European Union and the Lisbon Declaration on digital rights approved in June 2021 worked as the kickstart for the future possible EU charter on digital rights leading to the national initiative, which despite its topdown approach ( a government and parliament initiative) also included the input of its citizens. Ana Neves highlighted some of its provisions, including net neutrality, the creation of a social tariff for Internet access services, the prohibition of Internet shutdowns, and the creation of fact-checking structures. Following up on Ana Neves' intervention Wolfgang Benedek added that like some of the issues mentioned such as the issue of disinformation, hate speech was not mentioned in the COE’s guide but were covered in a posterior document. He stressed that would be important to ensure that new efforts look at the already existing materials. Anriette Estherhuysen highlighted how initiatives such as the IRPC Charter and the African Declaration have been important advocacy documents and great tools to help national initiatives such as the Portuguese Charter and others as these frameworks make the process of translating human rights law to the online environment much easier.

The last part of the session looked at these documents inspired local initiatives. Raashi Saxena highlighted the importance of these as awareness-raising and educational tools and the work that needs to be done to promote universal digital human rights that both the global South and the global north can engage with. She highlighted the work that the IO Foundation is doing in the effort to create a Universal Declaration on Digital Rights (UDDR).  Aik Van Eemeren shared how the Cities for Digital Rights Coalition emerged in 2018 when a group of people from several cities came together during Mozilla fest event in London and how the Coalition grew from three to 55 cities worldwide. Drawing on examples from his city in Amsterdam Aik Van Eemeren highlighted how the Cities Declaration inspired by the IRPC Charter and supported by the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat) has been a moral support an important framework to policy makers and how it inspired a variety of projects in cities around the globe. Some of the Coalition’s projects were shared via the Zoom Chat: https://research.ngi.eu/public-procurement-conditions-for-trustworthy-a…, https://algoritmeregister.amsterdam.nl/en/more-information, https://citiesfordigitalrights.org/global-observatory-urban-ai, https://cities-today.com/amsterdam-introduces-mandatory-register-for-se…. An intervention from Sarah Boscaro, a student from the University of Padova closed this part of the session. She explained how together with other colleagues Delar (Germany), Hebrew (Turkey) an Instagram advocacy campaign was created with the goal of spreading the knowledge of the charter of Human Rights and principles of the Internet among young people due to needing to be educated on what our rights are on the Internet. 

Anriette Estherhuysen delivered an end-of-session keynote looking at the relevance of these documents in the wider UN IGF ecosystem and how these can mutually support each other. She noted that the fact these bottom-up initiatives that come from within the IGF Community are powerful tools and have had a ripple effect at the sectoral, national, and regional levels and that this should be celebrated.  The main challenge she pointed out is how to connect them all and she called for more collaborations and partnerships to bring this movement forward. Anriette Estherhuysen added that working together by creating bridges between different approaches (e.g, human rights vs social justice) and overcoming political tensions, and linking the rights frameworks to policy frameworks these initiatives can the impact that aim for. She urged the community not to give up on the IGF space: despite its flaws, it brings all stakeholders together and if used effectively can still achieve meaningful practices, partnerships across stakeholder groups. Dynamic coalitions and particularly the IRPC can work as a space to share our learning and share our progress and allow critical debate. 

In the closing statement, Minda Moreira noted how it has been inspiring to see the work of the IGF community and the initiatives that developed from this space in awareness-raising and supporting Human Rights online.  Following up on Anriette’s call, she highlighted the importance of joining the dots, bringing these initiatives together, creating collaborations and partnerships to advance the work that has been done to make a real difference.

IGF 2021 Town Hall #15 EDMO: A multi-stakeholder approach to tackling online disinformation

Updated: Fri, 24/12/2021 - 13:21
Key Takeaways:

1) It will be important to make clearer to the EU public opinion which and how large a role EDMO could have in the monitoring process, whereas it is clear that EDMO is well placed to study the societal effects of disinformation.. 2) Elections period will be crucial moment in which the effectiveness of the mechanisms that EDMO is putting in place will be solicited and will be interesting to get updates on the outcomes of this monitoring activities

Calls to Action

a) Is there a role for the general public to collaborate with EDMO in monitoring the implementation of the codes ? b) Would it be possible to have EDMO tools and services directly accessible by the public ? c) Are the local hubs intending/having the means to consider disinformation in regional and minority languages (e.g. immigrants living within EU countries)? d) How share EDMO's acquired experience with non-Union States?

Session Report

SESSION REPORT (draft 3 - made on the deadline)

Moderator Giacomo Mazzone (EDMO) introduces this townhall by recording that it intends to conclude a discussion that was initiated at IGF 2020: how can we – concretely – tackle disinformation, based on the different actions with the help of institutions, civil society and the media. In 2020, one of the very important announcements were the European Union initiatives. High level speakers called for encompassing solutions.

As one of the more promising actions, EDMO was announced.

Today, after a few months of preparation and organization, EDMO, the European Digital Media Observatory based in Florence, is fully operational and now contributes to the development of those solutions by playing its part in the European strategy.

Krisztina Stump (European Commission, head of unit “Media Convergence and Social Media”) then outlines in broad strokes the Commission’s strategy to fight disinformation.

In order to meet these challenges the Commission decided in May 2021 to issue guidance on how signatories should complement and strengthen the 2018 Code of Practice which has been signed by 26 organizations (including Facebook, Google, Twitter and so on). This voluntary instrument of self-regulation is deemed to have been a success, but it should now be transformed into a co-regulatory instrument for very large online platforms under the Digital Services Act. New signatories also joined the drafting process.

Meanwhile the Commission has published last May a Guidance on Strengthening the Code of Practice, to address its shortcomings through increased and wider commitments: e.g. scrutiny of ad placements to demonetize disinformation, transparency of political and issue-based advertising, reinforcing the integrity of the services against manipulative behavior, empowering users to recognize and flag disinformation, and importantly increasing the coverage of fact-checking and providing wider access to data for researchers. All this is complemented by a request for effective Key Performance Indicators and a reinforced monitoring of the implementation of the Code.

 

The drafting of the renewed Code of Conduct, based on this Guidance is under way, and with the coming Digital Services Act it will become a co-regulatory instrument for very large platforms, not only a voluntary code of practice.

The European Commission has also prepared a legislative proposal on the transparency of political advertising and intends to present a Media Freedom Act to defend media pluralism and press freedom in Europe and to increase transparency.

 

The European Commission supported the creation of EDMO because in their view disinformation can only be tackled through a multi-stakeholder approach, and by the collaboration of researchers and fact-checkers throughout Europe. The goal was to foster and support a cross-border and multi-disciplinary community, and because of this it is important that EDMO already has eight regional hubs, where all players can come together to cooperate with national authorities to monitor the policies of online platforms, and the implementation of the Code. For this last aspect, EDMO is contributing to the fight against disinformation.

 

Lisa Ginsborg (Acting Secretary General of EDMO, at the EUI - European University Institute, School of Transnational Governance) presented more in detail its organization and activities.

The EDMO (European Digital Media Observatory), operational since June 2020 is part of the Union strategy and financed by it, but is a fully independent consortium, with its own governance bodies. Its role is to act as a multistakeholder platform bringing together a multidisciplinary community with expertise in the field of online disinformation, to help detect, analyze and expose disinformation threats, develop media literacy and provide academic support to the public authorities.

This activity needs to be cross-border (“disinformation travels across borders”) both for fact-checking and for research. For this reason, EDMO is cooperating with fact checkers network across Europe to support their work and facilitating their relations with platforms for research purpose and access to relevant data.

To better understand disinformation, EDMO aims to offer a body of facts, evidence and tools to support stakeholders working in the field. At the moment there are 8 EDMO hubs, covering more than half the member States. A call for new local hubs has recently been issued. The list of current hubs can be found here: https://edmo.eu/2021/05/26/national-edmo-hubs-announced/

EDMO is allowing a common fact-checking response to disinformation by providing a collaborative platform for fact-checking organizations in Europe. Thanks to this collaborative fact-checking work, EDMO is able to support Europe-wide collaborative investigations, and publishes monthly disinformation briefs.

IDMO, the Italian hub, is demonstrating the importance of having a wide membership: not only fact-checkers and academics, but also publishers, broadcasters, telecom operators, etc. “Disinformers” are often savvy computer and network users; multiple competencies are necessary to be able stay a step ahead, and test the relevant tools.

Media literacy is a complex landscape that EDMO is mapping, and identifying the players. It does not work in a vacuum, but is an important complement to the activities of regulators and fact-checkers.

Professor Sonia Livingstone (Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science) introduced the important work done by EDMO to understand and promote media literacy.

In fact Media literacy is a crucial pillar of EDMO's work. EDMO is also closely following the different media literacy experiments in schools, with the objective of presenting evidence-based best practice, to be shared with all interested parties (European and non European). One such takeaway is that a “cognitive effort” on the part of the students is needed to have a long-lasting effect: a complex landscape that EDMO is mapping, and in which it is identifying the players. Research shows that prioritized particular elements of media literacy without recognizing the diversity and complexity of the effort, doesn't work.

Media Literacy does not work in a vacuum, but is an important complement to the activities of regulators and fact-checkers.

 

Giovanni Zagni, director of Pagella Politica – a fact checking group based in Italy- confirmed this, especially because “Disinformation travels across borders”. It travels not only through appearing in one country and then spreading to others, but also because, very often, disinformation refers to foreign countries, as the place where something has happened, which in fact didn't. 

In order to address these issues EDMO is building a network of European fact-checking organizations working on setting up a single common space and promoting trainings and networking activities among them. For instance, when the U.S. left Afghanistan, EDMO asked this network to refer back the disinformation spreading in each of the countries covered by its members, and published all the results into a common multifaceted pan-european analysis. Geographic diversity is crucial when tackling disinformation, as well as the diversity of skills.

 

Gianni Riotta, director of IDMO, the Italian hub, explained the importance of having a wide membership: not only fact-checkers and academics, but also publishers, broadcasters, telecom operators, etc. “Disinformers” are often savvy computer and network users; multiple competencies are necessary to be able stay a step ahead, and test the relevant tools.

Thanks to this collaborative work, EDMO is able to support Europe-wide collaborative investigations, and publishes monthly disinformation briefs

 

Lubos Kuklis, chairman of ERGA, concluded the round of panelists, explaining that the body he currently chairs was tasked in 2018 by the EU Commission to monitor the implementation of the Code of Practice.  This work was done in the context of Europewide elections for the European parliament: this was a good opportunity as these elections are taking place in every member state, and offer an ample opportunity to try to see how the code is implemented in various countries in the EU. 

 

From the point of view of the European regulators (ERGA), local regulators are encouraged to work with EDMO‘s local hubs. Currently the monitoring of the respect of the Code of Practice (and of the coming Code of Conduct) is essentially done by self-reporting by the platforms, but this will have to change in the near future. Cooperation among fact-checkers, regulators researchers and organizations like EDMO could provide a more balanced analysis.

SESSION TAKEAWAYS AND POSSIBLE WAY FORWARD

  1. Is there a role for the general public to collaborate with EDMO in monitoring the implementation of the codes (which would probably be against the community rules of some platforms)?
    1. Would it be possible to have EDMO tools and services directly accessible by the public (e.g. signaling of issues and timely feedback)?
    2. Are the local hubs intending/having the means to consider disinformation in regional and minority languages (e.g. immigrants living within EU countries)?
    3. The sharing of the acquired experience with non-Union States is done through the EPRA (European Platform of Regulatory Activities) and by EDMO through the publication of reports and sharing of best practice. But there is appetite for more proactive cooperation, according to questions raised during the presentation on line and live at the IGF (Georgia, Mexico, etc.)
    4. It will be important to make clearer to the EU public opinion which and how large a role EDMO could have in the monitoring process, whereas it is clear that EDMO is well placed to study the societal effects of disinformation.
    5. Elections period will be crucial moment in which the effectiveness of the mechanisms that EDMO is putting in place will be solicited and will be interesting to get updates on the outcomes of this monitoring activities.

      PANEL:

      Moderator: Giacomo Mazzone - Eurovisioni

      Rapporteur: Erik Lambert - Eurovisioni/Silver Lining

      Speakers
      • European Commission (Krisztina Stump -European Commission)
      • Introduction to main activities of EDMO (Lisa Ginsborg - EDMO)             
      • The work of the national hubs (Gianni Riotta - IDMO)
      • Collaboration with fact-checkers (Giovanni Zagni – EDMO/PAGELLA POLITICA)
      • Media Literacy (Sonia Livingstone - EDMO/LSE)
      • Collaboration with ERGA (Lubos Kuklis - ERGA)

IGF 2021 Open Forum #5 Development and Rule-Making on Artificial Intelligence

Updated: Fri, 24/12/2021 - 10:26
Inclusive Internet Governance Ecosystems and Digital Cooperation
Key Takeaways:

AI is having a significant and far-reaching impact on the economy and society, and becomes a new driving force for economic and social development. At the same time, AI is also raising common concern around the world including bringing new risks and challenges to national security and ethic. The development and governance of AI need to be balanced urgently.

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AI governance should be human centric and open which need multinational cooperation and coordination under UN systems and other multilateral mechanism. The AI principle and rules should be universally acceptable and inclusive through sufficient communication.

Calls to Action

Artificial intelligence should benefit human well-being and the future. Countries should prevent the militarization of AI and prevent AI from becoming a battleground for major powers.

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Think tanks can play an important role in AI intelligent governance, build cross-disciplinary, cross-field and cross-country exchange and cooperation platforms, and research and discuss AI technical standards and norms, safety governance rules, ethics and moral codes, etc.

IGF 2021 WS #214 Achieving Sustainable Local Tourism and Nature Conservation

Updated: Thu, 23/12/2021 - 02:02
Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change
Key Takeaways:

Governments, business sectors, academia, social enterprises, civil society, and indigenous people should join hands and build up active communities for promoting sustainable local tourism and nature conservation in the spirit of “Chiho Sosei” and Satoyama Initiative.

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Improving the mobile network coverage in rural areas and promoting multi-culturalism are the keys to creating an eco-tourism-friendly environment, alongside achieving the vision of “smart cities” in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Calls to Action

While wildlife trade is not a high priority issue for governments, it is a growing business. Thus, civil society needs to urge credit card companies and online payment platforms to explore ways to prevent money from flowing into illegal activities.

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We must facilitate networking for youth organisations, promote dialogue between youth groups and governments, allocate mentors to guide them to implement their plans for achieving SDGs.

Session Report

Rui CUI: As the founder of Social Responsibility Practitioners (SRP) – a China-based NGO powered by youth to promote SDGs, Rui shared about SRP’s practices regarding promoting sustainable local tourism and nature conservation via digital means. Firstly, to help promote the concept of eco-tourism in the Philippines, they cooperated with Filipino travel influencers to write about eco-tourism, alongside facilitating a conversation about the relevant topics on social media. At the same time, they also join hands with a Philippines-based social enterprise to design a tourism package, catalysing the digital economy in the countries. To expand the sustainable tourism market in the Philippines, they have been building up an active community in Mainland China via WeChat, fostering the bilateral relationship between China and the Philippines at a community level.

Edmon CHUNG: The core operation of the DotAsia Organization is to manage the .asia domain. Notably, all of their income comes back into supporting internet development and adoption around Asia, and one of the areas they have been supporting is SDGs. Since 2016, when the UN’s SDGs were put in place, DotAsia initiated the Ajitora Project, starting with tigers as its symbol, that goes into primary, secondary, and tertiary students to engage them about the Internet. As part of the advocacy for eco-internet, the Ajitora Project looks at the situation regarding how the Internet has an impact on carbon footprint. DotAsia also observes the capacity, the bandwidth of the digital infrastructure, and the advantages of transforming into a digital economy. As the pilot study, they took six jurisdictions and looked at the situations: 1) The extent of the digital economy versus the Internet carbon footprint, 2) how the power grid supports the Internet, and 3) how efficient is the Internet itself regarding power consumption and carbon footprint is.  

Kam-sing WONG: Hong Kong is a highly urbanised city, with 70+% of the rural and countryside areas in the territories. There are a few things that HKSARG has done in recent years to promote sustainable local tourism with the concept of smart city: 1) improving the mobile network coverage and connection in the rural area, 2) promoting culturalism, 3) using artificial intelligence and robots to detect fire outbreaks for countryside conservation. The overall strategy for the HKSARG is to make Hong Kong go carbon neutral by 2050. And thus, it is essential to promote sustainable local tourism, facilitate public engagement, and e Hong Kong citizens to adopt a low carbon lifestyle. Three years ago, the HKSARG established the Countryside Conservation Office with the aim t  protect the natural ecology of the remote countryside, revitalise the architectural environment of villages and conserve cultural and heritage resources. Thus, it is crucial for the HKSARG to collaborate amongst the local communities, Universities, NGOs and the business sectors, promoting tourism in a smart, low carbon manner. Furthermore, the recent Northern Metropolis Development Strategy reveals that the whole area will be developed into an innovation and technology hub, alongside conserving the wetland in the region and making it a highly livable, smart, and futuristic city.

Natalie CHUNG: The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the role of digital technology in driving transformations, at the same time exacerbating inequalities. Around last year’s Internet Governance Forum, United Nations published the “Roadmap for Digital Cooperation”, which defines the vision of connecting, respecting and protecting all people online. In the report, a quote says, “Digital technology does not exist in a vacuum – it has enormous potential for positive change, but can also reinforce and magnify existing fault lines and worsen inequalities”. Under the context of planetary health, IT operations consume a massive amount of electricity and will be the main contributor to climate change. Technological advancements can offer brand-new solutions to environmental challenges, building a Carbon Conscious Internet. Virtual tours with VR and AR can increasingly provide a more holistic and fruitful user experience for the eco-tourism industry and enhance social inclusion by enabling marginalised communities to engage in leisure tourism activities.

Edward CHOI: The potential of digital technologies can be best harnessed through multistakeholder collaboration. Youths are taking a more prominent role in the digital world, from building their start-ups to gathering force for climate movements. However, youths are also among the most vulnerable to misinformation. Therefore, youths are stakeholders who should never be missed in formulating digital policies. When policymakers and businesses sit down and listen to youths and civil society members, inclusive and futureproof solutions for nature conservation can be co-created. As a youth representative, it is essential to continue unleashing the potential of youths for building human-centric digital solutions for nature education and sustainable eco-tourism.

IGF 2021 DC-ISSS DC-ISSS: Making the Internet more secure and safer

Updated: Wed, 22/12/2021 - 18:07
Trust, Security, Stability
Key Takeaways:

Increasing security of online devices is discussed in various standards and digital industry fora but still need collaborative global solutions that design security into devices.

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Product security labelling and cybersecurity education strengthen the retail market for secure devices.

Calls to Action

IC3S will consider for next phase i. mapping of regional trends in IoT security initiatives; and ii. surveying IoT protocols agreed by different standards developers.

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Funding will be sought for research on procurement and supply chains as drivers for adopting security standards

Session Report

REPORT OF THE IGF SESSION OF THE DYNAMIC COALITION ON INTERNET STANDARDS, SECURITY AND SAFETY   9 DECEMBER 2021 15:50-17:20 UTC

The IGF’s Dynamic Coalition on Internet Standards, Security and Safety celebrated its first birthday at the IGF in Katowice. The coalition has made significant progress following its launch at the IGF in 2020, as was reported by the leadership team during its main session on 9 December.

 

i. Coalition’s name change

 

The chair of the coalition’s working group on communications (WG4) Raymond Mamattah announced that following a consultation with members held prior to the IGF, the name of the coalition had been changed to the Internet Standards, Security and Safety Coalition with the acronym IS3C. He also presented the new logo incorporating the mission slogan Making the Internet more secure and safer. The coalition in 2022 will proceed to establish a website, register a domain name, and implement a communications strategy that will include the use of social media platforms.

 

ii. Objectives

 

The IS3C coordinator, Wout de Natris, explained the goals of the coalition for addressing cybersecurity challenges and its strategy for producing meaningful outputs including policy recommendations, guidance and toolkits. The global impacts of the insecure Internet environment and the resulting barriers to realising the benefits of digital transformation of economies and society, require new initiatives based on global multi-stakeholder cooperation.

 

IS3C provides a new approach for preventing cyber-attacks and threats that focuses on the role of standards. The use of the Internet and related technologies can become far safer if existing Internet standards and related best practices become more widely and rapidly deployed than is currently the case. For example, devices that are developed with security by design principles, help to create a higher level of protection from cyber threats and attacks. This prevents attacks from succeeding, thus reducing the level of mitigation of incidents. Adopting these principles would help significantly to close the existing gap between the much-discussed theory of cyber security and the daily user experience of insecurity online. 

 

This level of increased cybersecurity can only be achieved if stakeholders leave their silos and use their expertise to educate decision-takers, so they can make well-informed choices about cyber security requirements. Furthermore, government procurers and major private sector bodies and companies can lead by example when procuring more secure devices, services and network applications.

 

iii. Outcomes of first phase of work in 2021-22

 

IS3C established three working groups for the first phase of the coalition’s workplan:

WG1 - Security by design - Internet of Things

WG2 - Education and skills 

WG3 - Procurement, supply chain management and the business case 

 

Each group has met virtually at regular intervals during 2021. In the session, the three working group Chairs and Vice-Chairs presented their mission statements, reported on progress in developing their policy recommendations and guidelines/toolkits, and explained their research proposals for 2022 in support of these.

 

WG1 undertook two main activities in 2021: collation of relevant documents on IoT security worldwide and a survey of existing IoT security initiatives. A template for analysis of best practice has been developed which will provide the basis for a research proposal that is in preparation for 2022.

 

WG2 has developed a set of questions to interview stakeholders from industry, policy and tertiary educational facilities in order to establish how deep the knowledge and skills gap is and to ascertain whether good practices already exist worldwide that assist in closing this gap. During the IGF, cooperation with Youth IGF was discussed in order to enlarge the number of interviews. The outcomes of the interviews will provide the basis for more in-depth research that WG2 has planned to undertake in 2022.

 

WG3 presented its research plan for 2022 that will identify current practice worldwide relating to security requirements in procurement and supply chain management.  Following analysis of the findings, the members will identify a set of policy recommendations for stakeholders involved in decisions relating to procurement of secure Internet devices and applications.

 

It is also expected that the coalition will contribute to capacity building programmes in developed, developing and least developed countries, at all levels of involvement concerning procurement and supply chain management.

 

In addition to the ongoing activities of the three working groups, the IS3C coordinator Wout de Natris announced two critically important outputs expected in late 2022 that will serve to empower stakeholders (including educationalists for inclusion in curricula, procurement agencies and supply chain managers) with comprehensive information about cybersecurity standards and related best practice:


-      

an authoritative list of the most important existing Internet-security standards;


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a comprehensive listing of all relevant Internet standards and ICT best practices with explanations of a) the cybersecurity threats and risks which they aim to prevent; and b) who the lead actors are for deploying them. 

 

iv. Governance

 

IS3C’s Senior Policy Adviser Mark Carvell explained the decision in early 2021 to establish an agreed framework of governance that ensures:


i)           a) stakeholder inclusivity and predictability in the coalition’s process for developing consensus-based outcomes;


ii)          b) the target audience of public and private sector policymakers and decision-takers will take proper regard of these outcomes as the result of a rigorously open and accountable multi-stakeholder process.

 

The IS3C webpage on the IGF website provides information about the open application procedure for coalition membership based on subscription to the IS3C mail list, the bottom up agenda-setting and decision making procedures through consensus-based agreement, and the roles of Working Group Chairs, Vice-Chairs and the Leadership team

 

v. Outreach

 

Mark Carvell reported on the past year’s outreach programme to raise awareness, to invite participation in the working groups, to ensure geographical, age and gender diversity, and to seek funding for research activities and to cover administration costs. The programme included presentations to regional Internet governance fora (EuroDIG and APrIGF), regional organisations (including the African Union, European Commission and the Organisation of American States); individual governments and ICT companies, and regional and national Internet standards platforms. The leadership team intends in 2022 to increase its outreach to national and regional administrations and stakeholder communities in Africa, south Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

 

The leadership team had also contributed actively to the work of the IGF’s Dynamic Coalitions Coordination Group (DCCG) in support of promoting the role of the coalitions in the evolution of the IGF as a year-round, issue-focused and outcome-orientated multi-stakeholder hub at the centre of the Internet’s system of global governance.

 

vi. Next steps

 

Wout de Natris explained that the coalition’s membership will review progress of the current working groups in early 2022 and consider whether to establish new working groups for the second phase of IS3C work that may examine other security-by-design technologies following the work on IoT, and new generic issues such as consumer protection.

 

Wout de Natris concluded the workshop with an open call for stakeholders to support the work of the IS3C working groups through active participation, awareness-raising in cyber networks, and contributing funding for the research projects.

 

20 December 2021

 

 

IGF 2021 Launch / Award Event #51 A Vision for the Internet from the Professional Audiovisual Content Sector

Updated: Wed, 22/12/2021 - 17:08
Calls to Action

Incentives for Internet infrastructure growth should be deployed in parallel with incentives for local audiovisial content production as a key driver for Internet uptake by consumers

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A well-regulated Internet entails the protection of trust, safety and security for all users. Active copyright protection online participates in delivering on those core principles and should remain a policy priority

Session Report

This session had a single speaker, audiovisual industry expert Bertrand Moullier, delivering a statement of Vision for the Internet from the professional audiovisial production sector worldwide, on behalf of the International Federation of Film Producers Associations [FIAPF].

After briefly describing the economic and creative parameters audiovisual content producers operate under, Mr Moullier discussed the six core principles and policy priorities that FIAPF, wish to see discussed at future IGFs and given serious consideration by all UN Members with a stake in the future of the Internet and the content made available therein.

  1. Internet growth and sustainable audiovisual production are conjoined factors – we need joined-up policies to reflect this fact

It is an established fact that – everywhere in the world – people’s appetite for audiovisual works, be they factual or fiction, be they entertainment or education or both, drives the demand for Internet connections. The creative producers and storytellers who take the huge creative and business risks of audiovisual content production, need to be active participants in the development of the Internet globally and in the expansion of its social and cultural impact. We want all stakeholders in the global Internet to include us in the formulation of meaningful governance principles and policies.

The fact that audiovisual content made by the professional industry is a strategic driver for Internet growth is still only very poorly reflected in local and international policies and regulations. There is a considerable lack of joined-up policies that ally stimulus measures for Internet connectivity with the incentivising of sustainable domestic audiovisual content production. It is as if the two existed in separate silos.

We urge governments and the multi-lateral system to consider the need for integrating and combining incentives for Internet growth with incentives for the development of sustainable local audiovisual content production. ‘Sustainable’ in this instance refers to the ability for content producers to make a career out of making and disseminating works that are culturally, linguistically and socially relevant to local cultures.

2) The need for universal Broadband

Now, Ubiquitous connectivity and quality connectivity are shared goals for all stakeholders at IGF. The audiovisual production sector  unreservedly supports the IGF goal of connectivity for all people everywhere. Improved and expanded connectivity translate into growing opportunities for producers and their creative and distribution partners to reach new users and to satisfy the runaway demand for quality culture, entertainment and education.

3) Safety and Security Online

This topic has been a salient issue at this, as well as past IGF annual editions: Consumers, businesses and governments must trust that their safety and security are protected online for the Internet economy to continue to grow and for its social dividends to pay off. 

IP protection is an essential part of users’ safety and security. It is a fallacy to suggest that copyright and other IP rights are for the privileged few:  these laws and regulations protect all creations of the spirit, including audiovisual works, everywhere; they protect small companies as well as large conglomerates and enable smaller audiovisual entrepreneurs to convert their and their teams’ talent and hard work into creative assets that can sustain themand the jobs they have created.

But IP laws are only as effective as those who use them: we call on governments and the UN to place more emphasis on training and education for people in the creative industries and, in particular, the audiovisual sector:

4) Freedom of expression

Free expression is critical to the creative industries as vehicles for the cultural conversation and its broader implications in the fields of social life and political debate. However, we also recognize the precept that, of necessity, the right to free expression is not absolute.  There are long standing limitations on expression where it impinges on the rights of others – e.g. hate speech or incitation to racial violence - and these limitations need to be exercised consistently with international standards. Similarly, we oppose any Internet service justifying inaction in the face of IP rights violation, by instrumentalizing – or hiding behind – a spurious freedom of expression defense.

  1. The Internet is not the only future for audiovisual distribution – we need a diversity of media and modes of consumption

Governments and the multi-lateral system should be wary of considering that the future of the audiovisual economy is necessarily destined to be entirely online. Audiovisual content production is inherently risky, requiring considerable upfront investment and sunk costs, with very little possibility of forecasting revenue from the exploitation of the rights in the finished film or audiovisual content. In order to exist and to thrive as a cultural sector, we need a diversity of production formats and  distribution opportunities. This diversity benefit consumers too, because they then have a greater choice of media and platforms with a range of options and pricing points, compatible with the variations in spending power. This means, for instance, that public policies and incentives should also be focused on the long-term viability of audiovisual media other than online:  linear broadcast TV, is proving extraordinarily resilient. Cinemas also – and despite the damaging hiatus caused by the COVID emergency – remain a popular form of consumption of single audiovisual works and the important launch market for many films, also to build awareness among audiences for future online exploitation on legal offers. 

6) The need for sound Internet Governance Structures

The ultimate objective behind incentivizing and governing the Internet should be to promote a safe and secure global communications’ environment based on the rule of law, transparency and accountability.

FIAPF and its constituent Members are committed to open, transparent multi-stakeholder processes to meet this goal. IGF can – and already does – play an important part in such a process.  We believe that to be successful all members of the Internet community must be meaningfully involved in fostering rights and responsibilities, community norms and the protection of core values such as respect for the consumer, connectivity for all, security.

IGF support to the inclusion of the audiovisual sector and other creative industries is encouraging and it should be expanded in years to come.

IGF 2021 Lightning Talk #53 - Local Audiovisual Content for Local Cultures - What Role for the Internet? A Discussion with Sarah Migwi, Co-founder & Managing Director, Protel Studios Ltd, Nairobi, Kenya

Updated: Wed, 22/12/2021 - 16:25
Calls to Action

Need to incentivise local professional audiovisual content production as a proven driver of demand for Internet connectivity and devices

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Need to offer better protection of IP assets developped by local audiovisual content companies, so they may achieve long term sustainability

Session Report

Sarah Migwi, is the founder and CEO of the Kenyan audiovisual content production company Protel Studios. She was the sole scheduled speaker in this Lightning Talk session organised by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations [FIAPF]. She was interviewed by FIAPF’s Bertrand Moullier.

The editorial aim of the session was to highlight, through a case study, the important role that broadband Internet development in parts of Africa play in enabling a diverse and more sustainable audiovisual content production sector, for the benefit of Internet users. The availability of diverse content in their local languages is a key motivator for individuals to seek to connect to Internet, hence the importance of incentivising local audiovisual production sectors alongside broadband infrastructure development.

Sarah Migwi is a film believer in the adage that “content is king” and that audiovisual content in particular, can help change lives and bring much-needed hope in a region that has been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. She believes that, with the exception of music, the medium that cuts most powerfully across age, social class, wealth status and other distinctions, is audiovisual content.

Over the years, with Protel Studios, which she launched in 2008, she and her team have aimed to generate new ideas and develop TV programming that can travel across cultural boundaries within Kenya and East Africa at large. Sarah’s earlier role as an executive in one of the first pan-African broadcasting organisation, the then Tanzania-based East Africa TV, has prepared her well for developing and producing content with a multi-cultural reach.   

Like other successful audiovisual content companies in the East African region, Protel’s output is diverse and multi-format. However, TV programming has been at the heart of its content strategy from the outset, ranging broadly from serious drama to comedy, reality and game shows.

Sarah described the two main content production strategies available to companies working in her market: the first entails media houses (e.g. TV stations and other platforms) calling for projects in specific genres and formats and inviting Protel and other companies to pitch ideas which – if selected – will then be fully commissioned and their production costs fully paid for by the broadcaster. In this instance, the commissioning entity owns the copyright in the project as well as all distribution and exploitation rights.

The second model entails Protel’s creative and business teams generating their own ideas for new original content, financing it independently and picking the best destination platforms to license the content to. Sarah has a strong preference for this second model. The reason is that, by Protel covering its own production risk (downside), it is also in a position to own and all IP rights in the content produced and to control the licensing choices and revenues that may accrue from such deals (upside).  It also means licensing to as many platforms as possible in order to cover the costs of production and maximise consumers’ options for seeing the content.

Sarah observed that the digital disruption has given the Kenyan audiovisual sector new and exciting options. “Digital has put the power back on us as originators of content”, she says. Protel’s deployment on the Internet began in 2009, when the company opened its own branded channel on YouTube. This first move made it possible for Protel to establish a direct connection with the audience for the popular shows whose IP rights Sarah and her team own and control. She believes Over-the-top Internet services are an important destination for Protel’s original content and observes that their viewers are “no longer wedded to television by appointment” and have online alternatives.

As she took advantage of more IP ownership of Protel’s content and the opportunities offered by the growth in broadband fixed and mobile services in the regions, Sarah kept the focus on making shows that are truly reflective of the living culture and sub-cultures of Kenya and surrounding countries. For a successful satirical show, ApaKuleNews, she experimented with shooting not in Ki-Swahili or English but, rather in Sheng, the urban slang used by the youth the show was aimed at. The experience was conclusive, with ApakuleNews aggregating significant numbers and developing cult status amongst the young.

For one of Protel most successful shows, the hugely popular sitcom Real Househelps of Kawangare, Sarah also committed to realism by having actors speak in the same urban slang. Sarah had licensed the linear broadcaster KTN for a limited for two weekly runs and thereafter a second run on their premium pay platform. In parallel, after KTN’s initial windoe, Real Househelps was also put it up on the Protel Youtube channel, where it attracted millions of additional viewers.

Sarah’s vision for the next stage of Protel’s growth is to launch their own branded OTT service, direct to the consumer, without the mediation of a hosting site. Sarah points our that this development will enable Protel to offer different packages at different pricing points, from all-you-can-eat annual subscriptions to transactional per-view options, and including a free option where consumers could enjoy content with short advertising breaks.

As Sarah sees it, having its own Internet-based platform will give Protel the freedom to upload its content and thus exploit the entire back-catalogue and current IP assets whilst continuing to also license to free to air broadcasters.

Sarah believes that local creative entrepreneurs like herself need two main sets of measures to be able to play their part fully in the growth of demand for Internet connectivity and services. The first priority should be better protection of copyright owners, which she describes as very ineffectual at present. She observes that – although there is legislation, the enforcement is weak and needs to addressed. The second priority is a banking system that recognises professionally-produced audiovisual content as valuable IP assets that can be used a collateral to raise cash-flow loans and other forms of financing for local content of cultural and social relevance.

IGF 2021 Launch / Award Event #39 Application of Artificial Intelligence for Children - Research Report and Case Study Collection

Updated: Wed, 22/12/2021 - 09:01
Key Takeaways:

It is extremely important to continue reflecting on the specific needs of children as well as the opportunities and risks AIs generate.It is central to continue exploring how further research, piloting of new practices, adjustment of current ones as well as dissemination and exchanges can contribute not only to child wellbeing and child rights in the country but also to the global innovation agenda on this front.

Calls to Action

Hope government and enterprise follow the 2021 new policy guidance from UNICEF, to support children’s development and well-being, and prepare children for present and future developments in AI. For example, ensure inclusion of and for children; prioritize fairness and non-discrimination for children; protect children’s data and privacy; provide transparency, explainability, and accountability for children.

Session Report

On December 10, IGF 2021 “Application of Artificial Intelligence for Children - Research Report and Case Study Collection” Launches and Awards was successfully held by co-organizers China Federation of Internet Societies(CFIS), Communication University of China(CUC), and UNICEF in Hybrid way. The session invited guests to share their case studies, such as AI Education: Exploration and Practice of AI Characteristic Education in Western China; Children's health: Application and Practice of Smart Sports Learning and Management System; Using AI System to Promote Content Safety for Children. During the session, participants discussed AI technology conducive to the healthy growth of children and related moral, ethical standards. The summary showing as follows:

Zhao Hui,Secretary General of China Federation of Internet Societies(CFIS), noted that China has always attached great importance to the protection of minors in Cyberspace. The revision of the Child Protection Law of the People's Republic of China, which was officially put into effect on June 1, 2021, added a particular chapter on "Internet Protection", aiming at protecting minors in Cyberspace. Ms. Zhao said that CFIS has paid close attention to and actively participated in the protection of minors in Cyberspace since its establishment in 2018. In the future, CFIS will continue to explore the establishment of cooperation mechanisms on AI for children with its unique advantages and share its ideas on enhancing the healthy development of minors on the Internet environment.

Duan Peng, Vice President of Communication University of China(CUC), pointed out that the rapid development of AI technology not only brings great convenience to children's education, health, and entertainment, but also brings people concerns about privacy protection and fairness. CUC has always attached great importance to the integration of discipline construction related to AI, technological progress, and social responsibility, and has a very deep academic accumulation in the field of intelligent media network. Mr. Duan hoped that through the communication of this meeting, all parties can get inspiration from the application of AI technology for children and contribute to the development and application of AI technology in the children related fields.

Case study introduction:

[Case study: AI Education-Exploration and Practice of AI Characteristic Education in Western China]Chen Chen, Chief of Integrated Coordination Section, Cyberspace Administration of Chongqing, Rongchang District, introduced that Rongchang District pushes forward the systematic and organic integration of AI with education, teaching and learning by strengthening the platform building for "Intelligent Campus", carrying out experiencing programs, integrating teaching resources to build up the teaching staff for AI classes, and developing curriculum for AI which features robotics. The initiative has enriched students' after-school life, improved their hands-on ability, cultivated their interest in scientific research and AI, stimulated their desire for exploration, and helped teenagers improve their network civilization literacy.

[Case study:Children's health-Application and Practice of Smart Sports Learning and Management System]Wang Xuwen, Head of Solution Architect, Education Sector, Alibaba Cloud Computing Co., Ltd. Shanghai, introduced how Alibaba's exploration and practice in using AI technology to help youth with sports and efforts to promote the development of youth sports from a traditional model that relies on experience to an intelligent model driven by data. Wearable devices can sense the physical signs of students exercise in real time, and send data to the Cloud through the Internet of Things for continuous monitoring. With the help of data models and algorithms, students can instantly understand their own physical performances. Teachers can make personalized training plans based on each student's physical fitness and state. More importantly, under continuous data monitoring, in the event of abnormal physical signs, artificial intelligence can send alerts to teachers and parents as soon as possible so that necessary measures can be taken to avoid accidental injuries caused by sports. This technology will be widely used in physical education in the future, and play an important role in enhancing the physique of teenagers and improving the health of the whole nation.

[Case study: Using AI System to Promote Content Safety for Children]Wang Xiang, Tencent Security Product Director, said how to use science and technology to ensure that children access the Internet safely and healthily and to help with their growth is a new social issue with both the urgency and protracted nature, raising public concerns. Therefore, Tencent Security launcheda Guard for Children project, dedicated to promoting content safety for children by AI technology and risk control in different scenarios. First, Tencent sets up open courses to improve online security awareness of parents and teenagers. Secondly, the company creates high-quality videos and audios for children and then distributes these contents precisely by AI to children with different characters to enhance children's vital abilities like subject knowledge, common sense, EQ education etc. Finally, through AI detection, the company reduces inappropriate internet information to children, such as bullying, bad behavior, bad ACG, etc. At present, they process over 300 billion pieces of content every year and automatically detect over 500 million inappropriate pieces.

Dora Giusti, Chief Child Protection UNICEF China, concluded that all parties keep exploring Children's needs in development and studying both opportunities and risks brought by AI. She said that all parties should strengthen international cooperation, share experiences with other countries and maintain innovative development. She also urged all parties to abide by their social responsibilities, formulate relevant guidelines, further promote the development of AI for children, and effectively safeguard children's rights based on the second version of AI for Children-Policy Guidance released by UNICEF in 2021.

In the Q&A part, the audience and guests exchanged views on social responsibility, children's privacy, data security, and so on. Participants unanimously agreed that while developing AI, we should always adhere to the principle of technology for good, safeguard children's dignity, protect and promote their free development and diversified growth. They also stressed that AI products should protect children's privacy, promote children's physical and mental health, and control potential risks. They call for further international exchanges, as well as new models and ways of international cooperation to promote the research of AI technology for children.

 

 

 

IGF 2021 WS #158 Digital Inclusivity in DLDCs: User Connectivity vs. Content

Updated: Wed, 22/12/2021 - 08:39
Universal Access and Meaningful Connectivity
Key Takeaways:
Data Localization: Data and content should be localized with government championing the creation of enabling environment. This would resolve the issues around trust and unauthorized data mining. Government Bureaucracy and Taxation: Permit from Government in launching projects is a big bottleneck to connectivity today. There are a lot of bureaucracy with government processes. Government's heavy tax on digital services should be discouraged, Expensive Connectivity: Connecting is still very expensive with less content available for people to access and all these need to be addressed to have meaningful connectivity. Telcos should practice infrastructural handshake Cyber Safety: Safety online should also be considered. People would come online if it’s safe of threats & cyberbully There should be funding availability for innovators & access to loan to improve on local solutions
Calls to Action
Governments should digitize their processes without any more delays & put citizen-facing services online while also ensuring that digital infrastructure deficits are vigorously addressed. Government should create a level playing field & provide some level of support to local content creators to ensure they meet the standards generally acceptable by users at an affordable price. Telcos should engage in infrastructure sharing to reduce waste...,

Private Sector and Civil Society Organizations should undertake enlightenment & digital literacy programs to sensitize the general public, the benefits the Internet provides, and as well debunk the fairs of coming online. Government to grant telcos tax holiday, loan facilities, important infrastructures i.e energy, and reduce the cost of "right of way" in order to reduce the cost of connection which is currently quite high.

Session Report

 

IGF 2021 WS #158 Digital Inclusivity in DLDCs: User Connectivity vs. Content
 

AfICTA’s Workshop session @ the IGF-2021 held concurrently as the 9th AfICTA Summit in a hybrid format. The session which was the third installment of an AfICTA workshop at the global IGF was moderated by Paul Rowney, the Deputy Chair of AfICTA. The Chair of AfICTA, Mr. Thabo Mashegoane gave a brief opening remark. Mr. Thabo Mashegoane stated how critical the topic “Digital Inclusivity in Developing and Least Developed Countries (DLDCs): User Connectivity vs Content” is, especially in a time where strategies are being devised regarding connecting the disconnected half of the world. He appreciated the panelists and attendees for joining.
Thabo MashegoanePaul Rowney

The moderator gave background information about AfICTA as an advocacy group for businesses in Africa and that though connectivity in Africa is 50%, the speed is still relatively slow, and aside from being connected, another critical aspect of connectivity is content accessibility.

He gave a brief introduction of all the panelists; Dr. Isa Ibrahim Jalo the Director of Abuja Geographic Information Systems – AGIS; Dr. Melissa Sassi the Global Head of IBM Hyper Protect Accelerator, Mrs. Mary Uduma, West Africa IGF Coordinator; Kulesza Joanna the Assistant Professor of International Law University North Poland and Jane Coffin the Senior VP & Internet Growth, ISOC.

Question 1: Barriers to universal and meaningful access: What are the main challenges that people face in obtaining and making full use of Internet access? To what extent are these the result of social, economic, and cultural factors, and to what extent do they result from aspects of the digital environment? How can we use the responses to these questions to better understand the intersection between digital policies and other policy areas? Can this understanding help us to develop and implement more realistic Internet-related policy goals?

Dr. Isa Ibrahim Jalo mentioned affordability as one of the major barriers, as the cost of data is still not affordable for a lot of people. He also highlighted the non-availability of quality access which the Fiber optic is meant to address but it’s hard to have it at the hinterland due to several factors like “the cost of the right of way”, government policies, and most times delayed licensing. Dr. Isa Jalo mentioned the need for contents and data to be localized with the government championing the creation of enabling environments such as policy formulation, creating required infrastructures, and resolving issues around trust and unauthorized data mining.

Dr. Melissa Sassi’s standpoint regarding “…Connectivity vs Content” was that both are extremely important to ensuring the last-mile connection. She mentioned how important it is to enable young people with access to various digital skills such that they aren’t just consumers but creators, contributing their quota toward creating indigenous solutions to problems. She recounted some of her interventions on digital literacy for youths on the continent, partnerships, and funding interventions such as Credit Plus from Uganda that provides temporary loans which aren’t predatory. Pay Hippo provides small businesses loan access etc.

Mrs. Mary Uduma raised the issue of availability as another major bottleneck to improving connectivity. The dilemma whereby one can afford it but it’s not available. She mentioned how there are little or no citizen-facing contents online and how the need of the people with special needs are least considered. Language is another major barrier as people with no formal education find it difficult to interact online. She also raised the issue of trust and shared her experience of people’s wrong perception of what the Internet is. Safety online is very important as more people would come online only if it’s safe from threats and cyberbullying.

Kulesza Joanna examined the issue of capacity building, human rights, and online safety. She highlighted how safety online is important to end-users most especially now that huge junk of our day-to-day activities are based online due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. She mentioned that users’ security online should be of great concern to stakeholders by enlightening and educating them on how they could keep safe while using the Internet. Another important aspect of Joanna’s intervention was the need to get not just only the youths connected but also the older generation through education. She mentioned some of the ongoing interventions on ensuring more user connectivity/safety with “GFC - Global Funds for Cyber-Expertees and Council of Europe.

The floor was opened for interventions and questions

We had Rada from Pakistan; How do we ensure there are more positive local contents rather than harmful contents. Melissa answered that by putting more of the positive content online and making sure solutions are well branded.

We had Nassar Nicholas, Tanzania Digital Programme Manager with the list of what the government is doing to improve digital access and knowledge. About 200 Women and Youth Innovation Hubs to enhance connectivity with language barrier resolved.

Akintunde opined that there is a need to create groups like ISOC in schools that would further expose school children to digital knowledge and mentorship and that could be scaled such that it becomes a regional initiative.

Kossi AMESSINOU expressed how connectivity in schools is important to universal digital access.

Some Panelists

Government Bureaucracy and Taxation: Permit from Government in launching a project is a big bottleneck to connectivity today. There are a lot of bureaucracies with government processes and policies. Taxation on every digital initiative by the government discourages innovators and delays connectivity.

Question 2: Practical locally-driven policy solutions: What lessons can be drawn (and how) from successful policy solutions to universal access and meaningful connectivity around the world while taking into account local specificities and needs? In particular, what are the relevant practices implemented by local actors (local government, civil society, local providers, and entrepreneurs) to advance universal and meaningful access?

Joanna mentioned that African leaders are adopting good practices to leapfrog into the future and thought it’s a good idea that must be promoted. She added that discussions around connectivity and service provision must be encouraged and joining fora like ICANN, IGF, ISOC, and other initiatives would fast-track the idea and expose Africa to solutions that are already available. Regarding power inconsistency as earlier mentioned by one of the panelists, Joanna pointed out that ISOC supports solar panel projects in some cities and rural areas.

Mary Uduma said there should be a synergy between the government and other stakeholders. Initiatives must be clearly spelled out by innovators so as to encourage the government’s support. She charged the government to ensure their efforts are not in silos, there should be digital corporations at the local level and the government should work with all their arms and provide better services either cybersecurity, digital literacy, capacity building, etc.

Melissa explained the need for a multi-stakeholder approach and stated some of her interventions with the Cape Verde Government regarding building entrepreneurship and capacity development. National Day of Code was established with the support of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of IT, and Ministry of Tourism. She mentioned that the initiative has gone through the teachers to the students empowering them on how to code.

Other Panelists and Room Participants

The floor was opened for interventions and questions

Raiz Mondugu, Professor of Information from Nepal brought in the perspective of Nepal with respect to digitalization and Internet access to users which is growing by the day.

Kemambo from Tanzania works with content creators, service providers and shared her experience around policy formulation and how governments in Africa do not prioritize connectivity but build other infrastructures. Delay with approving licensing and heavy taxation on Internet services.

Inye Kemabonta’s comment was on the 4th of the 4As (Accessibility, Availability, Affordability, and Appropriate Contents) He said there are little or no appropriate content available to users in a form that is easily accessible to them. He cited an example of featured phones usage in Nigeria for education, financial transactions, and how peoples’ needs are met.

Kileo Yusuph intervened regarding capacity building. 3 things he said could be the reasons for getting it wrong. a. There are more people with the wrong skill-set sitting in the right places, b. Lack of awareness of the opportunities the internet brings and c. Lack of knowledge and synergy.

Yusuf Ahamad further buttressed the point regarding the need for government to be more decisive in encouraging more people to come online rather than victimizing them with laws and taxes.

In Concluding the session, Kossi encouraged that government should bring all important stakeholders to the table for a stronger and more inclusive perspective.

Dr. Isa Jalo also encouraged that government should be inclusive regarding the formulation of laws and should also see to digitizing all their processes so as to drive traffic online and as well encourage those that are not online to come online. We must as well build capacity regarding content creation.

Mrs. Mary Uduma and Melissa Sassi also appreciated all the information shared and the knowledge impacted and look forward to putting them into action.

The session was closed by the moderator, Mr. Paul Rowney

IGF 2021 WS #106 Open Source Collaboration for Digital Sovereignty

Updated: Tue, 21/12/2021 - 17:29
Inclusive Internet Governance Ecosystems and Digital Cooperation
Key Takeaways:
Panelists agreed that collaboration on open source software supports digital sovereignty. Responses had a theme of the positive sum collaboration, where OSS contributions support local benefits in new startups, skills, and GovTech but also support global benefits.
Calls to Action

Mr. Abhishek Singh issued a call to action for a global partnership for OSS adoption, where GovTech OSS innovations can be shared around the world.

Session Report

Panelists agreed that collaboration on open source software supports digital sovereignty, with each elaborating on different aspects in their initial remarks.

Moderator Paula Grzegorzewska, Strategic Partnerships Director at OpenForum Europe, shared findings from a European Commission sponsored study on the economic impact of open source software (OSS) and hardware for the EU. It can be found here: https://openforumeurope.org/open-source-impact-study/

Mike Linksvayer, Head of Developer Policy at GitHub, described opportunities that OSS provides for digital sovereignty, including boosting local capabilities, as well as risks that digital sovereignty, particularly a perspective that tech adversarialism, could cut off open source collaboration communities and lead to underinvestment in the global commons of open source software. He presented a model of evolution companies have undergone from (1) ignoring/fearing open source, (2) to consuming open source, (3) to releasing open source in an ad hoc way, (4) to holistically contributing to it, particularly upstream to where projects originate outside specific companies, to (5) embracing open source innovation as a path to digital transformation. He compared this model to a similar process that governments are taking, albeit more slowly due to their large scale. Initially governments (1) ignored open source, (2) then began to procure open source as users, (3) then experiment with developing open source applications, (4) embracing policies to foster open source ecosystems, to finally (5) embracing open source as a strategic effort to achieve digital sovereignty.

Jeremy (Zhihui) Liang, Deputy Secretary of the China OSS Promotion Union, shared the history of the China OSS Promotion Union and the evolution of the open source ecosystem in China. He reflected that this evolution of open source that had similarities to the model that Mike presented, with China initially consuming open source, then growing the domestic community of contributors, and beginning in 2019 the latest phase: collaborating on open source internationally. He presented a case on Baidu Apollo 6.0, an open source autonomous vehicle platform that has 45,000 developers from 97 countries around the world. Challenges remind, particularly on technical security risks, legal risks, and supply chain risks. But a growing market for open source, open source skills among developers, and government awareness can lead to collaboration on these challenges. Ultimately, open source can improve trust among digital sovereignty partners and build skills and companies that support national digital economies.

Abhishek Singh, Head of eGovernance Division, Government of India, presented on the Indian government’s experience with OSS. Embracing OSS in government brings distinct benefits vs. using proprietary software. It drives a culture of innovation, where developers can contribute their ideas to make more comprehensive and ultimately better products that adapt to and meet the needs of citizens. Almost all Indian digital efforts run on or use FOSS, including the Aadhaar biometric identification system, an online education platform, a document e-wallet system, and the CoWIN vaccination system. The Indian government has found that by opening up code, they can get contributions that improve these systems, and has run innovation challenges to boost open source participation. The key challenge that the government has faced is miscommunication: historically, open source was seen as free of charge and therefore without anyone responsible to maintain it and therefore without trust. Mr. Singh noted, however, this fear is misplaced: in practice this is not the case and the security of open source software is often more secure than proprietary software. OSS does not undermine digital or data sovereignty. Instead, processes and security around national data can be maintained while using OSS. In fact, OSS can increase digital sovereignty and permit governments to contribute to the global good.

Nataliya Langburd Wright, PhD Researcher at Harvard Business School, presented a research paper on OSS and entrepreneurship around the world: https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=58350 She and her coauthors found that a 1 percent increase in code committed to GitHub is associated with 5 to 15 new companies started per year per country. This supports a virtuous cycle, where new ventures in turn are associated with more code contributions: a 1 percent increase leads to 53-69,000 commits per year per country. Policymakers can use OSS as a tool to promote entrepreneurship, and the private sector investors can use OSS contributions as a marker of a quality entrepreneurship ecosystem worthy of investment.

Laurence Moroney, Lead Artificial Intelligence Advocate at Google, presented on efforts of his company to widen access and opportunity from AI to boost local economies, via OSS, particularly tensorflow 2.0 that was oriented towards software developers, not simply AI researchers, and open access education materials and certifications. He has partnered with governments to bring these tools to local populations, including in Indonesia in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, Education, and Technology.

Questions covered the evolution of governments from consuming to contributing to OSS. In China, OSS global collaboration has become an innovation model that contributes to the government’s 5 year plan. Abhishek Singh shared from the Indian perspective that Nataliya Langburd Wright’s research rings true in India: with OSS contributing to a vibrant startup ecosystem in India. Nataliya Langburd Wright suggested further policy recommendations: procurement offers a top-down model, but bottom up approaches of facilitating projects and skills are key, as is the implementation of policies into practice. Laurence Moroney shared that globally interconnected platforms can help governments address “braindrain”, where talent need not leave their home country in order to benefit from economic opportunity. Today, the TensorFlow OSS project has contributors from almost every country in the world.

An audience member shared the example of Sweden’s OSS procurement policy that has worked well, where one agreement can be reused.

Abhishek Singh called for a global partnership for OSS adoption, where GovTech OSS innovations can be shared around the world.

Examining the session hashtag on Twitter, aside from the organizers, the Geneva Internet Platform prepared a summary of the session, available here: https://dig.watch/events/igf2021/open-source-collaboration-for-digital-… GitHub also published a summary, available here: https://github.blog/2021-12-13-github-at-the-un-internet-governance-for…

IGF 2021 Lightning Talk #27 Rebuilding Trust: A Path Toward More Holistic Cybersecurity

Updated: Tue, 21/12/2021 - 15:09
Key Takeaways:

Trust and transparency can form the base of a more holistic approach to cybersecurity. Nishan Chelvachandran suggested that we bring a much wider variety of stakeholders to the table to discuss cybersecurity--anthropologists, teachers, engineers, policymakers and others--even if they don’t agree. This can be a first step toward more effective cybersecurity measures.

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A next step calls for redesigning the design process so we begin to design with stakeholders, not for them. He stressed that the involvement of a wide variety of stakeholders who have a say in the design and security of technology could form a basis for trust from the very beginning.

Session Report

 

The talk began with the basic question: “What is cybersecurity? At one point, cybersecurity was thought of as IT security--antivirus software or combatting hacking, remarked the speaker, Nishan Chelvachandran, a former high level cybersecurity advisor for the UK Government (and Founder and CEO of Iron Lakes, Chair of the IEEE Industry Connections program on Trustworthy Technical Implementations of Children’s Online/Offline Experiences, and the Co-Chair of the IEEE AI-Driven Innovations for Cities and People Industry Connections Program). This is an important part of cybersecurity, he said, but the term is much broader than that. Cybersecurity actually covers the intersectionality between technology and humanity. The cybersecurity element would be to secure those interactions--through a technological security implementation, with the various encryption protocols, for instance, or perhaps through legal and governance frameworks defining how processes are used. So, in this sense, Chelvachandran noted, cybersecurity does not just secure the technology, it also considers accountability and asks the question “how is the technology being used?” “Why is it being used?” and “What is it actually doing?” (its effects), and then it secures the individual’s experience. 

With the rapid development of new technologies and devices, the scope of cybersecurity has mushroomed--more people are using more devices, and more governments, companies, and others are digitizing. This in turn means that more and more personal data is being collected and used for decision making. 

When asked “what keeps him up at night about the current state of cybersecurity?” (especially in relation to children, given that he chairs the IEEE standards working group on “trustworthy tech for kids”) Chelvachandran replied, “Running before we can walk,” or introducing things into the market before stress-testing them and perpetually searching for cybersecurity solutions rather than trying to get things right during the design phase. He is all for “lightning levels of progress,” especially when it benefits the global south, underrepresented groups, and the UN SDGs, but warns that if we run before we can walk, we run the risk of creating even bigger problems. 

In the past, considering cybersecurity after producing a product or service may not have caused a problem that could not be fixed, noted Chelvachandran. Now that we are on the precipice of a full virtual presence, with conversations in the Metaverse and government maintenance of full datasets of personal biological data, “the train could run away from the station,” said Chelvachandran, “and at the moment, we don't necessarily have adequate brakes.” Right now, we really need to be able to bridge that gap and bring the governance, standardization, and trustworthiness in line with the design and deployment of the technology rather than deploying the technology and then seeing where it's failing and trying to patch it up afterwards.

He acknowledged that doing things better would not be easy, and noted that this is why we really need to think about cybersecurity in a transdisciplinary way, recommending that we strive to bring in all stakeholders. Cybersecurity stems from technology, and of course, a lot of people like Chelvachandran who are engineers and technologists know the technology, but if we are thinking about human intersectionality, then we need to include anthropologists, psychologists, teachers and policymakers in the development of standards and technology, he emphasized. We need to figure out what the problem is and look at things from a different perspective, especially because the technologies that we are deploying will be used by everyone, not just a small subset of society.

A next step calls for redesigning the design process so we begin to design with stakeholders, not for them. He stressed that the involvement of a wide variety of stakeholders who have a say in the design and security of technology could form a basis for trust from the very beginning. As an example, many technologies that children are currently using were not designed for children’s use, and those that were, such as children’s products, services, and even games, have been designed for the most part by adults, explained Chelvachandran. “We should redesign the design process,” he said, “this is key to really rethinking how to create something not just fit for purpose, but something that is more future proof, and that “bakes in” security principles and processes at the design stage rather than coming up with a bandaid solution after something is built.”   

Involve everyone, even the naysayers. Cybersecurity must be a truly collaborative effort, with the involvement of government, NGOs, academics, and companies, noted Chelvachandran, mentioning that even stakeholders with objections should be included in the process.  The IEEE Industry Connections program brings together a wide variety of stakeholders to ask tough questions and work on what something could look like. Many of the issues discussed are conceptual, abstract, and the program looks at how to take the abstractions, whether from research or case studies, and build something. This work can then lead to standardization work which then can help govern and steer industry. 

Cybersecurity, transparency, and trust. An attendee asked: “Do you think that there is a shift in how we think about distinguishing and connecting security and safety concerns?” Yes, there has been a shift, replied Chelvachandran. We used to talk about privacy as protecting our data and our anonymity--not letting people see what we are doing. Now that our data is now already in the hands of agencies, governments, public entities, companies and others, the focus is shifting from privacy to agency, and governing who uses it and why. It might be that later on, a user decides that they don’t like the company or service anymore and they withdraw their consent for the company to use their data.  

Chelvachandran advocates for going back to “plain, straightforward, transparent ways of communicating to the user, rather than serving them countless pages of terms and conditions. We should make things “understandable” rather than “explainable” because many technologies are actually quite difficult to explain, and we could do much more interms of helping people understand who is using their data and why they are using it. 

Chelvachandran ended by emphasizing that we should not have echo chambers, with everyone agreeing to design something. “We really need to have these conversations of not just whether we can design it, but should we, and if we should, which a lot of the time I believe we should, then how do we do it in a way that's fair and transparent and representative and secure and safe? This is really where we should be at and I don't think enough of that is done.”

IGF 2021 DCNN Device Neutrality and Interoperability for Internet Openness

Updated: Tue, 21/12/2021 - 14:25
Emerging Regulation: Market Structure, Content, Data And Consumer Rights and Protection
Key Takeaways:

There is a great deal of work needed by regulators and stakeholders to cooperate and foster effective enforcement of policies aimed at promoting internet openness. Some of such policies are already in place in many countries (e.g. net neutrality laws) but their implementation is frequently very timid.

Calls to Action

Effective and participatory implementation, involving users, is essential to guarantee Internet openness. Stakeholders should follow the recommendations on implementation stressed already 5 years ago in the Policy Statement on Net Neutrality, promoted by DCNN https://www.intgovforum.org/cms/documents/igf-meeting/igf-2016/833-dcnn…

Session Report

The central role digital platforms play in economic relations and their potential impact in democratic processes and human rights require adequate regulation to optimize how society uses them. One important regulatory step is implementing platform interoperability - which has many facets, from data to protocols and legal systems. This potentially unlocks value in digital environments, strengthening competition and providing user control.

This session of the DCNN meeting highlighted the various aspects of internet openness that go beyond the usual debate on net neutrality. These include device neutrality and interoperability, which were the focus of the session due to their key role in a more open and multi-faceted debate about internet openness.

Classical net neutrality issues, such as non-discriminatory packet management, are necessary, albeit not sufficient to achieve the ideal of internet openness proposed. Increasingly, net neutrality issues take the fore alongside these other debates, revealing the need for a multi-layered approach to internet openness.

ARCEP, the French telecommunications regulator, has given substance to this in a recent study on Device Neutrality and their impact on consumers. Among their findings, some highlights are: (i) limitations in terms of consumer experiences; (ii) limitations in terms of application providers’ ability to offer services via marketplaces; and (iii) unequal implementation of web standards; among other barriers to competition and openness in the market that end up harming user experience and access to the internet as a whole. Some policy options to face these challenges would be provisions for more transparency for entry conditions in OS marketplaces and increased API transparency, as well as advocating for interoperability of various services.

In terms of interoperability, it is important to understand that its role as an enabler of an open internet is due to its potential to unravel lock-in and network effects and create connections where otherwise there would be barriers. The concept may be divided into two categories: (i) vertical interoperability, when an app can access various platforms and an user can interact with users from other platforms; and (ii) horizontal interoperability: provides inter-platform competition, enabling competition among different marketplaces. Both are necessary to promote internet openness.

In order to achieve this, regulators would need to require platforms characterized as “gatekeepers” to open up to competitors - whether by APIs, standard communication protocols like the WWW consortium etc. This would not be unheard of, as some countries have already instituted interoperability requirements in the case of open banking schemes, which allowed fintech companies to enter markets, increasing competition and giving consumers a genuine choice.

This amplification of choice is reflected in more options, for example, in terms of privacy choices and content moderation choices. Further social benefits of interoperability include promoting media pluralism and diversity, improved social infrastructure, reduced environmental impact of the online economy and the Internet of Things, and favoring digital sovereignty. This impact is made very clear by moments of crisis: in recent controversies over privacy policies of popular messaging apps, peoples whose internet packages include zero-rated connectivity for incumbent apps might feel powerless to question privacy practices and be incapable of swapping services due to potential internet costs.

Although these are recognized beneficial effects of interoperability and net neutrality which make up a more open internet as a whole, there are still many challenges and drawbacks in their implementation, including particular issues in countries where regulation of net neutrality is lax or uncertain.

IGF 2021 Day 0 Event #112 Digitalisation through the use of artificial intelligence in public administration

Updated: Tue, 21/12/2021 - 12:13
Key Takeaways:

The key takeaway of the session revolved around human resources. This includes building an institution's internal capacity in the area of AI on the one hand and building flexible and effective relationships with the private contractors on the other. The shared experience of public institutions from various countries was that it's difficult for them to compete with private companies for talent.

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Another takeaway was that public bodies need to become more flexible in order to facilitate their cooperation with non-public institutions and companies. The case of a recent tender by the UOKiK with the participation of GovTech Poland served as an example.

Calls to Action

Involving academics in the process of knowledge building and information sharing is important for public institutions to make better use of and formulate deeper understanding of how AI can support their work.

Session Report

 

Report on the IGF pre event session “Digitalization through the use of artificial intelligence in public administration” held on December 6th, 2021, in Katowice

Speakers:

Tomasz Chróstny - Government - President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKIK)

Antoni Rytel - Government - Deputy Director for GovTech, GovTech Poland

Kate Brand - Government - Director of Data Science, Data, Technology, and Analytics (DaTA) Unit, Competition and Markets Authority, United Kingdom

Dr. Urs Gasser - Academia - Dean and Professor of Public Policy, Governance, and Innovative Technology, TUM School of Social Sciences and Technology, Technical University of Munich (MUC)

Grzegorz Łubkowski - Business - Client Partner Executive, Kyndryl (former IBM Global Technical Services)

Moderators:

Daniel Rząsa - Journalism - Editor-in-Chief, 300Gospodarka

Piotr Adamczewski - Government - Director of Branch Office in Bydgoszcz, Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKIK)

A summary of the main takeaways of the session:

The moderator introduced the experts and explained the topic of discussion before engaging all the speakers in a roundtable conversation. 

UOKIK started the discussion by sharing its experience in introducing AI-based software in public administration, notably the current AI tool is developing. The aim of this software is to provide better protection against online consumer infringements such as unfair contract terms. Consumer protection is a huge challenge in regards to fast developing e-commerce and big tech, which has the ability to enter new markets and use big data, not always with pure intents. It was noted that public administrations are at a disadvantage in the area of big tech, due to administrative use of more traditional methods. Public administrations, by default, are more focused on law than on analyzing algorithms. This is why AI development is important in this area, as it will allow similar institutions to develop their competencies, and thus improve their consumer protection. Such tools would permit the learning of different agreements and contracts that are not yet registered, and allow them to be flagged, even before a consumer brings them to the authority’s attention. It is an innovative approach with the usage of AI in public administration.

The debate was complemented by the other public representatives, both from Poland and abroad. One of the speakers noted that AI in public administration is not just a question of what we need. It is important to look more broadly and recognize that when engaging with the private sector, public administrations need to take into account the differences between the two sectors. The key is to find a way to engage the companies (SMEs, innovative startups) in a manner that is competitive yet friendly for them. At this point, the key remark came from the business and reflected on well-organized and innovative public procurement used by the UOKIK in order to introduce AI-based software.

The conversation then encouraged representatives of other public sector administrations to present their views and experiences in this area. The speaker from the UK explained how in their institution there is a focus on understanding how businesses use algorithms and how certain ones could harm consumers. It was also explained that they have a department responsible for digital and technological aspects, and the work they do is mostly in house. This carries certain advantages such as having people that understand the deeper context behind a project. They can also integrate new software with tools that already exist (develop what is currently available) and provide ongoing advice.

The speakers from academia and business then moved on to discuss the key stage of preparing and carrying out public procurement procedures.

There were three elements highlighted as important areas for consideration. First of all, it was explained that the systematic approach with the strong strategy allows for conversation and reflection on how AI should be incorporated. Secondly, implementation was identified as the biggest challenge while using AI (finding high quality data sets, technical issues, human level). The last point that was discussed concerned the law of unintended consequences. The equilibrium or the ecosystem in which the organization operates is crucial.

The abovementioned discussion led to the following suggestions. It is necessary to build an institution's internal capacity in the area of AI on the one hand and to build flexible and effective relationships with the private contractors on the other. Furthermore, the shared experience of public institutions from various countries and academia play an important role in order to make better use of AI and formulate deeper understanding of how AI can support work in public administration.

IGF 2021 Networking #16 Supporting the Dynamic Coalition on Internet Standards, Security an Safety

Updated: Tue, 21/12/2021 - 12:05
Key Takeaways:

Stakeholder empowerment has become a major theme for IS3C.

Calls to Action

Support the IS3C with expertise, ideas, your network and financially.

Session Report

The Internet Standards, Security and Safety Coalition (IS3C) held its informal  networking session for interaction with individual stakeholders on day 4 of the IGF. The coalition’s coordinator, Wout de Natris, and working group leads summarised their messages from the previous IS3C sessions held on day zero and day 3. Attendees were invited to explain their interest in the work of the coalition and to comment on the work so far. Some attendees commented and raised questions in the chat room, resulting in some follow up email communication for a few attendees.   

 

The main part of the networking session was an interactive free discussion moderated by IS3C Policy Adviser, Mark Carvell, on the theme Stakeholder Empowerment.  Attendees expressed support for the objective on empowering stakeholders with expertise about important cybersecurity standards. There was agreement that one way of achieving this would be by promoting engagement between corporate and individual Internet users, educationalists, policymakers and decision-takers, and the technical community

 

In his closing remarks, Wout de Natris thanked attendees for their expressions of support and interest in the work of the coalition, and for their valuable comments on the coalition’s objectives. He provided information about how to subscribe to the IS3C mail list and encouraged attendees to participate in the coalition’s working groups. Looking ahead, he emphasised that the coalition would extend its scope in its second phase with additional working groups on specific Internet technologies and issues.  He invited attendees to submit their views on potential future areas of work.

IGF 2021 Lightning Talk #30 Digital creative market: how can we protect users and ensure freedom in light of the new EU Copyright Directive?

Updated: Tue, 21/12/2021 - 11:31
Key Takeaways:

With three experts giving a different perspective on how digital content creators, regulations, and technical community can join forces and shape the future of digital creative market in Europe. With the increment of the importance of digital copyrights, especially in light of the Art. 17 of the Copyright Directive, the speakers agreed on the necessity of developing technology to solve the present shortcomings.

Calls to Action

The key questions to be addressed: - Should the regulation be leading technological advancement? - Can technology advancment wait until regulations are approved and enforced to make its move on the market that is constantly changing? - How can we make sure laws and technologies collaborate towards a fairer creative economy for all digital creators while ensuring everybody's freedom of speech?

Session Report

The discussion aimed to put together an integrated overview of the creative economy reality and lay the ground for the further cooperation.

With three experts giving a different perspective on how digital content creators, regulations, and technical community can join forces and shape the future of digital creative market in Europe.

With the increment of the importance of digital copyrights, especially in light of the Art. 17 of the Copyright Directive, the speakers agreed on the necessity of developing technology to solve the present shortcomings.

The key questions to be addressed:

  • Should the regulation be leading technological advancement?
  • Can technology advancement wait until regulations are approved and enforced to make its move on the market that is constantly changing?
  • How can we make sure laws and technologies collaborate towards a fairer creative economy for all digital creators while ensuring everybody's freedom of speech?

The speakers also agreed on the importance of transparency as an element to ensure trust in new copyright-related technology implementations.

From the technical point of view, transparency can be reached by having unique identifiers to ensure the authenticity and authorship of digital content. However, establishing standards for all kinds of cameras, smartphones, and other gears is a challenge.

Until today, current solutions focus on trying to prevent/restrict copyright infringement. Like Robert Herian said, "copyright owners need to identify infringement and report them in order to protect their content". According to Daniel, CTO of Kelp.Digital this approach needs to change. His suggestion is to solve the problem starting from its roots: implement a solution using standardized unique identifiers that verify authorship over the content.

Whether legislations might accept this approach as a way to have verifiable digital copyrights, is still an open debate.

Lastly, the speakers agreed that the main challenge around the proposed solution is how to ensure all camera gear and smartphone manufacturers follow one unified criterion for the metadata information standards. Can laws and regulations make it happen? It is yet to be seen.

IGF 2021 WS #198 The Challenges of Online Harms: Can AI moderate Hate Speech?

Updated: Tue, 21/12/2021 - 09:49
Economic and Social Inclusion and Human Rights
Key Takeaways:

1) Having good linguistic coverage is difficult. There is a lot of disparity there. Things offensive in one language/culture/dialect are different in the same language but a different region 2) Access to data is essential to understand content moderation. One of the key takeaways is access for reach 3) Mapping out the local context of hate and improving Machine Language techniques requires a lot of quality data

Calls to Action

1) Development of policy should be done by a wide variety of stakeholders to create a standard practice. 2) Practically speaking the enforcement of policies to restrict hate speech comes down to service providers, social media companies, etc. They should adopt a hate speech policy that adequately balances freedom of expression, and develop different notification schemes and responses for national contact points, "trusted reporters", and users

Session Report

 

Safra Anver, Moderator, Introduced the session and sets the context. Zeerak Talat talks about the Cultural and Linguistic hegemony that influences online spaces and disproportionally affects marginalized groups. Marginal Cultural Mean we are regression Data is mostly focused on Global North.  Social Media companies use Section 230 as their foundational value. Because of these foundational methods and values, we end up having systems which are developed to marginalise. 
Machine learning removes dissenters and contestation. We end up with all of the responses to the insurgency being removed from the content moderation because they are moving towards the salient means. 
 

Part 1 : Categorising, understanding and regulating hate speech using AI

Panelists discussing the regulation of hate speech in different geographical contexts

 

Giovanni De Gregorio invites the audiences not to view the questions around hate speech and AI just from a technological standpoint, but also to think about the social dimension. If we look at the issue of automated moderation of hate speech as a technological problem, it is a matter of context as well as a matter of language. In some languages where there is almost no training in AI, especially places like Eastern and Southern Africa, the automated moderation of content is limited. There are small projects carried out to translate a small piece of information into data to teach AI a particular language. Considering the examples of Myanmar and Ethiopia, it is critical to understand not only what AI can detect but also the incentives social media have for developing more accountable AI systems, especially considering the issue of different languages. This is not a problem that should be attributed just to AI. There are also other issues relating to understanding the incentives guiding social media content moderation and the nuances in the protection of free speech in context. The question is both technological and social at the same time.

Vincent Hofmann explains the legal perspective of online hate speech moderation. Companies' decisions for moderation have direct impact on the fundamental rights of people. In addition to Freedom of speech, there is an impact on political debate and political jurisdictions too. Facebook/Meta can moderate more content than it is prohibited by law. They also need to have procedural rights granted for these decisions. In the context of automated decision making : AI decision making must be made understandable so it can be challenged, i.e. the procedural rights of those confronted with the decisions made by AI. With the mass of the growing online space, it is impossible to moderate without AI. The language barrier for moderation, the cultural language problem still exists.

Lucien Castex addressed the fundamental rights and it's impact on speech and privacy from his work with the French National Human Rights commission. There are several drawbacks from taking down online content: There is a risk associated with mass removal of content i.e. grey area of big risk of censoring. The framework for evaluating the content is a very short time span and is harmful to the freedom of speech. The time proposed by the legislation to pull down content is within 24 hours and it is not adequate time to evaluate the content.  There is also a massive impact of the context on the content. Language should also be seen as ( language + context ), which makes it very difficult to assess the effectiveness AI systems. It reinforces biases for moderating content. He highlights the need for a national action plan for digital education to protect people online. 

We also had an active audience. There was an audience question raised by Babar Sohail on non-transparent algorithms. Responding to his question Lucien commented on the need to establish a strong team of moderators that natively speak the same language. These are the people who understand the cultural context and sears flagging the content and reliance on the judicial system to protect the information. Lucien highlighted the need to have rules that are transparent suggested to have committees for content moderation to help understand and enable better moderation.

Naz Balock, a parliamentarian from Pakistan posed a question : The hate speech in one country would not be considered in another, when we feel that hate speech has taken place in another part of the world, when this is flagged to the social media providers is not considered as hate speech in another part of the world?

Giovanni responded by commenting on how different content moderation is in different parts of the world. Language is one of the reasons for the inequality in  content moderation. In addition to language, there is a role of human moderators. Nobody knows where these moderators are located around the world. It is important to learn who is moderating this content across the world to understand context and increase accountability. A question also arises on who should be allowed to be a human moderator considering their role can be relevant to interpret context.

Part 2 : Tackling conflicts and ethical challenges in Global South and Middle East

Neema Iyer spoke about the online abuses women face during election. Pollicy conducted a hate speech study titled Amplified Abuse against women politicians during the 2021 general elections of Uganda. Mapping out local context of hate and improving ML techniques requires a lot of quality data which is currently scarce. The team used the Hatebase API and conducted a few lexicon building workshops to gather inputs. The abuse women get is sexualised and gendered. Women are targeted based on their personal life, while men are targeted based on their politics. The existing biases impacts women, Africans and people of color. Women tend to be shadow banned if they talk about queer issues or racism since the content gets flagged as hate speech. There is also a need that arises to fund indigenous researchers from the Global South who are compensated appropriately for their time by private sector players.

Rotem Medzini presented the co-regulatory model implemented during his research to study antisemitism. The model is divided into two parts. The first part is common criteria to identify hate speech (and balance it with freedom of expression). The common criteria are scaled to allow tech companies that provide online social platforms to more easily define a uniform policy on moderating hate speech. Each continuum supports a choice between the two poles: on the left side, more lenient options that enable less intervention in freedom of expression; on the right side, stricter options that lead to the deletion of more content. The second part is comprised of a procedural guide on how to implement the policies within the organization. We provide managers with steps on how to implement the criteria into their organization and online platform and then make a decision on content that violates these policies.

Raashi Saxena presented Hatebase and highlights the importance of understanding how the online world affects the offline world, especially in the context of violence and mass atrocities. Hate speech isn't a new phenomenon. Difficult to pinpoint the original source of the information and promote the rapid spread of hate speech.. (Eg. Armenian genocide and Nazi Germany). These instances in history required coordination efforts and large scale approvals from multiple bodies (institutional infrastructure & resources). Now anyone with an internet connection and smart phone can potentially reach a larger audience (outside the purview of national boundaries) to spread propaganda. There is no universal accepted definition of hate speech. There are several ethical, social and ethical challenges around hate speech. The sheer volume of growing information online makes it difficult to moderate without automation. It is also Human moderators are poorly paid and it takes a massive mental toll. Strong linguistic . The dialects and slangs spoken in one country are very different from the same language spoken in a different country. We do have human moderation human intervention is needed to train the technology and help make decisions in ambiguous cases with respect to Hate Speech. The Citizen Linguist lab is an opportunity for anyone from across the world to contribute towards Hatebase’s lexicon of keywords based on nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual discrimination, disability, and class to identify and monitor potential incidents of hate speech as well as providing the necessary social and cultural nuance to raise the overall linguistic profile. One does not have to be a professional to contribute. Along with a global network of people and organizations working on related issues, openness, information sharing, collaboration, counter messaging, informed policy making and education will enable communities to make better decisions (on how to navigate through violent situation or interact with other communities)

Key takeaways

  • AI cannot understand context or language. The companies invest little amount of their funding on moderators and focus more on developing the AI systems.
  • The boundaries of data and content which are very closely related with each other. To train AI we need not only non-personal data but also personal data since AI processes content
  • To be able to understand how moderation is operated and enforce such transparency obligations is the first step
  • Accessing data is essential to understand content moderation. One of the key point is access for research (which is GDPR compliant)
  • Moderations of images can be difficult in consideration of day to day items and may not be considered hateful such as the sending of machete images to women candidates in the Ugandan Elections
  • Contemporary words require that the new words that it seems are already known to it. Symbols and emojis within text are considered in AI moderation where it is compared against of variables to identify the possible closest word

 

The IRPC Charter of Human Rights & Principles for the Internet at 10: Achievements, challenges and what’s next?

Updated: Tue, 21/12/2021 - 09:32
Economic and Social Inclusion and Human Rights
Key Takeaways:

The Charter of Human Rights & Principles for the Internet has been a crucial framework to those committed to uphold human rights online. Now in its 10th year since its publication in 2011 the Charter has been translated into 11 languages and it is available digitally and in print. The translation work despite its challenges has been an essential outreach tool for the Coalition: these projects often lead to other local initiatives.

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• As a living instrument the Charter needs to be able to keep its relevance. Artificial Intelligence and Environmental sustainability are examples of identified issues that would benefit from further development in the form of Protocols rather than rewriting the document. In current times and the Charter plays a crucial role in providing a framework and a platform to advance human rights online among all stakeholders and across the globe.

Calls to Action

The Charter is an important tool for the promotion of human rights online and needs more visibility and to be more widely accessible. The translation projects are crucial to advance human rights locally and more collaboration is needed to initiate other awareness-raising projects for use in education, judiciaries and by civil society and legislators

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It is important that the IGF recognises the Charter as a valuable output and that the Coalition joins forces with like-minded initiatives and documents to fully promote and help advance digital human rights.

Session Report

Panel: Edoardo Celeste - Dublin City University, Elisabeth Schauermann, German Informatics Society /EuroDIG, Jacob Odame-Baiden- IRPC Steering Committee / EGIGFA, Joanna Kulesza - University of Lodz, Poland, Maria Grazia Valeriani -University of Salerno, Marianne Franklin- IRPC / Goldsmiths University of London, Minda Moreira -Internet Rights & Principles Coalition (IRPC), Santosh Sigdel - IRPC Steering Committee / Digital Rights Nepal

The Internet Rights and Principles Coalition (IRPC) home to the Charter of Human Rights and Principles for The Internet hosted its annual meeting at the Internet Governance Forum with a celebration of the 10 years of the Charter and a reflection on its main achievements and challenges and the way forward. It highlighted the work of the translation teams that over the years translated this document into 11 different languages and its 10 Principles into 27 languages. It also held a discussion on how the Charter can best support like-minded initiatives and foster closer collaborations to help ensure the full protection of human rights online.

Following a brief introduction to the  IRPC and its work by moderator and co-chair of the Coalition Minda Moreira, the first part of the session followed the Charter from its inception as a draft document to the current times. Marianne Franklin looked back on how the document emerged as a collaborative effort from representatives of the different stakeholders who aimed to translate existent law and norms to the online context. The Charter that draws on the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its Covenants was published in 2011 and has been a crucial framework to those committed to upholding human rights in the digital world. Marianne Franklin discussed the importance of having the  Charter available not only digitally but also in print and highlighted the work of the translation teams who have been an essential outreach tool for the Charter and the work of the Coalition as these projects often lead to other local initiatives.

Speaking on behalf of the Italian translation team, Edoardo Celeste reflected on how the team was inspired by the Charter and the work of the Coalition and initiated the translation process of the Charter into Italian as they felt that this language was missing.  The team noticed that there was a discrepancy between constitutional language, expressed in the Italian language related to the digital rights and the content promoted by the Charter and they wanted to bring this conversation forward to the Italian context. The translation process involved a strong collaborative effort with colleagues and students from the Universities of Padova and Salerno and Edoardo Celeste highlighted some of the challenges they encountered, such as issues related to gender due to the strong masculine tradition in the Italian language, which the team tried to bypass by using plural or gender-neutral terms. Building on Edoardo's statement Maria Grazia Valeriani, one of the students from the University of Salerno involved in the translation project shared how they approached the work, which for many of the students was their first introduction to digital policy and human rights and the main challenges they encountered not only in respect to the language as mentioned previously but also on how to present content which is meaningful to both languages. The current translation of the Charter into Nepali in collaboration with Digital Rights Nepal (DRN) was brought to the spotlight: Santosh Sigdel, the coordinator of the team in Nepal explained how the team felt that the translation of this document would be very useful to promote digital rights in the region as most documents are in English making it difficult to reach out more widely. They encountered not only grammatical challenges but also others, such as the translation of political terms such as global south and global north. As the final stages of the translation approach, Santosh was confident that this document will be a reference poison for the lawmaking process in the region.

Anriette Esterhuysen intervened from the floor to stress the importance of looking at the history of this document and how at the time of the drafting there was a lot of contestation on whether new rights were necessary. Other organizations such as the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) also decided to look into existing rights and translate them to the online world and the IRPC Charter would also follow a similar approach. Anriette pointed out how frameworks like the IRPC Charter initiated the work that is now taken up by human rights instruments and mechanisms to the recognition that human rights apply online as they do offline. Another intervention from Joanna Kulesza looked back on the very early days of the coalition and on the impact this work has had and how it has fuelled a generation of human rights researchers and human rights activists.   

The second part of the session moderated by Marianne, Minda Moreira, and Elisabeth Schauermann reflected on what comes next and how to include the youth voices. Taking the example of environmental sustainability, which has been an issue area highlighted by the IRPC in recent years Minda Moreira explained how recent meetings including last year’s meeting which brought together, Human Rights and environmental sustainability Article 4 of the Charter and its clause b) Environmental sustainability and felt that this clause could benefit from further expansion. What to do in this case, she asked, rewrite the Charter to insert a new clause?  There has been some agreement that the original document should be preserved and that expansions to this living document should come in the form of Protocols. This could be a way to keep the Charter relevant by expanding on current issue areas without the need of rewriting the document.

Elisabeth Schauermann highlighted the capacity-building work of the Coalition and how young people are aware of the rights and principles addressed in the Charter, many even without realising that there is a document that they can refer to. Elisabeth stressed the importance of this education and awareness-raising to human rights online and that more needs to be done in this area. As for environmental sustainability, Elisabeth pointed out that this is an issue that young people are activist and knowledgeable about and that followed the Coalition meeting in 2019 a lot has been done by young people at the IGF to address the timely issue.

Another set of questions looked at how the Charter can help advance regional and local initiatives and their work on digital human rights. Joanna Kulesza reflected on how the Coalition’s work and the Charter have inspired her work as an academic, and the work of so many researchers, NGOs, other organisations that focus on human rights and policymaking. Joanna went further to explain how she sees the Charter and the work of this dynamic coalition can provide a framework that could easily be transposed on to professionalised human rights training.

Jacob Odame-Baiden talked about his work in the African region over the last year as a member of the IRPC Steering Committee and how the work of the Charter resonated with him as a lawyer and as someone passionate about human rights. He highlighted the introduction of the Charter at the Ghana School on Internet Governance to a group of representatives of the different stakeholders including the government in a region where digital human rights are still in their infancy and internet shutdowns happen regularly. He also pointed out how the Charter has been received enthusiastically by the community. Both in Ghana as well as in Cameroon during the ICT Africa symposium, the reaction to the topic presented was the same. Human rights issues resonate with people who use the Internet and are unaware of how human rights should also apply online.

An intervention from Andrey Shcherbovich who translated the Charter into Russian looked at the interaction with young people especially through his work at McGill University in Montreal and the importance of digital human rights-related projects in the education environment. He supported the use of Protocols on new and emerging issues and human rights protection and was optimistic that the work of the Charter and its Protocols could be easily implemented officially at the UN level.

In their final statements, the panel stressed the importance of the Charter and its work as an inspiration for many projects and much more can be done, from further translations (into Polish), work with policymakers and judiciaries, to the expansion of topics that are important issue area in the current times and for specific groups, including youth and how crucial it is to work together with like-minded initiatives to advance human rights online.

 

 

IGF 2021 Open Forum #40 The challenges of AI Human Rights Impact Assessments

Updated: Tue, 21/12/2021 - 08:44
Economic and Social Inclusion and Human Rights
Key Takeaways:

AI impacts all fundamental rights: AI Impact assessments are too often seen as little more than an abstract, one-time box-ticking exercise mainly focused on the most salient harms. It is crucial to move away from Data protection impact assessments to consider the scale and seriousness of the impact AI on individuals’ rights and freedoms.

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Context is key: we must rethink and adapt existing impact assessment tools not only in relation to the type of technology involved, but also to its particular purpose and according to the social and political context of operation.

Calls to Action

More research and expertise are needed. Data protection authorities have an important role to play, and much can be done to strengthen their mandates, capacities, and expertise. However, a diversity of stakeholders should be put to contributions, to ensure that all fundamental rights, in all the different AI applications, are protected.

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Companies developing and using AI technologies also have a responsibility in making sure the rights and freedoms of individuals are respected. Independently of existing national or international regulation, companies should carry out human rights impact assessments in a transparent manner and at regular intervals.

Session Report

 

Artificial intelligence technology impacts human rights, but how wide is the impact and how should it be assessed? To complement or replace specific tasks otherwise performed by humans, these technologies require the collection, storage, and processing of large quantities of personal data which can, without the due safeguards, negatively impact the right to privacy. However, since AI systems are being increasingly used in different sectors of society, AI can also affect many other rights such as the right to health, education, freedom of movement, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of association, and freedom of expression. Additionally, it is important to notice that AI systems change with time and can be used for purposes that are very different from the ones initially intended. Moreover, the impact on human rights is also dependent on the local context in which AI technology is deployed. The risk is higher, for instance, where the political context is unstable or where the legal framework governing AI does not ensure a sufficient degree of fairness, transparency, and accountability. How should human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) be conducted, and who should be responsible?

Panellists agreed that HRIAs are too often still seen as little more than an abstract, one-time compliance exercise, narrowly focused on the most salient harms. Data protection authorities have an important role to play, and much can be done to strengthen their mandates, capacities, and expertise. At the same time, panellists also agreed that we should not expect them to be the only entities playing this role. Lorna McGregor emphasized the fact that in data protection impact assessments, fundamental rights and freedoms are usually identified to privacy, making them narrower than they were supposed to be. At the same time, however, if human rights should be more broadly understood, several panellists emphasized the need to focus on the risks associated with the specific context and area or industry where each AI system will be developed and deployed. Emil Kernell noted that although companies are being increasingly pushed to carry HRIAs, the specific context, and different ways in which their products will be used is not always sufficiently taken into account in HRIAs. For example, the development of a smart city in Montreal will raise certain issues that will be absent in other cities. K. further argued that companies have a duty to protect their customers’ data and rights, especially when the legal framework and authorities regulating data protection are non-existent or too weak. According to the same panellist, the decision of a company of entering into a new unregulated market must be informed by an understanding of the country’s history and political situation.

Context-specific impact assessments that go beyond privacy concerns are not the only challenge that public authorities, NGOs, and companies have to face. E. Kernell challenged, for instance, the value of HRIAs that are carried out at a very early stage of the development of the AI system, since they will be too abstract. It is not sufficient to carry out impact assessments at the initial stage of development of new technology, these should also be conducted on a regular basis when more information regarding its actual impact is available. Alessandro Mantelero considered that legislators need to define, with some degree of detail, what is risk and how it should be measured, i.e., risk cannot be a matter of opinion or feeling, it should be demonstrated according to objective, quantifiable and transparent criteria. In response to a question from the audience, A. Mantelero explained that we should not expect to find an impact assessment model that could be successfully applied to all circumstances and AI technologies, including the one used in pharmaceutical industries since in AI is very contextual, each product can have multiple purposes and pose different types of risk, and it involves more stakeholders.

IGF 2021 WS #268 Right to safe medicines: Managing competing interests online

Updated: Tue, 21/12/2021 - 08:10
Inclusive Internet Governance Ecosystems and Digital Cooperation
Key Takeaways:

Conflicting interests vary based on what region of the world is being looked into. However, actors such as operators of the Internet’s critical infrastructure and global pharmacy companies are ever present. Bridges should be built between these actors making use of the Internet Governance ecosystem.

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Considering the variety of involved actors, some often only noticed at the local level, more regional research needs to be performed to achieve a better understanding of the challenges of increasing access to medicines in different parts of the world.

Calls to Action

The Internet Governance community needs to pay more attention to matters of health and access to medicines.

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Our health is our most important asset, and should be seen as a policy priority, not as a parallel discussion.

Session Report

Moderator Ron Andruff (ONR Consulting) set the stage by explaining the group's ongoing mission to bring the subject of access to medicines to the Internet Governance community, in a series of IGF Workshops carried out over the past few years. He emphasized the need for better coordination between actors to achieve the humanitarian goal of improving health outcomes by means of a patient-centric approach.

Speaker Aria Ilyad Ahmad (Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research) highlighted the jurisdictional challenges involved in matters of health, and particularly in relation to the importation and exportation of medicines. The need to balance markets and achieve the right amount of regulation was a central point to his intervention, explaining how over and under-regulation can have negative impacts on patients outcomes. A framework that can interoperate matters of Internet Governance and health is an important gap that needs to be addressed.

Speaker Olga Kyryliuk (SEEDIG) approached the subject from the angle of the SEE and EU regions, bringing up examples of how policies have worked or not in the recent past. She gave particular emphasis to the "EU Common Logo", an intiative that has been a successful vector in the combat of rogue actors online who sell medicine wrongfully. This technique is transparent enough that other State actors could pick up on it to improve matters in their own regions.

Speaker Mark Datysgeld (Governance Primer) presented original research on access to health and medicines online in the LAC region, discussing the situation on the top 10 countries by GDP. He presented data outlining how the majority of countries studied didn't have clear regulations on the sale of medicines using the Internet, leaving matters in a troublesome gray area. Most of the telemedicine regulations are also recent and insufficient to address the necessities of the general population.

Speaker Zina Hany (B.Pharm, MPH, MBA, CEPH) brought the MENA region's perspective to the table, pointing out the wild price variance between even neighboring countries of similar economic conditions. She stressed the necessity of this information being made available to patients so that they are better informed of the situation. With pressure built up, gatekeepers and governments would need to pay attention to the quesiton instead of being able to sideline it.

Speaker Elizabeth Behsudi (Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network) presented I&J's work on domain names, explaining the importance of stopping malicious actors who exploit the DNS to sell medicines wrongfully. She pointed out that I&J's model of bringing all relevant stakeholders to the table and effectively mediating their conversations, helping advance common goals, has been effective in addressing several hot topics, and could be brought to that of access to medicines.

IGF 2021 Town Hall #42 Building the wiki-way for low-resource languages

Updated: Tue, 21/12/2021 - 07:51
Economic and Social Inclusion and Human Rights
Key Takeaways:

Stakeholders must work collaboratively for supporting low-resource language communities with addressing issues around accessibility and with removing entry-level barriers of platforms.

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Language technology developers and other stakeholders who are not native speakers must work closely with native speakers to implement the development of language technology based on the advice of the latter.

Calls to Action

Creating spaces for peer learning exchange can be a very powerful tool for many low-resource languages to protect and grow use of languages, and stakeholders must emphasize on creation of such spaces.

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Stakeholders who must support the creation of Open Educational Resources (OER) for new contributors/potential contributors who are speakers of low-resource languages to remove entry-level barriers to Open and collaborative platforms such as Wikipedia.

Session Report

Panelists

  1. Eddie Avila, Director of Rising Voices, an initiative of the citizen media organization Global Voices, and has been one of the key advocates of language digital activism for the protection and fostering growth of low-resource languages.
  2. Amrit Sufi, Coordinator of the Oral Culture Transcription project, a toolkit that will enable people to access information on uploading media of endangered languages, and has worked in the past for documenting folk songs in the Angika language of India.
  3. Sardana Ivanova, Doctoral student in Computer Science at the University of Helsinki. She is interested in low-resource languages. She conducts research and works on the development of various language technology tools for the support of the Sakha language, mostly spoken in Russia’s Far East.
  4. Mahir Morshed, Doctoral student researching articulatory features and prosodic unit discovery in speech processing. As a Wikimedian, he has recently been contributing to Wikidata's lexicography and is examining ways to make it usable for text generation.

Moderator

  • Subhashish Panigrahi, Co-founder and Director, O Foundation. Subhashish is a filmmaker, community organizer and cross-disciplinary researcher.

Rapporteur

  • Sailesh Patnaik, Co-founder and Director, O Foundation. Sailesh is a Wikimedian with experience in open knowledge institutional liaisoning in the government and educational spaces.

Abstract

When it comes to the internet governance, most indigenous, endangered and other low-resource and marginalized language speakers around the world face a significant challenge both in terms of amplifying their issues through participation and their languages getting benefitted in that process. As Whose Knowledge? underlines, a mere 7% of the 6,500 - 7,000 languages, that are spoken around the world, are captured in published material. (Vrana et al., 2020) In this Internet Governance Forum 2021 panel titled "Building the wiki-way for low-resource languages", the representatives engaged primarily around the strategies in the language digital activism and open knowledge platforms, and shared recommendations to grow and sustain the low-resource languages on digital sphere.

Key issue areas

In this panel, organized by the O Foundation in collaboration with Rising Voices, the panelists shared the response of the civil society, particularly in three broader and intersecting sectors, to address the larger and systemic issue of low availability of resources of many marginalized languages and low participation of the native speakers:

  1. Language digital activism, a loosely defined term that has gained popularity in the last decade and includes all kinds of activism on the online spaces for the protection and growth of languages
  2. Volunteer-led movements such as the open knowledge movement, of which Wikipedia is a part of
  3. Academic and other research initiatives that focus on building technology for the overall growth of languages, especially, low-resource languages

Key questions

Some of the key questions that the panelists addressed around existing community strategies, processes and platforms included:

  • How language digital activism is helping active engagement of stakeholders in the low-resource language domain?
  • How other open and collaborative processes and platforms are helping low-resource languages?
  • How creation of computational linguistics tools is making a long-term shift in access to information in an equitable and decentralized manner, especially in the context of many low-resource languages?
  • How Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects in general, and particularly, the ongoing Wikidata initiatives, are helping low-resourced language speakers reclaim their space on the internet?

Additionally, the questions around specific movements and platforms included:

  • How language digital activism is already and is aimed at moving the needle around furthering access to linguistic rights and access to knowledge?
  • What is envisioned by many activists for the ongoing initiatives to make a long-term shift as a direct or indirect result of these initiatives?
  • What are the learning and recommendations for different stakeholders working on low-resourced languages based on the work around creation of language tools?
  • What are the building blocks and the low entry-level barriers in the Wikimedia world for native speaker communities and other stakeholders of low-resourced languages communities?

Background

To set the context on language digital activism, Eddie Avila, Director of Rising Voices shared how the scarcity of key resources, such as writing systems in the context of oral-only languages or consensus on existing writing systems, access to the internet, consensus on technical terms within a speaker community, and even political implications, continue to remain the major of the barriers behind language digital activism.

Amrit Sufi, native speaker of Angika (endangered language from India) and co-facilitator of the recent Rising Voices organized "Language Digital Activism Workshops for India" (Language Digital Activism Workshops for India · Rising Voices, 2021) series emphasized on the fact that the medium of instruction in her schools were Hindi and English directly impacting the eventual slowdown of her native language Angika to a final cessation. She identified the sense of elitism, associated with not speaking native languages at home environments which are often enforced by parents, to be a primary reason of disappearance of many languages at homes.

Sardana Ivanova, a speaker of the Sakha language and a doctoral student in Computer Science at the University of Helsinki, demonstrated from her experience how collective volunteer efforts for creating content -- through Wikipedia -- eventually helps Natural Language Processing (NLP) researchers to build tools to better use languages on digital platforms.

Mahir Morshed, a Wikipedia/Wikidata contributor and a doctoral student researching articulatory features and prosodic unit discovery in speech processing, shared inputs to the call to action of this session based on the recent development around Wikidata's lexicography as these tools are making ways to for text generation across languages. (Morshed, 2021)

Key takeaways

  1. Stakeholders must work collaboratively for supporting low-resource language communities with addressing issues around accessibility and with removing entry-level barriers of platforms.
  2. Language technology developers and other stakeholders who are not native speakers must work closely with native speakers to implement the development of language technology based on the advice of the latter.

Some of the panelists directly addressed the questions around the aforementioned takeaways:

  • We're creating a space for peer learning for language digital activism so that activists can expand their work through such long-term partnerships and share their work with the larger community. (Eddie Avila)
  • Many low-resourced language digital activists are currently attempting at "normalizing" the use of their language as their languages are not in active use in public discourses. (Amrit Sufi)
  • Language technology developers who might not be native speakers must work closely with native speakers. (Sardana Ivanova)

Call to Action

  1. Creating spaces for peer learning exchange can be a very powerful tool for many low-resource languages to protect and grow use of languages, and stakeholders must emphasize on creation of such spaces.
  2. Stakeholders who must support the creation of Open Educational Resources (OER) for new contributors/potential contributors who are speakers of low-resource languages to remove entry-level barriers to Open and collaborative platforms such as Wikipedia.

Some of the panel inputs/recommendations from the panelists that helped arrive at the aforementioned call to action include:

  • There have been many initiatives recently from the Wikimedia Foundation to improve accessibility on Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects -- this has helped with the growth of many low-resource languages. (Mahir Morshed)
  • Creating translation of Wikidata descriptions is one of the easier ways for newbies to contribute in their low-resource language. (Mahir Morshed)
  • Oral culture documentation as audio and video helps grow visibility for many low-resource languages. (Amrit Sufi)
  • Creating spaces for peer learning exchange can be a very powerful tool for many low-resource languages to protect and grow use of languages. (Eddie Avila)

Avila also emphasized that whether or not language digital activism is moving the needle around furthering access to linguistic rights and access to knowledge is a hard thing to measure. While there are anecdotal evidences to support the impact, there are no clearly defined processes in most cases as each community contributes in their own volunteer spaces and are primarily driven by passion. To respect their volunteerism, attempts to measure the impact of their work are not often prioritized.

References

Vrana A, Sengupta A, Pozo C and Bouterse S (2020). Decolonizing the Internet’s Languages – Summary Report. Whose Knowledge?, 20. (accessed 19 December 2021).

Language Digital Activism Workshops for India · Rising Voices (2021). Rising Voices. Available at https://rising.globalvoices.org/language-digital-activism-workshops-for-india/ (accessed 19 December 2021).

Morshed M (2021). Preparing languages for natural language generation using Wikidata lexicographical data. Septentrio Conference Series. (3):.

Report compiled by

  • Subhashish Panigrahi, O Foundation
  • Sailesh Patnaik, O Foundation

Date of publication

19 December 2021

Copyright

2021. Subhashish Panigrahi and Sailesh Patnaik. O Foundation. CC-BY-SA 4.0.

Cite as

Panigrahi S and Patnaik S (2021). Building the wiki-way for low-resource languages: Session Report. O Foundation. Bhubaneswar. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/df9y-nz19 (accessed 19 December 2021).

Note

This report is also available as a standalone report for downloading on Humanities Commons. 

IGF 2021 WS #245 The importance of being Earnest, a good Internet Citizen

Updated: Tue, 21/12/2021 - 03:18
Universal Access and Meaningful Connectivity
Key Takeaways:

Education should be one of the main focuses for good internet citizenship, it will help to close the gaps between new users and existing ones. Initiatives should be taken to make information about the Internet accessible and simple to as many people as possible.

,

It’s not possible to be a good internet citizen if you don't have access to the Internet at all. Access to infrastructure is a basic need and there should exist a movement from different areas in this favor.

Calls to Action

Educators should teach concepts of internet citizenship in schools, complex concepts like information security, should be simplified for the user so he can understand and adopt them.

,

Governments, institutions and society in general should help give universal access to the Internet. Be it by creating laws, encouraging competition to decrease prices or even individual actions to create infrastructure in their region.

Session Report

When COVID-19 came, no one knew how things would progress. With time it became clear how important the Internet became in this scenario, from shopping to working, never before so many people relied on the Internet. 

This session focused on how to nurture good internet citizens in this growing environment for new users and current ones. To do so, few questions were presented to the viewers (about 15 people) using the site sli.do and the participants from technical community and civil society discussed the themes giving their view and opinions represented by Mr. Olatunde Awobuluyi, Mr. Antonio Marcos Moreiras and Ms. Fernanda Rosa. The session was moderated by Mr. Eduardo Barasal Morales and Mr. Tiago Jun Nakamura, both from NIC.br.

The first question was “In the context of your Country/Region should Internet Citizenship be taught to people in general?” 92% of people said yes. 

Mr. Awobuluyi from AFRINIC represented the technical community and raised the importance of giving access to information and taking into consideration regional differences. He gave the African continent as an example where more than 2000 dialects are used.
Mr. Moreiras from NIC.br, also represented the technical community and pointed out that the Internet isn’t bound by geographic borders and anyone who has Internet access can be considered an Internet Citizen. 
Ms. Rosa from Virginia Tech University represented the civil society and explained that education is a social right and as such all people should have access. She also highlighted the importance of digital literacy to create critical thinkers users. However, she pointed out that there wasn’t an agreement about what to teach. She also pointed to the importance of infrastructure to give access to all.

The second question was “What are the key elements that constitute Internet Citizenship and meaningful Internet access?”. The three most voted options were Education, Infrastructure and Accessibility. 

Mr. Moreiras agreed with the two first points but for him "People Empowerment" should be the third pillar. He emphasized the importance of full access to the Internet, without restrictions or limitations be it physical or political ones. He pointed out the importance of having a good infrastructure capable of attending to the needs of users and that users should be able to understand different concepts about it to make the best decisions. This is something that can only be done if they are digitally educated. He also commented about "Cidadão na Rede" (Internet Citizen) a NIC.br project that seeks to fill this gap, teaching many concepts from security and infrastructure to regular users in short 15 seconds videos. According to him, if you give the users the infrastructure to access and the education about how to use the Internet, empowerment will be a consequence.
Ms. Rosa agreed with Mr. Moreiras on the importance of educating users about infrastructure and added the legal aspect of it. Although everyone in the Internet can be considered an Internet Citizen, Internet data still needs physical infrastructures in countries and are subjected to the laws of those countries. This can raise questions about data privacy, for example. Another point made was about the hardships that new entrants face when they try to bring the infrastructure needed to access the Internet in their region. Ms. Rosa agreed that accessibility is of extreme importance for Internet users. If Internet newcomers feel oppressed they won’t feel welcomed in this environment. She is favorable to regulations regarding this issue but understands there is a dichotomy between regulation and freedom of speech.
Mr. Awobuluyi gave the view of the Africa region. For him the three key elements are Infrastructure, Accessibility and Government Policies. From his experience infrastructure and cost are the greatest barriers to overcome so government policies should be applied to increase the local competition reducing costs and expanding the infrastructure.

The third question was “Should Internet security and safety practices be considered part of meaningful access and good citizenship on the Internet?” All participants answered that yes it should be considered, with 40% said it was applicable only in specific situations.

For Ms. Rosa safety and security implies cryptography and anonymity for the user. However, if the information comes from a bot this information should be clear to the user.
Mr. Awobuluyi agrees that everyone should be taught these concepts to combat digital illiteracy, he also raised the importance of having legislation to deal with questions regarding misuse and abuse on the Internet and called for an active role of government authorities.
Mr. Moreiras expressed his concern about how people share information disregarding possible consequences as many companies collect and use people's data for their own interests. He is favorable to give the users the right over the content they generate. However, he understands that most users don’t know/understand concepts about security and safety. He believes this should be taught to them and that stakeholders should make the adoptions of technologies that increase security and safety as simple as possible to the users. He finished showing another two videos for the Internet Citizenship project.

Nobody asked questions during the open microphone, so the speakers did their final comments.
Ms. Rosa complimented the Internet Citizenship project and called for the education community to participate in creating materials, suggesting that technology should be integrated to regular subjects during classes.
Mr. Awobuluyi complimented the participation of all the panelists and thanked the audience.
Mr. Moreiras thanked all participants and highlighted Ms. Rosa participation and her contribution to the discussion as a member of the civil society and her suggestion of having the education community participate in the instruction of digital concepts together with the other stakeholders.

Mr. Nakamura closed the session praising the participants and concluding that connection only wasn’t enough, there was a need for meaningful connection and this topic is just an introductory discussion and should be further developed.
Viewers thanked the session and praised the approach and views given by the panelists.
 

IGF 2021 WS #209 The State of DNS Privacy Technologies

Updated: Tue, 21/12/2021 - 02:48
Trust, Security, Stability
Key Takeaways:

Several issues and challenges regarding DNS privacy technologies were discussed, focusing on the different standards and technologies. It was noted that there could be antitrust concerns in the market of DNS services · It was highlighted that larger operators are more active in the market and have greater leverage on market’s direction to protect queries

Calls to Action

There was no official call to action but speakers highlighted the advantages of encrypted DNS, as well as some disadvantages, such as issues with trouble shooting in some cases · In was noted that many DNS services are US based · There was a discussion about market dynamics in the DNS ecosystem · It was highlighted that there is little research in the market of open resolvers ·

Session Report

WS #209 The State of DNS Privacy Technologies

Thursday, 9th December, 2021 (10:15 UTC) - Thursday, 9th December, 2021 (11:45 UTC)

Hybrid Session. ~100 participants

Speakers: Paul Hoffman, ICANN; David Huberman, ICANN; Roxana Radu, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG); Carlos Martinez Cagnazzo, Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC); Andrew Campling, Private Sector, WEOG

Summary: Overall, the session explained encrypted DNS and various other privacy enhancing technologies for the DNS. There was a discussion on the market of these technologies and a debate on concentrations in the DNS market.

Various technologies to encrypt the DNS were described, including DNS over HTTPS, DNS over QUIC, DoH-over-Tor, and Apple Private Relay. Products that offer these features include Mozilla’s Firefox browser, Google (both its Chrome browser and Android operating system), and Microsoft’s operating systems and browsers. Public recursive DNS services such as Google Public DNS and Quad9 receive the queries from these products. It was noted that there are concerns with centralization of Internet infrastructure, being that the products mainly come from  the US. The European Commission has proposed the strategy called “DNS4EU” because many public resolvers are operated by US-based companies.

Next was a discussion on the DNS services market. The idea that the market is US-centered was reiterated. It was said by Roxana Radu that the market has experienced concentration, a consolidation of a two-sided market. At the same time, it was noted that it is a very dynamic market. Among the biggest players, Cloudflare and Google with more than a third of the queries.

There are jurisdictional concerns because it is not clear what happens after DNS queries a given country; some services do not have restrictions when it comes to integrating data with other services. Another point that was made was that some countries mandate content filtering and blocking, and some public resolvers don’t do that.

One regulator in the room, Ofcom, noted that there is an effort by regulators to bring more technologists on board to ensure that policy does not happen in a vacuum.

Andrew Campling noted that it would be helpful to have more regulators in the standards bodies. IETF for example, could also make policy considerations in addition to the technical considerations. 

IGF 2021 WS #29 Fintech: A sustainable development economy of inclusivity?

Updated: Tue, 21/12/2021 - 01:29
Economic and Social Inclusion and Human Rights
Key Takeaways:

With recent increased regulatory activity, uncertainty to apply existing regulatory frameworks, wait-and-see approaches and prohibitive actions, all could deter innovating new financial technologies and services; while such varied agendas could disadvantage consumers through trial and error, this is a much-needed process to explore how rapid technological advancements in economies could be best adapted in societies to achieve the SDGs.

Calls to Action

Experimentation with technology, regulation and innovation in the financial economy is closely correlated, so it is crucial to promote the need and willingness amongst regulators, private technology sectors and other fintech-related stakeholders to explore different issues and ways under existing financial systems and regulatory frameworks, such that financial technologies could be better used to achieve the UN SDGs and promote digital inclusion.

Session Report

On December 9, the workshop “Fintech: A sustainable development economy of inclusivity?” was held at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) 2021, with the session beginning with a speaker sharing, proceeded to a roundtable discussion with the speakers, and ended with a question-and-answer session by taking questions from participants both onsite in Katowice and online.  

The workshop has mentioned how fintech could be a crucial factor to improve financial systems for underserved populations, facilitating them to become more efficient and competitive. However, problems could still surface, such as the widening of the digital divide with poor Internet access and lack of digital skills to use the technologies to their fullest capabilities.

An uprising favoured usage of the Internet is e-commerce and banking other than social media, with monetary transactions becoming increasingly popular among teenagers nowadays. However, as Miss Veronica Stefan has mentioned, some are still unwilling to connect to their credit cards with their phones and make purchases as they lack trust in technology. Enforcing laws would not be useful in this scenario with such lack of trust, hence the emphasis is required to be put on skills that are always mentioned but never acted on, alongside the investment of time and resources equally in the community to alleviate this critical problem in the development of financial technology.

In addition to connecting people, inclusion has to be ensured from the business side of things. Ms Nandini Chami has brought a case study to our attention, with how an account aggregator policy is being debated in India, which enables financial of small businesses. Previously, when small businesses apply for a loan from a financial institution, they had to provide bank statements, goods and services records, tax returns and annual results to prove their creditworthiness; and this entire process had to begin from square one with another bank should the loan be rejected. With the new policy, an account aggregator now acts as an intermediary between the business seeking a loan and the lender themselves via the facilitation of consensual data sharing. However, there could be a possibility of account aggregators to conduct customer profiling or market segmentation, causing civil society players in India to be sceptical about the potential effects on financial inclusion, since this would result in many businesses and individuals suffering all because of this intermediary.

Dr Agata Ferreira has revealed to participants the basis of the emergence of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in which they could be seen as a compromise proposition to balance between the rapid and limitless economic growth, as well as the imminent disaster due to exploitation of Earth resources. However, existing models of economic growth are being relied on to work our way towards achieving the SDGs, with a statement on how the world is still on a seemingly unsustainable trajectory and we do not think that we know how to get off this path, and an example introduced on the ambitious growth targets of SDGs with regard to fishing alongside voicing out for the protection of water ecosystems and fish biodiversity. With this in mind, ICT innovations could open new possibilities and has the potential to redesign current existing economic models to help with this dilemma.

One of such innovations could be blockchain, with its potential to enable financial inclusion. Immutable blockchain data records help provide traceability for financial transactions and financial assets; and the appropriate monitoring of financial records as well as early detection of errors or corrupt activities aid in addressing several shortcomings in the current financial systems and frameworks. Financial inclusion and trust are in turn promoted with the risk of corruption and chances of bribery minimised on the Internet, hence various parties could have financial processes amongst each other despite having little trust with blockchain’s core trust-inducing abilities to verify and authenticate identities and data transactions. Therefore, this shows that financial digital innovations have the potential to bring the unbanked and underbanked populations into financial services provision.

Moreover, as mentioned by Miss Veronica Stefan, the role of public policy intervention is important for people from developed countries to regain their trust in financial technologies. Hence, Dr Agata Ferreira has stated how fintech has caught many regulators off-guard with its rapid and revolutionary growth, hence a regulatory void is created as regulators are struggling to keep up with the pace of fintech development, alongside much uncertainty in applying existing regulatory frameworks to novel technologies, services and products. Actions have been taken by some regulators to stall for time to figure out what the appropriate frameworks or approaches could be, such as prohibiting some fintech-related activities, as well as discouraging further fintech innovations, all of which will gradually lead to varied regulatory responses to the same fintech innovation.

Finally, while fintech is a complicated topic and not fully understood yet by the world, with ICT innovations and appropriate regulatory approaches, there is a bright future ahead of fintech to enhance financial inclusion and attain a sustainable economy.

IGF 2021 WS #246 Construction of an institutional digital infrastructure

Updated: Tue, 21/12/2021 - 01:16
Universal Access and Meaningful Connectivity
Key Takeaways:
Covid 19 has enabled African policies to prioritise the massive development of connectivity infrastructure to connect the unconnected to an increasingly digital world. This calls on all actors, including politicians, academics, civil society, technicians, the private sector and regulators, to work in synergy to commit to catching up and not to use the significant cybersecurity problems encountered by Africa as an excuse for not deploying infrastr,

The financing of this infrastructure, especially to connect communities, should be done through the universal telecommunications fund made available in each country, and the management of these funds should be controlled and coordinated with the stakeholders. But also encourage and frame private financing through national and regional partnerships while preserving the interests of each country and the operators involved.

Calls to Action

Regulators should lower the cost of licences and facilitate negotiations with large content producers (GAFAs) to help operators continue to invest in large telecoms infrastructure.

,

Encourage African countries to migrate to IPV6 to prepare for 5G and its exploitation

Session Report

The focus of this session was to reflect on how African countries should deploy Internet infrastructures in order to give a meaningful Internet access to those that are marginalized, excluded or that faced connectivity challenges during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. The critical issues raised were : what are the various infrastructural challenges in Africa, what is needed to build these infrastructures, how can it be done and where do we start?

 

Gbenga Sesan emphasized on the fact that despite the health consequences of COVID-19, it had a positive effect on the digital transformation of the world and particularly of Africa.  The lockdowns further deepened the digital divide in most African regions, creating two categories of people, those that could continue communicating online and those that couldn’t due to either lack of infrastructure and access or for other challenges such as lack of electricity or financial strength. This critical humanitarian situation actually brought also good news which is the need for the prioritization of digital infrastructures in order to extend education, health and other crucial public services to those that can not be taken in the classical system. He  proposed that the priorities should be given to this 3 areas:

  • making policies work for the unconnected and for the disconnected (countries facing shutdowns)
  • making sure that all the stakeholders involved in the issue of digital inclusion start to work together in order to provide access through digital infrastructures to all those that are in need of it or lack it.
  • Using the existing resources of the Universal Service Fund available in most of our countries to build sustainable digital infrastructure in all our African countries.

 

Eric Sindeu proposed that Africa should tackle this opportunity given by the COVID-19 to bridge the gap to reach development. broadband access and economic growth being closely linked, the key infrastructure that African countries should invest in as a priority and manage well are the underground sea cables that need to be deployed around the continent. But also, appropriate and updated policies and regulatory frameworks should accompany this deployment to facilitate access to these submarine cables for all operators.To ensure that our continent is digitally ready, he advised that Africa should invest in trainings and awareness on cyber security and digital rights issues, and also it is necessary to move from traditional education to digital education by teaching our children to develop their digital skills for them to be able to meet the digital challenges of the new era.

 

Peter Koch spoke of two main things: 

  • Security and privacy legislation, despite they are very crucial issues to be well addressed, should not be used as a barrier or an excuse to stop us from making Internet access available for everyone.
  • It is necessary to adapt infrastructural and regulatory solutions to the realities on the ground. Most of the time local initiatives cannot replace but support general infrastructures and there are some areas where a region might be difficult or less connected for some reasons (can be geographical, not economically feasible for operators to go there) and multiple regulatory feasible solutions could be used to provide this support without facing the risk of bankruptcy or without having unnecessary high regulatory burdens. Some initiatives are not locally feasible but a particular legal environment  can enable the local initiatives to thrive in this space and provide community solutions.

 

Rodrigue Saoungoumi gave an insight of what a state university in Africa and especially in Cameroon faces as challenges when it comes to the issues related to the access and infrastructures of Internet; by sharing the experience of the Ngaoundere University, in the northern part of Cameroon, concerning the evolution and management of its internet resources from 2010 to 2021 and the difficulties they faced during Covid-19 pandemic.

Johanna kulesza emphasized on the fact that the framework is already in place with an international law regime that clearly regulates the internet space. The best way to approach these challenges from different African perspectives is to facilitate meetings like IGFs, ICANN where we address problems, we name them and build capacity, to make our voices be heard for a change to occur. But we also need to advance our involvement and ensure that our governments and regulators step in these spaces for African interests and views on internet issues to be known.

We also had on our session Mr. Louis Pouzin, one of the pioneers of Internet governance who shared his experience on the history of the internet.

online participants raised some views and concerns that were discussed in the session.

As a summary of this session, we can say that the kind of leadership existing in African countries determines how Africa gets involved in the discussions that are taking place now in order to shape the digital future of the world. and if they cannot be there, then other experts stakeholders have the responsibility to emphasize unseasonably on these issues drawing attention until they understand the need to be where the future is to be drafted.

IGF 2021 DC-SIDS The Pandemic Internet: Ensuring SIDS do not fall behind

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 23:50
Universal Access and Meaningful Connectivity
Key Takeaways:

* The pandemic continued to challenge the economies and working modalities of SIDS, especially as it impacted the growth and development of the Internet/Digital Economy. While usage of the internet necessarily increased as a result of the pandemic-related restrictions, critical areas such as online education & learning (lack of devices, weak infrastructure, low levels of digital literacy and skills) require increased support and and collaboration

,

* e-Commerce, Digital Business and Digital Entrepreneurship can be significant vehicles of growth for SIDS promoting collective regional action towards digital transformation and e-readiness, and as such represents a true agenda for change within the SIDS.

Calls to Action

+ IG & Digital Economy stakeholders in SIDS need to work together, ACROSS and DESPITE geographic boundaries, to develop common solutions to shared challenges. Support and resources (not necessarily financial) from entities such as IGOs, the United Nations (IGF), ICANN, the Internet Society and the RIRs are critical to survival of SIDS post-pandemic.

,

+ The time has come for a non-regional approach to addressing the challenges faced by SIDS, and developing a platform for action and change. Members of the DC-SIDS agreed to lobby for and work towards the establishment of a SIDS-IGF, as early as 2022.

Session Report

SESSION REPORT OF THE IGF 2021 DC-SIDS ROUNDTABLE
The Pandemic Internet: Ensuring SIDS do not fall behindGroup photo of #IGF2021 #DCSIDS Roundtable Zoom Session

The Annual Roundtable provided an opportunity for speakers and participants from primarily the Pacific and Caribbean regions to experience an inclusive discussion by contributing their views and comments about the current state of the Internet Economy in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and exploring the best practices in proposing the way forward in the Island when facing the challenges posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the increasing impacts brought about by climate change and persistent social and economic problems.

The discussions spanned wide on internet topic areas ranging from access and connectivity, socio-economic developments and its impacts, education, agriculture, security and environmental sustainability challenges, and emerging technologies such as AI, Machine learning, Internet of things to mention a few. 

The presence of the pandemic brought with it both challenges and significant opportunities. The increased sensitivity for the need to be connected and the digitalisation of operations on the part of key stakeholders within the digital economy presented a unique opportunity to advocate for the inclusion of minority groups, poorly connected and the unconnected.

Discussions focused on several key areas:

  1. The pandemic has contributed to recognizing and drawing close attention to what has been working in similar topographies  to be promoted or replicated in another to address the  common challenges and issues faced
     
  2. Internet Governance networks are starting to obtain recognition and support from government, regulators, and other similar networks
     
  3. Innovative ideas have emerged and introduced for uptake where there is a need and collaborations amongst all similar regions must continue to be maintained and promoted for good works that are positively impacting lives
     
  4. E-commerce activities will contribute to drive willingness and acceptance to be trained on positive use of the internet by rural citizens who see ICT as the least priority, and also for improvement on network coverage and its reliability.

Session takeaways :

  • The pandemic continued to challenge the economies and working modalities of SIDS, especially as it impacted the growth and development of the Internet/Digital Economy. While usage of the internet necessarily increased as a result of the pandemic-related restrictions, critical areas such as online education & learning (lack of devices, weak infrastructure, low levels of digital literacy and skills) require increased support and collaboration. Territories who adopted digital modalities earlier reaped more benefit in productivity whereas other territories who took their learning online later for example missed out on that opportunity in preserving absorption of learning and as a result had a lot of catching up to do.
      
  • e-Commerce, Digital Business and Digital Entrepreneurship can be significant vehicles of growth for SIDS as it promotes collective regional action towards digital transformation and e-readiness.  As such it represents a true agenda for change within the SIDS. For example, the PTI business survey showed a significant increase in the percentage of businesses that are using electronic means to support the selling of their goods and services online, the increase was specifically from 12% to 35%. The Pacific e-Commerce Strategy and roadmap is the key strategy being utilized to align all development efforts hereto, the first report will be due at the end of 2022. 

Session Calls to Action:

  • IG & Digital Economy stakeholders in SIDS need to work together, ACROSS and DESPITE geographic boundaries, to develop common solutions to shared challenges. Support and resources (not necessarily financial) from entities such as IGOs, the United Nations (IGF), ICANN, the Internet Society and the RIRs are critical to survival of SIDS post-pandemic.
     
  • The time has come for a non-regional approach to addressing the challenges faced by SIDS, and developing a platform for action and change. Members of the DC-SIDS agreed to lobby for and work towards the establishment of a SIDS-IGF, as early as 2022.

ADDENDUM:

Inputs from the Pacific e-Commerce Initiative:

The Pacific E-commerce Initiative, established by Forum members back in 2018, is our attempt to increase the region’s readiness to trade electronically by promoting targeted collective actions. 

As of December 2021, under the umbrella of this initiative, National E-commerce Assessments were undertaken in eleven Forum Island Countries. These assessments, which are freely available on our website ad were based on a methodology developed by UNCTAD, have informed the subsequent development of a Pacific Regional E-commerce Strategy and Roadmap.

The Pacific Regional E-commerce Strategy and Roadmap is the document embedding priority collective actions to improve E-commerce readiness, and as such represents a true agenda for regional change. This agenda was endorsed by our members in August this year after having benefited from input by 174 stakeholders and validated by a workshop attended by 234 participants. 

Leveraging the UNCTAD’s E-Trade Readiness Assessment methodology, the Pacific Regional E-commerce Strategy and Roadmap prioritises regional measures in seven policy areas including (1) National E-commerce Readiness and Strategy Formulation; (2) ICT Infrastructure and Services; (3) Trade Logistics and Trade Facilitation; (4) Legal and Institutional Framework; (5) Electronic Payment Solutions; (6) E-commerce Skill Development; and (7) Access to Finance for E-commerce.

In total, the Strategy identifies 54 Priority Measures, for a total cost of about USD 55 million, excluding the cost of infrastructure-related measures. 

The Pacific E-commerce Initiative is now entering its second phase which is focused on implementation of the Pacific Regional E-commerce Strategy and Roadmap. An implementation framework of the Pacific Regional E-commerce Strategy and Roadmap is being established to ensure that the Strategy is duly monitored, resources for its implementation are mobilized, partners are coordinated, and regional ownership is maintained. As part of this implementation framework, the PIFS is in the process of establishing an E-commerce Unit with resources from like-minded development partners. 

The PIFS is also implementing some projects which are aligned with the measures recommended by the Pacific Regional E-commerce Strategy and Roadmap, including: (1) Development of a Pacific E-commerce Portal; (2) Development of National E-commerce Strategy of Samoa; and (3) Regional Training Program on E-commerce for Pacific negotiators.

By the end of 2022 we should have developed the first annual report on implementation of the Pacific Regional E-commerce Strategy and Roadmap, and we will be happy to share further updates at this important Forum if you will like us to do so.

 

IGF 2021 WS #269 Inclusive Governance: Models of Open Source Participation

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 23:49
Key Takeaways:

Although panelists focus on different types of open source participation–technical, governance, community–their initiatives share a goal of supporting greater inclusion in open source software.Although panelists focus on different types of open source participation–technical, governance, community–their initiatives share a goal of supporting greater inclusion in open source software.

Calls to Action

Cross-sectoral expertise is needed to expand the initiatives presented in the session: Open Source Community Africa, Omidyar India’s Open Digital Ecosystems, and WHO’s new Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence

Session Report

The session explored three cases of efforts to expand participation in the creation and use of open source software (OSS). Mala Kumar, Director of Tech for Social Good at GitHub, moderated the discussion and introduced the panel with some definitional remarks. She recognized that the participation challenges that face OSS also confront internet governance. OSS in the social sector poses additional challenges, as it is different than OSS more broadly: funding tends to be for new projects as opposed to sustain old ones, it tends to focus on stand-alone applications with graphical interfaces, as opposed to infrastructural tech, and perceptions of it vary around the world. Across the board, inclusive design is key: OSS tools are too often built in developed countries to be deployed in developing and least developed countries.

Samson Goddy, Co-founder of Open Source Community Africa, shared his experience scaling the community organization to define and lead on OSS in Africa. He has found that many OSS projects are Western-centric, and that language supporting as many languages as possible—Africa has more than 2,000 distinct languages—is a significant challenge for their goal of diverse participation. Open Source Community Africa operates on a city chapter program to bring OSS to municipalities and have the movement resonate locally. Samson started it in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, before expanding to Lagos and more broadly.

Kriti Mittal, Entrepreneur in Residence at Omidyar India, described her work on Open Digital Ecosystems, to promote government-citizen platforms. India has seen a paradigm shift towards open tech, with an embrace of digital infrastructure that is modular, open source, and uses open APIs. Yet, this approach brings risks as well: regulation is still emerging and data protection is a priority. Omidyar places greatest emphasis on non-technical layers of the infrastructure, focusing primarily on governance and community. She posed some difficult questions they face:

  • Should there mandatorily be a public body that acts as the institutional home of the digital platform?
  • How do we prevent the exclusion of people who are on the other side of the digital divide?
  • How do we protect citizen’s data while encouraging open innovation?

Communities are key: they help build and main trust. They help localize and fit the specific context, while promoting transparency and accountability. Community pressure, for example, led the Government of India to open source its contact tracing and vaccine programs—which enabled scrutiny on privacy issues in the code and led to contributions to improve them.

Dušan Milovanović, Solutions Architect for Public Health Intelligence at the World Health Organization (WHO), described the evolution of WHO’s global health information sharing efforts, starting after the 2015 ebola outbreak. WHO has made an effort to gather more information in addition to official statistics, including on animal and environmental factors, to realize “public health intelligence.” During the pandemic, they’ve embraced a collaborative approach that seeks to synthetize information before it become official data. The infrastructure that powers this collaborative intelligence approach relies on open source software. A new Open Source Program Office is being created in WHO to support these projects internally and externally worldwide. Dušan described WHO’s working principles on collaborative intelligence:

  1. Ethical Design to promote privacy, security, and ethical use of technology and data.
  2. Equity to work for the benefit of all populations and invite participation.
  3. Fostering exportation and innovation.
  4. Multiplicity: collaboration and reuse of systems.
  5. Interdependence: a one health approach that includes humans, the environment, animals, and world health data.
  6. Openness: promote the use and creation of open source technology, platforms, and tools for the public, to maximize citizen science.

Sayeed Choudhury, Associate Dean for Research Data Management at Johns Hopkins University, was unable to attend the panel.

Questions from the audience sought more explanation on the non-technical aspects of open source from the panelists.

  • Kriti described the governance and community layers in her framework. She drew from the State of FOSS in India report to describe some current challenges and opportunities in these layers: organizational capacity is lacking and is in need of government incentives and encouragement from the private sector; FOSS-led technical education is currently limited; there’s not enough commitment from mainstream IT companies in India and the government to embrace and purchase OSS; there’s a need to localize and translate into Indic languages.
  • Samson described a need to build awareness among young people that OSS is something that they can join to build the pipeline of talent from Africa. There’s a need to tailor global programs to fit Africa. One friend has created a list of OSS projects “Made in Nigeria” as a good example here.

Additional audience questions focused on concerns about digital threats in OSS and ethical concerns on WHO’s using open data for sensitive biological information. Dušan described WHO’s approach to include security and software assessment in the scope of his work. WHO is careful to respect confidentiality requirements, using architected solutions to expose types of information without exposing individual values. In general, there is a need to expose analytical approaches to critique and make assumptions explicit, to validate approaches on, for example, how COVID risk is assigned using assumptions on transmission.

In concluding remarks that focus on current needs, Samson Goddy described efforts to get government support from the African Union and welcomed financial support to expand Open Source Community Africa, as currently one main event raises funding that supports the regional communities. Kriti Mittal described an early stage project to build an open source center of excellence in India, and would welcome the opportunity to learn from those who have set up OSS communities in the developing country context.

A review of the session hashtag on social media found an independent summary of the session available here https://dig.watch/events/igf2021/inclusive-governance-models-of-open-so… as well as one published by GitHub https://github.blog/2021-12-13-github-at-the-un-internet-governance-for…

IGF 2021 Town Hall #32 The future of human augmentation: gain or 'cyber-pain'?

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 23:49
Economic and Social Inclusion and Human Rights
Key Takeaways:

Although the possibilities for human augmentation are incredibly exciting, we must remain vigilant about the cyber security and ethical risks around embedding technology into our bodies. International multi-stakeholder community (i.e. private businesses, industry, public institutions and academia) needs to continue to address the increasing need for global cybersecurity regulation for human augmentation.

Calls to Action

It is important to have more international multi-stakeholder discussions about the future of human augmentation, and to engage the global IT and augmentation community to take further steps in regards to human augmentation security development. This includes ensuring digital privacy of devices, proving different levels of access rights to stored information, and mitigating any threats related to human health.

Session Report

Summary of the discussed points: 

The session covered the following issues related to digital trends of Human Augmentation and its challenges:


·   The lack of awareness in regards to human augmentation: a vast majority of people would not be aware of the ethical issues and the existence of any associated risks or cyberthreats in regards to the use of bionic devices within corporate networks. Awareness campaigns and materials should be developed and made available to all stakeholders (broader agreement).

 


·    The unclear legal framework of human augmentation (digitally augmented people): while a majority seem to agree that human augmentation should be regulated, better protected and standardized, some assess this is not yet the right time to go forward. In-depth discussions are needed at international and national levels on this key issue (needing further discussion).

 


·    The need for coordinated response: businesses, organizations, governments, academia, as well as cybersecurity companies should act together to bring an effective response to the human augmentation challenges. For instance, by introducing security policies for using bionic devices (e.g. cybersecurity policy for bionic devices).  

 

IGF 2021 Lightning Talk #35 Australia’s approach to regulating online harms – navigating the great balancing act of the digital age.

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 23:48
Key Takeaways:

Globally, we’ve reached a tipping point. Governments are starting to wake up to the fact that what’s playing out online is not only a threat to individual citizens, but also an existential threat to democracy and civilised society. • Our goal is to avoid a patchwork and fragmentation of online safety legislation, governance arrangements and national online safety measures.

Calls to Action

Governments, industry and civil society need to find a way to balance fundamental human rights in the digital environment, and stop thinking of privacy, security and safety as mutually exclusive. A healthy system relies on all three existing in a natural symbiosis.

Session Report

Commissioner Inman Grant’s lightening talk was an exploration of the evolution of harms on the internet. She noted that today’s internet has brought humanity a myriad of benefits. The Covid-19 Pandemic has seen the internet become an essential utility as the whole world turned to it to continue to work, learn, communicate and be entertained.  

But along with the good, we also need to acknowledge the bad. Unfortunately, the internet has also become a highly enabling environment for many forms of abuse.

 There’s the relentless online bullying of children, targeted misogyny, hatred and racism, the unchecked spread of disinformation and misinformation, terrorist weaponization of social media, and the most horrifying of all, the grooming, sexual exploitation and abuse of children.

Commissioner Inman Grant remarked that globally, we’ve reached a tipping point, and governments around the world are starting to wake up to the fact that what’s now playing out online is not only a threat to individual citizens, but also potentially looms as an existential threat to democracy and civilised society. 

 The Australian Government recognised this challenge, and established the eSafety Commissioner in 2015. Commissioner Inman Grant took participants on a deep dive through Australia’s approach to regulating online harms.

The discussion then turned to the operating in the complicated environment of content moderation. The Commissioner noted that content moderation discussion are often characterised by binaries views of the need to uphold privacy and security, or safety and protection. It is vital that the technology industry and wider society start to reframe how we view our most pressing online problems.

The Commissioner implored participants to stop thinking of privacy, security and safety as mutually exclusive. A healthy system relies on all three existing in a natural symbiosis. People often talk about the absolute right to freedom of expression and freedom of speech, but what about when this free speech veers headlong into the realm of targeted abuse and online harassment? She asked the audience, shouldn’t those on the receiving end have an equal right to exist free from online violence? Absolute free speech often ends up taking away the free speech of others as they are driven offline by a barrage of harassment and abuse.

Digital rights protectors also have a moral responsibility to broaden this discussion and take a more nuanced approach that at least gives equal billing to the rights of those who are most at risk online alongside the rights of freedom of speech and privacy. Governments, industry and civil society all need to find, a way to balance a set of fundamental human rights.

The conversation then shifted to emerging issues, tech trends and challenges, because technological change will always outpace policy, to be effective, it is imperative to stay a step ahead of tech trends and challenges and ensure that a lens of ‘safety’ is applied to emerging issues.

She noted the balanced and nuanced view to emerging technologies and trends taken by the eSafety Commissioner – weighing up both the risks and benefits new innovations could have for the safety and wellbeing of the public, but also providing a critical lens on how these could be used to abuse, harass or harm individuals - and then pointing to solutions where they exist.

Questions and answers focused on a range of key issues and themes, including the need for international collaboration to address online harms, how to regulate the metaverse, the need to protect women from online harassment and abuse.

IGF 2021 WS #243 Level Up: Methods for Localizing Digital Policy and Norms

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 23:38
Emerging Regulation: Market Structure, Content, Data And Consumer Rights and Protection
Key Takeaways:

While localization of policy can be important to respond to local needs and particularities, there still needs to be broader "harmonization" so that the internet remains a global, unified platform that enables the exercise of human rights.

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It's is imperative that governments institute multistakeholder processes during the drafting phase in order to be truly inclusive and to develop the best policy that responds to the needs of citizens.

Calls to Action

The most powerful stakeholders—governments and private companies—need to make sure that civil society actors are able to meaingufully contribute in multistakeholder processes.

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When localizing digital policies attention must always be paid to making sure that new policy language upholds international human rights norms

Session Report

In a global context where new regulations are being drafted for technology companies to govern cyberspace, how can we ensure that when they are implemented in different political contexts that the end is result upholds international human rights commitments? This was the primary question for this panel, which featured speakers from 3 different stakeholder groups (private sector, government, and civil society) as well as diverse regional perspectives (Kenya, Ukraine, Peru, and the UK). 

85+ people attended via Zoom and 15+ people attended in person in Poland. Approximately 55% of the attendees were women, and 75% of the panelists were women. There was a high level of engagement in the form of questions both in-person in Poland as well as on the Zoom platform.

There were three main threads of discussion:

1) Regulation is happening and it is important that countries ensure that policies adhere to international human rights commitments — Examples of emerging global policy standards include the GDPR as well as some content regulation policies, which have thus far primarily first emerged in Europe, but have gone on to influence policy development in other regions. Two civil society legal scholars on the panel noted the dangers to internet freedom that hasty development of regulation can create when they are not vetted to make sure they adhere to international human rights standards. Done poorly, rather than strengthen digital governance, they can undermine international human rights standards and so all stakeholders need to be vigilant in these processes. The representative from the private sector noted that harmonization of these policies across borders can lead to economic gains, but only when implemented properly. Thus, there are a number of social gains that can be gleaned from this type of policy intervention, but the small details matter a great deal.

2) To truly be a global information platform, the internet's governance must be inclusive and multistakeholder — One civil society speaker noted how many people are still excluded from the internet, and that bridging the digital divide still needs to be a focus of action. Others agreed and noted that even thought many are online, they are not as actively engaged in internet governance as they should be. The representative from the government of Peru talk about the engagement work that countries must do to make sure these sectors of the population have channels to participate and give their input. Developing and implementing policy without this engagement, they argued, would lead to sub-standard policy which might not receive broad-based buy-in. Thus all speakers agreed that all stakeholders need to redouble their outreach and engagement strategies, especially governments.

3) The rise of digital sovereignty is a threat to an open internet — Poor implementation of emerging global standards may result in a patchwork of different country regulations that effectively splinter the global internet into different national networks. Rather than raising human rights standards globally, this could actually lead to a race to the bottom and would threaten democratic digital governance and human rights more broadly. To avoid this scenario, panelists encouraged more broad-based multistakeholder processes foster inclusive digital governance. 

 

 

IGF 2021 Open Forum #24 The GovStack Initiative - digital government cooperation

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 22:38
Inclusive Internet Governance Ecosystems and Digital Cooperation
Key Takeaways:

Stakeholders engaged in the digitisation of government services (hereinafter referred as stakeholders) agree on the necessity of aligned cooperation and actions to achieve the digital transformation of governments: To further the digital transformation journey of governments, the initiatives like GovStack and DPGA are crucial.

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Stakeholders agree on the following challenges in the area of digital transformation: a.) Siloed approaches; b.) Vertical efforts; c.) Lack of inclusiveness, d.) Need for citizen centricity.

Calls to Action

Stakeholders shall commit to shift from agency centric strategies to a single digital strategy that takes a whole of government approach and commit to a citizen-centric service approach while digitally transforming their public infrastructure.

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Stakeholders shall set clear principles of data collection, sharing and maintenance to ensure that the data is reliable and trustworthy and can be securely exchanged between public and private sector.

Session Report

The session “The GovStack Initiative – Digital Government Cooperation” was hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).The session gathered speakers from BMZ, German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL), Digital Public Goods Alliance) (DPGA), National eGovernance Division of India (NeGD) and Ministry of Information and Communication of Sierra Leone. The goal of the event was to present the GovStack Initiative as well as the work of the GovStack Community of Practice (CoP) with the DPGA and highlight the role of the initiative in advancing the global digital cooperation.

The moderator opened the discussion by stressing on the strong need for digital government services and digital public infrastructure to leverage the full potential of the digital transformation. The moderator further outlined that the global cooperation and partnerships play a crucial role in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and fostering digital transformation that serves people around the globe.  

The session proceeded with the panel discussion that revolved around the following key issues: 

  • Changes needed to fully leverage the potential of digital transformation. 
  • The role of the GovStack Initiative in establishing global digital cooperation and supporting digital transformation of government services. 
  • Keys to successful global partnerships in the context of digital transformation. 
  • Ways to align different stakeholders’ needs into shared priorities to accelerate progress towards Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI). 
  • The role of GovStack CoP in advancing digital cooperation and contributing to the Digital Public Goods (DPGs) ecosystem. 

The speakers provided inputs sharing their vision on the issues presented above. The key elements raised were the following: 

  • Strong global partnerships are crucial for digital transformation of governments and achieving SDGs. 
  • Digital transformation needs cross border and cross sectoral aligned cooperation. 
  • The whole of government approach is necessary for accelerating the digital transformation and avoiding the duplication of efforts. 
  • Digital transformation must be inclusive, citizen centric and sustainable. 
  • Digital infrastructure must be accessible for all. 
  • The GovStack Initiative can help overcome siloed digital transformation approaches. 
  • The GovStack Initiative supports harmonization of activities around the implementation of DPGs. 

The panel also became a platform for sharing experiences and user perspectives on digital government cooperation and the implementation of digital government strategies and services. As such, representative of Estonia, Ms. Nele Leosk, highlighted that core principles of GovStack, namely, “share and reuse”, had helped Estonia to become a global leader in digital transformation of government services. Ms. Leosk also underlined that Estonia needs GovStack to continue its own digitalization journey. Representative of India, Mr. Abhishek Singh, also shared the lessons learned by India. Mr. Singh emphasized on the importance of keeping citizens in focus when designing digital services and relying on their needs and feedback. He stressed on the necessity to develop citizen centric and inclusive digital services that align with the whole of government approach. The audience also had a chance to know more about the digital transformation journey of Sierra Leone. Mr. Telli Koroma, CTO at the Ministry of Information and Communication, noted that is crucial to create the sense of ownership of digital solutions that can be achieved by customizing the solutions to the local context and building local skills.  

At the end of the discussion, the speakers deliberated on how the government structures could shift towards citizen-centric service approach. The panelists agreed on the following steps that could make such shift possible: 

  • Laying out single digital strategy instead of separate strategies for different government agencies.
  • Focusing on the needs of citizens and coordinating efforts between government structures. 
  • Consulting with citizens when designing the respective policies and digital solutions. 
  • Designing software interventions with SDGs in mind. 
IGF 2021 WS #261 Best Practices in Content Moderation and Human Rights

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 22:36
Economic and Social Inclusion and Human Rights
Key Takeaways:

There was near consensus among panelists on the usefulness of human rights frameworks to guide platform activities, particularly around transparency for content moderation processes. There was disagreement, however, on the extent that platforms can reserve their rights as private actors: are they akin to restaurants or does their scale and ubiquity in life require international obligations beyond voluntarily using guiding human rights principles?

Calls to Action

Allison Davenport called on policymakers to ensure that regulation reflects the diversity of content moderation approaches taken by diverse platforms. Vladimir Cortes issued a call to ensure that continuing discussion of platforms’ roles in digital lives follows a multistakeholder model, so that it can benefit from civil society, private actors, and government expertise.

Session Report

The session explored differences in perspectives and approaches to using human rights as a guide for platform content moderation. After brief introductions, the panelists discussed how to weigh the need to protect freedom of speech with risks of harmful content. 

Berges Malu, Director of Policy at Sharechat, described his company’s approach in the Indian context. The Indian constitution does not provide for free speech in its entirety, and Sharechat will remove content that is illegal under Indian law. It also may remove or restrict the reach/virality of content that is not good for the community. This approach has reduced instances of harmful speech, in contrast to the experiences of other platforms in India.

Abby Vollmer, Director of Platform Policy and Counsel at GitHub, described her company’s approach. Human rights offers a guide in shaping content moderation practices for GitHub’s 73 million developers worldwide. Context and culture matters, so when taking content moderation actions, GitHub considers where a user may come across content and perceive it. For example, a user’s avatar often appears without context and thus may be the subject of enforcement. However, the same image could potentially be permissible elsewhere on the platform with sufficient context. Ultimately, GitHub is guided by a principle of “least restrictive means” in content-related enforcement and in many cases will start by contacting the user in question directly to see if they can remedy the situation before taking action on content. 

Veszna Wessenauer, Research Manager at Ranking Digital Rights, introduced civil society strategies around platform content governance, noting that the concept includes practices beyond content moderation. 

Vladimir Cortes, Digital Rights Program Officer at Article 19, described how his organization analyzes the impacts that platform content governance decisions have on local groups, including artists, activists, collectives, as well as femistist and LGBT groups. In one case, a Mexican journalist whose content was in his native Zapotec language faced mistaken takedowns. They’ve found problems with Facebook’s transparency in enforcing its community standards: individuals did not understand which standard was violated and how. Article 19 advocates for these groups to improve platform practices to align with human rights standards. They understand that freedom of expression is not without limit, but restrictions must be legal and proportionate.

Allison Davenport, Senior Policy Counsel at Wikimedia explained how Wikipedia approaches content moderation in a very different way than dominant platforms like Facebook. Wikis are divided by language communities, not political jurisdiction, so the global Spanish-speaking community sets their own standards, complicating compliance with a potential law in the country of Spain, for example. Wikimedia staff do some limited content moderation due to legal requirements and toxicity concerns, including child and sexual exploitation content. However, its predominantly a community-based model. She offered a warning on regulation: often legislators assume platforms exercise top-down control on content, which contradict with how the community moderation model actually works. 

Brenda Dvoskin, PhD researcher at Harvard Law School, challenged the presumption that platforms should align their approach to human rights law. In her perspective, applying this framework to companies does not reflect its original meaning. Considering the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, companies are expected to identify which rights individuals should have and then not infringe upon them. However, in practice, platforms have specific rules that impact these rights. For example, The New York Times comment section prohibits the use of ALL CAPS: is this an infringement on human rights? In seeking to apply human rights frameworks to platforms, people make a political choice that seeks to erase normative preferences for a “objective” standard–this process of hiding is irresponsible. 

Brenda’s intervention pushed panelists to articulate how they viewed human rights as a useful framework for content governance. 

  • Berges described platforms as akin to a restaurant, which has the right to kick you out for being out without it being a violation of human rights. For him, political censorship is concerning, but that human rights as an absolute does not work. 
  • Allison described one appeal of the human rights framework is that it acknowledges that platforms are ubiquitous and inescapable in certain areas: people live online, they get jobs via platforms, they interact with family. 
  • Abby agreed that companies are private and legally can make rules. That’s where human rights come in: as a platform looking to draft rules, human rights law provides an instructive starting point.
  • Vladimir challenged the restaurant analogy. Platforms shape civic space and have huge scale. They are relevant for protests and democratic participation. Even in private spaces, the UN Human Rights Committee has interpreted the right of peaceful assembly to include private spaces. Some platforms are incorporating the Rabat Plan of Action rules on hate speech. Although human rights apply differently than to states, they are important for platforms.

Panelists consolidated around a need for transparency in platform content governance

  • Berges described the need to help users understand why their content may be taken down, and Indian regulations that require monthly transparency reports that tally takedowns and their justifications as well as an appeal process.
  • Veszna explained Ranking Digital Rights’ approach, which calls on platforms to transparently disclose practices for public evaluation. Their evaluation criteria prioritize transparency in the content governance process.
  • Vladimir encouraged the audience to review the Santa Clara Principles that include an emphasis on transparency, accountability, and explainability.

Brenda agreed that restraints on companies are needed, to ensure that platforms operate in the public interest. Too often human rights are used a heuristic for the public interest, but human rights entails a balance between values, which are not necessarily in the public interest. For example, popular campaigns to push back against hollocaust denial demonstrate public interest that does not align with human rights protections for free expression.

An audience member, who worked for an Iranian regulator, raised a question on how to ensure content diversity amid a concentration of media power. Vladimir shared Article 19’s approach: to (1) invite multistakeholder advice/input and (2) to promote unbundling as a pro-competitive remedy that separates hosting of content and content moderation itself, in an effort to decentralize.

A review of #WS261 found no contributions aside from those of the organizers. GitHub published a summary available here: https://github.blog/2021-12-13-github-at-the-un-internet-governance-forum/

IGF 2021 YCIG Youth in the decision-making process: hear us!

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 22:21
Inclusive Internet Governance Ecosystems and Digital Cooperation
Key Takeaways:

Soft skill development is important for youth, especially regarding negotiation skills, and teamwork. Being able to communicate clear conceptualization of your work, can assist in truly understanding local issues and convince others why they should care about your causes. With various groups conducting similar initiatives, youth ought to view other organisations as potential collaborative partners and not competition.

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Youth events are like events within bubbles, with little to no involvement of stakeholders outside of youth. The same applies to regional activities among youth themselves, and efforts should be taken to help youth interact across regions. Youth are not monolithic and missing perspectives from youth-related discussions need to be identified.

Calls to Action

Although the proposed solution (Leadership Panel) is far from perfect, any solution is better than nothing. Youths need to participate in the nomination process of the Leadership Panel, otherwise they run the risk of excluding themselves from the discussion. Youth should participate in agenda setting and decision-making processes of issues that they care about. (Youth)

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Steps need to be taken to begin measuring meaningful involvement of Youth. And organisations can take more effort into recruiting mentors of high-profile and high-impact for mentees. Another option would be to fund more youth programs. (Youth / Civil Society)

Session Report

Session Report

The session began with the introduction of Pedro Lana - Onsite Moderator presenting 3 speakers.

Characteristics of Panelists: 1 Regional Engagement Director from YCIG (Criminal Lawyer), 1 Public Interest Technologist, 1 Co-founder and Steering Committee Member of Youth IGF Poland (Lawyer). Onsite moderator made different questions to the speakers:

1-Involvement in Internet Governance Ecosystem and Lessons Learned:

Ayden Fedérline: Effective advocates in multistakeholder or multilateral platforms need to have narrow focus (knowing what it is important to you helps with personal motivation). More of a Return of Investment if one participates at the national level first instead of the international level (easier communication, locally relevant issues). Be open to learning and making mistakes, particularly learning from mistakes. Better to make more friends than enemies, allies will be beneficial in discussing strategies and sharing motivation.

2-Thoughts on Before and After of Project Youth Summit and Future Expectations:

Emilia Zalewska: Although a tiring but rewarding experience, the delay in Poland hosting the IGF gave the team more time to prepare. Inspiration came from Berlin 2019 where around 100 people created Youth Messages (identified differences in perception of Internet Governance challenges and changes they wanted to see). From a one-day meeting in 2019, the project allowed us to have a bigger outreach and more time to discuss. 80 selected participants tackled discussions about specific stakeholder groups and came up with very remarkable points of action.

3-Thoughts on Participation from Latin America and the Caribbean region:

Eileen Cejas: Youth Coalition on Internet Governance is a Dynamic Coalition that has been around for 11 years. They participated for the second time at Youth LACIGF this year but with the difference that the 6th edition (Open Course in Spanish has launched thanks to the funding support from the Internet Society Foundation). Topics discussed include gender, remote work, and education among others. Youth IGF Argentina will conduct their 18 December its annual meeting online, as they will discuss the effects of digitalization on the environment and youth engagement (national and regional level).

4-Thoughts on Multistakeholder High Level Body (MHLB) and Leadership Panel:

Ayden: IGF is broken because the current status quo only sees a discussion forum without anywhere to act on the items discussed. The Leadership Panel isn’t necessarily the best proposal or solution, but it is better than no proposal. Youth should support the initiative and become involved, otherwise rejection of this might lead to the IGF continuing to lose relevance, and push other stakeholders to platforms where youth are not represented/allowed to participate. Youths should nominate for the Leadership Panel members and ensure there is strong civil society participation.

Emilia: Similar to Ayden, with no other suggestion, youths can focus on being a part of this solution. Getting meaningfully involved is important—youth involvement is being recognised, the best proof is the inclusion of Youth Summit into the IGF structure. Youth events are like events within bubbles, with little to no involvement of stakeholders outside of youth. The same applies to regional activities among youth themselves, and efforts should be taken to help youth interact across regions. Youth are not monolithic and missing perspectives from youth-related discussions need to be identified.

Eileen: No solution would be the worst case scenario. Disagree with an outright opposition to the Leadership Panel proposal from Just Net Coalition, because the rejection itself would be excluding oneself from the discussion. Positive thing would be that the political reach of IGF would be increased. With adherence to Chatham House Rules, it will be difficult to identify which stakeholder is pushing for what. Also lacks Youth Representation (no UN Youth Envoy for example). 

Then the Map to IG Mechanisms and Youth” was presented for 20 mins, where speakers and participants reflected on the role of youth.

5-How to increase Youth Participation and Reflections on Digital Cooperation Mechanisms:

Ayden: Important to focus on active/meaningful participation, but hard to measure. There is a need to identify missing perspectives, because youth isn’t monolithic. Soft skill development is important for youth, especially regarding negotiation skills, and teamwork. Being able to communicate clear conceptualization of your work, can assist in truly understanding local issues and convince others why they should care about your causes (appearance of agency vs. victimhood). Funding needed for capacity building and results that we need.

Emilia: Suggestions from participants are welcome. With various groups conducting similar yet separate initiatives, youth ought to view other organizations as potential collaborative partners and not competition. Cooperated with Youth Observatory, Youth IGF Poland for Project Youth Summit, and communicated with YouthxPolicyMakers (German Informatics Society). Remember the existence of vulnerable groups and their voices.

Eileen: Throughout the history of Youth Coalition, although ideas might have been repeated, some have also been realized. Mentorship collaboration with the Internet Society for their Youth Ambassador Program. There is an aim to sponsor more youth to participate at IGF, but currently, we require more funds to finance youth activities.

YouthxPolicyMakers (Demetria): The representative of YouthxPolicyMakers commented that they published 4 policy papers after 4 competency-building workshops and meetings with PolicyMakers from around the world. (Inclusive Internet Governance Ecosystems, Access and Accessibility, Content, Media and Literacy as well as Privacy, Data Protection and Vulnerable Groups) Question for the speakers—how to translate this output into real action steps.

YouthDIG (Idil Kula): one of the participants of the YouthDIG shared the messages elaborated at the YouthDIG, including the message on Digital Technologies Within Government Bodies, Platforms, Digital Self-determination & Digital Literacy and Disinformation.

Responses to Comments:

Ayden: German Informatics Society can engage in a targeted way of networking (between youth, industry actors and regulatory bodies). Stakeholder analysis can be used to understand which party has leverage (financial interest/might). Mentorship is needed, youth need access to high-profile and high-impact mentors.

Jenna: As Programme Coordinator for Asia Pacific Youth IGF, we realized that youth involvement is rising. Through an observation Latin America and Europe region, we can find various initiatives that have output. The challenge for the Asia Pacific region is the country's own understanding of Internet Governance. Youths want to get more involved but must not forget to reconnect with active youths. Small things need to be considered when plans are made. Synergies between initiatives of different regions can be made possible.

On-site Participants:

Deputy Attorney Office of Nepal: Language barrier, local languages should be translated into English, through video/audio stories more global awareness on the situation. This can be achieved through collaboration between youth organizations at Youth Forums.

Program Youth Brasil (João Moreno Falcão): the participant commented on this Program that was able to sent more than 200 youths to national and global IGFs, impacted more than a 1000 youths in terms of education about Internet Governance, as an example of a successful youth initiative.

Afterwards, the onsite moderator took a photo of the session.

YCIG Remarks: Youth supporting youth is the best way to achieve involvement in the IG ecosystem. Highlights of YCIG’s 2021 include YCIG community-questionnaire launch, facilitation of webinars (environmental sustainability and Inclusive Internet Governance ecosystem and Digital Cooperation), worked with Youth Observatory to submit workshop proposals for IGF 2021, partnered with UNDESA and SPI on Digital Public Goods Policy Brief, conducted mentorship for ISOC’s IGF Youth Ambassador Program, EuroDIG Day 0 and YouthDIG participation, collaboration with Youth IGF Poland for Project Youth Summit, YouthLACIGF Open Course 2020 & 2021 as well as a presentation at DC Main Session with other DCs.

Eileen: Call for Participation in YCIG Elections

Concluding Remarks:

Ayden: Youth should participate in agenda-setting and decision-making processes of issues that they care about. Pressure to make UN processes more outcome-oriented, and to regain authority of internet governance issues. Governments are only more open to certain topics when it comes to multistakeholder participation (e.g. Gender).

Emilia: Eager to get comments on Points of Action from Project Youth Summit. Regarding Demetria’s question, the work shouldn’t just stop at IGF Poland 2021, thus we invite everyone to share comments and thoughts about the shared output.

Eileen: Thank you to everyone present, YCIG Steering Committee, and other members involved in this session.

IGF 2021 Lightning Talk #60 The role of privacy in antitrust policy in highly data-driven markets

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 22:17
Key Takeaways:

Data privacy law has become its own domain of law in the last two decades but it should nowdayas be seen in conjunction with antitrust laws, especially in merger proceedings in markets that are highly data-driven.

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Privacy is a part of consumer welfare and data becomes more and more a factor in competition, be it in the shape of a competitive advantage (non-price competition) or as a barrier to entry. At the same time, companies compete on privacy which inherently causes friction. A conduct that might be found anti-competitive could at the same time protect consumer’s data which underlines the need for more stream-lined data protection and antitrust regimes

Calls to Action

Competition and Data Protection Authorities need to be enabled by legislators to cooperate more closely in order to implement data privacy into competition policy

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Data and privacy matters need to be introduced into competition legislation to account for the new ways in which companies compete today

Session Report

 

The Big Data & Antitrust Cycle of the Institute for Internet & the Just Society hosted “Lightning Talk #60 The role of privacy in antitrust policy in highly data-driven markets” during the 2021 IGF. Two speakers were invited:

  • Ms. Nidhi Singh, who is a Panel Counsel at Delhi High Court & Supreme Court of India in New Delhi and Deputy Director at the Centre for Competition Law & Policy at GLA University
  • Mr. Mario Tavares Moyrón, Senior Legal Counsel at AXA Group Operations in Paris, France.

Mr. Moyrón started off by introducing the topic by outlining his thoughts on the relationship between privacy and antitrust. He stated that competition authorities have sometimes faced backlash after taking questions of data privacy into account during, for example, merger proceedings. While many jurisdictions recognize the right to privacy, sometimes even in the respective constitutional texts, some commentators seem to not follow the notion that privacy is part of the consumer welfare that prevails in many antitrust regimes worldwide. This is already contradicting the fact that often there are data (and consumer) protection agencies that act to the benefit of consumer welfare. Problems do arise now when competition authorities need to assess behaviors or planned mergers in markets that rely heavily on data. Within the last decade, through rapid technological progress, data has become an essential facility that grants huge competitive advantages. 

While some argue now that data should not be considered to form part of consumer welfare as many give up their privacy in exchange for services, this view neglects that data is an important asset in the competitive process. In his view, it is then only consequent to have competition authorities consider questions of data protection as well. At the moment though, competition policy does usually not allow for this, so the approach as to how to solve this issue is subject to debate. One could of course consider an expansion of the mandate but it seems more likely that every authority or regulatory body should stick with its own special expertise. This would make processes for cooperation between data protection and competition authorities necessary which are not in place yet (a so-called “dialogical regulatory function” in order to avoid confusion over competencies). It is therefore up to legislators to clear the way for this evolution of competition law. He illustrates these points by making reference to the case the German Federal Cartel Office brought against Facebook, in which provisions of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) were used to actually constitute an infringement of competition law. In that case, the Competition Authority also cooperated with the competent Irish Data Protection Commissioner. The efforts that are being made in Europe, one notable example is the introduction of § 19a in the German Act against Restrictions of Competition, will eventually need to be scaled up on a more global level as data-driven markets usually have an international dimension and the same questions will therefore arise.

Subsequently, Ms. Nidhi Singh took over and underlined that the digital environment has brought drastic changes to our regulatory landscape that need to be addressed. Just like IP and consumer protection law have had their fair share of influence on competition regimes, data privacy law as a separate domain of law will more and more do so. She argues that data is particularly important in the competition since most services of big platforms are offered for free. Firms cannot compete on price, so only non-price competition remains and there are instances in which tighter or more transparent privacy policies have been considered positively by consumers. Data has proven to be crucial in merger cases as well, even though the merging parties might not operate in the same market, the acquisition of one firm’s data set can be extremely valuable to the business model of the acquiring party. 

Ms. Singh continues to cite Erika A. Doughlous who outlined two areas of tension between data privacy and competition law regimes. Firstly, companies often invoke privacy as a justification against allegations of anti-competitive behavior. Secondly, granting access to data that a firm holds has become an increasingly popular remedy to mitigate competition concerns. It seems that courts however neglect the data implications competition law cases have (“competition first approach”). As an example, HiQ v. LinkedIn is explained, a case in which The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has rendered LinkedIn’s termination of HiQ’s access to user profile data unlawful as unfair competition, even though HiQ had violated user privacy settings. This also contradicts the FTC’s enforcement policy and shows how contentious the relationship between those two areas of law is. Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner for Competition, has also pointed out that data has become an increasingly important factor in the competition which makes granting access to data an effective behavioral remedy in order to maintain/restore competition. Problems are posed by the mandate that competition authorities are being given which limits them with regards to the scope they conduct their investigations and assessments in. Ms. Singh suggests, in conclusion, to view competition and data protection law as complementary disciplines that should not be considered exclusively in order to do justice to the new digital economy.

One question from the audience is directed to Mr. Moyrón and concerns the implications the GDPR has in an antitrust context. Mr. Moyrón explains that often consumers do not know how their data is used and the GDPR has provided useful information in order to create more transparency for consumers. This should eventually foster competition as consumers are enabled to make better-informed decisions. Another question is directed to Ms. Singh, she’s asked whether she thinks that there is a trade-off between profits and privacy or if firms that respect privacy will be the ones that are more successful in the long run. She explains that there seems to be a conflict between respecting privacy and gathering data. While privacy might be valued by customers, big amounts of data might be a competitive advantage a firm needs over its rivals. At the same time, she observes a development that more privacy is increasingly an argument for consumers to choose a specific firm, so the balance might be shifting.

 

IGF 2021 WS #259 Digital Cooperation process - Analysis from Youth lenses

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 22:07
Inclusive Internet Governance Ecosystems and Digital Cooperation
Key Takeaways:

Bringing Capacity building for Youth is very important, is a necessary step to get the correct tools, for example being involved in ISOC Youth Ambassadors program for us was our precedent in order to engage in the ecosystem because it is essential to have this support from other stakeholders.

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From the perspective of the models, participants agreed that each of the models has this idea of bottom-up processes from the national perspectives to the regional to the global. There is a need for an ordered bottom-up process so it could be a mixture of the models since each of them has relevant things to offer..

Calls to Action

Youth is at the forefront, the effect of shutdowns affects mostly the youth, so the youth need to decide how better we want the internet to be. From the education point of view, in Africa for example they are still struggling to even have broadband internet that allows them to come to forums, or at least that gives them awareness.

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Youth is already involved in Digital Cooperation conversation, having Youth as a stakeholder better recognized will be the challenge.In this way the Youth Summit Working Group on Inclusive Internet Governance ecosystem and Digital Cooperation raised concerns on the lack of representation of youth, not even the UN Youth Envoy as part of the Leadership Panel and we should advocate having more youth representation in decision making bodies.

Session Report

 

Characteristics of the panelists: 1 Infrastructure senior, 1 human right lawyer / IP, 1 criminal lawyer, head of Youth SIG, feminists perspective, digital sustainability, ISOC Ambassadorship, Digital cooperation expert, 1 cybersecurity advisor, 1 APIGF representative, 1 software developer from Internet Society Youth Ambassadors Program 2021.

Then panelists went through the 4 digital cooperation models.

Firstly, Eileen mentioned some personal and reflections from the IGF Plus model based on DIPLO’s and personal opinion. After reviewing the composition of this body, she analyzed some advantages and disadvantages. Some remarks from her intervention included amplifying the outcomes of the IGF and bringing more communities, the concerns on the Leadership Panel, and its potential collaboration role with the Policy Incubator and other bodies. In addition, there is not a mention of the role of youth in such a body, which can affect negatively their inclusion according to point 7 of the UN Common Agenda, not even the representation of the UN Youth Envoy. It was also highlighted the necessity of considering youth as a recognized stakeholder.

Secondly, Mumbashir examined the Digital Commons Model and expressed that the idea behind this multistakeholder model is ensuring the diversity, from the technical infrastructure, through standards and protocols, for sustainability and digitalization; and safeguard the internet from some negative consequences that we can come across while using internet connections because people are connected and can access the resources.

Thirdly, Meri presented the Co-governance Model and its main features, for instance, relying on a horizontal model for digital cooperation using the examples of policy-making bodies in IEEE, IETF, and ICANN. Moreover, it separates norms from the implementation and law enforcement, and it just follows a simple process that provides governments with some frameworks. One aspect to feature is that, when norms are available, these could be adopted, to offer possible change for connecting or implementation desired. If there is a conflict, they will establish and provide discussion. Formalizing digital norms for implementation and enforcement.

Finally, Ethan spoke about NRIs by opening with a question: “Should the power to shape the internet be in the hands of everyone?” After giving some facts and mentioning the Youth PolicyMakers papers, he remarked that youth is highly involved in the ecosystem like the Youth NRIs. In this regard, capacity-building tools are essential for digital inclusion.

Participants from the session made some intervention on the topic of education, with the importance of youth to identify the gaps and keeping the Internet secure and safe. In this scenario, capacity-building programs are a good way to engage youth. In addition, Ethan suggested that the conversation on education should take into consideration the different contexts around the world.

On the models, participants also mentioned the necessity to find a mixture of models while maintaining the bottom-up process and contributing to the discussion of NRIs and Youth NRIs.

Regarding the comment on the possibility of considering youth as a different stakeholder, both speakers Eileen and Meri explained that the youth community has been discussing this topic for a long time and the point is, we see this need for the youth stakeholder, is a different stakeholder group. Otherwise, youth will be slowed down by other stakeholder groups so youth can present their specific perspective on the Internet Governance issues.

As ending remarks, speaker Eileen mentioned the Project We, The Internet organized in cooperation with Missions Publiques and with the presence of several youth representatives organizing these citizens dialogues on Internet Governance issues including digital cooperation so this topic is not a closed debate to certain circles of experts. This discussion should be open to everyone, with equal participation of all.

IGF 2021 Lightning Talk #78 Digital accessibility is a right: keys to building accessible digital environments

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 21:59
Key Takeaways:

Digital accessibility enables people to interact with digital environments without the mediation of third parties. In this way, all citizens can exercise their citizenship through autonomous decision-making in their practice of democracy. There is a lack of knowledge on the subject and that it is necessary for States, the private sector and academia to take it into their work agendas so that all people know their rights and see them fulfilled.

Calls to Action

Disseminate the dimension of digital accessibility as a right

Session Report

Report Lightning Talk Digital accessibility is a right: keys to building accessible digital environments

During the lightning talk we talked about digital accessibility from a human rights perspective. We approach the issue on three levels:

  1.  What are we talking about when we talk about accessibility? It was concluded that there is a general lack of knowledge on the subject and that it is necessary for States, the private sector and academia to take it into their work agendas so that all people know their rights and see them fulfilled.
  2. What rights are intersected by accessibility? It is agreed that digital accessibility enables all people to access content hosted on websites, digital platforms and applications without the mediation of third parties. In this way, all citizens can exercise their citizenship through autonomous decision-making in their practice of democracy.
  3. What can we do from each place to incorporate accessibility as an essential dimension in the digital sphere? It was agreed that both States and the private sector should:
  • Express commitment in relation to accessibility.
  • For this, it is effective to plan a strategy and designate people or areas responsible for promoting and managing the implementation of accessibility.
  • It is recommended to offer institutional training spaces on the subject.
  • It is necessary to require suppliers to make their products and services accessible, expanding the scope outside the organizations themselves.
  • It is convenient to define resources of economic and human capital, destined to the subject of accessibility, with professionals trained in the subject.
  • Accessibility should be considered permanently in the development of projects, from their planning, design, development, and evaluation.
IGF 2021 Town Hall #63 Tackling the menace of E-Waste through greener ways

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 21:47
Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change
Key Takeaways:

Exploring innovation in e-waste management sector and catering to newer avenues for environmental education

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Making green lifestyle trendy and adopting behavioral changes for reducing e-waste

Calls to Action

Advocating for public private partnerships and replicating the best successful policies for reducing e-waste through collaboration with all stakeholders

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Encouraging youth for contributing to circular economy and finding solutions to menace of e-waste through innovation

Session Report

The United Nations Internet Governance Forum (IGF) 2021 Town Hall Session #63 “Tackling the menace of E-Waste through greener ways” covered wide points and approaches on greener ways and policy oriented solutions to e-waste challenge and it encouraged the young audience through exploring innovation in e-waste management sector, catering to newer avenues for environmental education as well. The moderator (Mr Mohammad Atif) set the context of the session by quoting the statistics of e-waste generated globally and in a roundtable format engaged with the speakers on different aspects of addressing and tackling the menace of e-waste. Monmi Barua representing the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) – Youth from India covered pointers on Youth initiatives and flagship programs of her organization on environment and e-waste management along with stressing on some innovative ways for imparting sustainable development education through the youth. Marta Musidlowska from the core committee of Project Youth Summit by IGF Poland covered different aspects of Environmental conservation and e-waste management approaches from the European region critical to the core issue of tackling e-waste. She also cited example for recycling of electronic goods as a policy level plan and encouraged the youth audience to make the green lifestyle a key behavioural attribute or more trendy in current times. Robert J.Turyakira from The Environment Shield organization, Uganda stressed upon the means of digitalization and stakeholder involvement for solving the challenges of E-waste giving various examples of successful initiatives and policy measures which can help reduce the burden of e-waste. Daniel Dasig from De La Salle  University Dasmarinas, Philippines was able to correlate quality education as a necessary tool for reducing the impact of Climate change through e-waste. He cited cross industry collaboration and shared initiatives from diverse stakeholders as key enablers for measuring and tackling the impact of e-waste.

The speakers in their discussion also cited the pivotally important role of internet technology intermediaries in the digitization of flows through materials of electronic waste and how responsible production and consumption of the materials and technologies both can have a positive impact in tackling e-waste.

Lastly they committed to the goals of UN IGF and Sustainable Development and encouraged the young audience to amplify their voices in the field of Environment and Internet Governance.

IGF 2021 DC-PAL Public Access: Driving a Community-Based Development Model

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 21:04
Universal Access and Meaningful Connectivity
Key Takeaways:

Public access has shown versatility both in helping achieve connectivity goals (bringing people online - in terms of access to ICT, a reliable connection, affordability), and in supporting meaningful digital inclusion and generating benefits (e.g. digital skills-building, gains in work, education and learning, access to local content).

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Public access through institutions such as libraries can help deliver on all of the components of access that help drive development – equitable and inclusive connectivity, content and competences.

Calls to Action

Develop and introduce definitions, metrics and measurements that help understand connectivity at a community level.

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Leverage and support public access delivery, including through innovative methods (e.g. collaboration with community networks, LEO satellites), in the context of wider connectivity and development strategies.

Session Report

 

Public access and shared connectivity in libraries and similar anchor organisations can be a powerful way to not just bring more people online, but to make sure they can meaningfully use and benefit from connectivity. The session drew on existing good practices and experiences in different parts of the world to highlight several key takeaways:

  • Public access supports progress towards a broad range of crucial developmental goals – digital learning and education, participation in the digital economy, creativity, access to e-government services, and others. Even in places where connectivity is more widespread, some vulnerable or underserved user groups – e.g. older community members – can be more likely to rely on public access as their main or only means of going online. Crucially, even higher levels of home connectivity do not take away the need for public access. (A new DC-PAL working draft further explores recent evidence around the impacts of public access - https://www.ifla.org/news/impacts-of-public-access-to-the-internet-and-…)
  • Public access in libraries are well-positioned to create local solutions targeted at particular community needs in a way that a more centralised or top-down approach cannot. One of the examples here is the Perpuseru programme in Indonesia, which enabled broader provision of public access to ICT and ICT-enabled learning opportunities in libraries. A part of the programme rollout entailed both a community needs analysis and stocktaking of locally available resources and experts. To date, Perpuseru helped achieve positive impacts in several different areas, including information- and digital literacy and facilitating income generation and economic activity.
    • The importance of local agency and meaningful digital inclusion solutions tailored to local community needs was also highlighted by the experiences of community networks. This can be of particular importance for women and other underserved and marginalised groups – both as users and co-creators of such solutions. Overall, community network and public access experiences show the value of complementary approaches to connectivity, and their importance for comprehensive inclusion goals.
  • Such flexibility also means that public access can help meet the needs of diverse user groups – including with targeted action – through one infrastructural resource (a one stop shop). For example, in Poland, public libraries offer ICT-based training and support to various user groups – digital skills fundamentals for seniors, coding and robotics activities for children, workshops focusing on online safety and wellbeing for youth, and others.
  • Another key recurring theme was the way public access supports the creation of - and engagement with - locally relevant content. Examples here include, for instance, the “Wikipedia in African Libraries” project. Apart from raising awareness around the power and possibilities of open knowledge and creating a wealth of new content, it saw the launch of a variety of events that seek to engage partners and community members in such content creation - competitions, edit-a-thons and other activities. Both in Poland and as part of the “Wikipedia in African Libraries” project activities, there are clear examples of community-building around digital content creation.
    • Similarly, in Peru, a range of activities by the National Library enabled a boost to equitable access to digital content (e.g. in the field of education), engagement with it (e.g. by creating easy and visible access to digital heritage materials – for instance, through dedicated microsites) and co-creation of local content (e.g. through crowdsources transcription of digitised heritage materials).
  • Another key recurring theme highlighted by session participants was the value of partnerships. There are powerful examples and great scope for further collaboration to maximise connectivity and development impacts – between public access venues and educators, local digital skills champions, NGOs, community networks and other key stakeholders. In addition, innovative approaches to public access – particularly through low-earth orbit satellites – hold promise for bringing public access to harder-to-reach areas, to bring community connectivity and pool resources.

Overall, these experiences highlight that leveraging existing facilities and staff competencies in public access points can help achieve connectivity and development impacts not only on an individual, but also on a community level. It is also worthwhile to consider the roles public access can play in a crisis, particularly in scenarios where individual access to connectivity, ICT and/or electricity can be reduced.

IGF 2021 DCPR Platform Interoperability: Understanding a Complex Issue

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 20:07
Emerging Regulation: Market Structure, Content, Data And Consumer Rights and Protection
Key Takeaways:

The central role digital platforms play in economic relations, their potential impact in democratic processes and human rights require adequate regulation to optmize how society uses them. One important regulatory step is implementing platform interoperability - which has many facets, from data to protocols and legal systems. This potentially unlocks value in digital environments, stregthening competition and providing user control.

Calls to Action

Download the "Glossary of platform law and policy terms", available at: https://www.intgovforum.org/en/filedepot_download/45/20436.

Session Report

IGF 2021 DCPR Platform Interoperability: Understanding a Complex Issue

The 2021 session of the DCPR aimed at instigating a multistakeholder discussion towards platform interoperability by bringing together speakers from different backgrounds and countries. Session organizer prof. Luca Belli and founder of the DCPR stated that the goal of this years' session was threefold: first, to discuss the most pressing issues regarding platform governance and platform responsibility; second, to analyze platform interoperability and, three to launch the Glossary of Platform Law and Policy Terms, a volume with 100 relevant terms in Platform Governance – which is a collaborative work by the DCPR working group. The Glossary shows DCPR’s commitment to involving stakeholders outside academia, thus embracing a plural and multifaceted approach towards the field’s issues. Regarding the Glossary, in his opening remarks, Prof. Luca Belli commented upon the difficulty of finding a common language through which policymakers, researchers, and other stakeholders can discuss fundamental concepts for platform regulations. 

The firsts to talk were the keynote speakers, Patrick Penninckx and David Kaye (who participated through a recorded video). Regarding platform governance/responsibility, both of them highlighted the importance of human rights for guiding the development of platform's regulation – which is the current approach advocated by the Council of Europe – as stated by its Head of Information Society Department and keynote speaker, Patrick Penninckx – and several other relevant institutions (e.g., the 2018-2019 reports by the DCPR keynote speaker, David Kaye, during his tenure as U.N. special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression). David Kaye especially commented on the importance of interoperability from this standpoint: it strengthens the users’ free choice and facilitates the entrance of new actors into the market, while simultaneously diminishing governmental censorship.

Approximately halfway through the session, keynote speaker David Kaye’s presentation was interrupted by a zoombombing attack, with harmful content (including racial slurs) being broadcast to all participants and audience members. The session was shut down and resumed after about 20-30 minutes. Speaker Vittorio Bertola, who presented after the incident, remarked that the case perfectly exemplified the importance of interoperability: without it, users are more likely to be dependent on monopolizing platforms that often have security and privacy concerns. With interoperability, competition is encouraged, with users being able to choose the platforms that offer the best, most reliable, and secure services.

Speaker Smriti Parsheera, bringing her experience with the Indian scenario, stated the importance of the technical level in developing interoperability, especially in the case of data sharing models in India.  Speaker Alejandro Pisanty stated, in his presentation, that companies are capturing the legislative debate on platform regulation – it is necessary, therefore, to return the debate to the stakeholders – policymakers, activists, and scholars. Speaker Nina da Hora, who closed the session, remarked that we are still unaware of the prejudices that lie behind the platforms’ code and algorithms highlighting that decisions are often taken in closed doors, from biased perspectives, especially from the North towards the South, disregarding context and other relevant pillars for analysis. 

The 2021 DCPR session showed how platforms are playing an important role in economic and societal relations, impacting democratic processes and other social dynamics. Platform interoperability is a relevant regulation step for unlocking value in digital environments, strengthening competition, and providing possibilities for user control. Furthermore, platform interoperability can mitigate monopolies challenging violations of users' rights by private companies.



 

IGF 2021 Lightning Talk #40 The unexplored Dichotomy of Internet Access and Online Hate

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 20:00
Key Takeaways:

In the future we need to: a) Design effective campaigns on digital rights to marginalized communities e.g refugee communities b) Implement safety by design approach to developer communities c) promote access to platforms to ensure trending algorithms don't promote hateful or violent speech

Calls to Action

ALL- intensify campaigns on how to build an online active bystander community

Session Report

 

This session was held on 7th December 2021 by Catherine Muya and Esther Mwema. 

In this session the speakers spoke about: 

  1. What inspired the speaker's open internet project - Catherine's project was a paper that analyzed the role of the law in tackling online violence in Kenya.  Esther's project was training a cohort of leaders on digital rights using the open net advocacy playbook. This was the need to address online violence that was worsened by the pandemic giving country-specific examples to help the audience humanize and empathize with the reality. Speakers also spoke about the need to drive inclusivity through training. 
  2. The session held a collaborative discussion between the speakers on issues raised which include: 

-privacy-centric and human rights centric Design of technologies ensuring safety is also a concern in the design

-Building inclusive teams 

-Building an active online bystander community and what this means 

-Algorithms on platforms promote hateful content

  1. Participants both online and offline got an open opportunity to contribute to the discussion and we received 4 questions,  we had more but had to limit them to keep time.Key were: 

-How to build active bystander communities and what the bystanders ought to do 

-How to create inclusive digital rights campaigns especially for a semi-literate African audience, the participants drew examples from the challenges they experienced in their work in Uganda. 

 

Key Takeaways: 

After an engaging session the main takeaways were: 

  • Failure to address online violence will push more people offline 
  • There is a need to ensure online safety is a consideration when designing technologies to make these features more accessible and visible
  •   We should encourage more internet users to be active bystanders by making or liking  a supportive comment or reporting offensive posts
  • We should invest more in targeted campaigns that increase knowledge of digital rights among marginalized communities. These include using more innovative approaches such as art or music and local languages. 
  • There is a need to invest more in human content moderation particularly for the global south. 

 

Social Media 

Prior to the session, we advertised the session on Twitter and Linked in using the # LT40 #IGF2021 #Inclusion

The tweet got more than 2768 impressions on Twitter and encouraged our online audience to follow us.  See example here: https://twitter.com/CatMuya/status/1467807037769895936?s=20  

During the session, we encouraged participants especially those attending to use the # to raise questions or comments. Participants were also able to connect with speakers on Twitter. 

 

IGF 2021 WS #197 Protecting human rights in the State-business nexus

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 19:36
Economic and Social Inclusion and Human Rights
Key Takeaways:

There are many different dynamics within the State-business nexus, but the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated trends in public-private partnerships involving technology that impede on rights. It’s the responsibility of both States and the private sector to perform due diligence on each other – for which civil society offers guidance and safeguards to help frame the UNGPs in a manner responsive to different tech contexts.

Calls to Action

When States engage technology companies for the provision of services, States should actively ensure that the companies they work with respect human rights. Simultaneously, technology companies should perform due diligence on States before entering engagements.

Session Report

The session’s content related to Pillar 1 (the State duty to protect human rights) and Pillar 2 (the corporate responsibility to respect human rights) of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), within the context of State and technology company collaboration.

One aspect within the State-business nexus is public procurement, within which is the phenomenon of public-private partnerships (also referred to as PPPs). Privacy International (PI) has conducted investigations identifying a number of issues common to PPPs that involve surveillance technologies and the mass processing of data. PI has developed a set of safeguards in response to these issues and trends, which they launched in the session.

The safeguards reflect observations that PPPs related to surveillance technologies do not always resemble a traditional, one-off commercial relationship that might result from a public tender, but take on a new form in which parties are much more co-dependent and states build entire new systems and processes that can be completely reliant on the services of one company, while providing companies with access to valuable data they can they use in developing their own services.

The safeguards (which are jurisdiction-blind for wide application) are classified across six principles: Transparency; Adequate Procurement; Accountability; Legality, Necessity and Proportionality; Oversight; and Redress. Lucie Audibert of PI explained how in their investigations they’ve found a lack of transparency is common in State partnerships with technology companies, stemming from excessive protections around commercial interests and a government tendency to mask the extent of surveillance systems. The organisation also found that such technologies are often deployed initially for private, commercial, or personal purposes before public authorities co-opt such applications for policing or surveillance purposes without adhering to required public procurement processes, which the safeguards can help prevent. 

With regards to accountability, Audibert showed how challenging it is to find policies that clearly define responsibilities, obligations, duties, and standards for each actor within partnerships, or to identify respective accountability mechanisms for these obligations. On legality, necessity and proportionality, the use of technology addressing a public need or fulfilling a public function has to be authorised by an appropriate legal framework, which is not always the case. Assessments of each, along with independent oversight bodies given the mandate and authority to monitor partnerships and offer redress in instances of human rights infringements, make up some of the measures the safeguards propose to correct troublesome trends in PPPs involving surveillance technologies.

Deniz Utlu of the German Institute for Human Rights outlined the activities of national human rights institutions (NHRIs), which are neither governmental nor non-governmental organisations. He explained how NHRIs can serve as an intermediary between different state agencies to establish whether the agencies sufficiently follow a human rights-based approach to establishing PPPs or in other public procurement procedures, and to monitor if they align with States’ human rights obligations when using data technology interfering with technology companies. NHRIs can also undertake human rights impact assessments and artificial intelligence assessments, for which they could provide a crucial function if systematically involved in public procurement procedures and in the establishment of any strategic relationship with private actors.

Théo Jaekel of Ericsson explained how his company is a ‘communication network provider,’ providing infrastructure through its customers which are usually communication service providers or mobile operators, meaning Ericsson rarely deals directly with government entities – but does interact with them as they are often the end-users of some of the company’s technology. Reflecting on the issue of transparency, he noted the importance of clarifying the roles of the different actors within the ICT ecosystem, to make sure each actor takes its particular position, responsibilities and expectations seriously. On the state-business nexus, Jaekel stressed the importance of differentiating between States’ duty to protect and the corporate responsibility to respect human rights – with the corporate responsibility to respect human rights existing regardless of a State’s ability or willingness to comply with its duty to protect human rights. He urged caution on not blurring these lines too much, where State duties could easily be applied to companies. In thinking through remedy and redress, he suggested the technology sector can learn lessons from other industries such as the financial sector in designing remedy in an ecosystem approach.

Moira Oliver of Vodafone echoed the importance of understanding different relationships within the State and technology company ecosystem, particularly as it affects each actor’s responsibilities. She explained how when Vodafone operates in different countries it does so under a State license, which contains contractual obligations but tends to be non-negotiable for the company, and requires complying with local laws. This can create challenging circumstances for private companies and operators when asked to comply with regulations (such as law enforcement demands) that may infringe upon human rights. For example, an operator may be required to comply with a local directive to either pass certain customer data to the local government or to throttle the network. Vodafone joined the Global Network Initiative to highlight such challenges. With transparency, it’s critical to shine a light on some of these challenges – Vodafone has issued transparency reports since 2014 for this purpose.

Sebastian Smart of the Instituto Nacional de Derechos Humanos de Chile (Chile’s NHRI) shared his experience on the application of the UNGPs in Chile. He suggested the ecosystem has changed since the formation of the UNGPs in 2011, the time of the Arab Spring and Occupy movement. In recent years other threats to human rights have grown, from the activities of companies and governments related to freedom of expression, surveillance, and automated decision-making for social programmes (or the “digital welfare state”). Accordingly the UNGPs should provide the foundation to build further mechanisms protecting and promoting human rights in the digital environment. In Chile, the country’s recent strategy on artificial intelligence (AI) makes minimal reference to human rights, a glaring absence. Smart expressed concern about ensuring policy coherence, and reiterated that States are sub-contracting increasingly technical services that may have consequences for human rights, for which governments must exercise proper oversight.

IGF 2021 WS #228 Supply Chain Governance and Security for IoT Resilience

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 19:25
Inclusive Internet Governance Ecosystems and Digital Cooperation
Key Takeaways:

(1) Questions arose about whether the Internet we have is the Internet we need in order to accommodate cyber-physical, safety critical systems. (2) Internet governance has proven to be a flexible, adaptable model and may be able to offer valuable insights into governing the IoT.

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(3) We need to think about scope and focus for developing a multi-stakeholder policy agenda to move forward with the implementation of these systems.

Calls to Action

(1) Continue with a series of workshops to expand on what we discussed today.

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(2) Bring diverse stakeholders to these workshops (including the insurance and automotive sectors), expanding the range of voices that participate in these deliberations at the IGF.

Session Report

IGF 2017 Reporting Template

Session Title:                      WS #228 Supply Chain Governance and Security for IoT Resilience
 

- Date:                                      8 December 2021               
- Time:                                     11:15am-12:45
- Session Organizers:         Madeline Carr, Pablo Hinojosa, Duncan Hollis, Louise Marie Hurel

- Moderator:                           Madeline Carr
- Online Moderator:            Duncan Hollis            
- Rapporteur:                         Pablo Hinojosa

- List of Speakers and their institutional affiliations:   (in order of participation)

 

  • Madeline Carr, Professor of Global Politics and Cybersecurity, University College London
  • Louise Marie Hurel, PhD Researcher, London School of Economics
  • Jennifer Tisdale, Senior Principle, GRIMM
  • Mitra Mirhassani, Co-Director, SHIELD Automotive Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence, University of Windsor
  • Duncan B. Hollis, Laura H. Carnell Professor of Law, Temple University
  • Rebecca Crootof, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Richmond
  • Tim Davy, Cyber Security Specialist, Munich RE
  • Pablo Hinojosa, Strategic Engagement Director, APNIC
  • Peter Davies, Technical Director Security Concepts, Thales UK and Chair, Security Workstream, Automotive Electronic Systems Innovation Network (AESIN)
  • Ine Steenmans, Lecturer in Futures, Analysis and Policy, University College London

- Key Issues raised (1 sentence per issue):                

  • As in past IGF sessions, this roundtable is an effort to improve dialogue between the policy, technical and internet governance communities.
  • This year, we involved the insurance sector which has not previously been represented at the IGF.
  • We always choose one specific issue around which we can gather and exchange views in an effort to better understand diverse perspectives on a contentious topic.
  • This roundtable was an effort to better understand the wide range of implications of supply chain governance and security in the complex, safety critical IoT systems that are increasingly being connected to existing Internet infrastructure.
  • We also acknowledged that Internet governance has proven to be remarkably flexible and adaptive, and we asked for views on the extent to which this may provide lessons for governing other complex systems and ecosystems.
  • We chose connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs) as the focus for the roundtable because it represents a sufficiently complex, high value example that is close to implementation.
  • One of the key issues raised was that CAVs introduce a new dimension of cybersecurity from those we have focused on in the past – physical security – with the real potential for harmful consequences for failures, including loss of life.
  • This led to discussion of lines of responsibility, the assignment of risk, liability, and accountability – which stakeholders are / can be / should be responsible for ensuring that internet infrastructure is governed in such a way as to accommodate new uses?
  • A key question emerged as to whether the Internet we have now is the Internet we will need in the future.
  • One of the clear messages to emerge was the need for an expanded group of stakeholders to join in Internet governance deliberations including those in the automotive sector, the insurance sector, and hardware manufacturers.
  • At the same time, there was recognition from within the automotive sector of the benefits of further engagement with internet governance models in approaching questions of CAV security
  • There was a presentation on the extensive vulnerabilities in this supply chain and the real challenges around identifying, detecting, and reducing them.
  • From a legal and insurance perspective, there was a view that these challenges with governing and securing systems are leading to humans in the loop being constructed as ‘liability sponges’.

- If there were presentations during the session, please provide a 1-paragraph summary for each presentation:                 

n/a
- Please describe the Discussions that took place during the workshop session (3 paragraphs):     

  • Existing problems, standards, regulations and coordinating initiatives were outlined by sector and legal participants. But the acknowledgement that we face a ‘governance gap’ in this context led to a discussion about what other accountability structures might incentivize the change needed to ensure we are able to fully implement CAVs and other similar systems with Internet architecture in a safe, secure manner.
  • Much of the discussion incorporated conflicts between existing approaches to governing cybersecurity and expectations of consumer protection that shape the CAVs ecosystem. One stakeholder’s ‘fix’ can be another’s ‘problem’. For example, it was pointed out that while information sharing is often suggested as a remedy to cybersecurity challenges, competition law precludes that. In addition, it is very unclear what would constitute ‘evidence’ in a court of law in case of automotive accidents resulting from Internet governance issues.

- Please describe any Participant suggestions regarding the way forward/ potential next steps /key takeaways (3 paragraphs):    

  • There was a consistent plea for nimble, proactive policy intervention – all participants agreed that in the absence of market drivers for addressing this, other mechanisms are required. However, doing so across (or even within) jurisdictions is extremely complicated and problematic. Reflecting innovation in public policy, Dr Steenmans recommended the IGF may be a useful forum for actively and collectively reconsidering how the problem is defined, how this challenge can be conceptualised in a sufficiently long timeframe, and how the interests and perspectives of the wide range of stakeholders can be better integrated and reconciled or aligned.
  • Professor Hollis observed that there was a strong tradition of mapping in Internet governance – on both technical and policy issues. He recommended that future steps for this group could usefully include an examination of how to take this same model into the automotive / autonomous systems regime complex and think about boundaries and intersections of different sources of standards, guidance, and regulation, (both informal and formal) to see where there were overlaps and gaps in terms of governing the Internet for safety critical, cyber-physical systems.
  • The supply chain of connected autonomous vehicles is a hugely complex arena and one that we can only begin to explore through this workshop. Essentially, we urgently need to think creatively about how to link systems like this to an Internet that was not designed to accommodate them. The insurance sector will continue to be an important source of expertise and insight into this problem. Better integrating this sector into the IGF will help with risk analysis and evaluation. The observation was made that if the insurance sector struggles to find a market in CAVs, then governments may have to provide a backstop of cover and this will be an area that the IGF will be well placed to contribute.

 Gender Reporting

- Estimate the overall number of the participants present at the session:

Around 40 pax.

- Estimate the overall number of women present at the session:

25 pax.

- To what extent did the session discuss gender equality and/or women’s empowerment? 

The list of speakers was diverse in terms of gender, stakeholder group and geographic representation.

- If the session addressed issues related to gender equality and/or women’s empowerment, please provide a brief summary of the discussion:

The list of speakers was diverse in terms of gender, stakeholder group and geographic representation.

 

IGF 2021 Lightning Talk #29 "I silenced myself": Brazilian female activists' perspectives on online targeted harassment

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 19:24
Key Takeaways:

Policymakers and platforms should move away from viewing victims of online abuse as powerless and passive; Victims of online harassment need to be listened to, both by the legal system and by online platforms; There is a need for more cooperation by platforms to the proper address of online violence, by investing in research to improve their features and API's – in constant dialogue with experts and civil society.

Calls to Action

There is a need for more cooperation by platforms to the proper address of online violence, by investing in research to improve their features and API's – in constant dialogue with experts and civil society.

Session Report

Lightning Talk - "I Silenced myself": Brazilian Female Activists'perspectives on online targeted harassment. 

The session presented a summary of partial results from Yasmin Curzi's Ph.D. dissertation, which focuses on gender-based violence in the digital space. In order to contribute to this field of study in Brazil research, the work aims at adopting an approach that favors the victim's perspective, in order to better identify effective responses facing the violence issue. The importance of considering the victim's agency, when willing to promote respectful and caring research, was highlighted. 

The session continues by presenting the concept of harassment, as defined by the US lawyer and feminist advocate, Catherine MacKinnon, that contributed to its inclusion in Title VII in the American Civil Act, 1964, by defining harassment as a sex discrimination act in the workspace. Despite the remarkable importance of this discussion and its impact on legislation in several countries, such as Brazil, other environments remained without legal protection, such as the streets and, nowadays, the online space. 

Harassment, as a siege tactic within the digital space, is organized on networks and distributed on the victim's multiple social media platforms, in order to silence and intimidate a speech seen as inimical. Reports produced by Statisa (2017), Safernet (2020), Plan International (2020), presents the increase of online harassment/violence against women, the frequency of it, and/or shows the need to fulfill the lack of legal response to online harassment, by presenting the most common types of attacks. 

Curzi's work aimed at the perception of the victims of such acts of violence, especially women journalists and politicians/candidates, who are usually more exposed to online conversations within online public life. Studies conducted by Azmina and Internetlab (2020), and also data by Abraji (2020) stated that women of these two groups of profession usually suffer more from online violence in Brazil, than their male fellows. 

The speaker (Yasmin Curzi) presented a few excerpts of the interviews conducted with women journalists and politicians, which suggest that women are often not encouraged to respond to aggressions made against them within the digital sphere. They shared stories about coordinated attacks, offenses that escalated to threats of physical violence, or even death, as well as exposal of personal data, including images of the attacked person, as well as other traumatic events in relation to their works (e.g., dropping fact-checking activity). This type of strategy can reduce the ability to discuss and defend oneself (e.g. to choose not to sue a platform, fearing more vulnerable and exposed, as counter-suits are very common and these organizations have often done that), in addition to increasing concern about excessive exposure in social networks.

The interviewees also denounced the lack of appropriate mechanisms for reporting, filtering, and moderating offensive content on platforms, besides finding themselves in lack of support of the editorials or parties they were related to. 

The need to look more closely at gender political violence has caused the Organization of American States (OAS) to write a "Declaration on Violence and Political Harassment Against Women" (2015). The document calls for "a definition of political violence and harassment against women, taking into account regional and international discussions on the subject" and that "both violence and political harassment against women may include any gender-based action, conduct or omission; and may occur individually or in groups" and "have as their objective or result to belittle, annul, prevent, hinder, or restrict the political rights, or rights of women to have a life free of violence, and the right to participate in political and public affairs on equal terms to men". 

Within the digital sphere, risks faced by women, such as the manipulation of images, whether from deep fakes or montages, also gain a feature of gender violence when it is triggered to morally expose a woman. The definition of "gendered disinformation" (by Yasmin Curzi) is in the "Glossary of platform law and policy terms" (outcome from the 2021 DCPR, available here). 

By answering a question posed about tactics that could be implemented by social media platforms in order to encourage women to answer to the aggressions, Curzi argues that the platforms should invite women victims of online violence/harassment, and listen to organizations that can help them to improve their API, i.e., choosing a better path then just censoring speech and/or increasing false positives in the detection of offensive contents. The platforms could also benefit from techniques that are being developed by machine learning and natural language processing studies. She also introduces the ongoing project of Azminas' magazine, which is currently developing an AI tool in order to detect more specifically misogynistic offenses in Portuguese. 

As a result of the observations of the interviews upheld, Curzi also presents solutions proposed by women that are (or have been) targeted by coordinated attacks. These women think that social platforms should improve their interface by adopting a few mechanisms, such as the possibility to end a conversation in a given post on Twitter, after it is already published, in order to avoid commentaries/interactions. Another solution by victims is to implement tools that allow users to denounce several accounts as attackers at the same time (as it has already been developed by a few platforms companies). 



 

IGF 2021 Open Forum #67 Access to the Open Internet: benefits, challenges and policy approaches

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 18:59
Universal Access and Meaningful Connectivity
Key Takeaways:

Access to open internet is key for bridging the digital divide, guaranteeing democracy and human rights. We should support it and ensure that open internet access goes hand in hand with infrastructure deployment. Policy approaches should consider open internet as a multistakeholder domain, foster dialogue. We need to invest including through international partnerships, to extend open Internet connectivity, securing local, free, available content.

Calls to Action

To all stakeholders, national governments, international organizations, technical community, private companies, and civil society to work towards bringing access to a model of internet worldwide that is free and open, that is based on a multistakeholder approach, and that has human rights at its core.

Session Report

Although access to the open internet is essential to bridge the digital divide, it is not yet a reality for all countries. According to recent ITU data, as of 2021, the 63% of the world’s population uses the Internet, and this percentage is expected to continue rising. However, there are 2.9 billion people who remain offline. In this context, the open forum of the European Commission at the IGF 2021, moderated by Dr. Tereza Horejsova, Director Project and Partnerships at the Diplo/Geneva Internet Platform, aimed to discuss the benefits, challenges and policy approaches to the access to the open internet from different regional and sectorial perspectives. 

Mr. Yoichi Iida, Deputy Director-General for G7 and G20 relations at the Global Strategy Bureau of the Ministry of International Affairs and Communications of Japan, started by highlighting that although two thirds of the world population have access to the internet, providing meaningful access for the remaining third is a challenge, even for the countries that are already connected. In the African continent, during covid, Japan identified the importance of internet and connectivity for elements of daily life such as education, and for the recovery of the economy. That is why Japan worked with the ITU in the initiative “Connect to Recover” to bring better access to connectivity to the people in Africa. Japan also promoted other projects using official development assistance aiming to increase connectivity through submarine cables and innovative solutions such as the HAPS platform. Mr. Iida stressed the view of Japan that connectivity to the open internet should be human-centric and linked to freedom and human rights, and that is why like-minded countries should work together to protect common values through policies that are respectful of people’s rights. 

Ms. Hadja Amayel Kane, Director of Network Technology Strategy at the Studies and Planning Department of Sonatel Senegal, pointed out the multiplicity of actors in the field of the access to the open internet in her country. From her perspective, the principal challenge for Sonatel Senegal to bring open internet is to ensure connectivity to the entire population. As she explained, the operators in Senegal have introduced mobile broadband policies  through the development of infrastructure 3G and 4G in the region, and they are developing a technological mix depending on the region and the distance from urban nucleus that permits fixed access. Another main challenge for them is the profitability of the operators, and that is why they are urging governments to reduce fiscal pressure over telecom companies to foster the investments in the region. Over-the-top services should contribute also to such investments. According to Ms. Kane one of the essential needs of the population in sub-Saharan Africa is having internet as an essential element for digitalization and development, which can lead to leaving the concept of the open internet unprioritized. In this regard, access to the information about the benefits of the open internet is essential for the different agents involved for them to understand how the system works and how it can be protected. 

Dr. Raquel Gatto, IGF Secretariat consultant and Policy Network on Meaningful Access Facilitator, defended the importance of looking into meaningful access by thinking that it implies connecting humans, and considering three pillars: connectivity, digital inclusion, and capacity development. In her region, Latin America, but also in the world, one important aspect that meaningful access implies is understanding the needs of the communities, knowing how they want to be connected and contributing to them owning their capacity development decisions. The Policy Network on Meaningful Access was created in June with the goal of bringing together the key actors that are involved in achieving meaningful access. Over more than six months, they have had several discussions on the matter, and they have collected experiences from users in different circumstances and regions to identify the essential elements of meaningful access and to understand how they can further make them work.  

Mr. Esteve Sanz, Head of Sector of Internet Governance and Multi-stakeholder dialogue at the European Commission, stated the importance and the urgency of digitalizing the world, which has been and continues to be addressed by the EU, for instance on its Digital Compass and in the Global Gateway, a strategic connectivity package introduced last week by President Von Der Leyen that will mobilize 300 billion euros for connectivity in partner countries. This instrument has three characteristics representative of the EU approach to digitalization. The first characteristic is that digital connectivity investments will be intrinsically linked to the development of standards, protocols and infrastructures that support the free, secure and open internet. This will improve the user experience significantly, but it is also specially relevant in a policy environment in which alternative top-down approaches to the internet are being proposed by other countries,  potentially fragmenting   the open internet in very damaging ways. . The second premise for the EU is that infrastructure investments will  be combined with country-level technical assistance on digital regulations to ensure the rights of privacy, data privacy, open and fair markets, and cybersecurity so that the connectivity that is deployed truly empowers local ecosystems and  does not create dependencies. Finally, the third characteristic is that the Global Gateway instrument will proceed on the basis of equal and multistakeholder partnerships, linking with existing international efforts at the ITU, World Bank, national governments, and companies, and understanding the connectivity needs of partner countries. The open internet was for Mr. Sanz a major source of prosperity and innovation, but how countries and communities are connected is truly relevant. The European Union is designing solutions to contribute to bring this human-centric connectivity for all.  

For the audience, the greatest challenge to the access to the open internet in their respective region was the lack of political will. The online discussion highlighted the gap that is often seen between the optics and the materialization of intentions when providing open access to the internet, and the importance of fighting for the second through the work of governments and decentralized organizations. Finally, the participants provided ideas for concrete steps to promote the open internet globally such as the importance of getting the interest of policy makers, of finding ways to protect digital freedom, of warning users about the dangers of the internet, of supporting local self-governed entities, and of promoting digital accessibility and literacy in rural areas. 

IGF 2021 WS #184 Syncing AI, Human Rights, & the SDGs: The Impossible Dream?

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 18:52
Economic and Social Inclusion and Human Rights
Key Takeaways:

An unregulated, opaque and fragmented AI can be harmful to humans and the environment and more needs to be done to ensure that AI is human rights based and environmentally sustainable by design.

,

More transparency, accountability and clear regulatory frameworks are necessary, as well as dialogue and cooperation among stakeholders. AI must be inclusive, non-discriminatory and rooted on democratic processes, the rule of law and human rights.

Calls to Action

* A more human centric digital transition that is diverse, inclusive, democratic, and sustainable to ensure that AI causes no harm to humanity and the environment.

,

The primacy of democracy - a global democracy, able to deliver on complex technology, more transparency, reporting and accountability, more collaboration between stakeholders and a general set of rules that can be used for future technology development.

Session Report

WS #184 Syncing AI, Human Rights, & the SDGs: The Impossible Dream? brought together three thematic streams that are often discussed in parallel paths: Artificial Intelligence (AI) human rights and environmental sustainability.

The session started with the provocative question: What if current AI trajectories - now indispensable to how the Internet and other digital technologies work - are actually undermining the sustainable future of human rights and the natural world?

Participants were also invited to respond to the Mentimeter question: How would you describe the relationship between AI, Human Rights, and Sustainability?

 

The panel agreed that while AI offers great potential in important areas such as medicine, food production, education, and climate crisis, to name just a few, the harmful aspects of AI on Human rights and the environment needed particular attention. The mass data gathering, processing, use, and storage demands ever-growing energy consumption and AI has been used to speed up fossil fuel extraction with harmful impacts to the environment. On the same token, human rights have been impacted by AI algorithm bias and other discriminatory processes, as well as impacts on the rights of privacy security, and trust. Despite the abundance of principles, there is not a united response; the lack of accountability, transparency, and a global or collective vision on AI adds to what Paul Nemitz called “techno absolutism” which is undermining democracy. Moreover, power struggles between the developed “AI haves” countries and the developing "AI have nots” is paving the way to new forms of colonialism - data colonialism and data warfare, as Raashi Saxena and Parminder Jeet Singh pointed out, all this hindering the efforts to develop AI systems that ensure both human rights and environmental sustainability.

 

Concrete actions to mitigate the harmful impacts of AI were discussed as comments, questions, and suggestions were raised in the room and by online participants. Many of the issues addressed focused on the lack of transparency, accountability, developed public interest infrastructures, the fragmentation of responses by governments and international bodies, the difficulties of citizens in accessing collected data from public entities, that claim the safeguarding of at public interest, the need to look dependencies and power and that the worker’s rights on privacy and security are safeguarded, and the dangers of automation of judicial systems in the safeguarding of the individual rights and freedoms. Renata Avila added the lack of scrutiny of procurement as an example of an area of crucial importance for ensuring that human rights and environmental sustainability are taken into account when acquiring AI technologies. Other speakers agreed on this observation with Michelle Thorne pointing out that they also realised at Mozilla that procurement needs to be taken into account in transparency and sustainability reporting.

Overall there was a general agreement that more needs to be done to promote transparency and accountability, that clear and effective regulation was needed and that companies need to work with policymakers rather than working against them despite some disagreements or divergent views on how to foster and implement policies that work for all. There was a wide consensus on the idea that horizontal rules are necessary and that they could go hand in hand with sectoral rules as Thomas Schneider developed. These horizontal rules expanded Paul Nemitz should be clear and simple rules that a common individual can understand. When asked about the role of Youth in the development of these simple rules Nemitz elaborated that those on the receiving end of technologies who put a serious effort into reading the laws should be able to understand its meaning clearly and should be able to make informed decisions on the acceptance of its use.

While some speakers called for the strengthening of democratic processes, the primacy of democracy and the rule of law over technology (Paul Nemitz, Thomas Schneider) to ensure that democracy can deliver on complex technology in this digital age (participants were quick to remind that not all countries have the luxury of a democratic system) others (Renata Avila, Parminder Jeet Singh) called for the strengthening of multilateralism as the solution. Renata Avila called for the return of multilateralism and the update of foundational principles of United Nations (UN) to reflect the challenges of the technology and to work on a set of building principles for future technologies global and interplanetary level. Parminder Jeet Singh building upon Avila’s suggestion called for a global democracy model around AI. He suggested a global space where people can come together to discuss AI and develop research and that big data is broken so that data collection, cloud computing and consuming AI services are separated, which he pointed out can only be achieved at the UN level.

From the floor as well as in the Zoom chat and looking at concrete examples there were also suggestions on private/public cooperation with examples on a trust seal on products, the need to strengthen the dialogue by introducing some sort of institutionalised regular dialogue as a way to ensure transparency and the right to information or the creation transparency regulation and external audits on algorithms as to ensure that users are informed of the kind os data collected/presented and the companies are made accountable.

Following up on the relationship between AI and environmental technologies, Michelle Thorne pointed out the fact that 90% of green gas emissions at Mozilla comes from the use of digital tools, therefore the company was pushing for mandatory reporting and expanding the conversation on AI  and environmental sustainability by putting people at the heart of the issue and start talking about digital rights and climate justice as a way to move the conversation forward.

 

Raashi Saxena also agreed with a more human-centered approach to technology and stressed the importance of bottom-up approaches as a way to foster inclusivity, incentivise disadvantaged groups and create more awareness of the impacts of AI in our daily lives. Developing on this bottom-up approach Renata Avila referred to new constitutions - such as in Chile - being written by citizens and pointed out that these offer a great opportunity to include this topic by creating a necessary set of rules that can be used for future technologies.

 

On the final round of statements the panel highlighted previous positions by calling for:

  • A renaissance of democracy and the rule of law and a renaissance of multilateralism which is embedded in a collective vision and offers global rules  for the future which are fair to all
  • More cooperation among all parties. AI as the last chance to bring the world together
  • A more equitable place where big, small, advantaged, and disadvantaged countries can work and compete together
  • A digital transition that is feminist and sustainable
  • The challenge of dominant narratives of AI and the creation of narratives that put the public interest at the heart of AI to create the sustainable equitable narratives that we need.

 

The session ended with a question by  Zoom participants (Law students at Greenwich):

Is a human rights approach enough to keep the human in the loop?

IGF 2021 WS #77 Antitrust regulation of Internet platforms in global outlook

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 18:51
Emerging Regulation: Market Structure, Content, Data And Consumer Rights and Protection
Key Takeaways:

The global collaborations of regional or national antitrust regulators are essential to have more collective influence over giant or big internet platforms as well as to maintain diversity of communication otherwise smaller countries will be left behind since what happened in one country can affect consumers in other countries.

,

Antitrust regulations in the EU and other jurisdictions have shifted more towards to addressing not only the issue of market power but also protection of fundamental rights of consumers and citizens such as right to privacy, access, equality and etc.

Calls to Action

Call for global collaboration amongst regulators and other stakeholders in dealing of anti-trust behavior of big Internet Platforms (for instance in deciding whether to approve the merge of big platforms), especially need to include the small countries which are not home country of those big platforms in collective decision marking processes

,

Call for a reflection on the evaluation criteria of antitrust behavior of internet platform, including whether antitrust regulation should be or is appropriate to be used to protect the public interests and fundamental rights of individual consumer and citizen; or should alternative regulations be used to address those concerns instead of antitrust regulations

Session Report

Summary of discussions and different views by stakeholders:

Q: the antitrust approaches of China, US, South Africa and EU

Dr. Qing He (Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications) highlighted criteria in the Chinese antitrust regulations in evaluating platform’s monopoly including defining relevant market, determining market power, deciding whether monopoly has competitive effect (i.e. objective justifications of an abuse) and essential facilities doctrine.

Professor Milton Mueller ( Georgia Technology Institute) pointed out that in US. The public has unstable views on the network effect, compatibility relationship and network externalities. The size and scale of the platforms is often a product of network externalities not abusive behavior, and the compatibility or network effects are desired by consumers and antitrust remedies often have no positive impact on them. Citing the example of Microsoft, he argued that what ultimately broke that monopoly was not so much antitrust activity, but the rise of middleware in the form of Java that made browsers possible and that applications could be run independently of the Microsoft operating system. the public need to decide whether to sacrifice compatibility and integration across these platforms for competition or whether people actually want this kind of compatibility.

Mr. James Hodge (Chief Economist, South African Competition Commission) highlighted that for regulators to move from passive to active enforcement of antitrust requires the understanding of business models and consumer behaviors, separation of online and traditional markets, and new or different theories of harms, such as not about exploitation of consumers, but exploitation of sellers or users’ privacy and data. For small country, anti-trust is also a strategic positioning. Regulatory cooperation and collaborations amongst different regulators across sectors and countries is needed at global and national levels in order to have an equal bargaining dynamic between big and small players and regulators. And Foreign anti-trust cases are useful reference for local authority to understand or predict the local platform’s business models

Ms. Albana Karapanco (Senior Associate, Legal Services at PwC Albania) pointed that while all states are pushing towards antitrust regulations. Every country is trying to level the playing field, the EU is more paternalistic than other jurisdictions. In the EU, competition authority moves towards tougher regulation of giant tech companies. Two legislations “Digital Service Acts” and “Digital Market Acts” in complimented with GDPR aim to create open and fair digital markets while protecting fundamental rights. Some cooperation is needed at the global scale. Small country is lagging behind the legislation of competition law.

Q: Differences between Chinese, US, South Africa, and EU approaches in antitrust

Dr. Qing He (Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications) pointed out the in terms of substantive perspective, there are several differences between US and Chinese antitrust regulations. Abusive conduct: in the US, legislation focuses on illegally maintaining dominate position of the platform; in Chinese, legislation focuses on the abusive conduct itself so that the leverage theory is applied in the Chinese cases. Essential facilities theory is applied in both countries, but Chinese law has defined specially what constitutes essential facilities.

Dr. Jet Zhisong Deng (Senior Partner, Dentons China, China) and Professor Milton Mueller both agreed that there is no significant differences between the Chinese, US or EU antitrust laws and judicial decisions other than procedures (in China, regulatory agency can decide the cases so that it can act swiftly; in USA, antitrust case is tried under the law by judiciary), the main difference is in the changes in the attitudes of governments in antitrust enforcements. Professor Mueller also pointed out that antitrust enforcement can be and often is political, either an assertion of the government's power over industry, as in China, or an attempt by competitors to gang up on a successful rival, as in Europe and the US. Therefore, detaching antitrust enforcement from its theoretical mooring in measures of market power and market definition is only likely to make it more political and less fair. Competition policy requires clear standards of what does and does not foster competition, otherwise it's just arbitrary and political.

Mr. James Hodge (Chief Economist, South African Competition Commission): public interest component is incorporated into S. African antitrust regulation to protect the participation of small business, such as fairness provision in bargaining with powerful buyers; and to ensure S. African companies’ participation in the global economy (whether S. African platforms could be push out from the market). Every country has different procedures and tools such as guidelines, laws or market hearings in their regulations.

Q: How to address the even regulatory power of small countries and big countries in antitrust regulation of giant platforms? Katharina from Georgian regulator and Alison from S. Africa both asked how to cooperation to protect the harm of giant platforms on small countries’ consumers; and the technical challenges in dealing with global players beyond local jurisdictions in enforcing remedies:

Mr. James Hodge and Dr. Jet Deng both agreed that apart from paying fines, many remedies do not work well because companies find ways to work around. Cooperation globally such as mechanism of regular dialogues in international competition is needed to have more collective influence over large platforms otherwise smaller countries will be left behind as well as to maintain diversity of communications. Besides, massive investment in human resources of regulatory agency to understand the business modes and technical issues is also required.

Q: audience asked if antitrust is used as a proxy to address not only market power but also fundamental rights in the absence of common legal framework to regulate other issues such as FOE and content. Ms. Albana Karapanco and Mr. James Hodge both agreed that competition law has shifted more towards to protection of privacy, inequality and access to platform besides regulating market power. While Professor Milton Mueller warned that using antitrust law to address broad "public interest" concerns such as content regulation or human rights is completely inappropriate, as that is not what competition policy is designed to do.

IGF 2021 Launch / Award Event #55 “Human Rights-Based Data-Based Systems”

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 18:38
Key Takeaways:

The same human rights that people have offline must also be protected online. Human rights-based data-based systems reinforce existing human rights instruments specifically for data-based systems and promote algorithms supporting and furthering the realization of human rights.

,

Having human rights as a minimum standard for digital transformation has the advantage of being universally applicable under all circumstances, being recognized on a global level as well as being a robust, rationally well-grounded, and concrete basis for the content of legal norms.

Calls to Action

We propose greater embedding of human rights as a minimum standard as a design model guiding “ethically-aligned design” covering the full life-cycle of the design, development, and deployment of data-based systems (including artificial intelligence) and that enforcement of having such a standard be made an integral part of a multi-level governance enforcement mechanism strategy working in dialogue with private companies.

,

A global supervisory and monitoring institution, the International Data-based Systems Agency DSA, in the area of data-based systems be established for the purpose of aiding in the development, commitment, and enforcement of increased and stricter legal frameworks such that acceptance of human rights as a minimum standard is truly legally binding, along with coordinating and supporting existing regional concrete enforcement mechanisms.

Session Report

 

 

Session Report

 

Given the intertwinement of data-based systems and artificial intelligence with human affairs and endeavors, we are at a critical phase in digital transformation wherein we can more seriously and fervently address the ethical chances and risks thereof. Accordingly, the aim of our session, entitled “Human Rights-Based Data-Based Systems”, which itself is based on the book by professor Dr. Kirchschlaeger entitled Digital Transformation and Ethics: Ethical Considerations on the Robotization and Automation of Society and the Economy and the Use of Artificial Intelligence, is to consider, from an ethical perspective, the need and possibility of human rights as an integral feature of the intertwinement of digital transformation and human affairs and endeavors. How, then, can we best navigate the intertwinement of digital transformation and human affairs and endeavors so as to better protect and promote human dignity, freedom, and well-being in the age of the 4th Industrial Revolution? 

 

Humans must be empowered to reflect critically on the processing of data and the data-based results, to use data with critical thinking, and to go against data-based systems or data if necessary. As such, we discuss the embedding of human rights into digital transformation as a minimum standard precipitating a fundamental shift in perspective making the ethical perspective the lodestar of digital transformation. This embedding would result in two concrete outcomes: (1) having human rights-based data-based systems (Kirchschlaeger, 2021, pp. 350–352) (2) having an International Data-Based Systems Agency (DSA) (Kirchschlaeger, 2021, pp. 352–355). Both of these outcomes would champion promotion and protection online of the same human rights that people have offline.

 

In the first, namely: human rights-based data-based systems, such systems would reinforce existing human rights instruments specifically for data-based systems and promote algorithms supporting and furthering the realization of human rights. To achieve this end, we propose greater embedding of human rights as a minimum standard as a design model guiding “ethically aligned design” (IEEE 2019) covering the full life-cycle of the design, development, and deployment of data-based systems (including artificial intelligence). In fact, having human rights as a minimum standard for digital transformation has the advantage of being universally applicable under all circumstances, being recognized on a global level as well as being a robust, rationally well-grounded, and concrete basis for the content of legal norms.

 

‘But how would the embedding of human rights as the relevant standard be secured?’ This trenchant question was expressed by a stakeholder present online at our session. Through the discussion that ensued, we proposed that enforcement of such a standard should not solely be in the hands of private companies, but rather made an integral part of a multi-level governance enforcement mechanism strategy working in dialogue with private companies. 

 

In the second, namely: the International Data-Based Systems Agency (DSA), we proposed that a global supervisory and monitoring institution, the International Data-based Systems Agency DSA, analogous to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Montreal Protocol of 1987, in the area of data-based systems be established for the purpose of: 

  • Ensuring safe, secure and peaceful uses of data-based systems
  • Contributing to international peace and security
  • Ensuring respect and promotion of human rights
  • Promoting of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

 

‘But how would such an agency relate to existing agencies such as the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)?’ This pertinent question was posed by another stakeholder participating online in our session. In response, we noted that such an agency would possess principles of application serving the necessary function of:

  • Providing an umbrella organization for international cooperation and spearheading international collective action of human rights-based digital transformation and strengthening regulation that is precise, goal-oriented and from an ethical perspective grounded in human rights as a minimum standard

 

  • Aiding in the development, commitment, and enforcement of increased and stricter legal frameworks such that acceptance of human rights as a minimum standard is truly legally binding (and not merely recommended), along with coordinating and supporting existing relevant regional concrete enforcement mechanisms. (DSA)

 

In conclusion, we are grateful to have had the opportunity to present our message and proposals at the Internet Governance Forum 2021. Moreover, we benefited greatly from the critical and illuminating discussion and audience participation of our session.


Reference

 

Kirchschlaeger, P.(2021). Digital Transformation and Ethics: Ethical Considerations on the Robotization and Automation of Society and the Economy and the Use of Artificial Intelligence, pp. 350–355. Baden-Baden: Nomos.

 

The IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems (2019)“Ethically Aligned Design: A Vision for Prioritizing Human Well-being with Autonomous and Intelligent Systems.” IEEE Advancing Technology for Humanity, available online: https://standards.ieee.org/content/dam/ieee-standards/standards/web/documents/other/ead_v2.pdf (accessed 19.12.2021).

 

IGF 2021 WS #144 Framework- Media and Information Literacy in Digital Spaces

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 18:28
Economic and Social Inclusion and Human Rights
Key Takeaways:

For the first time at the Internet Governance Forum, high-level intergovernmental, civil society, social media, and media representatives addressed media and information literacy in digital spaces. There was consensus on the urgency to advance an International Multi-Stakeholder Framework for Private/Digital Communications Companies to Promote Media and Information Literacy.

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The International Multi-Stakeholder Framework for Digital Communications Companies to Promote Media and Information Literacy document will be drafted by UNESCO based on these consultations. The International Multi-Stakeholder Framework for Digital Communications Companies to Promote Media and Information Literacy will be validated by further online consultations and launched in the second half of 2022. Implementation and monitoring will follow.

Calls to Action

Wide access to media and information literacy by people requires multilateral cooperation. There was a strong call to act now to promote media and information literacy for all. All digital platforms, media, and other information repositories are called to get involved in activating the International Multi-Stakeholder Framework for Private/Digital Communications Companies to Promote Media and Information Literacy.

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Stakeholders must develop national media and information literacy policy as well as integrate it in the educational curriculums at schools and universities, ensuring wide dissemination. A call for the support of training platforms for teachers and youth to communicate, collaborate and develop projects, with a focus on media and information literacy to fight disinformation.

Session Report

The key session takeaways are: 

There was consensus on the urgency to advance an International Multi-Stakeholder Framework for Private/Digital Communications Companies to Promote Media and Information Literacy. Achieving media and information literacy in digital spaces cannot be achieved without multilateral cooperation.  

Speakers call for the support of a training platform for teachers to communicate, collaborate and develop projects, with a focus on media and information literacy and the fight against disinformation; Identify the responsibilities, duties, and obligations for digital companies to challenge disinformation; Employ media and information literacy to address critical issues in society today including elections, COVID 2019, and countering misleading information from a prejudicial impact standpoint. 

Develop media and information literacy policy as well as integrate it in the educational curriculums at schools and universities, aiming to ensure its dissemination; Connect media and information literacy with education, the right to communication, freedom of the press, the right to information, the right to expression, the right to participation, access to connectivity, comprehensive and sustainable use of ICTs, among others. 

Media and information literacy should reach all human beings, minorities of all kinds, children, adults and seniors without distinction of gender, or limitation by condition of any kind. Media and Information Literacy is a core competency for addressing disinformation and misinformation, contributing to the protection of privacy, prevention of violent extremism, promotion of digital security and combating hate speech and inequality. 

Collaboration is fundamental to developing media and information literacy, but achieving a collective understanding is possible through collaborative efforts. Media influence is social, political and economic power and power always attracts those who wish to misuse it. Media and information literacy must be a work of structured, capacity-building of education. This requires resources, human and material. 

Mr Tawfik Jelassi, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information: Since the Internet is a shared and public resource, it concerns all of us. Media and Information Literacy is a multivalent tool that can be used in this regard. During the recently held 41st session of UNESCO’s General Conference, numerous Member States highlighted the urgency of Media and Information Literacy. Media and information literacy is a matter of national security issue. 

Ms Vera Jourova, Vice President and Commissioner, European Commission: European Democracy Action Plan aims to improve the resilience of European democracies through a society approach to protect democracy by strengthening media freedom and pluralism. Media and information literacy is a central part of this plan and related funding. A call for proposal will be released in 2022. The European Commission stands with UNESCO and supports multilateral cooperation on media and information literacy. 

Ms Sinéad McSweeney Global Vice President of Public Policy, Twitter: Develop media and information literacy skills to enable the capacity to consume, digest, and understand information. Twitter is prioritizing promoting media and information literacy and is happy to be partnering with UNESCO, looking forward to expanding the work through broad collaboration.  

Ms Samia Bibars, Minister Plenipotentiary and Director, Monitoring & Crisis Management Department Media & Information Sector, Arab League: Media and Information literacy are essential as a regulatory initiative to ensure that everyone can use technology, including digital media, for full participation in society.  

Ms Silvia Bacher, Founder, Las Otras Voces, Member of the UNESCO Media and Information Literacy Alliance: Incorporate media and information literacy concepts in education and media laws to positively impact and visibility to the media and information literacy issues. 

Ms Sonia Gill, Secretary-General of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union: Recognize the UNESCO resource Media and Information Literacy in Journalism: A Handbook for Journalist and Journalism Education and call for the rollout of training based on this tool. 

Ms Clair Deevy, Director of Global Policy Programs, WhatsApp: WhatsApp is taking steps on media and information literacy and digital literacy; Use gamification and simulation to promote media and information literacy. 

Dr Filimon Manoni, Deputy Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum: (Did not speak during the session as video arrived late) https://youtu.be/Gc4ptobZv6s Ensure the achievements of digital media and information literacy goals to guarantee connectivity and open new frontiers and opportunities for multi-stakeholder relationships across the globe. 

Watch full video of event here, http://webcast.unesco.org/events/2021-12-MIL-IGF/

IGF 2021 WS #187 Exploring Neutrality: A Multistakeholder Cyber Norms Dialogue

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 18:17
Trust, Security, Stability
Key Takeaways:

As a time-tested legal institution, neutrality holds significant potential as a force for stability in cyberspace and - in times of lively global discussions - can advance the understanding of key conditions for implementing rules of responsible behavior. Greater clarity about state views, which have been the traditional focus under the law of neutrality, has the capacity to create safe spaces for non-state actors that assist vulnerable groups.

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The law of neutrality applies to armed conflicts between states. However, the concept of neutrality can also be applied to non-state actors, such as the ICRC. The idea is that humanitarian and technical support should be possible independent of politics. The integration of national CERTs into government structures may undermine the epistemic community of CERTs. Neutral organizations, such as FIRST, may be able to fill this gap.

Calls to Action

The panel discussion resulted in a call for more states to publish their views on how the law of neutrality applies to cyberspace and to further detail its operationalization. Coincidentally, it also called for the further discussion and inclusion of neutrality-derived principles/norms in the upcoming OEWG.

Session Report

 

The Origins and Legal Core of Neutrality

The panel first provided a general overview of the concept of neutrality. It underlined that neutrality is a flexible, complex, multifaceted concept whose understandings and applications have evolved across various geopolitical and technological contexts. For instance, neutrality can simultaneously imply or refer to a set of legal principles (incl. rights and duties), certain behavioral traits, practices, and reputation, as well as an organization or state policy.

Reflecting on findings from a recent study on “The Law of Neutrality in Cyberspace”, published by the Center for Security Studies, the introduction of the panel noted that, traditionally, neutrality has been linked to some expectations of non-participation, impartiality, and due diligence in exchange for some protection or a guarantee of independence. Historically, however, it has also served many other functions, including ensuring continuous international commerce, promoting and fostering international peace and security, mitigating escalation, or fostering integration and social cohesion.

One core aspect of neutrality is its legal core – the law of neutrality –, which is very much state-centric. This body of law, which belongs to international humanitarian law (IHL), regulates the relations between belligerent and neutral states during an international armed conflict. It was for the most part codified in the 1907 Hague Conventions V & XIII after centuries of evolving state practice. The law provides a set of reciprocal rights and duties to the neutral and belligerent states, which include the duty for a belligerent to respect a neutral state’s inviolability in exchange for the neutral state’s non-participation, impartiality, and preventive measures against violations of its neutrality.

The application of international law to cyberspace has been widely recognized. However, the application of IHL is still disputed by some states. Nonetheless, there is a legal argument to the application of the law of neutrality to cyberspace, which goes back to the ICJ’s 1996 opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons which states that  “no doubt that the principle of neutrality, whatever its content, which is of a fundamental character similar to that of the humanitarian principles and rules, is applicable […] to all international armed conflict, whatever type of weapons might be used”.

Despite this, the law of neutrality in cyberspace remains quite a niche topic. While the non-binding Tallinn manual and Oslo manual have some specific rules on neutrality in cyberspace, only six states (i.e., the United States, France, Switzerland, Romania, Italy, and the Netherlands) have referenced and addressed it explicitly in their legal opinions. From these, a core set of rights and duties can be identified. Some of these are quite undisputed, such as conducting cyber operations from or against neutral infrastructure under sovereign protection. Others, while recognized, still need further discussions to be operationalized. This is notably the case for a neutral state’s prevention duty or the issue around the legality of routing cyber operations through neutral infrastructure.

Given the complexity of neutrality and its still-undefined implications in the wider context of thinking responsible state behavior in cyberspace, we believed that the IGF was a unique space to bring a multistakeholder view to the topic. In so doing, we sought to challenge, map and test the limits of the concept by promoting a dialogue with both actors that have historically advocated for neutrality (Switzerland) with other non-governmental stakeholders that have been the object of certain protections under the agreed GGE cyber norms. 

Conceptualizing Neutrality in Cyberspace

The speakers’ opening remarks highlighted the context of increasing state-sponsored cyberattacks and broadened the discussion beyond the legal core of neutrality. Subsequently, the participants from different stakeholder groups were invited to elaborate on how they use the concept in their daily activities.

The panel member from academia started by highlighting that the old legal rules of neutrality are still applicable. However, there has been a deliberate decision not to develop them further by countries to limit their duties. Hence, the operationalization of neutrality will most likely be “forged by fire”. The speaker particularly focused on the due diligence norm and highlighted two legal cases that might be of particular importance in the future. The first is the Corfu Channel Case between the UK and Albania, whose verdict shows that due diligence does not require attribution. Second, there is the Alabama tribunal, which highlights that there is some duty to prepare and that a too-slow reaction to a cyber-incident may already result in demands for compensation.

 The government representative highlighted the fuzzy conceptual borders of cyberspace and neutrality, which means that neutrality principles still need to be made more precise and operationalized. The actor further highlighted that for a permanently neutral country such as Switzerland, the concept can also have a promotional aspect as part of its foreign and security policy. Specific questions that come up for permanently neutral states in cyberspace are often focused on the limits and thresholds of international collaboration. Joint training, exercises, and interoperability are still needed despite permanent neutrality. 

 The member of civil society viewed the concept of neutrality through the lens of humanitarian values and the protection of human rights. From this perspective, neutrality is about supporting stability in cyberspace and providing technical support and access to knowledge regardless of location, identity, or beliefs. In terms of the on-the-ground practice this translates into free cybersecurity and cyber peace-building support for NGOs.

The representative of the private sector discussed the increasing militarization of cyberspace and noted the need for a neutral status of the CERT communities that track advanced persistent threats. This is similar to how humanitarian organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, need to be able to do their job and help with kinetic incidents independent of politics. In support of these considerations, it remained critical to account for the distinct characteristics of activities in cyberspace, particularly the covert nature of much activity and the use of cyber capabilities below the threshold of armed conflict. Still, there should be a pragmatic development of duties with a particular focus on transparency in the sharing of threat intelligence and collaboration with Interpol in cybercrime investigations.

 The member of the technical community highlighted that a timely response to cybersecurity incidents often requires collaboration between multiple countries. However, in some ways the most important question today is how to deal with multinational tech giants. As non-state actors they are mostly out of the scope of the law of neutrality. At the same time, these companies dominate the public core of the Internet today. Tech giants have an incentive to remain neutral to some degree to maintain business relationships, however, they are not equidistant to countries. For example, some tech giants directly collaborate with the military, for example to provide cloud solutions.

Cyber Norms and Neutrality

Having covered the nexus between the broad and at times undefined notion of neutrality and the everyday activities of each speaker, representatives were then invited to reflect on the operationalization of neutrality in the context of international cyber norms. As highlighted during the workshop, there are multiple norms of responsible behavior in cyberspace that have been agreed in the 2015 GGE report that hint to notions of neutrality and protections of specific actors and territories. Below follows a list of those mentioned by the speakers:

  • Norm 3 (13c)– States should not knowingly allow their territory to be used for internationally wrongful acts using ICTs;

  • Norm 6 (13f)– A State should not conduct or knowingly support ICT activity contrary to its obligations under international law that intentionally damages critical infrastructure or otherwise impairs the use and operation of critical infrastructure to provide services to the public;

  • Norm 7 (13g) – States should take appropriate measures to protect their critical infrastructure from ICT threats, taking into account General Assembly resolution 58/199 on the creation of a global culture of cybersecurity and the protection of critical information infrastructures, and other relevant resolutions;

  • Norm 8 (13h)– States should respond to appropriate requests for assistance by another State whose critical infrastructure is subject to malicious ICT acts. States should also respond to appropriate requests to mitigate malicious ICT activity aimed at the critical infrastructure of another State emanating from their territory, taking into account due regard for sovereignty;

  • Norm 11 (13k) – States should not conduct or knowingly support activity to harm the information systems of the authorized emergency response teams (sometimes known as computer emergency response teams or cybersecurity incident response teams) of another State. A State should not use authorized emergency response teams to engage in malicious international activity.

The representative from academia returned to the discussion around due diligence, highlighting that it could be a starting point for thinking obligations and accountability beyond attribution. Furthermore, he referred to Norm 7 and stressed that due diligence could help states think through the necessary protections that need to be in place when securing critical information infrastructures. This would provide more clarity as to what could be considered the appropriate measures (possibly compensation) if an intrusion is identified. However, as he noted, we should also consider Norm 8 on requests for assistance as it deals with the capacity of states in responding to particular attacks. Two questions followed: "When can a state reject a request and on what basis?" and "Should private companies be allowed to assist? If so, how?" The lack of a definition of critical infrastructure poses significant challenges to thinking about the operationalization of these norms. 

The speaker from government noted that some norms could benefit from information sharing and the building up of a database of cases. Practices such as these would allow for states to have a better sense of the context of operations and of the interpretation of Norm 3. In addition, he suggested that Norm 11, although important, lacks specificity. Domestically, it is fundamental that states have channels in place for tracking attacks associated with critical sectors. CI operators should be in contact with CERTs and other areas of the government and mechanisms such as MoUs should also be in place to facilitate information exchange and timely response.   

When it comes to civil society organizations and front-line human rights defenders, the challenge is one of thinking the character of those actors. The representative from a civil society organization suggested that, in light of Norm 7, human rights defenders working with those directly affected by cyberattacks and assisting them in recovering should be considered critical infrastructure and off-limits. She noted that if one should consider the 5 neutrality functions as per Riklin, the CyberPeace Institute, for example, would be considered under the function of integration given that it convenes a diverse range of actors on threats of relevance to civil society and particularly vulnerable groups.

The representative from the private sector argued that states need to think carefully about how norms for responsible state behavior co-exist with non-state actors. Doing so would help non-state actors understand how they can carry out their activities and what protections are in place (or can be expected). These practices could help strengthen transparency over state action and provide a landscape of greater certainty for private companies working in this space. 

Finally, the CERT representative brought an important point of how contextual and institutional shifts can often challenge the implementability of a specific norm. That is the case of Norm 11 that talks about states not targeting CERTs. As the representative noted, CERTs were once thought of as independent and somewhat autonomous focal points for incident reporting. However, as new models such as that of the national cybersecurity centers (often linked to intelligence agencies) and national security concerns rise, CERTs have become more linked to government and geopolitical tensions. These and other dynamics have direct implications in thinking about the interpretation of Norm 11 as they would be structural aspects and organizational impediments for neutrality. 

The challenge of neutrality is not an easy one. The evident consolidation of cybersecurity as a key element in states' political agendas and strategic actions (e.g. offensive use of cyber capabilities) has led to an even more intense dispute over what can and should be protected in the context of cyber operations. As highlighted by the government representative, that does not mean that states should not strive (and they should) to define better parameters for what is or is not allowed even below the threshold of armed conflict. This could be achieved via due diligence or through confidence-building measures. Overall, participants agreed that even though neutrality can be interpreted as an apolitical concept, we need to consider that the key questions 'who' decides 'what' and 'whom' can be considered neutral, carries political power and potential for special protections.

 

IGF 2021 WS #80 Trustworthy data flows – what’s at stake and what is needed?

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 18:03
Emerging Regulation: Market Structure, Content, Data And Consumer Rights and Protection
Key Takeaways:

Economic and societal value of cross-border data flows: economic opportunity and growth, supporting global supply chains, central to business operations and entire economic sectors, enabling companies of all sizes to address bigger markets. Essential to the delivery of public services; for better understanding and acting on cybersecurity threats; and for human rights in terms of access to information and freedom of expression.

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The Internet is not bilateral in nature, so governing access to, and the sharing of, data needs to be based via multilateral rather than bilateral solutions. It is not about necessarily having identical rules and regulation in every country, but rules and standards to govern the cross-border flows of data need to be interoperable, flexible and future-proof.

Calls to Action

Governments, supported by international organisations, should pursue international and interoperable agreements, standards and principles to enable secure and responsible transfers of data across borders.

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This should be done in an informed way by drawing on evidence and consulting stakeholders to understand the scale and scope of the value of trusted data flows, whilst also providing appropriate protection of personal data and other rights and interests.

Session Report

 

Part 1: Cross-border data flows – what’s at stake?

Cross-border data flows bring great economic value: 

  • Data transfers are estimated to contribute about $2.8 trillion to global GDP, exceeding global trade in goods, and are expected to grow to $11 trillion by 2025.
  • They are important for economic opportunity and growth, supporting global supply chains, enabling companies of all sizes to address bigger markets, and playing a central role in the operation of many businesses and entire economic sectors - 75% of the value of data transfers is estimated to benefit sectors such as logistics, manufacturing, and agriculture.

Cross-border data flows bring great societal value: 

  • They are essential to the delivery of public services
  • They play a vital role in understanding and acting on cybersecurity threats that continue to increase in number and sophistication, enabling companies and law enforcement authorities to protect customers across the world from cybersecurity threats 
  • They are important for the exercise of human rights, e.g., in terms of access to information and freedom of expression.
  • The exchange of research data was crucial to the development of treatment and vaccines that have been deployed to tackle COVID-19.

However, all of these benefits are increasingly dependent on, and on occasions undermined by, some of the ways in which rules and norms to govern access to, and sharing of, data are being developed. Sometimes this is a consequence of a legitimate desire to protect personal data or other rights that does not always weigh these protections against the importance of cross-border data flows. Also, there is a growing trend of “data nationalism”, a view that all data generated in a particular country must remain within that country. 

Part 2: Cross-border data flows – what’s needed?

The Internet is not bilateral in nature, so governing access to, and the sharing of, data needs to be based not on bilateral solutions but rather on multilateral ones (though it is recognised that it can be extremely difficult to get agreements on common policy and regulatory principles). It is not about necessarily having identical rules and regulation in every country, but, to help governments navigate trade-offs and opportunities around data governance,  rules and standards to govern the cross-border flows of data need to be interoperable, flexible and future-proof.

Governments should therefore pursue international and interoperable agreements, codes of conduct, data governance standards and principles to enable trusted transfers of data across borders, taking into account:

  • The value of international organisations as places to negotiate agreements, but also as fora for discussion where different countries and different voices are represented.
  • The merit of tackling issues in an informed way by drawing on evidence and an understanding of the implications of different approaches to data transfers, and the scale and scope of the value of data flows so they can be appropriately weighed against the important efforts to protect personal data.
  • The importance of multi-disciplinary and multistakeholder collaboration by enabling discussions between different parts of government (e.g., representing law enforcement and national security, trade, privacy and consumer protection, as well as the sectors of industry that rely on and benefit from data flows) and bringing in voices from industry and civil society to reflect a very broad range of expertise and interest to help guide principles and avoid siloed thinking.

Panelists noted a number of international venues, approaches and regulatory frameworks that can be drawn upon to think about how to balance interests and safeguard secure and responsible data transfers. 

  • One place to look is WTO norms where there is a presumption in favour of the flows of goods across borders, but with safeguards as well as a recognition of the rights of governments to regulate in non-discriminatory and transparent ways consistent with good regulatory practices. The WTO provides a broad international framework that has been tested and developed over decades, which could play a role in reaffirming core principles.
  • A 2021 OECD  Recommendation on enhancing access to and sharing of data notes the importance of international dialogue and includes recommendations about minimizing restrictions to cross border data, and that measures that condition such flows should be nondiscriminatory, transparent, necessary and proportionate.
  • The APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) is a framework that ensures responsibility, security and trust in data transfers.
  • The Canadian approach to cross-border data flows underpinned by principles of meaningful consent and accountability – it does not prohibit organisations from transferring personal data outside of Canada but does require those organisations to get consent from the individual and to remain accountable for, and retain some control over, that data, even when transferred across borders. This was contrasted with the less flexible and more complex GDPR. While the GDPR has been very important in starting to address the trust deficit, the requirement for adequacy decisions or other approvals from regulators can become de facto data localization because of the lengthy time it can take to establish those agreements, particularly for developing countries. 

Two recent reports looking at the role of cross-border data flows in economic growth for developing countries were mentioned in response to a question about how to share the prosperity and benefits of data across various parts of the world.

  • An UNCTAD report on cross-border data flows notes that data nationalisation threatens the interests of developing countries in particular because reducing the sharing of information and data reduces market opportunities for MSMEs in those countries.
  •  

    A World Bank report on data for better lives calls for a new social contract that enables the use and reuse of data to create economic and social value and ensures equitable access to that value.

IGF 2021 WS #258 A common “Bill of digital Human Rights and Responsibilities”

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 18:00
Economic and Social Inclusion and Human Rights
Key Takeaways:

The UDHR represents the fundamental human values that are common to us all. We now need further discussion on building trust and integrity in digital policies; address systemic issues, not only symptomatic problems; strengthen stakeholder education; rethink business models to encompass HR developments; focus on the notion of responsibilities.

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Roles and benefits of a digital Bill of Rights and responsibilities: empowering citizens, allowing for the exercise of rights and responsibilities in cyberspace; protect those subject to digital technologies against governmental and private sector arbitrariness and despotism. It claims to rebuild trust, the foundation of economic, social stability and development in cyberspace. In this sense, responsibilities are a source of economic development

Calls to Action

The history of Internet developments has been shaped by curiosity. In order to encompass responsibilities and human rights and avoid undesirable scenarios, stakeholders have to move from the mindset "can we do it" to "should we do it". In this sense, the private sector should rethink business models.

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Legislators and policy makers should pay attention to issues to electronic identity verification processes and challenges from decision making in online dispute resolution. This process has to consider to privacy as well as other important aspects of the discussion of rights on the Internet. Intermediary liability also has to be addressed to promote trust and integrity in digital policies.

Session Report

IGF 2021 - WS 258 - SESSION REPORT

IGF 2021 WS #258 A common “Bill of digital Human Rights and Responsibilities”



● Findings

○ As we live in a duality - our existence in the literal world and in cyberspace -, we

find ourselves torn between the increasing impact of technology in our lives and our

lack of control over them. We live in a time of digital colonialism that opens a path

for digital servitude and exploitation.

○ Special interests can and not rarely overcome the common good in digital

governance. Thus, the role of a Bill of Rights is to remind those with power to pay

attention to the fundamental rights of those that are subject to that power.

○ Roles and benefits of a digital Bill of Rights and responsibilities

■ fundamental function of empowering citizens - allow for the exercise of rights

and responsibilities in cyberspace

■ can protect those subject to digital technologies against governmental and

private sector arbitrariness and despotism.

○ Trust is the foundation of economic and social stability and development in

cyberspace. Defining responsibilities can be seen as a source of economic

development.

○ To transform the values of the Bill of Rights into experienced reality requires

ongoing awareness and capacity building, stakeholder engagement, integrity-based

business models and legitimate digital governmental structures.

○ A lot of the focus has been ‘what is done with your data online’ - this is an important

part of the conversation, privacy questions, but not the whole discussion

○ Invites to all participants:

■ check previous session co-hosted by CircleID:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SRgkC49aJc

■ Journal PoliTICs - analysis by Klaus Stoll & Sam Lanfranco on the UDHR and

digital rights, in Brazilian Portuguese, in two parts:



https://politics.org.br/edicoes/declara%C3%A7%C3%A3o-univ

ersal-dos-direitos-humanos-na-era-digital



https://politics.org.br/edicoes/declara%C3%A7%C3%A3o-univ

ersal-dos-direitos-humanos-na-era-digital-parte-2

■ Check WIPO UDRP Program

■ Continue the session discussion in the open forum organized by CircleID:



● Areas of agreement

○ The UDHR represents the fundamental human values that are common to us all.

Learnings and developments of the post war period were crucial to reach this point.

○ Respect for the fundamental human rights there is fundamental to true economic

development and sustainability.

○ Citizens do not fully understand and do not always know how to exercise their rights

in cyberspace

○ Trust in the digital environment must be restored.



● Consensus on how to further the discussion

○ questions to be answered:

■ What common values inform a digital bill of rights?

■ how to extend and apply our fundamental human rights in cyberspace?

■ how to build in algorithmic routines that observe the codified rights and

responsibilities of a digital Bill of Rights?

○ consider further discussion on business models and ecommerce

○ building trust and integrity in digital policies

○ address systemic issues, not only symptomatic problems

○ strengthen stakeholder education - we are not there yet

○ focus on the notion of responsibilities - they are mutual, not imposed by government

○ dealing with disputes in platforms is still a balckbox - who are decision makers, are

there aspect of this global trademarks system that can be applied, how is the

decision making process, how to arrive there

■ lessons learned: if we accept that there is a foundation need to address these

principles, we have several legal criteria that have to be met - both legal and

material

■ address transparency in digital transactions

○ Considering that the development of the internet has a history of having been

shaped by pure curiosity, we need to move away from the idea “can we do it” to

“should we do it”. This is more proactive - an HR are critical in these processes



● Areas of disagreement that need further discussion

○ the path for building trust: it requires values, but what would be those?

■ set of principle has to be negotiated - who are we aiming, talking to, how can

we better engage people and sectors in this bill of principles

○ Who will be the ones responsibles for the implementation of a bill of rights?

○ We have seen similar initiatives before - how can we make sure this will be the way

forward?

○ However important establishing values may be, we need a concrete path to

exercise rights and responsibilities in cyberspace - we need more focus on

implementation, since we seem to have reached a reasonable point of agreement

about UDHR principles

○ Using automation to address disputes in online platforms and ecommerce



● Call to action to one or more stakeholder groups

○ we need to define roles and responsibilities

■ Governments: share sovereignty in cyberspace;

■ legislators and policy makers: better address electronic identity verification

processes, liability

■ Private sector: accept that innovation comes with responsibilities

IGF 2021 WS #73 Digital Rights and Responsibilities: from Local to Global

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 17:39
Economic and Social Inclusion and Human Rights
Key Takeaways:

Universal access to Internet with universal education in skills (encouraging the most human ones, like creativity, music) and capacity building (to face, for instance, algorithmic influencing), to deliver an inclusive social-purpose digital revolution, under the values of accountability, responsibility and liability from all stakeholders, and commitment and strong leadership specially from public authorities.

Calls to Action

Under the values of accountability, responsibility and liability, all stakeholders, with the commitment and strong leadership of public authorities, should promote a set of global conventions related to digitalisation putting technology to the need of our planet and our people, aiming for a Universal Declaration of (Digital) Human Rights.

Session Report

 

The session Digital Rights and Responsibilities: from Local to Global took place the day before of the celebration of Human Rights Day. It was on December 10th, in 1948, when the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Times change and require renewed consensus that take into account the new circumstances. Human rights and fundamental freedoms accepted thus far need to be continuously defended and expanded. This idea was present throughout the discussion.

The Charter for Digital Rights and Responsibilities from Catalonia

The Government of Catalonia, organiser of the session, coordinate the development of the Charter for Digital Rights and Responsibilities from Catalonia, an open innovation project, under constant construction, that aims to define a legislative and democratic framework to guarantee human rights in the digital age.

During this workshop, the multistakeholder governance model of the Charter was explained, as well as what the Government of Catalonia does regarding digital rights included in the proposal, such as universal access to the Internet, and the promotion of digital talent and innovation, especially among girls and women.

Young people have the right to be heard

The round table also featured reflections on the role of the younger generations in the digital age. In this this sense, the case of how Chilean adolescents were the ones who started the social and political process of a new Constitution was presented.

Chilean high school students have an historical interest in influencing the social reality of their country. This time they used ICT, but long before cell phones, an important part of Chilean adult society have constantly encouraged them to have a collective opinion.

Young people, all around the world, should be able to have their own voice heard.

Digital rights and the future of work

The session also served to collect proposals regarding digital rights and the future of work. Emphasis was placed on the need for capacity building to face, for instance, algorithmic influencing, still not covered enough by the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The importance of universal education in not only digital skills, but also encouraging the most human ones –like creativity or music making– was highlighted.

Participatory algorithmic design was defended as well: workers should be included in the process of designing and decision-making around algorithm-based systems that affect them.

Functional diversity in the digital age

People with functional diversity are one of the groups most affected by the digital divide, and their life experience is hardly comprehended. In this sense, it was stressed out that they must participate not only in the discussion on human rights, but also in the design and development of ICTs.

Not to leave anyone behind and deliver an inclusive social-purpose digital revolution was one of the key takeaways of the session.

A Universal Declaration of (Digital) Human Rights

The workshop concluded with this call-to-action: under the values of accountability, responsibility and liability, all stakeholders, with the commitment and strong leadership of public authorities, should promote a set of global conventions related to digitalisation putting technology to the need of our planet and our people, aiming for a Universal Declaration of (Digital) Human Rights.

IGF 2021 WS #232 Mind the gap: digital labor and international frameworks

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 17:35
Economic and Social Inclusion and Human Rights
Key Takeaways:

Platform and digital work is a growing phenomenon and it is important to be discussed within Internet Governance fora. It raises the dependence on digital platforms and their mechanisms for datafication, algorithmific management, and surveilance. There are some design mechanisms that must be widely discussed and measures taken. For istance, there is no channel to talk with a human being to discuss what could be done.

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Internet and Labour agenda shall bond themsleves through the promotion of algorithmic transparency and the transversal consideration of the labour dimension within digital policy and regulation (e.g. data regulation, artificial intelligence regulation and automated decision-making, etc).

Calls to Action

Based on the principles of open and free Internet and the fact the Gig Economy concept has an eurocentric approach, there is a need to promote local alternative platforms, such as worker-owned platforms shaped in partnership with platform workers in the Global South. Elaborate and aggregate evidences on the intersection of emerging concerns regarding the Interent-mediated labour to be submitted and discussed within the ILO's instances.

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It is important to promote research and policy analysis on several issues, such as: i. the political and ethical consequences of labling workers as invisibles are being conducted in India; ii. the connection between platform labor, disinformation and political communication strugle (e.g. people working for content moderation, click farms and so on); and the mismatch between high-skilled educated IT workers and the actual labor maket.

Session Report

This workshop was organized by the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee - CGI.br and had the focus on how digital labor around the world are aligned with international frameworks for decent work. The session was moderated by Prof. Rafael Evangelista, and had the following participants:

  • Angeliki Moraiti, Intergovernmental Organization, International Labor Organization, Eastern European Regional Group

  • Rafael Grohman, Technical Community, DigiLabour/UNISINOS, Latin American and Caribbean Group

  • Uma Rani,Intergovernmental Organization,  International Labor Organization, Asia-Pacific Group

The workshop also would count with the following participants who unfortunately had unforeseen events and could not attend. They were:

  • Yaseen Aslam, Civil Society, United Kingdom Uber Driver’s Union, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

  • Thomas Anning Dorson, Technical Community, Fairwork Foundation, African Group

The session started with a brief explanation of the problem to be addressed in the debates. The moderator, explained the emergence of platform-based business models and how it has contributed to the increase and even to the normalization of informality and deterioration of employment conditions. As said, the increasing fragmentation of production processes, a direct consequence of technological advancement, has led to more unstable employment and income. Digital platforms created marketplaces allowing real-time hiring of labor to meet a large spectrum of social demands that go far beyond transportation services. On these platforms, workers living across multiple time zones offer businesses the possibility of completing projects at any time, day or night. In practice, what we are facing is a global labor supply chain mediated by proprietary algorithms of digital platforms. Additionally, digital labor platforms typically classify their workers as self-employed, thereby denying them labor protections and employer-provided social security. In most cases, the terms and  conditions of working through the platforms are laid out unilaterally by the platforms, which state how and when crowd-workers will be paid, how their work will be evaluated, and what rights workers have when they need them.  The International Labor Organization (ILO) has developed frameworks and partnered with local and international organizations to contribute with policy-making in order to ensure decent digital work. However, there are mismatches between international and local policies, in terms of both digital and labor regulations, that must be identified and addressed.

Panelists agreed with the analysis adding that the increase of cloud infrastructure  and the interest of venture capitalists investing in it can lead to monopolization of the market all around the world. Also, they are largely dominated in USA, Europe and China while other Global South countries accounts for only 4% of those platforms ownership. These platforms are transforming the world of work and this is a new phenomenon for both labor and Internet policymakers. There are a whole set of new practices being introduced by these platforms that are quite different from what we traditionally have experienced. Against the promoted flexibility, when a worker like a taxi driver get an order they have  from15 to 40 seconds to decide if they want to take it or no. There is a punishment if one does not accept it and the worker may be deactivated, being unable to get new rides for a while and jeopardize her ratings. Moreover, these workers do not have direct access to a human being to discuss their problems. All the transactions are made by algorithms. These also mean an important change for the definition of performance.

The fact that the platforms establish the criteria to measure performance creates a duality based on the fact that they became a mediator in actually getting the job done. This means that they should be classified as employers. There is a huge debate around the world about that and in some countries they have already been classified as employers. This is a fundamental issue of misclassification. It has been mentioned that there are principles, frameworks and analysis produced by ILO that can be adopted in countries to help protecting workers and to foster decent working conditions social security, safety, employment and that apply to all kind of workers.

Panelists went further in pointing out the maleficent effects of work plataformization. The misuse of the terms is something that may conceive the real situation of workers in the Global South. For instance the term “Gig Economy”, which is an euro-centric expression, since “gig” has been historically the normal condition of the working class in the Global South where millions of people need to find any activity to earn a living. This is an attempt to generalize some specific conditions of a few groups in the Global North to the whole world. Also, researchers on the political and ethical realms have labeled workers as “invisible”. This is also an eurocentric perspective given that they can barely see this platform workers. The speaker said we may move beyond this idea of invisible work considering that these labor are not invisible for Global South countries.

Work platformization is creating a growing dependence on digital platforms and their mechanisms for datafication, algorithmic management, surveillance and so on. The diversity of platforms business models and mechanisms creates a constantly growing dependency for workers on digital platforms. The association of labor with some of this platforms like the clicking farms, and people working with content moderation all around the world create a connection between platform labor, political struggle and disinformation. Thus, we can see this dependency spreading over new areas of work, for instance in political communication. In this scenario, articulating regulation, public policy and the promotion of fair work becomes the central challenge. The Fairwork project is an initiative to face this challenge creating a set of principles and measurement mechanisms to foster decent work more suitable for platform capitalism (stimulating the understanding of fair contract, health working conditions provided by platforms and fair management which is related to the ability of workers to engage in due process to decisions that affect themselves).

Then the speakers talked about the gaps emphasizing that there is a dispute over fair work principles. Platforms are working with think tanks to produce their own charters of principles and using it to promote their agenda among parliaments. In this sense, ILO should have a role in acting in this disputes. Another gap is the capacity of the working class to organize and produce their own technology to strength their capacity to meet their goals.

Aiming at exploring and exposing the diversity of policies in this field, the following intervention touched upon the issues of regulations that are crucial in ensuring decent work in platform work. The speaker highlighted some of these forms of regulatory intervention.

One is the need to universalize certain standards and principles aforementioned to promote inclusive regulation. The Indian case of adopting a code for social security that applies to all workers in 2020 was given as an example. Another specific example from Australia and New Zealand policy and regulatory sphere, where they are shifting from calling “employer and employee” to “person conducting a business” and a “worker” instead.

Another is the importance to adopt measures specific to platform workers, this can  happen either through state regulation or judicial decision. As provided examples, in France, the French Labour Court allows self employed workers to engage in collective workers and also invite platforms to  engage in methods that may allow workers to obtain decent prices for their services. In addition, In São Paulo, Brazil, a labor tribunal recognized that delivery workers had their health risks reduced through health and safety regulations, recognizing the platform liability in this area. In spite of that, the main limitation of this specific measures is that for instance they fail to address broader trends  such as misclassification and the structural issue of informality.

Additionally, other possibility is to reclassify platform workers as employees, embedding them into previous labor and social protection regulations. In Spain there was a Law as well as several courts all around the world increasingly reclassifying workers by adapting the constitutive employment relationships. Among some elements to characterize the employment relationship (direction and control) are  the platforms’ GPS tracking of workers, and their determination of crucial aspects such as setting the price, matching the users, deactivating them . All of this are indicative of a lack of true entrepreneurial activity hence are indicative of an employment relationship. It was highlighted that judicial decisions may conflict with each other and promote regulatory uncertainty, nonetheless they are gradually leading to more inclusive definitions of workers and this will be crucial to ensure decent work to emerging forms of work.

Furthermore, the speaker pointed out that social partners and platform companies are also taking action to ensure decent work. In Germany, trade unions have established crowd-sourcing initiatives to support workers conditions and developed redress of grievances channels to resolve disputes between workers and platforms.

With regards to data protection law, it was emphasized the relevance of it to platform workers due to two main reasons: the fact that data is the core of platform’s business models; and that the law applies to workers regardless of their employment status. Some individual rights mentioned  are usually present in data protection regulations such as data access, data portability and data leisure. However, the most important one is that platform workers shall not be subject to automated decision-making, considering this also as a key for platforms operations (e.g. for de-activating users, setting prices, etc.). A way to move forward is to promote the right to obtain information and principle of explainability to understand the logic of an automated system. For instance, in Brazilian Data Protection Law there is the right to review automated decisions.

Another important aspect brought relates to collective data rights. What happens in platforms is that we shall guarantee  ownership of data for the workers.  As a concrete outcome of that is the ability of workers to leverage the intelligence of their own data to promote the quality of their own work. This requires specific data governance frameworks. As an example of regulatory recommendations, in India a regulatory committee  has proposed a collective ownership of community data with measures of  mandatory data sharing.

This talk also pointed out that laws to regulate AI application are very important since platforms use automated algorithms. It was argued that laws that directly regulate technology fairness and transparency may have an important role. For instance, European Commission’s regulatory proposal from the beginning of 2021 determines certain requirements to AI systems poses a high risk for the employment context. There is a need do advance in human oversight, reporting obligations, among other aspects.

IGF 2021 WS #100 Forging Trust in the Digital Economy: A Consumer Perspective

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 17:29
Emerging Regulation: Market Structure, Content, Data And Consumer Rights and Protection
Key Takeaways:

In order to build a more inclusive and trustworthy digital economy, governments should develop and implement adaptable and clear consumer protection regulatory frameworks with input from a wide range of stakeholders, including the private sector, civil society, and academia. At the same time, multistakeholder initiatives should examine ways to raise more awareness among consumers about the risks they face online.

Calls to Action

Policymakers should engage in multistakeholder processes that include representation from the private sector, civil society, and academia to develop and implement consumer-centric and adaptable regulatory landscapes that build trust in and meet the demands of the rapidly changing global digital environment.

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Consumers should have access to information and knowledge of the risks they face online and how to protect themselves. Governments and eCommerce platforms should ensure that the policies and service agreements developed are clear for consumers to understand.

Session Report

The rapid adoption of eCommerce platforms provides enormous opportunities for local businesses to reach new markets and for consumers to access needed goods and services, which can bolster economic empowerment. At the same time, consumers often face challenges and risks online that cause distrust, including violations of data privacy or deceptive advertising. This session examined the importance of a dynamic and balanced consumer protection regulatory framework that serves businesses and consumers alike. To that end, governments should engage with the private sector, civil society, and academia to design and implement consumer protection laws that take into account the first-hand experiences of each stakeholder group. There is also a need to raise awareness among consumers about the risks they face online through educational initiatives focused on digital literacy and consumer rights. 

During the session, the speakers examined the impact that inadequate or absent consumer protection regulations have on consumers and the overall digital economy ecosystem. Przemysław Pałka, an assistant professor at the Future of Law Lab at Jagiellonian University categorized these risks into two primary areas. First, consumers face cybersecurity risks and may experience fraud or other criminal behavior when purchasing products online, such as not receiving the product they purchased or receiving a lower quality product than advertised. Second, there are risks that persist even when the seller or platform uses the internet lawfully such as risks to privacy that come from pervasive data collection or behaviorally targeted advertising. Paola Gálvez, a Strategic Advisor of Digital Regulation for the Digital Transformation Secretary of Peru at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, emphasized a duty to foster a trustworthy digital economy space. Drawing from her research and advocacy initiative under the Open Internet for Democracy Leaders Program, Gálvez observed that the risks consumers face online have been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under this Program, she examined the digital rights implications of COVID-19 contact tracing applications deployed throughout Latin America, which underscored the importance of deploying digital products that respect the privacy rights of all users (https://openinternet.global/news/developing-and-deploying-new-technolog…). She also noted that 70% of offline buyers in Peru became first-time online consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because many first-time online buyers often lack digital literacy skills and knowledge of digital security, this led to greater exposure to risks such as misinformation, cyber-attacks, and scams. In addition, the lack of harmonization of consumer protection laws and enforcement internationally perpetuates distrust from consumers, since they have limited avenues to seek remediation for fraudulent products that are purchased abroad.  The third speaker, Pingkan Audrine, a Researcher for the Center for Indonesian Policy Studies (CIPS), referred to her organization’s research on peer-to-peer lending in the fintech industry (https://www.cips-indonesia.org/p2p-lending-for-low-income-consumer) and observed that two-thirds of unbanked Indonesians have access to mobile phones, providing opportunities to expand access to digital financial services. Yet, these opportunities also bring risks as existing inadequate consumer protection regulations and poor digital literacy skills have led to predatory lending schemes in the country.  

The speakers also offered solutions to address the risks and strengthen the overall trust in the digital economy. Recognizing that laws can be imperfect and can quickly become outdated, Pałka emphasized the need for flexible regulations that adapt to changing contexts and take potential burdens on businesses and consumers into account. Gálvez underscored the need to help consumers better understand the applicability of laws and instances when new laws need to be created, which should not always be the default. When new regulations are necessary, she advocated the development of consumer-centric frameworks that balance the diverse views of stakeholders. This multistakeholder approach can be helpful to balance the perspectives of the regulators, businesses, and consumers and can also develop innovative initiatives that foster greater economic inclusion in the digital economy, such as digital literacy initiatives or harmonizing laws across jurisdictions. Finally, Audrine noted that a co-regulation approach – a continuous dialogue and shared responsibility between the government, private sector, and civil society groups – could also be a valuable mechanism to gather perspectives from diverse stakeholders and inform the development of an innovative digital economy environment that protects consumers. Co-regulation requires more than public-private dialogue as a form of consultation by policymakers, but rather cooperation to allow the private sector to set its own rules and regulations on what is appropriate conduct for their industry.  The benefits of co-regulation as it pertains to Indonesia’s digital economy environment are discussed further in the CIPS policy paper titled “Co-regulating the Indonesian Digital Economy” (https://www.cips-indonesia.org/coregulating-digital-economy). 

Overall, there is a need to harmonize regulatory environments and educate consumers of the risks they face online to strengthen trust in the digital economy. Despite good intentions from policymakers, legislative outcomes do not always translate into reliable results, especially if the regulatory framework is borrowed from another jurisdiction (e.g., the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation) without sufficient translation to the local context or consultation with those impacted by the law. Building a more inclusive and trustworthy digital economy requires active collaboration between the private sector, civil society, academia, and governments to develop and implement adaptable and clear consumer protection regulatory frameworks and raise awareness of the online risks for consumers. 

IGF 2021 WS #78 Sustainable consumption in e-commerce

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 17:06
Economic and Social Inclusion and Human Rights
Key Takeaways:

1. Look out for the information you trust. 2. Try to possess more information about the products you want to purchase. 3. Education is crucial. Be curious. 4. Shared responsibility to tackle threats and opportunities connected to sustainable consumption in e-commerce.

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5. Ensure that online markets are dealt with appropriately through regulation, enforcement and action by various actors. 6. Join the initiative – together with other companies as Amazon – the Climate Pledge in order to act together.

Calls to Action

Our main conclusion we can make is that we need to take matters in own hands, all actors involved and we need to act. We need to be reflective and just to do our best. We, the stakeholders need to think what we are doing and what is the purpose of these actions.

Session Report

 

Report on the IGF workshop session “Sustainable consumption in e-commerce” held on December 10th, 2021, in Katowice

Rapporteur: Jolanta Zrałek, PhD the University of Economics in Katowice (as a substitute for Marta Grybś, PhD candidate).

Speakers:

  • Nils Behrndt, Acting Deputy Director-General in the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers at the European Commission,
  • Peter Andrews, Director, Consumer Rights - Innovation & Impact at the Consumers International,
  • Agustin Reyna, Director of Legal and Economic Affairs at The European Consumer Organisation, BEUC,
  • Marta Grybś-Kabocik, PhD, University of Economics in Katowice, Poland
    (as a substitute for prof. Sławomir Smyczek who was absent due to health issues),
  • Claire Scharwatt, Public Policy Manager on Sustainability in Amazon,
  • Maciej Czapliński, Counsel at the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection in Poland.

Moderators:

  • Martyna Derszniak-Noirjean, PhD, Director of the International Cooperation Office at the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection in Poland,
  • Karol Muż, Director of European Consumer Center in Poland.

A summary of the main takeaways of the session:

The discussion focused on the following questions introduced respectively by the moderators:

  1. What is the reason to transit into the sustainable consumption? What do consumers gain from this transition?
  2. How the e-environment can influence our sustainable behavior? What are the opportunities and threats of operating in the virtual environment?
  3. What can different actors do to enhance sustainability?

The speakers were introducing their comments one by one according to the round-table routine. Led by moderators, they displayed the discussed issues from different angles depending on their background. Thus the ultimate conclusions incorporate a combined vision of policymakers, NGOs, business and academia.

When it comes to the first, introducing question speakers' remarks show that green transition is a fundamental issue. Creating a more sustainable society is a matter of our survival. Purchasing more durable, better quality, environmentally friendly products benefits both today's consumers and future generations.

Although such commodities are already accessible on the markets and policymakers put efforts to introduce legal solutions pushing producers to meet high ecological standards, consumer awareness remains a problem.

As a result, the speakers agreed that educational efforts are of the highest importance and must be directed to consumers of different ages. Especially the younger generations are prone to undertake actions. Thus they may initiate fundamental changes in the lifestyles of the elderly as well.

Recognizing the relationships between e-commerce and sustainability, the speakers brainstormed to show both opportunities for the green transition and threats that work against the needed changes. There is no doubt that e-commerce creates the future of world trade, but its increase may result in both rising or dropping the sustainability of consumer behavior. The responsibility for the ultimate consequences of market digitalization should be shared between different actors. Their collaboration in creating favorable conditions for occurring sustainable behaviors and evoking such behaviors on the market is crucial.

The main opportunities that e-commerce brings to achieve zero-emission goals include better product choice, better comparison options, low costs that stimulate price-sensitive consumers to buy ecological products, reinforcing the sharing economy model by delivering online platforms for the exchange or resale of goods.

Considering suppliers, the ongoing digitalization brings the possibility of changing business models in line with the circular economy rules (if only the suppliers utilize green packaging solutions, low carbon footprint delivery methods, etc.). Considering the threats that digitalization may evoke, the most important issues concern misleading information, i.e. greenwashing that lowers consumers' trust.

The bigger number and accessibility of products may also lead e-consumers to bigger purchases and thus increase overconsumption. In this case, advanced technologies used by sellers to track e-consumers choices and personalized commercials also play a role here.

Introducing sustainable solutions, such as eco-friendly packaging or green delivery systems, challenges e-sellers and forces them to make the tradeoffs between profits and enhancing sustainable consumption. Consumers in developing countries may suffer from exclusion because of the lack of sustainable e-commerce. At least all consumers represent the discrepancy between their positive attitudes toward sustainable solutions and their unsustainable behaviors identified by researchers as an attitude-behavior gap.

The audience was encouraged to share their opinions on the discussed issues by the question: How empowered do you feel to shop online in a sustainable way? In the response, participants shared their remarks on how beneficial is the change into online buying also in terms of greater sustainability. It allows to trace the whole supply chain and evaluate how energy-consuming the delivery process can be. The idea of labeling the eco-efficiency of online processes similarly to the nutrition tables on food products would inevitably increase e-consumer awareness. Another good example of increasing e-consumer sustainability is to mainstream the idea of browser plug-ins that ask buyers if they really need the product before they tap the purchase button.

The final issue discussed by the speakers led to conclusions on what different actors can do to enhance sustainable consumption online. Disclosing the standpoint of European policy-makers leads to the conclusion that we should use the power of the single market and keep the right balance between a regulated environment and the right measure of empowerment to consumers. The adequate solution is the change toward introducing more durable, repairable products. Sometimes the decision of not to buy is also the best market choice.

The NGOs' task is to fight against misleading environmental claims, delivering better quality information and sustainable products. Another important task to fulfill is to increase the accessibility of sustainable internet platforms among less wealthy consumers and in developing countries. Business and local institutions should increase their creativity by searching for more and more sustainable solutions. For example, a good idea is to change from vans to cargo bikes or experiment with on-foot delivery. The responsibility for mainstreaming sustainable behaviors taken by academia reveals in the three fields. Firstly, there is a necessity to intensify research on sustainable consumption and recommend green solutions, e.g. suggesting nudging intervention programs to achieve more sustainable consumer behavior.

Secondly, a good solution is to encompass sustainability issues into different teaching programs or create independent courses dedicated to this topic, e.g. postgraduate ones. Thirdly, universities should become the patterns of sustainable solutions by taking green actions and engaging students to develop them.

Finally, to conclude the session, the speakers recommended consumers to get as much information as possible before they purchase, and to look out for the information they trust. The final remarks also included the need for collaboration between policy-makers, businesses, civil society and organizations. Also, good education was stressed as a way to introduce and mainstream more sustainable lifestyles and more sustainable business models both online and onsite.

IGF 2021 Open Forum #26 Artificial Intelligence (AI) for consumer protection.

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 17:05
Economic and Social Inclusion and Human Rights
Key Takeaways:

1. Interdisciplinary approach and cooperation is required while using AI. Using AI for consumer protection carries risks that should be kept in mind while implementing AI-based solutions. 2. Human supervision is essential to balance and to minimize the risk of discrimination and bias. Check and balance system is crucial.

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3. It is important to learn and work with AI in order to know how to implement it; experimentation with low-risk, repetitive tasks can be helpful. 4. It is important to develop guidelines and framework for implementing AI.

Session Report

 

Report on the IGF Open Forum “Artificial Intelligence (AI) for consumer protection” held on December 10th, 2021, in Katowice

Speakers:

  • Jacek Marczak - Deputy Director of Branch Office in Bydgoszcz, Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKIK)
  • Bob Wouters - e-Lab - Project Manager EU eLab at the European Commission
  • Prof. Monika Namysłowska - University of Łódź
  • Thyme Burdon - Project Manager, OECD Committee on Consumer Policy and Working Party on Consumer Product Safety, Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation
  • Marcin Krasuski - Government Affairs and Public Policy Manager Google Poland

Moderators:

  • Martyna Derszniak-Noirjean - Director of International Cooperation Office, UOKIK
  • Karol Muż - Director of ECC Poland, European Consumer Center in Poland

A summary of the main takeaways of the session:

The session was started by the moderator introducing the topic of the Open Forum and the panelists introducing themselves in turn. The conversation was commenced with an overview presentation of the AI tool that UOKiK is currently developing. The aim of this tool is to help find and eliminate unfair contract terms, through the use of a web crawler that reads and compares scanned terms with a registry of unfair contract terms that has been developed for years. It will help automatize this process of scanning the terms and conditions of contracts within the database as well as external contracts. It then highlights and notifies its human supervisor if an unfair term has been found, for further analysis. As this AI tool is to be used at the end of the next year, it triggered a more general discussion on the types of problems, challenges and issues perceived, in the context of public administration usage of AI and similar technologies.

One of the speakers noted that despite AI technologies being used to improve or enhance consumer protection interests, there are many associated risks. These can be seen in the form of discriminatory or non-transparent outcomes, such as automatic decision making or issues related to data processing. Interestingly, many of these issues arise from the over or under reliance of public administration staff, which leads to the subject of human accountability and supervision. It was suggested that, public administration should reflect on this. A relevant piece of legislation in this context is being drafted in the EU law. The Act on Artificial Intelligence addresses potential risks when using AI.

There are many areas in the field of activity of consumer protection agencies where such an AI tool could be used, for example in websites as chatbots, market surveillance, identification of unsafe products being supplied on online marketplaces.

Later in the meeting, other speakers tried to answer the question about the most important technical challenges in the implementation of AI by public administrations. There is a need for using AI in public administration. Taking into account that the implementation of such an AI tool is time consuming, we need to seek for an agile approach. At the same time, public administration cannot afford low-quality evidence. Therefore, learning from each other through collaboration is crucial. The advice, which comes from the business representative, is to harmonize regulations across the EU in a more scalable way.

Important ethical issues related to the use of AI by public authorities, such as transparency and fairness of decision-making or proper oversight and concerns on employment reduction, were raised. The key principles that should be applied while using AI are fairness, non-discrimination, awareness of biases, accountability by the agency and possibility to opt out. Breaches of ethics could potentially undo years of credibility and progress. The speakers highlighted that to maintain proper oversight, regular training of staff would be beneficial so that they are aware of their responsibilities but also risks. UOKiK representatives have emphasized that they are very mindful of such issues and wish to anticipate them and incorporate appropriate solutions into the tool from the start. This is the reason why they widely engage in their discussion in initiatives such as the IGF.

Some of the speakers argued that all tools should be held accountable to a human being and not work without regular supervision. AI is a tool which requires human responsibility to ensure that it functions in a safe and secure manner. However, the counterargument to human supervision, which one speaker put forward, was that not all AI requires oversight. For example, tasks that do not deal with highly sensitive data or those that solely monitor time, do not need constant human supervision. In these cases, such intervention could hinder the AI process, which was developed to increase pace of tasks and shift some from humans to machines. It is, thus, essential to correctly balance the interaction of human supervision and the capacities of the tool.

The session was concluded with a short summary of the main points discussed and concluding statements from the speakers.

IGF 2021 WS #121 Platform economy: (post-pandemic) chances for SMEs

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 16:57
Emerging Regulation: Market Structure, Content, Data And Consumer Rights and Protection
Key Takeaways:
The platform economy with its numerous facets is one of the drivers of digital transformation. ‎For micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) it can be a game changer. Digital ‎platforms offer great potential not only for better serving existing customers but for establishing ‎new economic ecosystems and business models, in particular regarding COVID-19 recovery. ‎, This was an observation shared by the workshop’s participants for the regions they represent. ‎However, to increase the prosperity of entrepreneurs in the digital economy, SMEs need to ‎have a strong voice in Internet Governance and participate in shaping the regulatory ‎framework they operate in.‎
Calls to Action
There is a need for a better international alignment of data protection rules and standards. All ‎stakeholders involved, e.g. governments, the private sector including industry associations ‎and civil society organisations should work together to develop such standards based on ‎comprehensive criteria to improve free cross-border data flow. The latter is a prerequisite ‎especially for SMEs to access global markets. , SMEs need a place to participate in and contribute to the development of international ‎standards. The IGF would be a perfect place for such a multistakeholder dialogue.‎
Session Report

The participants of this session from Brazil, Germany, India, Japan and Rwanda and the audience discussed benefits and challenges of digital platforms which are acting as intermediaries connecting two or more market players or groups of users from the perspective of SMEs. Furthermore, issues of the corresponding regulatory and governance framework were addressed.

Benefits

Almost all of the growth of SMEs is related to digital transformation. The greatest potential of platforms for SMEs lies in the companies' expanded access to national and international markets. 

The experts observe a development towards a level playing field for SMEs when it comes to participating in the global economy. The improved access to the financial system which comes along with the growth of the platform economy also offers great opportunities for SMEs. Credit facilities and access to insurance are improving, and more data on creditworthiness are available. 

The implementation of mobile payment solutions is another important driver for the success of SMEs because it allows access to new customers without creating major (financial) burdens for the companies.

In many countries around the globe, the Covid-19 pandemic has been an accelerator for SMEs to get involved in the platform economy. In some countries, the pandemic has even been described as a wake-up call for SMEs to engage in digital transformation, and this engagement has, in return, developed a structural impact on the economy. Other beneficial trends next to the increasing importance of e-commerce in general have been the growing importance of digital and mobile payments for SMEs’ businesses and the rise of social commerce (i.e. doing business via social media). 

Challenges

According to all participants, a main challenge for SMEs in the platform economy is to find reasonable ways to handle data security and privacy issues. Both areas are described as most sensitive and important to ensure trust of customers and business partners across borders. There is a need for a better international alignment of data protection rules or standards (for instance, based on the European General Data Protection Regulation). All stakeholders should work together to develop such standards based on comprehensive criteria to improve cross border data flow which is essential for flourishing economies. 

Free flow of data is extremely important especially for SMEs as a prerequisite for accessing global markets. They need a place to participate in and contribute to the development of international standards. Such a place is missing, ideally the IGF would fill in.

It should also be noted that standardisation and certification schemes often are too difficult to be implemented by SMEs. There are solutions to overcome this bottleneck, e.g. the Rwanda Tech Seal initiative, which might serve as a best practice approach for SMEs, also to create trust on the side of customers. 

Another crucial point of the discussion and a main challenge for SMEs to implement digital and platform solutions is the scarcity of skilled labour. This obstacle to a thriving platform economy has been observed across continents. Especially start-ups find it hard to find the job employees and, once they’ve found them, to afford the high wages required. In this context, matching platforms might be helpful. 

To meet this challenge, even more effort is needed in education, too: Curricula on technology and coding should be integrated as early as possible. Also, there is a need for people who translate between the IT and the business sides because skills online are not identical with skills offline. Furthermore, the lack of language skills is an issue for SMEs who want to participate in global markets.

Regulatory and governance framework

The participants of the session were concerned about fragmentation trends in global internet governance. Especially restrictions of the free flow of data would threaten global trade and business perspectives of SMEs.

On the contrary, connecting SMEs across borders is essential for future development and a main challenge for governance processes. There is a continuing need for bringing together SMEs with the Internet Governance community. This requires translation between cultures and languages as well as places suited for these tasks. Therefore, further multistakeholder initiatives are essential.

Regarding cyber security, the panel agreed that thresholds for SMEs should not be lowered, but that SMEs should be enabled to level up.

Session Rapporteur: Thorsten Grothe, Grothe Media Consult

IGF 2021 Open Forum #10 AI and the Rule of Law in the Digital Ecosystem

Updated: Mon, 20/12/2021 - 16:37
Economic and Social Inclusion and Human Rights
Key Takeaways:

There is a consensus on the critical importance of capacity building for judicial operators regarding AI and the rule o