16 SEPTEMBER 10
INTERNET GOVERNANCE AND THE WIDER WORLD:
BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN
THE INTERNET GOVERNANCE AND OTHER DOMAINS
Note: The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during Fifth Meeting of the IGF, in Vilnius. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> HEATHER CREECH: Good morning, everyone. I'd like to thank you for coming to our workshop on broadening public participation in the IGF. I'm Heather Creech. I'm the Director of Global Connectivity at the International Institute for Sustainable Development. We are a policy research and communications think tank based in Canada. We have offices in New York, Geneva, and Ottawa as well. And we had an interest for some time in the connection between Internet, public policy, and the implementation of sustainable development, the role of the Internet and ICTs in the sustainable development domain.
And we've observed for a number of years now this challenge of connecting what are, in fact, two very different and separate communities, those working on the major issues of the day dealing with climate change, economic development, environmental management, so forth, and those working on the technical and policy issues.
Particularly within the forum of the IGF, where we find that there are many discussions going on here around development, around the economy, around social issues, but many of those who work in those domains are, in fact, not present, the major NGOs, WWF, Conservation International, the nature conservancy, Oxfam, many of these are familiar to you, but they've not actually been engaged in this particular forum, although from time to time they do actually work on ICTs and Internet issues.
So we thought this would be a very interesting opportunity with the people here at the IGF to talk more about what's happening in those domains, why are these issues critical in the environment development rights and accountability sectors, and what will it take to actually begin to engage these other organisations in these discussions.
This will be a workshop format. We do have our panelists here, but their role is really more to set the stage for a discussion. Once each of them has spoken about their perspectives for about five minutes or so each, we then do want to put you into small working groups with a couple of leading questions that we would like you to explore, mostly around what you see to be the impact of the Internet on environment development and so forth, and then how do you think we might best engage the experts and agents from other major organisations to come into these discussions within the IGF.
So that's the format of the discussion. We have Ellen Blackler from AT&T and ICC, who will serve as our discussant at the end of the process to reflect from her perspective on what she's heard and what she thinks we might do to move this forward.
I'll just do quick introductions right at the beginning, rather than introduce people individually as they speak. Here in the striped shirt to my left we have David Souter. David is an associate with IISD and also works with his own company, ICT Development Associates. David is also a Visiting Professor in communications management at the University of Strathclyde and Visiting Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics in the Department of Media and Communications. He also served as the Chief Executive of Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization from 1995 to 2003.
After David we will have Georg Neumann and very delighted that he could join us. He is the Senior Communications Coordinator with Transparency International. Transparency is one of the organisations that has not been a participant in the IGF in previous years. We're very delighted that they've been willing to take the time to come and talk to us about their organisation and why these issues may be important to them. After Georg, we will have Katy Tingas. She represents a major organisation working on environmental issues across the region, and like many others of the major environmental bodies, has not been an active participant in previous years in the IGF.
Following Katy, we will have Fatimata. She is a coordinator for a Senegal based NGO working on the integration of ICT and teaching and learning, very strong emphasis amongst many other things she's done on ICTs in education. She has authored several publications and studies in education, gender, development, democracy, as well as governance of the Internet. She was nominated Member of the Advisory Committee at large of ICANN and is president of AFRALO, representing the African region at large. So she has been quite engaged in the IGF, and it will be important to hear from her what she thinks the intersection of development and Internet Governance will be.
After Fatimata, we have finally here on my left Arvind, Director of Human Rights Watch Business and Human Rights Program. He's been involved in research advocacy and policy development for Human Rights Watch, involving business and human rights, including the extractive industries, advancing international human rights, standards on business and freedom of expression, labour rights, trade corruption, sanctions, and so forth.
And then finally, as our discussant, Ellen Blackler, AT&T's public Policy Director, and I'd like to thank all of you for being able to join us today. And I will hand the floor over to David Souter.
>> DAVID SOUTER: Thank you, Heather. IISD has been involved in the IGF for pretty much since it began, but it's been one of the few organisations which is primarily concerned with a different policy domain, to spend a great deal of time within this forum. And over the years it's become, I think, clear to us working with IISD that there's a need for more dialogue between the Internet professional community and the Internet interested community that is here and the wider world which is experiencing the impact of the Internet at a social, economic, cultural, and political level.
There are very few organisations like IISD who actually participate in this forum, and that's quite unusual within international discussions of this kind. In international discussions of other policy domains, you would expect there to be a wider range of participants.
Now, the IGF has been very successful at bringing in the diversity of stakeholder communities, but it remains -- if I could say something about each of those three as it seems to us.
At a governmental side, there's rightly comment about the relative underrepresentation of developing country governments. But it's also significant that all governments tend to be represented by those within them who are concerned with the supply of the Internet rather than those concerned with the use of the Internet. No health ministries are here, are there? No education ministries, for example. This is a problem that was there at the World Summit, it's a problem that's moved through to the IGF.
In the private sector, it's a similar issue. There's quite good representation from the private sector that supplies the Internet, but there's very little representation of the private sector that makes use of it. So the financial services industry, which is very dependent today on the Internet, is not here.
We have organisations and individuals who are concerned with the Internet, but we don't have development agencies, environment agencies, trades unions, and so on of the kind you would expect to find in other international fora. That's the reason for IISD's interest in this, and I want to approach it now from a slightly different angle, which is connected with the publication we have issued this week called "ICTs, the Internet and Sustainable Development: Towards a new paradigm," which I have here and which we have copies available for you to take away. It's a book which is intended to present IISD's perspective as an agency which is primarily concerned with sustainable development, about the interface which sustainable development has with Internet public policy, and we prefer to use the term "Internet public policy" to "Internet Governance" because we think that's a more inclusive term that is more widely understood by the wider policy domains we are concerned with.
So I'll just say a few words about this and then move on to the -- back to the theme about inclusion of the wider policy community.
I think a few years ago when IISD first became involved in the IGF, I think a lot of people here were rather puzzled by this. They wondered why IISD was concerned with something that was concerned with primarily the workings of the Internet. In addition to that, I think Internet Governance and sustainability were not connected terms within the Internet community. Now, even today, I think a lot of people within this forum think that the sustainability issues are separate kinds of issues to those which we're discussing here. And I want to just briefly address that question.
So starting by clearing up some confusion. Many people seem to think that sustainable development is about the environment. Sustainable development is not about the environment. Sustainability is about the nexus of relationships between economic, social, and environmental issues that enable us to think forward with a different conception of development from one that's based on growth alone but to one that's based on growth that can be sustained that can have lasting impact that isn't dependent on resources that are going to deplete and diminish.
In the words of the Brundtland Commission in 1987, which popularized the term, sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
So that isn't just an environmental question, though obviously environmental protection and the sustainability of environmental resources are important to it. It's also about economic growth and prosperity which is going to be lasting over generations rather than just a short-term fix. It's about enhancing empowerment and inclusion in social development of groups over the long-term, not just temporarily. And so shifting the structure of economic and social relationships in a way that makes more sense for the long-term future of the planet.
And in a sense, I think you can say the Internet itself needs to be concerned with its own sustainability. The Internet needs to be looking at a relationship with the rest of the world that uses fewer of the earth's resources, leaves less behind, contributes more to economic, social, and environmental sustainability.
In that context, it's perhaps worth looking at the impact of the Internet on climate change because it's a straightforward example of the complexity of the issues involved. So on the one hand, the Internet's contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is growing faster than that of any other economic sector. That's a result of increased access to the Internet and an increased use of ICT devices. Those are obviously positive things, but they have effects. And that growth of emissions as a result of increased access and use of Internet is a challenge to government, to industry, to Internet professionals, and to users. We need to acknowledge it and to deal with it.
That impact can be reduced. The Internet can be made more sustainable if, for example, environmental impact assessment is included as part of standard setting, as part of network design and deployment, in the way in which people use the devices that they have. Those are all matters for which Internet Governance bodies and other governance bodies have responsibilities. There's a substantial mitigation benefit to be reaped there if they are addressed within those fora.
Equally, the Internet can be used in ways that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and a lot of hope has been invested in the potential for that. By dematerialization, through more efficient management of transport and power generation networks, and so forth. So there are very substantial gains that can be made there.
But likewise, there are only going to be gained if governance and regulatory structures for the power sector, for the transport sector, for the communication sector incentivize the use of the Internet in ways that achieve that reduction.
And thirdly, there are long-term changes in society which result from the way in which the Internet has become central to much that happens. For example, globalization of economic production and globalization of culture. For example, changes in the production and consumption patterns for certain goods and services. For example, new ways of working for people and the companies for which they work. For example, social networking and the way that's changed individual communications, notably in changing relationships with families.
For example, access to content, might be news and rumor, might be entertainment, political comment, and pornography, all of which change the way society relates to those. I think the fundamental issue here is that society is changing in ways that require us to reinterpret our understanding of development and of sustainable, so of sustainable development. We think it's not just a matter of the Internet community understanding a sustainability concept here and incorporating it, but also that sustainable development community needs to rethink the way in which sustainability interacts with society, economy, and culture as a result of the impact that the Internet is having.
So that's the main content of this particular booklet. It ends with three recommendations, which are the -- firstly, the establishment of a short-term commission on the relationship between ICTs and sustainability, which would report to the Earth Summit in 2012. That's the third Earth Summit following those in 1992 and 2002.
Secondly, a systematic discussion between the Internet community and consumer organisations and other organisations about how sustainability impact assessment can be incorporated in the design of standards, networks, and devices, and also instilled in user behavior.
And third, the development of policy approaches which are adaptive. Instead of fixing policy targets over a five-year period, what I believe is that we need a policy approach which responds dynamically to the fact that the underlying technology and market context is changing year by year. So a five-year policy programme is unlikely to be realistic. By year three, the underlying principles have changed substantially.
Those are three cores here, and I use them as a way of introducing this workshop by suggesting that they illustrate the reason why it is important to build a more effective dialogue between the Internet community, which is represented here at the IGF, and other dimensions of public policy which, by and large, are not represented here at the IGF, and to hope that out of this particular discussion we might begin to think about how to engage those two communities more effectively together with one another.
So that's what I wanted to say by way of introduction, and Heather is still here, so she can now introduce the next section.
>> HEATHER CREECH: Thank you very much. We'll now hear statements from four of our panelists who each represent a different dimension outside of the immediate Internet technical community. And we'll begin with Transparency International and Georg Neumann.
>> GEORG NEUMANN: Thank you very much for the International Institute for Sustainable Development for inviting me in coming to this Forum. It's actually really the first time I'm here, and I'm excited. It's very interesting, a lot of sessions going on, and I'm glad that you are all here for this session to hear me speak.
Transparency International is an agency that fights corruption, and we do this in over a hundred countries around the world with basically nationally based chapters. We do concentrate mostly on research. We advocate for change on an international level. And more and more, we're looking at increasing citizen empowerment and working with citizens because so far we've worked very much on a policy level in many countries, but we are looking more and more and seeing, okay, how do we actually engage with citizens? How do we give, actually, citizens, and it's good that you are seeing this image now, although it's like moving. No, it's not moving. You are not seeing the image that I'm seeing here on the screen. So we are really looking at how do we work with these citizens.
Corruption as an issue is one of the key objectives for achieving the millennium goals. Anti-corruption can be a great antidote to looking at this.
Let me give you an overview of how we see the Internet that has changed the way we fight corruption.
Internet has changed the way we fight corruption in becoming more collaborative and cloud based. It's become more decentralized, and it becomes more empowering for citizens, so citizens have now tools at hands that they can use to hold their governments accountable.
I'll go through, let me say, five different areas of the Internet where I feel like this relates really very much to the work that we do as Transparency International, and maybe we start with the issue of transparency, as the name says in Transparency International. It's one of the key concepts that we use for countering corruption. It's a concept that includes and that looks very much at the accountability relationship between citizens, governments, business, and tries to make these transparent and tries to integrate participants into the process.
Transparency has really, I think, become a little bit of a buzz over the last year or two with a lot of initiatives that look very much at open government data or data visualization, making budgets available, making money flows available, and this, I think, has changed immensely the way that we can actually analyze data, access data, and make hidden structures visible.
Because one of the key problems with corruption, it's usually something that's invisible. People don't see it so they think it doesn't exist. So one of our key tools is to make this transparent. It's a powerful tool, especially when looking at budget transparency and other issues.
Two other areas that I've seen in the discussions over the last day are security, an issue that is very much relevant for Transparency International because we deal with often information that is highly sensitive, and especially with the Internet becoming a much more -- a decision-making environment and a space for decisions to be made where they are transparent, but obviously, the security of these platforms are crucial to make these work as well.
Reliability is, of course, another of the services we would expect from the Internet to work well. Probably the other key aspect where we've seen that the Internet has really changed the way we can engage with stakeholders and make structures visible is the openness, access to information, and independence that provides the Internet. The Internet really needs to be an open and mutual space to access this information, and it has made it really -- has created a big potential to provide citizens that haven't had the opportunity so far to access information on governments, on decisions, and on what's happening around them, and much more so, they even have the chance to engage in this.
Let me look at one of the other programmes that Transparency International has, and that's a programme that's called Advocacy and Legal Advice Centres, which also reflects the need to actually give advice to citizens that have been victims of corruption, and this is a centre where people go, and they provide a complaint, they receive legal advice.
Now, we've been experimenting a lot in bringing these legal advice centres to the Web and making sure that more people have access to it and to find ways of actually creating a discussion around the issues that they post. For example, probably most of you know the concept of ushahidi, the platform ushahidi. So what we are experimenting with right now is to provide a crowd observation platform for people to monitor the local hospital, the local school, and simply tell through this platform that something is not happening, schoolbooks are not arriving, and this teacher is not appearing to give their class.
So it obviously requires a lot of questions around the issues of confidentiality, of privacy, especially when thinking -- and I think that's one of the key obstacles we have of corruption is it's legal in many countries. Not only the bribe, but reporting the bribe. If you report a bribe, you are a whistle-blower, you run the danger of facing threats or going to prison yourself.
I think this is one of the key aspects we have to keep in mind when we actually move our work into the online world.
One of the great examples for many, let's say, controversial example as well as the platform WikiLeaks, which is a whistle-blower platform where people can actually input information which gets validated, in a crowd form, and then they publish it. And they are actually relying on the Internet policies of some very advanced governments to make this happen and ensure the anonymity of the whistle-blowers that actually provide the information. And we see that this is not always easy, and it leads us a little bit to the risk, an issue that David asked me to also mention as well.
What is too much transparency? We generally believe there is no thing such as U.S. transparency, but last year, especially in the U.S., there was a big discussion generated by Lawrence Lessig, through his point on -- against transparency, a paper he wrote, where he said there's simply already so much information, why do we need more information and more transparency of government -- government data? And I think my point or our point as an organisation is really that we need to make sure we use the data in the right way and that we make it accessible for citizens and journalists to use it, but we shouldn't restrict the information that is available.
Probably the two other issues in terms of challenges that we face is, is obviously the opportunities and risks of digital activism and people engaging without really knowing about that if they use Facebook for their activism that's probably not a good idea in restrictive regimes -- in countries with restrictive regimes, such as Egypt or Iran, et cetera, because they simply find out who the person is.
I think I'm at my five-minute closure moment, so maybe to summarize, for Transparency International, Internet is really a tool and a place for action, and it's -- it is a -- it is a tool to empower citizens to demand a more transparent, accountable, and then finally better government for -- that ensures a better life for themselves. And I think Internet Governance is about making sure that they don't have to pay with it with their -- with constraints on their privacy and liberty and what they have to do.
So that's what I have to say at this moment. Thank you.
>> Thank you very much, George. My name is Ben. I am stepping in for Heather Creech briefly as the chair of the session. We are going to pass it quickly to Katy. Katy.
>> Thank you very much. Representing -- thank you for inviting me indeed. I am representing here the regional –-
-- as well as for CSOs who facilitate the public input during the environmental decision-making processes. And I would like to share with you few cases which hopefully present some innovative approaches, and both from -- from top down, it means governmental initiatives as well as from bottom up few NGO initiatives as well.
It's pretty hard to explain the cases without showing them online because, actually, they all are online and many of them also in English language, but if you are interested, you can investigate our Web site in this record.
And so then, in the end, I draw a few conclusions on the basis what we found.
There are, in general, new ways of getting environmental information, and we found two very good initiatives, one from UK called What's in Your Backyard? and another one from Holland they are calling My Living Environment, and they -- they have a different approach of spreading environmental information.
So What's in Your Backyard is the UK environmental agency customer-focused GIS online application which allows the general public to search environmental data in their particular locality, including flood risk maps and several other data types, quality of the bathing water, et cetera, et cetera. And in order to achieve or to put up, really, the information which might be interest of people, not just interest of government, they made a very extensive research and sort of personalized this information thinking of five different type of people: First, the researcher and the needs of researcher; then the regular business; environmentally conscious person; people at risk; and recreation. And then the information was created on the basis of these five types of larger groups of information customers.
And actually, since 2007, the application was launched, over one million clicks has been made, and the information has been researched through it.
The Holland Web site, My Living Environment is pretty similar, and there people can get information about their local environmental conditions by entering postal codes or then using interactive maps and tools from their particular places. And as a webmaster, the tool creator has said making the information and Web site oriented towards the public has been a long process. Normally information is pushed towards the public. This application is based on what the public actually wants to know.
And a bit -- quite similar or even maybe more sophisticated initiative comes on the same terms from the NGO initiative. Maybe you have even heard. There has been software development for a waste management company first in 2008 in Estonia. It was initiated by a group of citizens taking place in 1st of May 2008 engaging 50,000 volunteers to clean up Estonia by removing illegally dumped waste and litter.
And the way how it was possible to do within one day happened because a special software was developed based on Google Earth, so the IT team of the action used the combination of free elements, software development by the local IT gurus based on Google Earth, as said, then positioning software for mobile phones and mobile phones with GPS device to create a very simple system which allows them as well as the volunteers to put all the illegal garbage lying around in the country on the map. So each garbage place got its own ID number, descriptive data, and a picture. And such detail made the logistics planning possible for this one day, and through the Google Earth, the information was provided about the site of the waste, and volunteers all over the country were working with GPS devices to provide sites for cleaning.
Now, this software, as it once has been developed already, it has been shared with international community. There is a Web site called letsdoitworld.org. Many countries, for example, Portugal, Romania, last not least, India has been implementing the same software for cleaning up their own country, and new countries are queuing up for this.
So this is about spreading information in another way.
Then, of course, we were looking also how the public -- the real public participation on environmental issues are contacted through Internet, and we found out following that sometimes national participation platforms are used also for environmental decision making, but there is an overall tendency that government-launched discussion forums, Web sites, do not work very efficiently as debates are often too narrow and easily dominated, and the real political discussions and conclusions are taking place away from the formal governmental Web sites, so now the many, many countries try to relaunch their official eParticipation platforms and create more society-driven systems instead of government-driven systems. And in these new systems, they try to also link ongoing discussions with parallel discussions which are happening on social networks which people like so much more.
Also they enable people to put up their own agendas and not only follow the agendas of the government.
Also, virtual planning has come up now, which allows people to view and make comments on city planning developments in three dimensions and get also a better idea of the urban areas they have been invited to give the comments.
And there is also not only on the national level, but also more on the local level, the tendency to combine social networks and sort of official debates, governmental-based debates, to combine them on different policy making and law making issues. And if somebody's interested, there is the eParticipation trial action has been going on, which is the EU initiative. They have funded 21 big multicountry projects. All of these projects are more or less over now, and you could get to the Web site and read about their lessons learned and conclusions.
So regarding -- actually, yeah, regarding the planning, I'd like to come back also to one of the UK -- again -- initiative where the major UK environmental groups have set the system which disseminates information about the potential of huge and major infrastructure projects in the online map using also the Google Maps and -- yeah, and the maps, of course, can be viewable by any modern Web browsers.
The exact location is showed, and of course, there is a description of significant environmental impacts. Also, there is -- it's combined with a second method of communication, which means you can take as an ordinary citizen clicking on that particular place on the map and want to see more of -- more of the upcoming infrastructure project, more about it, then you could take the action, which means that you automatically could send your email to the local -- to the PM from the local area and express your concerns about the proposed forums or proposed actions.
Yes, my time is over. So finally, I would just like to say a few conclusions what we can conclude on the basis of this. First, although through the electronic platforms, everyone is encouraged to get involved, yet the initiatives who address more focused audiences, for example, young people, are more generally effective yet, for less skillful computer users, guidelines are needed, or even for people like us, about how to, for example, participate in the virtual town meeting.
Then seemingly nation paced, long-term electronic initiatives are eventually better than project-based, very sophisticated ad hoc electronic solutions. Small number of target groups.
And the combination and the interlinkages of the Web applications, as Facebook, Second Life, individual blogs, and official platforms offer best results in terms of people's awareness and engagement to the issues.
And NGO facilitating eParticipation projects often need to have at their own disposal experts and in-depth understanding of complex policy making and public opinion forming processes, especially at the level of EU institutions. There are more comments and recommendations for civil society organisations, how to become better on these issues, but I would stop right now. Sorry being longer.
>> Thank you very much, Katy. Fatimata.
>> Thank you very much, Ben. Good morning, everybody. I will just wear one of my different hats to talk about why should we have more stakeholders involved in the Internet Governance. This is about the wide world.
I am the chair of AFRALO. AFRALO is the African regional at large organisations in ICANN. So we are trying to involve the end users, the Internet end users.
Yesterday I was asked a very interesting question. Someone asked me what do you gain by attending the IGF? And that was a very interesting question, and I started thinking and telling that lady first of all, this is an opportunity for me, capacity building, to strengthen my knowledge in the field of Internet Governance. Because here, when you participate, you have the opportunity to participate in sessions where you can know about new concepts, new development, new issues for policy development in the Internet Governance.
Second, participation in the conception, development of policy processes.
And I said to her third is that I have the opportunity to provide information, to sensitize other communities about my country, my region's problems and needs. And I come back to the problems and needs we have in Africa and mostly in developing countries too.
The fourth benefit is about sharing experiences, sharing best practices, sharing problems.
The last but not the least is networking. In Africa, what do we need? We want people to know about our needs. We don't want people to develop the policy about Internet Governance without us. We don't want them to think that this is the right thing to do for you developing countries. We want to be a stakeholder. And what we want -- just to summarize what we want, it's to take full advantage of the opportunities by Internet.
We do have several problems. And those problems are really linked to poverty. Poverty is really the key. So we have problems. We have access problems. Yes, I have a hat, another hat as a development agent because I am in charge of connecting more than 400 schools in Senegal, providing Internet access to those schools. And we are facing a problem of electricity, of access to an energy. 47% of those schools are not connected to the grid. And providing solar power is way too expensive.
I have a problem because I don't want to connect only the schools in the cities and left out -- and leave out the schools in the rural areas. Everybody should have access to the Internet. And this is a problem, a government problem -- a governing problem, I think. From my country, but also from the world, and people need to know that.
We also have a problem of access to Internet. The whole country of Senegal is covered by CDMA, a technology, so we can have access to wireless Internet, but it's very expensive to have access through the CDMA technology. That's also another issue we need to talk about. We need people to know about.
We have a problem of producing local content. Why? Because we still have a very high literacy content -- very high illiteracy rate, but also we have a problem of multiple languages. We don't -- all the people in our countries don't speak the official languages. They don't speak English. They don't speak French. We know that those two languages cover the maximum, like 60% of the content in the Web; whereas, the other languages, 0.006%. So this is really a problem for us.
Capacity building. We need resources, technical resources, to develop content. And you are also facing security and privacy problems.
We also need to preserve our cultural values. So those are needs and problems. We need to share with people, and also we need to know what's going on in other developing countries and also in developed countries because they had to go through this process, I guess, in order to be up front today and to be leading in this kind of activities.
So this is something I wanted to share with you just to put an emphasis that we need to participate in these discussions about Internet Governance. We need to have inputs from you, from other parts of the world, from Asia, from Europe, from the U.S. to see how they overcome the problems we are facing in terms of policy within their countries.
So that's one of the things I wanted to share with you. Thank you, Ben. Thank you very much.
>> BEN: Thank you very much, Fatimata. Arvind?
>> ARVIND GANESAN: Thank you, everybody. What I wanted to do is basically describe Human Rights Watch and talk about why the Internet and ultimately the IGF is important to us.
First of all, Human Rights Watch is now the largest U.S.-based human rights organisation and, I believe, the second largest in the world. We do research and advocacy on some 90 countries around the world, and we have five regional divisions as well as ten thematic programmes, including business and human rights, health and human rights, women's rights, and the lake.
Historically, our work was based on in-depth field research, which it still is, and disseminating that information through traditional media and in person to various constituencies to try to influence government policy. And the Internet changed all that. What it allows is an instantaneous transmission of information to and from Human Rights Watch to hold institutions accountable around the world, and that has had a dramatic effect on how we can do our work, the way other civil society organisations can do their work, and is the wave of the future in many different ways.
It has also meant that when we think about things like freedom of expression and privacy, we're not just talking about a journalist in a country that may face harassment from a government, but we're talking about ourselves because increasingly, civil society is a media form in and of itself. Not only is it important for protecting civil rights, but it's also what us and other civil societies have become, which is a content disseminator. And at that level, the Internet is critically important both to our work and to our growth because without this medium, it is highly unlikely we will be able to get the information to the places we need to get it to see people that will act on it, nor will it be possible for us to receive information.
I'll just give you kind of a classic example. A few years ago, when we did a report, we had a certain expectation, and that would be disseminated to print, radio, maybe television, as well as to civil society around the world. Our hope was that would be covered in the media and picked up by better people. Today we still rely on that, and I think many civil societies do, but we also disseminate it on our Web site, disseminate it through email.
Many people would prefer electronic communications rather than a phonebook of a report landing on their desk in some cases. We have podcasts. We have all sorts of live Webcasts. We have social media. All these are critical to our growth and to civil society in general.
As a result, we have learned in the last four years in particular, but over time, that the same people we want to disseminate this information to and hold accountable are the same people that realise that the Internet's potential as an instrument for accountability is too great to allow, and they are trying to close that space.
So what we've realised is not only do we have to protect those individuals and institutions who are trying to use this medium just as traditional journalists; we have to protect it out of the interest of ourselves as a human rights organisation as well as civil society as a whole because increasingly, this is the medium for accountability. And that's what's led us to the IGF. This is Human Rights Watch's secretary trip to the IGF and my first, and the really reason for that is because we understand that in keeping the Internet open, it is no longer just a discussion about freedom of expression and protecting individual journalists or allowing Human Rights Watch's information to be allowed into a country. It is a technical policy industry discussion that a place like the IGF is the perfect forum for.
And what we understand in thinking about our work on the Internet, not only as we disseminate it or obtain it, but also that we have to keep it open and protect it as a medium because the potential it has to advance human rights or to advance a number of causes is premised on the idea that it is open and available. And the solution and the way to keep it open and available is, like I said, partly a reflection of government policy, partly a reflection of technology, and partly a reflection of advocacy and research. And that's really what has brought us to the point of looking to the IGF not only as a place where we have to advance these ideas, but also a place we have to learn. Because one of the things I've learned over the last couple of years is that there is a divide between the technical experts and the people who are sometimes seeing the impact from a policy perspective.
I'm based in Washington, and I see this all the time in that context where there's a significant amount of momentum, say, within the U.S. Congress to keep the Internet open or to talk about Internet freedom, but there isn't a whole lot of understanding about what the technical realities are of doing that or what governments are doing in detail to prevent that from being open. And part of what we are trying to do is understand we are research people, not technology people, and it goes well beyond simply asking or promoting free expression or respect for privacy, and that's part of why we're here.
And I suspect from what I've seen from development agencies and others, they are starting to realise that too, not only for these reasons, but because they have local partners who are now under threat, and they are looking to advance or changes in technology to protect the work they do as well.
And with that, I will keep it short and thank you again.
>> BEN: Thank you so much, Arvind. I think the panel has actually put out a lot of comments and have indicated a lot of issues in areas of development, transparency, human rights, rights-based approaches to the Internet and the kind of connections that they make.
We would like to open the floor up and have people maybe make a couple suggestions or comments. We'll come back to Ellen later so that she can respond to not just the panelists but also the comments that come from the floor.
We thought initially that we would have a workshop format where we would break out into groups, but I think it's best for us to have this sort of open discussion. We would like to focus on two particular questions, but we'll come back to those questions a little later. What we'll do right now is just get very brief responses from the people in the room, comments, questions or clarification. We'll keep that to about ten or so minutes, and then we will go down to specifically looking at two key questions that I would like for us to reflect on.
And maybe I should ask those questions now while you're preparing your comments and suggestions. The first question is what other major organisations outside of the Internet community need to be included in the debate, in Internet public policy debate?
The second question is how should we best engage them in the future IGF discussions? How should we best engage them in the future IGF discussions?
So those two questions I would like to reflect on a little bit later, but I'll open the floor right now to comments and questions.
Yes, please. Please don't forget to tell us what your name is and your affiliation. And would also like to note if our remote hub in Kenya that has -- that is a part of this workshop with us would have questions.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Good morning. My name is Christopher Corbin. I'm from the UK, but I'm actually representing the European Public Sector Information Platform. And first of all, I'd like to say I agree with many of the sentiments expressed by the panelists and the objective of this meeting, to try to bring other networks and communities into the IGF forum to actually deal with many of the issues which are raised here in the IGF.
The public sector information, a number of you have, in fact, mentioned it. You've mentioned transparency. You've mentioned freedom of access. But one of the things which is actually missing is the right to use because Katy used a number of examples from the UK and around Europe which are excellent, but they are actually presented by the public sector themselves; whereas what we're trying to do here in Europe and elsewhere across the world is open up public-sector information for reuse for noncommercial uses and commercial reuses.
And many of the access is gone. You cannot do -- you're not permitted to do, and you can see examples of this where civil society has worked in clouds, extracted information from the public sector, only to be told you cannot do that. You have no permission to re-echo what we have said to you. There's a fundamental thing.
And we have a workshop, 120, which is tomorrow, and it's about public sector information here in Europe and the policy principles which now have been in place for 21 years and the impact that the Internet's had and the OECD principles. And these are being implemented by over 40 countries.
And the PSI platform brings together all the knowledge, the best practices, to try and show how this, in fact, works. But more of that tomorrow. Just to say make your way -- there are other networks trying to come together, unlike what you're suggesting through your two questions, these are practitioners actually saying this is how we're implementing the policy. This is how it's actually happening. And this is our experiences. This is how the policy needs to be adjusted. And it covers the whole world.
>> BEN: Thank you very much. Yes, sir.
>> MOHAMED: Thank you very much. First of all, I want to thank you all. Amazing presentations.
>> BEN: Sorry. Name and affiliations.
>> MOHAMED: My Name is Mohamed. I am from Somalia, but I live in Australia.
Just short comments about the lady from Senegal. Lessons learned. I think one thing we can do is perhaps what happened in other parts of the world. I traveled in Africa the last few months, and I notice quite a few amazing innovations, things like EMBESA and so on. But what I don't see is collaboration. That knowledge is not shared among African countries. So perhaps that's something we can do from Africans.
The other thing is a bit more historical. I actually went to Senegal, and I couldn't help but notice Gambia in the middle of Senegal. I always wondered 1900, what did it used to look like? Maybe there was no Gambia in Zambia. I wasn't born then, but I was imagining.
Perhaps something we can think about, perhaps we can open up, perhaps what happened to EU and learn from that as well.
And lastly, perhaps, can we use institutions like the AU and say look, when things like the Internet exchange points are analyzed and found out they are really useful for the Internet environment in Africa, why is it taking so long to implement? In other words, why do you have to wait for each country to do it a little bit? Why can't the AU said look, this is something that Africa needs. Let's do it.
Again, it might not be the right forum, but I think there is a message to African leadership to say hey, look, when we meet, don't spend so much time on little Mickey Mouse stuff, but the bigger picture and what the community needs. I'm sorry if I am going beyond, but thank you so much.
>> BEN: Thank you so much, Mohamed. We have a remote question, and Emuli is going to do that, our remote moderator.
>> Hi, everyone. I'm Emuli. I have a question from Kenya hub to the chair of African regionalized organisation, and the question is what measures have you put in place to ensure -- in the IGF and also in Africa.
>> BEN: We have one more comment or question in the back there, or two more.
>> WALDA ROSEMAN: My name is Walda Roseman, and I am speaking wearing two different hats right now. First of all, thank you all. Particularly impressed with Fatimata's introduction of reality and who the human being is at the long line of what it is we're trying to do here.
I think that as we're looking at new players to come in, from the supply side, what we have shown the IGF is pretty good at doing is creating a more common language among different stakeholders in different sectors. Once we can understand each other, we have a better opportunity of working together.
So what I'm hearing here and I think what I'm seeing as a professional in the area is that -- that while we may be getting our respective acts together in Internet Governance on the Internet, or I should say the technology and the transport side, somewhat on the content side, but there's a lot of work to do there, we are now finding that the obstacles are -- are parallel to us. They are in the area of power. They are in the area of finance. They are in the area of health. They are in the area of education. And these are stovepipes of their own. And certainly, within those communities, there are different stakeholders.
So one of the things I think that there's probably great value as we're looking particularly at the development agenda here in doing is trying to encourage an IGF going forward that is a convener of a number of these other stakeholders, a proactive convener of a number of these stakeholders.
The other hat I'm wearing is I'm the vice chairman of a humanitarian organisation. It's called the American Refugee Committee or ARC, and the name is a misnomer, but right now we are operating the largest camp in Haiti, one on the airport grounds, where in Sudan, Darfur, Rwanda, Uganda, Sierra Leone, northern Pakistan, et cetera.
The point is we are working with displaced populations, and when one begins to look at poverty and the poor and lives who live emergencies well beyond the initial emergency, we have a population here that could benefit from a new approach to Internet Governance, a new approach to getting communications out. This is the demand side.
And I would also suggest as we're looking at environmental emergencies, both from predicting them to trying to create an environment that helps the -- the victims of emergencies re-create lives of dignity and safety, that we might want to include the displaced person populations and those organisations that are trying to serve them as demand side players. Thank you.
>> Thank you very much. One last comment, and we will have some other discussions.
>> SEBASTIAN: Thank you very much. Okay. Yeah, I'm Sebastian. I am activist, and I am representing the end user in Europe at the at-large committee of ICANN. And I will give another later. But I want to thank you for your position.
I think you represent what I will call the second area of what organisation we need to reach in this discussion of Internet Governance or whatever is the name you want to give it because we used to be among the first ones who were aware of the situation, but not just technician people, because as we represent end users, we are not representing the technical people, but we were the ones using and maybe more aware or interested in participating to this discussion.
But we need to reach out more and more, and diversity is important.
I think IGF, it's a good place to start, but it's not the last place to stay. We need you in other arena. We need you in ICANN arena to take this example where I am more engaged, but there are other places.
And one thing we need to -- to think about here in IGF, it's how we can share experiences, knowledge, and not duplicate participation because one single person can be in each of every of your organisation, and you can't be in each and every organisation we are. We need to trust other people to do part of this thing, but we need to find place to exchange.
Now I want to take a second at it. I am helping a non-for-profit project for a new extension of domain name within ICANN. It's dot green, and I think it fits well with the discussion you have here because dot green wants to help assist development around the world using the Domain Name System for that. And I will urge you to have a look to this discussion because it's not just a question of techniques; it's really a policy question. Because there are three competing projects in this area. Through our dot eco, we are a for-profit organisation. When it's dot green, it's not-for-profit organisation. Maybe both are good, but you need to have your say in that because you are really the one who will need this new type of system in the domain for sustainability. Thank you so much.
>> Okay. Thank you very much. Can I come back to the panel, then we go back for a second round? Is that okay? All right. Thank you.
If we can get a brief response from -- Ellen, we will still come back to you. We are leaving a big piece of the cake at the end for you, if you don't mind. But there are certain questions and comments that have come to the panel and that you might want to respond to. Can you do so in maybe two minutes each? Katy, you have any particular response to any question you want to start with?
>> KATY: Yes, I would respond to the gentleman from UK, the first to comment. Indeed, there are a lot of many initiatives going on. Also, for example, under the -- Convention, there is a Task Force on electronic tools, so people are gathering quite regularly, but indeed there are also the gaps between, for example, this particular format to work on these issues as well to reach -- reach out to -- to the bigger communities.
And again, that's also reality that we have now so good international conventions as well as very, very good domestic laws about access to information in general, not only talking about the environment information, for example. But I could even see here the tendency that at the end of '90s, the beginning of this century, 2000, many of the eastern European governments were much more open, and they drafted very liberal, very open-minded laws. But now when it comes to the reality to the implementation, things are sort of changed. There is the degree of security, and many other items have come in claiming that some information is just for internal use, et cetera, et cetera. So it used to be much better in many of the -- exactly saying in eastern European countries.
But again, I think UK is also leading in these terms, that UK government is one of the very few who has set up also the meta information for people who want to get the information. There is in general still so much information that general people, ordinary people just get lost, and UK has very good system on type of information, the organisations holding this information, how to get it, and how much does it cost and how quickly it's possible to access it, et cetera, et cetera.
Thank you very much.
>> BEN: Thank you. Georg.
>> GEORG NEUMANN: Maybe two comments from what you have mentioned in your comments. One, on the issue of collaboration and creating a show crossborder Internet -- and I think this is something that especially with corruption being a transnational issue, an issue that doesn't stop on the borders -- actually, the borders are often one of the key areas of corruption in some countries -- that's something that I think provides huge benefits of creating joint spaces for journalists to investigate, to access information, et cetera. So that's definitely something that also for the fight against corruption would be very relevant.
And again, also on the issue of access to information, it's crucial. Open data, open standards, and I'm very much surprised that creative comments I haven't seen much on creative comments here, it hasn't been mentioned -- are one of the key issues for transparency, fighting corruption and access to information.
We have had a very interesting experience in Argentina called money and politics, where they basically had to get all the 5,000 comments on statements of campaign fundings and put them together in a database, and only ones that was available, then you can really do something with it and make these hidden connections visible of who funds what and what comes out in the end as a decision. So the whole issue of lobbying, et cetera, is one of a very challenging area.
Also, France, we're currently working on a project with an organisation where we're looking at lobbying and which lobbyists actually attend ministerial meetings. And this information is all on paper, and it's very difficult to actually systematize this information and inform the public so the public can make themselves a decision. So I think the open data movement and open standards are very crucial especially also to our work.
>> BEN: Thank you very much. Fatimata.
>> FATIMATA: Thank you, Ben. Thank you for your questions. I think I have two questions. The first one is not really a question, but I think it's a suggestion from Mohamed with AU. I think as Africans, we have to work together and maybe try to make things happen, but you know how difficult it is -- this is, but maybe just write a statement to the AU and make suggestions.
Last month we had a subregional IGF, South African IGF, and we made a lot of recommendations, and we don't know how this will be taken into account with our government. We don't know.
So I think it's a great idea, but we need to work together to maybe make things happen and to strategize. And I think you're right. And as far as we will be working, one by one in each corner, nothing will happen. And they are doing a lot of things, within ITU, within AU, there are a lot of projects. For example, myself, I worked a project within my NGO which has been approved by the AU, but they're still looking for funding. The project was written in 2008 -- in 2006 first, and then they asked for an update in 2008 because it was approved by the AU, and this was to build a network, eLearning network for six countries. But nothing has happened yet. Now we are almost at the end of 2010, but nothing happened because they're still looking for funds.
So this is the way, you know, a good project just died.
The second question -- and Gambia and -- talk about that all the time. What can we do? Everybody wants to be a bus. So that's the thing in Africa. That's human too, I think, but we have to be realistic.
The question from Kenya is about the actions to have more participation from civil society, I guess, because AFRALO is about end users, about civil society organisations active in the field of IT and Internet in African countries. I have to tell that IGF is not really an ICANN activity, so we could not find funds from ICANN to bring more African people to this event. However, through other civil society organisations, like Access and OSIWA, we succeeded in getting funding from OSIWA, for example, and other sponsors to have more Africans to participate in the IGF.
That's all we can do. We have many, many people really active in the field of IGF in Africa. So we have a great network, so even outside of ICANN. We had planned to have a workshop, and this was initiated by AFRALO. We held that workshop successfully without any support from ICANN, and AFRALO is an ICANN structure. So that's all I can say. We are doing our best to have Africa participate in this instances.
>> BEN: Thank you very much. Arvind.
>> ARVIND GANESAN: I would just emphasize, a critical issue, this is the whole access to information and access to the Internet in various parts of the world.
And the example I would give is Angola, where there's been an enormous amount of attention, both within the public and elsewhere, on corruption. But the reality is the basic government data is online, and for years, there wasn't really access to the Internet within Angola. And it's only in the last three or four years where mobile broadband has taken hold and people can actually look at some critical data on oil revenue, more recently on audits of the state-owned oil company of Angola. And what always struck us and particularly struck me a couple of years ago when we were there is that there is enormous amounts of information that are available physically in government offices around the world but are very difficult it access if somebody has to physically go there and get it.
So one of the things I think about IGF or elsewhere is if there is an opportunity in the future to think about how to make public information more accessible around the world and how to ensure people have access to that information, that would be a critical step forward.
>> BEN: Thank you very much. You have three or four more questions. Please, the mic is over here, and I think there is one more mic here, if we could make that available, someone right in the back there. Please don't forget to say who you are, and then after we will have others speak.
>> GEORGE SADOWSKY: Thank you. I'm really sympathetic with the note that David Souter raised asking where is the demand side here, which Walda Roseman picked up quite properly. Sorry. I'm George Sadowsky, Director of ICANN, but speaking in my own personal capacity.
It can be explained initially by the fact that the origin of the IGF was the result of a political battle. There were discussions in WSIS, one about the Information Society and the role of Internet and the role of eye can and who is running this -- ICANN and who is running this anyway. That led to the working group on Internet Governance where there was significant discussion about what Internet Governance really was. Finally, out of WSIS 2 was a dialogue because no conclusion could be reached.
If you look at the initial IGF, Athens, the focus was on control, legitimacy. The subject matters were access, security, openness, privacy. There was -- the focus was strongly on governance. The demand side was not considered.
This workshop probably wouldn't have been approved by the MAG for the Athens 2006 IGF because it's too user -- this is the demand side. We were users. And you're creative and intelligent users of the Internet, but you're not concerned specifically with governance aspects except to the extent it hinders your use.
But one of the things that's interesting is this programme in 2010 looks a lot more like a general Internet conference than the one in Athens did. So I think we are seeing an evolution in what IGF is doing, and perhaps in a few years, it might just be called the IF, the Internet Forum, with governance playing a part in it but not the only part, and that would allow the sectoral people, people with needs, the demand side, to come in.
One of the considerations we have to take into account is the future of the IGF is going to be discussed in the United Nations in October, and we don't know exactly what the result of that will be, but maybe there's hope that this could evolve into something more general and more useful for the entire spectrum of people concerned with the Internet. Thank you.
>> BEN: Thank you. Georg. Georg?
>> Hello. I'm with the Association for progressive Communications, APC. I think George actually partially answered my question. Firstly, thank you to all the panelists. My comment was on -- it's on relationships and building relationships. And I -- I have a solid understanding of how people are using the Internet, but I thought we were going to be talking a little bit more about how other people from other sectors aren't here and what we can be doing to create more cross-sectoral collaboration, so my comments and questions are more geared toward that.
And the first comment I have is I was talking to somebody, one of our friends from the EFF, and the electronic frontier foundation, this year sent a delegation of four people, and in to the best of my knowledge in the past they have not been present at the IGF. I said why are so many of you here this time? They said because Katitza is involved at the IGF. It's been very involved before. I think relationships are a very key element to it.
I say that to ask all of you, especially those of you here for the first time, to go back to your maybe more natural communities and talk to them about your experiences here, and I think that that's a great way to draw more people in.
But my question is what shifted for you? So I'm wondering, you know, why now? Why did you decide to come to this IGF? Why didn't you come in the past? Might you come in the future? And if you have any feedback for the more IGF veterans, why you think we haven't been building relationships with other sectors because you know, other sectors, as you correctly pointed out, aren't really here, and to be honest, I'm surprised that this room isn't more crowded.
David and I were talking before the session, and I wanted to come early and get a seat because I thought this one would be packed. To me, it makes sense that everybody should be here. Right? If we are just having the conversation between ourselves, ultimately, I think we sort of have to question to what end, if we're not bringing in more of the end users and more people who are actually using the Internet.
So I guess the sort of question to ourselves, why are more of us here, why aren't more people from other sectors here, and what shifted for you?
>> BEN: Thank you very much.
>> Thank you, Ben. Coincidentally, also from Association for Progressive Communications. Firstly, I think, George, maybe we can call it the Internet public policy forum. Would that be a good compromise? I see someone shaking his head.
I think the IGF has evolved, and I think it is becoming much more open to a user or social impact perspective on Internet Governance.
I think in answer to the question posed earlier who should be here, I think using your definition of sustainable development as a starting point, human, economic, social, cultural, and the environment, I think using that as a frame for defining who should be here is a good place to start.
But I also am fairly cynical because my organisation actually exists for the use of ICTs for social justice. We are 20 years old. We were established in 1990. And we have been trying to work and we do work. Our community is made up of civil society organisations working on substantive development, gender justice, and other social justice areas. And we know it's extremely hard to get them involved in ICT policy, whether it's at a national level or at a global level. And that's because people take it for granted. They take how the television works for granted or how it's regulated as something that they can't control. The same applies to telephony. Now it applies to the Internet.
So I think that the change -- you are posing a challenge to the IGF community. I'm posing the challenge to that community and to those communities. Why should we make the effort? We should, of course, but we can't -- making it alone is not going to bring about the change because, in fact, the challenge of Internet Governance is that yes, you need to be general and inclusive and look at social impacts, but there is also an area of specificity -- in fact, many areas of specificity. Some of the panelists mentioned intellectual property. Another panelist mentioned open standards. These are very fundamental issues that impact on how the Internet can be used. But users don't want to engage those issues because they are complex and require specialized knowledge.
So I think to really address your problem, you need the kind of ongoing transformation in the IGF process that George was talking about. It needs to be consolidated, legitimized. But you also need the communities that are working on public policy in the other sustainable development areas to get their act together and get involved in this because the Internet is very fundamental.
In our experience, they don't until -- and why is Human Rights Watch here? Because it's beginning to affect how they and the people they work with use the Internet. And unfortunately, that has been our experience over the last ten years of ICT policy work. People only get engaged if they can identify how it is going to affect them. So yeah, that's --
>> BEN: Thank you very much. While you were talking, I was -- I picked up a couple words, consolidated and legitimized. Maybe you might want to think about that some more, how do we get that to happen. We're talking essentially of two walls. How do we cross-link them? How do we bring about cross-sectoral collaboration, like someone else put. One more comment, then we'll come back to the panel and try and get a comment from Ellen as well.
>> Hello. Can you hear me? Yes, thank you. My name is Wolfgang Benedek. I am from University of Graz in Austria, and yesterday I was able to present yesterday with Ms. Mary Masouki who is here, the Charter on Human Rights and Principles on the Internet, which has been elaborated as a collaborative effort based on an APC charter which was already done in the early part of this decade.
And in working on this, one of the issues we had was to what extent should we also cover issues which were not in the -- not related to core rights, like freedom of expression, privacy, data protection, and so on, but also cover a wider area.
And I give you one example. We decided also to include the right to development, and here we have environmental sustainability saying everyone has a responsibility to use the Internet in a sustainable and ecologically viable way. And this relates also to the disposal of eWaste.
The question is how far should one go in developing guidelines, orientation for the -- in that field. Some people say you find waste in other texts, so why should that be covered?
For the time being we have covered also consumer protection and right to health and social services, but this is not very elaborate. And so my concern is a twofold one, is to have some feedback to what extent should be taken up in such a charter, and actually, when you mentioned the other convention, we also felt inspired to say something on participation in public affairs and Internet Governance.
And the second would be yes, if there's anybody who can help us or who would like to assist us in this drafting efforts in order to cover these fields which have been the subject of our debate this morning. Thank you.
>> BEN: Thank you very much. Thank you. Let me come back to the panel. I know there are a series of questions. David, do you want to try and go through a few of them, and then we'll go to Ellen, just so we can get a response from you? And then come back again to the floor to see what are the other comments that we can get from it.
>> DAVID SOUTER: Well, okay. Two or three things that strike me. One that's just actually come into my mind. Firstly, in taking up something that Henriette was saying, I mean, I think some of you will know I've argued for a very long time that there's been within the ICT and development area a fundamental paradigm gap between ICT advocates and the rest of the development community, which is, if you like, around the notion amongst ICT advocates that they have a solution and the rest of the development community that they don't. But very little space in which there's been a kind of meeting of the two to actually explore what are the constraints on the solution and what are the opportunities that are represented that are not being perceived.
And I think certainly I would say that in this here, we are talking about addressing the failures on both sides of the -- of the discussion here to grasp the relevance of the one to the other. We're talking about an interface. So that the Internet community, we feel, does need to take much more -- pay much more attention to what is being said on the demand side. And I will certainly use that time. But equally, the sustainable development community needs to have much more of a grasp of how the underlying nature of society is being changed by the Internet and other information technology.
So that takes me to the second point, which is about adaptiveness. Adaptiveness is something that IISD has been working on in the field of climate change but is also very relevant to the information technology world. In this world, unlike, let's say, in -- what is possible tomorrow is very different from what was possible yesterday. So thinking about policy and governance and, indeed, actually impact and outcomes in terms of your past understanding or your current understanding isn't sufficient. Your understanding needs to be continuously adaptive.
Instruments like IGF also need to be continuously adaptive. So I think the analogy is where 2.0 can be taken too far, but my friend Richard has been used in terms of ICD 2.0, so why don't we think here about IG or IGF 2.0, in the last five years we've been essentially doing things to address problems within the Internet community, and now we can be moving forward to address issues that are about the relationship between the Internet community and the world as a whole.
And in a as soon as, I'd say that, obviously, at this particular moment in the IGF's history, there's a preoccupation with maintaining its character at a point where it seemed to be in challenge. But that doesn't mean to say preserving it in aspect. It also needs to move forward.
And I think the last point that just struck me as I was thinking, you know, if there -- there have been those who have thought of Internet Governance being essentially about how the Internet works without considering its impact on the rest of the world. It is a bit like saying that arms control should be decided by generals.
>> BEN: Thank you, David.en, Will you make some comments briefly, and don't respond to all of it if you can, because we are going to come back again to the floor and just get some more comments from the floor if possible.
I'd also like for us to respond to the question how best can we engage in the future of the IGF discussions. Let's reflect on that some. And also recognize Kenya, so to the Kenyan hub, if you do have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to feed them into the session. Ellen.
>> ELLEN BLACKLER: Thank you, and thank you for having me. I feel this great pressure to say something insightful, which is difficult with such a knowledgeable and experienced group.
And I will say it's a pleasure to be in this room, where we can hear each other, so I'm glad to be in Room 2 instead of Room 6 or something.
What strikes me in listening to all of this is really the observation that as a society, we bring ourselves to the Internet so that all of the challenges we face offline we now face online, and so some of these problems are really old challenges that just take on a new form, like much of the Internet is.
And what -- just to distill into a couple themes, some of the things I heard is that one of the challenges that we've always faced is making technology useful to people, and we see that in a micro sense, when if you attend some of the sessions by the people with disabilities talking about the need to make technology accessible to them, and we see the same kind of in a macro sense the issue of making the Internet useful to people that we've been talking about.
And a little bit I think the IGF is about making the organisation useful to people. That's a challenge that we know about in the world as we try to make the rights of the individual speak through these organisations. It's always a challenge. And one of the things, I think, that we've been talking about today is the effort to engage diverse voices here at the IGF, and that is also not news to those of us who have worked for the man for a long time. That's always a challenge to bring in the kind of minority voices, new voices, and I think it just takes a lot of very hard work to make sure that we don't make the same mistakes that we've been making for thousands of years here on the Internet and make it hard for people who, you know, aren't on the Internet today or aren't well funded or aren't able to come to Lithuania for one reason or another.
I think the IGF has been cognizant of that for a long time. In fact, it was one of the things that drove their inception. But it still is really hard. We have the remote participation now, which in the first IGFs was not so operationalized, so I think there's been a recognition that was talked about the efforts to get more Africans able to come through funding and reducing some of these barriers, but even, you know, we are to have IGF, it's a problem, because where you have it creates visa problems for some and not for others. So it's really hard work in the global economy, and I think those of us who -- I work for AT&T, so those of us who have kind of the ability to come and do this need to just always be on guard to make sure that we're not thinking we're hearing from everyone, when we know that not to be the case.
And then I think the fourth thing we talked a lot about today was some of the value of the IGF to us in the business community is really understanding the consequences and the new impacts of what we're doing. And I was observing to Arvind earlier in terms of trend analysis, I think freedom of expression is clearly a new trend being discussed here at the IGF in a significant way, and that is because I think what we see is that the Internet is this fabulous platform for expression, but also being understood now to be a tool of repression as well. And so we have to kind of sort through that.
You see the same thing in the intellectual property, that -- and we talked a little bit about that with the access and use to data, that there's a difference to -- in a policy response to information being available and being very available. We talk about it in the U.S. as the difference between the intimation being public and publicized. And there are privacy impacts of that, and there are copyright impacts of that. And in lots of ways, you know, our law and our policy has to change as these new consequences get understood, but the way we understand them is talking more broadly because we don't always see.
I thought one of the very interesting things that came out of one of the intermediary liability discussions yesterday was the domain name. People were making the observation that there's pressure now to have some guidelines about what the domain names are, because even those can be offensive to some people, so there is an issue emerging there. So even something that seems very governance-y can have a significant impact, and we only understand those impacts when we get outside of our comfort zone and talk to each other.
And I guess our last observation is, of course, we also need to stay -- continue to also stay focused on the fact that not everybody has access to the Internet, and in some ways, it's a luxury when we talk about freedom of expression when some people don't have access to the Internet at all. So we need to keep focused on that at the same time that we do all this. So we have to solve the Internet and the world.
>> BEN: Thank you very much, Ellen. Are there any comments from the floor? Are there any other interjection that would like to have? Yes, please. Heather, do you also want to make a comment?
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: It's just about the -- Christopher Corbin again -- about the trying to bridge communities. Here in Europe, in the European Union, we have been doing this for a long time, trying to connect various interest groups together, and one of the things of civil society being very well articulated here is scarcity of resources. You can't move everybody to everywhere, so people need to -- and as you just said yourself, there needs to be focus within whatever they're trying to do.
So one suggestion is to ensure that we actually have bridges, and by bridges, I mean people as well as electronic connections.
The other thing I would like to see or recommend to the IGF in the future is that many of the workshops are not seen as fitting into the main themes, and the content is one which I think really should be themed more into the main parts of the IGF programme. And these then could be actually not just -- the power of the Internet is not really being exploited because we need to bring not just people watching here to pose questions, but actually have suggestions coming back here so there is much more interchange and using the power of technology.
>> BEN: Thank you very much. I want to ask our panelists the questions, the question is your development, human rights, or rights field, your transparency fields, you do have large policy spaces that your discussions hold that certainly have things to do with the Internet today. How do you think we can, from the IGF policy space, be able to engage in your policy space? What would be the best means of engaging in that policy space? In other words, how do we bring the reality of Internet Governance policy into the space you work?
>> ARVIND GANESAN: I think this relates to some other comments that have come up before, and I think there are really two issues in play. One is, unfortunately, for, say, Human Rights Watch or maybe a development group, you don't know the impact of it until it starts affecting you in some way. So unless somebody can educate you ahead of time and be proactive about that, I think that's reality.
But the second thing -- and I want to be careful about how I say this because I am not trying to say this in a dismissive way, but there is the experts in the room versus the people outside the room issue, which is do you know whether people know what the Internet Governance Forum is and why it's relevant to them? And that's an issue. I mean, because it can be -- I mean, if you tell everybody that the world's leading experts on the technology and governance of the Internet are going to be in one place over the course of a week, that's intimidating, and it's also not clear how that's going to be directly relevant to some of the policy work people are doing.
So I think that there is -- there is this -- there's this learning curve issue to overcome, which is people need to know what it is and what can be done there as part of the learning of why it's relevant to them. And I think that's something that probably has to come from the IGF and its participants first.
>> BEN: Is it intimidating for -- and this is not just to you, Arvind. Is it intimidating for other policy spaces or other experts in other policy spaces? Is the IGF intimidating to them in other policy spaces and vice versa? Do we feel that we are intimidating to other people? And how would we -- if we have to overcome this, how could we overcome this?
>> Just maybe a comment. I think for a lot of people especially that engage in corrupt behaviors, the interrupt itself, while it's also an opportunity for them, but making something public is intimidating. Which, for example, when we look at the UN Convention Against Corruption and we deal about that's let's put the monitoring reports online or let's do even a monitoring report including civil society, which is really an issue.
So I think yes, for many of these forums where we also advocate for our issues, this is an issue, and this is a complicated issue. So I think because generally the Internet is still perceived, and I think rightly so and very positively so with a very positive notion of openness and transparency, while if you go down and drill down, you realise, okay, there are walls being built up, and there are issues of privacy and concerns. But generally, I think especially in our field, the Internet is such a powerful tool to bring about transparency and access to information that it's pretty intimidating for governments, for businesses that have engaged in corrupt behavior so that would rather not -- not talk about.
>> BEN: How do we overcome this? Any suggestions from the floor or the panel? Fatimata?
>> FATIMATA: I think as sort of key players in this Internet Governance form, we have a role -- a major role to play on the ground in our space, which is to try to involve more people, to have more people in, to have more people participate by just informing them. You know, running this sort of campaign to make them know. When you don't know something, of course you can be intimidated, but if you understand the issues, if you understand that you have a role to play yourself, it will be a kind of appropriation and play your role. I think that's what we have to do.
>> BEN: David, did you want to respond to something? Katy?
>> KATY: Intimidating brought for me also up the question about anonymity, that often -- often people are writing anonymously, like say after the article of the newspaper or the comments which could cause a lot of problems to those who have been giving their opinion or who have been interviewed or just part of the -- their names in the article.
So there are, of course, different rules applied nowadays. For example, there are magazines, online newspapers who do not allow any anonymous comments anymore. You have to be registered. Your identity should be clear. And it probably also clears up a bit the overall atmosphere of the Internet. And yeah, makes it clearer and probably also much more acceptable some of the society groups.
>> BEN: Thank you. David, did you want to comment on anything?
All right. We have a few minutes to go before the session ends. Ellen, do you want to say anything based on a few last comments that we've heard? How do you think we should -- we can overcome?
>> ELLEN BLACKLER: I did want to go back to this notion of the regional IGFs. I think that holds a lot of promise for the larger organisation because they're obviously easier for people to travel to, and maybe a little less unwieldy. I think those are growing and can be a good source of input for, you know, the larger session if we can get to a model that makes it just easier from a resource perspective from people to participate.
And you know, I think that, again, the organisers are aware of this intimidation factor and are making some efforts to get at it. The very first day there's a kind of if there is your first IGF session that tries to orient people because they understand it's all a little confusing, but it seems to me that the regional IGFs might be a promising place to focus in terms of getting more people involved who are just learning about the whole thing.
>> BEN: And then the question about multistakeholder participation within the regional IGF itself, I mean, that's a concept that we have from the global IGF. But what exactly do we mean by that? Who are multistakeholders? And we have a variety of sectors on the panel, people from transparency institutions, from environmental institutions. Is that multistakeholder? Your ordinary user. We've even talked about sometimes a goal of the user that nobody speaks for but has something to do for which the Internet has impact on.
You know, all the people -- there are quite a variety of people, all sectors, or like we've said today, demand side of Internet public policy or, rather, people that the Internet public policy as we talk about it have impacts on. Is that our concept of multistakeholders down to the IGF, regional or national IGF levels?
>> ELLEN BLACKLER: Yeah, I think so. I'll tell you, from the business perspective, the multistakeholder meant we would have -- business would have a role and it wouldn't be so government focused. So the kind of idea was, you know, government, civil society, and business. I think we, on the business side, understand that we have to continue to work to bring in small businesses and different kind of businesses. It's very kind of tech heavy right now. And I think on the civil society side, we need to make sure we're getting all different kinds. And then, you know, the users themselves is certainly a multistakeholder.
But I think the notion was anybody, but that doesn't mean that you don't have to also work very hard to get everybody. It shouldn't be just this kind of self-selecting group.
>> BEN: All right. Thank you very much. Sorry? Okay. All right.
>> HEATHER CREECH: It's probably easier for me just to speak from the floor. I think we're close to the end, and perhaps if there are one or two more questions that we could take from the floor.
What about Henriette?
>> An encouragement, I think, rather than a question. I think this -- this is a very important to do this kind of bridge building, and it's long-term. I think there's also an analogy here maybe with gender mainstreaming. You know, where there's been different modalities, different ways, isolating it as a special issue, then integrating it into other implementation and policy making areas. And ultimately you need to do both. But you need to do them for a long time, and you need to do them with capacity building.
I think policy making is always intimidating. I don't think only Internet Governance policy making is intimidating. In our experience of working with civil society, making that step from being unhappy and complaining to actually participating in changing the policy regulatory environment is hard, and it requires expertise and particular kind of work.
But I think if you don't do this type of bridge building on an ongoing basis, you don't have -- or let me put it differently. If you do it -- and as Arvind was saying -- sectors are affected, then they're ready to engage because there's been engagement and learning and understanding. And they can begin to influence policy.
But if you only start that process when users are affected in a particular way, then you just constantly are playing catchup. So I really just think this is a really important initiative, and I hope the IGF does embrace it in its fullest form.
>> HEATHER CREECH: Thank you very much, and I'd like to thank our panelists. My apologies that I wasn't here personally to listen to what I'm sure was very insightful, very thoughtful inputs. And I'd like to thank all of our workshop participants for your engagement on this issue and your concerns about how we are going to move forward in broadening participation in the IGF.
I'd like to flag, perhaps, one major opportunity for moving some of this discourse into the sustainable development realm. As most of you know, there will be another review of the commitments that were made at the Earth Summit in 1992 coming up in Rio in 2012. This will be, as David mentioned at the beginning, the third Summit. It's being -- the sort of short form is Rio Plus 20. But one of the things I think we need to look at as part of the Internet Governance community is what are our interventions at Rio Plus 20 going to consist of? How are we going to make sure that what we have come to understand as being critical infrastructure and services, how is that message going to inform the debate that will take -- that's taking place now?
Let me give you just a quick example. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, has appointed a high-level panel of global experts to prepare a major input to Rio Plus 20. There is only one person, one person out of 20. The others are all politicians and former bureaucrats. I flag that because I think it's interesting he is on the panel. He is on the panel because he has a strong interest in governance. But that's a building block for us. And then I think there are probably going to be many other opportunities over the coming 18 months, and I would encourage everyone to keep this in mind and think about how we might bridge from what we understand about the importance of Internet policy, how that's going to help shape the future of the world.
>> BEN: Thank you very much, Heather. Thank you very much, all. Our remote participants from Kenya, the Kenyan hub, and another remote participant, I'm not sure who else is there. Thank you very much.
I would like to thank the moderator for the remote session. Thank our panelists for an excellent job. Thanks, Heather. That's the end of this session. Thank you.