IGF 2016 - Day 1 - Room 6 - WS169: Regional Participation in Brazil: Growing Intiatives


The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Jalisco, Mexico, from 5 to 9 December 2016. 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 event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 


>> MODERATOR:  Hi, everyone.  Good morning to you all.  We are here to talk about the initiatives in Brazil regards Internet governance, and this is a very quick workshop, I'm going to pass to our speakers.  We have here Gustavo Paiva, and we have Kimberly Anastacio and we have Ephraim from AccessNow in Africa.  Now I give you the floor. 

>> SPEAKER:  Thank you, Renata.  Since our time is limited, I wrote this.  If you're interested, you can read the bigger document.  Let's be quick.  I'm Gustavo Paiva and I'm the student at the federal university in Brazil.  I study law, and I'm the founder of the group of (inaudible), a research group approved by the national council of technical and development focused on Internet law.  I am here to tell you the story of our research group and our students and how the work was impacted by the 2015 at Joao Pessoa. 

Let's begin on the context that led us here.  The image please that I show.  That beautiful place over there is my institution.  I enrolled in 2013, and from day one I only had a mind for Internet law and governance.  In the law course we have quite a few projects, but none absolutely known in Internet law or governance, of course.  Where there's a will there's a way, and I took that opportunity. 

I brought together a handful of students that wanted to follow this path.  Our course didn't have any discipline on the topic, so we knew no one who could teach us.  We just studied by ourselves and shortly after we talked with two professors that agreed to give us some assistance on research. 

Around that time we learned about the IGF.  It was set up to happen in Joao Pessoa less than 200 kilometers, from our town, so, of course, we prepared for it.  It became the landmark in our year. 

The preparatory process by itself was a learning experience.  Just a minute.  That's over there. 

Of course, we had to take a picture of INSERV, of course.  The proprietary process was different unlike any other.  For a newcomer like me, the idea of attending an event was daunting and scary while still exciting and stimulating. 

Still, even after months of dedicated study I did not grasp what the IGF experience was.  On my first day I quickly met people that I read so much about and heard from their perspectives.  I get interactive with activists with so many years of experience who selflessly offered me help and guidance, which, of course, is the very reason why I'm here today.  The IGF was an invaluable learning experience, and today all of my labs from my students are somehow based what I learned. 

I still look at workshops from last year to have fresher content in my mind, and I model my classes around offering more participate and interactivity.  That over there is one of our activities that my research group does.  Ever since the IGF and our experience, we have 13 roundtables and one three‑day series of lectures, which we are offering free, of course, for our students and interested people, even if they are not from the institution. 

We are spreading the word about Internet governance.  In my opinion there is no better way to teach research about governance other than exposing him and her to the reality of our community and the stakeholder for the work.  Were it not for the IGF 2015 happening at Joao Pessoa, most likely I wouldn't have learned it myself.  Our participation in the IGF (inaudible) which in turn resulted in plentiful fruits.  Let's take a look at them. 

Ever since the IGF we divided more efficiently with teams.  We have over 25 researchers, undergrads and postgrad researchers studying in four groups Internet governance and human rights, the economy on the Internet and cybercrime and safe and the most recent one is the electronic process.  

We started assisting other projects in whatever ways we can.  We helped to assemble this roundtable about this point, which was quite successful with the student population, and we worked with assimilation, the United Nations simulation about cyber security, and this year we work in the simulation to simulate the IGF and the topic will be focused on high school students, because we believe it's a population that does need to discuss (inaudible) point.  In 2017 the second semester the law course that our university has two disciplines based on Internet law, which is a big victory for us.  Every semester we have around 100 students studying Internet law and governance, which, again, is a big deal. 

That little slide is a part of the bigger presentation, but that's how we market, and we talk with the students in an accessible language with jokes and whatever.  They like it.  It means a lot to them.  That's our last general assembly, that little head over there is Viviana.  Some of you may know her.  She couldn't come. 

Just some last words.  What is the lesson here that I want to tell you?  I want to tell you that if you look at the ‑‑ the institutions of higher learning, there's a number of potential activists and researchers.  They are students like us who don't quite know where to go and what to eat and what to do.  So many of them are in the dark, and the Internet Governance Forum is a founding stone and shining light for our group. 

We are raising a generation of activists born from it, and wouldn't be here at all if Joao Pessoa wasn't picked at the IGF 2015 host city.  So that's the last slide.  Joao Pessoa gave us the opportunities and it will not be forgotten and changed our lives and institution.  Thank you very much. 

>> MODERATOR:  Thank you, Gustavo.  No I give the floor to Kimberly.  She's from the institute for the Internet and democracy. 

>> SPEAKER:  Good morning to you all.  I'm a student at the University of Brasilia.  I'm part of the institute for Internet and democracy, and I'm part of the youth camp you've seen around since the last IGF in Joao Pessoa.  I'm going to discuss a bit some initiatives related to regional participation in Brasilia. 

I'm from the capital of Brazil, where our national Congress is.  For a long time discussions on Internet Governance were centered in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo and centers like that.  It wasn't a place to be visited for a while when some ministries were building specific bill like the bill in discussion right now on data protection or they came to bra cilia to be part of the public hearings at the House of Representatives. 

When the situation demanded, there was a more focused strategy.  People come to Brasilia to discuss the specific points and it was a focal point on IG discussions but just in these focal moments.  Brasilia was not that central for a long time.  However, we see changes on that, and I'm glad to see I'm watching this situation closely.  At least two research groups are active on IG discussions, and believe me, this number is pretty high, considering our situation.  One of them just recently was created, and besides the Internet our universities show the importance of discussing Internet issues, but we're hosting more and more events on the topics more suitable to discuss the Internet Governance. 

This is awesome.  This is a coalition between many Civil Society organizations and research institutes in Brazil. 

The coalition was created in July, and right now we're trying to make our presence be more effective in the national Congress so that the so‑called digitalized discussions because more evident in our legislative arenas. 

This means we're building a common understanding that it is important to keep an eye on everything going on in Brasilia right now.  We will be engaging in our agenda in Brasilia.  It's important to highlight since Brasilia discusses national problems, it's more into the direction of defending a national solid agenda regarding civil rights where people are participating rather than strict, regional interests from Brasilia. 

I think my city is a great example of engagement between different regional agendas as we have to come together to discuss what's discussed at the national Congress and ministries, but also at the Supreme Court.  Right now we're having a discussion in the Supreme Court. 

So many students are coming to Brasilia to discuss that.  Also, a number of bodies that are in my city that need people talking about Internet‑related issues there.  Brasilia shows the growing importance of the city as Internet issues themselves grow in our national legislative agenda. 

As our representatives start to discuss more Internet issues, we need more people and more agencies and institutes to talk about Internet rights, issues in Brasilia.  This was just a common ground for you to understand what's going on in Brasilia right now and to state that even though many times the center of Internet discussions wasn't specifically Brasilia, with people only coming there to discuss specific points with specific people, right now we have many research groups and activists coming to Brasilia to engage in the legislative agenda.  This is very awesome.  Thanks. 

>> MODERATOR:  Thank you, Kimberly.  Now I give the floor to Ephraim. 

>> SPEAKER:  Hi, everyone.  My name is Ephraim Kenyanito from Ken gentleman but I feel Brazilian because of the energy I get to when I hang onto my friends from Brazil.  I'm not something to speak much because this was initially on the Brazilian experience. 

I wanted to also share experiences from our regional and our interconnection.  I'm a member of the youth coalition on Internet Governance, which from last year of IGF in Joao Pessoa has had a great input from folks from Latin America regional and Brazil as well.  We went to the U.N., and that was last year in December.  It was a collaborative process with people ‑‑ young people from all over the world, and we just wanted to share these experiences and see where from Brazil, from last year's Brazil IGF, how are we progressing going forward. 

And it is good to share these experiences from the Global South, because of the challenges we face are shared.  Access to resources and information.  To give you that example from the Africa region, we have had the same kind of challenges where people are not available but some of these issues are as you mentioned. 

To just bring this home requires, for example, having resource people, for example, in my region, the biggest resource has been something similar to what you have right now in Latin America.  This is a good mechanism with future activities and people involved in the space.  Just trying to find a way how to link this together, like all our initiatives to share our challenges and our experiences together so that we can learn from each other and see if this works in this part of the world. 

How can we replicate this best practice and bring it somewhere else?  Some of the challenges, for example, you try to do something, and it didn't work.  So you try to assess and see why didn't it work?  Why didn't this research ‑‑ how can we make it better in our different regions?  So it's a pleasure to be here, and yeah, those are my few remarks about this.  Thank you so much. 

>> MODERATOR:  Thank you, Ephraim.  Now, since we have half the session left, we want to open for questions and interventions from the audience.  If anyone ‑‑ if you could join us on the table and to speak, I see a lot of faces here from Brazil, and I'm sure we can, you know, share more experiences, share more initiatives that we know are happening in the regions. 

We have within IGF all the five different regions of Brazil represented.  That's really amazing, because from what I know last year, we didn't have even though there was ( inaudible ).  I'm not sure, but now we have a large number of people from North, and that's very nice.  We don't have many initiatives in ‑‑ related to Internet Governance in that region. 

As Kimberly said, we only have more strong participation here and Sao Paulo.  I'm from the northwest of Brazil, and also in my city we don't have a lot of people who knows what is Internet Governance, even thousand we have an association and we have a commission that deals with Internet law and Internet‑related issues, but it's not expressive. 

So I'm now I'm going to open the mic for anyone who wants to speak, who wants to make an intervention. 

>> AUDIENCE:  Thank you, everybody.  Good morning.  I'm from Sao Paulo State University so I'm very close to the place where IGF was held last year.  I'm currently on leave from university, so I've been in Europe.  It was a really a shame not to be in IGF close to my hometown last year, but I'm very glad to see the developments IGF has caused. 

I think we're talking basically about interaction and integration.  It says a lot to me, for example, that Gustavo brings to the table we don't have Internet law courses around in institutions, and that the lack of communication we have through others, in our university we have the course for 18 years now. 

We started in 1990s.  It's about 18 years of the course.  We also study our research that is called (inaudible) and it stands for jurisdiction law and technology in Portuguese.  We clearly lack this integration.  It took a global, worldwide event for us to get in contact.  The professor from the (inaudible) is also a person very engaged globally and mainly regional in this area. 

He's someone I met here in Mexico.  After a long time, we have been interacting.  So I guess it's not the national discussion in Brazil is taken to neglect the region very well represented and also the roundtable concerning national issues.  I think there's more to that.  We have regional needs. 

One experience I'd like to show you is the fact that we have a very interesting thing about Brazilian universities which is the ought tone muss universities outside the base of the university.  This is not common in Europe.  The university usually belongs to the city.  I guess it's probably the case in the United States, also. 

I don't know about here in Mexico, if the universities Guadalajara stands in other cities also, but in Brazil for example taking my University is independent of the units including one in the correction center.  So it spreads all over the state. 

It creates a natural network of the necessities and the same realities.  So maybe we could build up on this experience that we have concerning Brazilian ‑‑ mostly public institutions who are based in more than one place and spread their reach across other places in the region, and use this to a little bit more to maybe enhance even more expenses we have heard from IGF.  Thanks. 

>> MODERATOR:  Anyone else?  Yes. 

>> AUDIENCE:  So hi, everybody.  I'm also Brazilian and I work with Internet Society, and I'm from the Sao Paulo, one of the hubs on those discussions.  I'm going to jump in anyway, because I think there is ‑‑ I'm going to bring two experiences we have in other forums that might be useful as I hear what Claudio said on the first point, which is within the creation of national IGFs, one of the challenges is how to bring people together from different stakeholder groups and how we make it happen, the dialogue. 

One of the things that's successful is to identify the top issues you were talking about.  As Claudio was saying, look for the synergies.  We turn the two or three main topics on Internet Governance and issues that make a difference in your region.  You can feel that into the national IGF or plans or whatever. 

You came in with a clear standing position and action items.  Those are the issues we face.  That's what we need to tackle, and those are the networks or the resources we have. 

So this really makes a difference.  The other one is so we've been working now on Internet Society on creating this distributed event.  What do I mean by that?  It's bringing people together using the Internet.  The very thing we're talking about called InterCommunity and your graphic barriers are important and face‑to‑face meetings are important. 

Like Claudio and Gustavo when we see in meetings in other countries, make use of the Internet.  Try to create more of this not only remote participation and talking about really, really online participation.  So just to get it flowing. 

>> SPEAKER:  Just to compliment what Raquel was saying.  As I said in any dissertation, I'm working with a coalition that gathers Civil Society activists from all over the country.  Each discussion has the interests, but at the coalition we work remotely and everybody from different regions, and we see this clearly. 

And then we first ask together what exactly is our preferences as a group?  What we think it really is what defines us as a group, apart from our specialties, and then we work together collectively.  We mostly do the job in Brazil in the National Congress, so it's just an exact of what exactly Raquel was saying, and it's awesome. 

>> AUDIENCE:  We have seven more minutes, so we're going to Claudio.  Interaction and integration, you said.  That's right.  I do believe you're quite right.  The problem we face is that at least for what I see is we have many layers of well‑developed projects.  We have the CGI, for example, and all these incredibly well‑developed projects, and we are, let's say, down near the bottom and try to directly communicate with the student population. 

I think all this discussion is very enlightening actually, because we are still trying to perfect our approach.  So thank you all at least for me it was very, very enlightening. 

>> AUDIENCE:  Hi.  I'm Pao from Malaysia.  I was here in Brazil to attend this forum.  (Inaudible).  The Internet is very, very difficult and very, very expensive.  Would it be reasonable to consider making sure that the Internet access to universally available through Brazil before you talk about that?  Thank you.  

>> SPEAKER:  You said Pao, is that right?  Well, the fact is Internet access in Brazil is not universal yet, certainly not.  We're fixing many issues.  I for example, can't directly act with universalizing the Internet.  There are many stakeholders, and we are doing what we can with the resources we can, and I think these are not mutual exclusive battles, but you're quite right.  The Internet access is not universal in Brazil. 

In many places it's expensive.  In my town ‑‑ I don't live in a town.  I live in a very small town near by, and the Internet access there is difficult.  That actually is a problem with participating in Internet Governance issues.  There are many battles in doing what we can with our resources. 

>> MODERATOR:  It's always nice to see everyone here discussing, and I believe we came up with enlightenings that we should be discussing, and that's why we're here.  I believe we can continue.  I was going to say ‑‑ we still have a few days, so we can continue to think on how we can engage different stakeholder groups in different regions and in different countries, because Internet Governance is a global thing. 

It should be a global thing.  I believe that's it.  Thank you all for coming, and thank you all. 

 >> SPEAKER:  Thank you, everyone.  It's been a big honor and pleasure having you.

(Session ended at 9:27 a.m.)