The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF intervention. 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, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> MODERATOR: We have a number of interesting panelists from a number of Regions and hope to have an interesting discussion also after the panelists. So to give you a quick introduction, let me just quickly tell a few words about why we as a Swiss Government care increasingly about this issue. Like everybody with the pandemic, we know why the sharing of data could be or is used for the public benefit to improve people's lives. Not just in healthcare area, but also with climate change and the use in a responsible and efficient use of energy and finance, mobility, education, and a number of other issues.
So for us, we witness in our country and assume in other countries is basically we want empowered citizens that are free and responsible and share data with others on the basis of trust and benefit from this data to help make our societies ‑‑ the quality of life in our societies better to help create the economic innovation. But it is not necessarily always happening.
For several reasons, citizens today have limited control over the data. There is increasing concentration among big actors that control more data of people but also the general public and also industries. Other hurdles, legal ones, skill ones, and insufficient incentives for data sharing, among companies, among citizens, but also among the Public Sector. All of this of course is leading to a certain mistrust in the use of data.
So what we have been doing in the last few years, looking into this. We have been thinking about how we can improve this.
We realize the notion of digital self‑determination. They ideally get a share of the benefit that is created with data. And with this, trustworthy data spaces are needed. Not all are trustworthy. That is for public and private data spaces. So we have been looking into what are the ‑‑ what are the elements that make people trust in data spaces. Because trust is not something that can be ordered from above. Trust is something that needs to be earned. Of course, as a rule‑based society, for us, it is clear that there are rules, some principles that if they are there, if they are seen in a data space, this contributes to making it a trustworthy data space. We have identified a number of principles, that in our view are key to making data spaces trustworthy. One is transparency, another is accountability. The other one is the question of control of the people of the uses of the citizens, but also for SMEs and other companies. Of course, efficiency and fairness are also important principles.
We have issued a report that was adopted by our Government in this March that lays out in more detail how these principles can be implemented into something that would help data spaces to become more trustworthy. And we have decided or it has been decided by the Government, we were tasked with elaborating on national level voluntary code of conduct for data spaces where those that operate or decide on the governance of data spaces have a key role. All participants in such data spaces should be particle of developing such a governance. And in addition to that, also of course, because we're a small country and data normally don't stop at our borders. Of course, we have an interest of getting together with all of the actors in Europe across the world that have an interest of fostering trustworthy data spaces and digital self‑determination and make data spaces interoperable so people can benefit all over the world from sharing data and improve their own personal lives. I will stop here. This is just an introduction to say why we do care a lot about this issue. And we have four great people on the panel. They're all sharing our space virtually, which is also kind of a data space. But we do trust the IGF that we can freely participate in this virtual space that we are sharing today. So let me first go to Magdalena Jozwiak. I hope I pronounce it correctly. She's an associate researcher, CEPS, and a Fellow of the Datasphere initiative. An initiative that has been created recently based in Geneva that also has a strong focus or has a focus on promoting the trustworthy use of data.
Magdalena Jozwiak as a Datasphere Fellow. You have a focus on human rights. So for you, which elements are essential in your perspective? Can you tell us more about the main principles like I said, such as transparency and the role of such principles could be in national or international regulations? Magdalena Jozwiak, please go ahead.
Maybe she does not trust this space. We'll give her a few seconds ‑‑
>> MAGDALENA JOZWIAK: I'm here. Perfect. I was muted and could not unmute myself, I was waiting on the system to unmute me. Thank you so much for inviting me to this panel. Indeed, I appreciate the enthusiasm for the concept of self‑determination. Thank you for your question, also.
So indeed, in the past year I was part of the first cohort of fellows at the Datasphere initiative. In my work as a Fellow, I was looking at the approach to data governance. Perhaps I will describe what Datasphere is. The main concept is it re‑imagines data governance as a complex system of interactions between people, norms, and data. Such organization allows to escape the fragmentary approach to data. For example, based on sector, of economic activity or kinds of data involved.
Now, within the model of Datasphere, human rights belong to the normative layer that regulates the behavior of actors in the Datasphere. However, the connection between data governance and human rights is challenging, since the existing approach to data and human rights is based on set of dichotomies and very arbitrary divisions.
First, I will sketch out little bit of the challenges in approaching both data and human rights. So first, the division is, for example, division between personal and nonpersonal data.
Second division that I include here is division between protection of individual and community interest. And third, it is between responsibilities of public and private actors. Such dichotomies reflect certain assumptions about data as being mainly an economic asset. So the existing model of data governance represents a specific set of interests. Those are interests of large actors and states in which they generate economic profit.
Under this model, data, once appropriated is used to generate immense value with those who have capacity to manage it. However, this is arbitrary and false.
Back to the first dichotomy, thanks to the Brussels effect of the GDPR and elsewhere, we currently have a situation where in theory that data is protected at sacrosanct manner and nonpersonal data doesn't receive protection.
We know the distinction between what is personal and nonpersonal is fluid and very much personal data can be inferred from sets of nonpersonal data. Moreover ‑‑ going back to the idea of transparency, which furthers the protection of human rights, much of the processing of personal data is under this concept, we know it is ineffective. The transparency supposes that the individual is giving constant ‑‑ based on a rational calculus as a rational actor. Who has enough knowledge to control the data based on their access. This only creates an illusion of control. There is literature of how the mechanism fosters frustration and phenomenon called digital resignation, interview of the inscrutable power of online actors. Similar division between individual and community interest neglects the fact that it impacts the human rights in broader community. Focus is here on individual harm rather than broader community interests. For example, my concept to processing the data is for filing others into certain categories, thereby limiting their rights to nondiscrimination and privacy and fault. The private and public actor impact the enjoyment of human rights and shape how the rights framework works.
So public actors are bound by the human rights framework. But this wasn't until horizontally. It was only vertically. Private companies escape much scrutiny and never mind the impact on the most human rights and generally on the functioning of democratic institutions. The private transparency of private companies is based on voluntary disclosures and allows them to escape scrutiny.
Now what we know now about private platforms based on whistle blower activity rather than platforms coming to the terms of the fact that with enormous power comes enormous responsibility. We need to rethink the norms around data to protect the values that are at the core of existing normative framework.
And to adapt them to the complexities of Datasphere that largely blurs the divisions.
Before I finish my talk ‑‑ I will quickly, not to end on a negative note, I would like to map out approaches in the literature as a way forward to more transparency, accountability, and value driven Datasphere.
First, of the past years, there are multiple initiatives and alternative forms of data governance that have emerged, being proposed like data comments, data trusts, data cooperatives, they're all in the preliminary form of conceptualization, but offer at a minimum, a starting point of reforms in the current dominant model of data as economic asset.
Second, there is a growing legal scholarship in the field of digital constitutionalism, which approaches data governance from the constitutional perspective. Which means it focuses on main two main tasks of constitution.
So first, the controlling power. And second, protection of human rights. So digital constitutionalism extends these tasks beyond states and recognizes that impact of private power in the fundamentals of democracy. The digital self‑determination very much corresponds to the new trends and could be very well encapsulated in the different other proposals.
I will finish here. I believe I run out of my time. Once again, thank you. And I look forward to discussion.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Magdalena Jozwiak for these inspiring thoughts and indeed as was said idea on a panel, we need to rethink some notions about private data and nonprivate data, data protection, and develop this into new approaches that are more to create incentives and not lose control. We will go to Marilia Maciel. The head of digital commerce and Internet policy at DiploFoundation.
So in your view what are the effects of digital and data governance on the trade sector and international level. Where do you see the limitations on the trade space, as you were part of the Working Group and improvement of the IGF. With this experience in mind, how do you think the discussion on digital and self‑determination data governance fits as we move forward with the work? What is already existing in terms of governance processes? What flora could be leveraged? Thank you very much.
Will someone unmute Marilia Maciel? She's in the middle of the screen. The one pointing her finger opinion that is her.
>> MARILIA MACIEL: Thank you very much. Thank you, Thomas. Good afternoon everyone on at the site and online. It is a pleasure to represent Diplo in the discussion. First, we need to establish that data and data governance are key to trade discussions today. Data is an enabler of trade. In the context of economy, it is key for processing payments, providing information to consumers, logistics, tracking, after sales activities.
At the same time, packets of data may carry the digitized version of products which are commercialized. Think about e‑books, music streaming, software, for example. And finally we see an increasing number of hybrid products, which are basically products, goods that have embedded services in them.
Let's think for instance, of an Apple Watch. The bulk of the value added lies not in the watch itself, but on the services that are heavily reliant on data that the watch carries.
So as a digital economy matures from a governance perspective, it is easy to see that regulation has moved from protecting data as intellectual property and excluding others from using it to a focus on promoting safe transparent, trustworthy mechanisms for data sharing as a way to unlock the value of data today.
Nationally, data spaces and proposal that has been advanced by Switzerland is a shift. Such as data free flows with trust, which is an idea championed by Japan and carried forward by the G20. Data flows have been included in the free trade agreements and commerce negotiations in the WTO, which aid to reach a plurilateral binding agreement.
What we see today at the international level is while we're discussing about data governance in digital policy spaces, data governance is being done via plural lateral agreements, via trade agreements. What do the agreements say about data?
First, they try to establish a principle between the contracting parties, a general principle that says data should flow freely across borders. And at the same time they try to form narrowly the exceptions of the principle of free data flows. For instance, to protect privacy in data protection or when national security is involved.
There are important limitations when tackling data and data governance purely from a trade perspective. So far, the discussions in the trade area have had little consideration for the role that data plays on industrial policies and development. No exceptions today seeking to protect the policy space of Government that aim to impose certain limits on free data flows, aiming to protect data in the international territory. The developments have been scant.
Another important limitation is that from data ‑‑ when we discuss data from a trade perspective, there is data flowing from the Internet that is not necessarily trade related. Think for instance, about machine to machine communication. So regulation, when it is done from a trade perspective, it risks to be over comprehensive and to regulate data that is not trade related data. Data is a cross‑cutting, multidisciplinary topic. There is human rights, freedom of expression, freedom from discrimination, complications and so on, this wants to deal with the connections between different areas.
This is a question that we need to ask ourselves. And because data is fundamental and relevant not only for businesses but also for individuals, are trade negotiations the best place to build trust between Governments, individuals, and businesses that we have been discussing in this session?
First, we need transparency. Trade negotiations today are opaque. We don't know what is going on. The proposals are not on the WTO, for instance. We have an idea, but don't the direction the negotiations are moving.
There is no participation from non‑Governmental actors. Trade negotiations are Governmentally driven and only Governments participate in the negotiations and only Governments are in the room. The whole idea of multistakeholder involvement is lost.
When we look at trade discussions today because they are focused on trade and they do not take into account other issues such as human rights for instance, I tend to think that we need another home to discuss data governance, a home that could be harbored in the IU structure. This is an idea is advanced in a discussion held last year. Where to park that discussion ‑‑ perhaps I should stop here, not to be normative, but to let other people come in and perhaps have their own ideas where it could be taken in the U.N. if there is a space in the U.N. to discuss these issues. Over to you, Thomas.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Marilia Maciel. All of those looking for the space to discuss various aspects of data governance, data is already discussed, decisions are taken, basically, mainly from a trade perspective, and this is something many people sometimes forget. It is very good that you hinted at this. That hopefully will then be picked up in the discussion about where else maybe should data be discussed? Should principles and rules be developed?
With this, I will hand over to Roger Dubach. He's the Deputy Director of directorate of international law at the Swiss foreign ministry. Roger Dubach has been working on this with us and one of the key drivers to try and place this issue in the international environment.
So nationally, we're drafting our code of conduct for trustworthy data spaces, but how do we connect how such national efforts tie in with international governance mechanisms? How do we ensure that such efforts don't contribute to further regulatory fragmentation if everything is done on national level? How can we create a positive agenda for future global framework? Over to you Roger.
>> ROGER DUBACH: Thank you very much, Thomas. Yeah. I mean, I would like to start with one thought about what does it mean, digital self‑determination and governance? I think it is important to start with that. That saying somehow we realize that it is very difficult to go directly from the idea of digital self‑determination to the global governance discussion on data. And so somehow we identified together that it is very good to start with the data spaces. And then we try to see how digital self‑determination can take form within the data space.
At the very beginning, when we were talking together about data spaces, there was not that much talking about governance. It was just more how can we operationalize a data space.
And finally, we realize that talking about interoperability between data spaces or how to build data spaces and make them interoperable, then you are completely within the governance discussion. So as you already mentioned, Thomas, the report we have produced for the Government, we will draft a report on a national level on a voluntary basis.
We try to figure out, okay, what are the key principles to build trustworthy data spaces, which are based on digital self‑determination? And we are working on that. The key principles you will have mentioned them in the beginning, in your introductory remarks.
And so we are with this code of conduct aiming at building trustworthy and human‑centered data spaces. And one thing, which is very important, have already been said by my previous speakers, we definitely want to overcome this kind of dichotomy between privacy and data use. Or data protection and data use.
Now, what does it mean for the international context? First of all, on the national level we have built a kind of network, national network for producing this code of conduct. We're establishing a parallel network on the international level.
We see now the approach for national code of conduct as a contribution to the national discussion. It should not be a fragmentation, not at all. But more on the contrary, we will suggest something for the international discussion.
With the international network we are also discussing this idea of trustworthy data spaces, how to build them. So there should be a pain point and back and forth between the national and international level. And our idea is also to include the international discussion or the international thinking on how to establish trustworthy data spaces, within the national code of conduct. I personally hope that today's discussion will also bring some more insights for us, for the work we're doing on a national level. And of course, discussions like today are very important for starting the international discussion on trustworthy data spaces.
I think the thing that is lacking, I think that is what we are discussing today is now where could we have those discussions? Because finally, what we would like to achieve is ‑‑ (audio from speaker dropped)
>> MODERATOR: So we seem to have lost Roger. Maybe he will come in later. I think what he was going to say is what we would like to achieve is that we first of all, all stakeholders together, what we did creating a multistakeholder on national level that not just one, but many networks emerged and continue to emerge on international level that involve as many stakeholders as possible, so we get to a global understanding. That is complementary to what is happening in the trade sector and picks up also the other aspects that are as important, as we have heard.
If Roger doesn't come back, I'm sure he will participate in the discussion. We'll move over to the last speaker and open the floor. We have welcome to Pari Estefani. The co‑founder and President of the Global TechnoPolitics Forum. Pari Estefani as you are reflecting on the question of data governance, which is controversial, how does the geopolitical landscape that we have been witnessing recently impact this discussion?
Is there a chance to discuss this issue in a more holistic way in the current political climate? If yes, what form should these discussions take place. If no, what should we do.
I see Roger is back. I have moved over to Pari Estefani, we'll have further discussion. Pari Estefani how should we move forward. Thank you for your reflections and insights.
If you could unmute Pari Estefani, that would be nice. We are getting there, I think.
>> PARI ESTEFANI: Thank you very much. Thank you. I want to thank IGF for the timely debate and all the work that you have done. As we all realize, as Governments became aware of the economic value of data, it became a geopolitical concern.
Today, how data is controlled, collected, stored, protected, and used, and transferred over national borders all has become geopolitical, you know, the issues and concern.
Inevitably the governance runs into the difference of ideological Regions of the Internet and fundamental cultural divides. Conceptions range from Washington's market based Internet, with a model that if data is the new oil let's drill it.
There is the EU's approach that wants to regulate if they could figure out how. And there is the Beijing authoritarian regime, where we control this as we control everything else.
There are countries that influence the policies and actions. For example, privacy is different in China, United States and Europe. And even between allies like Europe and United States, we see that emphasis put on issues differs.
For example, U.S. emphasize freedom of speech when we see that EU emphasize privacy.
We have to allow for these, which adds another layer of complexity. Another issue to consider is that over last few decades, the global context has moved from immediately organized Cold War between two superpowers, mainly Russia and its allies on one side and United States and its allies on another side with limits interaction between the two sides, to global village, with open borders and dependable economies.
It is a multifaceted context where China is a superpower and other rising powers, such as India, which interestingly remains poor but technologically advanced. And there is a venue that is larger than many GDP.
During the pandemic we saw the geopolitical power of local Government as cities created their own global networks. Add to this Civil Society, which is becoming far more visible and influential force in the global scene. We are living in a different world.
When it comes to geopoliticals, alliance matters.
And while the lines are visible, alliance are far more complex and opportunistic. This is how the deciders, the countries that have not aligned firmly matter. We also should realize that global data and Internet Governance represent a scattered multistakeholder, bottom‑up, and driven by loose coordination among valued players.
Data governance can be thought of as incorporating a triangle of national States, Private Sector and profits and adding to the complexity I'm trying to describe, there are issues in governing the digital domain overlap.
Cut cross policies and even conflicts. For example, a force to safeguard with digital privacy requirements and digital trade covers many conflicts, which creates standards and norms that are required to safeguard universal values for global and international interests, such as environment, human rights, privacy and could limit the scope of free digital trade. Going to the complex geopolitical scene. It is clear that the overarching governance for data is essential as it maybe seems unlikely soon. A good deal of fragmentation exists now and likely to continue.
Add to this complexity the Internet ecosystem given the rapid technological changes. Those characteristics that make it hard to governor are offer stability and interchangeability. It is critical in this context, where many actors with the different access are interacting. It allows the actors to cooperate despite disagreements in others.
In this situation, I believe that agreements on principles become an essential, which Maria was explaining that in trade you're acting on principle. I think it is an essential starting point in establishing a regime critical move.
I will stop here, because it seems that I am running over time, but there is a lot to discuss. I hope I can come back and add more. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much Pari Estefani for this interesting contribution and also for hinting at the Internet and the way it is set up and the number of layers above it actually allow for interaction, interoperability despite some difference at least. And that there is hope that although we may not agree in the near future on fundamental principles and global data governance, but cooperation is still possible, it is still happening.
With this, let me open the floor to all of you present here in the room. And also online. For those online, please raise your hands. Because I don't see the Zoom room when somebody is speaking. I would hope that the technicians and whoever else point to me when hands are raised. So please, what do you think of what you heard? How do we move on to make sure the data is more used, that the potential of data is seized, but at the same time leaving the control over the data to people while empowering people that they can take decisions on their own on how and what for the data is used.
What do we need to do in particular on international level? How can we move this forward? That is the question to all of you. Who would like to start reacting?
>> PARI ESTEFANI: I will start by adding that multistakeholder is at the moment involved in many of the actions, do you hear me?
>> MODERATOR: Yes, we hear you. That is fine.
>> PARI ESTEFANI: At the moment, off other actors are using the consultation. I think there is need to incorporate them far more than in just consultation level. But that is even a good start.
But the key I think for progress is to recognize that these other actors matter and are involved in envisioning the frontiers of the innovation and supposed to bring them into the space and communicate with them. So that's I think one of the problems I see is that the space remains dominated by Governments and we see little input from other actors.
That I think and also when I talk about actors I'm not talking ‑‑ I think it is also important to bring Governments from developing world in an equal basis. So that democratization into the space. That is what I want to emphasize.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Pari Estefani. Comments, questions? Beto. A hand is up. Since we're here on the African continent, it is interesting to hear, especially from people on this continent, what are your needs? What is necessary on international level to also make sure that people, businesses in Africa can benefit from sharing of data. Just as a reminder to ail. Beto, go ahead.
>> Thank you, Thomas. I'm the Chief officer of the Datasphere initiative. It is great to have Magdalena Jozwiak speaking on this. I want to insert one element, that we're seeing at the moment a proliferation of expression, data cooperative, fiduciary, trusts, et cetera. We can put that under a single umbrella, data communities and how they organize themselves. It is connected to the notion data spaces and digital self‑determination. One of the things the Datasphere initiative is important is to look at how the different data communities organize themselves internally and how they organize with other data communities.
This is why we are pushing the notion of developing beyond the code of conduct and overarching principles. The notion of data templates for such communities so it organizes who participates and what are the rules within a particular structure? What is the distribution of responsibilities and what is shared and what is the purpose of such a data community?
In the parallel, that is including the distribution of value within the community in what is produced by the sharing of data.
There is a need to develop something that is inspired by the concept of creative comments. Can we develop licenses that are machine implementable that would allow different data communities to organize in a structured manner the exchange of data in a trusted environment. And also make the barrier for cooperation and barrier for sharing as low as possible in a way that is respectful of all the different rights and protections.
And that's the reason why we place this under the concept of self‑determination and self‑organization. At the same time, under the overarching mission and vision that is pushed by the Datasphere initiative, which is to responsibly unlock the value of data for all. So that we can address both personal and nonpersonal data. We can develop both social and economic value. And we can make sure that there is more data that is made accessible than some of the restrictions that are put in place. But at the same time, it is done with the sufficient protections to avoid the negative impacts of sharing without sufficient frameworks.
So this notion of developing Charters for data communities and licenses for the relationship between the communities, especially cross‑border, is one of the key ways to implement the digital self‑determination so the whole data society is data‑driven society is built from the bottom up through the proliferation of a very large number of data communities that responsibly unlock the value of data for all.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much Bertrand for introducing this notion of Charters for data communities. Further comments, questions from the room? Let me take two from the First Lady here next to me. Yes, please?
>> ATTENDEE: Okay. Good afternoon, thank you so much. I am part of the youth program in Brazil and part of a data protection officer at an NGO. I would like to give a question to Marilia Maciel but also answers how you can back minorities. For example, in education research where we try to understand, the engender or lack of race in access to education. How to make this information useful to understand the challenges that we have in providing equal access?
But also how is it possible to make it more secure for population that is already dealing with disabilities. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: You have been asked to answer, Marilia Maciel. If the technician can unmute Marilia Maciel so she can respond.
>> MARILIA MACIEL: I can unmute myself now. Thank you for this question. I think I can share a few ideas. I think the first gap we have is mechanisms for data measurement. And we use certain proxies to measure data that flows across borders such as international bandwidth that are not very precise. Even thinking in the broader terms about the digital economy, we need to improve the measurements that we have in terms of data flows, to understand where data is flowing from and where it is flowing to, what kind of data we're talking about so we have a better idea of what is a trade agency and what is not.
Going one level down to your question when it comes to certain kinds of data, one connection to make more strongly is how data can support the SDGs, I think we force ourselves to think about that when we write our IGF proposals, but there is a very interesting discussion going on in the broader U.N. system about the SDGs and data has not been specifically mentioned, but it has been included in the conversations after that.
So data for better policymaking, for better planning. Data that is really fine tunes information about certain ages. Information about gender. This is something that those that collect data need to be much more sensitized to that. Not only Government but the Private Sector as well. We can work for better policy in this data that is granular and broken down.
In trade we see that. We say trade helps SME and it is important for gender inclusion. However we still lack data to back that up and design really national policies to support that on the grassroots level. That is an important point. Over to you, Thomas.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Marilia Maciel. I have seen another hand up from the person in red. The lady. Please move forward to the microphone. I see another hand up on the remote participants. Push the button and it will turn from green to read.
>> ATTENDEE: I'm with the tumbler institute. My question is around one of the comments made by a speaker, I don't remember who exactly. On using or leveraging trade agreement to discuss data governance as a whole. I think looking at the context in Africa, we had in 2014 the convention which was meant to harmonize data policies and data laws across Africa. But it was not signed by many countries. I think until this point, only 13 or 14 countries signed that agreement.
With the AFTA, the Africa free trade agreement coming into action, you see countries wanting to develop their own data policies and laws. And in a way, they're using trade ‑‑ trade is an incentive for them to participate in developing their own local or national level frameworks. I want to understand where you are coming from when you say, you know, maybe trade agreements are not the right avenue. Given the fact that to act, Governments need incentive. It is to leverage for their own economic development. Therefor they're working towards building the laws to support that. That is my question.
I don't remember the person that asked or made the comment. If they remember, maybe they can come on and just speak to that. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Yes, thank you. It was Marilia Maciel if I am not mistaken. That is a very good challenging question. What is the problem? Is the good that at least in trade agreements we have governance ideas and policies reflected?
>> MARILIA MACIEL: Thank you for the question. It is a very good question. Many times trade is essential to join the discussion because it is more concrete to them. There is no problem in discussing data in trade conversations. It is inevitable to do that.
There are two points to bear in mind. One is that there is a lot of knowledge that has been developed in other spaces that can be fed into trade conversations. So e‑commerce discussions at WTO for instance, are discussing privacy and data collection. We have a convention celebrated within the Council of Europe 108 is open to non‑European countries to join.
Instead of starting discussions from scratch, why are we not inviting other countries to join this convention that provides a good framework of data protection. Network neutrality is another example.
In IGF we have a dynamic Coalition that has come forward with a model of network neutrality that can be extremely relevant for trade negotiators to take into account. However, if you talk to negotiators at the WTO they will say oh, network neutrality they call open Internet access. This is an easy topic. It is one we will negotiate in the first month and it will be over soon. We know how divisive network neutrality has been. This could provide a good blueprint for negotiations. They're not aware of it.
And when we discuss the trade table we invert the logic. Think about privacy and data protection. If you are with Council of Europe, you will discuss it as an end goal. You are there to protect privacy. In a trade agency they will come up with a discussion is less harm to trade. It is to benefit trade negotiation. It will be a less protective solution than if you were in a human right privacy discussion. The tradeoffs we need to bear in mind.
The topics need to be included. There is no coming back. However, we need to understand that data is broader than trades. We need a space to bring together the trade community with the human rights community with the competition community to discuss data issues from a more holistic perspective.
I wish good luck to the continent free trade area. It is the way to discuss it on the continent. It is the only way African countries will make their voices heard on international negotiations, if they can negotiate together collectively as an enlarged market because they are sometimes small and developing countries. It can be improved but mind the connections to be made. Thomas.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Marilia Maciel. Isabel has her hand up. She's watching the chat. There seems to be an interesting question in the chat. If you can unmute, yes, Isabel, go ahead.
>> Thank you. I have a question from Amir. I hope I'm saying their name right. From the Iranian economic community. The question is, what is the relation between the unilateral coercive measures in digital world and digital self‑determination, of Nations? Specifically Internet related sanctions in domains like access, digital resources, technology, and capacity building that are being applied by some States against other Nations? That could be a great barrier toward development of goals and constitutes violations of human rights obligations. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you for the very interesting question. Who would like to dare to give an answer?
So again, it is a question that is gearing more towards say cultural and geopolitical differences and how we deal with this in the global environment.
>> PARI ESTEFANI: I will try to answer. Ha‑ha. So I think when the issue happened with Ukraine -- when the invasion of Ukraine happened, it showed actually a gap in digital governance globally. Because the sanctions came about and we realize we don't really have a set mechanism there in dealing with sanctions. Because sanctions had some implication for the global Internet connectivity. We realize there is a gap there.
Going back to the question in unilateral sanction or action against a country, that is more of a political concept between the two countries. In general, I think we need to discuss issue of sanctions and in far more general basis and come up with better understanding of sanctions that Internet could within the data community, we could impose or are acceptable to impose. That area, I believe remains a gray area in terms of sanctions. I don't know if that helped at all Amir.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, I think I have seen Roger has his hand up as well. Roger, as a specialist on international law from a foreign ministry, maybe you also have ideas about how to deal with the idea of ‑‑ or the fact that sanctions exist that limit exchange. How should we deal with this? And maybe also to ask you what do you think, in addition to at the WTO where we discuss the trade aspects, where would you see that the discussion on data and other aspects of data including human rights, self‑determination, where should we discuss this. I see that UNCTA is active, do we need to create a world United Nations data organization? Where do you see that we can bring all of this together? Thank you, Roger.
>> ROGER DUBACH: Thank you very much, Thomas. That is of course, the big question in the end, where we should discuss all of the data governance issues. I mean, first of all, I very much agree with Marilia Maciel that it shouldn't be limited to the trade discussions. Then to the question of Amir, first of all ... I wanted to make one remark we make quite often in the sense that for us, digital self‑determination is not the same as digital sovereignty.
We try to use this in a quite distinct manner in the sense that at least in Europe, there is a lot of discussion about digital sovereignty, which means how a state can still be somewhere in control or in charge in the digital world because there are clear limitations to it. But the approach with digital self‑determination comes more from a digital perspective, it can be companies, bigger entities, but it is not a discussion about sovereignty, from States.
And then finally, where the discussion should take place, that's a very difficult one. As we have this question from Amir, I think it is very important not to start with the geopolitical issues when we talk about data governance. Otherwise, it will be immediately blocked.
So I think we should try to find the space where geopolitical dimension is less dominant than in others. I mean, one area of course, you mentioned ONDAT and that interesting avenue. I can imagine that we try also to get closer to the statistical area. I think in statistics there are a lot of interesting discussions on data ongoing. And up to now, I have the impression that there the political dimension is less big than in other foras.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much Roger. Indeed, it is important to see the difference between a notion of self‑sovereignty of a state that is able to defend him or itself against maybe attacks or against dependencies, and the self‑determination of people that have ‑‑ try to have control over their lives through keeping control over their data and of course, smaller companies, so on, so that is a complementary issue. It is not necessarily ‑‑ or definitely not the same.
Thank you also for your point about we should try and go for let's say let's ideological areas and start from fact‑based.
I take this as that. We had the U.N. world data Forum that was taking place last year in Switzerland. And there is the next one that is already at the horizon. I think somewhere in the Arab Region. This is definitely a good hint that we could actually try and link those that deal with statistical data, in order to bring these two communities together. Because also our experience on national level is statistical people live in different world sometimes than those that deal with regulatory or trade aspect or human rights. It is good to bring them together.
This is a good point to start with. Of course, this is not the start or end of the issue, just the end of this session. I would like to thank you all, encourage you all to help us move this issue forward so that the awareness and importance of data governance is still growing and that we find in addition to the IGF, which is one important space, that we find more additional spaces where this is discussed. And when discussions are made that they are made on the basis of holistic approach and not just with a particular view on something like trade or something else. Thank you very much for this interesting exchange. And yeah. Looking forward to future exchanges. Thank you all online and present here in the room. Thank you.