IGF 2022 Day 1 Open Forum #49 Advancing Digital Inclusion through the Freedom Online Coalition: Responding to Internet Fragmentation – RAW

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual 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: Hi.  Can you hear me?  Great.  This is a good start.

I won't say any more because I don't want for that to change.

Welcome.  I am in Addis, as you can see.  And we are just waiting for people to arrive.  Thank you all for being so timely.  And we will get started soon.  I think you can see the room.  Yep.  Okay.

I am going to join my laptop again and then I will start the session in a few minutes.  Okay?

>> NUSA TOMIC: Hi, everyone.  Apparently the Internet is down in the building.  So Sheetal is over there on the ground, so, she is trying.  So I am text messaging with her.  And I will let you know as soon as we find out more.  Sorry, guys.

>> SHEETAL KUMAR: Can you hear me?

>> CAROLINA ROSSINI: Yes.  Hi, Sheetal.  We can.

>> SHEETAL KUMAR: It's not great.

>> CAROLINA ROSSINI: There are lots of folks already in our room.

>> SHEETAL KUMAR: We can try this.  There's an echo when I speak?  So what I could suggest is I mute myself.  You don't have to listen to the intro.

And then I ask the questions to you each.  And then I keep it like this and you intervene in this way.  Oh, no.  It's working fine.  I'm sorry.  Gosh.  My brain is ‑‑ all right.  We are ready to go.


>> CAROLINA ROSSINI: You are on mute.  I don't know if you're talking to us or somebody there.

>> SHEETAL KUMAR: I'm talking to everyone.  Can you ‑‑ you can hear me?  Can you hear me?


>> SHEETAL KUMAR: Okay.  I don't know what is going on.  Okay.  So, let's keep going.  Okay.  All right.

Take two or three.  In any case, welcome again, to those of you in the room and online, to the six on advancing digital inclusion through the Freedom Online Coalition responding to Internet fragmentation.  My name is Sheetal Kumar and I'm the head of global advocacy at Global Partners Digital and I will be moderating this session, GDP provides the Support Unit for the Freedom Online Coalition.  And I think I can say on behalf of my colleagues in the Support Unit, that it has been a pleasure to support Canada and its chairship this year of the FOC and, of course, all member states of the FOC in their work to promote and defend human rights online.

And the goal of this session, in particular, is to raise awareness of the technical policy, legal, regulatory measures and actions that are currently pose a threat to an open Internet.

And what we intend to do is to build on conversations that global affairs Canada has already conducted this year, multistakeholder roundtables on this very important topic as well as the work of the policy network on Internet fragmentation of the IGF.  And to discuss the intended and unintended causes and effects of Internet fragmentation.

So, we are joined by our panelists, who are online.  And I will introduce them as we go along and as we go through the panel.  But I want to encourage you to think about the questions that we will come on to after the panelists have come in with their interventions.  We will have an open discussion.  So, please start to think about and if you are online, start to pose your questions in the chat.  And think about what steps can the FOC take to prevent fragmentation and safeguard the fundamental interoperability of the global Internet.

When governments seek to address challenges on online space, there is a risk that some of the responses can result in fragmentation.  How can the FOC ensure that responses are proportionate?

How can the FOC work with Civil Society and industry to promote education and digital literacy.  And how do we ensure that under‑represented voices are included in addressing this very important topic?

So do start thinking about those questions and questions for the panelists.

So, we will start with Allie Funk who is Research Director for Technology and Democracy at Freedom House and is also an FOC advisory network member.  Allie, I hope this is going to work.  I will be able to hear you well.  We will start with you.  What is the importance of a global Internet and what are the impacts on human rights of Internet fragmentation that we are seeing and that you have been researching, for example, at Freedom House?  Thank you.

>> ALEXANDRA FUNK: Thanks, Sheetal.  Am I coming through clearly?  Can you hear me all right?  Wonderful.  Love to hear tech and the Internet is working, at the Internet Governance Forum.

Lovely to meet everybody.  Like Sheetal said, my name is Allie.  I'm at the Freedom House, I'm oversee our Technology and Democracy work and we have done some recent research on Internet fragmentation and I will also add that my klieg Keion vesstonson is in the room at the IGF so if anyone wants to grab a coffee or a Danish with him, he's there.  Please reach out to him.

So, you know, for those who don't know Freedom House just a quick introduction.  We are founded in 1941 on the core conviction of creating a world in which all people are free.  And are most recent freedom on the net report which analyzes 70 countries around the world found that Internet fragmentation is accelerating at a rapid pace.  More governments than ever before carving up the global Internet to create more controllable online spaces.

And, you know, the global Internet it's really foundational for our everyday lives.  Connect with family members and friends, for our local economies, for our careers, or just simply going about your daily life.  And we wouldn't even be able to have this conversation today or the IGF if the global Internet didn't exist in the form that it is.  So, that's how, you know, I, who was based in Brooklyn can talk to folks over in Addis or wherever you are calling in from.

But what freedom on the net, sort of, dove into is how the rise of fragmentation, it's really being driven by governments across the democratic spectrum.  So, countries that we rank free, partly free and not free are all, sort of, behind this alarming trend.  But there are really crucial distinctions and I think that's ‑‑ those distinctions with really important when we are talking about what are the human rights implications here of the increasing fragmentation of the Internet.

So, some governments are really intentionally trying to do this.  They want to cultivate a domestic Internet in which disinformation dominates but independent media and critical commentary can be more easily suppressed.  But also a driver of fragmentation is inadvertent action.  So, ones where, you know, different governments, they are trying to tackle disinformation or protect user data or deter genuine cybercrimes.

But really regardless of the intention, there are still really serious consequences for human rights and it's the broad array of rights.  So everything from due process and free expression.  So, you know, a lot of traditional civil and political rights, to economic and social and cultural rights and the impact on local economies.

So, just diving in a few of those, the rights today I will touch on.  On a fragmented Internet folks might not have access to say, messaging platforms that their family members or like minded communities who live abroad do.  It can be more challenging to build global solidarity and seek accountability if people can't share human rights abuses during protests or time of conflict to audiences around the world.

So, we look at what's happening over the past week in China or what has happened over the past month or so in Iran, where people have courageously taken to the streets to protest state actions and they faced really egregious censorship or violence in response to protesting.  You know, KROERPBSZ in China are rushing to scrub evidence of these protests and the police response from the Internet which is limiting how information (sensors).  Can travel around the world, around what's happening.

And then if you also live in a country where the government or state actors really manicure ma media environment, Internet fraction means you have limited access to reliable global information that could empower you to make more informed choices about those in power.  If you look at recent developments in Russia following the government's brazen invasion of Ukraine, people have limited access to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, to, you know, independent news outlets because the government ramped up its censorship of foreign sources of information.  Which limited their ability to access reliable information about the atrocities that the Russian government was perpetrating in Ukraine.

It also pushed people to state affiliated social media platforms in Russia like VK.  And, you know, VK specifically it's partly owned by Kremlin allies, and maybe more likely to censor genuine content.

I want to close out by touching on how fragmentation undermines privacy and safety online.  So, we have also tracked how there's been a whole rush of increase of data protection laws.  Some of which can, you know, really have great safeguards for how companies can use data, but many of these laws are, sort of, what we have called data washing.  So, they are not only undermining privacy, but also fragmenting the Internet further.  And they are doing this by burying problematic provisions such as mandating domestic data storage or featuring these blanket exceptions for national security or state actors.

So, you know, in Rwanda, for instance, a new data protection law passed this past year, requires companies to store data in a country unless it's otherwise authorized by the country's cybersecurity regulator and how that undermines privacy or safety of people who are in Rwanda is because it leaves personal data vulnerable to abuse.  And that's particularly concerning in that context because authorities have prosecuted dissidents based on their private messages or embedded agents in Telecommunication companies for surveillance purposes.

So, really that example showing how limits on cross boarding data transfer undermine privacy and also undermine the global Internet.

So, put simply, we are really concerned how the rising fraction is also going to result in rising digital repression because in more siloed Internet allows (because a more) for more censorship, more surveillance and the silencing of critics more broadly and makes it challenging to hold those people in power ‑‑ thank you for having me.

>> SHEETAL KUMAR: Thank you, Allie and for giving examples of this trend.  You mentioned both inadvertent and also deliberate policies by governments that muffle dissent, that also result, essentially, in a control on data flows that undermines an open Internet.  You gave some examples of that.  And spoke as well to how that siloing will and can and is increasing digital repression.  We will speak to some of those issues in more detail, including around data flows and in data governance frameworks.

But for now I want to turn to Jason Pielemeier, who is the Executive Director of the Global Network Initiative, GNI.  And also co‑chairs the FOC task force on Internet shutdowns is also an FOC advisory network member.

So, Jason, I wanted to ask you, picking up on what Allie said, about the recent developments that she mentioned, but specifically focusing on shutdowns and how that phenomenon has restricted people's ability to access and share information.  If you could speak to that trend in more detail, that would be appreciated.  Thanks, Jason.

>> JASON PIELEMEIER: Absolutely.  Thank you, Sheetal.  And thank you to the IGF and the FOC and everyone who is on this session, both those attending in person and virtually, it's a real pleasure to be with you.  I will try and keep my remarks short since I know we got off to a bit of a slow start.

So, I want to center my remarks on Allie's.  Allie, I think, really helpfully laid out a bit of the spectrum of fragmentation and the types of policies and activities that can result in Internet fragmentation.

Internet shutdowns are in many ways, sort of, the most fundamental form of fragmentation.  So, I think it's worth acknowledging that there is still a tremendous number of individuals around the world who are not yet connected to the Internet and, of course, that is also a form of fragmentation.  But there are many reasons why people haven't been able to connect to the Internet and there are many ongoing efforts to address that issue.

In some ways, disconnecting people from the Internet, once they have established a connection, regardless of how that connection is established and how people are using the Internet, is, kind of, a pair duh knack assertion of government authority.  The government saying that it has the right and the power to take away people's connection to the Internet, which, as Allie really eloquently articulated, has become incredibly important to many people's lives and livelihoods.

So, that assertion of authority, that, sort of, power to reach in and pull the Internet out of people's lives after people have begun to use it and rely on it for all kinds of different purposes is extremely concerning and I think for understandable reasons has generated a lot of pushback and a lot of concern. 

So, it's been, I think, great to see over the years the number of organizations and the efforts that are underway to try and call attention to Internet fragmentation and to Internet shutdowns more specifically GNI participates in a number of those different efforts, including the keep it on coalition.  But we were really pleased when the freedom align coalition with leadership from the U.S. State Department initially raised the idea of creating a task force on Internet shutdowns to bring together Civil Society actors who are involved in the (criss) advocacy against Internet shutdowns, technical experts who are involved in documenting and identification of Internet disruptions and shutdowns, as well as governments, who ultimately are the ones who are empowered to undertake or to have diplomatic engagement around Internet shutdowns.

So, together with the state department and access now, Gianna has been co‑leading this task force.  The task force model within the freedom align coalition is somewhat new and perhaps others may speak to that.  I think it's been a useful experiment and innovation that the Canadaians as chair have helped to foster and we have been able to use the task force to bring in not only those like myself and Allie who are members of the broader freedom align coalition advisory network but also additionally relevant subject matter experts into this task force and to work together through it to coordinate, to share information (canadaians.  (and to foster a greater collaboration.

I will briefly talk about some of the things we have been doing.  The task force has had just about a year now of work under its belt so we are looking ahead to next year and how we can continue the work that the task force has begun this year.  Obviously, much of this first year was about, sort of, pulling together the membership of the task force and establishing our priorities.  We have had, you know, monthly calls of the task force, which provide opportunities to do both general information sharing about shutdowns that we are seeing and what's happening around the world with regard to shutdown related advocacy, as well as opportunities to dive deep into particular country situations or particular initiatives or advocacy efforts and to learn more and share information about them.

We have created a repository of resources, including the multistatements that the freedom alliance pulled together, other reports, advocacy initiatives so there is, kind of, a single place where both governments and other actors can go to inform themselves and get up to speed (law firm) and find useful information about how to put back on and understand what's happening around the world with regard to shutdowns.

We have also worked very closely with the Canadian chairs, obviously, with the U.S. government as the Teaffis government co‑chair and the advisory network to support the Freedom Online Coalition's recent statement on the Internet shutdowns taking place in Iran.  That was a very important statement (TEFIS mb), the first time in just under a decade that the Freedom Online Coalition had issued a country specific statement (freedom Online Coalition) and we were very pleased with the statement itself (not align), the strong language it used to condemn the shutdowns that were taking place in Iran, and the precedent that it hopefully establishes for the FOC to demonstrate that it can speak with the unified voice on behalf of all of the member governments when very significant and egregious disruptions like this occur.

We know that, sort of, diplomatic coordination challenges that go into putting statements like that together can be difficult, but we really appreciate that they are worth the effort and can have a significant impact.

We have also done some work to build out the network, working around Internet shutdowns, and have been doing ongoing monitoring with respect to the situation in different countries around the world.  So, I will stop there because I know there's a lot more that other speakers will add on this topic.  But very happy to continue talking about Teaffis and what it's also known that my colleague Benny care is in the room.  If there are folks who want to reach out to her.  She has been coordinating much of our work on Internet shutdown through Teaffis and a great resource for the work Teaffis has been doing.  Thanks, back to you, Sheetal.

>> SHEETAL KUMAR: Thank you, Jason.  You called Internet shutdowns a fundamental form of fragmentation.  And spoke about the many different types of responses, resources, work that is being done including through the FOC's task force to address that.

And I wanted to now turn to Carolina Rossini, who is a lawyer focusing on intellectual property, open standards and data privacy so talk about a different form of fragmentation and, perhaps, you can explain to us more why it's considered that, Carolina.  And the question for you is, there are now a days multiple different governance framework for data, data governance frameworks, regulations, more voluntary frameworks as well.

How have these contributed to fragmentation in your view, and if and how they have, how do we overcome that and move towards frameworks that support an open, interoperable Internet?

>> CAROLINA ROSSINI: Sure.  Thank you, Sheetal.  Thank you so much for organizing this panel.  And it's always a pleasure and honour to join my colleagues that work and support for different online coalition which I also have been involved over the years.

So, as you mentioned my name is Carolina Rossini.  And I am the cofounder and director for research and partnerships at the data sphere initiative.  The data sphere initiative has been up and running for around a year and a half, even if we just got incorporated recently as a nonprofit (data sphere) and we were incubated by another organization that I am sure you are all well familiar with, which is the Internet jurisdiction network.  And this is relevant because some of our core and sitting reporting and research came from INJ to really support this discussion around data governance and fragmentation issues, which is a report that call we need to talk about data and I'm going to share the link later on.

While the mission is the data, is to unlock the value of data for all and we do that various ‑‑ through various activities and partnerships and programmes.  So, I really invite you all to check that out and get involved.

Regarding your questioning in specific, through the years, we have been trying as a community to have a consensus around the fragmentation, right?  And if you guys remember, some years ago they have put out a report framing fragmentation around three core issues or three core types of fragmentation.  Technical fragmentation, governmental fragmentation and commercial fragmentation.

The data fragmentation generally comes from true government fragmentation, right, through government actions around new policies that then, of course, impact both the technical issues and the commercial issues of the Internet.

And but this fragmentation around data as you actually mentioned in your question is not only led by government through policies.  We see more and more that fragmentation led by communities or business actors that develop their own practices, their own standards, their own principles.

In one research we have done in terms of benchmark of the field, we mapped almost 300 organizations working on the issue.  And we are trying at the data sphere to really bring a lot of those actors together (one word) so we can find common interoperable solutions to exactly avoid this fragmentation.

We have also been doing a benchmark of principles and norms around this area.  And we have found over 34 principles from different communities representing different but legit rights and interests.  So, you have more and more principles coming from communities like patients, original populations, folks worried with privacy so, for instance, (?) but it's interesting to see that a lot of those principles that creates also normative fragmentation deal with lots of issues, not only rights.

Well, the most common imaginary of government of fragmentation is the global public Internet being divided into digitally border national internets, right, and this is long and a well‑known issue, especially when you think about comparing the approaches from China, U.S. and the European Union, for example,.

Movement in the direction of this national fragmentation and segmentation could entail establishing technical barriers and blocking the flow of information and e‑commerce, for example.

And while a lot of those new norms are legitimate and are rights driven, rights such as the privacy rights, there are lots of unintended consequences that we are seeing nowadays that go beyond the purpose of those initial laws that were intended to foster human rights, for example.  You have more and more blocks for cross‑border collaboration, research and more and more difficulty on global projects that really need access to large amount of data from the pandemic to climate change and more.

There are three broad types of data localization measures that have appeared through the years.  So, one is related to the mandate of local storage and copies and they are asking of processing data locally, even if their service is global.

The second relates to measures that mandate local storage and transfer or processing under clearly defined conditions.  And the third relates to measures that mandate local storage and processing and prohibits the transfer abroad.  So, there is always the local storage issue, right?  And more and more it's interesting to see that what are the climate impacts of all those localization measures, right, which is a tangential, too, but also gad to mention things that just came out of the COP meeting a couple of weeks ago.

Most recently the OCDE has developed a mapping of those localization measurements and they publish a report just now in 2022 and I am sharing the link.  And I am going to be sharing the links I have been mentioning (OECD) here in the chat.  So, this ‑‑ and it's interesting because different studies have found different numbers of data localizations.  So, of course, there is also lack of agreement around the concept of those issues.  But there it is, this is one of the most recently reports on this, but there are other reports that have mapped over 150 localization measures across the world.  So, these are just examples of fragmentation that are government‑led fragmentation.

But this is within the concept of data software right.  And it's a concept that's getting more and it's receiving more and more attention nowadays with lots of countries of the G7 and NG20 embarking on effort to develop their national data strategies.  Europe has now a continental IU level data strategy and we have a publication, upcoming publication on that and our fellows also published on that.  I'm going to share the link here.

But it's interesting to see the opposition of that concept around data software right with free data flows which is the normal status of the Internet based on the founding fathers of the Internet.

We mapped this dichotomy in the report we need to talk about data as I mentioned and I just shared the link.  But impacting this notion of data civil right first requires to recall the historic significance of powerful fold in the political discourse of the concept of silver right itself as the Supreme Court authority of a state over a particular territory.  This is a foundational parenting our international system and you see how some governments are positioning themselves in this KO between free flow and civil right including their governments.  While you see a government as India going towards high civil right.  You see other governments going more free flow.  And even a third concept is appearing here, led by Switzerland, which is the self‑determination concept, which is very interesting because the concept of self‑determination based on data issues ‑‑ on data issues also do appear a lot in these principles I mentioned from regional populations and communities and so forth, so on.

I know my time is coming to an end and I will ‑‑ I can comment (civil rights mb) and I can comment on these issues later.

One thing I need to mention here is to deal with some of the fragmentation issues, we have developed the concept of cross‑border sand boxes for data we have seen our intelligence and lab projects.  I want to call attention for that.  The UK government was one of the founders of that report and here it is in the chat.  And this report is really based on changing the merits and understanding what data is really about (sand boxes).  What we need to do, what are the technologies that are coming out that allow for free flow of data that's rights respecting, like privacy enhancing technology.  And we explore this in the report.

I want to mention that to you to please reach out if you want to engage.  My colleague and cofounder, Martine Hooley is also there in Ababa in person with Tracy.  And he will be announcing a little bit more of the work we are going to be doing at ‑‑ on the Sandbox issues in the coming year.  So please reach out and follow us for more information on all this.  Thank you.

>> SHEETAL KUMAR: Thank you, Carolina.  I'm sorry.  We are running out of time.  As you know, we lost about 20 minutes with the issues we had.  Flavia, I am going to ask you to just stick to two minutes if that's possible.  And Bernard and Philippe as well.  And then we can have some time for discussion.

So, Flavia, you're Head of International Institutions and Relations at Meta and I want to ask you, what can Meta or companies more generally who work with these issues, of course, do to counter fragmentation and promote an open Internet?  SPEAKER sure, thanks, Sheetal.  I'm Flavia Alves.  I lead Meta's relationship with international orgs and Internet governance so have been participation in IGF for the longest time.  I am very pleased to be here even if online.  But a I would love to be there in person so thanks for joining the panel.  I am be short and concise.

First I want to set the stage a little bit as we think about Internet open in general at Meta.  It's important for us to think about one thing that famous science fiction writer wrote back in the '80s.  He said aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge before infester that society gathers wisdom.  This powerful quote sums exactly where we are right now.  How to bring wisdom to technology development with human rights reflecting some of the most important wisdom that societies need and how to bridge the gap and the speed of change between human rights and technology to ensure the technology serves humans and their rights and not vice versa.

So, with almost 3.5 billion users we have, Meta's products impact human rights at its center.  For good and for well.  More than any other company in the world.  That's our responsibility that we take very seriously.

In our view one of the most important tasks we have to promote an open Internet is based on threefold.  One, to make sure human rights is centric as we develop our products and policies.

Two, recognize instance where governments can play a role in defending Internet.

And three, promote multistakeholder international initiative to defend an open Internet.

With regard to our human rights centric approach, we have been looking at this for a longest time.  As you know, we have take several steps to make sure human rights is centric in our approach.  First, we view specific human rights team.  Then we adopted ambition human rights policy.  We launched an oversight board.  We create a human rights defender fund, we join the Compact, part of the human rights coalition.  Rereeventuality published our first annual human rights report.  Issuing transparency reports to (?) for years.  That includes info on government requests for user data that we receive, Internet disruptions we have faced globally and restrictions based on local law.

What we also recognize that the bad and for the protection of human rights in an opening (?) is an existing challenge for all of those that kir about the rights.  So, we want mecca to be and to be seen as part of the solution, not as part of the problem (meta).

When we recognize governments can play ‑‑ the role the governments can play in the open Internet, we also, actually, highlight when they can play a role on Internet fragmentation.  As my colleague Allie noted, the Russia‑Ukraine war has accelerated trends on the deglobalization and protectionism and nationalism.  This is playing out on (?) to the rights of (?) model with citizens segregated from the rest of the global Internet.  And subject to extensive surveillance.

>> Can you hear me?

>> FLAVIA ALVES: To the open accessible Internet as we know.

So we constantly encourage governments to have the human rights obligations and protect and promote the global free flow of information.  Recognize access to the Internet as human rights.  And refuse to resort to Internet shutdowns which can be harmful to human rights, including freedom of expression and access to information.

And we also encourage them to adopt regulations that permit, promote ‑‑ permit and promote cross‑border data transfer, rather than prohibit or restricting them.

But we also know particularly my role that it is a crucial moment for us to come together and stand up for the free and open Internet.  So, we has been ‑‑ we have been very engaged in the work of the freedom of online coalition but I'm ‑‑

>> I'm sorry to be rude.  I have to ask you to wrap up in the next few seconds so we can bring in the other ‑‑

>> FLAVIA ALVES: I'm about to wrap up.  This is the most important part, where we talk about how, one, we have supported the global Internet ‑‑ now, you know, you just got me out of line of thought a little bit here.

But there are international frameworks that have been collaborated through multistakeholder collaboration.  So, we are part of the pledge in tag for democracy.  We have partnered with several of you here in the rooms, in the room on the global coalition for ‑‑ with regard to global Internet and interoperable Internet.  So the IGF policy network on Internet fragmentation is a result of that work.

And then on the cross industry front we have been working with GFCT and others but at the UN level we are supportive of the efforts that they are trying to do on the global digital cooperation and participating and trying to promote the work of the Tech Envoy in preparation for the summit for democracy in 2024.  All of these words should help promote an open Internet.  Back to you, Sheetal.  Thank you for the opportunity.  And I hope this was clear.

>> SHEETAL KUMAR: Thank you, Flavia.  I now want to turn to Bernard Shen, who is assistant general council and corporate external and legal affairs at Microsoft and also an FOC advisory network co‑chair.

Bernard, we have heard a lot about data governance frameworks and policies.  Can you tell us a bit more from your perspective about the importance of trusted cross‑border data flows in Avoiding Internet Fragmentation.

>> BERNARD SHEN: Thank you, can you hear me?  Great.  Thank you to the Freedom Online Coalition Canada and the effort Support Unit for organizing this session and for inviting me as Sheetal mentioned I'm Bernard Shen on the Microsoft human rights team.  I will say a few words about trusted cross‑border data flows.

We all talked about how indispensable trusted cross‑border data flows are, people need it to access information, things such as healthcare, education, work and government services.  And they need the flow of data to communicate with each other and work with each other.  And organizations of all kinds and sizes, public, private, every corner of the world, they also need that data to operate and do their work to serve, educate, care for and employ people.

The COVID‑19 pandemic showed us how critical that is.  We saw, you know, during the pandemic the model for sharing data and taking rapid, informed and collective action.  It's a model can be used to solve other pressing challenges, you know, such as climate change, advancing human rights.

Without cross‑border data flows, you can't have timely, informed, collective action.  And pandemics and climate change do not stop at borders.

But at the same time, we recognize it's important to keep data safe, protect privacy, so that cross‑border data flows will be trusted and supported by people.  The types of data we all need to solve humanity's problems range from purely nonpersonal information, sad like photos of weather patterns to address climate change to highly perm information such as people's medical records.

The notion is that different types of data can have different level of openness according to sensitivity and with appropriate protections and control in place (personal).  So at Microsoft we try to do our part in supporting cross‑bordered data flows and fostering responsible data sharing.  I will briefly touch on four things quickly.

One, we help empower people and organizations to share and use data more effectively.  There is a data divide, a disparity among countries and organizations in the world in terms of their access to data.  So, we initiated the open data campaign to help facilitate open sharing of data to bridge that data divide.

Second, we developed and use technologies that allow data sharing while protecting privacy, couple of examples.  We research and use home Mo morphic I am encryption.  It allows computing to be directly on encrypted data without requiring any decryption in the process.  There's also confidential computing which enables the isolation of a sensitive dataset while it's being processed and we always at Microsoft work hard in cybersecurity.  Give you one example.  Every day we analyze more than 24  trillion/?TXU, trillion with a T, security signals around the world to protect our customers from attacks.

Third, we advocate for laws, policies, international agreements that foster responsible data sharing, keep data safe and respect sovereignty.  That's why we advocate for strong, enter operational national privacy laws that give individuals control over their personal information and deposition sisters people's trust in sharing data.

Lastly, we stand up for our customers' rights when asked by governments to disclose personal customer data.  We do not provide any government with direct unfettered access to customer data.  If a government asks us for customer data it must follow applicable legal process.  We only comply with demands when we are clearly compelled to do so and we attempt to redirect the orders to customers or to inform them and we routinely deny or challenge orders when we believe they are not legal.

In one case, for example, we took the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.  So, to sum up, we believe that trusted cross‑border data flow is indispensable to society and humanity needs it to advance human dignity, agency, well‑being and advance human rights.  Thank you.

>> SHEETAL KUMAR: Thank you, Bernard.  Thank you very much for keeping it short as well.

I want to see if anyone has any questions, just to make sure that we come to you.  After Philippe, Andre recognize goes, who last but not least will speak.  You are Deputy Director of the center for international digital policy at Global Affairs Canada.  And Philippe, I wanted to ask you, Canada has recently held regional consultations on the greatest threats related to digital inclusion.  What did you discover through these consultations about the threat of Internet fragmentation?

>> PHILIPPE ANDRE-RODRIGUEZ: Thank you, I will try to keep this very, very brief.  I think one of our objectives as chair of the FOC is really to think through the proper mechanisms to actually drive a more inclusive digital policy agenda at the international level and to really think through what multistakeholder governance means in action, in practice.

So, as you mentioned, we did these rounds of consultations, in particular in the context of the creation of what we call the Ottawa agenda, which is not meant to be another declaration.  So, hope you are happy with that, Carolina.  But it's really more about what should governments prioritize in terms of their digital policy agenda, especially when it comes to the protection of human rights, democracy and inclusion.

So, we have done a series of roundtables, both with experts, including with the policy network ‑‑ the IGF policy network on Internet fragmentation, as well as a series of regional consultations with Civil Society organizations and a number of other stakeholders in the timbers of commerce, not only in English but also in local languages.  So, we did one in North America, Latin America, Middle East, northeast, north, and North Africa, Sub Saharan Africa, Europe and the Pacific and I think I'm missing one.

But the point is we really went to all the different regions to really think through what does digital inclusion mean to them and what are those threats regionally, locally.

Two big, let's say, trends.  One, there is much more that, actually, units us than divides us in terms of threats.  So, a lot of the same challenges that have been discussed by my esteemed fellow panelists today have been raised at d let's say the working level.  People are concerned about it.  More so than we could anticipate or at least that we were anticipating in terms of issues such as disinformation, Internet shutdowns, surveillance and other issues that were discussed today.  So, all of this have been raised.

The other big trend is a wish for governments to be more outspoken and inclusive when dealing with those issues.  How it's one thing to say multistakeholder governance is important.  It's another to actually put it in practice.  So, there was a lot of invitation to us to think about how to actually implement those governance models beyond, say, technical bodies where there's more of a long standing practice for more of a multistakeholder engagement.

So, that's one issue that we took away from those consultations.  One that is, obviously, top of mind here at IGF, and one that we hope to put front and center in the Ottawa agenda, in the work of the FOC, and going into all of the different important processes at the UN that we will have to engage with and excited to engage with including the Global Digital Compact starting next year.  I will leave it at that.  Thank you.

>> SHEETAL KUMAR: Thank you so much, Philippe.  That was really interesting to hear about those consultations.  So, I wanted to give an opportunity to anyone to come in and react quickly.  We have a couple minutes left.

Yes.  At the back.  Or the front.  Please go ahead.

>> AUDIENCE: I thank you.  May name is (?) and candidate and I am doing research on data governance and I have a question, like, regarding the role of the private sector to figure out the Internet fragmentation.  So I wonder how can the private sector, the business sector involved in the national law or national regulation making and how they can work to achieve the international cooperation and international data governance.

>> SHEETAL KUMAR: Thank you for that question.  I saw another one here.  We will take both.  And then we will go back to the panelists.

>> AUDIENCE: Thank you very much my name is Cass Tann Gabriel, part of the youth IGF.  Most of the conversation around Internet fragmentation has been argued that content or censorship is not part of fragmentation in the legislative agenda.  It's more of how the DNS itself is attacked.

My question is, there's a rising sense of how alternative DNS, example the new China IP or the use of centralized Internet has more better angle in including (?) so should that constitute fragmentation and how do we create a more inclusive operation where decentralization, actually, can help boost more connectivity rather than it being posing as a threat of fragmentation?s.

>> SHEETAL KUMAR: I would encourage everyone to go to those discussions as we don't have enough time to tackle that broad question here, unfortunately.

I am going to ask whether any of the panelists want to respond very quickly to that question about private ‑‑ role of private sector.  There's one more question here.  And if you can put your answers in the chat, I am happy to make sure that they ‑‑ they are read out or ‑‑ so please do respond in there as well.

Yes, to you.

>> AUDIENCE: It ties to really a comment which is why I think it needs to be made, which is that the argument that content moderation equals fragmentation is being made by a very select segment of participants.  It's not a general ground.

Almost all of the discussions that have historically happened about fragmentation have focused on technical fragmentation.  And I'm wondering from the panelists to what extent has this, sort of, failure to come up with a framework as to what it is that we mean by fragmentation, has in organizations like ISOC failed the community by allowing for a stupid debate to be allowed.  Essentially, if we have built the framework earlier, we wouldn't be able to have as much room for the, sort of, nonsense that we are hearing now.  Yeah.  That's not a polite way of framing the question but ‑‑

>> SHEETAL KUMAR: Thank you for that question.  If anyone in the panel who is still with us wants to answer any of those questions about the role of different the private sector, for example, or why are we having ‑‑ or is content moderation part of the fragmentation discussion, please do raise your hand.

Otherwise, please feel free to respond in the chat.  I can see Carolina put a question or a resource, rather, in the chat.

I see Philippe, you have got your hand up.  And then we will wrap up.  Thank you so much.

>> PHILIPPE ANDRE-RODRIGUEZ: Very quickly from my end, I think when we are thinking about fragmentation and, again, really welcoming the work of the IGF policy network, we have to think about all layers of the Internet, from really the technical to the information layer.  It's one thing in particular in Canada that we are concerned about is really the integrity of information online.  And thinking through the links as Allie mentioned earlier between information integrity and Internet fragmentation, I think, is absolutely important and key, because fragmenting at the technical but also at the content information layer are things that we should be worrying about.  We should be pushing for more conversations at that level and thinking through Internet information online as a fragmentation and as an inclusion issue as well.  Thanks.

>> SHEETAL KUMAR: Thank you, Philippe.

And thank you all for coming.  I know that we started very late and not everyone had the chance to speak as they would have wanted.  I apologize for that.

I just want to say as that we have just heard from different people here in the room and online, the concept and understanding of fragmentation is varied.  But we are starting to have these discussions, including at the IGF, which is an open and multistakeholder space, in a way that, perhaps, we hadn't seen before.  So I really encourage everyone to take this conversation to the rest of the IGF, to the intersessional work streams as well, Philippe, you just mentioned the policy network, and to engage with the FOC on this topic.  As we have heard already so many of the activities, initiatives, the FOC is involved in to protect an open, interoperable Internet, including the workplaces of task forces, statements and general coordination and contributing to norm‑shaping to defend human rights online and in open Internet.

So, we heard there was a desire for governments to do more.  So, I simply encourage everyone to engage on the topic and to do more, to be more vocal, I mean, about defending an open Internet.

And we heard about the opportunities to do that, including the Global Digital Compact, which is very much on the agenda across the IGF this year, and I'm sure will be next year as well.

So, thank you so much for coming.  And I wish you a good evening and good rest of the IGF.  And I want to thank the organizers in particular global affairs Canada for your time and to all the panelists for theirs as well.  Thank you.