IGF 2022 Day 1 WS #335 FR: Fragmented Reality. New Horizons of Digital Distrust

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.




Okay.  Perfect!  Are we online now?  Yes, we are.  Thank you very much for joining.  Welcome to this fantastic session that we called "Fragmented Reality, New Horizons of Digital Distrust."

We are together with very esteemed colleagues today.  Hopefully we will have joining online Mr. Jovan Kurbalija.  And we have Dr. Yik Chan Chin and we have Milos Jovanovic.  And those are available with us today and we hope we will receive the participation of one of our online colleagues as I mentioned before.

Well, as you know, this session is related to fragmentation and as we all know, Internet was designed from the beginning as a tool that should integrate different networks all around the world.  So the idea is to keep this Internet as we all know together without any kind of damage that would affect the nature of things that we already have.

As you remember, we have a motto for last IGF in Poland which was Internet United and hopefully through this session, we will try to understand the ways that we can actually keep Internet as it is united and hopefully to see how can we face all the different actions that perhaps may affect Internet as it is right now, knowing that there might be several actions that perhaps could actually split a little bit Internet.

So we are, with our great and esteemed colleagues now.  We will start hopefully.  We can try to see if we have Mr. Jovan Kurbalija online.  Could we please see if we have him?

Just let me know if you have in the chat your name.

Well, I'm not sure he is joining us so far, but we will be alert in case he's joining.  Okay.

So we will go with our second participant, Mr. Timothy and I would like to ask him a couple of questions so he can develop, as well as our other colleagues during his intervention.  My question is ‑‑ how fast ‑‑ sorry, this is the one.  Were the spread of content filtering could lead to the world and how to find a balance between fact checking and digital discrimination.  You have to know that our speaker is a representative of Russian‑based think tank, NAO dialogue.  He's known as an expert in fact checking and big information.  That's why we want him to cover a little bit of this particular subject.

And besides, this we would also like to know what impact can Internet fragmentation have on user experience aside from constraining certain uses of the Internet to create, contribute, or access information resources.  Yes, you have the floor.

>> TIMOTHY:  Thank you so much.  Before I start and this actually happened in Russia.  I have a small presentation for you guys.  I advise everyone to look to the big screen where we can see the medium I will show you.

So ‑‑ it's very ‑‑ it's too far away from the screen, it may be blocked.  Come on, come on, come here.  That's okay.  That's okay.  Come closer.

Yes.  Sit here.

So fighting fakes.  My organization is a think tank and inter‑ministry coordinator for fighting fakes and disinformation in Russia.  And we have experienced a lot of kind of battles in information war during the COVID and during the ‑‑ all the things happening between Russia and Ukraine now, and these are the things I wanted to focus and to develop a story on.

So far, from the ‑‑ can I have my presentation back?  Thank you.

So far from the 24th of February ‑‑ yeah.  So far from the 24th of February, we have detected 3,603 fake narratives.  Stories.  Each story is a separate subject describing some fake narrative.  All this 3,000 stories ended up in social media and messenger and they turned into almost 9 million social media entries, posts, messages and so on.

Do you wonder how many views they did get?  Almost 18 billion views.  So like 17.5 billion views of fakes and disinformation among Russian social media and Russian social networks that do look ‑‑ that does look like a problem, like a big problem for our society, because the end aim for all of this fake stories was to disrupt our society, to distress it, to make people panic, and sometimes our opponents succeed sadly.

But we have developed a system which does effectively fight this kind of information or text ‑‑ I should say these type of attacks are coordinated.  I will show you some examples of fakes which we have been finding and monitoring.  So there were a lot of fakes about war or special military weaponization.  You can collect the name that fits you most.

For example, there was a pic, with the caption that says Ukrainians captured Russian vehicle.  This was a photoshopped still from 2019 video and somebody just photoshopped Russian identification tag to make it look like it's a Russian vehicle, but it was not.

This was interesting.  Sadly, part of the screen is blocked but it says here Russian Ministry for Emergencies and somebody set it up fake telegram channel, pretending to be an official telegram channel and it says dear citizens, we are in Karelia and were transferred to Finland instead of Finland joining any military blocks.

Still it was disseminating in the Russian social media and in St. Petersburg, and the aim of this fake as we obvious to make them frightened, to make them panic, to make them distressed and I can say that this is kind of informational terror.

Step by step, they feel our social media ‑‑ not only our social media but informational landscape with this kind of disinformation stories and there are lots of them.  So for example ‑‑ but not only this kind of stories happen not only in Russia, but also in the international media landscape.  I want to show you the video from Israel channel 13, which tried to show some consequence of military fight.  Here it is.

We look for the video and somehow in between clashes and some garbage we see what?

Strange, yes?

How the "Star Wars" Intergalaxy Fighter end up there?  Curious.  Of course, it is a mistake.  I don't know why it was done.  It's a stupid mistake but sometimes media make some really bad mistakes which are ‑‑ I don't even describe it.  Once, the Italian media, La Stampa posted this picture of crying man and it said this is a man who was shocked and who was injured by Russian attack in Kyiv, but in reality, this man lives in Russia.  And this is a photo from Donetsk after the explosion, which landed in the city center and killed 20 people.

So the media took a picture of a crying man from Donetsk, who was injured by Ukrainian rocket and published it, it would be a man standing in Kyiv.

That's totally not correct, but the point is there is no excuse for this.

Russian ‑‑ not Russian.  Sorry, Soviet plane N225 Maria.  A well‑known plane sadly destroyed and the Ukrainian media and the western media immediately blamed Russian Federation for destroying this aircraft in the airport of Gostomel, but if you check the satellite pictures, you can see some Russian military trucks near the plane ‑‑ near the hangar for the destroyed plane and what's interesting that almost immediately after the plane was destroyed, the Ukrainian ‑‑ I don't know here exact states but Ukrainian deputy, some military advisor ‑‑ we can't see the name sadly, published a photo from the drone, from the drone of the hangar with the plane catched on fire.  And she said that lightly armored vehicles and Russian personnel were destroyed at Gostomel airfield.  She proved that the Gostomel airport was shelled by the Ukrainian Army, and they were the ones who destroyed this plane.

Ultimately, she deleted this post in a few minutes, but we still have a screen shot.

Last story about Poland.  Maybe you have heard that a rocket, sadly, hit Poland territory, destroying a tractor and killing two civilians.  Almost immediately the scattered debris from the rocket.  A pic was distributed by Poland media and we made a quick investigation just to find out that this is a part of rocket from the air defense missile system S300, which is used by Ukrainian to defend its air space.  Moreover, this part of Poland is far away from any point from which Russia could actually fire that kind of missile.

But what ‑‑ who do you think was blamed for this kind of attack and for the death of these two civilians?  Of course, Russia.

Next day, a couple of ‑‑ not a couple, almost all the Western media published stories about Russia attacking Poland.  And Russian missiles hit Poland, Russian bombs hit Poland.  You see.  This is disinformation.  This is fake.  None of this media never excused for the ‑‑ for these fakes, for this disinformation campaign against Russia.

Even Joe Biden said that this is Ukrainian missile, but ‑‑ but others insist it's still Russian.

How do we confront disinformation?  We have developed a system that consists of four basic steps.  Almost.  We have many developed a system with consists of four basic steps to confront disinformation warfare.  First of all, it's monitoring and detecting suspicious messages.  Second, verification.  We need to know if this message is fake or not.  We have to verify it.  We have to fact check.

>> ROBERTO ZAMBRANA:  Some seconds.

>> I can speed up.

>> ROBERTO ZAMBRANA:  You have one minute.

>> Okay, sure.

>> ROBERTO ZAMBRANA:  Just to wrap up.

>> So preparation of a refutation and delivery.

Lastly, I want to get back to fragmentation.  Because we had a story with Facebook and Instagram, and Facebook and Instagram were social networks with advertisement system through which our operants distributed fakes through advertisements, I mean like through the paid messages.  Like, this, like this, like this, and finally, like this.

This is an actual screen shot from an advertisement which was ran over Facebook targeting Russian audience.  I have a very easy question:  How the hell is it possible for that message, for that picture with a corpse lying down to pass the moderation system of Facebook?  The answer is obvious, they had a kind of short cut for doing this campaign.

And finally, Facebook did nothing to stop it!  Actually, it was ‑‑ that's why it was banned in Russia.

But, yes.  They did one thing.  They modified their policy allowing ‑‑ they modified their policy for Facebook and Instagram, allowing users in some countries to call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in the context of Ukraine invasion.  This message was published by Reuters who took access to some internal emails from Meta.

I want to finish on that.  We are speaking about fragmentation, but I think we should focus also on Big Tech and platforms who should not abuse their big ‑‑ very big power and very big audience for some political reasons, because if they do abuse, our country has the full right to protect our digital sovereignty, and our people.

Thank you so much.

>> ROBERTO ZAMBRANA:  Thank you.  Indeed, there were shocking images and, of course, we may think about different examples all over the world with this kind of manipulation of information, of images, et cetera.  So it's really, really shocking.

And since this is happening all over the world now, our next presenter, Dr. Yik Chan Chin, an associate professor in a school of journalism and communication at Beijing Normal University.  She's also a STEM expert in Internet Governance, regulation, and law, and digital ethics, with a particular focus on China.

So Dr. Yik Chan Chin, can you please tell us how should we approach Internet fragmentation?  Should we prioritize or speak of the more technical, and what policy developments being made in recent years pose to interconnected and interoperable Internet?

You have the floor.

>> YIK CHAN CHIN: First of all, thanks for inviting me to join the panel.  And it is my pleasure to address these two questions.  So first of all, regarding to the first question, about why we should approach the Internet fragmentation from the content layer or infrastructure.  So there's two points I want to make.

First one is about personally, I think there's also not only ‑‑ there's a kind of similar argument has been put forward by many, and also the IGF organization, that we have been talking about the concept and public accord of the Internet for many years, especially by, like, the global commission, and the stability of the space, are who puts together this content.

So this, like, for example, the backbone, also the network layers, naming system, like, IP address, and domain names and also, like, other ‑‑ other ‑‑ other ‑‑ the standards, you know and encryption mechanism, even the content.  So we have that the public core of the Internet.  So that should be, you know, free from the states interventions and it should be keep interconnected to maintain the stability and the safety of the Internet.

So in that sense, I think many of our colleagues and me as well, wants to enhance, you know, and at least to build up some consensus of what does the public core mean and how can we build up this ‑‑ first of all, we need to upgrade the public accord.  The different organization will put forward a different scope of the public accord, the Internet.  It can be included, as I said, the backbone players and standards or the naming system, okay?

And then the second question is ‑‑ first of all, we needed to have a consensus and the scope of the public accord of the Internet and the second is how can we build up a mechanism, you know, mechanism to implement to protect the public accord of the Internet?

So who should be the institutions, you know, promoting that, to protect the public accord of the Internet if there is disruptions or if there is interventions, interference, to disrupt the public accord of the Internet.

So that's why I say to maintain the connectivities of the Internet, first of all, we need to start from the infrastructure level and also the standards and the naming systems, okay.  And so in the end, we have to rely on the continuous discussion, the concept of public accord of the Internet.

So this is the first point I want to make.  The second is the content layer.  The content is a very big area.  You know, it can include pornography, crimes, cybercrimes, hate speech, and also different, like ‑‑ defamations, you know, all of this belongs to content layers.

So therefore, I think for some countries, like, this disinformation, hate speech, and so we can have, like a global framework.  Because there's some minimal agreement, minimal common standards.  We have built up some international initiative to target this information ‑‑ for some of this information, pornography, and child protections, you know?

But for other countries, let's say, which is related to cultural sensitivities, I would suggest to leave it to the individual countries jurisdictions for even country to have jurisdictions and they have different regulations and legislations in terms of how do they regulate specific content and related to the traditions, cultures, sometimes religions, you know?

So, therefore, in some countries we can have a minimum global standards.  We can have global initiatives, you know, like many countries already have kind of initiatives ‑‑ established initiatives.  But for other content, we can leave to individual countries and jurisdictions.  So this is many response to the first question.

The second question is about some other areas, for example, what ‑‑ what does the legislation, the policy, made in recent years as opposed to the interconnection and the interoperability of the Internet.  First of all, I think there's three points I want to make.

First of all, it's about global politics.  In the last five years we can see the geopolitics between different countries, China, Russia, America, you know, has become one of the most important threats to the Internet connectivities.  I think most of us agree that, okay.

So this has become the most important threat to the interconnectivity and the interoperability of the Internet.  For example ‑‑ because I'm an expert doing ‑‑ in terms of digital and cross‑border data flows, okay?

So, for example, if we look at the digital trade agreements, we saw there's many different featured agreements in terms of the ‑‑ of how we do the digital trade between different countries.  Obviously, there's some of the FTAs are formed, yeah, aligned ‑‑ in line with the trade box.  For example, there's a trade box amount that developing countries, OECD country and there's a trade box in terms of Asian countries.  That's a trade box between ‑‑ I mean, different regions.  So these actually should become the kind of ‑‑ kind of the, I think, the obstacle to establish the global connectivities and also the interoperational ‑‑ interoperability of the digital trade.

So this is just one of the examples.  Of course, there are many other examples.

And the second one I would like ‑‑ another example I would like to ‑‑ we all see there is a tension ‑‑ you know, we can see the digital Cold War between China and America, and the disruption of the global supply chain of the IT industry.  And this is caused by the geopolitical tensions, and this is very important in terms of the theft to the Internet connectivity and the global Internet.

The Internet is free from the cyber war, this kind of thing, but in recent years, we can see there's an increase of the discussion and also kind of acceptance of the cyberspace become a war zone of different war happening.  And people increasingly accept this is normalized ‑‑ this has normalized we weaponized the Internet, the cyberspace.

And the third one and the last one I want to say is that ‑‑ which is quite a concern from my point of view, is the privatization of the Internet Governance.  What do we mean by privatization?  Because when we say that Internet Governance, we know it's a multi‑stakeholder, you know, of the governance.  One of the most important governance stakeholders is the private sector besides the governments.  We have a private stakeholder and governments.  So ‑‑ and so increasingly, we see the private sector has been played a more and more role in governing the Internet.

Like the Facebooks, Twitters, Googles, you know, as well as many like backbones at the level of operators, they are all private actors.  Actually, they are doing the Internet Governance.  They can block Internet access.  So this kind of actions, for example, one the recent examples, Ukraine war.  We saw the ‑‑ several American‑based big, like being backbone suppliers, you know, cut access from Russia to ‑‑ to block Internet access from Russia to the global Internet.  Of course, we say this is kind of private sanctions, you know?

And the problem is ‑‑ I'm not arguing that this is right or wrong in terms of the normality, you know, but my argument is where is the accountability and the transparency.  If they can decide to block these countries, or that country's access, and where ‑‑ how can we hold them accountable?

So when and how can they make the whole blocking process transparent, you know, accountable to the public and the individual in that particular country as well.  So, therefore, you know, many organizations, technical community, like ICANN, Internet Society and also human rights organization that actually stand up and against this type of privatization of Internet Governance.

Therefore, we also need to think about, you know, the private privatization of the Internet Governance, how can we make them more accountable and transparent.  So therefore, to maintain the trust among us, you know, when this happened not only the people in Russia was worried and many people in other countries, for example, the public and the network operator in China, and many other countries worry about it one day.

It may happen to them, you know.  You know the big backbone, the international backbone can cut your access to the global assets.

I think that is all I want to say.  Thank you.

>> ROBERTO ZAMBRANA:  Thank you very much, Yik Chan.  Actually, very, very deep reflections from your side.  And I think now we have Mr. Jovan Kurbalija.  I will ask technical support to give him authorizations so he can open his mic.

Well, we all know Mr. Kurbalija.  He's the founding director the DiploFoundation.  I would like to give him the floor now.  Are you with us?

>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: Yes, I'm with you.  I just landed in Geneva from Addis, I'm now connected if you can hear me.

I will start with just a few points with the risk that I will repeat what was already said in the previous presentation.  In all discussion we should start from the ‑‑ from immediate and try to touch reality, because what is missing currently in digital governance and Internet Governance negotiation is the clarity.  And as you already said, clarity is badly needed in this society in our discussion.

This very connection between you in Addis and me is facilitated by I believe cables and I find from the submarine cables, few connections from Addis to Djibouti to the rest of the world.  While this is decentralized in its notion, it's very centralized when it comes to submarine cables and telecommunications infrastructure, with something like we calculated 24 critical points.  One of them is Djibouti, definitely.

I won't go into that direction, but there is a need for serious discussion, how to protect this critical infrastructure.  There was a Dutch proposal to consider it as a global public good.  There were proposals hundreds of years ago to consider telegraph cables to be neutral it the case of the war.  All of these proposals were dismissed.

Today we have the C convention, which has some protections, but we are privately owned I believe cable with very little public legal protection and with very powerful technologies, submarine technology which can cut cables in no time.  That is the first point.

The second point is that we should be proud in one point, despite all tensions between countries and worldwide Internet is still one of few infrastructures that functions across the divides and borders.  Today, it's possible to send email from St. Petersburg to Kyiv.  It's possible to exchange messages across different conflict divides.

Well, obviously, on the different layers the discussion becomes much more difficult.  And this we should be proud and acknowledge the robustness on the government's regime.

The third point we should keep in mind.  Internet is global in the technical infrastructure, but it is very local in its impact.  Therefore, impact of the Internet affects all society when it comes to culture, economy, other issues, should ‑‑ should be reflected also in governance regimes.  It would require definitely diverse ‑‑ diverse architecture and governance regimes and things are changing in ‑‑ especially around the data, around the question of data governance, data sovereignty, and I was surprised a few months ago when I saw an advertisement in the "Economist" and the "economist "an advertisement for the workshop on data sovereignty supported by Google.

And I did a little investigation to see what is the thinking concept behind it?  And you can see that companies are adjusting to this reality, that governance has to be somehow localized and addressed it to local specificities.

There were three points for my statement.  The first one, we should be aware, we should follow the packets and be aware of the basic vulnerabilities that current Internet has and it is related to submarine cables.  The second point is that Internet infrastructure is robust and it still functions across the different divides, and third point is that Internet is global in its technical functionality, but very local in its pact on society, economies, families, local communities, and it should be reflected in the governance regimes.

Obviously easy to say as a notion.  And there's all the risks of fragmentation, of disintegration of the economic space, the civic space, and we can elaborate more on, it but those are my three points.  Over to you.

>> ROBERTO ZAMBRANA:  Thank you very much, Mr. Jovan.

Great speech as well.

Well, now, let me go with Dr. Milos Jovanovic.  He's the president of ‑‑ he has a Ph.D. in information security, and he's also a professor at Belgrade Metropolitan University.  I would like you to cover a couple of questions as well.  The purpose of fragmentation and the steps being made towards it by different players reasonable?  And the other one, what possible repercussions could there be due to the spread of instant content blocking, of course on political basis, and Internet content filtering.

(Low audio level).

>> MILOS JOVANOVIC: I will start addressing first question regarding the fragmentation.  So if I speak today about fragmentation of Internet, we should make parallel, you know, the ‑‑ with the real world.  So we have fragmentation every day in our life regarding economic sanctions to other countries that do not want to follow, inequality across the globe and now colonialism and political conditioning, and all possible kinds of discrimination and available and scientific results.

And so we have fragmentation every day.  So Internet as a global network could not be out of this.  So we should speak about UN Charter.  So Internet Governance Forum is a platform of United Nations.  And if we decide to respect, you know, and to respect basic principles of the United Nations, we will not have fragmentation.  And that's my conclusion on this question.

So this is very wide topic.  You know, speaking about national sovereignty and technology, technology is a vital part of national sovereignty.  Definitely right now, we don't live in a ‑‑ in a unipolar world.  You know, in these times, you know, power is shifting from the West to the East and now we have multipolar world and circumstances are greatly different.

So speaking about fragmentation, I think that we should, you know ‑‑ that we should agree on minimal, you know ‑‑ minimal framework, common framework of Internet Governance.  So speaking about infrastructure, Mr. Kurbalija has spoken about submarine cables and so on and so on.  We really need a common framework, how the Internet will work.

And speaking about internet as a local approach.  So we know that right now, we have maybe three different technological zones speaking about maybe Chinese zone, about Russian zone, about Western zone, of course.  We have some processes here in Africa, in Latin America and so on and so on.  And I want to make, you know, one example, good example.

When you visit China, you will not be allowed to use some western services like Google and so on.

When you visit Russia, you will not be allowed to use Twitter and LinkedIn because Russia said that all the Russian information should be stored.

And when you go to the US, you have certain issues.  We are now in a very interesting historical times and speaking about Internet Governance, about technology, about everything, we should cover topic about national sovereignty.  We cannot speak about national sovereignty if we don't conclude that technology, right now, technology is a vital part of national sovereignty and we attended many conferences across the globe where technology, you know, played a vital role of everything.

And now, you know, we cannot say, that you know, Internet ‑‑ we should go back to the history, and we should understand how Internet started.  In the late 16 years of last century and it was about military.  And after that, we said we should go to one global network, it started in the last century.  So now in this moment of history, it works.  Now in this moment of history, I think we should make another how it will work in the future.

Definitely all countries want to protect their own freedom and their own information flows and their own sovereignty.  That's the question for Internet Governance Forum.  I think that's where we need our, you know, minimal common framework and infrastructure that work in the future.

Regarding the, you know, information and the information flows and, you know, your second question related to, you know content blocking and so on and so on, moving back to sovereignty.  Every country wants to protect their own information channels.

So if you say that the Internet is one information channel and definitely one of the most important, every country is responsible for, you know, for this ‑‑ for this information flowing in this channel.  So speaking about special military operations and about different aspects across the globe, we experienced, you know, and we show Internet shutdowns as a part of, you know, cyber warfare.

We can't divide Internet from military aspects in some way.  Of course, it's a global network, as Mr. Kurbalija said, it's the only network that allows us to send information between people, for example, right now from Kyiv or some different parts the world.  But I definitely think that we need to move away from legal policy and think about new strategies which will prevent Internet shutdown but according to minimum, you know, common framework and Internet Governance.  This is a multi‑stakeholder forum.  We should speak on multi‑stakeholder level, definitely.  And, you know, imagine one situation, if we don't achieve, you know, something regarding new strategy, regarding new deal on Internet Governance and so on and so on.

We have example, good example.  Many people, you know, we show how Internet networks work.  Can you imagine that if you make your sovereign Internet.  Like, I know that China did ‑‑ did this project, Russia as well and many other countries, you can make your own intranet.  It's possible, you know, if someone decides to ‑‑ you know, to block global access to some countries like China, like Russia and other big countries and so on, you will be able to use your own intranet network, and all of your critical infrastructure, services and everything will work, but in this aspect, you know, you will be able to make, for example, available to your own population to access BBC.com or any other site and to get absolutely the same website, but, you know the different information.

You can put some IP addresses and host files and so we need, you know, new deal on Internet Governance and new start, definitely, and ‑‑ new strategy, and there's a question who can shut down the Internet during the conflicts what is propaganda and what is fake news?  Who can see what is propaganda and right news?  We have different aspects.  People across the globe think differently.

So I think that the main deal of strategy of Internet Governance is how we should deal with some, you know, differences across the globe.  We see what's happening here in Africa.

There are new, you know, and different process.  We know for Silk Road, Bell Road of China, and we see Eurasia and we see what is happening in the West right now.  There are many questions right now.  And so I would say that is historical times, definitely and Internet, you know, as the only global network which works right now, you know?  We definitely should speak about new strategy, which will replace legacy, you know, which ‑‑ that's ‑‑ I think that's why we are right now here.  So that's my answer to your question.

And I will conclude with national sovereignty as a part of, you know, technology is a vital part of national sovereignty and I think according to UN chapter and all, you know, UN documents and so on and so on, it's right to, you know, every country to think about, you know, national sovereignty in a field of technology, economic, political and all other aspects.

Thank you very much.

>> ROBERTO ZAMBRANA:  Thank you very much.

(Low audio level).

(Captioner cannot hear the moderator).

>> Thank you.  Thank you for giving me the floor, and bonjour, good morning.


First of all, let me thank the United Nations and also thank the Ethiopian government and the Internet Governance Forum for giving us this platform to express our ideas and also our ambition towards sustainable cyberspace.

Also let me express my gratitude and happiness that I met with the different friends here at this forum, after a few months from attending a conference in the Russian Federation.  This shows that our friendship is not fragmented.

This is not a very specialized foundation in data or Internet but we work mainly on youth diplomacy and also engage Algerian youth at the local level with different institutions, mainly at the level of ministerial level and also at the presidential level, and also at the parliament level to engage more youth in the governance, the processes, good governance processes in Algeria.

Let me mention that Algeria youth ambassadors is one of the constant members of the higher authority of transparency in Algeria which is a consultant to the president of the republic.  And also besides my civil society activities, I am here working in Addis, at the African Union at the political affairs and security department.

Since I came here, I notice that we spoke a lot about propaganda, since I worked in the disarmament ‑‑ the propaganda and the fake news are slowing ‑‑ let me say are slowing the peace initiatives and are slowing making it harder for disarmament processes in Africa.

We are now witnessing also new terms such as data demobilization and cyber demobilization.  That's not clear for me, for example.  And its definition cannot be controlled or defined in the cyber world.

Today there may be no resource as vulnerable as data.  The central role that data sharing plays in contemporary society arranging from use of social media to accessing administrative services, is combined by high degree of risk, and let me mention that three or four days ago, my Facebook account was disabled by Meta company, just because my account was hacked by other hacker who violated the community standards of Facebook.

So you can imagine the damage that, let's say ‑‑ it was very ‑‑ you lose all of your work, your accounts since 2010, like almost 13 years of engagement, all of your network, all of your family contacts, all your seven years were lost because you have been attacked.

You can notice from this the degree of risk we are witnessing.

Also data sharing on a mass scale and for many purposes in a digitally connected world means that our personal information is increasingly open to attack and misuse.  In our online communication, and transaction risk, exposing data is about our lives that used to be private as a matter of course.

Further states across the globe are connecting to our biometric information, building a bridge from our digital activity and our lives and identity.  The digital identity may then become the target of exploitation, either for commercial, political, or sovereignty and as my friend Milos mentioned.

Talking about sovereignty, let me mention that we are witnessing now new sort of attacks and new sort of threats and new sort of wars which is the fifth generation of wars that is mainly based on cyber attacks.  That attacks mainly the sovereignty of the government.

So talking about digital fragmentation in most cases is based on a unilateral decision, whether between a country or not a country.  It's kind of like sanctions or punishment.  I don't know how to mention that, but also it can happen between a country and its population at the internal level, between the government and the authorities towards the users, are and that geographical area of that country, because if you say, citizens maybe there are foreigners there and international organizations that will be impacts.

So from a digital fragmentation is a sort of violation of human rights for me.  If it is a way of imposing sanctions between different powers, let ‑‑ let us remind ourselves that we are moving towards new era of multilateral world.

This multilaterally and multilateral actor world is, indeed one of the outcomes of the UN 75 survey and I'm sure that most of you were engaged in this survey in 2020, and also is mentioned in the UN 75 declaration.  UN 75 declaration as part of the agenda of the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The UN 75 declaration declares that the world leaders agree on ‑‑ agreed on the 21st of September 2022, on 12 commitments in this UN 75 declaration and amongst those 12 commitments we will improve digital cooperation is one the commitments.  So now in the UN is taking initiative to improve digital cooperation, and members or let's say Member States are still in ‑‑ let's say, mentality of block ‑‑ to blocks in this world.  So I think we as youth, we still have a lot of work to do and a lot of things to advocate for.

For me, it's time now to advocate for an instrument to protects us as users and also as citizens and human beings living in this planet.  In Algeria, let me give an example.  In Algeria in 2021, we went through reforms on our national referendum, on the Algerian constitution to look at state speech and it's online and offline.

So talking about the envisioning of the declarations or ‑‑ how you call it? ‑‑ the amendments are the decrees, the international decrees, let me mention that the United Nations, Human Rights Council recognized that Internet is a human right as part of the united Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

I would like to conclude that protecting our data as users, it must also be considered as a human right and mainly, like, we need to advocate for an establishment of international court specialized in cyber attacks and data rights violations because defamation, like sexual exploitation and many other violations, hate speech, cannot only cause data damage for the Internet user but also impacts his life in reality and forever.  Thank you so much.

>> ROBERTO ZAMBRANA:  Thank you very much.

(Audio distorted.)

>> Yes, thank you so much and my pleasure for having me here as a speaker, and what I want to say is, you know, with regard to Internet, Internet is at the first place, is at the crossroads.  Because of the fragmentation of the Internet globally.  So, you know, throughout all countries of the world, and we have varieties of, you know, protocols, standards and so on.

And this makes, you know, the ecommerce not only the e‑commerce, the trade as a whole to have, you know, a kind of misinformation and to make, you know, wrong decisions on those issues.

So, for instance, currently, as ‑‑ as AU, Region District 23 is to realized African continental free trade agreement which can be via Internet, but it is very much difficult if there is such kind of fragmentation throughout the continent at the continental level, as well as globally.

So there has to be some kind of, you know, uniformity, standards and protocols has to be there, so that to make things, you know, on the right track and to make the business, as its condition.

So having that is very much ‑‑ so the current condition, as a whole is, you know, there is a kind of ‑‑ with regard to fragmentation, we have Internet blockage, filtering, censorship and so on.  These are the problems, in fact whether it is connected with the political agenda or not.  But the government ‑‑ each government of ‑‑ each country of ‑‑ respective countries should have their own, you know, protocols and standards just to, have you know, the controlling mechanism of misinformation and disinformation.

So having that is very much important, rather than, you know, blocking the Internet.  Because blocking the Internet connects with the human rights as it is, you know, connected with, you know, the access to information of the citizens.  So this is the point that I want to forward.  Thank you.

>> ROBERTO ZAMBRANA:  Thank you.  (Audio distorted).

>> Thank you, Roberto, for giving me the floor.  I would like to thank all of our panelists for your brilliant intervention.  And I would like just to raise another point as the ‑‑ we have some kind of rules that we are using, that was promoted, for example, the net neutrality.  Net neutrality imposes for every telco operator an infrastructure, operator, not to block any kind of traffic over the Internet.

But the reality is that the economy of Internet is mainly because on the contents platform provider, who are located globally in the North.  So when it's come on the ‑‑ when we have to deploy to respond to the end user need in terms of infrastructure, the cost remains to the local operator.  But the economy generated by had the Internet as well, yes, our countries in the Global South take added value on the ‑‑ of the Internet.

We have to pay attention on the rules we put on the governing the Internet as infrastructure, and the consequence that implies on local actors.  Today, we ‑‑ we know that the major actor who are controlling the infrastructure around the world can block when ‑‑ we saw that we can change the rules to say you can block, you can stop but for the global actors we said for net neutrality, we need to keep all paths open in our network.

We come in an era that we need to sit together and try to be ‑‑ if we need to promote sustainable Internet, we need to have the same Internet around the world.  We need to we think is together.  Otherwise, we think we can get the same Internet around the world but it not be true.  Thank you very much.

>> ROBERTO ZAMBRANA:  Thank you very much, Kareem.  Maybe we can have one more question from the audience.  There is one there.  Please try to keep it in one minute so we can get a couple of more questions.  And after the questions or comments, we are going to give one minute to each panelist to close the session.

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you very much.  An interesting panel.  Actually, I would like to ask ‑‑ to ask about the layers of the Internet that you pointed out.  That we have some backbone infrastructure, layer part, but something that has been missed from your definitions of Internet layers is the role of the platforms, the transnational platforms.  There are to some extent now parts of the Internet infrastructure because they are internet gatekeepers now and the role they are playing as transnational layers of the Internet.  They block something that is against their corporate rules.  The corporate rules is now global rules for Internet.  And it's something that we need to think about.

The role of the transnational platforms, as part of the Internet infrastructure, that we need to come up to some kind of global universal protocols that all of them, they need to comply with.

>> ROBERTO ZAMBRANA: Thank you very much.  There is one more in the audience, but before going there, I will read one from the chat.  Thank you for your speeches and examples, however, now we see the ongoing process of fragmentation and the degradation of the common digital space.  The key challenge is lack of practical steps to prevent fragmentation of the Internet.  What international platforms for making practical decisions on this topic in your opinion can help prevent Internet fragmentation in the current situation?

And that's related with the other one regarding maybe the future digital compact.

We have your intervention and after that, we will give the floor to our panelists.

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you.  My name is Ashanavi from Ethiopia.  Thank you for giving me this chance, and thank all who is preparing this forum, which is very interesting forum.  And welcome to our country, to Ethiopia.

My question is as you listed out in your presentation the information disruption is hiding the truth.  Even if ‑‑ rather than it affecting the social, economic and political concerns of the people, there's concern of the science, the truth, because of disrupting or hiding or misleading the right information.

When we see in our country, Ethiopia, most people are not connected into Internet, but the media or the researchers concerned or gathering information from some amount of people which are connected to Internet.  But there is a lot of experience, a lot of information or wisdom from the unconnected peoples.

So do you have any plan or looking out so reaching out the unconnected peoples' idea or experience or exposures?  This is my question.

Thank you.

>> ROBERTO ZAMBRANA: Well, thank you very much.  Now we start with our panelists.  We can start with our left.

Mr. Wako.

>> ADUGNA HAILE WAKO: Thank you.  With regard to addressing the Internet, I think there has to be the infrastructure in a place.  When at national level or globally.  Because we have to have, you know a kind of infrastructure investment that has to be there so that we can address the Internet, so it has its own problem.  It has fragmented.  So I think in the Ethiopian case, the government also, you know, has the priority for the ICT.  Of so that ICT sector should be developed if we have a kind of infrastructure which has, you know, a kind of positive implication to address those remote areas that are not got the Internet connection.

But the problem with the fragmentation is not the only issue of infrastructure.  It's the issue of applicability and it is the issue of the operability, okay?

When you see the operational aspect of it, it is not as such action and it's agreed because of the conditions, you know, the Internet accessibility is not so good but there has to be a kind of national strategies and protocols to be devised and adopted to apply the rules to control the misinformation, and to control the citizens not to read unexpected decisions.  So that's a very important point that I want to articulate.

>> ROBERTO ZAMBRANA: Thank you, Dr. Yik Chan.

>> YIK CHAN CHIN: The low interest is very important, like South Africa to protect the local industry which is very good point.  You can have a polity, an industry policy to protect the industry of the global problems.  And so the other thing I want to mention because we all know that transnational nature of the problems, the global problems and therefore the international collaboration is very important.  So especially for those less developed countries so unless they can join the global regulatory framework with the help of the big plays and have their voice be heard and incorporate it into the global regulatory framework.  Therefore, it's difficult for them to act alone.  Therefore, the international collaboration is very important, especially for those less developed countries and developing countries.

And also the second point is how can we manage the international collaborations?  I think it's a multilayer, multicenter collaboration.  So the one of the global institutions but beyond the unit, there's other actors can be NGOs and local level, you know, even national levels.  So we will see, you know, there's many collaborations that will emerge as simultaneously.  And maybe there's a convergence to some central institution.  We let things happen organically and then maybe we will see something emerge in the last interactions.

And how can we reach out to the many local communities.  Many organizations or even WTO is doing a digital assistance to assist the countries to increase their digital capacities.

>> ROBERTO ZAMBRANA: Thank you very much, Dr. Chin.  We can go to Solavi.

>> I want to say that the Global Digital Compact should be considered as a document for the safe and the data protected rights of Internet users in this world, but talking about data rights, access to Internet is considered as a human right and as my friend, colleague mentioned from Ethiopia, many still don't have access to Internet.

Let me say, like, how can we declare a human right and who will pay for using it or access to this?  We are still paying for Internet as users.  So are we now paying for our human rights?  Thank you so much.

>> ROBERTO ZAMBRANA: Thank you very much.  Please, let's continue with Milos Jovanovic if it's possible.

>> MILOS JOVANOVIC: Okay.  Yeah.  Yeah.

Thank you very much, and I will congratulate Ethiopia for organizing this event and thank you very much once again.  My conclusion is related.  We should understand how the Internet was started and it was military project, you know?  It is clear that world historical forces of economic developments shaped the human history, and the human history are full of fragmentation.  So Internet as well, and I don't see that in the near future we will have mechanisms to prevent Internet fragmentation because we are en route, we are on a way to building a multi polar world and we have many different aspects and I think that we should think about come framework, minimum common framework on Internet Governance and the process is related to Internet fragmentation will continue.

Our main goal is to control effectively this and to make to sustain a global network.  Thank you very much.

>> ROBERTO ZAMBRANA: Thank you very much, doctor.  It's a nice way of ending our session with the music.


But we have to go to Jovan, please.

>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: Thank you.  When you say we start from left, it triggered me to comment on perspectives.  You know, your perspective sitting in chair, what is left and me watching here from online, but again, in tradition of three points let me just make three points.  First one in a quick ‑‑ well, I don't know what is the size today of Twitter.  Let me try to do it.  Let's go for the bottom billion and not the next billion.  It relates to a comment from our colleague, question from Ethiopia.  Maybe money is not shared equally worldwide but human ingenuity is.  And in this bottom billion, we can find definitely great solution and great ideas and great innovation.  And therefore, bottom billion, instead of next billion.

And the second one is grandma geopolitics.  Families are connected across the continent.  I'm sure from Ethiopia many ‑‑ there are many people living in the United States they have two or three million grandmas are connecting with their children, over Skype and WhatsApp, but there is that citizen drive, and push for Internet, decision to big geopolitics and it brings me to the third point, it is that our visions from citizens, companies, to countries, should be guided by interest.  And that interest calculation has to be very careful.  Sometimes we see the glass half empty but maybe it is half full and we should just see what can happen if there is disruption and serious conflicts and grandma geopolitics and well‑being of society.  And so the companies and the countries will have to make a decision.

The decision will be the basis for the future digital social contract.  And as we are discussing here in our session and in the Internet governance forum, we are basically starting negotiating global social contract.  What it will include, we'll see but it should be driven by informed interest and less clouds ‑‑ less Logans and less empty rhetoric and how the Internets affects citizens, communities and companies.  Over to you.

>> ROBERTO ZAMBRANA: And to the final remarks.

>> And I would like to mention that in conclusion, we all understand the need for some common solution and some common agreement in between countries, people, governments and so on, but I would like to raise a problem ‑‑ not a problem but the global IT companies and platforms should be as well recognizable part of this agreement with some on situations to stay unilateral and not interfere.

>> ROBERTO ZAMBRANA: Well, thank you very much.  We came to the end of session.  It was a fantastic session.  Many things to think about or comment about.

I would like to comment about one particular approach regarding the sovereignty.  All the work we have been doing for humanity for several years trying to reach everyone, trying to reach this universal connection with everyone, and it will be bad if we do actions that actually start splitting the Internet, start reducing this kind of ecosystem that we are taking advantage of during all of these last years.  Not even because of sovereignty.

And the second point, in the future, maybe we should start thinking about sovereignty of Internet itself.  Like, once we start to think about the earth, and its rights, it will be something that we need to think in the future.

Well, thank you very much for this fantastic session.  Thank you for the great panelists that we have today.  And Jovan online, and we will see you soon.  Bye‑bye.