IGF 2022 Day 1 WS #66 Reassessing Government Role in IG: How to embrace Leviathan

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.



>> That's not the name of our workshop.

>> Hello, hello, Professor Mueller.

>> Very nice to see you all.

>> BU ZHONG: You are in the plenary, right?

>> MILTON MUELLER: That's right, yeah.

>> BU ZHONG: Hello, Jovan.  Good to see you.

>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: Hi, hi.  Good morning.  How are you?

>> BU ZHONG: Love your voice.  That's so familiar to me.

>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: Good to see you.

>> BU ZHONG: Yeah.

>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: I am playing with some backgrounds to illustrate the points for discussion, you know.

>> BU ZHONG: Okay.

>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: Where are you now?  In China or in the IGF?

>> BU ZHONG: I am Bu Zhong.


>> BU ZHONG: I still wear short sleeves.  You know, shorts, everything.

>> MODERATOR: Hello, Professor Fang.  This is Xianhong.

I apologize.  I am supposed to be the moderator for this session, but I am literally late for a few minutes.

So, shall we start?

>> BU ZHONG: We start at 9:30.

>> MILTON MUELLER: No.  It was 8:15.

>> MODERATOR: Could you please unmute and then we only have one person to talk when you are unmuted.

So, professor Fang, let me start by announcing the opening of this session.  Welcome to this very interesting working group, organized by my friend, Dr. Fang on the screen.  And since they cannot travel from China to here.  So, I just help with the moderation.  And my name is Xianhong, I am from (?) from here I'm the founder of our stakeholders in China.

First, we all know this session focus on the role of governments, the government's role in the internet governance.

I'd like to invite the organizer of this session, Dr. Fang, who is best positioned to explain why we are having this session.  What's the question he like to tackle with our excellent panel here.  And also, to trigger discussion with each of you in the room.

So, Mr. Fang, could you please take the floor from there.

(No English translation)

>> MODERATOR: Please just listen.

(non-English language)


(non-English language)

>> MODERATOR: I will explain to our audiences here.  Professor Fang inform that he has prepared some speaking points, which was already translated to English.  Because he prefer his assistant to deliver it in English directly, because we don't have the interpretation in the room.

So, could you please take the floor to deliver the inputs from Dr. Fang in English.  Thank you.

>> Thank you.  Good afternoon.  Many thanks for your interest in the workshop.  The following words was written by Dr. Fang and translated to English by his words.

So, this workshop is cohosted by College of Media and International Culture, Zhejiang University, Institute of Digital Civilization, and the Path State University, with word from School of Cyber Science and Technology, and also Center of Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication of Georgia University.

The workshop will be moderated on site by Ms. Xianhong Hu, who you already meet.  Get together at IGF.

The theme of the workshop is about digital role the government should play in the new era, which originally popped into my head because a series of major events in the past three years, such as the pandemic, the US-China technology war, internet antitrust, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict have caused tremendous impacts on our lives and brought disruptive effects to the global cyberspace.

The return of the government has been an important feature of the new paradigm of global internet governance.  The digital markets Act, positions, super internet platform as a gatekeeper of the digital era.  While the government, which has long played the role of night watchman in the past have become the gatekeepers, gatekeeper.

As digital technology continues to be deeply involved in the real life, the government, which has monopoly on public power were undoubtedly need to play a more active and crucial role.  Otherwise, the other will be unsustainable.

We are at the same time seeing events such as tech conflict and Russia-Ukraine conflict.  The powerful power of the government will also have a more destructive effect if it's not restrained.

Here are some of my simple thoughts about the future of the global cyberspace and the future role of the government.  There is a need for the new -- for the mental theorists to be structured, a new theory article, a system of global internet governance.

The second IGF, WSID, GD and G20 and other mechanisms should play a better role.  And also, there is a need to have more in-depth communication methods.

Third, the interplenary academic community to play a more active role, scientific communities, the creator of the internet and also the best guardians of cyberspace.

Fourth, major countries must cooperate to avoid conflicts.  We need cooperation rather than conflictions.

To governments, how to play a positive roll and inhabit the multiside, the multistakeholder model and figure out what to do and what cannot do has become the primary issue in global cyberspace.

Speakers here are the most qualified and original thinkers in the field of internet governance, and I am looking forward to hearing all your ideas and discussion through this new challenge.

I hope we can all meet offline at the next year's IGF.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Yang Yin.  Thank you, Dr. Fang, for this discussion.  As you know my friend, Dr. Fang, has been the leading entrepreneur and leading advocate and leading researcher of internet governance in China.  So, appreciative of you being able to getting this workshop approved and also manage it in this manner which really tackle the crucial issue not only for IGF but also really for the entire global internet governance about how we further enhance the role of governments.

So, I would like to introduce our panel here.  Basically, we are having five speakers.  First one is Anriette Esterhuysen.  You know here as an IGF girl.  And you were the first and.

And then second, we have professor Milton Mueller remotely participating.

And then we have Jovan Kurbalija from the Director of Diplo Foundation, also very well known for the IGF committee.  I think you are also remotely there.

And then we have Professor Wolfgang Kleinwaechter, another celebrity.  I don't need to introduce.  So, it is also well because everybody knows you, Professor Wolfgang.

And then last, but not the least, is Professor Bu, my compatriot researcher in the United States, and he is Professor and Department Head of Interactive Media of the School of Communication at the Hong Kong Baptist University.  Before he came to Hong Kong, he worked as a professor at Pennsylvania State University in the U.S.

I have our strong panel.  Allow me, I will be very brave.  I want to reshape our scenario as I sent you before.  I sent you two questions.  I intended to have two roundup intervention but since we are lagging behind, I would like our speaker, can you please combine your intervention to tackle two questions in one intervention so we can have some time to open the floor to allow for questions, comments, sharing views from the audiences in the room since it's only one hour, already half an hour have passed.

So, two key questions here is.  First one, so, what's kind of law you think government -- role you think government play in the internet of governors.  And what are the major challenges that need to be made by the governments, need to be tackled by the governments in the new situation as Dr. Fang already set out in his speech.

And what should the governments do and what it cannot do?  So that's a question to be and not to be as the first question.

And then second question that your perception and role of the governments and the challenges.  And from the geopolitical aspect, what do you think of the role of the big players, big countries such as the China, the U.S., the Europe and the Africa?  Whatever, pick example, you like to make your question.  What do you think are those big players, big countries' role in the internet governance.  And what should be their top priority, issues and actions?

I think everyone will have five minutes.  If you could, make you can run to six minutes, and I will be a tough Moderator.  I am looking at my watch.

So, shall I invite Anriette to deliver your intervention first.  Please.

>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: Thank you, Xianhong, I was hoping to go off the modern.  But I will try and be very brief.  And, actually, I think we shouldn't overcomplicate this question or the answers.

The role of governments is primarily, and you, actually, find this in the wisest documents, it's to create an enabling environment.  It's to create an enabling environment for internet development, for growth, for innovation, for people to use the internet, for culture, for entertainment, for education.

But then it's also the role of government as a duty bearer to promote and respect human rights.  This is part of our international system.  It's, actually, a cornerstone of the international system.  And I think when we are looking at the government playing an enabling environment in the context of internet governance, that role with regard to human rights is part of it.

Of course, it's not a simple role.  But it's a role that involves government making sure that its own actions promote and respect human rights, but also to hold other actors, nonstate actors, including corporations, accountable for upholding and respecting human rights.

Secondly, what are the major -- you didn't just ask two questions, by the wait, Xianhong.  Secondly, what are the major challenges to be met?  I think -- well, before I go to conflict, I will just talk about, I think we are in a context at the moment where there's a much more awareness of potential harm that happens on the internet, of the threats of insecurity, ransomware attacks, conflict, cyber conflict.  I think there's a risk here that governments overreach.

Of course, governments have to address these harms.  But -- and these threats.  They do not have to address them by regulating the internet.  I think we forget that the internet is a platform and that if there is any kind of need for regulatory intervention, it should be done very carefully and targeting those that operate on the internet, in the same way that we have market regulation.  Why do we need market regulation?  To ensure competition.  To protect the public interest.

So, I think there's a real risk here that because the internet seems to be no longer just a positive aspect, that governments are over-reacting and overregulating and regulating in a way that doesn't necessarily provide the solutions that could create more problems.

Then your question about the challenges and the tension.  I think that it really disturbs me.  I think that we are finding that the spirit of collaborative internet governance that we have been trying to grow in the IGF in the post WSIS scenario in bodies like ICANN, but in other spaces as well, that we seem to be entering a space of polarization where disagreements and different approaches between different states, which are not new.  You know, these are not new to us.  The multistakeholder approach, for example, has never been universally accepted or even universally understood across countries.  How we interpret human rights and how different states apply human rights also differs.

So, it distills me that rather than accepting there are these differences and trying to work through them to build more commonality and establish common ground, that we are, actually, polarizing.  And there's a discourse of like-minded countries against nonlike-minded countries, and that instead of actually maintaining this overall emphasis on striving towards collaborative global internet governance, we are fragmenting how we are talking about internet governance between north and south, west and east in a way that I think is not very helpful. 

And that touches on your last question, the role of the big players.  I think the role of the big players should be to talk to one another, to bring other stakeholders into the conversations.  And instead of every big player developing its own set of principles, its own declaration for the future of the internet, let's work together.  And I am hoping that I am sometimes optimistic that maybe the Global Digital Compact does provide an opportunity for us to get back into that space where we recognize there are differences but we don't allow that to stop us striving towards at least talking about common principles and still working together, even if there are different approaches and different interpretations.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Anriette, for the wonderful remarks.

Now I am inviting our second speaker, Professor Milton Mueller, from online.  Could you please take the floor.

>> MILTON MUELLER: Sure.  Thank you very much, Xianhong.  Good to see you again, even from a very far distance.

When I read the bane question you wrote, I was a little bit puzzled.  It says what role should the government play in internet governance?  And when I hear that, I think which government?  Right, which government are we talking about?  Because the internet is an integrated global cyberspace and each of these governments -- and one of the big problems of internet governance is that each government is sovereign, each national government is sovereign and they have different values.  They have different political institutions, and they have different interests.

So, the question is really, what can government do to governor the internet that is not going to fragment it and I think Anriette touched on some of those points in an interesting way.

I don't agree that without more government, there will be less order or no order.  The internet has evolved as a very orderly space, at least technically, through private sector and Civil Society activities, through standard setting, through technical evolution, and through, you know, voluntary choice to who to avoid, what to stop, what to block.

So, don't think that all order rests upon the forcible and territorial governance of nation states.  A lot of the order comes from different sources.

In fact, could you say that the major source of disorder in cyberspace today is actually coming from government.  I'm talking about offensive cyber operations.  I am talking about export controls.  I am talking about technological cold wars and various forms of forcible intervention in human rights and human speech.

So, one of the most important things the government can do in the current role is to leave certain forms of global governance that require global compatibility to the private sector.  I am talking here about the unique identifiers, the coordination of unique identifiers.  I'm talking about routing of packets.  I am talking about public key infrastructure and the certification, the digital certificates and the verification of digital certificates that is so important to security.  Those are things that governments have to leave alone to global private sector operators.

Now, what can governments do?  I think they can do a number of things.  They can foster and open a competitive market in internet service, in cloud, in software.  They can prosecute effectively cybercriminals, which means that they have to cooperate and harmonize their rules with other governments.  And as part of this harmonization process, I am talking about Free Trade Agreements.  I am talking about cyber conflict norms that they can try to adhere to.  Talking about data sharing with law enforcement agencies from other states.  And I'm talking about the recognition and protection of internationally recognized human rights.

So, in terms -- I will be very brief here.  In terms of what major changes need to be made (chuckles), that could be the topic of an hour of talk.  But I would just emphasize two things.  Number one is, stop trying so hard to control content.  And I mean this not just for what we call authoritarian countries like China and Russia, but also countries in the U.S. or Europe where we are trying too hard to -- we are putting too much faith in suppression and too little faith in the ability of people to sort out truth from falsehood and to make their own choices about who they want to associate with and who they want to believe.

And another thing I would advocate is to do more to allow end-to-end encryption to protect the privacy and confidentiality of users on the internet.  There are too many governments that simply do not allow it.  And again, even the liberal democracies of the west are constantly battling over whether they should undermine encryption or not.

To wrap up, what about the big players?  Well, I would identify the U.S., China, Europe, and India has having the most critical role, simply because of the size of their populations and their markets.  And I would identify the US-China conflict as probably the most damaging and negative thing that's happening now in internet governance.  It's tragic the way the U.S. is shutting out China.  There are reasons the U.S. to be upset with China's barriers to trade and to free expression.  But for the U.S. to claim that telecom equipment and TikTok are national security threats is ridiculous.  And it militarizes the debate in a way that is very not helpful.

So, U.S. and China need to pacify their relationship.  They need to re-engage in open trade with each other, both in commodities and in services.  And we need to avoid the polarization of the rest of the world around this US-China axis.

Europe and India also are very important.  I think that Europe tries to play a role as a big human rights defender, but I think it's like Anriette suggested, it's becoming too regulatory and it is becoming dangerously in favor of this idea of digital sovereignty, which is an exclusionary and fragmentary approach to internet governance.

India also is suffering from nationalistic tendencies and protectionist tendencies.  So, I think all four of these big players need to get together and recommit to free trade in internet services and to the desecuritization or toward the pacification of internet governance among them.  That's all for now.  I look forward to the discussion.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Professor, for being so advocate, actually.  You answered all of my so-called two but, actually, eight questions in such a short six minutes.  And I will say that's happy to hear you are pleasant (?) from the other side of the continent.  Thank you.

Next speaker is Jovan Kurbalija.  Jovan, could you please take the floor from online?

>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: Sure, sure.  Thank you.  And it's really my honour to be part of this panel.  And I will build further on the two previous presenters, but making one -- two broad reflections.  One is anchoring out any discussion in reality, including reality of this call, which was possible through the cables which you can see behind me, going from Djibouti towards Europe and towards east.

Therefore, internet sometimes is confused with so many empty terms, so many slogans, internet governance, but in reality, we have to get back to basics.  And I think around this transfer exactly this packets which are carrying my video, Milton or others, you can analyze more or less all internet governance and the role of public governance -- role of governments, including protection of these cables, which is one of the big issues.  They are not protected and there is a missing international law, effective international law.

But when I receive the invitation for this call and I found the leviathan in the title, I said, okay.  That's, basically, important reflection on the time in which we live and what we are trying to do.  And we are, basically, negotiating new digital social contract.  It is indication which was mentioned by Secretary General in general Compact discussion and in this digital social Compact we are answering very simple question, which Thomas hopes tried in leviathan, what is the role of government and cities and what is the deal between government and citizens.  And it wasn't only him who did it.  There were other great thinkers of that era, like Russeau, Locke, and they were, basically, trying to see, to understand what is the deal between government and citizens in.  In leviathan, we as the citizens past our (?) to government to protect us from anarchy and the risk that society brings.

But what is very important and this I will conclude this short intro, there have been thinkers all over the world, including these gentlemen on the screen behind me, historical thinkers, Chinese philosopher Shang Yang, Confucius, Lao Tze.  You have the same thing in traditions all over the world, maybe not codified in the books and writings, but ultimately, they have been trying to answer this question.

Now, the problem that we face today is that we are trying to answer this question of relation between government and society in the rather specific time, in the era, where essentially nobody can effectively, and I highlight effectively, answer the phone calls that citizens, companies, business and countries face when it comes to digital real.  From simple removal of YouTube to the blockages of the traffic, to the filtering, to cybercrime, cybersecurity.  And essentially internet governance, digital concept, word trappings about this lady trying to find the right organization, international, private company, to answer the calls these people are making.

Now, what is the role of governments in this context?  Governments have to deliver on this basic social contract.  They have to ensure security of citizens, flourishing society, economically, politically, socially.  And they cannot do it.  The possible exception two governments but I'm not even sure they can do it fully, United States and China.

All other governments are trying to find a solution and this is where we are today, in internal governance forum in digital Compact.

If you return to this simplicity of the functions of the main stakeholders, which agenda outlined in the respective role and responsibilities, you have not an easy task.  But simply a task in the sense of understanding in what direction we are moving.  A lot of confusion will be removed and we will have precise, concrete, and understandable discussion to citizens.  I'm sorry, but many of citizens cannot understand what they are discussing in Internet Governance Forum.  But if you explain in this way, as I explained to friend of mine, whose business was ruined by removing his YouTube channel, and he asked me as, sort of, internet governance expert to help him, to guide him how to solve his problem.

Therefore, this is a huge challenge.  Governments have major role to do in this respect and they have responsibility, like other stakeholders.  Governments have been for quite a long time quite shy.  And they are especially after COVID, they are taking over their role in overall governance.  There is a risk that they can go too far and I think Anriette and Milton outlined those major risks.  But that's a very tricky situation.  That we have to ask them to act.  But to act in responsible, smart and cautious ways.  It can be applied to data governance, to artificial intelligence, to cybersecurity, to almost any policy field.

And my concluding remark would be, let us return to common sense and the role of the government and many questions will be simply answered.  It won't be an easy process.  We will need a lot of diplomacy.  We will need a lot of listening.  We will need a compromise and delicate trade-offs.

Therefore, view that ideological view that there are only two views, my and wrong should be dismissed.  All views should be taken around the table and only in that way we will ensure the future of this great, Great Necker and great result of humanity creativity as the internet is.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Jovan, always for your wonderful remarks and even very philosophical results, inspired indeed.

Our next speaker is Wolfgang Kleinwaechter.  Please, Wolfgang, take the floor.

>> WOLFGANG KLEINWAECHTER: Thank you very much.  And I just take your words from the respective role because, you know, this was a key sentence as part of the internet governance definition, which was proposed by the Working Group on internet governance where you and I were a member and where we had a long discussion about, you know, these two words, respective role, because we agreed in the group that the internet is too big just for one stakeholder.  Not only government or only the private sector.  This was the conflict in the first place of the WSIS who should manage the internet.  U.S. was in favor of the private sector.  China was in favor of the government.  And the proposal was made.  We need all stakeholders.  And then came this enter respective roles.  Because no stakeholder can substitute at stakeholder.  Role of government is different from the role of the private sector.  But government cannot substitute the private sector.  And government cannot substitute the Civil Society, and Civil Society cannot substitute the government.  The only way forward is working together hand in hand.

And in the second sentence of the definition, it's another key word and this is sharing.  The definition, as you know, that governments, private sector and Civil Society and their respective roles should share programmes, principles, norms and decision-making procedures.  And I think this is a key point.  And this leads to the way how governments collaborate with other stakeholders.

So, it's not a master/slave relationship that only one side decides and the other have to implement it.  So, we need a new quality of interaction between the various stakeholders.  And what we have learned in the 15, 20 years since the WSIS process is there is no model which is usable for all situations.  There is no one size fits all.

So, the governance of cybersecurity has to be different from the governance of, let's say, digital education.  And the governance of the domain name system has to be different from governments of digital trade.  It means we have to look first to the issue and then to build the governance model around the issue, and then to define what is the respective role of each stakeholder.

Certainly, you know, in the field of cybersecurity, probably the government has to lead.  But it would be unwise for governments not to work together with the Technical Community or the private sector or to take into account the positions of the Civil Society.  Certainly, in -- leadership in cybersecurity just understandable remains in the hand of governments.  If it comes to the domain name system, the leadership is in the hand of the richest star and richest trees and government in the advisory capacity.  That means you have different models and this has to be built around the specifics of a certain issue.

I think this is really important.  And so far, just to get a question and to say, you know, governments have to manage or have to define, you know, or make policies for cyberspace, no.  They have to share.

And this brings me also to the future.  So, I was a little bit -- I would not say skeptical when I heard this morning (?) and he spoke about the Global Digital Compact and says we need input from all stakeholders.  But this will be negotiated by governments.  So, I think it's the sharing.

We have different -- and made very clear that we have a different standing in the world but the multistakeholder model.  Some governments think, you know, okay, we consult with stakeholders and this is all the stakeholder reason.  But consultation is not really a multistakeholder approach.  Multistakeholder approach goes far beyond consultation with other stakeholders.

So, here we have to be innovative.  This morning, you know, the incoming ITU Director General referred to Kofi Annan, and Kofi Annan made a statement in the first business and said, we have to say we have to be innovative in policymaking.  I think the way forward is really we need innovation in policymaking.  And if it comes to the Global Digital Compact, I think one big innovation and this could be a good model and a source for inspiration, was the drafting of the declaration in São Paulo.  When the Brazilian government initiated the process for the conference in São Paulo eight years ago now. 

So, there was intergovernmental committee, but then the drafting was in the hand of so-called multistakeholder drafting teams.  And this would be my proposal for the Global Digital Compact, that Amdep and the leadership team and the United Nations should identify the issues and then to create multistakeholder drafting teams.  And then the draft could go in the final stage to the governments.  And because the United Nations is in the governmental body and then they have to adopt it.

But it should not be left in the hands of the governments, what the single paragraphs include.

We had a similar situation also in (?) when finally, the governments rejected all the input which came from Civil Society and this led to the Civil Society Geneva declaration.  So finally, we had two documents.  Was the Geneva declaration from governments and the Civil Society declaration which was equally adopted and finally in the final session handed over to the Chair and the President as one.

We should avoid this.  That we have at the end two Global Digital Compacts.  One in the governmental digital Global Compact and from one state actors.  Here we need policy innovation and the proposal would be from my side to start with creation of multistakeholder drafting teams for the seven issues which has been identified by the tech environment.  Thank you very much.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you so much and welcome for such a perfect framing of the role of government from the aspect of multistakeholderism, which is such a key word here.

I think our conversation would also involve the audiences from room.  I recognize we do have some representative from the governments and also from different stakeholders.  I saw our former colleague, Nigel, also present.  We are going to invite our last speaker on the panel, Professor (?) to share his views.  And then I will open the floor to have more questions, answers, comments from the floor.  Thank you.  Professor zhong Bu.  Can you take the floor from online.

>> BU ZHONG: It's an honour to join all my friends, and we met many times in the past years and face to face.  But the pandemic really, as you know, keep us on hold in Hong Kong.  Right now I'm in Hong Kong.  It's too hot for me.  I want to go to cold weather place.

It's very important to answer Xianhong's two questions, and nothing is so, you know, obvious to us after the whole world experienced three years of pandemic.  The COVID pandemic has really made us rethinking government policy's role in the digital media age.

Now we know the government policy role extended to various forms of content and media platform.  And during the pandemic we began to realize the importance of digital media.  It's increasingly central to the functioning of our society, democracy, and also help us to fight -- could, you know, help us to understand our areas and the post COVID recovery.

Government aims to and, you know, government aims to regular increasing multiplatform environment, obligation, role and responses.

And this is, like, you know -- this is -- I just heard noises here.  Sorry about that.  And government are required to manage growing risk of concentration equality, but I do share with our speaker, previous speakers were mentioning about this, must work with stakeholders to set a policy and regulation for data protection or other things, especially during the pandemic there.

You know, governments should also regulate transferred data across national boundary and the roles and the responsibility in data processing value chains there.

But indeed, government control undermines the promises shared across parity.  With the internet and data platform the lever scales economies but without the competitive environments the outcome could be excessively concentration and monopolized.  Help us overcome (?) the outcome will be greater control environments in conclusion.

To reduce all the risks there, government's policy and investment in the digital media sector must be completed by complimentary policy reforms in the nondigital sector, nongovernance area, including social compacts.  The new technologies and internet governance are applied, are applied, you know, to, you know, how we are going to use the internet governance.

I share Professor Mueller's concern to not try to control the contents and governments, anywhere not control the government.  To add on that, I like to say is governments, you should share the power and make the structure, make how they are going to use Internet Governance more transparent.  Thank you very much.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Professor Zhong for your excellent contribution.  I thank all our panelists for being so time cautious.  That's why we now have at least 10 minutes to trigger discussion to share the view from audience.

Also like to keep a few minutes for our panel to give a final words, particularly our colleague Dr. Fang maybe also wanted to share some reaction in the end.

Now the floor is yours, my dear colleagues in the room.  Whether you are from government or from other sectors.  And please share your view about the role of the government in the Internet Governance or if you like to comment or question to the interventions just given by all of our panelists.

Please signal to me if you -- yes, please introduce yourself.

>> AUDIENCE: My name is Julia.  I'm from Russian organization, and I prepared one question, maybe to all of you, I think.  So, you told a lot about the role of governments to protect the human rights.  But during regulation re corporations, first of all, in the field over personal data security and the provision of the services to everyone on an equal basis without discrimination against the certain user groups.

Remember, the beginning of the year, when the -- the activities over net company which did nothing to block calls for the use of violence against Russians and a lot accrual adds to Russian audience, as I saw that on the Russian segment of the internet.  And I remind you that in the February of 2022, after special military operations started, Meta also allowed online users to call violence against Russians.

So, and the other point, that what about Twitter and its former leadership, which for years collected user data for the sake of targeted advertising and recall the example of Oracle, which general has user data for 5 billion people around the world and, as we said, Professor, there are many stakeholders here.  So, maybe our goal to make a decision-making procedures transparent as far as they could be using the feedback mechanism from society and the stakeholders should be -- should take care and responsibility for people they work for.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you.

>> AUDIENCE: So, my question, should we review the role, regulation of corporation?  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you for the question.  I'm not sure it's directly linked to our subject.  I would like to open floor for more audiences to share your comments and questions and then we will handle them together in the end.  Thank you.

Nigel, please take the floor.

>> NIGEL: Yes, thank you very much.  And I will be brief.  Thank you for the session.  Nigel Hixson from the UK Government.

Just a couple of points.  I think really, and, you know, it's really great to hear such expert speakers and people that were like Wolfgang and, you know, that were there at the beginning, if you like, of some of the multistakeholder processes.  And, you know, I think it's fair to say that as we have gone through the process of multistakeholderism from 2023, 2025, onwards, of course, it's changed and shifted.  Things evolve always and in different circumstances.

But I think I would like to pick up two points.  And the first one is the pandemic itself, which was mentioned earlier in the intervention from the learned gentleman from China at the beginning.  And clearly, the pandemic, you know, affected us all, affected the role of governments, but it also affected the role of stakeholders.  And I don't think the UK is unique in any different countries, but what we faced in the UK, of course, is working from home, the delivery of public services to people that could not go to hospitals or could not attend various other, sort of, health positions, and, therefore, you know, the role of Civil Society, the role of the private sector was enhanced during that time.  They had to work very closely with governments.  They had to work very closely with health professionals across the spectrum.

And I think we saw, especially in the overall community, how the internet companies, how the various telecommunication companies also stood up to the challenge to provide connectivity to a population in a very changed situation.

As we go forward, I'm sure that the role of stakeholders will change again.

We did have the excellent example, of course, of the discussions where governments and a whole variety of stakeholders came together in a post, sort of, crisis situation to re-evaluate where the internet is going.  And we will have that opportunity again as we go forward in the WSIS+20 view process.  That governments, stakeholders, will come together to discuss how the internet should be fashioned for the future.

I fully agree with Wolfgang in terms of the Global Digital Compact.  It's really excellent how the technical envoy has reached out to a whole range of different stakeholders beyond the people in this room, but to academics, scientists, to all stakeholders.  There's one thing to reaching out as Wolfgang said and we love this in government.  It's one thing in reaching out and consulting.  It's another in discussing what the outcomes will be.

You need to be in the room for both phases.  You need to be in the room to put your comments and your views forward to governments.  Stakeholders have to do that.

But then governments, when they are, actually, discussing what comes out of the process, need to be able to talk to stakeholders as well.  So, this is a very important test, indeed.  And I will finish there.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you so much, Nigel, for such an insightful sharing.  I can't help suggesting to Dr. Fang maybe next time should include Nigel to your panel on the discussion of the role of governments.  Really very insightful.

Any others?  Yes, gentleman there, please introduce yourself.

>> AUDIENCE: Good evening.  My name is Jacobi Adam from the Pan Africa parliament.  My comment is in the fact that when you talk of government, government is a big bang and we all know government has three arms:  Legislature, judiciary, and executive.  And it is important that we understand the roles of these three different arms when you are talking about internet governance.  Judicially you need to have an opportunity for remedial action through the courts when there's an issue of human crises related to the internet.

Legislature, the members of parliament need to be well aware of issues related to internet governance for them to formulate proper policies, and also to oversight the executive.  Then the executive is the one that now implements the policy.  But most of the time their focus is mostly on the executive.  But we forget these two other players are very key in governance.  Because the courts are your -- are the place you go for your last resort.  So, if you don't even talk of courts in terms of internet governance or we don't talk of the role of legislature in policy and oversight, then we cannot make the traction that needs to be made.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: I thank you so much for your make such a wonderful distinction of the government's composition.  Three branches, you know, is not someplace taker concept.  Thank you.

Yes, gentleman there, please introduce yourself.

>> AUDIENCE: Hello.  Mas McNaughton from an organization called The Samplers Foundation in Kingston, Jamaica.

My question for the panel, but for the group is, you know, this question is talking about rethinking the role of governance within the context of the internet.  And I was curious to the panelists, but also to the broader actors as when we talk about the question is who should govern and I ask that because when it comes to the internet, we have a number of different -- there are some quasi -- there are some things that are, obviously, owned by private sector platforms or organizations.  There are some things that in a way are transnational or cooperations.  And then there's other types of governance fora.

But I look -- you know, the person earlier talked a little bit about some of the challenges earlier this year with the -- the Russian invasion and the conversation that came after around the swift network as to how should that -- their decision as to whether it's eject a particular country or party from that network and there are a number of conversations that came out about that, about the risk around, well, if we start to politicalize some of these internet governance mechanisms, would it then cause particular actors to then break off and start their own networks?

So, I raise that question because I look at that and there are a number of other countries that were not a part of the decision making as to whether particular countries should be rejected, what might be have to live with the repercussions of decisions made by a very short number of actors.

When we talk about governance and the kind of governance structure we might want to work towards, what does that potentially look like?  Are we trying to replicate the kinds of things that we have in the UN system right now, or are we trying to have these kind of pseudo structures that are governed by a few influenced actors or do they remain in the realm of the private sector?  There are a number of different kinds of governance questions that I think are useful to engage with and I would be curious to hear what the panelists think.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you for raising such a fundamental question, who should governor.

I'm looking around if any other, yeah, questions.  I saw a lady to my right, but at the same time I realize we have many online participants.  So, our technical support, if there are any questions from online, please take note to me as well.  Thank you.

So, please, introduce yourself.

>> AUDIENCE: Hi.  I'm Javona.  I am here as part of the President Youth Delegation, and I am currently working at the real city hall.

I have a question for the panelists.  If we can maybe look -- we can look to governments as enablers of the multistakeholder, like national Jav.  It had an role of government is enabling this multistakeholder debate to happen.  And I think there are other already participation in multistakeholders mechanisms processes in the different areas of government, right, in the executive, in the legislative, in the judiciary branches.

In all of them, the states usually have or at least in Brazil, in Europe, for instance, there are ways that we can think of, like, third-party actors to participate in lawsuits and so on.

Can we maybe expect from governments that they should be enablers of these multistakeholders and of internet governance as we thought of it in the first place?  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you.  I am collecting the last question from the room.  The gentleman -- yeah, here.  And then I will go through our panelists in the same order from Anriette to Milton and Wolfgang to professor and I will give the floor to Dr. Fang to give final remarks.  That's the plan.  Gentleman, please read your question.

>> AUDIENCE: Thank you very much.  From the (?) delegation, advising the government policies.  I think something that is --

>> MODERATOR: Excuse me.  Could you repeat?  Which delegation are you from?

>> AUDIENCE: I'm advising the Iranian government authorities.

>> MODERATOR: Iranian?

>> AUDIENCE: Yes, I'm professor at the universities.  Something that is very important for the governments and justifies the government intervention is the notion of the sovereignty.  And if the governments thinks that any kind of national sovereignty issues has been violated by the foreigners or transnational platforms or internet providers or something like that, it's something that the governments should intervene in these issues.

And currently we have seen some kind of media sovereignty violation that has happened throughout the platforms, the transnational platforms that they have blocked, for example, by their corporate rules against the national rules.  And those kind of the issues that has happened digital sovereignty, media sovereignty, and particularly in terms of the crisis, in terms of crisis and conflicts are very much important for the governments and they can't -- they can't override themselves and not to intervene in those cases.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you.  And now I like to turn to our panelist, each of you have one minute to summarize.  You can pick a question; you can react to any comments and really one minute.  Thank you, Anriette.

>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: Milton has to leave, Xianhong.  I think you should let him go first.

>> MODERATOR: Okay.  Milton, please.

>> MILTON MUELLER: I appreciate that, thank you, Anriette.  And I think the only thing to say at this point is that the WSIS resolution regarding the roles of government doesn't work.  And I think this was evident even when we doing it, but governments didn't want to hear this.  But the idea that there is -- that governments make public policy and that the businesses operate and Civil Society hangs around and says nice things, this is the WSIS definition of the different stakeholder roles and it's wrong because, in fact, in the global internet, the multistakeholder community, actually, makes policy and frequently businesses who are operating their platforms are making policy.  And governments are participating in that in a different way.  They are no longer sovereign.  There is no sovereignty over the global internet.  There is only territorial sovereignty.

So, these models, these traditional models of the role of government simply don't work in the internet space.  And if we try to reimpose them, we are going to fail.  So, we do need innovation in institutions of governance.  Thank you.  And I'm sorry.  I have to leave.  I have got a class.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Milton.  Thank you.

So, Anriette.

>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: There's a very lively debate online as well.

I think that we need -- governments have a role.  I think that's absolutely clear they have a role at national level and they have a role at regional and at global level.  As I said before, you know, the primary role is to enable the environment, to create inclusive policymaking processes.  So your point about ensuring multistakeholder environments.

But I think we cannot solve global problems with national solutions.  And I think it's just never going to work.  In fact, it will create new problems.  And I think this is what governments have to confront.  And it comes to the question of collaboration.  And I want to use one example.  We have on the internet global companies that operate, that have business models, that are very problematic from a competition and open market perspective, as well as from a human rights perspective.

And for six years within the United Nations Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner, there's been an attempt to establish an instrument on business and human rights.  An instrument that could be used to hold multinational companies such as the example that you have used, accountable for upholding rights.  Why is that instrument not there yet?  Why don't we even have a soft law.  We have guidelines but we have an agreement on how to apply it as a soft law instruments, because powerful companies are blocking it.

The U.S. only joined in in the conversation on this treaty, I think, this year for the first time.  And that's progress.  But they are reluctant to have global treaties agreed to, which they feel they would then have to be accountable for, for holding their companies accountable for.  And they feel that other states, other powerful states, they don't trust that other powerful states will follow the rules if there are new rules.

So, that is why.  If governments want to solve global internet governance problems, they have to commit to work together, to collaborate, to try and build trust, no matter how difficult it is.  They simply have to do it.  Because we are never going to solve these problems by ideas of sovereignty, on territorializing internet regulation, is it simply won't work.  And it won't work for human rights.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you.  The next speaker, Jovan, could you please share your final remarks?

>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: Yeah, hi.  It was an interesting online discussion.  Three major, major points.  First, leviathan, which is in title of this session, will have to exist.  We are not going to revise the human history of at least 30 centuries since the (?) law.  Therefore, humans are humans.  They have their own interest online or in situ.  It will remain that way.  Whether a government or even companies, it is not excluded that we will return to the new (?) of tech companies delivering the rules.  Obviously, it is not what I am supporting.  But leviathan will obviously exist.

Second point, I don't agree that there is no sovereignty of governments over digital space.  Unfortunately, many cases we are seeing that it is happening.  And I always say there are cybercrimes but there are no cyber jails.  Therefore, people are arrested and public authorities with different motivations knock on the door of people and apply the law.  In justify illegal way over, but that is the case.

And third point, which is probably the major conclusion.  All of us have to make trade-offs.  Internet is a great enabler.  It enabled many things, including trainings prosperity, including prosperity of many societies worldwide, individually, corporatively and under national level.

Therefore, all of us have to make trade-offs.  Yes, we may fragment the internet but we will lose a lot.  This is a hard decision which parliaments, international organizations and individuals will have to make.  Obviously, I make my decision, I am for an integrated shared and unified internet because it is enabler for me, for organizations that I lead, for countries where I live.

But many other governments and countries and societies, individuals that have some other ideas, they have to make trade-off.  And we have to face this situation with utmost quality.  Well, it seems that -- I don't know if you hear me or I hear some other voice.

>> We can hear you all right.

>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: Thank you very much.  Well, that's it.  Leviathan is around.  There is a sovereignty over the digital space, good and bad reasons.  And third point, we have to make trade-offs, delicate and difficult trade-offs ahead of us.  Over to you.

>> Can you hear us?  Has it frozen?

>> JOVAN KURBALIJA: Let us make --

>> BU ZHONG: I will go ahead and make three points.  And wonderful panel here.  The first point is people around the world are asking more of internet governance than ever before.  That's my first point.

Second point, government must learn to play new and expanded role feed into our digital technology.  There's so much for the government to learn.  And finally, I want to share their power.  Let's share their power because they need to learn also from stakeholders, not just the capable of doing all of those things there.  That's my three points.

Maybe just ask online can hear me.  Okay.  And wrap it up.

I think we have, like, you know, connection issue.

(non-English language)

>> BU ZHONG: Maybe we got cut off.  All right.  Good.  You know, Jovan, I just miss you so much.  You know.


>> BU ZHONG: Definitely will have beer next time wherever -- I don't know where the IGF will go.

Okay.  Bye, everybody.  Bye.