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.
>> MANDY CARVER: Good day, everyone, and welcome to ICANN's open forum. This year's theme is reducing inequality by enabling inclusive and resilient Internet through global partnerships for sustainable development. You have a unique opportunity. ICANN is a longstanding supporter of the IGF. We have four members of our board here. So you have the opportunity to ask questions. I would like to briefly introduce them. They all have long experience in the space. Edmon Chung is working on internationalized domain names and universal acceptance, making the Internet accessible in multiple languages and scripts.
Maarten Botterman, the former chair of the board, and has a long‑term support of the Dynamic Coalition on the Internet of Things. Goran Marby who is the CEO of ICANN, and Avri Doria who is a long‑term supporter of the importance of Internet Governance schools.
We will have an opportunity for you all to ask questions. And we will take them after the speakers have handled some initial comments. Before we go to the panel, what I would like to do is ask my colleague, Vera Major she will go over the session guidelines and how to ask your questions.
>> VERA MAJOR: Thank you, Mandy. I will be your online moderator. For on-site participants ‑‑ oh, thank you. For on‑site participants, please raise your hand and we will pass the mic to you. For the virtual participants please post your questions in the chat. Please note that I will read aloud comments and questions in English for the discussion.
When submitting a question or a comment that you want to read out loud, please start with question and end with question or comment and end with comment. (Echo)
>> MANDY CARVER: Thank you. Thank you. Let us get started then.
So how does ICANN support global meaningful connectivity and sustainable development? Avery, can we start with you?
>> AVRI DORIA: Sure.
>> MANDY CARVER: I'm sorry. My apologies. Goran is going to give some introductory remarks.
>> GORAN MARBY: I would be very happy if I didn't have to talk again.
Thank you, Mandy. I just want to set this, not the standard, but just to wrap this discussion in, because I know there's a lot of discussions here at IGF about many different things. So what we see here ‑‑ we see something that we called a part of the technical community. The ‑‑ we often talk about that, and we try to explain that in simple terms, most of you know this that the DNA of the Internet consists of three different parts, the IP addresses, the IP protocols and the DNS. When you have all three of those things, you have the Internet and it's the most successful technology in world history. We have more than 5 billion users who are using all three of those identifiers. Every system you go on, every device you go on, every spectrum, you always use them when you are on the Internet.
So the way you have done this ‑‑ the interesting thing with all of this is that it was brought up not by committees or governments or anything else but private individuals who actually started to explore and do things to create this Internet.
That became what we now talk and call a multi‑stakeholder model. When you think about the multi‑stakeholder model that everyone talks about here, we can prove you to that it's successful because we have provided to go it's not only ICANN, but we have a representative of ITF. We also have a representative of ITF who doesn't listen, but the fact of the matter is that what we have done over the decades is to build the technology that works all the time.
But one the things, we're not done. And one of the reasons to have the session is to invite you to something that needs involvement. We can talk about during the IGF all the problems. I want to talk about some of the successes we have done together because ICANN and ITF and all the acronyms, or the country operators are a part of this as well. We have done this with the help of cooperation of people all over the world in different organizations but still we know we have more things to do.
One the things we focus on right now here especially and Edmon will talk more about that, when the Internet came around, when it was actually started what happened was, of course, because it was started in the US, English language was the language that was used.
And so 80% of all the domain names are in English, and 20% of the people in the world actually speak English. To get the next billion users online, you shouldn't need to ‑‑ have to read English from left to right with a dot. You should be able to use your own language, we call it scripts that the computer should recognize the script that you are using. Because the next billion users will not have the ability to be that well trained and by the way, they wouldn't.
And this is a very hard technology thing to talk about, with access to the Internet. I see another risk in this one and that risk is that if we don't fix this problem, three iterations down, maybe the thing that our grandchildren are talking about, if I ever get any, is this simplified English or Internet English and language is a part of our history. Language is a part of our way to express ourselves. It's an important thing to keep. Differences are good, not bad.
So a part of the discussion we are going to have toed is the importance ‑‑ we use things like IDNs and universal acceptance. Actually, this is much more fun than the acronyms we are using. This is making sure that the next billion users and beyond can utilize the Internet on their behalf the way they want to do it.
Thank you very much and now over to answer the question to Avri.
>> AVRI DORIA: Yeah, I do. I will try to keep the microphone in front of my mouth. What do we do to try and foster meaning ‑‑ global meaningful connectivity and sustainable development. A real mouthful. Sort of one of those word salads that I sort of take and sort of try to parse the words. The global part is something that is very much included in trying to reach every part of earth, all populations with doe maybe names, with IP addresses with systems that support them, by working with the IRRs, by IRRs, by using the technology that the IETF gives us and such.
So the global part is one of the almost easier ones to define. There's no part of this world that we don't want to touch, that we don't want to try and provide a level of the connectivity. Now, the connectivity depends on more than just what ICANN does, but the connectivity does require the addressing. And it does require the naming to allow people to use it.
Now this goes somewhat to what Goran was saying in terms of the domain names, the names in people's scripts and languages, something that you know, Edmon and some previous board members I see in our audience could talk about far better than I ever could. Thank you, Akinori.
And so, you know, that's an important part of the connectivity. Now, the connectivity also goes to ‑‑ there's a very large technical section within ICANN. That basically works with the servers, root servers, ICANN has their own root server, IMRS is what we call it.
The ICANN management ‑‑ managed root server which is a new name I'm still learning. It used to have another one letter name.
And managing that, the announcement that's been coming out and there are cards about putting instances of that in Africa. And such, something that others could talk about in detail. It's funny most of these things there's somebody who can talk about it in more detail than I can.
Then, you know, in connectivity, we also look at the named, you know, how do we distribute names? How do we get more domain names out into the wild, into the market? Into people's hands? The domain names that again, are in people's scripts and are in people's alphabets. And languages and such.
So those are, you know, various pieces of it that all contribute to that connectivity part, certainly someone else doing the wires and the WiFi, and someone else is doing the 5G, but in terms of what makes it meaningful and able to be used, we do a lot in terms of providing policies, organizing that, monitoring that, et cetera.
Now, the meaningful is actually a very interesting word because what is meaningful to the many people of the world? And it's certainly something that me sitting here cannot say ‑‑ you see, once again, I'm finding other people to point to, for what something means. Meaningful is one the reasons we support such a large policy community, that we have a large community that reaches out to as many places on the globe as we can get, to have people that contribute to the policy making, giving advice, and sort of what is meaningful for them?
When we are talking about a new set of policies, for a new set of names, what's meaningful to people from various countries? It's something that to be meaningful, we really have to rely on the bringing in of more people, the outreach that basically works on giving advice to that. And then the sustainability and the sustainable development. Again, others can talk about this in much more detail but there are various programs with ICANN, not only the African cluster now, but various supports, supports for applicants when there are domain names to be applied for and various other kinds of supports. Support for the people that come and do policy. And sort of making sure that we made sure that we have provided a sense of not only doing it once, not only getting advice once but making sure that there's the possibility of continuity and being able to sort of continue to develop policies. Continue to develop operations and mechanisms that can persist and be sustainable. I think I will stop there, having hit all the words.
>> GORAN MARBY: You did great!
>> MANDY CARVER: Would anyone else on the panel like to add to that answer?
>> MAARTEN BOTTERMAN: Sure, I think a lot has been set, and one thought I want to give to you to consider this further is well, also when the Internet started, it was made to help, to connect. It wasn't made to be safe. That's one the things that now we do on the Internet today, it also needs to be safe and safer every day and that's one of the journeys.
The second trajectory, when the Internet was first set up, it was to share data and communicate over distances internationally, research networks, et cetera, and the usages is happening locally, and this is where the next group of users can benefit from the Internet that was first to connect from large distances. Also locally, it can help organize yourself, ranging from going business to getting things around with government, to communicating with each other, organizing neighborhood parties and this is why ‑‑ facilitating is an important thing.
>> MANDY CARVER: So if we want the internet to be available in different languages, what is needed to achieve this? Who are the stakeholders who can build a more digitally inclusive Internet? Edmon?
>> EDMON CHUNG: Thank you, Mandy. This is a topic that is very dear to my heart. 20 years ago, I joined and started participating at the ICANN community to try to bring what is called internationalized domain names, basically domain names in your own native language. Domain names and email addresses, in fact, and I think that is extremely important. In fact, I think as was mentioned, when it was first created, it was ‑‑ you know, an English alpha numeric domain names only. Because of the nature of the Internet today, we have more than 5 billion users and it's expected that another billion will join the Internet in the next year or so and these ‑‑ I mean, the major majority of these users do not use English as their primary language. I mean, here in Ethiopia, obviously you have Ethiopian names, but can you use that Ethiopian name, in Ethiopian language for domain names and emails?
We have been working on this for over 20 years, but why does it take so long? So the first ten years really was spent on developing the technology and open standards to support and to make sure ‑‑ because this is such a fundamental part of the Internet, the domain name and email addresses, such a fundamental part, changes to it need to be very carefully made. So it took us about ten years to get through the open standards and put the technical standards in place at the IETF and then the next ten years is not just thrown away. We spend another ten years working through a lot of the policies that need to be put in place for IDGs to actually work well in, for example, in English, the alpha numeric names, the capital letter A and the small letter a, they are the same. In Chinese we have the simplified Chinese. And mapping them back together on a policy level is extremely important. And that's what we spent the next ten years doing. So now coming to what you can do. So after really 20 years of development, we are now seeing a technology that is available and also the policies that will be able to support the domain names and email addresses in place and now we need to get it out the door for people to use it. Who are the stakeholders? I think a couple of them obvious, of course the technical community needs to adopt the new standards making sure the systems are supporting new domain names and email addresses.
Users, of course, you know, need to demand the usage from the ‑‑ from your ISP, from your providers.
Here at IGF I want to emphasize two particular stakeholder groups that are really important. One are governments. One the things that is problematic and why it takes so long for multilingual domain names to become known. Most end users don't know they can use their own native language now in email addresses and domain names. They are not demanding it, but what governments actually do is actually put procurement processes in place. They do a lot of procurement of IT and also you hear a lot of government talk about the digitalization initiatives. And therein buys what we hope the governments can actually do is to make sure that their systems are compatible and support languages and different domain name and email addresses. If they put that in the procurement, it has a trickle effect.
The system integrators in the country will immediately know, oh, with we need to become compatible and upgrade our systems to support email addresses and domain names in the language and different languages as well.
The other community I want to stress here is academia, education. It's very important for new network engineers coming out of the community or even high school, when they first learn about the DNS and when they first learn about email, they need to know that actually today the protocols allow domain names and email addresses in different languages. So I think those are the really important stakeholders especially here at IGF that I want to particularly call out to. And I will end by saying that I think Goran said it very well that it's imperative for us to make sure that these different languages are supported by the DNS and the email systems.
I imagine one day you talk about future generations, I imagine one day if we do it right, if we fix the issue now, there should be a time when people were like, was it only available in English back then? They would have forgotten that this is a new thing. I think that's where we want to be. Thank you.
>> MANDY CARVER: Thank you, Edmon. Additional comments?
>> MAARTEN BOTTERMAN: Just one small addition. He didn't mention the other group, the technical service providers, the Internet community. What you can do already today, whether you are a commercial provider or whatever, is to test what you do on whether it's usable universally. So universal acceptance testing is making sure that once this content becomes available, once the users are going to be there, that you are ready to serve that.
Because as you know, any bit on the Internet goes from one end to the other, via very many different services. But only to be able to accept the code that you are sending through.
>> AVRI DORIA: Only a few words I want to add. As we talk about adding new top level domains in the future, these have to be part of that set of things that comes out. That to come up with a whole lot of top level domains in Latin characters may be nice, but it's not critically important like doing it with these names. But for these names to be viable, for these names to be something that are worth using and worth developing all of those intermediate services will have to be in place so that when you get a name in your language, in your character set it will be able to work with email. Those are all pieces of puzzle that a lot of people are working on and ICANN maintains a focus on trying to make sure those pieces fall into place so that those things can work.
>> MANDY CARVER: We talked about the role of the technical community. We talked about the policy development process within ICANN. We've talked about ways that governments can use their procurement power, but I want to ask, what recommendations or advice can you share with policymakers? What does effective collaboration look like in this space? Maarten and then Goran?
>> MAARTEN BOTTERMAN: Either way. We sort of agree on a lot of things. Basically, policymakers do get bigger and bigger interest in the Internet, and you see many of them around here because the Internet matters and more crucial for society. So to get an interest and want to make it work well makes a lot of sense. What is important for policymakers when they develop this is to realize that we're dealing with global public good that is to serve the world.
And that on that, they have to play the role in a way that it's supporting their community and not reading to regulation or policies that would have negative consequences on how it plays out. So the aware of how it works, the willingness to also reach out to other stakeholders to consult, to see what a good way forward is, that openness is to take an interest because we know so much together.
>> GORAN MARBY: I often start my speeches by talking about the difference between the Internet, how we define the Internet and platforms on top of the Internet. And I do that on purpose, and I often do that when I meet legislators and people from government because it makes a point. Often when you talk about ‑‑ I'm very positive about the Internet itself. I know that many of the discussions here at the IGF it's fake news and bad information and a lot of bad things that happens on the Internet, on top of the Internet, within platforms, within wall gardens.
I noticed some of the engineers said you use the Internet to get into someone's computer. We are in there, that computer controls what you do. That doesn't exist on the same way as the diversity of the Internet? Why do I make this point? We have seen legislative that is targeted gent social media that has an effect on how the Internet actually works. We have seen proposals that can disconnect people from the Internet and we have seen different parts the world that can have a real effect on your ability to actually connect. We're not talking about the applications on top of them, or the information on top of them. We don't deal with that.
One the things when we talk to legislators, we are invited by the legislators, we are trying to make the point, we are not into content. That's other decision‑makers and other platforms that do it. We're the underlying DNA of the Internet that makes it possible for you to be on. We are spending more and more time explaining and this is not only ‑‑ you might think, oh, there are some bad countries out there. The thing is that we have this conversation with some of you, with the good countries and the good region.
There is a growing feeling we have to do something and in my speech yesterday, I said this that we shouldn't forget the Internet is an underlying technology for good. What we do with it is the ability for people to connect. Don't ever think that it's the same thing that happens on top of the Internet and that's a very important difference for me and us. By the way I got a question from someone on Skype who pays for you.
Everyone who is doing this is doing it for the public interest. Every time you go online, you hear about something that comes from us and our technical parcels and I see Wright coming into the room. We actually are the underlying technology what we do, we don't charge anyone to do. We provide this as a public interest to the world.
We do get money every time ‑‑ so ICANN is financed, if you buy a domain name, we get a small portion of that, from most of the domain names. But you can't even donate money to us. So we are very independent.
>> MAARTEN BOTTERMAN: Small is less than a dollar.
>> MANDY CARVER: I do want to be supportive. It is a hybrid. So we don't currently have any online questions. Are there any questions in the room?
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you very much, hello. Mark, usually an Internet Governance researcher. As you were mentioning, universal acceptance, there are pioneers here like Edmon, and Ankori and we have Dennis and Sivas and we are a strong community and we have been doing a lot of work and it's really good that ICANN org has been backing up that effort. We do feel from the CEO from, the board that this effort is being backed up and this helps the project along. It helps the project grow and this is definitely something that I think I can speak for the community when we see that.
One blind spot that has been I think a concern, a growing concern for us is our ability to reach out to companies, to private stakeholders. We are pretty good at communicating with civil society and even governments will stop and listen to us, but reaching out to the private sector is something that as an independent you know, a semi-autonomous group is proving to be difficult. We have managed to do that in isolation due to our own contacts and people would very have a personal relationship with, but something that would be interesting looking forward as ICANN plans the next steps to universal acceptance is to help us reach out. How do we exploit the fact that eye began is a well-known organization to reach to the commercial actors?
So partially a question and partially a suggestion. I would like to if anybody on the panel has insights on how to keep advancing our mission and reach out to the companies that are developing these projects.
>> GORAN MARBY: First of all, good to see you.
Yeah, I mean, I think it's like Edmon mentioned. It took ten years to fix our technology and ten years to fix the policy and now we are here. We have language panels around the world to look into it. So what is lacking? Reality is demand. And you mentioned that as well. And so how do ‑‑ I guess that all of you are Internet users and then you probably have an understanding of Latin script because you use it. So how do you convince people that there is an alternative? So I totally agree with you and we have spoken about that on numerous occasions right now. We have to look at this in a different way.
I actually think the governments, to help them to put it into legislation, to put it into procurement is going to be a real booster because we can't reach every Internet users on the planet, but governments are the biggest users of ICT. I haven't used ICT in ten years or something. They are the biggest buyers. They are the one who buy stuff and if we can get a couple of countries. We are working on a couple of countries to see if they can sign up that we will put it in the legislation or the procurement and everything we do, it should support our script in our country. I think that would be a shedding moment.
I three there is a world of potential and opportunity, but I know it's time for us to step up. We have really good cooperation with the ICANN community and there are experts.
What I'm saying is that you are right, and we need to do something different.
Have I ever stopped you, Avri.
>> AVRI DORIA: I'm not going to try to answer that one. And part of that is ‑‑ I really like this mechanism that I hear because it is an indirect mechanism. Sometimes you can't control something directly, but you can have ‑‑ but the point is we will also need to be ready which will involve both, you know, your ‑‑ the clearing group and us in terms of as those procurement orders come out, making sure that the people that they are sending them to have the information they need to be able to fulfill it and such so it's not something that comes to them and they say, oh, you know, how do we do that? What are they talking about?
And so it's really you can sort of have an actuator that is indirect, but make sure the stuff is there so people know what to do to fulfill it.
>> GORAN MARBY: We sometimes ‑‑ in various short time, we are actually coming back to the steering group with also very concrete marketing thing, which I think you will enjoy at least I do. Where we are going to try to do something a little bit radical and ‑‑ yes. A little bit different than we have ever done before, to walk the talk when it coming to how we can use alternatives that exist in the structure and also use as an example how you can make a showcase of IDS. Was that a teaser?
Yes, I signed it off.
>> EDMON CHUNG: Just adding on a few things in response to your cushion and question. I think you are right. We need to reach out to large organizations, you know, obviously Google and Microsoft, and those companies to make sure those systems do support email addresses and domain names in different languages. I mean it's really important there, I think, because you might not think ‑‑ today, you might actually use slightly less emails but actually, you don't every log‑in uses an email address. Most log‑ins use an email address. And if you got your email ‑‑ so those systems also need to be aware of being able to store and process different email addresses and different languages and one the things I think we definitely should do, but one the things that's useful and tied back to the new gTLDs. We see Amazon for dot Amazon and in different languages as well. That helps them become interested and aware.
I think all of those things kind of tie toether as well.
>> MAARTEN BOTTERMAN: And one thing, it's also a good demonstration of an area that's not ‑‑ that's beyond our mandate. It needs to be used also by the rest of the industry. And thanks to setting up the Universal Acceptance Study Group. We have a vehicle, where it's not only ICANN that initiated it and support it, but those who are beyond the DNS and the IP industry also involved.
>> MANDY CARVER: Thank you. And Vera, do we have an online ‑‑
>> VERA MAJOR: We have an online question from Sivas. Does ICANN have enough funds for its operations and for all the unseen core infrastructure investments that it might need to make without compromising on the neutrality and independence, are there ways of adding a few zeros to its revenue?
>> GORAN MARBY: Shall I take this one? I would say that as public interest, not for profit, we have the money that we have. And every number we have is official. Our official budget ‑‑ our budget is around $160 million per year, and we have $600 million in our reserve funds. That goes up and down a little bit, and we spend all the money we get in and we do that from a public interest perspective. So we ‑‑ we ‑‑ yes, we do investments and we are going to announce 14th of December, one of the largest programs we have actually ever done. So tune in on December 14th, but, remember, we don't build infrastructure in that sense. We build infrastructure like the root server cluster we built here is something we financed, and we have special funding to do that kind of investment. But if you compare that to the larger investments by telecom operators and companies that have content, it's nothing comparative. We only invest in places that we know it will make a difference, like we did in Africa, where we see that a lot of the clearing traffic is not going to Europe. We often work with partners. When it comes to the funding to add a couple of zeros to it, we can always do more with more money, but it's not me and the people on this board who actually decides where the money goes to. If you come into the ICANN community, you are part of the process of deciding where the money should go. Of.
And you are part of the process of where this money should go as well. If I had more money, of course I could do more things, but the other thing is that it's important for ICANN to be part ‑‑ we should never trade away from what is our core business. What are we supposed to do? And having a budget we take tied into what is ICANN's core business, despite the fact that there are many things I would like us to do different things as well. I hope that answers your question.
I have been doing this for seven years. I never heard that question before. So thank you very much.
>> MANDY CARVER: Do we have any other questions in the audience, in the room? If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. Do we have any online? All right.
Well, I could ask you ‑‑ I had one more technical question, Edmon. When we talked about the importance of bringing people online and how to do this, but what is the most ‑‑ what do you think the biggest obstacles are right now to accessing information for people to get it in their local language and scripts? From a technical perspective, what do we need to do?
>> EDMON CHUNG: I'm happy to get started. As it relates to domain name and email addresses, I already mentioned make sure that the systems around the Internet actually start supporting these domain names and email addresses. I think content, the other side of the story is actually important. Having meaningful content in local languages is very important and that kind of drives the use of ‑‑ I mean, they come in kind of in tandem, it's kind of a virtuous cycle with local language content and utilization of local language, email addresses and domain names.
And in terms of, I think, one the key areas that ICANN is also working on, as I mentioned in the last ten years, we are working on different types of policies. One of which is the language policies, which we will require different stakeholders to come and join us.
We have 20‑something scripts which represents most of the active languages around the world, that is that policies are already put in place. However, there's still many different languages that are not completely completed. They are especially, you know, less well used languages that ‑‑ that relates a little bit to the SDGs of Protection of Cultural Heritage and languages and those type of areas, it would be good to have stakeholders from those communities to come to icon and participate and add those languages to the policy ‑‑ the policy repositories which we call, label generation rule sets. It's a mouthful, but basically, it's language rules as I mentioned. Technically for English, we map the capital A and small letter A but other long languages we need to figure out whether there are these types of mappings, whether there's these type of variations that need policy to deal with, and's ‑‑ those are some of the things that I think we need to call on people to come and participate at ICANN to make that smooth for people with Indigenous languages to be able to connect to the Internet with their own native script and language.
>> MAARTEN BOTTERMAN: Well, thank you for that. I think we should realize is that the people we are trying to serve here probably never considered using the Internet yet. Because why would they? They can't use the script. They can't use this Internet. So that's why next to welcome ready to really resolve in a universal way, next to governments that can make a big role to require it as part of the services they buy, it's also important to have a kind of comprehensive exercise that really pulls people in and offers them a reason to really go there. I'm personally following with real interest also what in particular India is trying to do here. They have eight scripts, 22 languages out of my head and they have a plan that they call digital India which is really have the Internet to serve the community and get online and also integrate this IDN use and the use of the different scripts and do that as well, by making people aware on such a high level, by pushing also services that can really do it, by offering government services that will help do that we may see a movement that shows to the world this really can be done and I really hope that other regions will follow.
>> AVRI DORIA: My comment is almost more of a question. And comes out of the other parts of my life, my work world, that is not ICANN and it's a question I always had.
As we are doing this and we are starting to push it out to the users, to the schools, do they actually ‑‑ okay, on some of the phones they may have it. But do they actually have the end user equipment in awful of the will goes and the towns available that can take advantage of this? And if not, how does that get filled? I know I'm here to answer questions and not ask them, but this is one that sort of nagged at me and while we are talking about the spread of IDDs. Whether it's all there and whether every school has the right keyboards and machines and they need something to hook it up.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you, my name is Elisa Heaver, I'm from the Netherlands. I was wondering ‑‑ I came in slightly late. So sorry for that. Have you discussed whether we should think about IDNs to be an important part of the Global Digital Compact and for some mentioning of that in the GDC? Thanks.
>> GORAN MARBY: Yes.
We haven't talked about it here and to be honest, I realize that it's a fragmentation in ‑‑ in the internet conferences, also in the UN, with a lot of different new acronyms and sort of working parts and people and envoys and all the time. We are also trying to figure out where does ICANN fit into this? We have ‑‑ we are members of the ITOD. And it is a little bit ‑‑ is that the right place for us to go? We don't know. Sometimes it doesn't survive that. We have good conversations with parts of the UN because they are important. I would like to answer your question as well.
The keyboard problem. The keyboard problem. The keyboard problem is do we actually have your local script on your device, your mobile phone, your ‑‑ you know ‑‑ that's one the problems which is that has to be developed. And it has to come from demand. Funny enough, when there are many different scripts on many different phones you can't use them because when you identify yourself, even if you are using the social media, you can't use it. So we need to create the demand on this.
Edmon said something, that made me think. This is a belief rather than a science. We believe if you look at ‑‑ and know the data culmination ‑‑ that's a new word for me. I heard it the first time this week. Internet is local and global at the same time, we are often talking from a very global perspective. And a lot of the traffic is very internal and one of the things I think is very important to fill this local ecosystem that creates them. They often become the sort of hub where internet services grow. If a country goes digitized and all the data goes outside and I'm guessing there are some companies who want to raise their hand now and say I'm wrong but the fact of the matter, the more services you have local, the more knowledge you have local, you can also do services differently and that creates a demand and that will create a demand for the people who today have to make a choice between should I actually buy the Internet access or should I buy clones?
The next billion users will not afford a $1,500 phone to do a video service on. They won't. They need to find the reason why they go online. We are the elite. I went online because it was fun 30 years ago. I'm old. It came on as a fun thing.
The next billion users need to see that.
That's one of the reasons why here in Africa. We are helping through the capacity building program. We don't make policy and we are really grateful to be part of that ecosystem. We do that because we think it's important.
So when we talk about this not only from an email perspective, it's a culture and local thing as well, oh, I can preach about this for a long time. Sorry.
>> VERA MAJOR: I have a question and a comment, from Mr. Sivas. Thank you for your observations. The cowork is being very well done, but there might be required investments. A few zeros may be indeed useful and enormously useful to the global public interest. And the question is from Jorge. How is ICANN going to engage with the Global Digital Compact? And this question is directed to Edmon.
>> EDMON CHUNG: Okay. I can start but I'm guessing that Goran will add to it. I think our participation here at the IGF is also input into the Global Digital Compact. That's one part of it. And just earlier today I was at a session talking about the different topics and how we should ‑‑ elements that we think are important to be included in the Global Digital Compact, but beyond that, perhaps Goran can add to it.
>> GORAN MARBY: You said it well. Thank you. On the funding thing, I think we are very close to go official with it, something called the grant program where we have a fund of quite a lot of money which we can ‑‑ you can actually ‑‑ for doing things within the ICANN mission, we have money. We are lunching that program. It's well above $100 million that we will use that is a grand program for things that are interest in this so there's a lot of zeros in that. I can't remember when we are having an update with the communities about this for some reason. Does any one of my staff actually remember?
My staff is now looking down at the floor. So I guess they don't remember. You can find it on the web, actually. It is very soon.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Very briefly then. In answer to what Avri mentioned, this is an issue we have been discussing a lot in the universal acceptance group, and an advantage of sorts that we have is that the developing world basically uses mobile phones. Mobile phones rely on virtual keyboards and on a lot of infrastructure that we can kind of know, they won't be using very expensive systems. So it's a lot about us being able to reach out to the companies that make the more ‑‑ the more mainstream, less super refined phones, the Chinese makers, you know, Samsung, the kind of phones that really have penetration from these markets and making sure that they are virtual keyboards and their OSs actually have compliance.
What we found out during our testing even if Android core is compatible with the premises of universal acceptance, maybe modules that they end up using in the system aren't. It's a lot of this engagement, but it's sort of an easier problem to solve because we are not relying on physical hardware. It's more about the software part and that we can kind of work with. That's something that we have been learning how to do. So I'm fairly optimistic about that side. Thank you.
>> MAARTEN BOTTERMAN: This grant giving webinar you can find on the ICANN, it's 6:00 local time tonight.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Okay. Having been involved in the script committee for quite some time. I have firsthand experience in terms of developing generation rules for scripts. There are many, many more scripts, way, way large than the number of scripts but the ‑‑ there's a specific requirement, a development procedure. A note language are not ‑‑ there's some criteria. I don't want to mention that here. So how big is the challenge for ICANN to undergo some type of baseline survey in terms of identifying what scripts can qualify for inclusion.? Otherwise, that's my feel, that we see the inclusion of scripts in the space, it may have some flavor ever also we have a base line study in place. This one thing. And then I see there are two fronts with the script committee has to deal with. We have the universal acceptance part.
We can't talk universal acceptance without scripts in place. So this proves a big challenge for ICANN how ‑‑ I see some sort of how do I say that? We have a delicate balancing act and then how is a can deal with this strategy?
>> EDMON CHUNG: I will start first. Yes, there are other scripts as well, however, I want to emphasize that currently, the work that has already been completed does cover the major majority of the languages and the scripts that are actively used in the world today. That being said, there are two things that I want to highlight, based on what you said.
If the language of script is already in unicode, which is a ‑‑ a technical standard that is not maintained by ICANN, it's actually maintained at the ISO, right? Is it now at the ISO, the unicode consortium separately? Separate. Okay, unicode consortium, if it's already there, then we can start working on the work, but if it's not already there, then the first step is probably to have that language in script be included in the unicode, because that is what the ‑‑ what is called the internationalized domain names, the IDN standards are based on. That's one part of. There are languages and scripts that we won't support, for example, cling on. We might not. We might not, what we might ‑‑ well, we might.
>> GORAN MARBY: People have asked us to do that, by the way. It's not a joke.
>> EDMON CHUNG: So one important criteria is that it has an active usage community, which maybe cling on does have. I don't think that ICANN will pick and choose which language to do. This is why we are coming out and asking the community to come and create those language tables and those policies that need to be put in place so that those languages can be added to the root and so on.
So I think that's the more important part. I don't think that ICANN is in the business of picking and choosing which language. It has to have a community that actively uses though scripts and languages but then we need them to come to ICANN and create those policies.
>> MANDY CARVER: I'm afraid we are running out of time. So I will give the last word to the questioner here.
And I apologize if there are any other online. We try to answer them in writing later, but our last questioner in the room, please.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Okay, my name is Jose, I'm from Iran, for the record. I would like to thank the ICANN crew for providing such challenging them with our questions. To be quick, actually, you are on here and yesterday in the opening ceremony, you brought up this interesting topic of paying more attention towards local languages and everything local.
The good example of comparing people who speak English and the English content in the web was very, very bright example of this, let me call it, lack of balance of local and global values or content today across the web. My question is as far as ICANN is registered, I know that you have been probably challenged by this question several times and many years, many times. But my clear question is registered inside California, a province inside the US. So you have some obligations with that.
So in one case, the ICANN, one reality is not, you know, compatible with what is the law in that region and territory or I don't know if you find some ‑‑ you know what I mean. You have cases in ‑‑ I'm not sure, what is the process inside ICANN to respond to that?
>> GORAN MARBY: Thank you. You are right I answer this question time, ICANN is a California, not for profit organization. As long as we can't place ourself on the moon, we have to be some in legal surrounding somewhere and it's history. The identifier systems actually came out of this place and Vint Cerf here is one of the founders.
Remember one thing, it's not the ICANN legal entity that make decisions about the policies. We have people from 160, 170, coming to meetings, and the next one is in Mexico. I execute the decisions. ICANN is an international organization, and if very people in 45 countries that speak 55 languages. I have this question often, but I also say that being a nonprofit organization in California, it creates an extreme transparency. You can check anything we do, how much money I make. Don't go and check.
You can check how much money they make. I mean, even private information is shared because I have this position. And so I don't ‑‑ we have served the world for 25 years. ICANN is 25 next year. Nothing has happened where we have actually been challenged from a legal perspective and also remember in 2016, we had a relationship with the US government, and the US government gave up that past point and after that, we are governed by the multi‑stakeholder model. ICANN.org, the legal entity is not the one who makes the decision you can walk in representing yourself, representing your country and yourself and actually come up to the table and have something to say. And it's unique. And I sometimes call it and I digress. How many places in the world can you actually come in and meet people from 100 countries, from different backgrounds with different interests and talk about something so important as the Internet?
That's why I sometimes call the Internet the biggest equalizer in the world. Thank you very much.
>> MANDY CARVER: I would like to thank our panelists and all of you in the room and those of you online for an interesting and successful panel.
There is a webinar on the grant program evidently at 6 p.m. local time tonight, if you look on our website, it will give you a link. Thank you all for coming. Appreciate it.