The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> MODERATOR: Hi, Good Evening, Everyone. I Hope You Are Doing Well. This is one of our last sessions, and technically also the last day of the IGF. Thank you so much for joining in. My name is Raashi Saxena. I'm the cochair of the part of the Dynamic Coalition and welcome to the town hall on infrastructure and human rights. I'm also joined by my esteemed colleagues, collaborators, on the panel, and I also have my colleague Jacob, who will give us an introduction of the session.
Jacob, if you can hear us, please take the floor.
>> JACOB ODAME-BAIDEN: Hello, thank you, Raashi and welcome to this session. Great to have all of you here. This town hall session, Title is "Safeguarding Human Rights with a Free and Open Internet." And by Way of Introduction of the session as we all know today, the internet is such a great resource that everyone deems very important. And it has to be devoid as much as possible from discrimination. Now when you look at the sustainable development goals, specifically, SDG 9c says that the same is to increase the access to ICTs and provide universal and affordable access to the Internet.
And, again I IRPCCs are a Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet from articles 1 to 5, right to access to the Internet, rights to nondiscrimination, and Internet access, use and governance, rights to livelihood and rights to freedom of expression and information on the Internet goes to reforce the fact that without the access to the Internet. It's a great resource that has transformed the way that we connect, create access, health and education. And work to name a few.
Social media, has created an avenue that amplifies basic fundamental human rights enshrined in many national constitutions.
The Internet for instance, helps people to exercise their rights to freedom of speech through various media, social media and they are able to exercise their rights. And this forms the basic human rights which is one that governments subscribe to and it should be safeguarded by all.
So we will tackle two items, how ‑‑ from the perspective of public and power holders to ensure the Internet is affordable and easy to access. And then secondly, in what ways are governments specifically demonstrate commitment in ensuring an open and free access to the Internet for all. We are happy to be joined by distinguished speakers.
So at this junction, I will hand over to my colleague Raashi on the ground to introduce the speakers and then we can zoom in to the session. Thank you.
>> RAASHI SAXENA: Thanks, Jacob. First, we have Mr. Mohamed far arat. He's an Egyptian lawyer and researcher and also a member of the IRPC steering committee and a MAG member of the African IGF. And so Mr. Mohamed Farahat, over to you. Opening remarks.
>> MOHAMED FARAHAT: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for this session. I think the subject is interesting and timely. Especially when we come to speak about some of the regions line MENA region or Africa region, we face some problems in access to Internet. We have some political issues. Also we have some technical issues related to infrastructure that faces most countries.
But let me say also that in ‑‑ one thing I have. In the context of access to Internet, so related to shutdown, it's not necessary to be shut down by the government directly, but I think there is another issues like what I call this intentional Internet shutdowns, when the governments intentionally ‑‑ like, don't want to make the needed infrastructure in some places or locations, I think it's indirect Internet shutdown.
So ‑‑ and I can stop here and after that we can have have the questions.
>> RAASHI SAXENA: Thank you for your opening remarks. And now we have Dr. Xianhong Hu, she's the UNESCO program specialist and global focal point of Internet universality project at the sector of communication and information. She's also an affiliate of the Harvard University's Bookman Klein center, and has experience in areas of expression, privacy, journalism, media development, and digital transformation. Over to you.
>> XIANHONG HU: Thank you for inviting me and UNESCO to be present on this very important session. And the subject is huge, safeguarding human rights, which is free. For UNESCO, I would like to share our approach. I would say there are two dimensions. One is a holistic approach and the second is an evidence‑based approach. When we talk about the hole livic approach, I bean by universality, and principles, we are doing four fundamental precipitations. Our means human rights. It has to be indevisable, and protected. We protect the Free Expression and the privacy and the transparency, and access to information and the socioeconomic rights and cultural rights and basically the universe declaration, it should be applied online and offline. And the second principle on the openness of Internet, it's not just about the technical standards to be open, but it's about an open market. Open regulation, open and net neutrality. And if we don't have an open Internet. By access, I think out of this IGF, you have heard that there is a paradigm shift ‑‑ from access meaningful access. What I understand the meaningful access means is also a holistic approach and we address not only the infrastructure and physical access, but also the but also the social inclusion of the groups and active access, as well as the local multistakeholder in cyberspace and the digital competencies and literacy which are crucial for this aspect, again holistically.
And we mean multistakeholder governance. This has been resonated even without the inclusive participation, no rights and no opening would ever reach them. That's the open and holistic approach. Should I finish in one minute?
In one word, the evidence‑based approach, what I meant is it's the four precipitations, how we make sure all the member, all the countries, they are able to align with the four principles. 303 indicators to measure all the dimensions to make sure they are well implemented. That's what I said evidence‑based approach. Policy making, that's not evidence based. That's why there's many problems of the policies. I think I can tackle more maybe in the later discussion. Thank you.
>> RAASHI SAXENA: Thanks so much. We now will have Felicia Anthonio, she works with #KeepItOn campaign at Access Now.
>> FELICIA ANTHONIO: Yes, keep it on seemly means keep the Internet on. This is a great place to talk about how to make that happen.
This was created in 2016 by Access Now and other partners around the world to prepare and equip ourselves in the fight against international shutdowns as it was gradually becoming a growing threat to fundamental rights. And so first of all, 2021 ‑‑ 20 own we have over 300 agencies in five countries and we have documented over the years, trends, developments and the ill pact that Internet shutdowns have on people. In the opening remarks we heard about the importance of the Internet in our daily lives and how it enables some essential rights. We cannot have a conversation about rights when we have acts that separate these rights and mainly what the keep it on campaign stands for, we want everyone to be connected, everyone have a space to engage and contribute through dialogue. Is it elections coming up.
Gone are the days when you have to book appointments with, like, traditional media outlets to be able to get your message across. Thanks to the Internet, more people have been doing amazing work. Women that were traditionally now allowed to express themselves, they can use the online platforms to raise awareness about issues that affect us directly.
We also have seen how education has gone online. People say courses from different parts of the world and so this is' big deal. It's important for us to realize that the Internet has integrated in our lives.
For instance, I work remotely, and so if I'm in a space where I'm not allowed to have Internet access, that will be a challenge for me and provide for myself and my independence. And that is what the reality has become. There's a lot of us. I'm sure if I ask, swell have some people in this room that work remotely just like me. We also have participants joining us different parts the world online. And so this is the live importance of the Internet that we need to recognize when we talk about safeguarding rights online.
Once you separate these rights or take away these rights from people, then it becomes very concerning. We have threats of surveillance. We have threats of the Internet shutdowns that deprive people from exercising these fundamental rights that I have mentioned and then also beach of people's data and privacy and just making the privacy unsafe for people. It's important for us to have these conversations to work together, which is very important, and we are at a conference that promotes multistakeholderrism.
And so these are the places that we should really by able to these conversations, where the acts are oppressive and violates the rights of people does not mean we are fighting with any other stakeholders. We want to work together to see how we can pro mote these essential rights for people around the world.
So I would pause now and maybe later I will talk a bit about the how the Internet shutdowns that we documented around the world impacts people and what kind of shutdowns we are seeing currently across the globe. Thank you.
>> RAASHI SAXENA: Thanks so much, Felicia. We now moveon to Radhika Jhalani. She's the legal counsel at software freedom law center in India. Now over to you.
>> RADHIKA JHALANI: Thanks a lot, Raashi. You know, every time I think about what safeguarding human rights with ‑‑ I mean, the topic of the panel, what were the first principles when we heard about Internet.
Was it a free, open, feminist which came a little later but it should very much be there and decentralized Internet, you know, in Internet has been sort of an equalizer across cars and gender.
We have seen a universal desire to control. Every government. I used to think that the biggest companies 2349 world were the oil companies, you know? But now they are tech companies. So we can just imagine the power of our data, the power that Internet has.
We ‑‑ you know, in my country, that's India, we see that we have cheap data plans. People use these data plans to do all sorts of things, great things and not‑to‑great things. They use the Internet to learn and study, and express themselves. I started with a free speech broadcast, where I tried to understand from various exports in the subcontinent, are free speech rights absolutely our right. Out of the ten people I interviewed not one said that in the day and age we are in, it should be an absolute right, which says a right.
>> Felicia, we have a lot of shutdowns. We started with three shutdowns in the year 2012, the count for 2021 was 101.
Apart from shutdowns, there are various other ways, the website bans and there are book bans and a lot of content that is shut down that happens on an everyday basis. And that really scares me.
Earlier we used to have public squares, the public squares have now become social media platforms and the more we regulate them, the more scary it becomes, right? Are.
Coming back to what we can do, how do we depend it, I rarely believe that free software has a big role to play here. We need to have much, much more free do software to ensure that, you know, our ‑‑ at least the tech toys we use they remain free.
Most of the work that we do is based on free software. I believe that a lot of people have to, you know, fight a legal battle as well to set examples and to stop both private lawyers and government.
We have to build awareness, and building awareness also means breaking political barriers. What are the issues with it? It's just emerging. And they are too complex for us to understand. We always carry a little, you know, angle to it. It's very important that we look at the dialogues.
People think that shutdowns are okay. We have to break those barriers. Then we have to train, and community training, and accountability and ensuring there is access everywhere.
And equipping each over to fight. That's the only way we can win that battle.
We also have to, I think change the way we talk to people about the Internet. We have to talk them in the language that they understand, and in the script that they understand and the means that they understand. I think that's my last remark and I would, you know, be happy to take any questions you may have. Thank you so much.
>> RAASHI SAXENA: Great. Thank you so much. I like perhaps now go with some of the policy questions we framed and then we also ‑‑ just before that, maybe I will open it up to the audience if they have any questions for the panelists or have any comments. Anyone?
I will pause for a few moments. There's no one that seems to have a question.
So my first question is ‑‑
>> RADHIKA JHALANI: There's a question.
>> RAASHI SAXENA: Oh, there's a question.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hi, it's Paul. I was taking the number you gave you to Internet shutdowns. Do you regard an Internet shutdown only when there's no access whatsoever, because, you know, one can impose massive black lists and that sort of thing. And I would regard if that's in a geographical area as a shutdown. So I'm just wondering, you know, is it the case of the definition is shifting and that affects the numbers given? Or are we saying a very literal definition of a shutdown?
>> RAASHI SAXENA: Maybe I can explain that. Some of the work I do in the northeast of India. It's not for a moments or a few hours. Sometimes the blackouts can happen for over 100 days. It affects the ‑‑ our social, economic, well‑being, all of the informal businesses get affected. We have a lot ever educational aspects of children that gets affected. We have seen this also during the pandemic, so, yeah, 100 days plus is ‑‑ has a huge economic cost and a huge social cost which I'm sure my panelists can go over with, but perhaps you want to go ahead.
>> Yes, I agree. Prolonged shutdowns are a problem. I think with the pointerring, the Internet means different things for people. People rely on different platforms to communicate with each other to engage and for some people, for some people, social media is the Internet.
That is where they engage. And so for us, we focus on deliberate disruptions of these platforms. So be it the Internet itself or electronic communication platforms, and it's usually targeting a specific location during a specific time or period, and it usually happens when I think the main reason that shutdowns happen is to silence populations in times of crisis.
I think when a shutdown lasts hours, to me, I think the impacts would be weighed by the person that is affected. And so once we continue to highlight that, okay, shutting down people for one hour, two hours, is bad, then the message is clear, that definitely, it's terrible to shut down the Internet for days, weeks years and months and that's how I would explain it and given the monitoring we have done over the years and I think the conversation now is directed towards the impacts of these Internet shutdowns and how they affect a wide range of rights as well as peoples, personal development and growth or access to Internet.
>> XIANHONG HU: Thank you for raising such an interesting question. Internet can be shut down either at the mat form level or at the entire infrastructure level or a country. It's not just about the rights but a personal benefits, welfare, human beings are living on the Internet. There's a huge economic loss. There's research from ISOC. They say that every minute of Internet shutdown can cause millions of dollars of lost. It's so bad for the development by our sense.
And actually, at the UN level, there has been a consensus and ary solution at the UN Human Rights Council as several resolutions about it to call for avoiding the Internet shutdown and to follow a due procedure if there ‑‑ and there are really very exceptional basis to do that and also our Internet, the principle, an indicator, we do have an indicator about to monitor. Is there ‑‑ how many Internet shutdowns are happening in a country which is a very, very telling indicator to show what extent your humidity around rights open, free Internet are being respected or not. That's literally a tech issue to address.
>> RAASHI SAXENA: Thank you. Radhika, do you want to chime in?
>> RADHIKA JHALANI: Yeah. I think to add to ‑‑ I mean, I pretty much think that all the points are covered here, but just to add to one more thing, what we are seeing is that Internet shutdowns are evolve now. Now there's shortening and that's unofficial. And there's not only just, you know, complete ban or some platformization. There are sometimes jammers in places. Other things which are used to, you know, control people's ache is to information and that I also believe is a form of grave, grave injustice.
>> RAASHI SAXENA: All right. So maybe this might be a very benign question, how can Internet access be made viable to everybody? Can you give me a concrete scam of the work that you zone ‑‑ example of the work that you have done. I think community networks are a good example, but I'm open to hearing other suggestions. Perhaps we give it to you, Mohamed?
>> MOHAMED FARAHAT: Okay. So let me try to answer this question in a different way, because it's a big question to how to make Internet ‑‑ or access the Internet available for everyone. It's many, many factors involved in this issue, infrastructure, laws, regulations, but also I need to, like, highlight in this ‑‑ my answer, what ‑‑ regarding infrastructure or something needs a huge amount of money. But even if the Internet is available, but there's some person is prevented to access Internet for some reason, for example, if you think about refugees, or statelessness person. If you don't have official documents, you can north register with service provider. You cannot have SIM cards to access the ‑‑ the internet.
So I think, of course, refugees and statelessness is part of everyone. We are human being. So we cannot, like ‑‑ for example, as you were mentioning to speak about the period of COVID‑19, and all ‑‑ all of us staying at home and we are like forced to access all the services online. And also, refugees face this problem. There are children also cannot access ‑‑ they cannot access learning platforms because they don't have official document. They may have official doubt but they are not recognized as the service provider.
You have to hold specific document issued from your United Nations High Commissioner, but it is not acceptable or recognized by service provider, and they ask them to provide their passport. Of course, the refugees cannot hold a passport. If we come to a stateless person, a stateless person, this person is not ‑‑ they are not recognized as citizens by any country. They don't have any documents, official documents, even if ‑‑ even if just simple card establishes their status as statelessness, without this official document, you can north access to Internet.
So that means that you are preventing this person from education, from other service and family notification. I will speak on this later. I think we need to focus or, like, consider this group of vulnerable people, because I think they left behind everything. We need ‑‑ we speak ‑‑ I know that Internet shutdown affects people. And when we come to refugees, they have this specific status and we need to consider this issue.
>> RAASHI SAXENA: Do you want to go next?
>> RADHIKA JHALANI: I think a have two words, it's called meaningful connectivity. It's not just Internet access. It has to be meaningful. It's like we are using 1G or 2G, in a place where no website load on 4G. That is Internet access, but is it meaningful? And the questions of equitable should be there while the governments are making schemes and suggestions for Internet access. Are.
>> RAASHI SAXENA: Do you want to go next?
>> FELICIA ANTHONIO: Yes, to add on to, that I would also say that Internet ‑‑ so aside it being meaningful, are you able to enjoy the rights that you are enjoying offline online? How countries investing in the digital space to make connectivity become easy rather than a luxury. How affordable is Internet access and what is the quality of the access you are getting, in the location that you find yourself in. And, of course, what kind of measures are being taken to protect people's rights online, and to make the Internet a safe and secure space for people to engage. So that is how I would ‑‑ I would look at it.
>> XIANHONG HU: Thank you I would like to take my first minute to talk about the gender divide and women. If you want to make sure Internet access is viable for everyone, we need to take a very humanistic and nuanced approach to it. Of course, there are two‑thirds of the population on the planet are accessing the Internet. And to connect the next billions, we are aware that they are women and girls not yet connected. So please do think about this gender dimension.
I would also like to highlight, with the existing population online, if you look at use and pattern between man and woman. You see men are really ‑‑ women are still in a very disadvantaged position to benefit from the Internet. I read a statistic, there's a significant difference between the use of the online banking and the financial tools between man and woman and men and women, they don't even have an online bank card, et cetera. They are not using those core important developments and services. So I think as a gender issue should really be tackled with also holistic approach and also think about the quantity and the meaningfulness of the usage.
My second minute, I want to dedicate to the children and the youth. They are born digitalbut now, we have a wide spread disinformation, and conspiracy and pervasey to the Internet that we are living compared to 20 years when I started to work on the Internet. So for ‑‑ maybe for many people, if we cooperate make sure that Internet ecosystem is providing useful, meaningful information, maybe it's better not to have the access.
So I think the median of literacy will help our new generation, even ourself to be able critically judge the information to be able to benefit from the interneat meaningfully. It's important to achieve that goal. Thank you.
>> RAASHI SAXENA: Thanks. So now, I many second question is: How or what can stakeholders do to make true commitments such as the UN SDGs and how can we get these two commitments from public and private, that the Internet is affordable, easy to access and as Radhika mentioned meaningful. Do you want to go first?
>> MOHAMED FARAHAT: So I will focus on the governments and from the governments and the NGOs. I think the role of the governments, not ‑‑ to invest more in infrastructure to provide that ‑‑ or to make the opportunities easy for ‑‑ all the people especially in the rural areas or remote areas, that's one of the rules. Also the rule of international organization, it's working development to assist that country maybe don't have enough or available financial resources to develop or to ‑‑ to make the infrastructure for ‑‑ to make the access to Internet easy. Also for NGOs, I think also NGOs have ‑‑ they have a role to play, especially in the context of access to Internet, especially if the governments or the authorities take action or illegal action to prevents the people from access to Internet.
Let me give you an example from Egyptian experience. After the revolution ‑‑ the Egyptian revolution, the Egyptian government shut down the Internet in Egypt. Some of NGOs take the action against the government, and that's to compensate the people for this internet it's a good issue here. Why is the government take the in addition to shut down? In some African countries, the only reason it's for the national security. The national security is the main reason to force a shutdown, but what happened when the NGOs take the legal action and take the case to the court?
We don't know what is the national ‑‑ what is the security ‑‑ what is the national security? What does this mean? Is this a problem. But what happened the Egyptian court described what that means of national security and he mentioned that what happened in Egypt during the revolution is not considered a harm that may be harm as a national security. And he provided a full definition of national security. The government has challenged this and it goes to the higher court.
The higher court admits the definition, but they mention that what happened in Egypt, is part of national security and reverse the case this is what happened. How do we design national security? If we define national security, we can take legal action against government who intentionally shuts down the Internet or make the access or block the website.
In another court also ‑‑ another court decision, some people bring their case and ask ‑‑ to block some websites, ‑‑ so one of the cases the court refused. And they mentioned this logs up the websites, again, it's freedom of expression. So I think this is up with of the rules of NGOs, especially providing legal assistance and the legal issuing represented to digital rights.
>> RADHIKA JHALANI: I think the human rights have to be the center of all policies and laws of all stakeholders. It should be people centered and not profit centered. I think we would have a wonderful life if that utopian vision ever comes to life.
>> FELICIA ANTHONIO: Yes, I would also add on to say that, yes, companies have a responsibility to ensure that people are connected because they provide their service and they have their responsibility to respect the rights of people when in providing these services, but governments have the responsibility to ensure that they respect and protect the fundamental rights of the people that relying on Internet access and we have seen how the SDGs has underscored the importance of Internet access and getting people connected. How that can contribute to development and so I think in that as much as we are discussing this as Radhika said, if we don't take the necessary measures to ensure that human rights are protected, rights harming actions like international drone surveillance condemned or stopped or authorities are held accountable for such actions. I'm not sure if the Internet would like to make accessible to people. So let's make it a rights expressingio essential rights and for the people who rely on it.
With technology and the Internet, there are a lot of challenges coming up and when you look at the justifications that authorities provide, when they restrict online rights or fundamental rights broadly, I think they have an equal responsibility to ensure that they protect our rights. And so the fact that there are challenges with the coming of technology that does not mean ‑‑ or that's not provide an avenue for governments to impose such blanket violations and then who are we holding accountable for violating the rights of people?
This is a conversation that we should continue to have. This is a conversation that we we still try to brainstorm to tackle the issue. Let's focus on tackling the problems that we are facing with the coming of the Internet and the technology, rather than thinking Internet access or the opportunities that the Internet provides is a threat to national security, to public safety, to the spread of misinformation, or ‑‑ or even the countries where the Internet is shut down when students are writing exams.
And ironically students also rely on the Internet to be able to learn, educate themselves and just build their educational growth and yet the Internet is shut down. How about you ensure that examinations, questions are not leaked, that necessary steps are taken to ensure that such acts do not happen, rather than just taking blanket measures to restricting access to an essential tool that is enhancing and enabling fundamental rights.
>> XIANHONG HU: Thank you. In the spirit of multistakeholderrism, every stakeholder has a distinct role and responsibility to play. Government is such an idea that due to bear, to protect human rights and the universal access and the private sector companies equally have obligation to respect the international human rights standards. And it should be defined with human rights benefit design, by default. And without civil society ‑‑ without that, they are active participant in the policy making process and no human rights will ever be protected. That's why I think this very inclusive multistakeholder approach is crucial.
And my second point I would like to elaborate on the role of governments, UNESCO working to hold the Member States accountable to respect the international human rights stand as.
I would like to say that governments also come in all colors and shapes and even in the democratic societies, governments you have three branch. You have the executive, you have the legislative, and parliament, and also judiciary. It's a good feeling at parliament, we have the parliamentarian track. Also they are having an important job to ensure all the laws the digital laws are basing human rights. We need to make sure that there are digital policies on human rights based, but I want to stress the draw for judiciary actors which may be somehow neglecting in many ways. ‑‑ I don't know. It's so important to protect human rights. I'm just going to give you some examples courts in the UK release have barred the police service from using the live facial recognition since the use of such system violates the right to privacy.
And also in Brazil, the courts in Brazil, they have barred the Sao Paulo subway from United Stating, fail expressions because they were using ads to target riders.
So we need to pay attention to the different parts of the government's tool to realize they are responsible. I think it's an opportunity to share UNESCO's practice. We have a judge which aims to train ‑‑ we have trained 20,000 judges around the world. When they enforce the law, related to digital tech to make sure how human rights will be tackled.
>> RAASHI SAXENA: Thank you. I wanted to open it up to any questions in the audience. Anyone?
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Held local.
>> RAASHI SAXENA: Yes, we can hear.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: My name is Ashinoafi and I would like to say thanks for providing this inclusive and very timely session. And I strongly ‑‑ I would like to say strongly thanks for concern about our safety or the ‑‑ all people's safety. And I will begin my question from my two fears. I have two fears. Because maybe the ‑‑ the technology has become inclusive of ‑‑ or become our everything and the problem also becoming as well. So there is a developing countries and the developed ones the difference between the Global North and the Global South. When you see the Global North, there is no infrastructure or ‑‑ there are resources such as telecommunications et cetera. Those things are interconnected with the global ‑‑ the entire globe. But we didn't think listing or the merits of globalization or the digital world be coming to the undeveloped country. So we are bleeding ‑‑ so do to the lack the interconnectivity, and we ‑‑ we are being to victim of this digitalization, but may the northern one or the developed country may contend with low risk.
My feel is here undeveloped country may turn to manual and make a strong decision and turn it to a manual process. The second one is the difference is boldly continued because they continue the process with low risk but the undeveloped country may kin with high‑risk. So my question is what is your true plan to shrinking this kind of gap? It may be the building, the infrastructure, or supporting the ‑‑ another infrastructure for the undeveloped country. Because we have to go together in order to gain public safe. So what is your true man to go together and train together? Thank you very much.
>> RAASHI SAXENA: Thank you. And we also have someone in the front who would like to comment or ask a question.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Okay. Thank you, I'm from Ethiopia, from the judiciary and thank you to the panelists for your insights and your ideas. I have two comments report ideas. The online rights, the offline rights, you have raised that we need to see holistically the right that has been exercised offline, should also be exercised online. And it's known that in the offline world that a person has both rights and obligations when they are expressing their opinions, their ideas and when they are doing things then there are different obligations that you into Ed to carry out, you need to abide by. The last four days or three days we have been talking about online rights again. That's good, but we need to qualify the online duties, the online duties, those who are using the online platforms should know their responsibilities.
They don't have a right to incite violence and disseminate hate speeches. They don't have a right to go against the pandemic and other persons. Therefore, I think we also need to talk about that. That's one of the ideas I want to add. The second one is this virtual wallet is engulfing the human being. Everyone even including me and even our youth, our kids are spending their time by watching different movies by different ‑‑ by watching Facebook and this and that. This is a good thing, but we need to create literacy. When they are using this online products, they need to know that they are not ‑‑ that they are not addicted by this product. And they need to balance living also their real lives. Therefore, I think these two persons ‑‑
>> RAASHI SAXENA: We are running out of time, so we will answer that question after the closing remarks. Please go ahead with your one question.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: My question is that shutdown, Internet shutdown, total shutdown is bad. It is against freedom of expression, except this. But can we also say that if the government with an overarching public interest reason bans some social media like Facebook for a specific period of time, can we say it's against freedom of expression? Even freedom of expression, ICPR has exceptions. This is my question. Thank you.
>> RAASHI SAXENA: Okay. Great. We will go back to closing remarks and my final question is in what ways can governments demonstrate commitment that the Internet is open and free and responses for all. Keep your responses to under two minutes because we have four minutes left.
>> MOHAMED FARAHAT: Firstly, the governments need to reform that allows to them different agencies or service provider to shut down the Internet. So in some countries like in the MENA region or Africa, they give the security agency to cut off the Internet. I agree with you about your question about we have to have a ‑‑ we have to have the digital rights and also rethe Poncibility ‑‑ so this is a question if the current human rights treaty is still relevant to deal with the digital rights or we need to adopt another documents to be more relevant with our challenge and changes. Thank you.
>> RADHIKA JHALANI: I think I won't even take two minutes. I think to answer a lot of what you said. Free speech is not the speech that we like. It's also the speech that we don't like. But it's only that the speech doesn't lead to violence. So we have to control that but we can't, you know ‑‑ we can't pick the worst hanging fruits. I think Internet shutdowns are just that. We can't have problems of access. We have to think and the governments have to do this because it's fairly new and the problems surrounding it are evolving and coming up.
So governments have to take a lot more time to understand that and come up with comprehensive rights respecting solutions, not knee‑jerk reactions, no knee‑jerk reactions and we have to take a multilaterally approach, I believe free software communities and free software can help a lot with that.
>> RAASHI SAXENA: Thank you.
>> FELICIA ANTHONIO: Thank you very much. Yes to also add on to your question, I think it's important for us to know that the international frameworks, the Internet shutdowns are disproportionate, they are illegal, and they do not meet the necessary measures whenever they are imposed. You did mention in my opening remarks, I did say what the Internet means could mean different things to people, and yes, we acknowledge the challenges that comes with the use of Internet access but then we just our governments to protect our rights and uphold our rights and so it's a conversation we have to have. It's a necessary conversation that we need to have instead of shutting down, what alternatives with we take to ensure that maybe it is that there's a gap in digital literacy, people do not understand how to use these platforms? Where is it coming from? How can we address the root causes of these things? How can we also collaborate with the private sector to ensure that their platforms are not used to abuse and create hate speech and, like, disinformation and misinformation, which usually are the reasons governments give whenever the Internet is disrupted.
So I think this is a multistakeholder discussion, we need to have and let's see how we can advance rights rather than restrict rights across the globe. So that is what I would say and we are happy to have a conversation with you to provide more information about the trends and development as cross the globe. Similar problems all across the world but we do believe that there are solutions to these problems that are coming up. Thank you.
>> XIANHONG HU: Thank you. UNESCO recommends ‑‑ the Internet is complex. You have to consider broadly how you ensure the terms and make the national security policy without violating the right to privacy and without creating massive surveillance.
And also you have to make sure that if when the privacy law is made, there's no risk of Internet fragmentation to, destroy the openness of the Internet. It's not an easy task. That's why we are having the Internet university indicator to be measured to measure 300 dimensions. And I would like to tackle the question from the gentleman sitting behind about the gap between the Global North and South. I know many international players are working on that and United Nations are having the Secretary General draw the map, and many other players there, ITU and other commissions. I would like to highlight one thing, that the gap between the noble north and south, it's about the Rinns and the forms and ethics, et cetera.
Ewe necessary could, we enforced first a global instrument on the ethics of artificial intelligence and they say, oh, it doesn't make sense to the Global South. They don't even have A I. Yes, it does, because it's basically supporting the ethical application of AI in the Internet. If they don't respect the privacy data, they are going to exploit the African ‑‑ the Global South's data, personal date. And then without benefiting ax I, the Global South are already being ‑‑ they are being undermined in many ways. Don't underestimate the importance of shares principles, Rules and experts.
So I should finish now.
For your question, I think the individual citizensW. err we are all global citizens. That's why the digital power and literacy is so crucial and that we enter into that meaningfully.
>> RAASHI SAXENA: Thank you so much, everyone. I do believe that we have gone a little over time. So I would like to thank all of our panelists for joining us, June who has been rapporteuring for our session, and I just wanted to check with Jacob if there are any questions from Zoom from anyone who has joined in by June.
>> Unfortunately we don't have any questions from the Zoom chat. I think we can wrap up.
>> RAASHI SAXENA: Thank you so much. For any detailed on IRPC, you can join our newsletter and collect our website. We had a charter that was translated into Nepalese. And with that, I'm going to close the session. I thank you so much for joining in and, yeah, thank you.