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: I guess everyone if the room can hear me. Can I get an indication on Zoom if you can hear.
>> We can hear you.
>> MODERATOR: Perfect. Well, we might get started here. So ... well ...
Thank you very much for being here. We have a number of people online and in the room. This session, I had the title and I lost it. It is about Protecting a Global Internet in an Age of Economic Sanctions. My name is Chris Buckridge, I work for RIPE NCC. Sanctions is an issue that ICC has been grappling with for years but one that has become urgent in the last couple of years where we have seen the use of sanctions become more prevalent and they apply to the global Internet.
We have a panel here today, which I think wants to consider what the implementations are, what the impact on the global Internet is, the way sanctions are used and how they're developed.
Hopefully to look towards some solutions. Ways that we can actually tip the needle in a direction where we minimize those risks or jeopardy for the global Internet.
We have also a presentation from Farzaneh Badiei doing a research project currently funded by the RIPE NCC and how sanctions impact the Internet. That is an important foundational particle of the Internet on how we hope to build solutions.
I will quickly introduce our panel. We have Natalie here from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ambassador at large. The correct title? Thank you for joining us.
We have Alexander Isavnin from Civil Society in Russia. Dawit Bekele from ISOC. I'm sorry if I mispronounced your surname. Thank you for joining us. Jane Coffin working for connect humanity fund and has a long history in Government and technical communities. Thank you, Jane. And sorry, Nathalia Foditsch who is working in the academic space in Latin Americas. Nathalia Foditsch good to have you with us as well. I think that is everyone. Yes?
With that introduction complete, I would like to invite Farzaneh Badiei to give us the summary of the work she's doing and set the stage for further discussion here. Thanks, Farzaneh Badiei.
>> Farzaneh Badiei: Hi, can you hear me?
>> MODERATOR: Yes.
>> Farzaneh Badiei: Okay. Good. Can you see my slides, like the prepared nice thing?
>> MODERATOR: Also, yes, but you might want to hit play on the slide deck.
>> Farzaneh Badiei: I guess I have to do this. Yeah, can you see this? I think that will do.
>> MODERATOR: Yes.
>> Farzaneh Badiei: I'm Farzaneh Badiei and I'm with Digital Medusa, and this is funded by RIPE NCC. We're talking about sanctions and the Internet. So the next slide is ‑‑ okay. So I'm doing this research not alone, with a team of people. (Listing names) which their amazing contributions made this research possible. The objective of the research is how to find out and discover how sanctions effect the Internet. And do they endanger the global Internet and access to the global Internet in any way and how we can mitigate the impact.
So it is very important to make this distinction between cyber sanctions and economic sanctions. Because we keep hearing that what is the difference and are we talking about cyber sanctions. Cyber sanctions are after a malicious attack by a cyber attacker and a legitimate response to cyber attack.
While economic sanctions might not be Internet specific, but they have unintended consequences for the Internet. Generally not in response to the foreign cyber attack.
What is the economic sanctions? This is like trade and financial barriers that some nation‑states impose on other nation‑states to subject other nation‑states from attacking others or violate human rights or to counter terrorism. Economic sanctions are not new and have had implications for the Internet since the late 90s. The regime most of the time is not Internet specific but impacts the Internet.
The implications for the Internet have increased in the past decade. And from early on, we see that there have been sanction relief when it comes to the Internet to ease sanctions with access, issuing licenses, exemptions, and regulations.
Okay. So this is a timeline ‑‑ I will not go through everything, but just in 2001, when the U.S. and 9/11 terrorist attack happened, the U.S. came up with a very organized answer to sanctioning the terrorists and kind of the treasury office ‑‑ Office of Treasury had a very ‑‑ had a very strong response to financial sanctions, putting financial sanctions on terrorist States, and terrorist groups. They came up with a plan called smart sanctions, which means it can be country specific, but it can also be individual and entity specific in order to kind of not impact ordinary people.
Since between 2001 and 2010, it doesn't mean that these sanctions didn't affect the Internet, it is just that we're in the process of research. But there have been, like a few reported cases about the country code top level domain delegation in 2005, I believe and a few others, until 2010 that the Iranian uprising happened and U.S. saw that what sort of impact sanctions have on Iranians and Cubans. For their access to the Internet. So they came up with a few like reliefs for personal communication that happened on the Internet.
And in 2011, there are like reports that Cuba cannot develop its Internet because of the U.S. sanctions. Again. And you have in 2012 the EU sanctions that were imposed in 2007 but have direct effect on the Internet, this time on Internet Governance organizations, and they had to reassure that they're in compliance with the sanctions.
I will not go through all of this. But as you can see we see a kind of like increase in sanctions, especially as geopolitical conflicts are increasing. The most recent one was the UK, EU, and U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia because of the war it has waged on Ukraine.
That had a few implications. We might see some implications on Afghanistan as well. If you want to see the timeline, you can go to my website or the timeline here. Category impact. What sort of impacts sanctions have had? There is the effect on regional Internet registries, there is the inequitable impact on resources and impact of sanctions on network operators, and impact of sanctions on the Domain Name System and domain registration.
The impact on RIR, RIPE NCC has been vocal on this and good about informing us what is going on. In general, in part of discussions with other RIRs, we have come up with these impacts that transfer from one RIR to another is difficult payment systems. Because payment systems are sanctioned they can't pay for the IP address and the impact on the local Internet registry because when local Internet registries sponsor sanctioned entities, they RIPE NCC or other RIRs still have to comply with the law. They cannot. They have to keep their IP addresses registered.
Here we go ‑‑ my slides today are not spot on. The impact on the normality operators, we have had quite the discussion with network operators, and also some research on a few ISPs were sanctioned. In general, when a specific sanction apply to individual with formal roles in telecommunication services, then for example, if they're a member of the Internet exchange point, then that Internet exchange point has to revoke the membership of the sanctioned entity.
So it might be that the entity is not sanctioned, but somebody, a CEO or Board Member is sanctioned. For example, in case appearing Internet exchange point cannot have that entity as their member. And this was a recent case. There was London Internet exchange that revoked the membership of Russian telecom operators.
And then the network operator can serve other smaller network operators that can be affected. And carry traffic from other nonsanctioned countries from countries that are not sanctioned can be impacted as well because of this revocation of the membership.
Okay. So I don't have much time, I think. So let me just talk about concretely about the impact on network operators. We're still in the process of collecting feedback. But at the moment, we see that as well as appearing the network operator might not be able ‑‑ might not be able to be a part of the Internet exchange point. And other network operators might not want to appear with them.
And this will affect their Internet traffic. It doesn't disconnect them from the Internet as such that it kind of effects of quality of access to the Internet. And then ‑‑ and then we also have the cache servers. A case that in Russia, a few of the cache servers were deactivated because of the sanctions. And have a few reports in Afghanistan that this has happened.
And for the cache servers, they allow for the easier and more accessible and faster download of content, so it is important. So it depends on which country and how connected the country is, if you have a country like Afghanistan and you take their two cache servers away, that would affect their access to content online.
How much time do I have, Chris?
>> MODERATOR: You have a few more minutes.
>> Farzaneh Badiei: We have the domain registration problem that people were dealing with. People were living in countries that were sanctioned. There was the Iran Syria delegation that faced some hurdles some years ago. And Iran and Syria lack of access to new GTLDs, for example. For example, a few cases that the operators just confiscate or suspend the domain names of people in Iran because they have a direct contract with the Iranians. And with the Syrians. And they believe that compliance‑wise they should not have.
There is also the case of dot‑Asia and dot‑NGO that they don't allow sanctioned countries to register domain names. And also a few registrars stopped supporting clients and users from Iran, Sudan, Syria. Sudan is an older case.
So this was ‑‑ then when we discuss this during our research, we talked about what can we do in order to provide solutions? So for example, we can have multilateral and bilateral arrangements for Governments to coordinate when they impose sanctions because the Internet is such an interconnected network of networks that that's if you sanction some in one jurisdiction, it can have an effect on others.
So it could be that bilateral arrangement for Governments to coordinate and prevent adverse effect of sanctions, could be issuing exempts, and to review and revise sanctions. Also the companies and organizations can have a more transparent and compliant process that doesn't comply with the sanction, but also provide the minimum services for the Internet.
We can convene a cross‑industry collation because the Internet is formalized. Many other actors involved however they don't understand and engage with the multistakeholder governance model of the Internet. So if we talk with those not directly involved with the Internet, explain and help them from overcomplying with the sanctions. And the mapping of the Internet value chain and the fora for coalitions and others.
Thank you. So if you want to get in touch with us, that is the information. Also if you want to give us feedback, you can just scan that QR code. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you. Thank you very much Farzaneh Badiei. That is a really useful starting point. And gives an indication of how complex the impacts on and how many elements in the Internet technical infrastructure.
Turning I guess a little to the other side of the equations, the Government and sanction process, I'm turning to Natalie now. I would be interested to get your impression of how sanctions and use of sanctions are impacting on your work and your discussions around global Internet Governance in the U.N., et cetera.
>> Natalie: Here. Okay. Yeah. Okay. Well, thank you, Chris. And thank you also for inviting me on the panel. I very much welcome this discussion. I'm the cyber ambassador of the Netherlands. We have been advocating for an open, free, safe, secure, interoperable Internet for a long time. Of course, when there are unintended consequences of certain policy measures, we need to look at them.
When it is about sanctions, first of all, Farzaneh Badiei, thank you for making the distinction between cyber sanctions and economic sanctions more general. I think sanctions in general are a legitimate foreign policy tool. It is usually in reaction to behavior by another Government that is not behaving in line with its commitments. With international law. With sort of agreements that they have signed on to.
So what is the toolbox to hold them accountable, think about that, sanctions is one of the tools. It is a legitimate tool. We have been advocating for free, safe, secure Internet for a long time and also advocating for the protection of the public core of the Internet.
Why is that? Because we had a wake‑up call in terms of cybersecurity in 2013 when one of our ‑‑ well, when basically the cryptography layer was being hampered or fiddled with. So basically, we have been working on the concept of this public core and what we mean with this is really the technical layer of the Internet. So like the naming, the routing, the numbers and the cryptography. We have been advocating in the U.N. to actually don't attack that public core.
We have advocated for that successfully. It is part of the normative framework that all U.N. Member States have signed up to. This is the normative framework on responsible state behavior on ICTs.
But then this is about sort of the protection of the public core. But of course, there is the other issue, that is that we have been advocating for the governance of the public core, that that should be done in a multistakeholder way. This is a long introduction for saying that within the area of sanctions, which is dealt with in another area than sort of the cyber silo, the sanctions are usually coming about under a lot of time pressure. Because there is something going on in a country. And another country wants to react to that. Sanctions are in our view really a mean to change the behavior of another country. So there is really a time‑sensitive part to it. So that means that if things are coming about under pressure, then the impact is not always sort of looked at in a very complete and comprehensive way.
And what we have ‑‑ and then sort of coming down ‑‑ coming back to sort of the public core. When we look at also the research that Farzaneh Badiei just presented, then it doesn't make sense to us as the Netherlands and for a lot of Governments to deprive citizens from their access to the Internet while we are trying to send a message to another Government.
So that is something that we need to sort of take into consideration in a better way. And we have been looking at this as Dutch Government. Also sort of doing our homework in terms of looking at the different sanction regimes. It is not so clear‑cut. The world is never black and white, I don't think.
I have come to an initial conclusion that we can probably not come to an overall clear‑cut exemption. Because there are always sort of situations where you would say, okay, now the owner of a certain entity is being sanctioned. And you still want to have that possibility.
But that having said, I think that our people and in our case that is people in Brussels, because sanctions that we are actually imposing are discussed in the context of the European Union. So it is all the European Union countries.
So our people in Brussels need to have a better understanding of how the Internet works, what the players are, and what kind of considerations they have to take into account when they are imposing sanctions.
So it is really sort of bridging these silos in our systems to make that happen.
Just also to say a little bit something about how we became more aware while I think RIPE NCC has been sort of knocking on our door for a long time already. But more sort of with our sanction people.
But with the ‑‑ one of the first sanction packages against Russia ‑‑ no, it was actually ‑‑ yeah, during that time. The Government of Ukraine requested ICANN and RIPE NCC to remove the dot‑RU domain. And of course like RIPE NCC and ICANN are not in the business of removing domains. They're in the business of preserving the worldwide Internet. So they took, in our opinion, the right decision. And not removing the dot‑RU domain. But we also ‑‑ this also started a debate within our system. And which I think was a very healthy debate because then um, also sort of our political leaders understood the relevance of keeping the Internet open for all.
And that is really relevant for all citizens around the world. And that is one element. But also with this extreme request, we would never be able to predict the unintended consequences. Nobody wants to be responsible for unintended consequences leading to whatever incidents at hospitals or other really important services for people.
Another, within the sanctions domain there are more general exceptions. That is usually based on humanitarian reasons. That could be an area to look at, the language used there. And to see how we can sort of make a similar approach on, yeah, on the sanctions that have unintended consequences on the Internet.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Natalie. You are moving into what I hope this workshop will provide, the beginning of a solution or step towards mitigating the risks in the future.
I want to turn now to Jane Coffin for more contextual stepping out of the European context. As I mentioned in the opening, Jane brings a wealth of experience from both Government and technical community. So Jane, great to hear from you.
>> Jane coffin: I will tell you a story related sanctions and what were happy consequences instead of unintended consequences. When was listened to the ambassador speak I thought sanctions are a niche area that many are not aware in our growth as organizations and particularly for many small nonprofits about the impact sanctions can have on an as a small company if you violate the regimes it can be expensive and quite a bit of complications with your national Governments.
But also they seem off, to many people ‑‑ people are afraid of dealing with the sanctioned organizations. Like at the Treasury Department, they're lovely people, do what they do, if you don't know what to do you can be quite afraid of how to interface with them. Chris, that will get to the point of what I say at the end here of a way forward and potentially recommendations.
When I was at the Internet Society we were happy to receive donations of equipment from an equipment manufacturer for helping Internet exchange points grow. These would be switches. Sometimes we send servers as well.
These were not highly encrypted pieces of equipment. But if you don't know where you are allowed and not allowed to send even a low‑encryption switch, you can end up violating a sanctions regime without knowing. So it is unknowingly you might violate a big rule that can put you in jeopardy as a small company. One, the smaller organizations, nonprofits don't have the legal teams. They don't have the knowledge. They often don't know how to interface. I was lucky enough to have worked for the U.S. Department of Commerce, where one of the sanctions organizations sort of lives. It is the BIS, at the Department of Commerce.
I had, had the good Office of Working at a law firm before that with sanctions and embargoes. I had a bit more scope of work in my career.
When I came to Internet Society I brought that with me. If you don't know these things as a small nonprofit, technical organization that is trying to do good, build out infrastructure why do I have to check with anyone to take a switch in my suitcase or send it. Don't take it in the suitcase. You run into challenges. We knew what to do at the Internet Society when I was there.
I think it is important to realize that the IGF is a multistakeholder event. People talk to each other from different Government offices. We're lucky to have a Government official on this panel. We do need to think of ways that the Internet community and small nonprofits can interface with sanctions organizations in different countries. How do you approach them without, you know, you sort of triggering something with one of the organizations where they might think you have already done something and you haven't?
How do you create a better dialogue with the organizations? Because you are not sending usually very complicated equipment around the planet. Or you could be unknowingly. Back in the day the type of computing on an iPhone would not have been allowed when I first started working in sanctions and embargo.
It is important for people to know what you can and cannot receive, what you can and cannot send. It can be tricky. Quite frankly, when you are trying to send equipment, this is super practical, you are working with different organizations like FedEx and DHL, which actually have to comply themselves with the sanction regime rules in their own countries. Particularly I'm thinking of the United States.
Often I would have to get on the phone with FedEx or DHL, when you are a small organization you do the work yourself or might have someone help you do it. It can be highly time intensive. If you do get a license to send the equipment to a certain country which you didn't think you had to, but you do.
You will get that license and have a time frame that you make sure if it expires that you are working with the sanctioned organization, whether treasury in the United States, to ensure you get the license re‑upped. So you have to have a good program inside your organization.
There are very easy tools now you can use also to check for people's names. Because if you are running a big global event ‑‑ Farzaneh Badiei touched on this in her research.
There is something called blocked entities and specially designated nationals from the U.S. regime program. If you have somebody at your list that attends one of those events, there could be trouble.
All of this is to say there needs to be a bit more open dialogue on all of the issues, particularly for nonprofit, Civil Society and Internet technical community with their own country and officials, so people are more aware. I know there are programs that some of the Government entities run. But they're really expensive. If there is some way to aggregate, invite them to different meetings, say okay, how does this work? How do we make sure we comply? How do we all be better aware of what the programs are? They'll call thank sanctions programs. It can be off‑putting and down thing if you are an organization that hasn't dealt with these organizations in the past.
The last thing you want to do is run afoul with the rules, it can be hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines if you are not aware. Usually that is to bigger companies.
If you are trying to build the Internet and get people online, many organizations are so well intended trying to get equipment out the door or build a better exchange better in some country. Everything is super well intended. You run afoul of the sanctions you can run afoul for yourself and this company. I'm grateful, Chris, that you put this panel together. I will stop talking so others can speak.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Jane. Again, as with Farzaneh Badiei's point, it is helpful and daunting to realize the complexity of the issues. It is that complexity that is at the heart of why we need to find a better way through all of this.
The next speaker is Dawit Bekele from the Internet Society. So Dawit Bekele is also online. Those he's originally from Ethiopia. Dawit Bekele, can you show us a little bit of insight from the technical community perspective?
>> Dawit Bekele: Thank you, Chris, for inviting me to this panel. Hi, everyone.
So I think the previous speakers have stated sanctions are very common. In fact, they're getting more and more frequent in this world. Especially coming from unilateral sanctions from western countries, EU, U.S., so on. But also multilateral sanctions from the U.N. and so on. And they are often economic sanctions, but sanctions on arms and so on.
That have direct and sometimes indirect consequences on the Internet.
Jane mentioned some of the challenges that might be indirect to the Internet, like importing equipment. I have had some instance similar to what she had. In Ethiopia, I didn't know anything about U.S. laws. And I heard that ‑‑ I mean big problem because I was, you know, supporting the chapter in Sudan. Which was under sanction.
These are the kind of things that those of us who are in a country very far from the country that sanctioned don't even think about. But can be very important. So what are the consequences on the Internet?
First of all, the Internet is not really done in a national way. It is not done respecting the national borders. The inventors of the Internet never thought that they had to deal with these kind of issues. So most of, you know, the structure of the Internet is not really done in that way.
So it is not really easy to block just one country or one region. How is it done? Just to give technical details of how this is done or at least suggested to be done, for example, recently for Russia, we have seen suggestion to block PGP announcements for Russia. Some even suggested cutting physical connections, the working CTLDs, it was said earlier. And by taking back IP numbers given by organizations.
All these suggestions have major consequences on the global Internet.
The Internet Society identified five critical properties that make the Internet that we all enjoy. These are an accessible infrastructure with common protocol and reusable building blocks, decentralized management and single distributed routing system. Common global identifiers and a technology neutral general purpose network.
All of the matters that are proposed by proponent of sanctions have many negative impacts on these properties.
To mention a few, the solutions jeopardize the first criterion, which is the accessibility of the whole Internet structure.
Moreover, the management and single routing system will be questioned and countries will fear that it cannot be use ‑‑ it can be used by their political foe.
In summary, some countries will start questioning the current management of the Internet, which might push them to create their own independent networks, effectively taking us to the splinter net.
I will stop here. And I hope we will have more discussion.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you. That's great. You give me a good segue to the next speaker, Alexander Isavnin. I think the point you make about undermining trust in the global governance processes an incentivize or inspire countries to take steps that would in a sense fragment the Internet is something we're seeing. Some countries are doing that already.
>> Alexander Isavnin: Yes, thank you very much for participating in this panel. Thank you to the previous speakers. I would like to mention the following. Any talks of sanctions related to Internet actually in line with Russian regime is doing for last years. For last 10 years in this introduction of so‑called sovereign Internet for last three years. So all talks, even this legislation was introduced to control data flow towards its citizens.
The maturation was kind of our fight against possible sanctions. So even talks about possibility of sanctions and Internet and the letter of the Ukrainian Deputy Minister is like supporting idea of having sovereign Internet. For years, Putin was dreaming about how to cut his own citizens out of the Internet.
Now we have real reason for that.
Really, it is important, I think, from technical point of view also to discuss consensus, because we have now not just landlocked countries we have sanction locked countries. The countries of Central Asia, many areas are surrounded by sanctioned countries, economic sanctions, it is like Kline Russian, Iran. There is no way to get traffic to them. So if sanctions will impact not just core infrastructure but transport of networks, the countries may suffer.
Also to finish this, I would like to mention that Internet was not designed for executing Governmental functions. Protocols does not contain any requirements which Governments may impose including sanctions. I think my member to the left, the Internet is foreign users.
If we are talking about possibility to use free life for end user. Massive sanctions on the core Internet, may impart on users also. In this point I would like to thank Claude that gave comments and that information flow is required. And Farzaneh Badiei mentioned multistakeholder approach on imposing technical sanctions, which was led on Twitter. As far as I remember. It was saying sanctions on technical infrastructure may be applied only in the case of attack of technical infrastructure.
I think I have a part of monetary sanctions. But I think we can wait on it.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Alexander Isavnin. That is very useful insight from an area or country that is the target of sanctions. And how that can work. Our last speaker, sort of concluding the tour here is Nathalia Foditsch and Nathalia Foditsch I misspoke before saying she's Academia, she's an independent consultant these days. Nathalia Foditsch, can you give us a bit more Private Sector perspective on what is happening here?
>> Nathalia Foditsch: You asked me to give a perspective of the American and Caribbean, I decided to look for one specific country for this panel. I studied it a little bit, a really interesting one which is Cuba. So a lot of the information and things that I'll say here today come from the book Cuba's digital revolution, which was organized by Ted and Sara. And also I have talked to a friend of mine, Olga, who actually has a chapter in this book and has field experience in Cuba. So she told me a bit of her field experience in the country.
As Natalie and Alexander Isavnin were saying. Natalie mentioned and people in Brussels should know how the Internet works to impose sanctions, but also say something along the lines of Alexander Isavnin, which is people should also know how it actually impacts end user says. Because the U.S. embargo in Cuba has really concrete impacts for the populations itself.
Also, it actually backfires the fact a lot of times, because if the U.S. mentions that people in Cuba deserve more freedom of expression and the end of the day the embargo has a lot to do with people being late in accessing the Internet and accessing good quality Internet, that actually is a contradiction, right?
Of course, not everything ‑‑ the fact that Cuba has arrived late to the Internet and the quality of the Internet there is lower compared to the rest of the region is not solely related to the embargo but has a lot to do with the embargo.
Just to give a slight, quick example, Cuba is ranked the speeds of the Internet in Cuba are ‑‑ it is ranked 140. Whereas other countries in the region, Uruguay, Brazil, Jamaica are 62, 63, 64. It is far away.
It is also not only a matter of they arrived late to the Internet, but how many fold that Internet is. Like the quality of the Internet. So it used to be that the whole Internet international connectivity used to be by satellites until 2013, and then finally they got submarine cable, which was actually dormant for two years, by the way. And then now they finally have arrangements with other ‑‑ with Google, for example, in 2019. They have an arrangement to have international capable and also the 3G connectivity has only been launched in 2018.
And 4G actually started in 2019.
So as Jane was saying, there are unintended consequences of having embargoes. So a lot of times, these rules of sanctions and embargoes are really not clear enough. This means that companies end up not even daring to deal with this country. So they have to avoid future trouble. Right?
So if there is a space for them, they would have some space to do something in this country, they end up not doing it because they don't want a risk.
One example of, again, going back to Cuba, Microsoft for example, could not really do things in the country. So they started using other‑types of software and started using a lot of China's equipment. This is also the type of unintended consequences which is nowadays China's providers are basically really strong in the country.
Then there is also interesting things that come up out of it. For example, they have something famous called (No English translation) which means the weekly package, which is ‑‑ they have ‑‑ it is like an offline Internet. They have content that week people distribute this content in USB drivers or offline versions. It is like an offline CDN that goes from people to people.
But actually although that is a really interesting, you know, it is really interesting from an academic point of view and cultural point of view, we still want these people to have real access and real chance of having access to the whole Internet as we all do, right?
Just two quick points. One is that a lot of times embargoes and sanctions also do not only relate to the country ‑‑ the two countries, say Cuba and U.S. itself. But also it has implications for a third country. For example, Germany and other countries that could have provide software and chips to Cuba. And them not doing that because they are afraid of being in trouble with the U.S., right? Again going back to how it relates to not only having access to the Internet but people are impacted in the sense they don't have a meaningful connectivity.
Going back to the submarine cable example, you need to have that to have proper latency and speeds.
So that's how it impacts the individual in the end of the day.
I will stop here and we will continue in the debate. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thanks, Nathalia Foditsch. You raised a good point there, relates to the risk of freezing out opportunity and sanctions, in particular, the sense of risk. That is an important point as well.
I do. To open the floor, if there are comments, but perhaps just before doing that, there have been a couple of discussions going on in the chat, which are quite interesting. And I know Farzaneh Badiei has been answering in the chat. Do you want to speak briefly to those?
>> Farzaneh Badiei: Yes, thank you, Chris. There were a few points raised about ‑‑ one of the points was about the solutions. I think it was asked whether we consider unity of the organizations that provide the critical properties of the Internet? Like number resources and ICANN, we can consider granting them immunity.
Yes. We're doing this research to also collect the potential solutions. And then later on, work on them as like group of ‑‑ among the Internet community to implement these solutions or find the best solution and implement it. So definitely immunity is something that we can consider. But there are of course many barriers. It is not the new request for a while for ICANN. When we were talking about the transition and during ICANN accountability, we were talking about whether they should be issued immunity.
And a large segment of the community was against that, because they wanted to hold ICANN accountable by taking them to the Court. In case of dispute. So then the issue of immunity of Internet exchange. And when we talk about immunity, who are we going to immunize? Is it only the (?) and those working on infrastructure, which is a complicated word as well. We can't quite say what is the Internet infrastructure. And also, is it like IXPs as well, Internet exchange points. Are we talking about ISPs? That is one comment.
Then the other issue that Mariella from Diplo Foundation raised, which is a very good point. Which we have not discussed a lot. It is not in this ‑‑ I can add a few cases but it is not in the scope of the work I'm doing. But Mariella is talking about trade restrictions. Economic sanctions can be equivalent to trade sanctions. She asked do panelists public the restrings of the China (reading quickly) many of the equipment as mentioned here for networking and connectivity. I think that the devices that we use in order to make the Internet work and to get the users connected and also maintain their security, they're very important. They should be a part of the conversation. Maybe not a particle of this research. I remember a few years ago, when the U.S. imposed a sanction on Paraguay, it was one of the Chinese companies that provided Android devices worldwide.
And when they were sanctioned, Google did not allow important security updates to happen. Because of the sanction. And this is like reported. We have to verify. I think this is pretty relevant to the discussion. And we need to talk about it when we discuss the sanction regimes.
Another point I want to make is that ‑‑ Jane mentioned a FedEx and UPS and like going and talking to them about sending packages and devices to sanctioned countries. Something interesting ‑‑ because I'm Iranian, I dealt with a lot of sanction issues at the individual level whenever I wanted to send something to my family. A small budget I could not ‑‑ after a while I could not do with DHL because they did not serve that country.
But also I couldn't ‑‑ I still can't use FedEx here.
But what I can use is the UPS. Which is the national post. And that's because ‑‑ this is a controversial thing. And I'm not saying that we should do anything. That is because of the Treaty we have worldwide. National post will post devices for you. It might, while the private companies won't.
These are things we need to think about. I'm not saying we need a Treaty. I'm not putting that forward as a solution. Because I think we need the multistakeholder model. But we also need to consider what sort of ‑‑ what we're missing out on when we are not using the Treaty and when we're not considering the multilateral solutions.
And also this was one of the last points that I discussed. When I mentioned that maybe there should be like multilateral or bilateral talks between Government, I'm not saying that we should have a Treaty. I just mean that when they come up with sanctions, before imposing it, they can talk to each other. Because some have more experience and others have processes that others want to look at and see how they can come up with ‑‑ also the UK and U.S., this is normal, cooperation, U.S. and UK have cooperated in imposing harmonized sanction.
One important point I want to make that Natalie mentioned, is when the Governments need to know when they're imposing sanctions, they need to know what is the Internet and what are the Internet services that can be sanctioned legitimately, if they are sanctioned they will diminish the presence of people online.
I think that is something that we as an Internet community, we need to work on. And we need to ‑‑ because when the sanctions are imposed, then even within the exemption, the license and everything, the companies are risk givers. They have their compliance mechanism in place already. They rarely change that compliance mechanism unless they are taken to court, which is very difficult. Thank you. Sorry I went on and on.
>> MODERATOR: That is great. Immunity and sanctions. Stepping on all the rails. There is a question from the audience, I think he might have left.
I know Alexander Isavnin and Natalie, if you ‑‑ that would be great. Perhaps you and Olga?
>> ATTENDEE: Good afternoon dear participants and friends. I think we're have are inclusive international governance, we need international cooperation among all states and countries. But unfortunately unilateral measures against countries and products may make it impossible to reach the requested international cooperation.
I think for having meaningful solidarity as recommended in the U.N. documents, we need international cooperation. But unilateral measures don't let it be reachable. And I think sanctions are not legal. I don't know why some countries insist that they are legal.
I think we cannot react to the behavior of other countries by illegal means. And from the other sides it is very important to assess humanitarian impact of unilaterally applied measures.
There is another comment that I would ‑‑ to put forward about the sanctions. Iran is a country that suffered from versus serious sanctions imposed by the U.S. and some other States. What is special about Iran's situation is that it was under the U.N. Security Council sanctions for 10 years, until August 2020, which no longer exist. But some States are still imposing that kind of sanctions, that they are not existing now.
And unfortunately, it has usually been maintained that the unilateral sanctions are imposed by good guys on bad guys for some supreme, let's say, purpose and with good intentions. But I don't think so that is correct, unfortunately in reality. That is the people of country who are affected by those kind of sanctions.
>> MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you very much. Olga?
>> ATTENDEE: Thank you. First of all, I wanted to say that this is a really important topic for discussion. It hasn't been much discussed in any (?) and even in digests didn't get proper attention before. I think with the recent developments in the Ukraine it is especially important.
I want to make two points. First, I think the right response from RIPE NCC and ICANN refusing to block them because of the technical layer that is matter of principle that this is something that has to stay untouchable.
The second point is ‑‑ I don't think the Russians can use this argument about sanctions being ‑‑ not being sufficient or shouldn't be in place because they create uncomfortable situation for Russian end users or because they support Putin's politics. This is not the case. This is the future feeler of the Russian Civil Society and defenders if they could not many years reach the point that the Internet is free enough so they have a proper access to information.
During all of the years, it is happening that the Internet space is limited and resources have been blocked one after another. But still, they didn't do enough to stop that. Now when the sanctions are in place, it is the argument that this is just politics, which is cynical to use.
I talk about the sanctions, not even thousands of the sanctions cannot bring back a single life lost or rebuild the house destroyed to the ground. This is something at least, which is probably supposed to show that there is some element of suffering when you make other people suffer so much because of your actions.
So I would say that sanctions, they are good in this case. And that's not the problem of the international community that the Russian end users have problems with access to services especially given that the platforms have been specifically already blocked and they were left without the access by the Russian Government.
I'm sorry, this is very emotional for me.
I am Ukrainian and I can't have different opinion.
>> MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you very much. One more speaker from the floor. A short intervention because we have to move to a closing round, the final section. Please.
>> ATTENDEE: For the record from the University in Montreal Canada. I would like to disagree with that previous position about the ability of Internet sanctions. Because without the Internet people in Russia will drone in the Governmental propaganda and 100% supporters of the war.
Internet allows for those who are free‑mind thinking, against the war to raise their hand or maybe listen or support even people in Ukraine.
That is the position. Internet allows people to speak to or think freely without impact of Governmental propaganda. And, you know, the issue of propaganda, military propaganda is one of the crucial things, the disrupting people's head in the country.
The number of people supporting of the war raising because of the work of the pro‑Governmental propaganda. It is my position it is not impossible to impose this in this case.
I am totally against war. I have a deep condolence with the people in Ukraine. But it is the position. Thank you very much.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much. So Alexander Isavnin and Natalie.
>> Alexander Isavnin: Okay. Thank you very much. In response to Olga, now I belong mostly to Civil Society in Russia. Believe me normal sit sis is ashamed what is going on. We think really did we do what we can do to stop Putin during these years. Then we see here on Internet Governance Forums, there is a fake Civil Society. It is really difficult.
But again, we are really normal Civil Society supports Ukraine in the struggle and still trying to do something. Even in Moscow.
Actually I came from Civil Society from technical, from engineering. And I also really appreciate and support Ukrainian engineers who are restoring Internet connectivity for Ukraine. I am watching the Internet infrastructure and resources.
I am really glad that people could restore something. But this is also tells us which story Internet is really silent. Here, you see for years, Putin tried to take resources and restoring. Even with wartimes, until times when Putin starts destroying the infrastructure of Ukraine. The Internet was working well. We have really two examples. Like Territory of Ukraine and get the energy infrastructure and community infrastructure will be destroyed. In this country where the people with the access to information was completely shut down. I have met a few people here, and it is really sad.
In this case, imposing sanctions ‑‑ like is being discussed, will be not effective in stopping war until the sanctions completely dry up infrastructure.
Yes, I really can't believe that Internet sanction can stop Putin, just because I live in this country, I understand how he thinks. That is maybe through trade and economic sanctions. Like content blocking, like Russia, when it was introduced, operators tried to do more than required by regime just not to be punished.
We see the most dangerous sanction on Internet is secondary sanctions by United States or other countries.
In many cases, like maybe Jane said, it is a bit of additional restrictions are imposed by private companies, just to feel safe in the Governmental environment. And it is also not just Russians that support Putin, not Russians that doesn't support Putin. But Russians outside of Russia and also somebody else who have no relations to Putin. And not war.
This case is also what I was trying to tell. Fake Civil Society from Russia that is trying to inflate the Forum of the Internet Governance. Trying to bring in more of the sanctions to inflate human rights and European values.
It is sad to see. Because still being in Russia, and Russia was kicked out‑of‑area Council of Europe, I believe our people in Russia believes in European values and trying to protect human rights in this environment.
So again, thinking about sanctions, still think that trying to provoke the sanctions is creating more failures.
>> MODERATOR: Thanks very much. It is really important and I'm glad we have been able to talk about the events that are happening right now. I think that is wonderful to hear to be able to hear from the different perspectives from people so close to what is going on.
I think this is probably a limit to what we can do in an IGF session like this. And I would like to steer us perhaps a little back towards what solution possibilities are there that we could look at, particularly in relation to the risk that these sanctions pose to the global Internet.
Natalie, I know you had some reactions to other comments as well. Perhaps if I can ask you to reflect on that.
>> Natalie: Yeah, thank you, thank you, Chris. Without any doubt, I mean, sanctions are always a political instrument. And so when policymakers, politicians are considering sanctions, they need to take into account proportionality. As a principle. But of course, more in general, the overall impact. And then of course, you can have different views on, okay, do you believe that this impact is something that we would like to see? And I think that was the discussion that we had just seen. Of course, I also have my private opinion about this.
And I think the war is terrible. And really all my sympathy for Ukraine.
But what I find really important with sanctions is that people who are about to take positions on sanctions, that they make those decision made based fully on understanding the impact.
And Farzaneh Badiei you made the comment that maybe the multistakeholder need to have better understanding. I think that is a generous offer. To share with you our internal thinking. When we are sort of going over the current sanctions and sort of taking all of our policy frameworks into account, we started with this public core of the Internet and looking at technical layer. And thinking about okay, perhaps we should make an exemption for RIPE NCC, based in the Netherlands and go for that. And perhaps a regional registry around the world. Then you come to okay, what about other actors. You mentioned Cloud flare I had a conversation with them in the beginning of the war. And I also listened to their considerations. Actually asked them do you have an exemption under the sanctions. They said, yeah, we believe we do have an exemption. So it is sort of where ‑‑ I don't have the full understanding of sort of who are all the players? Who should we sort of ‑‑ how should we identify them in a way that is also clear for sort of lawmakers who are drafting the sanction legislation? I think help from the multistakeholder community would be really welcome. Including in sort of understanding what is the landscape of the different actors and also what is the impact.
Of course, I talked about the technical layer. But if you are to ‑‑ if sanctions are to impact the technical layer, that also has impact on individual users. So it's ‑‑ there are other sanctions that are good to have impact on individual users. And sort of making that kind of mapping, I think would be really beneficial and would be fruitful for discussions, in our case, again, in Brussels.
I wanted to get back to one point that Jane made. That was sort of how about small companies, small NGOs that want to do good and who to liaise with in the Government. I was introduced as a cyber Ambassador. I think in general the cyber Ambassadors are on the side of the continuity of the Internet. And so I think that there are more cyber diplomats around the world because we have discussions about responsible state behavior online. I think from a pragmatic point of view, each out to ministries of foreign affairs and cyber diplomats at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get a better understanding.
>> MODERATOR: Thanks, Natalie. We have five minutes left. First, Malcolm, I want to quickly give at least Jane, Dawit Bekele and Nathalia Foditsch a chance for a final word in almost tweet format. Perhaps, Jane, you want to go first?
>> Jane coffin: If the Internet is a tool for democratization, we should think about limiting it. Because it could impact democracy. We create interesting black market and gray markets. I'm all for sanctions, but you have to be careful. I like the Farzaneh Badiei idea of map the value chain and map the unintended consequences. Over to you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Dawit Bekele, do you have brief last comment?
>> Dawit Bekele: Thank you. I would like to join the other speakers to say that we have to be very careful when we think of sanctions because we don't know exactly what the impact is. But I think there are many reasons why we should avoid sanctions on the Internet. We haven't discussed much here, but they often don't even work.
And then the impact in fact, people we don't want to be impacted, like the end users. We want to, you know, speak about, against the Governments that we sanctioned for example.
And most of all, it is a major threat to the Internet model. So I would like to urge all countries and organizations that think about sanctions really to think about the impact on everybody before taking this important measure. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Dawit Bekele. Nathalia Foditsch, final tweet?
>> Nathalia Foditsch: That was interesting and lastly a quick anecdote from my friend that lived in Cuba. She said the following phrase. The regime, the Cuba regime doesn't feel it that much. Who feels it in the end of the day is the people, the end users, it is a real anecdote from someone that lived there and saw the impact of the embargo impacted end users more than the regime itself.
>> MODERATOR: Malcolm, if you have almost tweet format?
>> ATTENDEE: I know we're out of time. I want to emphasize from a business perspective. Because business is usually implicated when sanctions are used. One thing we can agree on all sides of the debate, it is undesirable that sanctions should extend more broadly in practice than intended in policy.
It is difficult for a business when sanctions are directed to entities that are impossible to identify because it is about the practical control rather than identity of entities that can be indeterminate. That is a problem.
I would like to commend the European Union's approach in exempting broadly a category namely transit between the Union and Russia, where it was not intended to be covered. And specifically targeting the blocking of particular media stations.
I know that there are those ‑‑ great friends of mine in the technical community that are critical of the blocking. Honestly, I think it is the first time I have ever spoken in favor of any Internet blocking measure at a network level. But it is better to be precise about what it is that you intend and accept the political consequences of that than have something broad where you may cause a broader harm than you intend to do. I would encourage others using sanctions to follow that principle.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Malcolm. That is quite a good note for us to begin to wrap up. I think it highlights the sort of marching orders we have. As Natalie was saying and others of mapping the value chain of pulling together, multistakeholder effort, probably to try and create this information that will be of use in creating more precision, in what is a diplomatic tool, which we at the IGF are probably not going to be able to rule in or out. At least we can do what we can to make it less likely to jeopardize the global Internet.
I will put my email address in the chat here. If anyone in the chat is interested in being part of that kind of effort, please feel free to reach out. Others in the room, if you would like to talk to me, I'm here. Grab a business card. I think this is something to do now and the next IGF. It is not something we can put on the back burner indefinitely. I hope we're able to start getting momentum here.
I would like to thank all of our speakers today. Here in the room, Natalie, Alexander Isavnin, online to Nathalia Foditsch, Dawit Bekele for the research there and thank you all for being here, look forward to speaking more about it.