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.
>> MILTON MUELLER: Hello, everybody. I'm talking with a musical accompaniment here. Welcome to the declaration lounge.
We would like to see the room, we need to know whether our on site moderator is there. Good, excellent. I think I see Anriette over there ‑‑ I hello, hello.
We are still waiting for Dhruva.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: I think everyone is here, I think we need the door to be closed and you can start and people to cease their personal conversations.
>> MILTON MUELLER: Okay.
This is a dialogue on the future of the internet, and there will be no talking.
Right. So let's go ahead and start. I am Milton Mueller at Georgia tech at the internet governance project there. Andreas, would you like to introduce yourself.
>> ANDREAS KUEHN: Good morning, everyone, Andreas Kuehn, Sr. fellow research foundation America, I'm very happy to co‑organize this session with Milton and thank you, everyone, for being here this morning, this afternoon or wherever ‑‑ depending wherever you are.
>> MILTON MUELLER: So let me just share my screen, if I can. No, I can't.
We think that the declaration for the future of the internet was an important initiative, and it was a very interesting and complex initiative because we are trying to deal with sort of defending the multistakeholder free and open internet, and there's always been some trouble about what is the role of governments in that.
To many of us, governments have been one of the main threats to the freedom of the internet, and we have promoted private sector‑led and multistakeholder governance, but at the same time, it's good to ‑‑ for governments themselves to take the initiative to recommit themselves to some of the principals that made the internet successful.
And that is something that, you know, governments in some ways have to take the initiative to do. If you look at the substance of the declaration, you find that it is reclaiming the promise of the internet, it talks about the ‑‑ you know, sort of that early vision of how the internet was changing things and making information more accessible, more open, and essentially they are proposing now to meet the challenges of the ‑‑ the negative aspects of internet by reaffirming the good things about it and taking certain steps to advance that vision in the current context.
So the key principles are the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, the globalism of the internet that is refraining from shutdowns, refraining from blocking or degrading access, the next one is an inclusive and affordable access to the internet. So we are talking about promoting affordable broadband access to the internet. Supporting digital literacy and skills acquisition. Fostering greater exposure to diverse multicultural and multilingual content and so on.
There's the trust problem, the issue of cyber security, combating cyber crime, promoting protection of consumers from online scams, trustworthy network infrastructure and services, and a rules‑based global digital economy, which fosters trade in contestable and fair online marks.
The final principle multistakeholder internet governance.
Today we have brought together a group of people who are both signatories to the declaration and people from countries who are not, and let me just briefly mention who our panelists are. We have with us Allan Davidson, the Assistant Secretary for commerce and the United States government, and I know that Allan has been involved in ICANN and other civil society advocacy groups before he entered government, and I think he worked for Google at some point also, so he has a good range of experience and is in government as a policy‑maker. We have Louise Marie Hurel, who is Brazilian, a cyber security scholar studying at the London school of economics, and she has also worked in the research institute in Brazos I will, although she recently shifted to one based in the U.K., so she has a global south perspective, but one that is very integrated with the entire internet ecology.
Anriette Esterhuysen is another civil society person, and she is from Africa. She has been extremely active in internet governance since the World Summit on the Information Society, and is from South Africa.
We also have Dhruva Jaishankar, is Dhruva successfully on now?
Okay, good. Yes, there he is, Dhruva is working for the observer research foundation in the Americas, I believe he's the Vice President and he is from India, and ORF if we want to use the acronym, one of the major policy think tanks in India.
Then we have Regine Grienberger, who is the cyber ambassador from Germany and Regine has been involved with ICANN GAT for some time. Let's get down to it. I think the most important question we want to start with is essentially a simple one.
I'm going to go through the panelists and simply ask them, did your country sign or did it not sign the declaration. And why or why not? So let's start with Regine.
>> REGINE GRIENBERGER: Actually, we did. As all EU Member States did sign the declaration for the future of the internet. EU and all Member States. Even Hungary, which was not invited to the Summit for Democracy itself, but also at least in the end aligned with ‑‑ themselves with this declaration. Germany is also part of the freedom online coalition, and our first sentiment when we saw the initial draft was ‑‑ I mean, that's basically the same idea, that we are standing up for freedom online for human rights online for some basic principles.
When we discussed the declaration for the future of the internet on this global stage, international stage, we at the same time we had also an internal discussion within the EU about something that was also called a declaration, a declaration on digital rights, and principles for the digital decade.
I think what you said, Milton, that was also true for all the Europeans, that policy‑makers, but also stakeholders and whole societies needed some self‑assurance where they stand in terms of digital transformation and where to go from there.
As you said, we need some ‑‑ we wanted also to, as governments, to have recommitment to the basic principals of the internet. There are actually some questions that have to be reconsidered from time to time as, you know, the developments on the ground request this, for example, rebalancing between the roles of public and private sectors, then, of course, between private sector industry and civil society and in Europe, also between big tech and alternative ecosystems, like our European digital ecosystem, which is quite different from the American one. So that would be my answer.
>> MILTON MUELLER: Very good. I'd like to turn to Dhruva, if I could, ask you, did India sign the declaration, and if so, why or why not.
>> DHRUVA JAISHANKAR: So thank you for having me, and my apologies, I'm having connectivity issues, I can join for this. So India did not sign the declaration, and there are many possible reasons for this, I've spoken to many of the people involved, and ‑‑ on the policy side, on the Indian side. I think it comes down to two different sets of issues, these are not unique to this particular initiative.
One is a question of process, and I think the feeling is, you know, there wasn't sufficient consultative process ‑‑ process and there are other mechanisms, including multistakeholder mechanisms that ‑‑ multilateral mechanisms that could have been used. This is an outgrowth of the Biden administration's push as the part of Summit for democracies, which others did participate.
I think there were some questions about the issues. The second aspect more on substance. For example, India previously had not signed onto statements concerning the free flow of information at the G20 Summit that was pushed a little while ago, and some of the concerns India has, I think, is sort of an insufficient emphasis on the national security and then some questions about where some of the principles, including, say, on some of the democratic principles mentioned in the declaration, what interpretations and what exactly that means.
So I think on both substantive grounds and on the mechanics of how it came about, I think there were those concerns.
>> MILTON MUELLER: Can you tell us about the process, what were the concerns with the process.
>> DHRUVA JAISHANKAR: I think just in terms of the Biden administration initiative, you know, I think there was ‑‑ it appears there was good consultation with European allies. Generally the global south, including India, isn't often brought in sufficiently at an early stage in some of these discussions. As a consequence, we saw most countries signed up tend to be ‑‑ with a few exceptions, tend to be largely U.S. allies.
>> MILTON MUELLER: Okay, thank you.
Why don't we tern to Anriette next if you're ready. What was South Africa's role or position on the declaration? I know that you don't speak for the state, but you probably know a bit more about it than most of us.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: South Africa has not signed onto the declaration, I don't know what their stance on it would be. I can guess. Firstly why did South Africa not sign, process, South Africa, and generally they are quite explicit about this, if you speak to the directorate on international cooperation, South Africa generally has an in‑principal position they do not sign onto documents they did not negotiate. That's, in any experience fairly common in those states. It's one of the discussions within the Bric states. This is in response for countries in the global north to develop positions and statements and expect like‑minded allies in the global south to sign on.
South Africa is very firm on this. I've been at negotiations at the OECD where there's a document, and South Africa is an observer of the OECD has been invited to sign onto, and they like the document, but they will not sign on because they weren't part of the process of negotiating the text.
Secondly, I would say as far as the content is concerned, I think there broad alignment. I have a colleague from South Africa, I think broad alignment with most of the principles, except perhaps the one on multistakeholder internet governance. I think in the way that it's framed, the South African government would have concerns about it, they are still of a view the discussion on enhanced cooperation has not been complete in the ‑‑ they still feel there's a need for more governmental oversight over internet governance, their view is multistakeholder participation is what you do at home, not necessarily what you do globally. Back to you, Milton.
>> MILTON MUELLER: Good. So let's go now to Louise from Brazil. Again, let us know what you know about the reasons why Brazil did not sign.
>> LOUISE MARIE HUREL: Absolutely. So, again, not speaking on behalf of Brazil, and don't intend necessarily to do so, first because the reasons why I have not been made public and second because I'm also not a government representative.
But I think there is an alignment not signing the declaration, so Brazil didn't sign, so six Latin American countries signed the declaration, nine, if we are considering the LAC region. Brazil did not. First, as I said, an alignment thinking about process. Also historically, Brazil as a country that plays with its strategic ambiguity in terms of foreign policy does not sign documents that it has not been included in conceiving or in the negotiation phase. So that is also something to be considered there. Just to give an example, the Budapest convention, it took 20 years for Brazil to actually sign the Budapest convention, and that just happened like two days ago, it was officialized. The other one ‑‑ another example is the Paris call, Brazil didn't sign and probably also because it wasn't included, and, of course, of measuring what are the different interests in the negotiation phase, that is something that really plays into historically in terms of Brazil's own vision around not just internet governance, but foreign policy more generally, right.
But I don't think unlike India and not unlike South Africa, in terms of content, when we think about the discussion, it's not necessarily a discussion about signing or not signing because of content, it's more ‑‑ you know, historically Brazil has, you know, a whole international projection in terms of its multistakeholder governance at the national level, one could argue that it's a bit different when we think about maybe it's more multistakeholder prone nationally than internationally in terms of narrative. Still, it does have that kind of the steering committee and also the principals outlined and many of the subject areas outlined in the declaration, they are almost the same as the DECA log of principles the internet steering committee published in 2014, if I'm not mistake. It's definitely not about content.
I think we should position when this declaration is coming to the floor. I think it is coming to a moment where we are looking against the backdrop of a Gio political context where ‑‑ geopolitical context where technologies, they are increasing tied to adversarial logics. Four countries in the global south, countries normally called swing states, right, they want to play on their strategic ambiguity to say when they want to or not do that. I think one key word is calibration. Calibration in maintaining that strategic ambiguity. Brazil wants to maintain a working relationship with other countries such as China and Russia, there are some moments they weren't do that.
One example that I could give here, for example, like in terms of calibration, Brazil did join the international counter ransomware initiative, and that is a U.S.‑led kind of initiative, right. But you cannot say precisely why. Sometimes that strategic and geopolitical calculus will be stronger and at other times it won't be, right? So that's quite interesting. No formula to that in that sense.
I think there's another layer to Brazil's thinking, whether this is part of the political considerations at the domestic level, is that actually important at the national level right now since we are having so many other discussions, to actually have a clear position on the declaration, right, even though the U.S. is a huge partner, and they have been working for many years. So that's basically my thoughts around that.
>> MILTON MUELLER: A very good explanation, and I appreciate that, and I think that opens the door to some further discussion that we'll follow up on, the question of whether this whole idea is maybe not a good one, but in that regards, let's turn to Allan Davidson of the U.S., which was generally perceived as the initiator of the declaration, and Alan, tell us, obviously, the U.S. signed, what do you think about the progress of the initiative, and what you think of what you've heard about the people who didn't sign it.
>> ALAN DAVIDSON: Thank you, Milton, terrific to join you all remotely. I'll say, of course, the U.S. did sign, and was proud to be a leader along with the European Commission in gathering over 60 partners, you know, from Latin America and Asia and Africa, as we have heard, to launch the declaration in April.
It was a signal, designed to be a signal of a shared positive vision for the future of the internet. An internet as we have seen, open, free, global reliable, secure. Those are incredibly important first principles for us to be putting a marker down on. For us to be reclaiming with this document.
I would say, just for context, you know, I think this came at a moment when there was a growing sense of urgency about a need to recommit to those first principles. Part of that is the increasing central role the internet plays in all of our lives around the world. Another part of that was the rising trend ‑‑ is the rising trend of digital authoritarianism we are so concerned about that threatens the open, global intra‑operable vision of the internet.
You know, I think this also came at a moment at the very beginning of the Biden administration when we felt it was particularly important for countries to be stepping up and recommitting to that vision.
So you know, there was a sense of urgency, I would say that informed a lot of this work. The hope now is that moving forward, we look and see if we can attract more countries to this document, based the ‑‑ we think a very strong substance, very strong positive vision about what the internet can and should be.
It has a strong embrace of multistakeholderism, which continues ‑‑ we believe and I think all the signatories believe is the right path forward for promoting these principles. There is also real value and a lot we should explore about process and particularly the role of the multistakeholder community, there is also arguably a role for government to government statements of principal.
This offers an opportunity, I would say for the multistakeholder community to hold countries to account, we are ‑‑ this binds us, this is a statement, and we now should invite the multistakeholder community to try to gather more countries into this, to adopt this statement of principles, but also to think about how ‑‑ how to hold us all to account to make sure we are living up to those principles.
That's a reflection back. I think there's a lot great stuff that has been raised to explore.
>> MILTON MUELLER: So just to be factual for a moment. How many people have signed it? Seems like there has been some additions since we actually started this proposal. Where are we at now.
>> ALAN DAVIDSON: There are some states that I know are on the verge of announcing their adoption, but I think ‑‑ I would say in the mid‑60s is a safe bet where we are.
>> MILTON MUELLER: Okay. Those are very good years.
So you segued into our next topic, why was this a stay to state initiative as opposed to a broader multistakeholder initiative, and I think Regine has some observations about that she can start out with.
>> REGINE GRIENBERGER: Thank you, Milton. Yeah, from my memory, it is basically an intergovernmental declaration because it started as a contribution to the Summit for Democracy. Although in the end, it was delayed so it wasn't ready for the Summit for Democracy, but that's basically the reason why only governments were approached in the first round.
It started with this idea of an alliance, that is what Dhruva also said. Alliance and military allies of the U.S. were among the first countries approached by the Biden administration.
This term alliance quickly disappeared because it was clear that it's not about us against them or something like that, it's about, you know, recommitting to the principals, and that should be something that ‑‑ an endeavor that should be open for all states and all governments.
The idea to have something on the future of the internet as part of the Summit for democracies, is something that is very clear and intuitively clear to us, clear to me and also to other European interlocutors. Democratic societies rely on a free and open internet both in terms of infrastructure and the technical and logical layers, but in terms of content. This is something where it was absolutely clear that we have to shed a light on the role of internet for the Democracy.
It is ‑‑ there is some issues that are perhaps world remembering or reminding us. From the initial draft of the declaration for the future of the internet to what have now there are several loops we had. It's interesting to learn more about that. One of the loops was to bring in the European Commission as the negotiating counterpart on the side of the Europeans, because internet governance is not one of their main competencies, but remains within the competence of the Member States as Member States of the United Nations. This element of stakeholder involvement appeared a little bit later. It was decided the declaration itself is not open to stakeholder participation, but stakeholder involvement as such was amended in the draft. So that this awareness of the role of stakeholders for the future of the internet was then clear to all ‑‑ to all the signatory partners. And it has experienced also some development because now established tech cohort for the summit for Democracy is actually a stakeholder with access now and other partners on board.
And then something that also came later was the reference that the declaration for the future of the internet is actually to be coherent and consistent with other framework documents, like, for example, the freedom online coalition or the United Nations documents or the formers framework we developed in the United Nations and other basic documents.
So I think that in the ‑‑ in the process of, you know, drafting and editing the declaration it ‑‑ from a very ‑‑ from my point of view, unsatisfying first draft, became quite a good document in the end. It's also a useful starting point for further process.
I would agree with those of you who have said, okay, because we weren't able to negotiate the document, we are not able to sign it, that is, of course, some part of the process that could perhaps be done better, and for example, counter ransomware initiative is an example of how this could be dealt with in a different way, because this is more about cooperation ‑‑ actual cooperation and not about positioning, countries positioning themselves in a way and for the declaration. The process has been underestimated in the beginning. It has become more important now. We had an outreach organized by both the U.S. and also the European external action service to third countries to invite them to sign onto this declaration, and it has been quite successful at increasing number of signatories is proof to that.
Part of the process is that we had a meeting of all the signatories in Prague in early November, something that the European Commission was very keen on organizing, to have some opportunity to exchange on the state of affairs, because, of course, countries, governments declared themselves willing to strengthen and to empower the original principles of the internet, but it's ‑‑ once and for all, it's not enough, there has to be continuous engagement on this. So I think this process aspect is something that we would have to highlight further in the future. But with the text of the declaration, I think we have a very good reference framework.
>> MILTON MUELLER: I would like to now draw in Louise and Dhruva if I could.
Are we in some sense going backwards a bit on multistakeholderism, because I remember this exciting moment in Brazil in 2014, the NETMundial, which did involve states, it was a very critical moment in the wake of the Snowden revelations, on the other hand, I understand the signaling element that Alan mentioned.
What is your opinion about the, you know, the future of multistakeholderism given this initiative and the way it's played but still the signatories are talking about stakeholder involvement, but not participation in the ‑‑ in actually signing the document. Start with Louise and then I'll turn to Dhruva.
>> LOUISE MARIE HUREL: Okay. Easy question, right? But I think ‑‑ yeah, overall, I think ‑‑ just give one comment on context, and then kind of go really to the point about like multistakeholder.
We are looking at a field if we compare 2014 to today, it's a very different landscape of initiatives, a very different landscape in terms of how the topics have grown into specific niche areas. You have specific forums and processes focusing on cyber security, others on AI and yadda, yadda. You have specialization of the discussion. I think to some degree, multistakeholderism has spread throughout some of these discussions, right, you see some mentions in processes and initiatives that try to capture more multistakeholder participation in these specialized debates, which I think it's great. Something that internet governance broadcasted in many ways.
But I think in the context of the declaration, I think we have really, I'll be the delve VR devil's advocate, we need to consider what it actually means to make something multistakeholder. That has been the crux or existential crisis, what does it mean to actually make something multistakeholder or strictly governmental, right? So I'm really glad because Alan said something that's, I think, captures very nicely how I thought about the declaration, how I think about the declaration. If we are thinking about the declaration in terms of political gains of signaling something, signaling a message in this context we are living in, I think the sense of urgency, sending out a message that's in this context where there is this notion of a tech lash, geopolitical disputes around that, there's a need to say we as liberal democracies, we degree these are the principles. It's a moment to say it again.
So I think in terms of political signaling, if that is the intended effect, you think as a government‑led process, government to government, I think it achieves what it aims to do in terms of signaling.
But if we think about like if it was a multistakeholder process, is the objective actually to signal? I mean, it could be potentially to signal. It would be many other things. So in terms of achieving that particular objective, as I said, I'm being the devil's advocate pragmatist, in terms of achieving a particular objective, we might not have that. It's not to say, again, that I don't agree and I don't think we should think about these declarations and the commitments as something we are all sharing, I think in terms of intended purpose, how I interpreted the declaration, I thought it was much more about the signaling than necessarily doing a multistakeholder process to actually build a declaration and have the sign‑on.
Once we have ‑‑ just compare with the Paris Call, it is one example of France/Microsoft kind of coming together and talking to different countries and building like a declaration, let's say on peace and security in cyberspace, but then the question is, how do you move forward? In terms of government, get more signatories, that's going back to the political signaling. And in terms of multistakeholder in a declaration that's really big in terms of the Paris Call, they tried to do multiple working groups. We signed up to this, what does that mean in practice. Is it just another reference for us to make governments more accountable for what they're doing? Maybe that's the political gain for other stakeholders.
I think that's my kind of overall assessment, let's say, of this tension, I think we need to ask what does multistakeholder do to something, the process such as this, declaration such as that and, you know, in terms of being realistic about what are the strategic and political interests over there Colorado.
>> MILTON MUELLER: Good, thank you. Dhruva, I know that India has a very active civil society on internet issues and my organization has an employee there, staff member, there's so much going on in India related to the digital‑political economy, but the state is taking sometimes a ‑‑ the civil society is taking a very adversarial stance towards the state. How do you seat this multistakeholderism.
>> DHRUVA JAISHANKAR: First a response to some of the other comments, it was interesting to see the commonalities and somewhat different emphasis of some of the other speakers on the similar issue.
One thing I would mention is one difference India would have relative to other countries, less of a concern about consequences of the geopolitical taking place, India has sign onto some principles in the digital space because of that. So ‑‑ digital space, the quad, involving India, U.S. Japan and Australia but also on digital principles on basic democratic principles on AI that have been endorsed by the European Commission and many OECD countries. There are other examples I think of India signing on and participating in some of these initiatives that used very similar language. I think driven by concerned about geopolitical competition, particularly vis‑a‑vis China. It's interesting, you mentioned NETMundial coming in the immediate wake of the Snowden revelations, equally the big watershed moment after that, I think it discredited the notion that a lot of the ‑‑ essentially the corporate sector can govern itself and be responsible enough to govern itself.
So I think ‑‑ you know, this issue that governments need to play a bigger regulatory role, being a sand pit in which regulation follows innovation, sometimes lags quite significantly behind innovation, and including initiatives by civil society.
I think that the ‑‑ as mentioned already, the context has changed significantly. And essentially, I don't say this with a degree necessarily of optimism, but I do think we are, very a variety of reasons, many of which have already been said already, where governments expect to play a much bigger role. While I think certain multistakeholder principles will remain, some may even strengthen and lip service will be paid to many of these initiatives. That really I think we are entering more of a stage of digital nationalism.
India is in the process of re‑legislating a lot of its laws, in fact, there might be some quite sweeping changes to what are quite archaic laws that govern cyberspace and the internet broadly in India over the next few months, probably into next year. It's bad timing in some ways, the stage where we are making significant changes to legislation.
And so a lot will depend on how that plays out. Like a lot of legislation, this has been open to comment by outside actors as well. So let's see how this plays out. I fear the trend will generally be in response to ‑‑ in a post GDPR, I think we'll move in a particular direction.
>> MILTON MUELLER: Anriette you wanted to get in on this.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: Just briefly, Milton.
I think there is a need for principles, I think there's a need for governments to be more engaged. I think the idea we have one fully integrated global internet governance, the system that's multistakeholder, that's simply naive, it doesn't work that way.
I think what we do need is multistakeholder engagement in our separate initiatives. I would have like to do see this as a government‑led initiative, but to seek more input from other stakeholders in the process.
I think in terms of document, I think it goes a little bit beyond principles and it is signaling a message. It's positive for governments to signal a message like this, because there's so much regulation happening at the moment. Perhaps too quickly in some places, having principles that can be used to evaluate and Harmonize that regulation, I think, is useful. I think this document goes beyond that. I think it also signals a geopolitical message. This is immediately language that makes it very difficult for states to align themselves with this document.
So I think that if this was a message that was trying to signal governments wanting to establish common principles to protect the publicness of the internet, to respect human rights, I think that's quite positive. I would have liked them to have developed it in a more inclusive way.
But I think to signal that message with geopolitical coded messages between the lines, actually can set us back in terms of having those very Prince pals respected globally at a national level, which I think as a multistakeholder governance community, we would like.
>> REGINE GRIENBERGER: You should also not underestimate the heterogeneity within governments because, for example, diplomats at the forefront of international cooperation and also multistakeholderism. It's within our DNA to talk to others and to kind of align ourselves and I find the biggest possible common denominator. But then in all governments, it's the same, digital ministries then come in, economic ministries, finance ministries, with also some interest in international cooperation, but then the more inward looking ministries and departments, like interior, security, and for them, some of the principles to be found in the declaration for the future of the internet are really hard work to accept.
So I think the signaling goes both ways within the international community to those who are still not part of the like‑mindedness as Anriette said. But also within our own governments and to our own civil societies, that we are really willing to take this seriously.
>> MILTON MUELLER: So Anriette, sort of raised the elephant in the room, which is this like‑minded question, is the tool and n and a geopolitical competition. It seemed to me the evolution of the document really moved away from that to a certain degree by dropping the alliance language but maybe Alan can comment on that. Dhruva spoke of digital nationalism, which I ‑‑ in our research center thinks isn't really undermining and destructive thing in general, and we do think that India is going in that direction in certain ways. We know that certain countries are promoting digital sovereignty and even the European Commission or the European Union is using that term and the U.S. is as guilty as any other just having imposed a bunch of restrictions on equipment sales and services from its adversary or perceived adversary, China.
Alan, are we trying to get out of that or reinforcing that with the declaration.
>> ALAN DAVIDSON: Let me take a half step back first and address the graduate points that have been made so far. To the question about this being a government to government document, I would just say, you know, in many ways that was a known bug, as we say, I known bug from the start. That there would always be limitations in trying to do a government to government document and do it relatively quickly as was the desire, and as Regine noted, the document improved substantially with input and more time might have also improved more, but I think in some ways, it was the best that could be done in a short period, and I think we and many shot of the of the signatories were proud of the content of the document even if the process could have been improved.
You know, the hope is, of course, that there is a very ‑‑ also robust place for multistakeholder governance even as were moving forward in the government to government conversation. I think that's enshrined in the document. The signaling point that Louise raised and others raised, is quite pore.
That was quite the goal of this document, a statement of principles taking a stand at a moment when people were questioning whether many governments stood on these issues. It is very strong in its support of these broad principles. You know, the signaling point and the question of like‑mindedness does also go to this question of how to ‑‑ I think there was a conscious effort to make sure this was a document that had some teeth. This wasn't ‑‑ the signatories didn't want a document anybody could sign onto, right? The notion is a strong sense of belief in these principals around human rights, access, multistakeholder, the other things that v trust that are enshrined in the document. Yes, it is a document that sets out to differentiate and say that those who sign are making a binding commitment to these principles because going forward, and we think about what is the potential role here, I think it's important to look at the substance, did we miss? Did we get it right? Then to bind states to these commitments.
It enshrines a role for civil society, private sector, technical community, academia and other stakeholders to work to get more states into these principles and to hold states to account for the principles afterwards. That's very much what I think we wanted.
>> MILTON MUELLER: I think I agree with you that ‑‑ let me shoot that back to Anriette. It's kind of a dammed if you do and dammed if you don't situation. If the principles are such there's no like‑mindedness, then they are kind of meaningless. If north Korea can sign onto the principles, what do they really mean? On the other hand, if you're defining principles some countries cannot agree with, then you're in this trap of creating an exclusive group of like‑minded states. Anriette, how would you navigate that tension?
Or anybody on the panel..
>> REGINE GRIENBERGER: What does like minded really mean. Like minded ‑‑ how is that term often used. It's used for coalitions for blocks it's rarely connected to the values and principles practiced at national level. Hungary signed onto this for example.
Milton, I think it's a good idea, I think it's good that governments are willing to commit to uphold these principles. I think we need to be realistic. Look at the freedom online coalition, it has not actually succeeded in systematically getting signed states, Member States to apply principles of online freedom effectively. I think for civil society, to use this document to hold countries accountable ‑‑ in fact, I think it would be very useful to start with the U.S. maybe even and do an analysis. I think it would produce useful evidence. To do that consistently when civil society already has to hold states accountable for complying with international human rights agreement within the United Nations system, and other treaties they are signatories to. Over the longer term, I'm not sure it's feasible.
Maybe in this period where we are in transition, where we are beginning to rethink about our approaching self‑regulation, co‑regulation, regional regulation, I think having a list of principals and checks of balances that can prevent overreach through regulation and still help us meet the intended objectives of that regulation could be useful, but I think would have to really be approached in a more multistakeholder way than this. I think civil society would like to participate in that. Many would, I can't speak for all.
But I think the long‑term feasibility of this and what the end game really is would need to be quite a lot clear crower than it is right now.
>> LOUISE MARIE HUREL: Can I jump in on that, Milton.
>> MILTON MUELLER: Go ahead.
>> LOUISE MARIE HUREL: So on the point of like mindedness, you know, at least how I think about it, it could be in layers of like mindedness, so you could go for, let's say, five i's, then allies, then, you know, like minded and the extended family and then just expand to layers of like different partners, right. I think that's good. There's all the types of like mindedness in terms of the concept, right? When thinking about the DFI, I think it's interesting in spite of the language, you still see like 60 plus countries signing to it, right?
So I'm playing the realist here. In terms of doing that, it's a stakeholder mapping effort of like who is actually on board in terms of ‑‑ are we still agreeing with this, are these Stills principles that resonate. In spite of the allies term, which could be interpreted in multiple ways, there's still buy‑in. That is quite interesting to observe from a research standpoint and as a scholar kind of looking at these dynamics. It's a trust‑building effort, not just about signaling, I think it's about creating trust with countries kind of in the middle ground. I think that's the biggest challenge of someone in cyber looking at different cyber security processes. The biggest challenge for western democracies is how to communicate with those countries in the middle. I think that's something quite interesting to observe, just looking at the list of Latin American countries that have signed up for that. We could extend that.
Finally, I think in terms of where it wants to get to, I think we need to be open that it's not just about one specific output, it's not a linear process, but it's part of a wider, you know ‑‑ a wider process of signaling in this geopolitical, not one single strategy, part of how do we build that and reference that, and different initiatives that mutually support each other.
Think about as has been said previously, freedom coalition, the declaration, these different institutionalized models, be it narratives or just like institutions or processes, they mutually strengthen each other as reference points, I think that's also part of what's been observed here. I think that's quite positive to see the whole process from that particular lens.
>> MILTON MUELLER: All right. Alan you have your hand up.
>> ALAN DAVIDSON: I wanted to echo or underscore what Louise just said. Just in the sense that arguably it was the substance that attracted the signatories, right? People ‑‑ countries have signed onto this because of the language, and maybe despite the somewhat flawed process, right? I do want to say, it is a cause for some celebration that we were able to get this broad group of countries, and hopefully a growing group of countries to sign onto this language that enshrines and reaffirms our commitment to these broad principles. I will say, as somebody who has been in this space also for a while, I'm not sure that 20 years ago we would have gotten this broad group of signatories to sign a document like this. I don't know what you think, Milton. I'm encouraged, including the embrace of multistakeholderism, including the additions ‑‑ it's interesting to watch the evolution of these documents over time, the inclusion of trust as a major theme here
The growing need to hold to account corporations as well as governments, I think, is an interesting evolution we would be watching. Hopefully we can focus on the substance going forward and look at where we can lift it up, how we can get more people on and make sure we are all then doing on the government side what we need to do to further the principles, but it's ‑‑ yeah, I think it's quite something on the substance.
>> MILTON MUELLER: That's an interesting question, what could you have done this 20 years ago? The, I would be interested in mapping the signatories to the people who did and did not sign onto the ITR's in 2013, 2012, that would be interesting to compare, and also would be interesting to compare it to possibly the ‑‑ you know, the NETMundial agreements. I'll turn it over to my colleague, Andreas, he's going to be managing the questions that we are getting from the floor and from the chat from online. So I have no idea what's going on in the room so I will turn it over to Andreas. Let him do the work.
>> ANDREAS KUEHN: Thank you, Milton. I think ‑‑ this has been a fascinating conversation. There are a couple of questions that came up in the chat throughout the discussion that I want to briefly bring up and panelists can briefly respond to that. Also see a couple of hands up in the online environment, we'll try to bring them in as well. Want to check with the IGF on the ground. If it's possible to bring people on the floor in for questions.
But let's get started with some of the questions that came up throughout the chat. One very pertinent question is basically getting insights from the panel what are very concrete actions, next steps we talked about next steps in terms of process to extend the group of signatories, I think the other part, what are concrete actions that can be taken to take the initiative or the declaration forward and do more just beyond signaling, I think that's one that came up, very concrete points and actions. The other one was like ‑‑ it's an important one, how does that fit into the broader conversation what's happening in terms of cyberspace as a digital battleground, military intelligence operations, is it consistent or is it just like that's just what it is. How do you think about that? Those are two big questions that came up.
Then I note that Andre flagged that ‑‑ I think that it was just a response to a previous text there.
So those two points I raised, if someone on the panel wants to go first in addressing them, and then I'll bring in Izaan and Mokabberi who have raised their hands for asking questions, who would like to go first?
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: We have some hands in the room, just so you are aware.
>> ANDREAS KUEHN: I appreciate that, Anriette. Quickly those two questions I posed before about the practical ways to move things, and about how we do with the military intelligence activities in cyberspace, are they consistent with.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: I can try to answer the first one. Someone from the U.K. government asked what can we do? I think if signatories would like to use these principals to engage in public, open review processes of recent legislation, I think that could be really dynamic. We have the U.K. online safety bill for example, it's already been a lot of public engagement in that piece of legislation, but looking at that and facilitating a process, using forums like the IGF, but using national and regional IGFs to have those kind of conversations, that's one idea. The other idea came up in the chance from Jorge Cancio from Switzerland, updating and revising and creating a new version of it that's more inclusive of other stakeholders.
I think another idea that would be good would be to use the IGF. You know, we have in the IGF a broad commitment to principles of multistakeholder participation, we do have a recognition of the applicability of rights that apply offline, apply online through the consult resolution, but haven't really in the IGF community yet negotiate ‑‑ negotiate is the wrong term, dialogue and debated what are common principles are about how we think the internet should be governed. I think that could be something that's useful for us as the IGF community, but in a multistakeholder way, to really work through these principles and reflect on how ‑‑ what they mean for this particular community and what extent we want to prioritize them.
Finally the global digital compact. I think you'll come to that later, Milton. An opportunity of a multilateral process with some multistakeholder participation and again it could be possible for Member States in this declaration, signatories to submit that content, but also maybe for others to use that as a starting point for developing principles they feel more ownership of to put into the global digital compact process.
>> ANDREAS KUEHN: That was excellent. Alan raised his hand, if others would like to join, raise your hand.
>> ALAN DAVIDSON: In terms of moving forward practically, this has been viewed as a starting point from our perspective, and a number of different areas, three quick things, one is we hope to continue to engage with governments in terms of thinking about getting additional signatories and the Prague event hosted by the European Commission was a great example of that. I think we are all open to more signatories, and I hope that folks will speak ‑‑ work with their governments and try to get them into signing up for these principles which we think are so important. A second is, as Anriette said, a very big role for the multistakeholder community now, hopefully to use these to hone these. Part of the excitement about being here and part of IGF is that ‑‑ is to think about the role that IGF itself could play in discussing these principles and hopefully using them and holding us to account. Then I'll say from a pure U.S. perspective, it is on us in the government then, having signed up for these principles to make them real. As someone said, governments are not monoliths, as one player within a large government, principles give us an opportunity to go out there and say these are things we need to stand for.
This government in the United States, we are working hard on things like the executive order on competition, executive order recently on signals and intelligence. I lead an organization working very hard to make sure we have good internet access to connect the unconnected. A few large infrastructure project here, to connect the unconnected. Making this real on the ground has to be part of the step ‑‑ path forward, too.
>> ANDREAS KUEHN: Louis, very briefly, then I'd like to bring in some people from the panel on the ground.
>> LOUISE MARIE HUREL: Just responding to the second question, if I got it correctly. From a cyber security, more national security, let's say, perspective or international peace and security perspective on the cyber security side of things, there are some elements within the declaration that are echoing, you know, agreements on cyber norms, basically responsible state behavior in cyberspace, refrain using the internet to, this be would be extended to cyber attacks and what not. Refraining from undermining the technical infrastructure to general availability, these are potentially crossovers, but I think there are thorny issues going forward to consider, especially from states that, you know, have greater capacities and capabilities on the cyber operation side of things, to understand, you know, how to ensure that these kinds of commitments go through the spectrum and not just at the high level, think what does it mean at the operational level to uphold these kinds of commitments when conducting, let's say, a particular kind of operation ‑‑ cyber operation, wanted to respond to that comment.
>> ANDREAS KUEHN: Thank you so much.
Andre, can you help us with bringing some people on the floor. I don't have much.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: Regine wants to respond and then I'll ‑‑ I think there are four hands in the room.
>> ANDREAS KUEHN: Let's do that, thank you so much.
>> REGINE GRIENBERGER: Basically on both questions, the first one militarization of cyberspace, this is something that is ‑‑ has become increasingly urgent to discuss with Russian war against Ukraine, because it plays also in cyberspace, and we obviously need some more common understanding on application of international humanitarian law to cyberspace, and I hope that the current open ended working group will help us to develop some more language, we didn't succeed in the last round, so I hope we can take it up again.
Then some other forum where next steps are taking this, the development of the global digital compact, of course, this will be truly inclusive because it will be a U.N. document, with everybody on board, so definitely also something that Louise said before, document to hold governments also accountable.
It will be a government to government document, signed by governments only, and not by other stakeholders. But stakeholders are invited in the process, they are open consultations going on, there has been extended. Still room for bringing in some arguments. Germany will be hosting regional consultations in Kenya and Mexico and in India in the next month or so in a multistakeholder format.
For the tech envoy and the IGF itself is an opportunity to come up with some building blocks for the global digital compact.
My fear is that along we will have this broad involvement of stakeholders, the global digital compact remains paper, and that is what I really fear.
So I'm completely with the tech envoy who already today focuses on the implementation of the global digital compact, and that is someone where we will not work without the other stakeholders, nongovernmental stakeholders.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: There two hands there, and I think one hand there ‑‑ two hands on this side. Just introduce yourselves and try and be brief, please.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: I'm Mora Whalen from the national democratic institute in Washington. So thank you for this session because it is by far the engagement on this issue as robust as we have seen it to this point.
I wanted to first acknowledge a few things about the process and then put questions on for those who are signatories to get some clarity on this process. The first is around the question of process, and the idea of civil society engagement, it is not true that there was not civil society engagement in the development of this, it was informal and aggressive. And to try to force it into this framework. So happy to go into detail on that, but I think it's an important note for my fellow civil society colleagues to know that the INGO community in Washington was deeply engaged in trying to reroute this process.
Second on that, I think we go to the process element of implementation. I welcome the idea that it is a state to state agreement in that civil society can now be in the role of holding people accountable, but I point back to that accessibility of how to hold people accountable. If we aren't invited to the meeting in Prague, we don't have dates for when progress points will be reported, we don't have any acknowledgment of any way to meaningfully contribute, even an e‑mail address, that makes the role of civil society that's challenging for us to be able to do heat in a meaningful way. I would point to the fact our government colleagues have pointed to us other products and other mechanisms as ways to contribute rather than this one.
So I would like some evidence on that one. The second is around this process of buy‑in and the ‑‑ the ‑‑ I book interested in understanding the evidence we have around the signatory countries signing on because of the substance. There are other incentives in it for them, one being money, that is complementing partner, we seem when we are asked by governments to support them in their path. The second being the Summit for Democracy and their attendance on that. The third of course being reputational and a figure leaf for countries that may night be as rights respected as others.
I would really love some really detailed explanation on what the mechanisms are for us to participate, as well as the metrics on buy‑in, that would be really useful.
>> ANDREAS KUEHN: Thank you so much. Andre, do you mind get all these other questions in as well..
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: I think they are self organizing.
>> I think Paul, I'm in the.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: This is Paul in the private sector. The school of thought I hold governments and countries that take criticism in high regard and have a great love for the Biden administration, so let me state like this, this particular declaration I think has some very good content, unfortunately I think there's a lot of boneheadedness in this process. That arises because there are o two ‑‑ more than ‑‑ at least two ‑‑ sorry, objectives that the administration was coming with and it's an early administration political project. That has caused a little bit of an objection ‑‑ of an objective creep problem. I think what we sort of got to look at is the whole notion of trying to build a coalition around U.S. foreign policy and so on and the idea of creating a set of internet norms. Can quickly become in contested space.
What would be very useful for private sector, what would be useful for intergovernmental relations moving forward if all Member States of the U.N. were to make a declaration of their aspirations and intent and their vision of the internet. It being put in the words of one country or one process doesn't actually tell you all that much. So I actually think from the perspective of being a signal of what the U.S. believes, what the current administration of the United States is, this document is great.
As an expression of a coalition, it fails and of course, it had to pull back from trying to be a coalition. I would, to be quite honest, I'm of the view a better course forward would be to actually through the U.N. General Assembly or just the Secretary General for that matter, would be to seek from every U.N. member state a declaration in that state's own words of what it's aspirations, what it sees and what its commitments to an opening internet are. Because, you know, it doesn't help if we have countries singing on to a document they don't mean, and it's very helpful to know which states aren't committed to a global internet or an open internet in any event. You know, it makes it an easier field.
The document has good intent, I think there was objective creep, and I think we should look at a way of getting the deliberative stuff outside of this sort of document and more in an IGF process and we should invite countries to make a declaration in their own words and that is seen as a commitment we hold them to moving forward.
>> ANDREAS KUEHN: Thank you so much, Paul.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: From Oxford global.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: Introduce yourself.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: I'm Ichne Cheng, from the Oxford global society, and also from the ‑‑ so I have a question and also comment. The IGF had this discussion about this declaration of the future of the internet. I was surprised, and Chinese dedicated to join the panel, you know, and because at the time I think I asked whether China can sign this declaration and they said of course they can sign. My point is that from the very beginning we all notice this is officially geopolitical driven initiative, of course as time goes by, it becomes more ‑‑ have the input from the European Union and from the consultation stages from other countries, but it cannot erase or cover up the political motivation from the very beginning because in the declaration, it says this is a statement from me American mind and democratical country, which is excluded ‑‑ automatically excluded a lot of countries, like a country from the Middle East, China and from Russian and other countries.
My question is, what is the purpose of this declaration, this purpose is to intensify the geopolitical contestation in the space or further fragmented the global internet governance or improve the international cooperation. Secondly, the global efforts were joined into the U.N. process, for example, the global digital compact. That's my questions, what's the purpose for this.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: Just one more.
>> ANDREAS KUEHN: The last one, we have ten minutes left and maybe like Louise, keep the questions less than a minute if possible. I would like to hand over back to Milton for some final remarks, but give the panelists to briefly respond to some of those questions.
>> MOKABBERI: Could I ask my question.
>> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN: Please could you wait. Could you take the floor. Someone in the room, Amir.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Sure. Good day, whichever part of the time zone you're in. My name is Matthew from are organization called grassroots foundation in Kingston, Jamaica. Jamaica is one. Sig noor toes, not speaking on behalf of the Jamaican government. This is my first IGF. And I think one of the interesting things that I have observed in this space or the questions ‑‑ one of the questions I'm taking away is whether we have as a community have given up a commitment to working on and protecting an un‑fragmented internet space. I ask that question because ‑‑ there are sessions I've joined, but looking at this specific document, it's not clear to me that the declaration of values by like minded actors is better for achieving an open, un‑fragmented internet than not. And so I ‑‑ it is very similar to what was commented before, generally curious from the panelists as to whether this is something we are really trying to achieve or are we ‑‑ creating an internet from a particular group of actors and obviously there's going to be an internet from another group of actors, and what that might mean for how we progress.
>> ANDREAS KUEHN: Thank you so much. I do apologize, there are additional questions, we won't be able to get to them in order to give the panelists to actually respond to some of those questions, please forward them ‑‑ can you please just put your questions in the chat and we will try to get them as well. Apologize for that. Milton, back to you so we can wrap up the panel and get a chance to address some of them, thank you.
>> MILTON MUELLER: Okay. So I think that to wrap up the panel, what we need to do is have maybe some of the speakers respond to the comments that were made. I think if Mr. Mokabberi would make a very short intervention, I think we have time for that. We have until 8:35, so why don't we go ahead with Mr. Mokabberi. If you keep it short, then Mr. Khan can also speak. Let's see what we get here.
>> Mokabberi: Can I ask my question? Thank you very much, Mr. Mueller for giving me the floor. I'll keep it short. Hello, everyone. My question to Mr. Alan Davidson, what is the position of DFI on critical issues, the first issue is issue of nature, and the internet as a peaceful and document oriented environment for the public good, as mentioned in recent outcome, and the environment. Second issue is element of responsibility of state for the miss behaviors of the digital platform in other countries, and the community framework for digital platform in other jurisdictions. Third issue is what is the relations to DFI and inclusive internet, and another issue.
>> MILTON MUELLER: Hold on, not so many issues. Not.
>> MOKABBERI: The last one, internationalization as an important confidence and trust building measure. Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity.
>> MILTON MUELLER: Mr. Khan, quickly, please.
>> IZAAN KHAN: Quick observation and observation particularly pertaining to India. I wanted to add context and partially disagree with Dhruva. I'm sure most people will be aware of the Shanghai cooperation organization which put forward an international code of conduct and information security that made primacy of digital sovereignty as the foundation of internet governance going forward, in 2011 and subsequently put forward in 2015. India joined in 2017. I disagree with the fact that just because they weren't on the table, that doesn't necessarily mean they wouldn't sign up to certain kinds of agreements. In fact, I think the substance following on from what Alan said was the key issue giving India previously using the proposal in 2011 on bringing forward, you know, internet related governance issues to the U.N. instead of multistakeholder proposals, given the fact India leads in internet shutdowns and increased criticism on surveillance laws, I think they decided the text of the declaration was not suited to their own sort of domestic needs.
I think this is a consequence of the fact the review ‑‑ their views have been excluded from multistakeholder platforms, and I think this might be the case for other nations where most multistakeholder platforms like ICANN could be comprised of mostly western interests. I wanted to add that context. Thank you.
>> MILTON MUELLER: Very good. Would you like to respond to that, Dhruva.
>> DHRUVA JAISHANKAR: Yeah, no, a couple of things at play. Not sure that's a good one, they joined it subsequently as a full member. But some of it, as somebody mentioned earlier, the governments are not monoliths. Just recalling some of the negotiations and very different positions at wicket and NETMundial in part because different parts of the government were taking the lead on negotiating those.
So that sometimes is what is at play there. But, again, just to emphasize, I think on some of the she substantive issues, you have seen a greater convergence of Indian principles in the AI and some other issues. But on other cases, as I mentioned as well, I think we are going in a very different direction, both for national security concerns and a lot of it has to do with India‑China competition in particular. And the second has to do with some of the mic opportunities that I think are being seen as stacked against India, and in some sense is also contributing to the push for digital sovereignty.
>> MILTON MUELLER: Good. So I thought that the comments of miss Whalen were very interesting. Did any of the panelists want to talk about that? She asserted there was in fact significant consultation with the civil society, but that she had some concerns about followup. I think I would be happy to let our final couple of minutes be occupied by somebody who could respond to that. Alan.
>> ALAN DAVIDSON: I appreciate the comment about there was in fact, a fair amount of civil society engagement, especially as the process grew past the Summit for Democracy, that initial push. My sense is that, you know, greatly improved the product. You see that in the substance that was put out.
I think some of the other comments that were made ‑‑ perhaps not enough process, but again, I think there was some. You know, we are always open to hearing about our boneheadedness within the government. I would take issue, though, with the notion that this is ‑‑ was a U.S.‑driven ‑‑ a U.S. only effort. There were many, many countries over time, 60 plus signatories when announced. I was at the signing ceremony, and I can tell you there was great passion in many of the countries that signed and spoke about the value of these principles. I would not reduce their contributions by saying this is a U.S. document. It's not.
We hope to make it a much broader document. I would say looking forward, you know, the document has a key embrace of multistakeholderism, that's by intent, and I'm excited to be here and to be part of this conversation in the spirit of that multistakeholderism, and I think there is a major role for IGF and other organizations to be interested what this community positions it can do with this document and where it can take it. The final thing I'll say to the last questions was, we do believe that ‑‑ at the un‑fragmented internet. We believe it can be an internet that stands for these values. Don't ‑‑ there is no mistake here, this document, this declaration takes a normative stand. A set of countries standing for a set of principles, in support of an open, free global interoperable, reliable secure internet. And there will be countries that will probably not want to sign up for those principles, and we should know that, but that's not taking away from the fact this is a strong statement of values. We hope it is a contribution to the internet governance conversation over time, interesting to see how it feeds in, hopefully a good setup for the global digital compact, and we are proud to stand for these values as we move forward. Thank you for having us, and thank you for this conversation, Milton and everybody low contributed.
>> MILTON MUELLER: Yes, I think it was very good interaction and indeed it does indicate the complexity, the messiness, but the cooperative nature of internet governance as it now stands with, you know, some people questioning the value of the IGF, but here's a forum in which the governments can go off and do something and we can bring them and they're willing to talk to us to be criticized by us and to be possibly influenced by, you know, how we mover forward with this initiative. Still a lot to be said, I like the idea that was floated that, you know, the declaration could continue to be brought into future IGFs in terms of gaining more support and more discussion of those principles, and I think there's ‑‑ this has been a very constructive session. I appreciate the ‑‑ Regine and Alan as main signatories, I appreciate Dhruva and Anriette and Louise as our critics and thank you also for Andreas for helping ‑‑ working hard to set this up. So that's it, we are out of time, and we'll talk to you later.
>> ANDREAS KUEHN: Thanks for joining.