IGF 2022 Day 3 WS #236 To Regulate or not to Regulate?

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.



>> TIM MUELLER:  Very good morning to everybody.  Hope you can hear me well, also people online.  Welcome to this early morning workshop on navigating the landscape of regulatory models for digital policy.  We're very happy that you made it at this early hour to the workshop.  Hopefully all participants are connecting online, so very happy to have you with us.  My name is Tim.  I'll be moderating this session.  My colleague Nina, who is sitting at the front here, will be taking care of our online participants for the session today.  We hope that you are in good hands with us.  As you can guess from the title, that's not the question, but the question is a bit more how to regulate and what to regulate.  We're really looking at the question.  The questions are the same around the world, but the answers are different and how different people tackle what needs to be regulated, how it needs to be regulated, by what regulation in a digital sphere differs from context to context. 

We really want to take this occasion here today to discuss these challenge ses, to discuss the questions with my three panelists.  We also want to make this participatory workshop and bring your expertise and lessons learn and your ideas to the front.  The first thing that we wanted to do is to connect you to the menti meter.  You can enter the code that is also displayed there that can give us an idea what organization you from.  That way we can get to know the people online a little bit better today.  I can give you an overview of what we're going to do today in the session.  So we're going to start with some food for thought by our speakers that I introduce in a second.  Having a little panel discussion for around 30 minutes, and afterwards we would really like to go into in‑depth discussion with all of you, so we will have two physical breakout groups here in the room, and we will have one online group for discussion, and then at the last minute of the session today we will pull everything together and see how we take it from there.  We have a nice mixture here in the room.  International organizations, public sector, private sector, civil society.  Nobody yet from academia, but I think that's a very nice little mix perfect. 

Let me tell you about who we are.  This session is hosted by the German development agency.  We're a service provider in the field of international corporation for sustainable development.  We work in over 90 countries worldwide.  We thought we would like to engage in a discussion on regulatory approaches and to create also an exchange between different stakeholder groups as we have in the different countries, et cetera, to really discuss the questions.  What is the right level of regulation to not harm innovation, but also to insure privacy and insecurity of the individual.  How to make sure that countries can choose their regulatory models and get inspired by what is out there, but also stick to certain values.  I'm happy to introduce my three speakers.  On my right is Helani Galpaya from a pro market think tank working on digital policy and regulatory issues in Asia Pacific region.  Welcome, Helani.  In the middle I have my colleague Pascal Koenig working for the German development agency, and he is an inhouse consultant working on projects across the world on digital policy and data governance.  Welcome, Pascal.  On the right I have Jon Stever, who initiated and coordinated the world's first Global Citizen assembly, the 2021 global assembly on climate and ecological crisis, and he is also a co‑founder and managing director for foundation short for policy that is for imaging public participation.  Thank you for being here with us. 

Before we start the panel I would like to get insights from you that have already been on Menti meter.  If you could put up the Menti meter because we have a second question.  I already alluded to the fact that digital transformation brings a lot of challenges for regulation with it, so before we start, maybe we can give our panelists also some inspirations from your perspective what are the challenges when it comes to regulatory models for the digital transformation? 

I've alluded to some already in the introduction.  We're going to cover, of course, many more.  Let's see what comes to your mind.  Well, technical complexity.  Also maybe using Menti meter.  Fragmentation.  Perfect.  We're going to cover that.  I think you can put up to three answers in there, so we will let it run and look at it during the session a little bit. 

Let me start the discussion in looking at our panelists and maybe we have to take a step back and look again.  When we talk about regulation and about digital transformation, what are actually the challenges?  What is regulation about, and what makes it special?  Maybe I can ask this question to you, Helani.

>> HELANI GALPAYA:  I think for me the starting point is very different starting points for countries, and that has real implications when we think about globalization.  Different levels of connectivity and different levels of skill among regulatory staff, policy staff, as well as people. 

A lot of developing countries are at this point of how do we get the biggest benefits out of ICTs.  I want a national AI policy and disc policy without having the policies and regulations around AI and data and so on.  These are in conflict and in different regulatory silos. 

It really matters because countries are trying to get ahead economically, but also trying to manage the other complexities of technology.  And it also has implications on sort of being able to completely make decisions based on data because half the people are not online, for example.  You can't achieve the cost savings of digitalization of government services because you still need to maintain face‑to‑face services.  It's a different context in developing countries. 

The challenge that every country faces is that all levels are protect bid private sector providers.  That really questions the kind of regulatory approaches that in‑country net World War I provision.  You still can command and control if you want to from a regulator's point of view because interests.  Private companies have put in huge network investments and want to make money.  The government wants to make huge tax revenues, which they are, so you can command and control them, but all the application layer staff, anything above that is in some other country.  So no longer does this national regulatory model work really.  It might work in large countries with huge market size that can demand that the application layer people register and have offices in the country, but if you are a country like Sri Lanka with thousand something people, market exit is a real option for private sector providers, which means you're leaving your citizens with less choice. 

So the international negotiations are important, and few developing countries participate in international standard‑setting and development, so that's a real challenge, again, from that point of view.  Particularly when it comes to content platforms, that's really important.  When it comes to taxation, this is really important. 

Then the regulatory models, compliance models based on the sort of regulators and ex‑post competition, these all fall apart when we come to multi‑sided markets like platforms.  It's very hard to find the sort of competition rules.  It's also very hard to regulate when, for example, aggregate decision‑making when the immediate effect of a decision is not seen perhaps for years once the feedback loop kicks in and lots of people have been marginalized and regulatory systems aren't set up for that kind of feedback loops and course correction. 

A whole lot of challenges particularly from developing country points of view.  Thanks.

>> TIM MUELLER:  Thank you very much, Helani.  I think you alluded to a lot of very important positions here where especially developing countries find themselves in a world that is dominated by big private tech companies. 

Maybe, Jon, you can get you in here on this point.  How do you view that?  How do you view maybe other different categories of regulatory models that especially developing countries have to find maybe their position in?  How do you view that? 

>> JONATHAN STEVER:  Thank you.  Good morning, everybody.  It's great to be here.  You know, I think the fundamental question is what type of societies do we want to live in and where do we want this digital transformation ultimately to take us? 

You know, more unchecked state control or more unchecked individual liberty, and as Helani pointed out, it's a lot of small countries that are the recipients of regulatory frame works that are developed outside of their borders.  At the moment they have a choice between three different models.  They have a model of state spying surveillance, unchecked state control.  They have a model of corporate spying or unchecked individual liberty, and then they have an option of rights‑based model, but a rights‑based model that was developed outside of their borders and often without their participation. 

So I think that's really the fundamental question we want to ask ourselves is, you know, is the internet sort of a tool and an enabler of individual agency and transformation, or what types of societies is this really pushing us towards?  We would really be pushing for much more participatory and inclusive development of these models and engaging in a much more multi‑stakeholder approach.

>> TIM MUELLER:  Thank you very much, Jon.  Maybe Helani also pointed to it in the beginning when you said it's much easier to regulate, for example, internet service providers that operate in your country and your jurisdiction, but maybe let me bring another angle in and turn to you, Pascal here.  We had a lot of sessions already at the IGF also on data and cross‑border data flows, and here it gets even more complex and more difficult for countries to regulate to assure freedoms of citizens, individual rights, but also the economic benefit, so maybe you could elaborate a little bit on how you view that aspect when we talk about regulating also data markets and cross‑border data flows.

>> PASCAL KOENIG:  Data governance is really not just one single policy field, pensions or labor, but rather, it spans many different policy areas going well beyond privacy, consumer protection, for instance against certain uses of AI.  Platform regulation, competition policy, open data policy and so on.  It requires a comprehensive regulatory approach that can be more, but it cannot be less consistent and coherent. 

Of course, the reason why one important reason why data is so ‑‑ becomes important and regulating data has become important is because of its economic importance.  Some have argued that data is the new oil.  And, yes, sure, data has become an important economic asset and raw material that is at the foundation of many forms of creation, but data is also very different, and it's important to keep that in mind because, first, data is different as we can transfer and copy it theoretically at zero cost, which means it can flow very freely.  It can circulate very freely.  That's very different from oil, for instance.  That raises new and intricate questions about whether and when this is actually good that data is flowing so freely and when this is not so good. 

The second way in which data is different that I want to highlight is that at previous times of industrial change, certain resources, raw materials help to enhance or even automate physical processes.  Now with data we are increasingly able to also automate or enhance cognitive processes.  Refining data can help to inform decision‑making and help with steering.  Not just steering of physical processes.  Think about manufacturing, production, and also social processes. 

For instance, online platforms, content curation, and also think about AI tools for let's say recruitment where applicants are categorized with regard to how suitable they are as candidates as one example. 

Data is very directly relevant for intervening in social relations and affecting steering society, ordering society, which means it's starkly relevant for exerting social power.  That is very different about data.  Through intervening in society in that way, data can ‑‑ the uses of data can have harms for privacy, for people's autonomy because there might be certain ways that they don't find acceptable, and it can lead to unfair discrimination based on biassed decision‑making based on data. 

From all this follows governments can unlock data as a resource to enable innovation, but this can come at a price because it can create harms to people's individual rights, personal rights, and also can have systemic harms for society.  For instance, for the partisphere.  Governments have to navigate this important tradeoff and find the right balance between that, and that would depend on how much and how they're regulated.

>> TIM MUELLER:  Thank you very much to the three of you.  I think this was very interesting and maybe just to briefly summarize in a number of parts here that I heard out of this conversation between regulation on the national level versus on the international level, regulation focused on the individual or more focused on the collective, state‑led digital transformation and regulation or more the economic sector, big private tech companies that are setting the rules in a field where there is no regulation yet. 

So obviously countries are in front of huge challenges if you see that.  Head on you see in a developing countries and countries where there may be not the capacities where there is not the civil society that can help.  It becomes particularly difficult, but what considerations from your point of view are guiding countries in deciding what kind of degree of regulation do we need and where do we set the boundaries?  What are these considerations from your point of view?

>> HELANI GALPAYA:  Sorry.  Thank you.  I think maybe it's sort of easy to talk through an example just the conflict of policy objectives and what countries want.  So balancing different policy objectives take ‑‑ I think you were talking about data, so take the cross‑border nature of data and everyone talks about how good and how much we need that, right? 

For a government point of view industrial policy does and has in several countries, particularly in Asia, dictated that you want local hosting.  Why?  Because that's a way to grow the sector.  It creates a lot of professionals who are competent, and it brings in foreign revenue.  It opens up data centers and so on.  It's a matter of international policy interest. 

Nobody has really done the economics of whether that actually pays off, but that's certainly a measure of industrial policy, and countries proudly say that because we banned X, now we have this much investment, right?  It's not really a cost basis analysis.  That's one side of it. 

Then is the legitimate need to access data for crime prevention, financial fraud, et cetera.  For a long time I think there was no recognition that this is a legitimate need to access data and often that data, particularly platform data from global providers, lies elsewhere.  We have to have a mechanism because that's one of the other reasons people oppose that, right?  Law enforcement, fraud prevention, et cetera.  That's another policy objective, which is now in conflict with this idea. 

Then there's this idea that for innovation and for cost‑savings, certainly for organizations like mine which do a lot of large‑scale data analytics.  Using the Cloud is much cheaper than running our servers in the country or buying really poor services in a Sri Lankan market. 

For that you want free flow of data for getting data during COVID from multiple people.  For development and cross‑border innovation, and then there are, of course, the authoritative and regime change that want control over people that lead you to spy over them, so you want the data in‑house.  There's at least four forces there that are in conflict.  Even within governments in conflict with each other. 

The second point ‑‑ you need to kind of decide that, right?  That's what the kind of thing they need to think through.  You want to be able it take global conversations and global policies that are being developed to govern the new digital economy like GDPR, various privacy laws, and to have the ability to adapt them to work in your country. 

So, for example, GDPR is very, very fashionable.  It's a wonderful idea to aspire to.  The cost of compliance are small, medium enterprises in developing countries is ridiculous.  The cost of a large firm is also ridiculous.  The cost of enforcing that for a government is insane because they have no budgets to run these data Commissioners or regulatory offices, right?  Taking away something like the requirement for everyone to register all data controllers and processes to register every year, which some data protection plans have is a huge thing and eliminates a huge administrative burden.  In the end you want to be able to send summons to, you want to address, right?  You can do that through other means. 

So taking away that part of it and sort of cutting and pasting from some other country and customizing it for how it works I think is important. 

Research exceptions are important because countries in the Global South are trying to leap‑frog.  Customizing global things and having the skill to do that, I think, is really important in the new digital economy

>> PASCAL KOENIG I also want to highlight this outward looking ‑‑ certainly as it talks about the demand of digital sovereignty.  It's one of the major issues whether it comes to regulation of the digital transformation these days. 

In the current situation and many parts of the world is one that has been called digital extractivism.  Let's be careful with that term.  In many countries we find that the infrastructure is in the hands of nondomestic companies.  The markets and the digital economy are dominated by foreign businesses, and if you look at data that before we talked about, it is very common that data is collected in the country it is extracted, but then flows outside.  Where the actual refinement, the value creation takes place so that the country in question that has to import technology, innovation, is a technology taker again, while local industries cannot develop.  That is a very common situation.  This raises a question in how to enact proper regulation to achieve more digital sovereignty to make sure that countries is can have more control over their own path of digital transformation.  Have their own local industries in the digital economy and perhaps also be able to shield their own citizens from certain technologies from exposure to technologies that they demand acceptable. 

So I think this is also an important issue when it comes to regulation besides its more inward‑looking regulation.  It's also a more outward‑looking dimension. 

Yeah, maybe to add a bit on this, against this back drop I think the European Union case is very interesting because Europe is emphasizing digital sovereignty now as a core concept of its entire digital agenda.  And, second, I think one can say that the European Union has the most comprehensive digital agenda so far.  It has enacted the most regulation.  Not all of it has come with the legislative process.  It's a huge agenda.  One thing about it, it's very coherent in promoting digital sovereignty in the EU. 

How does it do that?  That's also maybe one lesson that could be interesting for other countries, although, of course, it's not easy to translate from one context to another, but it could be a blueprint in some ways that while the European Union regulatory model has been framed as one that espouses values, human rights‑based model as opposed other models that are more state‑led or market‑led, but this is actually only one aspect of the EU regulatory model.  Another very strong and consistent dimension in the digital agenda for at least ten years now ‑‑ it's not very new.  It's been there since the GDPR.  It's this idea of building a digital single market, and that's the important aspect guaranteeing a level playing field.  A level playing field you find that in the EU discourse for at least a decade.  That's a major goal of the EU that they want to achieve, and level playing field is not just this liberal idea of unleashing market forces within the digital single market.  It's also about forcing other actors in the world to play by European Union rules.  So that is the two dimensions to this idea of a level playing field. 

I think this could be an idea that's also perhaps transferrable to other contexts.

>> TIM MUELLER:  Thank you very much, guys.  That was very, very rich.  I think we're going to touch a little bit more upon all these terms and ideas you've brought to the table when I hear export of digital regulation, how countries can adapt to their own local needs, digital sovereignty and all these aspects.  I this I in the last part of the panel I would like to come back to that and look a little bit into global harmonisation versus fragmentation field. 

I would like to take one step back and look a little bit at the question when we talk about regulation again and now we have established what it means in a digital sphere, but if we just talk from the process of regulation and regulatory approaches, I would just like to know what is your take on in the digital transformation and given all this phenomena you describe, do we need newer approaches, adapted approaches?  It makes it different from a different regulatory process in other sectors, like what do the regulators, what do civil society, academia private sector need to take care of?  What makes it different?  Maybe I can pass it over to you, Jon, on this question? 

>> JONATHAN STEVER:  Sure.  I think we can start by exploring the new forms of regulation that are needed, and I think it's important to recognize that regulation laws change incrementally and technology changes exponentially.  This is what Downs called the law of disruption.  You really need to think about the pace of regulatory reform, how often we regulate.  Maybe think about bringing in feedback loops into regulation. 

In software we often talk about version control, so you have version 1.1 of a software.  1.2.  We need to be thinking about our regulatory frame works in a similar way where we're updating them very regularly.  The second thing is thinking about how to make sure that the regulation itself is living and finding ways of not just having feedback loops but integrating learning into the regulation itself through forms of sandboxing and other forms of agile regulation.  I'll hand it over to my colleague Pascal to talk a little bit more about that.

>> PASCAL KOENIG:  So one way of balancing the trade‑off that I mentioned earlier between innovation and, on the other hand, protecting ‑‑ consumers protecting citizens are perhaps forms of regulation, meaning more evidence‑based, more flexible forms of regulation.  One important example of this regulation is, for instance, regulatory sandboxes that means that relaxing certain regulatory standards for a certain period and for certain businesses that are in this so‑called sandbox to test innovation.  Testing innovation and protecting consumers is the main goal of the regulatory sandbox, and the second goal is also to learn from this kind of regulatory experiment, to test out innovations and to see how the market works. 

Again, I want to also point to some important tradeoffs here.  I don't want to be a buzz kill, but there are always certain tradeoffs at work.  Of course, you can have this kind of regulation that is more agile, experimental to foster innovation, but it's also much more demanding than the traditional rule‑based regulation, which means that you would need more resources, more personnel with know‑how, more constitutional capacities to actually carry out these kind of regulatory experiments.  That is something that is perhaps more needed in low and middle‑income countries to unleash innovation.  At the same time they have a harder time to actually carry out these projects and this kind of regulation because they may not have the capacities to do that. 

There's also more tradeoffs to it because one of the important promises related to this agile regulation is that low and middle income countries can perhaps leap‑frog other countries.  They can make a huge jump in their economic development and wealth creation and so on with this agile regulation to foster innovation, but there's also the risk.  Unfortunately not without historic precedence.  These countries become a testing ground and experimental field for technologies.  You're testing technologies that other countries would not accept in their backyard.  That is certainly something that should also be considered here. 

Another reason why agile regulation may fail ‑‑ may not lead to really sustainable or sustained growth in developing countries is that while the idea is that it attracts investment.  It signals innovativeness, readiness to open the market, to foster innovation.  That is also something that has been emphasized in many policy documents, but the risk here again is that the investments are only very much in the short‑term.  There's capital flowing into a country.  Value creation takes place.  There is economic growth, but the question is what is growing exactly?  Which businesses are growing?  The risk here is that the investments flow in, but, therefore, with the idea of achieving short‑term gains, short profit, and then they're pulling out again.  This is kind of the opposite of having sustainable growth.  That is also to be considered.

>> TIM MUELLER:  When you talk about the sustainable growth, the key issue here is how to involve also citizens and different views, right because in the end to whom is this regulation catering?  Jon, I alluded to the fact that you are leading the First Global Assembly last year, so maybe what's your take on how can we actually bring a participatory approach to digital regulations?  How can we bring citizens and different voices in the process? 

>> JONATHAN STEVER:  Thank you.  I think we can all agree that there are really clear normative suggestions.  The policy and the people in it produce more legitimacy.  We're sort of intrinsically realizing our suggestions of development.  If we understand development not as a process of having something, but as a process of being able to choose what you have, then, of course, public participation is critical. 

There are also instrumental benefits of public participation, and this is really clear in the digital space.  When I say that, the regulation has improved the outcome that the whats of regulation are improved when the citizens are engaged in that regulation.  This is obvious in the field of digital when we talk about ‑‑ just imagine sort of our friends and regulatory environments ourselves.  Then imagine the folks out there building apps, mobile technology, you know, exploring block‑chain, et cetera.  These concepts are things that we talk about in these meetings, but how do we develop this regulation without really activating that collective intelligence, that collective wisdom within our citizenry? 

So obviously this is the why should we do participation?  I can imagine that's something we all agree with, but I just wanted to start with that point.  Now, I would love to just share a couple of examples of how this has happened.  I don't know if you guys are familiar with this, but there's really been an explosion of start‑up legislation across the African Continent.  Innovative high‑growth countries might, given their economic impact, would really benefit from specific regulatory reforms, and the sort of new legislation in Senegal, Nigeria, and DRC has been originally drafted by citizens.  So citizens came together.  They started using techniques like ‑‑ we call them policy hack‑A‑thons and identifying what the challenges are for digital entrepreneurs, really exploring what might be professionals for addressing those challenges, and then going into small groups and then workshopping this into policy proposals. 

In the case of the Senegal start‑up act, there's a 19‑month process.  Entrepreneurs went through a really co‑creation process to develop initial start‑up act.  It went through several rounds of iteration.  There was a sort of Facebook Messenger chat bot that was deployed to be able to reach entrepreneurs around the country, and a lot of sort of exploration around how more people might be involved in these processes.  They went through 20 rounds of drafting of that law bringing in governments, of course, the president hosted a national town hall meeting publicly televised to share the law, the legal reform and to invite more inputs. 

Ultimately, you end up with a regulatory reform that transformed the tax environments in Senegal where you went from 11 different tax rates down to two tax rates.  You dropped business registration costs by 60%.  You end up with a tax holiday for all small businesses below the sort of minimum level of taxation as well as sort of bespoke support for labeled start‑ups such as public procurement supports, et cetera. 

This is just an example of how citizens, those affected by regulation can be involved in this particular space, but I also wanted to in the context of this global internet governance forum, I also wanted to share with you an example of what global public participation could look like. 

I would like to invite my colleague, Nina, if you could share the last slides of the Menti meter.  I just have one slide.  I won't kill you with PowerPoint.  Not too much text. 

Yeah, this is an image of sort of lottery selection.  Last year we organized the world's first global citizens assembly.  I'm not sure if people in the room are familiar with citizens assemblies or lottery selected processes or what political scientists sometimes called certition. 

The idea is to identify representatives.  Not based on the sort of people that are most connected or the wealthiest, which, unfortunately, is often the selection criteria for attending events like this or people that are sort of representing civil society organizations, sort of stakeholder models, but what happens if we actually go out and we identify representatives through a lottery in which anyone on earth could participate? 

So we developed a four‑step global lottery process.  The first step was to take a massive database of population density overlayed on a 2‑D model of planet earth, and we selected 100 locations at random across planet earth.  We then went and recruited local community organizations.  These local community organizations then went around, and they literally went on the street to do on street recruitments.  Literally they might knock on your door if there was a point nearby inviting you to participate in a Global Citizen assembly.  Perhaps on internet governance, for example. 

Then the we developed a pool of participants globally from all of these 100 locations and then organizing a global lottery to then pick 100 people such that they came ‑‑ we had one person from each of these geographic points.  We represented sort of the demographic distribution of humanity from a geographic perspective. 

Then we looked at other demographic characteristics like gender, age, socioeconomic status was proxied by education outcome as well as their perspective on the climate and ecological crisis to make sure this was not a biassed assembly. 

We essentially then brought these people together.  60% of them lived on less than $10 per day.  They spoke 42 different languages.  They came from 49 countries.  11 of the assembly members were fully illiterate.  We organized an assembly where they were provided with information materials and a learning journey so they could understand the complexities of the subject involved.  They developed what they called the people's declaration for the sustainable future for planet earth.  I find that quite beautiful.  This is a name that actually the assembly members themselves came up with through a sort of multi‑stage co‑creation process. 

I want to share this because I would like for you to imagine what might ‑‑ we talk about sort of declarations in the future of the internet.  We talked about a global compact.  I think these are critical.  We absolutely must establish principles for the internet.  We're going to talk about harmonisation next and how important that is.  What might these processes look like if everyone on earth had a ‑‑ had the opportunity to participate in all of these different voices and perspectives were included?  Thank you.

>> JONATHAN STEVER:  Thank you very much.  There was a question actually from the audience, a provocation that said everyone online.  This was actually why it's so critical when we think about these participatory processes to also embed them in a really local context.  So, actually, when we talk about these 100 locations in recruiting local community organizations, each of the members of the assembly were hosted by a local community organization and they were provided with internet access, a device.  They were also provided with a translator companion. 

I think it's important to just share that of the 100 members, 34 of them had never been on a video call.  That's not even a sort of Face Time what's app video, or even a Zoom call.  This was last year.  We're a year, year and a half into the pandemic and 34% of the people had never before talked to somebody through a video call. 

I share this because I think there are opportunities to re‑imagine stakeholder engagement and public participation even given the digital divide that can include all voices. 

>> TIM MUELLER:  I think that was a beautiful example.  I think members might join you in a breakout group.  What I'm taking from your two points is, yes, we do need different kinds of regulation that puts the citizen at the center and also deals with the fact that technological regulation exists at a much faster pace. 

You also alluded to the fact that how do you Harmonize regulation?  Is it desirable?  How do you bring people that might not have the skills on board?  That goes back to the discussion you had briefly before about digital sovereignty, the brussels effect, how countries can adapt their own digital regulation to a framework that is fitting. 

For the last ten minutes let's go back to this question before I let you go into the breakout groups and maybe Pascal you can elaborate on this harmonisation aspect.  What are forces or factors from your perspective that contribute to more global harmonisation and digital policy, but what does impede it? 

>> PASCAL KOENIG:  It's a big question.  I can probably just point to a couple of points here one of the most important drivers is to have a regional organizations that are driving digital transformation and regulation for the digital transformation.  We have seen that with the African Union, which is now very clear and strong agenda on digital change within digital transformation strategy and also perhaps even more importantly its digital data policy framework so this is certainly a very important driver for harmonisation, for building something like a digital single market on the African continent also.  It's a major project that the African Union is working towards. 

These efforts are also supported probably by one could call the functional pressures because there are clear economic incentives for more integration for more harmonisation.  Only in this last decade have we seen a huge proliferation of access to internet mainly mobile internet.  Especially on the African continent.  It's a huge jump in access to internet, which means now is the time that more and more the data is generated.  Data is generated use.  It will flow across borders to the extent that it's possible, and this will create interdependencies between countries and thus, also pressure to find ways of Harmonizing rules to reduce transaction costs and frictions between countries because these kind of data is unlocked more and more. 

I think these important drivers of harmonisation.  There are also major structural impediments that have to be kept in mind, and these are, for instance, that countries are a different if you want to call it stages of adoption of digital technology. 

To take an example, the internet economy or digital economy, however you want to call it in Kenya is almost 7%, which is quite large.  Here in Ethiopia it's 1%.  That's a huge difference in the relative importance of the sector, which means there will also be different interests in what and how to regulate the digital economy, data flows, and so on. 

Of course, there are other structural differences in terms of the infrastructure, the capital that is available, the digital skills, education, and so on.  This means that countries will be at different positions, but will also have different possibilities of entering into debates on regulation of getting involved internationally and for other debates on how to regulate the digital transformation and the digital economy

I think I'll leave it at that.

>> TIM MUELLER:  Thank you.  I remember, Helani, you made a point before about the role of GDPR and what role that plays also in harmonisation also of other countries.  Could you elaborate a bit more on that?

>> HELANI GALPAYA:  I think GDPR shows two nice aspects of the drivers of a particular type of harmonisation, and I think we should recognize that we haven't defined what harmonisation means, and it could really mean a whole lot of things.  Economics is the first thing, right?  I mean, in many countries, let's take Sri Lanka, for example, we passed Asia's first personal data protection law, south Asia's first one.  Not enacted yet.  We don't have the money for that, so next year it may be coming to force, but it's passed. 

The biggest driver of that was the ability to do digital services trade with the EU.  We have a huge software export industry.  We have a huge outsource data processing industry, right?

it was driven by the businesses, and I think that's fine.  Economics is a driver, but luckily, I think civil society for the last 20 maybe more has really been focused on the harms and ways of mitigating harms of data, right?  Particularly in I would say the last ten years. 

Thankfully we have that force coming into force.  For example, the need for privacy that India has finally recognized at the highest level.  It came up.  The working groups were very civil society‑driven with government.  It was a very bottoms‑up approach. 

Thanks to the international forum that civil society across many countries is now connected.  IGF is one, and there are many others.  That then comes up and goes down again to other countries.  That force I think is now real, and I think governments can't ignore that, like 20 years when it came to telecom policy.  Nobody was talking about digital rights or whatever. 

There were implications.  Huge ones.  I come from a country when telecom cell phone networks were triangulated to take people to jail.  Of course, there were human rights implications, but it wasn't this big conversation. 

The civil society voice and a need for rights‑based approach is one force.  Then the economics that's driving.  I think that is a clash, but I think it's a good clash.  It's a conversation we should have. 

In GDPR you finally see both, right, sort of trying to be balanced.

>> TIM MUELLER:  Perfect.  Thank you so much.  I think in the interest of time, because I want to leave space also for the breakout discussion, I would leave the discussion because I think it was a nice closing point.  I would give you the opportunity to have a closing point when introducing the breakout session.  Maybe, Nina, if you could put up the slide again on Menti meter.  We would like to go with you in three breakout groups now, but there is a hint to that because we obviously always disadvantage our virtual participants. 

One of the three groups is going to be virtual, and the virtual group is allowed to choose.  So you can choose in the chat of the Zoom call which group you would like to participate in, and the group that gets most votes in the virtual will be held virtual.  The other two groups will be held here in the room.  Sorry to everybody who is here.  You will have only two groups to choose from. 

Maybe combining a short closing statement of each of you will a short pitch for the breakout groups would be helpful.  We will then have about 30 minutes to discuss in the breakout groups.  A reminder to my panelists, we need one rapporteur per group.  One person that will take the key messages of your discussion back to the plenary, because then we'll have ten minutes to close a little bit and look out for the next steps and see what also your experiences, your ideas in this rich discussion have been. 

Over to you for a short pitch.  Let's start with Jon, group one, on participatory approaches to regulate digital policy. 

>> JONATHAN STEVER:  This is actually a great feed‑in from the last conversation we're having about harmonisation.  I think it's a challenging ‑‑ it's challenging to have a conversation about why should we have harmonisation?  I think we can all agree it's important.  It's quite self‑evident when we talk about this infrastructure.  I think it's pretty hard to agree with the question.  Especially if we're talking about what's in the interest of citizens, what's in the interest of the global population it's pretty hard to. 

I would love to introduce a concept from a Columbia‑American anthropologist called Arturo Escobar.  He talks about the pluriverse.  If we want to Harmonize, then how do we bring these different world views together, and how do we insure that this technology doesn't just replicate sort of colonial dynamics?  I introduced in the beginning the sort of different models of sort of regulation that are being imposed on many countries around the world, around sort of state‑sponsored spying, corporate‑sponsored spying or a rights‑based model developed outside. 

The question is, how can we bring all of these different models together into a Harmonized framework, and I think it really requires participatory approaches.  I would love to host a conversation with you all and understand your experiences of public participation and create a little space in the breakout where we can learn from each other and hopefully contribute to our collective consciousness through a participatory process about how we might do more and better public participation. 

Thank you.

>> TIM MUELLER:  Thank you very much, Jon.  Pascal, over to you for the pitch for breakout group 2 on agile and regulation.

>> PASCAL KOENIG:  In the second group we will zoom into the larger regulatory models and look at more specific forms of regulation, such as regulatory samples and so on and discuss to what extent they can be transferred to different context where you think they work well, where they might not work so well, where maybe we need other forms of regulation that we haven't covered so far.  This would be the topic of the second group.

>> TIM MUELLER:  Thank you very much.  Then over to you, Helani, for the last group on harmonisation versus fragmentation.

>> HELANI GALPAYA:  I think the biggest challenge for the internet is where the state meets the internet.  When we talk about harmonisation, the question is do we go to the lowest common denominator and end up with the international set of rules that broadly work for everybody, but really does not work for anyone because it's so basic? 

Do we go to developed economies models like the GDPR, or do we go local?  There's a lot of calls for how important nation states and community values are, but on the other hand there are plenty of communities in my country and other countries that don't allow women to go online and put people in vans and kill them for protesting online, right? 

So where does community values and nation interest stop when it comes to data, internet governance, any of these values, and how international do we become?  Thanks. 

That's the last breakout.

>> TIM MUELLER:  Perfect.  Nina, do you have already some hint what the virtual participants prefer?

>>  Nina:  They're not very decisive.  They're between you, Jon, and you, Pascal.  Maybe let's ‑‑ Jon, would you like to join me here on my computer and go to the virtual world? 

>> JONATHAN STEVER:  I would love to.  For anyone in the room that would like to talk about participation, because we'll have the participation conversation online.  Feel free to come up and find me afterwards.  All right?  Thank you.

>>  Nina:  Great.

>> TIM MUELLER:  You can also join in virtually or see how it works, but Jon will be in the virtual group, and the other two, I guess, Helani will stay here in this corner, and Pascal will maybe go over to this corner.  We see how we can manage in this not so favorable room setting to have some conversations. 

Please select the rapporteur to report back to the plenary and be back in 25 minutes at quarter to so that we can have 15 minutes to wrap up and share the findings together.  Thank you very much. 

(Breakout groups).

>> JONATHAN STEVER:  I want to introduce a concept called a binary session.  We all know how important the hybrid sessions are where people are joining online and offline.  We pretend a similar space.  What we wanted to do in this is offer a binary meeting where you could have fully offline discussions and fully online discussions, but there are a few people that would like to join the participation conversation that are in the room.  Just to say, if you would like to, you just need to have your own device and then connect to the online call so you essentially even though you're physically here, you'll join virtually in the call.  That's also an option.  All right.  Thank you. 

(Breakout groups continue).

>> JONATHAN STEVER:  For those of you online, you have been ‑‑ you have been volunteered into the discussion of public participation.  Can you guys hear me? 

(Breakout groups continues).

>> TIM MUELLER:  Perfect.  Let's get started.  Maybe we start with the group.  Helani's group on fragmentation, harmonisation.  Oh, you are still writing.  Okay.  Pascal, who was the rapporteur in your group?

>> PASCAL KOENIG:  That would be Sinot.

>> TIM MUELLER:  Can I ask you to deliver the messages on regulation.

>>  Can everyone hear me?  I'm from the Tony Blair institute.  I think we discussed quite a few things.  I think we acknowledge the challenges and the tensions around the nature of regulating the kind of digital world and particularly the speed at which change happens, the kind of geography and how expansive it is.  Also considering the power dynamics between, say, state governments versus global organizations versus big tech companies.  Some of the key takeaways was, number one, what do we even mean by agile regulation?  What does that actually look like?  How agile can it actually be in practice? 

The second one was questioning to what extent I guess the value of innovation has almost been fetishized, right?  To manage innovation and make sure that innovation is challenged in a way that is constructive to society.  We had an interesting debate about who is the right person to lead and own kind of regulation in this space and some of the challenges around sandbox approaches.  Do they really work?  I think Pascal highlighted to us that there hasn't been an extensive review of whether they work.  Coming back to the point around who it should be, the kinds of organizations like the U.N. who are kind of ‑‑ have the global reach and potential influence don't necessarily have the regulatory power and also it would be challenging for them to the speed to move. 

Did I miss anything else?  I think that's it, so I'll hand it over to the next group.  Thank you.

>> TIM MUELLER:  Thank you very much.  That was very concise.  Then I would like to ask you to report to the group on harmonisation fragmentation before we move to the virtual group.

>>  My name is Rachel.  I work with UNESCO on freedom of expression and the safety of journalists. 

We had a really rich and interesting discussion.  Several of us said that it was one of the best that we've had in this conference.  Thank you very much to the organizers and to all of the panelists.  We covered many different elements of this debate.  We started with a question.  If there are examples of good model laws globally around these issues of internet governance, there was the idea that, for example, in access to information laws there are standards, international standards, but often the challenge comes in implementation.  Then we also spoke about governance of the technical layer and bodies like the IETF who have used the multi‑stakeholder model of internet governance and then asked the question if that still holds today and if it exists beyond the technical layer. 

We heard from one government representative that made the distinction between government on the internet and government ‑‑ sorry ‑‑ governance of the internet and governance on the internet, and that we may be able to regulate more on content issues, but less lower down on the stack related to technical infrastructure. 

We had one very interesting example of harmonisation at work and successfully in practice from the east African community, which has Harmonized laws on cyber security resulting in common minimum standards that are agreed to, and others that are optional according to the country, how they've worked to build capacity and in order to implement these laws and have done so through public‑private partnerships. 

Last, we had a question about conditions, for example, in legislation like the DSA if that is exported to other parts of the world or if data and services are used within a region and if there are some minimum standards that should be a place, for example, in worker conditions.  I think that summarizes most of the points, but if anyone else from that group would like to come in with additions or corrections, please go ahead.  Thanks.

>> TIM MUELLER:  Thank you very much.  I think that was an excellent summary.  Over to you.  Jon, I think you are reporting for the virtual group to make it easier, technically. 

>> JONATHAN STEVER:  I'll share back from the conversation we had online about public participation.  I'm going to do my best to represent what was really an incredible conversation with a lot of wisdom and experience in the call. 

We heard from internet society talking about a global initiative called We the Internet, which was organized in the last years.  It was essentially a global deliberation on the future of the internet decentralized.  This was organized at national level.  You would have national level deliberations in Rwanda, for example, we organized the national deliberation, which was structured essentially as a citizens ‑‑ a one‑day citizen assembly or citizens dialogue that we had during COVID, sort of a facilitator's ‑‑ trained facilitators that went out to the communities to bring people together in small groups of five and then brought together into a plenary discussion that was taking place online so kind of hacking the hybrid model in the sort of COVID experience.  The we the internet project was able to bring voices of citizens to 70 countries together into a document to provide recommendations to decision makers into the IGF.  This is one of the examples that was shared. 

We also had a member of a former regulator from Mexico who was also working with an organization Rizzo America and also with APC sharing her experiences, and a colleague who is joining us actually in the room who came online from Bangladesh sharing experiences about shifting sort of offline cooperative ‑‑ (audio echoing). 

I'm going to try to summarize the points into four buckets.  The first one non‑ironically is that consultation takes time.  I think our breakout group would have benefited from a little more time to deepen these conversations, but there's really a recognition that these consultative processes are oftentimes constrained by certain political opportunities or sort of processes where the regulation becomes a bit of a box‑ticking exercise where we need to talk to citizens.  Let's try to fit that in between Wednesday and Friday.  They get a couple of minutes to talk, and then we're going to summarize the results.  That's one of the conclusions that really participation does take time. 

The second is it needs to be designed and planned and we need to recognize that a lot of times citizens and constituents need to go through a learning journey to be able to meaningful deliberate about these topics on the one hand. 

I often think about Jim Fishkin when he describes the fact that when we go to vote in elections, we're often sort of ‑‑ political parties are using the same tools that Coca‑Cola uses to sell sugar water to children in order to determine which political parties we're going to be voting for. 

We need to think about how citizens can be meaningful informed to be able to engage in these conversations and to take decisions.  Also, recognizing that not all of these conversations really affect citizens.  We heard an example from sort of net neutrality which we've seen has really galvanized civil society in citizens to engage in these conversations and just recognizing that citizens don't necessarily have an interest in all of these conversations or necessarily see how these conversations affect their lives.  We also might consider forms of financial inducements to incentivize citizens to engage in these processes.  I think that's really clear.  You create a sort of dual channel sandbox where we can sort of offer alternative regulation and then those end up going to the same large companies that have the resources to actually go through the standard regulatory framework in the first place.  So just making sure that the sort of agile forms of regulation and processes don't sort of end up contradicting their initial intended purposes. 

Then, finally, we heard really about the importance of engaging citizens particularly at the diagnosis stage or what you would call the agenda‑setting stage of a policy‑making process to make sure that we can really hear from citizens and let them sort of articulate what the key challenges are and perspectives and bring in their lived experiences into that process. 

I just want to recognize that, again, we did need a lot more time, so I would just want to hand over if there is anyone online to create a space for those virtual voices to appear in the main room if you like to come off mute and say hello and add anything.

>> TIM MUELLER:  I think we're also at the end of our time, so I would like to use the last two minutes to thank everybody in the room for this very fruitful discussion.  Specifically to you, Helani, Jon, and Pascal for giving us some food for thought, for sparking the discussion and for leading also the breakout groups, but a big thanks to all of you still here with us.  We really enjoyed the conversation, and we are also aware of the fact that 45 minutes or what was it even 30 minutes of discussion was way too short. 

What we would actually like to propose is to follow up and have another conversation even after the IGF online to keep on discussing the issues that we just had in these three groups. 

If you are interested in joining us in these conversations and see where this journey takes us, just approach us.  Leave the speakers for me, your business cards, and then we will make sure to include you in a follow‑up where we can also then share maybe the summary of the key messages from today, the session report, but also give you more space to share your experiences, your lessons learned because you are the experts in the room, and I think we can all still learn a lot from each other on this level of discussion. 

Thank you very much for being here with us today, and have a good rest of the day at the IGF and talk to you soon again.  Thank you very much.