IGF 2022 Day 3 WS #475 Balancing Digital Sovereignty and the Splinternet – RAW

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.



>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: We will give three more minutes for people to sit down, and then we will start.

>> EMILY TAYLOR: Think we can start now.  Thank you very much, everyone, for joining us.

>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: Thank you for joining us today at the session about internet frag mentation and digital sovereignty.  At the first part of our panel, I would like to pass the floor to our online moderator, Pedro Lana.

>> PEDRO de PERDIGAO LANA: I would like to have some help from the technical staff in the room.  We are trying to join us in the Zoom, and needs credentials to log in with the general link, general invitation link and not able to join us.  So if it's possible to get another link so I can send him.

But since we have a bit an issue, I think we can start.

I would first like to say hello to everyone.  I hope everyone is happy, healthy.  I am Pedro de Perdigao Lana from the chapter of the civil society.  I see so many familiar faces here makes me want to be on site with you, I'm pretty sure we are represented at this wonderful forum.  This wonderful city.

So I would like to start thanking any friend Emilia from Poland for Heron site moderation and a few words before the session begins.

First time will be a discussion for us, so I'll try to be as concise as possible in the session, and this is also why we will be getting questions only through the chat in preparation.  You can also make contributions.  I will share the screen here.  So people can have access to the place where they can ask questions, just confirm if you are seeing it.  So please scan the QR code.  Apt Menti.com.  The code that will appear on your screen.  Before posing questions, I would please ask you to write your name and if you would like to ask it yourself from the mic when you are called, or else we will wait for you.

So the title of our workshop is as intentionally provocative.  Something most of us here at IGF ‑‑ even if people may add layers of complexity to this issue.  The balance the splinter with something else, doesn't seem to like an interesting idea.  But this word play kind of helps us remember that one of the hardest difficulties on these debates lies largely when it's there is not confusion.  People often talk about different things when they are saying the same words, and many refer to the same ideas, but it's different terms that are not frag mentation, et cetera, et cetera.

So these many people are trying to build from a precise technical concepts.  Others take a functional approach, trying to bypass difficulties of the confusion.  Others thinks that too many issues are being lumped together, the concepts, and they are ‑‑ make us lose precious time and energy trying to make definitions and so on and so on.

There's no better place for discussion.  Discussing the internet issues to promote this kind of dialogue between the stakeholders from diverse backgrounds, putting different perspective into context and trying to find points of consensus.

Of course, the youth perspective, equal representation of this group in the workshop.

That being said, considering I spoke too much, I would like to introduce our panelists in the order that you will make the opening remarks.  Presenting.  Speakers will have five minutes each for opening remarks, and then we will proceed to the Q&A part of our session.  Our panelists will choose specific questions to answer during the two minutes each.  When you are 30 seconds away from the time limits, we will remind you in the chat and Emilia can tap the mic twice.

So innocent Adriko is the Vice President organization, a member of the, a contractor at ISOC., member of the ISOC chapter and holds a Ph.D. in commuter science with research focus on cyber security.  Wolfgang Kleinwaechter is professor Emeritus from the University of Aarhus and special ambassador for the NETMundial initiative.  The Head of Intergovernance and stakeholder dialogue at the European Commission.  Kateryna Bovsunovska is an Internet Society youth ambassador, part of the European youth parliament, use crane.  And our co‑founder of the users contingency at ICANN.

So sorry if I spoke any of the names wrong.  And Innocent, the floor is yours, you can begin.

>> INNOCENT ADRIKO: Thank you very much, Pedro.  I'm incident Adriko, I'm a student of international relations, and I coordinate the Ghana youth IGF ‑‑ Ghana youth IGF.

So just as the session started, I want to bring the perspective, the two areas we are looking at digital sovereignty and the splinternet.  I just want to bring up a point on how one can lead to the other.  So we all agree the internet has become a central part of our lives, politically, economically, socially, and it has grown to be stronger than we ever imagined, yeah.

If you had asked someone from those years, they would tell you from those years when the internet started, they would tell you they didn't expect that to be this big, but it is so powerful, especially during the pandemic.  And I should say this is reason enough for countries to assert some kind of authority over certain aspects of the online space, yeah, just as they do in the offline space.  We see that government intend to implement policies that give them more authority over how parts of the internet work, yeah?  Especially within their borders, yeah.

This has been termed as digital sovereignty.  They have defended these actions, for example, shutdowns, by saying, for example, in Uganda, during the polls, the internet was shut down.  The reason was they shut down the internet for matters of national security, they were trying to see that the country doesn't get into conflict because according to them it was used to cite violence by the voters and people going to the polls.  At the end of the day when you look at that authority, we realize it has a limit that tends to end up in another thing, yeah, as we are going to see, my colleagues will talk more about that.  So digital sovereignty, we do agree that it can actually promote a lot of good things, like innovation, flexibility, within the borders of that country, yeah, but however we say, the internet model is a borderless one, yeah, the internet cannot exist with borders, yeah, therefore digital sovereignty poses a very great threat to how the internet works, to how it operates, and also its usefulness to we, the users, yeah.

And therefore, this digital sovereignty can actually lead to fragmenting of the internet by governments, where they decide what parts of the internet, of the land space their citizens can access, for example.  I can give you an example in Uganda still.

There was a time when the government decided they are going to ban Facebook, so meaning they are prohibiting you from using Facebook.  You can use other platforms, but you had to use, for example, for some of us who wanted to continue on Facebook, we are using VPN's.

So these decisions mean that citizens will see and access only what their governments want them to see.  Just imagine the kind of tempering it would do to the flow of information, yeah, and the internet working.  This becomes a state of internet we are trying to also discuss here.

And so in simple terms, what we are trying to bring up here, digital sovereignty has some good parts of it, yeah, as already said, but it is a threat in the other way to the ‑‑ to how the internet operates.

So at the end of the day, it should be something we would take cautiously, especially stakeholders.  So I will just complete my statement by saying while the internet has remained reliable, our world has become increasingly unpredictable, yeah?  Stakeholders from government, actors to even other actors have taken decisions that threaten the core ‑‑ the core values of how the internet is supposed to work, yeah?  So that means the biggest threat to the internet and its functionality now is still with the users that created it.  So I'll stop there for now.  Thank you very much.  PDF.

>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: Thank you, Innocent, for this first input to our discussion here today and also for fitting perfect eventually the time.

Now I would like to invite our next speaker, Emmanuel to take the floor.

>>  I MANUAL:  Thank you, good morning from Nigeria.  I'm Emmanuel, unfortunately I cannot use my video due to bandwidth issues.  I hope you can hear me clearly.


>>  EMMANUEL:  Thank you, for that wonderful introduction.  When we talk about digital sovereignty, like Pedro was trying to create in the earlier remarks, you know, there is misconception around the fact that it is often one‑sided viewpoint to the possibility digital sovereignty could only have negative and adverse consequences.  But we have seen some applications or some experimentations on digital sovereignty where governments actually have genuine interest without outcomes that threaten the functionality of the internet and the digital rights of the citizens that rely on the ecosystem within the system.

The broader conflict that we have, rather, around the splinternet, the other side of the debate, the fact that not only do these governments ‑‑ do governments continue to implement these regulations in ways that threaten the interests and the operations of other stakeholders who rely on the internet, we also begin to say impacts, especially within the African space, that continues to systematically neglect the fact that these actions of the splinternet, in like with me splinternet continue to him pact on the citizens, you know, on a broad scale.

Of course, there are incentives for why government often considers splintering the internet.

The first has to do with interests of national security, you know, like that which Innocent has shared.  We have had similar in Nigeria around political dissensions.  The government take has a focus on the internet as a way of controlling how conversations are held.

We just came out of the violence in Nigeria, and we saw not only do digital rights have implications in the world, at the end of the day, if no one is able to hold government responsible for these actions, we set a precedent not just in that jurisdiction, but as an example that other jurisdictions can follow with consequences to individuals.

Basically when you block the internet or splinter the internet, you effect individual's rights to access information, rights to pursue economic livelihood, the individual's rights to freedom of association.  All of these unite within a framework that continues to undermine democratic principles on a broad scale.

Then, you know, another contribution for governments in splintering the internet, in various pathways, is that it has to do with the kinds of culture that we see popularized in digital spaces these days.  Basically government is afraid of what happens if tomorrow the world expects us to behave in a certain way that we are unable to comply with or do not fit the sovereign interests of the country.  How do we ensure that our government systems, our digital economies not affected by actions that the world may take against them in these ‑‑ we see the regrettable and very unacceptable situation of Russia and Ukraine.  Other countries we see between the U.S. and China and the U.S. and Iran, then we see that government begin to have growing incentives for, okay, let's look for ways to consolidate our interest, our data, our networks, the transmissions we have, let's have some control over them.

One recommendation I want to leave with, on the back of the splinternet, by the time we splinter the internet, we end up with a framework, that not only blocks or causes that jurisdiction ‑‑ cuts that jurisdiction off from the rest of the world, effectively, making transmissions more difficult to reach or making transmissions more difficult to share across these spaces and across boundaries, but then we also end up with a situation where digital rights, impacted at the same time.  In such a way that users get to begin to ‑‑ internet users get to begin to worry about what the future of the digital ecosystem will be, the impact is economic in the first place because investors begin to lose confidence in the progressive ‑‑ the progress of the digital ecosystem like we saw in Nigeria during the Twitter ban of 2021 and then there are also other implications to the reputation of the country in the eyes of diplomatic neighbors and counterparts.

I would like to drop the floor now and hand over to the next speaker, thank you very much.

>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: Thank you very much, Emmanuel.  Now I would like to pass the floor to Wolfgang Kleinwaechter here with us today on sight.

>> WOLFGANG KLEINWAECHTER: Thank you very much and thank you for having me here in this endless chain of workshops on internet frag mentation.  In his opening remarks, said that there is also risk that question end up more confusing than clarification because the terminology for internet fragmentation and splinternet is now very popular and different people have a different understanding.  My hope is that the IGF here can contribute to bring more clarity to the debate because it's an important debate.  We have to face challenges that come with internet fragmentation or what some people understand under internet frag mentation.  Basically in my eyes, it's the conflict which was raised already 25 years ago by Manual Castells in his very good book, the network society, when he said we have states and network.

States are hierarchies, and are based on states of vanity and networks are networks, are borderless, and so that means we have these two different organizations in the world.  So we have networks which ignore borders and states which have borders.  This brings a conflict.

What we have now in our world is that we have on the application layer, we have one world and 193 national jurisdictions.  But on the transport layer, we still have one world, one internet.

I think this is a reality, a contradiction we have to face, though probably the three emphasis of the internet had the idea one world, one internet philosophy will move upwards and we will have a harmonized world, one world, one global jurisdictions.  But to be realistic, this is not the case, so the divergent interests, economic interests, political interests, religion, history, cultural and all this, so that means, we will live with states and national jurisdictions and sovereignty, the next 100 years, state will not disappear.  That means we have to face this conflict, this one world, one internet.

What I see today in a lot of cases has been mentioned is there isn't risk now that the 193 national jurisdictions will go downwards and try to splinter the transport layer.  This is a big risk.  But on the other hand, you know, the reality has shown that all the attacks against the ‑‑ let's say the transport layer, domain name, the IP address system, it's still there, so that means it functions and, as said in one of the plenary sessions, nobody could even in the pandemic time lament that the internet is ‑‑ it has worked.

Certainly some governments have introduced shutdowns, as we heard just now, but is this really a frag mentation of the internet, in my eyes, it's censorship.  You do not change the basic protocols of the internet infrastructure, you introduce a barrier on the application layer and this is censorship.  This is a violation of the human rights convention.  But not a violation of the protocols of the internet.

So I would not say ‑‑ I wouldn't say that there are not risks for the protocols.  We have seen this over the years, it started in the 1990s with an alternate route, then we had some ideas from the French government to organ object naming system for the internet of things, we saw the digital object architecture, this was an attack recently China started a debate in the ITU about new internet protocol, and we have now a debate about blockchain and the ATH domain not in the route, but, you know, it could offer an alternative.

But, you know, all these efforts to splinter, let's say, the basic infrastructure, have failed so far.  Even the tiniest proposal on new IP, you know, did not make its way into the ITU conference in October last year in Bucharest.  The proposal was discussed, but has no majority and now China's paper discussion about the polymorphic networks is nothing else than a network on top of the DNS, it's not an alternative, but complementary thing, which is interesting.

The same happened with the French proposal for the ONS in 2009.  So we discovered internet of things is an application on top of the DNS, and not an alternative to the DNS.  I think this is important to clarify, so that there is a need to ring the alarm bells, but you should ring the alarm bells in places where there is a need.  Internet shutdowns, this is a good reason to ring the alarm bells, but to qualify this more as a violation of human rights and not as splintering the internet.

So you should be very careful in making this distinctions.  So I stop here, but we will have a second round that I can add more comments, thank you.

>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: Thank you very much, Wolfgang, there will be definitely more time for both answering questions from the audience and also for the final remarks.

So now I would like to pass the floor to our next speaker, Esteve Sanz online with us today.

>> ESTEVE SANZ: Sorry I joined late.  I represent the European Commission and the head of the internet governance sector.

So I think I'm in a good position to say that this is something the internet fragmentation is something that worries the EU and the commission a lot, and we dedicate a lot of thinking about it, and I completely concur with Wolfgang that we need some ordering to this debate because it's extremely complex and conceptual tools and framework can help us think about this are more than welcome.  Actually, Wolfgang himself has proposed some of these tools in seminal papers that we take very much into account.

And basically what we find useful is indeed to divide the ‑‑ to classify the trends that we see in terms of internet fragmentation or internet openness, which is in the end what matters.  In different layers.

These layers are about, you know, the technical architecture of the internet, as Wolfgang was saying, but also commercial and economic layers.  So you can have a completely fragmented internet at the economic level, impacting the companies that operate in the internet.

You can have a fragmentation on internet itself.  To start from the last point, which is, you know, very visible potentially controversial, this is something that the EU has recognized as one of the regulators of the application layer of the internet.  Yesterday we organized an open forum presenting three of the main regulatory instruments we are implementing.

I think we need to recognize, as we do in many documents that deal with the principles and the declaration for the future of the internet, et cetera, there is this dark side of the internet, and that completely unregulated application system is not ‑‑ is not desirable, it's public administration is accountable to their citizens, and we see many things going on online that we did not expect at the beginning of the internet.  Recognizing this in every speech I've seen him recently, this is something that we all should recognize.

This requires public intervention, and this public intervention will be always in relation to the values, democratic processes, or not democratic processes that are in place in a given political community, political institutions.

Now, we do this, we have plenty of examples, we have very complex processes to bring up legislation in the EU, and that mixing interests and perspective and different cultural backgrounds from new Member States and generate a series of legislations, that are then actually taken many times as beams across the world.  Is the end point of internet fragmentation in relation to regulation?  We think it is not.  We think we should be very careful about fragmentation in regulation.

And to that end, we really think that the common denominator of every piece of regulation on the internet that should be passed across the world is human rights.  That's the common denominator, that's something that is very much embedded in the EU system.  Every piece of regulation that we produce has to comply with the charter of fundament equal rights of the European Union.  If it doesn't, it can be brought to court and the contract reconsiders the regulation.

Human rights are a permanent object of discussion when regulation is passed, and they are the end point of every internet regulation in the EU.  Internet regulations in the EU strengthen human rights.  We think it's extremely important this happens across the world.  This should be and it doesn't happen, it's not happening now.  This should be the common denominator to avoid fragmentation, and we work closely with the U.N., because it's ‑‑ you know, it's really within the U.N. system we need to work out that common denominator in everything that relates to internet regulation.

On technical fragmentation, this is, as Wolfgang was saying, this is ‑‑ you know, it has happened already, we should be clear that it has happened, not that the level of protocols, not at the level of domain name system, et cetera, it happens with little devices that telecom companies are forced to introduce into the internet.  First, there is a certain level of technical fragmentation by these devices that go into the networks, that it's already happening.  Some countries apply them, some countries don't apply them.  This is the first realization.

Now, is the technical layer of internet under threat?  Our answer is that short term, no.  Mid‑term, definitely yes, definitely yes.  We see extremely ‑‑ unfortunately, much of our time extremely well funded, well thought attempts to really transform core values of the internet into something different, and this is a major risk.

To avoid technical fragmentation of the internet, we think it's extremely important to respect and build into the consensus multistakeholder model that creates protocols, standards and core infrastructures of the internet.  There needs to be a consensus within these systems to make the internet evolve without falling into technical fragmentation we might have it on our plate in the IGF 2026, we might be discussing this very openly, and I tell you that it's really a prominent danger we are fighting as we speak in some organizations.

Now, on the commercial and economic side, we think that internet markets should remain open, fair and contestable.  This is at the ‑‑ the basis, for example, the digital market of the European Union.  That puts a certain safeguards so that big internet corporations do not take over certain markets, including European one.  Those are in general.  It's a framework so that local ecosystems, local economic ecosystems could continue thriving without having big corporations taking over.

This is something that goes hand in hand with the fact that we have a digital divide, the internet is fragmented by the mere fact that many people are not connected, it's not really global, it's not really open, there are plenty of people not connected.  So we need a very strong effort as well to disfragment the internet at that level.  Bringing everyone online should go hand in hand with human rights.

We have done one digital transition for the sake of digital transitions, we want them that are based on open internet model in line with human rights.  As we well know, the internet, we cannot take it as idealistically as in the beginning, it can be used for exercising massive control over citizens or creating strong protectionist measures.  Thank you very much, looking forward to engaging in the conversation.

>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: Thank you a lot, Esteve.

Now I would like to pass the floor to our speaker, Kateryna Bovsunovska.  The floor is yours.

>> KATERYNA BOVSUNOVSKA: Thank you very much.  I would like to echo Wolfgang, that it's indeed ‑‑ this session is one of the myriad of internet fragmentation sessions this IGF.  But during the sessions, we were all discussing what is internet fragmentation, what it is, main examples on technical level, or is it focused on user level, or internet governance level, and the main question remains unanswered, apart from what exactly is internet fragmentation, what can we do about that?

As a representative of youth, I believe that we have at least some general idea these decisions made by governments, they will continue to be made by governments at least for now.  While, indeed, the world order is based on the state sovereignty in the digital space, digital sovereignty will continue to be existing.

We need to influence the decision‑making process.  That's why, for example, this IGF is really important for us, because it has very particular trait of being multistakeholder framework.  It, indeed, tries to collect all of us from governmental sector, from private sector, from youth, from civil society, academia, technical community, and to let us talk together, discuss the critical issues that are relatable to the global internet we face today, and to find some common solutions together.

That's why, as a youth, we are very dynamic group, we are really affected by the internet and all of its good sides and bad sides.  We have the opportunities presented by internet, and at the same time, we are really frustrated when we are barred from using the other opportunities and chances we could have used without the decisions taken by someone else, without our interests.

And in this IGF and multistakeholder approach, if you keep engaged ‑‑ if you keep youth engaged, we are growing up, and then we are transforming into other groups, we are becoming young professionals, go into private sector, technical community, civil society, academia and all of them, and we know how to talk to each other already prepared during the youth engagement in IGF.  In regional initiatives, in national initiatives.

We are ready to listen to each other, having our common past as a youth, and we are ready to build common solutions to fight our common problems without infringing the internet.  Thank you very much.

>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: Thank you a lot, Kateryna.  Now we will move to our speaker who will close this first round of speaker input, Milton Mueller, the floor is yours.

>> MILTON MUELLER: Thank you.  Everybody can hear me okay?  I'm sitting here at 4:00 in the morning in the U.S., and now I know how people in Asia feel when they are participating in these meetings in strange time zones.

I was a little bit objecting to the title of the session, it talks about a balance between digital sovereignty and splinternet and deliberate i provocative.  I think there's no balance, if you go for digital sovereignty, you get a splintered net.  I agree with comments about this, they already said it well, I think it's very important to include these kinds of African perspective or developing country perspective where, you know, the government is really willing to just shut down the internet.

I don't agree with Wolfgang that does not constitute fragmentation.  The fact that, you know, there's nothing more fragment other than shutting off the ‑‑ fragmentary than shutting off the internet and refusing to let it operate.  Now, I think we need to be ‑‑ to pick up on the semantic confusion that Pedro referred to, we do have a tendency to confuse the sovereignty of states, which does exist and will continue to exist, and in some ways is a good thing with sovereignty over cyberspace.  Those are two very different things.

As Wolfgang said very well, perhaps he was referring to my book called networks and states and said it was all about the other guy.  I can't remember his name.  There is a conflict between the territoriality of governments and the global technical standards of the internet.

But I think one thing I want to contribute to this discussion is that we need to focus more productively on talking about the balance between the state and the market in a globalized digital ecosystem.  What the internet with its global compatibility does, and it's not just the internet, it's all kinds of digital technologies that have been organized on a globally compatible way, for three decades now.

So what ‑‑ how do states assert authority over digital markets and digital services when their scope of authority is territorial, and the market is transnational, and the technical ecosystem is, indeed, global?  So I think there's not a good recognition within the U.N. system, within the IGF of the importance of the market in generating capital, for example, the digital compact talks about giving everybody broadband.  Well, it's a very nice thing to say, but if you're going to give everybody broadband, you're vesting hundreds of billions of dollars in capital, in facilities, and you'll be taking risks that money will be lost or not used efficiently.

So we have to look at, you know, why do people invest, how do they invest, where does the money come from?  That's a market phenomenon.  And we need to develop self‑sustaining and profitable industries.  It's one thing to complain about the fact that the U.S. platforms are, you know, so dominant, but really the only way to approach that dominance, there might be some regulatory measures, but the most effective way is to establish competing and alternative firms, which you have seen, for example, successfully done in China and to some extent in India.

So, again, the market phenomena become extremely important.  Also, it's clearly the market that drives technological innovation and development and efficiency.  Now, the thing about markets, they do not want to be bound by territories, they want to create more efficient divisions of labor, and if you look at something like the chip industry, it has been globalized, partly because of the world trade organization agreement, the ITA, which helped to distribute the supply chain of chips all over the world, but with an emphasis on the east Asia.

There was a huge Division of Labor between the design and research and development aspect, which is dominated by the U.S. and to some extent western Europe, and the manufacturing and production in other countries.

So it's not an accident that historically, the most economically liberal countries are precisely the ones with the leadership in telecommunication industries, with the most rapid and wide diffusion of telecom capabilities.  Whether you're talking about Britain and the telegraph era, U.S. and Scandinavia in the telephone era, the U.S. with the internet.  It is the most economically liberal countries that lead.

So the role of government is largely one of setting rules of fair play or for stopping fraud and abuse.  The government interventions, however, like markets, can be abused and can be failures.  Governments are not Gods who reach down into markets and automatically fix them, you know, I'm sorry to inform the European Commission of this, because sometimes they do seem to think that way.

So digital sovereignty is an obstacle in many cases or can be an obstacle to development if it means that foreign capital and expertise and free trade and markets with the rest of the world are going to be blocked and impeded.  Also it is an obstacle to human rights if it means that the government is in fact asserting control over what kind of information people can access.

And this is an Article 19, you know, basic human rights of the international system saying that people have the right to access information wherever they can find it.  Sovereignty is an assertion of exactly the opposite.  It says that the government should have supreme control over what information you can play.

So the sovereign right of states should not get in the way of the human rights of people in a country, and it should not get in the way of the economic rights they would have to choose the products and services they prefer.  So that's what I have to say, look forward to the discussion.

>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: Thank you a lot, Milton.  With this input, we are finishing the first part of our session, and now we are moving to the other one, which is the Q&A part.

So in this part, firstly, we will ‑‑ I will collect one question from the floor, then Pedro will ask one question from the chat.  Then we will give our speakers some time to respond to each other, if they would like to, because we could hear there was some agreements, some disagreements.  It might be interesting to actually listen to your next remarks, and after that, if we still have some time, we will take some more questions.

So okay, I see two hands.

Okay.  Okay.  So please go ahead.

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Okay.  So basically I think we have to clarify some concept.  I agree with Wolfgang, some ways I agree with Milton.  We have the concept.  First of all, human rights, freedom of expression, it is a conditional right.  It is not ‑‑ any country, you have freedom of expression, but the state has a right to regulate the content in terms of speech, political, a harm of content.  I study human rights, sorry.  Freedom Especially is not absolute right.  It's a conditional right.  When we talk about the state censorship, just like Wolfgang just mentioned, when they shut down, they shut down the access to the internet.  They're doing censorship.  Which means sensor out ‑‑ censor out, what constitutes as a counter ‑‑ what constitutes as a propaganda, which is up to debate.  But at least we need to clarify whether they shut down the layer, access or just to the filtering of the censorship.  As I said, freedom of expression is not an absolute right.  We z discuss the fragmentation we have to clarify what do we exactly means?  Each country has a right to regulate, you know, the ‑‑ the content, it is not free of restrictions.  This is my first point.

I would like clarification from our panelists.  The secondly, about diversity and fragmentation, we talk about the industry policy, we talk about a lot of problems dominated in Africa.  Exactly, this is actually the kind ‑‑ the industry policy, local, if you want to build up your own industry, you need to have an industry policy, your local industries, okay, this happened in 60s, 70s, we have this flow of information by the U.N. to help to balance the information flow from the south and the ‑‑ from the east, from the west, and the north because we see this imbalance of information flow.  We are fixing that situation now.  It is controlled by the big platform, America and China, and the small countries like African countries, they need to have their own platforms.  They have to have industry policy to help to protect their industry and also antitrust policy to regulate those countries.  Therefore I'm asking, fragmentation, where is the diversity, where is the diversity in terms of regulatory model in terms of ‑‑ also in terms of local industry policy.  I think we shouldn't make it a concept fragmentation, and also make it so blurred for political purpose.  Thank you, that's my comment.  Also questions.

>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: Okay.  So maybe to clarify, is it a comment or question to any particular speaker or?

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Also question to Milton and Wolfgang about whether we think this is a concept ‑‑ how about diversity in local jurisdictions and also freedom of expression.

>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: I see that Milton has his hand up.  So Milton, please, the floor is yours.

>> MILTON MUELLER: Sure.  So hi there, it's good to see you, I guess you're there onsite.  I ‑‑ you know, I think that this idea that freedom of expression is conditional as a factual statement, it is correct as a normative statement, I think it's a rather bad excuse for censorship.  Of course different countries have different standards, some countries are extremely repressive in what they allow and, as you know, China is one of those.  And to say that, you know, freedom of expression is conditional does not justify the kind of censorship that you see in probably about half to 2/3 of the countries in the world today.

And most of that censorship is not about protecting the public interest, it's protecting people who are in power.  That's precisely what the internet did, was it just, by accident almost, opened up the new channels of communication to people, there were no mechanisms to control them.

So suddenly people had a widened and broadened right to access and express themselves, and many governments then in the last 20 years have started to clamp down in various ways, and this, of course, leads to a more fragmented application environment.

So that's the response I would make.  I would be interested to hear from Wolfgang also.

>> WOLFGANG KLEINWAECHTER: I would echo Milton, we should be very careful in saying, you know, it's the right of governments to control content.  It's a very old story.  It goes back to the invention of the printing press, 500 years ago.  When he offered his ‑‑ the opportunity to print the Bible, this was seen by the Pope and the Catholic church with great enthusiasm, that it could bring the holy word to many people.  But then people started to write pamphlets against the Catholic church, and the Pope was not amused and the Catholic church introduced the index of censorship which, of course, by the way, in place until the 1960s.

So ‑‑ and that's the question, who has the capacity to decide what is right and what is wrong content.  This brings an idea which has to be first elaborated in cyberspace about neutral third important.  So that means if the government decides and says this is good and this is bad, this would undermine the individual rights.

If we leave it in the hand of corporations with a Facebook oversight board, this is also bad.  In the democratic system, we have the parliament, the government and the independent judiciary, you need an independent judiciary for content related cases in cyberspace.  I remember a very classical case, frame from the older generation, younger people will not remember it when Daniel Esberg from the Pentagon disclosed the lies of the U.S. government in the beginning of the Viet Nam war and gave all the information to the "New York Times," and they published the so‑called P&G papers, and ‑‑ pentagon papers, and the President of the United States, Richard Nixon, was very angry and said this will undermine the national security of the United States.  The United States was in a war, and he called the "New York Times" and said you have to stop this, you cannot publish this.  This is undermining the national security of the United States.

But the "New York Times" argued we have the 1st amendment in the U.S. Constitution.  So we have freedom of press, I will publish whatever, I think it's important, and the case went to the Supreme Court of the United States, and they had a landmark decision, 5‑4, very close, the court argued that the right of people to know the truth is more important than the interests of the government to hide its lies.

I think this is an interesting case which can be, you know, helpful to start something to develop for the cyberspace.

We need independent third parties to manage content related conflicts, and by the way, we had to ‑‑ similar conflicts in the early days of ICANN, when cyber squatters took names and it was complicated how to handle this between cyber law and trademark law.  We introduced the so.

>> Called dispute resolution policy with the distributed system of the so‑called dispute resolution service providers, with panels.

So probably we can develop such a decentralized system for content related cases, not only for cases on conflicts around domain names, but for content things.  This would be innovation and public service making, this would be innovation, it's a long way to go, but I hope with the help of the IGF, we can move forward, thank you.

>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: Thank you a lot.  Emmanuel has also raised his hand, Emmanuel please go ahead.

>>  EMMANUEL:  Thank you, Emilia.  I think one desirable in this discussion around what we need to do to clarify concepts, is the ‑‑ is the need to separate political concerns from the operations of the internet.  Now, the question I would raise the concern about freedom of expression, and the fact that governments or sovereign authorities would always want to ‑‑ the boundaries around freedom of speech, which is one desirable.  On the other hand, to what there is no boundary to which such regulation or such permits are set by the government around how they're going to control free speech and how are they going to define what enters free speech, in light of the fact we have seen increasingly seen governments that, you know, like VRS Wolfgang was trying to I will ‑‑ like Wolfgang was trying to illustrate with the quote about the right of citizens to have flow dome of speech, take the interests of government to hide their lies, and to divide dissent, we will begin to see freedom of speech infractions, I have seen the same arguments ‑‑ debates around the right to education.

So a communist government would likely not want, you know, students in their country to have access to western education.  Even though there is that right implicitly, or explicitly, defined by the declarations and regulation that are widely acceptable and probably Soviet‑style government or Soviet government may not want their students to access western curriculum or learn what ‑‑ aligned with western education.  At the crux of these, by the time we begin to bring a lot of these geopolitical and political considerations and interests into discussions around the operations and function of the internet, we often relegate the technical consideration that defines or characterize the internet, what makes it the internet in the first place.  This is the will change we have had in Nigeria with the government.  It is coming on the backs of well meaning, well intended desires of government to control issues around hate speech, to control issues around pornography and, of course, these are vices, but then by the time we separate the technical considerations of what ‑‑ how are these regulations, how are these policies going to impact the internet in practice, in the long run, politically, in terms of digital rights, in terms of the economic ‑‑ the mic empowerment of the citizens and access to information, by the time we do not factor in the technical considerations into the debate, and we focus so much on the geopolitical and the political interests that characterize government discussion around these issues, we are likely to always end up at this juncture where we are can tending digital sovereignty and which should go for the other.

>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: Thank you to all three speakers who responded to the question.

Now we would like to give an opportunity to online participants to ask their questions.  So Pedro, if you could read the question from the chat, or let the person from the chat speak and ask their question.


>> PEDRO de PERDIGAO LANA: We have a few questions.  But I will start with them.  And Jim, if you would like to make the question you posed there ‑‑ you posted in the chat a few minutes ago, you can do it or I will read it for you.

The first one, there are a few general questions here, so what do speakers think are our best tools to try to solve this terminology problems, so we can start talking about the same ideas when using these concepts.  I see this possible?  More about giving some precise recommendation, what can we do, campaigns, IGF guidelines, something like that.  To solve the semantic confusion.

The second question would be focusing on technical fragmentation alone is incomplete, in my opinion.  So what does interoperability facilitate?  If governments can use the tech layer, they use app layer fragmentation to the same effect.  Djim, would you like to have your question, we have a block and then on to the speakers which ones they would like to answer.  He said I can read it for him.  He asks ‑‑ made a comment, a question at the end.  Digital sovereignty and the splinternet tends to undermine the internet model.  It is a political question that it must be said depending on the reasons, it cannot also be a question of ethics.  This can be seen as differently according to local futures.  How to approach this questions, what are the proposals?

So giving the floor back to speakers, you can answer them all or answer a few of them, you can also choose not to answer any in this block of questions.  So giving the floor back to you.

>>  EMMANUEL:  I'll take the first question because it's a clear one.  Before I answer that question, just to clarify a bit on the differences, it is not a time for us to declare a state of splinternet, but we should rather fear that the series of actions by different actors.

>> INNOCENT ADRIKO: Can actually lead to the splinternet.  I think that is what we should focus on so much right now.  I wouldn't ‑‑ I think it is not yet time to say we are already in the state of splinternet.  Back to the question.

One of the participants has asked what tools they can use to understand about the two concepts.  So I should say this is the first platform, I mean, the fact that we are able to organize such a session where we have speakers with different perspective, agreeing and disagreeing.  At the end of the day, we understand each other, everyone's perspective and be able to take home something new we never knew.  I think that is a good starting point, but also taking personal initiative, like, for example, I should say there's so many articles that have been written by different stakeholders about splinternet and about digital sovereignty.  Where the articles might be confusing from one side to another, I think it's ‑‑ it's a start for everything, yeah?  I'm very sure at one point we should be able to reach this and that is that.  Thank you.

>> KATERYNA BOVSUNOVSKA: There is a policy launched last year, they have a mandate for two years, coordinated by Bruno and they presented the policy network yesterday.  And here also like one of the members of this policy network, I believe Milton as well.  And they are exactly debating the terminology and the definitions used for this topic, and they are doing their best to clarify it for us as much as possible, and if you want to join them in this effort, you can always join the policy network as it's open and you could find it just on the IGF website, thank you.


>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: Thank you, Kateryna for responding to the question, we have ten more minutes for the Q&A part, and I just think that maybe we will connect speaker's responses to each other with closing remarks and thanks to that, we'll have time for some more onsite questions.  Are there ‑‑ I see one here.

And here, we'll take two.  So maybe ‑‑ yeah, you can start and we'll listen to your question.

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hi, everybody, my name is Sunete.  I work for the Tony Blair institute.  My question is, I think, first governments are not homogenous entities and even within national governments you have differences of opinion about what regulation or policy should look like, so maybe the Ministry of ICT would feel differently from the Ministry of Defense.  I think part of the challenge also is governments, like all actors, are not necessarily wholly bad or wholly good, and because of the technical complexity and the speed and I guess the potential harm, I think sometimes governments with good intentions are forced into utilizing blunt instruments like internet shutdowns, okay.

I think part of that is because there isn't an ability or a capacity to understand, well, what are the interim instruments that I can use so I can address the situation of harm without potentially causing greater harm or undermining human rights, which I think we all agree is important.  My question is to whoever is happy to take it, is if I ‑‑ if there is significant harm, I don't want to shut down the internet, what can I do to respond to challenges in a way that is respectful or fair and what should be the ‑‑ what should be the starting position for governments in terms of understanding the tradeoffs.

>> WOLFGANG KLEINWAECHTER: Thank you.  I'll try to be as concise as possible.  I have some reflections and a quick question.  So adding to what Emmanuel said about the genuine interests of states, I would add about health care and educational platforms in Brazil.  In the steering committee we are working in ‑‑ together with digital sovereignty, we would be glad to share this afterwards.  Also considering other approaches to sovereignty, such as we bring not only the power to the states, but power to the people, like recently in Brazil, the movements of homeless workers has just declared what is their perspective about digital sovereignty, for instance, so maybe it's a good time to bring to the table who really should define what development is in the 21st century.  Also the title of this IGF is resilient internet for a shared and sustainable five.  Highlight for ‑‑ future.  It's working with the concept of sustainable digital future, besides meaningful access, taking in the carbon footprint of internet communications infrastructure.  Professor Milton said markets are transnational, but we should warn just last week, the U.S. Udonis Haslem banned Chinese companies to operate in the territory.  Finally should bear in mind,is internet fragmentation which is the name of the policy internet.  Agree with professor Wolfgang.  Going to the question, maybe to Innocent and Justyna.  The most powerful tech U.S. based companies are jumping ‑‑ the lower levels of the internet, like fiberoptic cables, is it a menace to fragmentation, thank you.

>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: Maybe we'll take one more question to just put them in the block also.


>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Good morning, thank you.  The concept of sovereignty sovereign is was born around 1716 or something like that.  It was ‑‑ the reason ‑‑ the objective ‑‑ the objective was to ensure that the authority ‑‑ the authority of the state over a directory.  Later, much later, it became ‑‑ it became a forum to protect the rights of the citizens, but originally it was to protect the authority, the power.

Even ever it has been used ‑‑ exactly with the opposite interests sometimes.  But so in this new ‑‑ this part from the premises that the governments were the only representatives of the interests of the people, but in this world, as described by Wolfgang, we have 139 states but one network.  They are represented or defended by the government.  So the rights of the people, who really matters, could be opposite ‑‑ opposed to the concept of sovereignty, this is something the governments should understand.  This is the basis of the multistakeholder model, this is something everybody here embraces.  My last comment is that with regard to fragmentation, I think that it doesn't matter really the definition of fragmentation, what is or is not., Wolfgang and Milton disagree on one specific thing, if the shutdowns are not fragmentation.  They both agree this is something bad.  I think that we should concentrate our efforts in discussing what is right and what is bad and rather than the concrete definition, thank you.

>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: Thank you a lot.  So end who are the speakers who would like to respond.

>>  Emmanuel.

>> INNOCENT ADRIKO: The regulatory policy proposals so that some of these negative outcomes on the splinternet, I would like to introduce to the floor a toolkit provided recently developed by the Internet Society, the internet impact assessment toolkit.  This toolkit, you know, basically provides a checklist of five desirables, five principles that have ‑‑ in short the internet has continued to grow and develop sustainable over the years, with the toolkit, they are able to access proposals in a very fast and very effective manner, you know, focusing on technical considerations.  This toolkit has been expanded to include what was called the internet enablers, with focus on the more nontechnical aspects of internet functionality, and internet development, issues like the ‑‑ these are cultural issues, the balance of participation among players in the internet industry and the internet ecosystem and digital rights and accountability and transparency.  All of these, I think this is one toolkit available to governments almost immediately or I would say immediately to be able to access their regulatory intention or policy intentions.

We have worked at the organization with governments in Nigeria, and across west Africa countries, recently we are beginning with a project, where we are covering the west African countries in this regard.  In this one toolkit, you know, you would find very useful if you're working in a governmental framework and you are faced with the regulatory proposals you think could undermine the progress and development of the internet.  I think, part of this also answers the first question, which Pedro put on the slide earlier, that Innocent responded to.  This toolkit also provides very useful definitions and very useful clarifications what are some of the desirables that we want to see in an internet that is inclusive and open and Interconnected and free from jurisdictional and not shackled by injuries dictional barriers, I want to recommend to the policy committee that Emilia talked about earlier, a white paper the Internet Society recently drafted on the digital sovereignty, very insightful, very informative white paper.  I think that committee would find it useful as well.

That is with regards to the first question, thank you..

>> INNOCENT ADRIKO: The question of the tech, I think it's not whether or not, but I think it should be, because, as I said, I tried to clarify the actions, the series of actions that ‑‑ the different actors tend to implement are the ones that could lead to the splinternet.  It's not a question of whether or not, but a question of what of those actions by those tech and how they could lead to a splinternet, yeah, thank you.

>> MILTON MUELLER: I'd like to address the speaker, I think from Brazil who asked about the U.S., China rift on exports.  He said markets are transnational, but what's going on with the U.S.  Yeah, exactly, that's the point.  There are market participants would be happy to sell chips to China, China would be happy to sell Huawei's equipment to the U.S.  But it's political.  Based on national security concerns, geopolitical competition, and this is the reason why I emphasized this junction between states and the globally integrated digital ecosystem.  I think that's really the fundamental thing we are talking about.  I would also like to agree with Raul and another speaker who said that, you know, we do need to be talking more about what to do about these things.  I think it was Kateryna, rather than definitional questions, definitions are important to, you know, make sure we are talking about the same thing and it's good to have these discussions, and there have been many of them, but I think that the key question is really what do you do, and I agree with Wolfgang and generally the people in this environment that have talked about the formation of new international institutions that can take over some of the governance problems that are posed by this global digital ecosystem.

So whether it's the dispute resolution system for trademarks and domain names that ICANN set up or the policy‑making apparatus of the regional internet registries, or even something like the global internet forum for counter terrorism where you're dealing with content moderation on a trans that the basis or the ‑‑ those kind of new institutional frameworks are the direction we could go.  That is controversial and difficult.  Again, the countries that emphasize sovereignty will resist those initiatives because it would be a surrender of their exclusivity of power in favor of a global institution.

So you can expect that to be a contentious issue, but I think some of these issues ‑‑ not every issue, some issues can be solved domestically, many of these issues need to be pushing towards institutional innovation.

>> WOLFGANG KLEINWAECHTER: I want to take the question from the Tony Blair institute and the unintended side effect from governmental regulation.

I prefer to use smart regulation because, you know, 20 years ago, regulations was seen as a barrier against innovation, and it would strangle thinking out of the box, but today we have realized we need regulation.  But what kind of regulation, and in so far, smart regulation, which exactly defines what it wants to achieve is very important, and you can find it out within a government, with different ministries, and you have ‑‑ it's the same in every country, foreign affairs, defense, interior, have different ideas.  The only way to settle this problem and to avoid unintended side effects, is to have a multistakeholder discussion before you act.  So that means you bring all perspective on board.  A good example is the directive from the European Union.  It was very understandable that we have to enhance cyber security, but then they went too far by including the root for the DNS into the proposed legislation.  This would have undermined the security of the domain name system because this is managed by ICANN, and so far it was very wise that after consultation with ICANN, you know, this was taken out of the directive.  It is managed by the multistakeholder community, by ICANN, if governments have a problem with that, they can use the governmental Advisory Committee to give advice to the ICANN board how to enhance security of the root service system.

But this is a distributed system, in so far the recommendation to governments is be very careful, consult not only, but putting all the relevant stakeholders to the table, be aware about unintended side effects, and act only where there is a need.  Not just to create big boxes where you put all the problems and regulate in a top‑down way.  This is not the tradition is good, but we are moving towards the future, and need new innovation mechanisms.  Thank you.

>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: Thank you a lot.  Two people also raise their hands in the Zoom room.  So firstly, I would like to let them also have their remarks.  So the first one will be Jorge, sorry if provide announce it wrong, only for 30 seconds, so please be very brief.

>>  JORGE:  Yeah, thank you very much for giving me the floor.  I think what is lost in the discussion is that when there is an absence of rules, and an absence of governance mechanisms, what occurs is that power or might trumps rules, and a small country, small societies are not in a position of dictating rules, like big corporations or like big economic countries, or big economic players.

So what I think is  ‑‑ that the splinters and the fragmentation are a consequence to a large extent of those big players imposing their will without really basing their decisions on an open and inclusive multistakeholder process at the global level, and there's where we have to work, to build stronger global inclusive institutions that really set the rules for the future of digital cooperation.  That's my comment, thank you.

>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: Thank you a lot, Jorge.  Then I would also like to give the floor to auke, who raised his hand for 30 seconds.

>>  AUKE:  Thank you very much.  Yeah, I would like to make two points, one, we should make it impossible for some undemocratic state actors to touch the infrastructure of the internet.  So we should all work together as technical community, as private sector to make it impossible to block, shut down or whatever to make it impossible for users to use the internet in a more ‑‑ in the way they would like to use it.  Second, content wise, that's a difficult topic.  I also heard the remark from Wolfgang, maybe we should moderate it in some way, but that would be to national governments, for instance, or private sector to make ‑‑ make the content that's online, that it doesn't conflict with the laws they have in the certain country.  Third, we should make possible that more democratic ways are in place for those kinds of content moderation.  Thanks.

>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: Thank you a lot.  We have run a bit out of time, we are very sorry for that, but we had to start earlier because of some previous meetings.

So if you could stay with us five more minutes, speakers would make their closing remarks just very brief ones, like 30 seconds, one minute, please, and also if ‑‑ if we didn't have opportunity to listen to your question, Pedro has shared the link to the Google document in the chat, in the Zoom room, we will put it down in the session report in which you can put all your questions and we will pass them to speakers so they can also ‑‑ if they would like to, they can respond to them.  So in this way we would like to hear all of your comments and questions because this format is very short.  It looks like it look.

So starting maybe in the same order as previously, Innocent, the floor is yours.

>> INNOCENT ADRIKO: Sure, thank you, Emilia.  I think we have discussed a lot, but I think my take‑home is how would we go beyond coming to discuss or to understand what the splinternet is, okay, both concepts, actually, we all have different perspective, and some are deferring to the others, but how we find a common ground to understand two concepts.  How do we work as stakeholders to find solutions to the issues at hand?  Thank you.

>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: Thank you.  Emmanuel.

>>  EMMANUEL:  I think with other every other type of relationship, communication is important.  We need more communication between government and other stakeholders on issues around sovereignty and splinternet.  We have seen that between intention and outcome, that we see when it comes to regulatory matters around digital sovereignty and the splinternet, along this continuum, there is a lot that is often lost and intent by the time we begin to reconcile outcome with intent, we begin to see the consequences are more far‑reaching than any of the individual stakeholders would have imagined before such outcome.  So I think this necessitates my engagement and like Wolfgang suggested, the multistakeholder model approach is useful, thank you.

>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: Thanks, Wolfgang.

>> WOLFGANG KLEINWAECHTER: Yes.  Keep the critical internet resources which constitute the ‑‑ basically of the internet as neutral as possible and learn from climate change, there is no American air, there is no Chinese air, there is polluted air or clean air, and keep the internet clean, there is no Chinese protocols or American protocols, so keep it as clean as possible, and reject all efforts to splinter the internet.

>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: Thank you, Esteve.

>> ESTEVE SANZ: Thank you for inviting me.  This is an ongoing reflection and a critical issue for the commission, and this IGF conversations are extremely useful for us.  Would just like to conclude with a thought, which is actually recently backed by empirical studies, I think it's underline the discussion and underlying our in tuition, we are not here discussing about the internet as such, it is so embedded into the everyday life of citizens and politics, that and what we see, what we suspect, again it's on the table recently by some geopolitical studies is that the more fragmented the internet is, the different ‑‑ the more different the experience of the internet user is, so the different things they encounter, the more exacerbated become the geopolitical differences.  Splintered internet is a splintered world.  Two internets are two worlds.  Two protocols in Africa are two Africas.  Two protocols in Europe are two Europes.  Very important we solve this problem, that we find consensus, I think that human rights is really very important tool that we've been using in many instances, and we should keep exploring the connection of human rights with the internet as much as possible.  Thank you so much.

>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: Thank you.  Kateryna.

>> KATERYNA BOVSUNOVSKA: I would like to thank once again to all the participants for this debate, and we have seen, again, it's such a complicated issue and becoming even more and more complex and crippling from application layer to the transport layer and application layer.  While we are all affected by this issue, the debate is becoming even more relevant these days, and we need to find the common ground on which we stand and to start finding common solutions.  At least the direction for that solution.  And innovative institutions, multistakeholder approach can shed a light on that.  Thank you.

>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: Thank you and Milton.

>> MILTON MUELLER: Yes.  I'm just going to be ceremonial here and say that I'm impressed with this organization of this panel by the youth group, I'm very happy you invited me, we have been working on these kinds of issues at the internet governance project for almost 20 years now, and I would invite you to check out our site and stay in touch.  We regularly blog on issues related to what we call the digital political economy and the growing digital Cold War, which some of you might call a splinternet.  So stay informed, and stay mobilized in these global environments.  Thank you.

>> EMILIA ZALEWSKA: Thank you, everyone.  Thank you one more time to all our speakers and to our audience.