IGF 2022 Day 4 Networking Session #79 Open Data for the Future of the Internet

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.



>> ‑‑ it's very hard as you may imagine to be a politician without going an online presence. How do you campaign? How do you engage with your stints.

It's not just global south. Switzerland 41% of female parliamentarians have altered explicit images of themselves sent directly to them. What we don't have good data on which I would like to start working on, one is how this environment limits the expression of girls. How it shapes the experiences of boys who are saying what is the right way to engage online, and really how it grows people who would perpetrate. We have these notions of who are the big perpetrators of violence online and who comes in, as they did in our session on Monday and Zoom bombs with hate speech, with pornography and abusive violent videos of people being murdered. That happens at IGF this week. They attempted to do it this morning at another gender session we have. We don't know how people get there and where we say this seems like normal behavior and how it gets escalated. It's for all of us that we want to have an engaging safe environment online.

     Why does this matter? We're losing leadership. We're losing the voice, the ideas and we're losing the creativity and expression of people because we didn't create an environment to keep them shame. Chayn, started by Hera Hussain, it's for survivors of domestic violence and online survivors. I'm putting on a web foundation that I have. We worked with Meta, Google, TikTok and Twitter. We said you need to change your practice. Last year at the generation equality form, they said, okay, we're going to change our curation so it make it easier for people to report when we get harassed. Fantastic, we'll hold you to that. A year later, they did make changes. If you use these platforms, you can see there's easier ways to leave, to block people, to report I've been harassed. What they didn't do is tell us if these changes have actually affected the incidents that are happening online and the severity of them. We asked them for that information. They either say, well, that's a privacy concern or we just don't have that because we don't know what people's gender are. These organizations know what your favorite pizza topping is, what your eye color is. They definitely know what gender you identify as when you're online. If they're not going to share the data, how do we get better gender online gender-based data. If I can turn it over to my colleague who is dialing in. Her name is Florence Toffa from Mobile Web Ghana. I'll pause to see if she can join. What you're looking at are the beginnings of a map, these are gender justice and digital rights organizations. These are the organizations collecting data themselves for years on violence online. The reason that we go with the civil society organizations. One, because the tech companies aren't telling us. Even if they were, you'd want to have accountability. Is this data actually accurate. When people experience violence and harassment, typically maybe they'll try to go to the tech platforms and Twitter. Often they go to the organizations that they know and say I see you're engaging online all the time. How do I report this and how do I work through what has happened today? How do I deal with these emotions, with the backlash at work? These organizations are doing so much work to try to keep the internet safe and hold the spaces for people to be able to report, which they're not really supported for and not recognized as a vital role in the space. This is sort of a vital infrastructure that we're not acknowledging that's necessary in order to have some protections online. How are we doing? Okay. Fantastic.

     >> FLORENCE TOFFA: Katherine, I can talk now.

     >> KATHERINE TOWNSEND: We can hear you, thank you.

     >> FLORENCE TOFFA: Nice. Thank you for having me here. It's a pleasure to be here. I will talk to you briefly about this. One of the most important things that the web foundation is also trying to do is create a repository and inventory of people working in the area of online gender‑based violence. Like Katherine mentioned, all these organizations, we really want to see and map and aggregate what they're doing to combat online gender‑based violence. So we have some data on the various countries in terms of policies, stories and case studies related to online gender‑based violence. So the map that you see, you can go and see, where you take the link in the presentation and see the map. This map is part of broader set of work that the web foundation is doing, as Katherine mentioned, that provides an overview of the state of online gender‑based violence across the globe. It's very important to consolidate efforts, in order to consolidate resources, initiate what is happening around gender‑based violence, in order to know what other countries are doing related to gender‑based violence, it's the main reason this map is very important. The map depicts the findings of the web foundation website on online gender‑based violence, highlights the breadth of initiative across the globe. When you go online and click on the link, I'm sure it will be shared in the chat, when you click on the chat for reasons you would see what kind of policies various countries are putting in place when it comes to online gender‑based violence, Western Europe, United Kingdom, you'd see the type of policy, it is a legislation and the key aim of the initiative of the policy is to prevent harm to individuals in the UK online while defending freedom of expression and introduces off‑line as a regulator. You can see the various focus of the legislation and what the legislation is doing.

     From there, like I mentioned, we have policy, we have cases, we have stories as well. So you can look at the various cases that have happened across the board. We tried to map the cases. We also tried to share some of the stories people have committed, organizations in the area of gender‑based violence. This is just the initial phases. We're hoping it will be a central point where various initiatives related to gender‑based violence are aggregated and people can go there and see what I have talked about and have a look at the case studies happening across the globe related to online gender‑based violence, related to various stories, true stories, genuine stories that people have shared with us and have shared with other people related to online gender‑based violence. Critically, various organizations have put in place to help to reduce online gender‑based violence. We welcome feedback and it will be the starting point of a repository and aggregated database of what is happening related to online gender‑based violence when it comes to stories, when it comes to policies and also key case studies happening across the world.

     >> KATHERINE TOWNSEND: Thank you, Florence. The link is there. You can go and explore and find gaps and add to.

This is things we'll bring to the Commission on the Status of Women, into the summit of the future. If we don't have a good happening of what policies at a government level work and what issues translate well across and what doesn't translate well, what needs to be localized, what kind of policies and projects and processes that tech companies actually enact for themselves, there's no sort of central repository. This is why we're trying to map these out so we have a basis to build on. Yes, on going and we're really excited about this work. Thank you, Florence. I do have a colleague who was meant to join us but she has fallen ill. Let me attempt to channel for her her work on speed and quality of internet service. Case study number one. What is the data we need, one is on rights, what is the experience of being online? Can it be safe? Another is what happens when you're online, can you have good connectivity and stay online? Very important for the internet governance.

So this screen may look familiar to you for anybody that has run a speed test before. There are a few organizations that run these. One is called Measurement Lab. There's plenty of places where you can see speed test and test it for yourself. This has an open data asset, they have about 9 million pings every day says what's the speed of my internet. These are the nodes around the world that they test from. There could be more. You can notice some pretty big gaps in South America, Australia just one side across the continent of Africa. Central Asia is pretty absent as well. If we don't have a good measurement that says here is how fast. It becomes difficult to say to an ISP I can install new internet speeds and I can make it to this quality. So please give me your support for this or give me your government contract for this. We're supportive of local community networks. There are a lot of organizations working on the community networks that build up at a hyper level worker. Amazon has a partnership with a group called Connect Humanity. Unless we have good data and good mapping of who does get good connectivity and what the major gaps are, it becomes very difficult to rely on what is the global data set about the connectivity we could have.

     What I'm curious is, how do we get countries to report on this. I don't know if you've been following the global digital consultations. They're going to close for civil society and the public at the end of March. It would be very helpful if weaving in greater sustainability into the development goals, better understanding and better competition on connectivity, especially for underconnected rural areas, underconnected areas in urban centers, et cetera. I'm sure there's questions about that. I will do my best to field them.

     Similarly, the last case study we have is on another data that we really need for the future of the internet which is is it affordable. One is, once you're online, another even high quality, and how much does it cost. I have colleagues in town from ‑‑ they've got a new partnership called the Global Digital Inclusion Partnership. The team from there had previously run this report on affordability. They looked at ‑‑ unfortunately we got double‑booked for different sessions. They looked at not just the cost of data for getting online but also for the cost of handsets. Every year they put out a report. It's fascinating. I recommend you go look at it ‑‑ on how much does it actually cost for an individual per capita to get online? What's the monthly rate of income, and how is it ranked across the different countries. And then they put it on geographically how does this venture across. I'm sure there's lots of followup questions. I'm happy to direct you to them. Unfortunately, they're not in this room unless anyone has joined online. I would say when we think of data and think of the open data we need for the future of the internet, these are three big components that we have. Can you get online, how much does it cost and if it's possible to get online, how good is your connectivity? And once you get online, what is your experience?

     They have an index on affordability. I think this goes down to the percentage of income in order to get what is a one gig mobile ‑‑ band. Apologies to those who worked on this where I underrepresented or misrepresented this because this is 18 million people across the world.

You've heard a lot from me, and now, if this works, we have about 20 minutes and we'll go into breakout groups. So I think it would be great with the group that's here, if you want to share your experiences, why you chose this session, why you think it's interesting, what does open data mean to you? What do you think it's potential is? Always interested anywhere it's used well or used for harm. I have plenty of examples on both. And what's also quite helpful for our organization, for the people we work with is to really understand which data should we target? I put together in there ‑‑ we've put together, if there's a specific kind of data or even a specific data set that, if made open, here is how you can action it so it can have an impact, and the more we have those specific examples, the better we can make the case of doing open data well. How does that sound? And then in the room ‑‑ we could do two small breakout groups or one big one. Does anybody have a preference? Let's do big and maybe we can go in a circle. I'm going to take the mic away so the people on Zoom can have their own breakout. We'll come back in about 20 minutes.


     >> FLORENCE TOFFA: Hi everyone. You can unmute. I'm unmuting everyone and then we can talk and share. Can you hear me? We want to discuss what does open data really mean to you and what are your experiences with open data. This is an open discussion. So I will try and unmute everyone. I see Bennett, I see Jim, I see Mark. What does open data really mean to you? Do you have any experiences with open data? What does this really mean for the future? Nations, I want to unmute you. I have given you the permission to talk.

     >> Their ability to actually access the data you're looking for for your search for your expertise and so on and so forth. I believe this is the number one priority.

     >> FLORENCE TOFFA: Okay. Who wanted to say something? Are we all familiar with open data? Do we have any experience with it?

     >> Okay, okay, as for me, I can say what I know about open data it's data that is open for everyone, that you're allowed to use it or share openly. That's my definition, madam, if I may be contradicting the one that you're talking about.

     >> FLORENCE TOFFA: No. It's correct. Have you used any data that is open before? What is your experience and what does this mean for you because we're talking about the future of the internet as well. Mark, did you get my question? They have used data that is open and what was your experience? And if you can share the difference between open data and any other data that you've ever had access to. What is the difference when it comes to using data, whether it's open or closed?

     >> FLORENCE TOFFA: Mark, your line is chopping a bit. Mark, we can hardly hear you. Winnie, you wanted to share something.

     >> WINNIE KAMAU: I can add to what Mark has said. Can you hear me?

     >> FLORENCE TOFFA: Yes.

     >> WINNIE KAMAU: Open data is where everybody can use or distribute without cost. It's free for everyone. I think one of them was the important thing about open data is that it enables citizens to make decisions and also to have the grounds to make decisions very quickly, also have the right to contribute when available. It makes web much work much easier and faster because you have the right to contribute. In case of your findings or your research, consent, also contribute. Someone else to use it for ‑‑ I think open data is something that has to be accepted and has to be more ‑‑ everybody has to be involved in contributing to open data. Yes, thank you.

     >> FLORENCE TOFFA: Okay. Bennett, have you seen open data being used well or being used poorly before?

     >> BERNARD: Yes, I've seen it used in Ghana, problems with ‑‑ by mobile web Ghana and ‑‑ data available, that people can use to make distribution. The use to identify those who were affected, and I think that was very, very, very good on the part of that ‑‑ I didn't think they would have been able to even find out what's going to to be affected and who was affected during that ‑‑ thank you.

     >> FLORENCE TOFFA: Thank you, Bernard. Jim, do you want to contribute? Osno, you're also welcome to contribute to the discussion. We're looking at what open data means to us and what our experiences are. Briefly, I want to talk about a project we did on gender‑based violence. What we tried to do with that project is to aggregate stories related to gender‑based violence and tried to visualize it and make these visualizations public. For the visuals to gender, you can get more information on visualsforgender.org, but the goal, we work with the government Department of Gender‑Based Violence, it's called Domestic Violence and Abuse Unit, we work with them to give us the data set they had related to different forms of abuse, rape, defilement, et cetera. Then we visualize that data to connect the dots related to gender‑based violence. You just draw the bigger picture about gender‑based violence and hopefully get policymakers to prisons, journalists, to see the bigger picture. Other than just for one case, because as it is now, when issues happen or when things happen or when a case of gender‑based violence happens, the media just writes about a single case and do not connect the single case to the broader picture. So what we tried to do with that project which was supported by the ombudsman here in Ghana is to aggregate data related to gender‑based violence and try to create markets, analyze the data and see what the trends are. This is what we did related to gender‑based violence. The project is called Visuals for Gender. There's a simple depot we've created. You can see what the analysis is. You can do comparative analysis with the data as well. This is what we did about the gender‑based violence. I see a hand up. Winnie, do you want to say anything?

     >> WINNIE KAMAU: I wanted to say it's important for having, especially if we have national data, that can really help the community, would really ‑‑ to be open would really be beneficial. Case in point, when you're asking about examples, I look at my country just recently in August when we had the general elections. And the electoral body that is in charge of elections. It's called Independence Electoral and Boundaries Commission, it made a certain move that really helped the nation this time. We have had a series of elections that are ‑‑ and just to avoid that and to preempt it, they put the information out on an open portal. All the information, all the data that was captured in terms of ‑‑ not like giving the information of who voted, but capturing the information of the people who voted in a particular constituency, it's all captured and put up on a portal that was open for everyone. So it reduced the tension ‑‑ because it was a really close‑to‑call election. It reduced the tension between the position and the opposition team that were getting, trying to get the awards. We found that that really helped when people could access the portal. Anyone from anywhere in the country, or I guess anywhere in the world. If you wanted, just go into the portal, and it was open for everyone, and you just tabulate for yourself all the information that you needed, and you'd know who has won and how many awards a particular candidate has had. These awards were not only for presidential. You could also see the other positions. So that really helped in easing the tension. I guess that's an experience that I would like to share about your open data and how it helped a nation from crumbling.

     >> FLORENCE TOFFA: Winnie, was this live ‑‑

     >> WINNIE KAMAU: Yes, it was live. If one of the electoral commission guides or employees ‑‑ because they had so many, like maybe 5,000 people. So they would go to ‑‑ they would collect from the ground, like in a sub county and then go to the constituency level. They would take a photo, and that photo, using the gadgets of the electoral commission. The gadget would transmit directly to the portal. So once you take the photo after the votes had been tallied and sent by both parties and they agreed that this is the outcome that came from that particular polling center, they'd take a photo, and that photo from the gadget they had would take it directly to the ‑‑ into the poll itself.

     >> FLORENCE TOFFA: Okay, good. Thank you for sharing. I think this is a good example of how an open data can help avoid violence chaos, especially during an election, can prevent war in some countries. Thank you, Winnie, for sharing this very beautiful project from Kenya. Djim, your hand is up. You wanted to share something about experience with open data.

     >> DJIM LAPORTE. Jim Laporte. I'm from Haiti. For me the open data is the open way ‑‑ where people can participate in the creation and evolution of data. I think this model can be used to facilitate to decrease inequalities, to decrease exclusion and so on. For me it's that. Thank you.

     >> FLORENCE TOFFA: Okay. So how do you think open data can help give an instance, how open data ‑‑ is your data open in Haiti? Do you have open data projects on going ‑‑ does the government have a project on going?

     >> DJIM: Not really.

     >> FLORENCE TOFFA: Okay. But you can see this can help reduce inequalities and bring inclusion in Haiti. Thank you for that. We have a few minutes left, but this brings me to a second question. How have you seen it being used well or poorly for communities where open data exists. Do you think it's helped in the serving of community problems well or do you think it's been used poorly? It's been helped to solve projects in Ghana which is a good idea of how it's being used. Winnie shared an example of how it's open and everyone can see it and it's prevented chaos. How do we think ‑‑ do we have any interesting examples of how open data has within used well or used poorly? Is there a case ‑‑ we have some case studies where open data has been used poorly. I think Winnie can help us with that. Winnie, are you online? Personally I think one of the ‑‑ okay. Winnie.

     >> WINNIE KAMAU: Sorry.

     >> Can you repeat the question? Sorry.

     >> FLORENCE TOFFA: I said do you have any examples to share where open data has been used poorly? Or underutilized or not used very well.

     >> WINNIE KAMAU: Where it has been underutilized ‑‑ not underutilized but utilized poorly. So I'll give an example. So our government has tried to digitize many things in the government. That means like, your taxes, everything is done online. Your birth certificate is done online. So one down part that I've always seen, oh, my goodness, this is a breach ‑‑ it's a good and a bad thing. It's when there have been so many accidents being caused by  drunkards at times or just an accident that has happened or anything that has happened with your car. So I see everyone ‑‑ if you cause an accident and it's a hit‑and‑run, you're in trouble, because once people get to know it, they go to the government portal and can get access to know who owns that particular car. They can know when it was bought, when the color was changed. They can get information about your car and the owner of the car. So it's good because you're able to arrest some in these incidences, but it's also bad when it comes to your information, your data being all over for everyone to know about you. But it's minimized information that is accessible by the public, but it's still information that maybe you never wanted people to know.

     >> FLORENCE TOFFA: Winnie, you and I know that open data doesn't have the private information of people. So how does this bring about a breach of privacy?

     >> WINNIE KAMAU: Maybe you never ‑‑ so the people who want to hide some of their assets or they don't want ‑‑

     >> FLORENCE TOFFA: The government assets.

     >> WINNIE KAMAU: That you own something. But you're able to see who owns that particular car. So maybe you borrowed that car. People will know the trick. It's good, but it's also bad. It's a tricky situation.

     >> FLORENCE TOFFA: Okay. Thank you for sharing that insight with us, Winnie. Thank you. This brings me also, from that question, I really want to know ‑‑ we've talked about our experiences with open data and what it really means to us, what it can help us do in Haiti, Kenya, Ghana and other countries. What data do we think we need to be able to help us to enact or effect the change that we need in our society? What kind of open data do you need in your country to help you effect the change that you need in your community? So DJim from Haiti.  You mentioned your government doesn't have any open data initiative. But dive into the future because this session is more focused on open data for the future of the internet. Dive into the future. What kind of data do you think you need to enact the key changes that you need? I'm turning this specifically to Djim. Of course, Mark, Osno, Bernard, all of you can take a chance.

     >> BERNARD: I would like to add the type of data available in my country, Ghana, but also I think the government should be able to adapt making data available for use. I needed some data and had to move from government agency to government agency. And the question I asked myself was, this is a government agency, but institutions are government institutions, why can't they collaborate and share their data. I have to go to another department and ask for the data and then go to another department. So I think something like that is very stressful and it doesn't encourage efficient use of data. An example is you being a student and trying to start a business in Ghana. You go to registrar general and you need your birth cert and all that. And then you go to registry for your information when they can collaborate and have the data sync among those government institutions to help us to work and also make citizens' lives better. I think in Ghana there should be more collaboration. They should make data available for use even if ‑‑ at least it should be available for use among these departments. Thank you.

     >> FLORENCE TOFFA: I agree with you, Bernard. Especially in this part of the world, government institutions do not talk to each other. I know the open data initiative tried to have a data repository where all government data can be synced, but I think still it's still a major problem, if you need data, like you mentioned, the person ‑‑ and now we're doing the Ghana card national identity or identification authority. They also have data related to our personal data. All these organizations operate in silos. They don't talk to each other. I think they're looking to the future, this is one of the things that governments should be looking at doing. Enabling an environment where other institutions can talk to each other and ensure that the data is updated and can be used for change. Any other contribution, what data do you think you need to be able to effect the changes or to work with some organizations? I see Winnie.

     >> WINNIE KAMAU: I think the interoperability of data amongst our government institutions needs to be encouraged. If they're not able to ‑‑ I think maybe some governmental institutions they think holding data for themselves, they make the most oh if they only know, to make that data intraoperable in different agencies, it would make it easier for themselves and they would get more data than they would ever know. So being able to operate and share that data is very, very important. It's not only in Ghana. I see this in different countries, wherever you go, you find that people have ‑‑ they're collecting data about farmers. Yet you would easily get that information from one agency, and you can share that information to help you.

Right now we have the one of the big telecoms in Africa. Safaricom has a lot of information about farmers. If they were to work together with a government agency, they would blow up with information about their farmers. The telecoms get information about when the farmers are buying, like, fertilizer. That's information that the telecoms have. Information about rain, about the climate, that's something they have. If they were to work together, they would really make a very beautiful product.

     >> FLORENCE TOFFA: If they were to share the information with each other, they would make a beautiful product. This seems to be like a focus area for the future of the internet. We need to at least have this documented and hopefully a policymaker will take a look at this and make it open. ‑‑

     >> KATHERINE TOWNSEND: Does anybody feel they want to do the readout? I've talked a lot, and as you can tell, my voice is sore.

     >> FLORENCE TOFFA: Katherine, we're back?

     >> KATHERINE TOWNSEND: Florence, do you hear us?

     >> FLORENCE TOFFA: Yes, we can hear you. Are we back?

     >> KATHERINE TOWNSEND: We're back. We're doing a quick roundup readout of the discussion. You want to share?

     >> FLORENCE TOFFA: Someone from the room can share. Winnie, can you share what we've discussed, we've talked about so many things, what open data has mind to us and looked at what's happened in other countries, Haiti, Ghana and Kenya as well. Winnie, are you there to share what we've discussed?

     >> WINNIE KAMAU: You're putting me on the spot.

     >> FLORENCE TOFFA: If you're not ready, like I said, in our discussion we discussed very important things. We discussed two questions we're just diving into the third question when the time was up. We talked ‑‑ someone from Haiti mentioned that they don't have any open data policy in Haiti, but he's looking at in the future how open data can help reduce inequality in Haiti. I think we had also a case study from Kenya where the government, especially during an election in August, the government tried to use open data to ensure there's no chaos around the country. What they did is, they just make the data public. They take pictures and make the data public, so in the end everybody could see what is happening on the ground and hopefully nobody is tricking the data or changing anything. So the election became free and fair and people believed in the results. This is something that happened in Kenya. I think someone from Ghana also mentioned we have used open data to solve flooding problems in the country, where data was collected from various communities that have flood‑prone and the data was given to the government and the government published the data. And they used it to make decision when the areas got flooded. We moved on to the second question where we talked about what kind of information do they need to work with organizations to effect a specific change that they want to see. I think we started a discussion around how government could make their data open for other agencies. So government agencies currently in other countries don't communicate with each other. Data interoperability is a big issue. For instance, Ministry of Education could have information that Ministry of Health could need about specific students. But these two agencies do not communicate with each other, and this is a big deal. People in the breakout group mentioned, it's not happening in one country, it's happening in Ghana, in Kenya and also happening in other countries, proposing in the future for open data to really work well and be able to effect the changes we want to see across the board, government to make their data sets intraoperable so people could have ‑‑ other agencies could have access to it and can make life and solving problems easy for people who need it. Thank you, and this is what we discussed in our breakout room.

     >> KATHERINE TOWNSEND: I feel like you should be speaking from a podium, Florence. Thank you so much. Okay. Last call for anybody who wants to do a quick readout? Okay. We had a lot of great people in this room. We spent a lot of time going around the room and sharing what the ‑‑ why people joined and what their interest is in open data in general. We have from Ethiopian initiative, open data for researchers with Addis Ababa  University. That's interesting, who gets to access it? Is it fully open or like many sites do you have to justify what you're going to use the data for in order to access it. We also had a discussion or at least a presentation about in Kazakhstan the need to be able to access data free from internet shutdowns. How do we ensure that the internet actually stays online. One of our case studies number two is relevant to internet shutdowns. How speedy is the internet is related to when it goes online or off. Similarly in those spaces, how do we not have consequences for accessing that data? From the government of Ethiopia, government of Ghana, government of USA, different trainings used. What are the best practices and guidelines? How do we do that well? There's some good practices for that. How we can share more widely, were the lessons translatable across and how do government workers connect with each other on that. We have a few researchers in the room. One is saying ‑‑ one of the facets of open data, machine readable means it has to feed into our studios. We have other students interested in data on arms trafficking, specific research topics, some data on Brazil specifically. And then we kind of had a big question about the private sector and how could the private sector open its data better and have telecom in the room saying we have a ton of data, not all of it can be made public, but trying to think about what could be made public or what partnerships could come in in a secure way with its data so it can be used and applied for good. That is what I got. Just so you know for us. This is our organization. We'll continue to do with this. You can see Florence and Winnie there, some of whom you're seeing at this conference. We're very curious. What data do you want to see open? These are things that drive us. If you're interested in more stories like this, we do run our workshop series, our partners in Africa specifically, you can always stay in touch with me on any of these topics. If I can't provide any insight, I can provide you with a wide network of people who can. Appreciate your time. Thank you for joining.

     >> Thank you everyone.