The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Twelfth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Geneva, Switzerland, from 17 to 21 December 2017. 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 to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> MODERATOR: Well, I think we should get started here as it's just past our time here and we have a lot to cover. Good morning and welcome to our panel "the dark side of Internet policy: How flawed policy can lead to censorship, surveillance and shutdowns." My name is Dominic Bellone from Counterpart International. We're a 52‑year‑old global development organization operating in 28 countries. Along with Mr. Robert Guerra who many of you are familiar with in this space along with our program officer, Miss Marilyn Vernon, we're leading an amazing delegation of legal scholars, media policy experts, and agenda and technology specialists whom you see before me on either side.
They come from countries of focus for our program at Counterpart. Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe. On behalf of our director of global programs, Ms. Suzanne that and our Internet governance and freedom program chief of party, Danilo Bakovic, thank you for coming this morning.
In this session, we'll focus on several major issues from the front lines of Civil Society activism and legal scholarship. Computer and cyber crimes laws, social media and information manipulation, surveillance, censorship and blocking, threats to women's freedom of expression online in Sri Lanka and hate speech codes. We have a big bucket list this morning but we have a panel that's well up to the task.
I won't go into lengthy explanation beyond that. Instead I'd like our panel to share with you their expertise and stories from their countries and regions. Later we'll invite you to join what we hope will be a spirited discussion. And Robert will be monitoring online traffic, so those out in cyberspace who wish to join us, we welcome your participation as well.
I'll quickly go around to our panelists to give a brief introduction. First to my right, we have Ms. Iria Puyosa, academic and social media researcher based in Quito, Ecuador. She's conducted extensive research and work on social media manipulation, propaganda, and network disruptions in Latin America. Vitaliy Moroz to my left is head of the New Media division at Internews‑Ukraine, one of that country's leading media and policy NGO advocacy organizations.
Andrii Paziuk is vice president of the Ukrainian Academy of Cybersecurity, he's also a noted legal scholar and a Fulbright Fellow. He also brings with him a sharp prosecutorial mind.
Nalaka Gunawardene, science writer, journalist and development communication in Sri Lanka in south Asia, and he's also a self‑described one‑man troublemaking machine. Please forgive Nalaka. He's been suffering from a terrible flu this week, and he's losing his voice. But his intellect and his scholarship does not fail him. So we are pleased to have him. He spent yesterday in the hotel. So please be gentle on him.
Sachini Perera is a feminist activist from Sri Lanka who works at the intersection of women's human rights and technology. She is currently doing research on technology‑related violence against women in Sri Lanka and developing a digital tool to build an evidence‑based to challenge impunity around this issue.
And finally to my left, we have Mr. Earnest Mudzengi, he's a first‑time IGF participant. He's new to this space. He's the director of the Media Centre of Zimbabwe, also a part of Counterpart International, which is an information and web resource there center for freelance journalists, citizen and civic activist. Their work is largely focused on capacitating marginalized communities to report on issues that are generally sidelined by the mainstream media there.
And so I want to go to Earnest first. We've had a number of bilateral meetings with our delegation. And Earnest has had a very compelling story about the situation in his country. As some of you know, that country has recently gone through what some have charitably described as a military‑assisted transition. And so what I'd like to ask you, Earnest, is can you give us some more context for what is happening in the country with regard to freedom of expression and how that's led to the cyber crimes and cybersecurity bill and the government's continued criticism of social media activism? And so now we have a new administration in the form of (?) And I want you to answer if we should be optimistic or hopeful about that new administration.
>> EARNEST MUDZENGI: Thank you, Dominic. Thank you, Dominic, and welcome, colleagues, comrades and friends. Maybe to start off with this question, I think into the political and socioeconomic context in Zimbabwe where we have a new president, a new president who all along has been a (?) Of the now president who was forced into retirement. So to answer this question directly, I think we can only talk about cautious and calculated optimism because what we are having is essentially the very old system that has been there. We have only had the change in terms of faces. The name of the political party in power remains the same. The super structure of the political system remains the same. So we can only talk of questions of optimism.
And as we speak to this cautious optimism, we must keep in mind that unless it was President Robert Mugabe who was solely responsible for violation of free expression, violation of freedom of the media, and the blockage of people's right to access information, we can be very happy. But if he is the only one responsible, then there is reason to be cautious. There is reason to look at this carefully. I know that people celebrated the world over when the former president Mugabe resigned. But obviously, the celebration could be justified on the basis that he was the only president that Zimbabweans had known for the past 37 years. That when we look at the system, we have to look at it carefully.
The new president has taken over. He has spoken to issues of economic liberalization. He has spoken to issues of the voice of the people, being the voice of God, and so on and so forth. Those are very good words to hear. But when you look at the system, when we look at free expression, and in particular when we look at governance, we haven't seen much in terms of change. In effect, the bill that is known as the cybersecurity and the computer crimes bill remains in place. And there is intention to make sure that it is enacted into law before the elections which are expected any time before September next year.
So the bill is there. And the man, the minister originally, superintendent, the promulgation, the authoring of the bill is still the minister. At one point President Mugabe had a separate ministry to be responsible for cybersecurity, cyber threat, detection and countering activities. But now the ministry has been returned ‑‑ has been dissolved, and the functions have returned to the old ministry of ICT, the Information Communication Technology and cybersecurity.
So we still expect the bill which is going to be very ‑‑ which is going to be injurious to digital (?). We want them to be enacted before the elections. So for that reason, I think we may as well not likely celebrate. As a Civil Society, we are trying to contribute to the bill to page sure that when it is eventually enacted, at least it can have some modicum of democratic provisions. But we see ‑‑ we don't see much of that happening. We can only pray that the intentions of the government as we see it are to make sure that it contains control of the information sphere. In fact, the government has been known to issue threats against cyber democracy. People simply expressing themselves through the cyberspace have been exposed to threats. For example, someone simply through whatsapp the price of bread has gone up. They say you have become a threat to security. For simply pointing out that the prices have gone up. And for simply taking photographs of prices changing in the shops. You have become a national threat to security. And I think this brings us to the issue of cybersecurity being defined as politician ‑‑ the security of the individual citizen as they use the Internet.
The issue of police, when you look at the policy formation, flawed policy, one of the fundamental tenets of flawed policy is many people participation. You have policies that are imposed (?) Policies that lack citizen input, and these policies are central to the politicians. They are mainly there to protect the interests of the politicians. And that's the tragedy we are having in Zimbabwe. People have not been able to participate in the making of these policies, and they are now victims of policies that are primarily designed to maintain the status quo. And that's the situation. And for that, we cannot be overly optimistic. Let me not be pessimistic, but let me be cautious in being optimistic. The situation is not as good.
Then when you look at the ordinary citizen, we have not been consulted. They have problems. Look at issues of access to the Internet. We recently carried out research which pointed to serious (?) In terms of access. People in the marginalized communities, some of them do not even have phones through which to access the Internet. And it brings us to the tragedy in which we are told that we are in the superinformation highway, but others are outside the global village. That's the problem pertaining to flawed policy.
Flawed policy, I think, should accommodate the marginalized citizen, to make sure that they are empowered to access the Internet. They are empowered to enjoy digital freedoms. When you look at Zimbabwe and the constitution, it's a reasonably democratic one. Guaranteeing freedom of expression, guaranteeing freedom of the media, and guaranteeing the right of access to information. But the implementation part of it is problematic. What do we want from the international community is to insist (?). Let's not look at faces. Let's not look at who is the president and the minister. Let's look at the institutional frameworks. And we must focus on institutional frameworks that protect their ordinary citizen. Institutional frameworks ensure that the ordinary citizen enjoys (?) Tool, communication, free expression, freedom of media and the right to access information.
And as we see right now, these rights are still being denied. They are being denied through policies that are primarily centered on the elites. When you look at it also, there is the business side to it. The government, the new one, the new president, speaking of being in business readily. But if he is to be friendly to business, he should also be friendly to human rights. Because business, you look at the telecoms. They have not been a very good voice in terms of also guaranteeing citizens' rights. In Zimbabwe, really they have been monopolistic. The data prices are too high for the common man. It's very difficult to access the Internet. When you talk of prices of data, the government owned telecommunications company is better than the privately owned one. Which unfortunately is the subscriber base. So business and business alone should not be the case. It should be business and human rights as well.
When we talk of free market, it should not only be free market for business, but it should also be free market for politics. We are heading for an election in 2018. And what do the people expect is a free market of ideas, of political ideas. Let the people be allowed to access information. Let the people be allowed to freely choose their leader. Let the people not be manipulated. Already people have been manipulated. They were taken to the street to arguably celebrate what is a major coup. Unfortunately some of our friends, they have called it a military‑assisted transition. It is basically a coup and could be a very bad president. And people have celebrated that. What we now want is to insist on reforms, reforms that can make the Internet accessible to the public so that they can be able to monitor political processes and so on and so forth. Otherwise I thank you.
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Earnest, thank you very much. And you can see why we led off with him this morning. We want to turn our focus now to Ukraine and to our friend Andrii here. Andrii, your country is engaged in what people are calling a hybrid war, both in the traditional bombs and bullets and also cyberspace. It's raised a lot of questions about democratic oversight and due process and such in terms of issues around blocking and surveillance. Can you give us your take on the situation?
>> ANDRII PAZIUK: Thank you, Dominic, dear friends and colleagues. Yeah, Ukraine now is in a very problematic situation commonly known as the Ukrainian crisis. You should know that such crisis comes by annexation of Crimean peninsula by Russia and ongoing integration east of our country. And what our government proposed, one of the measures is to block social media, Russian social media in the name of national security. But my concern is that our society is divided at the moment because it's a question sometimes rised. Are you a patriot or are you a citizen? Are you for national security, or are you for democracy? And it's sometimes a political level such reasoning (?).
And unfortunately increased capacities for surveillance, for blocking are not balanced with adequate guarantees, with democratic control, by surveillance or military forces. And decisions adopted for blocking websites, result in judicial review without public discussions. They were adopted by national security council under closed doors for any input from civil society and businesses.
In Ukraine, we have more than 1,000 Internet service providers and newly introduced legislation drafts that require for them to install black boxes for (?) Inspection and as a surveillance technique. So it will dramatically change the market, telecom market, because such building on the IT business to install equipment, and dramatically change access to Internet in Ukraine.
So I think that civil society should play an active role and democratic control, parliamentary control over law enforcement agencies are of great importance. Even in the case of law, even in the case of crisis, democratic institutions should respect ‑‑ democratic institutions should create a base for balance and interests for proper measures and for respecting human rights in time of crisis.
I hope my colleague, Vitaliy, could continue this from Civil Society perspective.
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: That's a great segue, thanks, Andrii. Vitaliy, Internews Ukraine has recently done some research on how top experts in your country on Internet governance are reacting to this hybrid war and some of the measures taken by your government. Can you talk about that dynamic of Civil Society?
>> VITALIY MOROZ: Thank you, Dominic. I'll start with my comment. All of us use, like, Smartphones. And ask a question to yourself, what do you need to buy a sim card in your country? Which personal data you should provide. I believe that Ukraine still functions in very liberal framework because in order to get access to mobile operators, you need to show just nothing. You can buy it anonymously and you can buy, like, ten sim cards like from one telecom operator. Within this liberal framework, it doesn't sometime work in time of conflict. Every month Ukrainian police responded to anonymous calls with threats to explode airports and railway stations. And it is definitely sabotage from our enemies.
And the reason there are no regulations on telecoms, so Ukrainians still enjoy anonymity in getting access to operators. But what Andrii told about the regulations of Internet, it's really happening in Ukraine. And Ukraine still is in a situation where there is no clear strategy from the government what it should do regarding the Internet. Because in Ukraine, Internet wasn't in intention of government for years. Because as in any country, if you pay significant attention to TV stations in control or influence on TV stations, you form public opinion. That's why Ukrainian citizens enjoy, like, free Internet for years. And due to Internet, we had, like, the huge protest in 2013/2014. But now everything changed. And Internet became the topic which is heavily discussed. But the lawmakers, the government officials, many of them still see it from the security perspective.
I mean, not many people are deep in tech if they are lawmakers. Because usually they are public personalities, fewer people are from tech (?). So when Civil Society look at the situation, we're trying to better involve government officials into talks regarding Internet regulations. And the service which Dominic mentioned, we conducted this survey with experts and another expert survey, and the majority of experts on the one hand, they acknowledge that digital rights were violated with a decision to block Russian social networks and websites because it was a kind of economic sanctions against Russian companies operating in Ukraine. And it led to blocking. But on the other hand, the same experts acknowledge that the government has the right to regulate the Internet in time of conflicts. So there's like a kind of ambivalency. Two different opinions from the same experts.
And how should we call it? A censorship of Ukrainian Internet? I would rather not use this term because Ukraine is still a democratic country. And within international ratings, we are partly a free country, and we have partly free Internet freedom house. Yet we have negative tendencies. And this is like the task for Civil Society, if this negativity will be deepened or not. I would rather use the term protective measures because it's much more harder to talk about regulations when you have a war in your country.
I acknowledge that it shouldn't be ‑‑ that we shouldn't, like, argue that while we have the war in the country, we should regulate and the government can do whatever, like, they want. I still believe Ukraine has quite aggressive Civil Society. With many media nonprofits and Civil Society organizations who come together to make a common approach towards government policies.
And the next step like within Ukrainian scenario we'll see is the government will really move forward with pretrial ‑‑ precourt blocking of the website or not. And this is like one of the key threats for Ukraine. But I hope that it won't happen. Because we always highlight that if we argue that we are fighting like with Russian aggression, we shouldn't use the Russian methods. And if you know the situation in Russia, you should clearly understand how the situation has deteriorated with (?) Which have unlimited functions to block any websites which have a requirement for ISPs to install black boxes. And unfortunately, some Ukrainian government officials, they are not smart enough to look on Western practices. But they'd really look on the Russian side.
And to fight Russia, they might use Russian methods. That's why ISPs and Civil Society should stand up and unite their efforts to educate like government officials. And I see, like, the goal for Ukrainian delegation to bring state officials for the following events, UGF, to see, like, the broader discourse, to see what a possible solution of conflict. Thank you.
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Thank you, Vitaliy. We'd like to turn our focus now to South Asia. And I also want to just quickly thank everyone who's shown up since the introduction. I'm very pleased at the turnout. Nalaka, you've studied a lot on the civil war, the brutal civil war that lasted for 26 years in your country. You have some interesting analysis on how that frames Internet governance and the emergence of a cyber nanny state. Care to elaborate?
>> NALAKA GUNAWARDENE: Thank you, Dominic. As was said in the beginning, my voice is restricted by a bug. Please bear with me. I'll try to be as brief as possible. Sri Lanka is recovering ‑‑ Sri Lanka is trying to regain its democracy. Our democracy and our institutions suffered a double whammy in the last few decades. First, there was a brutal civil war between 1983 and ‑‑ I beg your pardon, 2009. And then there was an authoritarian government which was in office from 2005 to 2014. In fact, it was that government that ended the civil war at a very high humanitarian cost. They're still trying to agree on the numbers of casualties.
The less tangible but equally damaging impacts were on independence of the judiciary, freedom of expression and media freedoms and on Civil Society. During the war years, during the authoritarian regime, everyone in Sri Lankan society was polarized between patriots and traitors. Basically everyone was a patriot, and everybody else who asked inconvenient questions was labeled as traitors. Not just labeled and ridiculed but often mobs were unleashed on them in both offline and online spaces. And it became particularly bad that some activists and journalists had to flee for their lives, and some of them still live in exile.
So this regime was peacefully pushed out in early 2015. And we've now had a three‑year period almost of national unity government that came in, promising to restore democracy, human rights, freedom of expression and media freedoms, and judicial independence. Some progress has indeed been made. But we still see a lot of resistance within the system. There is a suspected deep state that even civilian politicians seem unable to regulate or control that is not accountable to parliament. There is ‑‑ there is still a lot of nationalism that has become (?). So this is impeding progress. And this is affecting the entirety of (?) Not just Internet governance, but that's in the bigger picture.
And it's in that context that the web is becoming increasingly important with Sri Lankans. By the middle of this year, 1 in 3 of us or 33% of us were using Internet on a regular basis. We have more than 6 million out of our 20 million people using Facebook. And the conversations are currently vibrant, irreverent, and very diverse. But this has really irked even the liberal government that came in three years ago. So we see that the narrowing of spaces and a search for ways to regulate and control contained.
Now, there are genuine problems as well with the rising number of conversations online in social media. One of which is hate speech. So as documented, hate speech targeting ethnic, religious and sexual minorities, human rights defenders, and others. And these are very real concerns. But at the same time, one has to place these abuses within the context so as not to use these excesses as a justification for a disproportionate highways of regulating. So far the government has not introduced any regulations on social media. However, there have been some very peculiar and worrying statements being published by the telecom regulator of the government in the last few weeks. In newspapers.
So there was one about two weeks ago which I'll just read out one part of it. It says, "public notice, making personal defamatory or hate statements using a telecom system or social media or by using (?) Making cause should not be done. And instead, citizens are urged to use their freedom of speech and live wholesome communications," whatever that means.
In the guise of creating a safe and open Internet for everyone to use. Are we going to crack down on dissent, crack down on what the authorities consider to be irrelevant or inconvenient or unacceptable speech or expressions. So this is where we are. And let me just end with a remark that really sums up the challenge we face in many societies like Sri Lanka faces. It comes from the (?). It goes something like this. We ‑‑ we have within us stone age emotions. We have medieval institutions. But in our hands, we have Godlike technology. So this mismatch is what we need to recognize. We need to tackle. And so there are challenges of working on digital literacy, strengthening institutions, and rule of law. And that applies to everything online and offline. I'll stop there for now.
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Thank you, Nalaka. And as you mentioned on Sunday during our prep for this, for all well‑behaved girls and boys, what's the point? Sachini, I'd like to turn it over to you, given the context of what Nalaka just discussed, can you describe issues surrounding freedom of expression online and women in Sri Lanka?
>> SACHINI PERERA: Thank you. So with the context that Nalaka set here, so if we are headed to a nanny state in terms of freedom of expression, then you can only imagine how much that would impact women because especially in this post‑conflict or post‑war Sri Lanka that we are in, women are often looked at as barriers of culture and national identity, and a lot of the kind of policing we face on ground, it's replicated and sometimes worsened in the online space. So I'm going to talk about some work that I'm doing around this.
So to begin with, I think when we talk about the Internet, we talk about it both as a tool that we use to exercise our freedom of expression but also as an extension of the public space that we occupy where we live our political and social lives. So the same kind of structure inequalities that we face on the ground again apply in this space as well. And when it comes to women, whether as public figures like activists or journalists or just any regular users of the Internet, we often see that expressing ourselves is construed immediately as gender or sexual expression and attacked on that basis.
So for an example, the study I'm doing currently around violence against women and girls in Sri Lanka, a lot of the time we see that the issues are not just around nonconsensual sharing of intimate images but even personal measures where you can post any regular picture of yourself, and immediately it's framed in either a gendered way or a sexual way, in a very misogynistic kind of way.
Then when we look at the kind of protections that we have around freedom of expression, the constitution does talk about the right to free speech and publication. But there are many restrictions around this. Some of which being national security and public morality. So ‑‑ and when we talk about public morality, we come back to this thing about how women and girls are supposed to be the barriers of culture, and then anything you do kind of, you know, leads to this kind of panic, moral panic and that kind of panic.
And a lot of the time we see that when it comes to freedom of expression, obscenity has been applied as the primary harm or crime as opposed to violation of right to privacy or consent. And a lot of the time law enforcement and the state sees no differentiation between what is consensual and what is nonconsensual when women are expressing themselves online. And what we really see then in terms of policies, there is a lot of incoherence. So some of these archaic laws like the obscene publications ordinance of 1927 continues to be applied when it comes to freedom of expression online and publication of content online.
And this particular act has no definition of obscenity which means it can be interpreted in all kinds of ways. So we see that women go through this kind of violence, there is no telling what the law enforcement would apply in certain cases. They cherry pick what they want out of different acts. And many countries ‑‑ and I think what we've heard in the last few days is that these kinds of situations are similar across our countries. And a lot of us in a noncertain phase when it comes to Internet and ICTs and for policy‑making around it, but we see a lot of missed opportunities to develop laws and policies with the participation of a lot of different stakeholders.
So around the work I'm doing, some of the things we are trying to challenge because these are really what is leading the policy incoherence at the moment is that one of the dominant narratives is that this kind of violence is not widespread and that it's just an urban issue. And there's this false dichotomy of online and offline where we see a lot of the time this kind of a binary is not there, and these events are in lots of different ways, and it's a spectrum. Some of the trends is of course it's widespread, and of course it happens around the country. And it happens to people regardless of ethnicity, regardless of sexuality, regardless of religion, lots of different factors.
And what we really see is that it happens against a deeper culture of sexism and misogyny. So again, if you are trying to apply, let's say, a law like the computer crimes act which gets done often when it comes to violence, what happens is you are missing some of these ‑‑ sorry, can I be heard clearly? Okay. So what happens is that a lot of the time women then don't come forward to file cases because the kind of penalties that come with something like a computer crimes act are, like, prohibitive. And because these acts deal mainly around financial crime, the kind of penalties are huge.
And just like violence that happens on ground, even online violence a lot of the time is perpetrated by people who are known to the survivors.
So if it's a family member or if it's someone you are in a relationship with, a lot of the time they say we don't want them to get into trouble. What we want is justice. What we want is this content removed. We don't want to apply laws like this. So really one of the main things we are asking for is to look at the existing laws around violence, against women and extend them to this kind of violence.
And lastly, so I'll talk about a few of the key recommendations that we have around this. Or do you want to wait?
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: (?)
>> SACHINI PERERA: Sure. I'll come back to it later. Thank you.
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Iria, take us to Latin America, Venezuela specifically. The national constituent assembly just passed some hate speech codes, and also please tie that to your work on social media manipulation in that country and region as well.
>> IRIA PUYOSA: (?) Sorry. Venezuela had been a long time trendsetter on restricting online freedom of expression, manipulating public space. So we had in 2009 where we had trolls or activists on Twitter and in 2010, we had (?) Creating artificial trends and artificial conversations to hijack the public conversation online. And in 2011, we had a hacking account from political parties, opposition political parties, huge campaigns of disinformation, these things later came with the fancy name of fake news. It was six years ago.
So the new trends we are experiencing now in 2017 are the hate speech legislation and control of borders. I'm going to talk a little bit more about the hate speech legislation, as Dominic said, by the national constituents assembly. The assembly ‑‑ the legality of this assembly already question it. But especially the legality of this law is what they are questioning. Because it's kind of the ‑‑ there is no need for this law. We don't have a history of hate crimes in Venezuela. We had other problems but not that one. And the law is very ill‑defined. It doesn't define anywhere what hate speech is. And it's pretty much focuses on expressions against government officers. What is going to be penalized is the criticizing government offices, the government party, the government political party.
The law had up to 20 years of prison for people expressing opinions who are negative against government officers. And the law was passed less than two months ago. There are already people being prosecuted on that grounds. Also, the (?) Provisions because they may enforce ICT providers to get government data about user navigations and user information.
Besides ‑‑ we are looking at this being afforded to other countries in Latin America. There are similar laws to other countries in the region, especially countries that will have elections this year like Mexico, Brazil and Paraguay. Those are countries a lot more democratic than ours. But they are taking advantage of these new legislation to kind of restrict the political debate in their countries in order to facilitate their parties in the government.
Besides the problem with the hate speech legislation we are experiencing, we are seeing an effect, already a negative trend to getting activists. Since 2014, just for tweeting jokes against the government. Some of those people are known activists, just random people who happen to say something that was negative against a government officer. And they have gotten three years in jail.
And besides that, we are looking at a new trend of political control in Venezuela, video on the Internet, technological issues. We are having electronic voting since 2004, and this voting was allowed by fingerprints, fingerprint devices. And now this is going to be connected with a welfare device in the country in which information about whether people had pensions or they are receiving public housing or they may be eligible for public employment or a lease for people who are able to get (?) For the government entity or even medicines.
Those two, the electoral one and the welfare database have been connected, and it was already tested in the recent May election in which they use the welfare information in order to put pressure on people in borders to vote for the government party. Pretty much eradicating single elections and guarantee success on their elections. More than half the population, about 80% are in that database. So that guarantees the government will continue in power forever. Most of the population are going to be pressured by the need to get food and medicines, and they were forced to be bought for the government party.
I'll stop there so we have some time for questions.
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Thank you very much, Iria. We should now open up the floor a bit more. In deference to our online participants, is there anyone out in cyberspace who did not have the benefit to join us physically but would like to participate, please submit a question.
I also see Mr. Guy Berger from UNESCO has joined us. Thank you very much for joining us. If you'd like to care to comment on anything you've heard, we'd be honored to hear from you, sir.
>> GUY BERGER: Yes, thank you very much. Some of these testimonies remind me of my youth. I come from apartheid south Africa where there was a hate speech law. It was used to persecute people who criticized white domination. So that was probably a policy that was developed with that particular intention. And I think this question of unintended effects is particularly appropriate when policies come with good intention. And the question we need to look at is, is the road to health paved with good intentions? I think that is part of the framing of this particular session.
So I wanted to just contribute a perspective from UNESCO because I think this could be of value in trying to assess to what extent policies with good intentions can have unintended negative effects. And in our analysis, one of the reasons why you have these kind of situations is first of all, the problem of policy silos, policies being made in one area and not taken into account in other areas, which affects the fragmentation in governments of the Internet reflect absence of multistakeholder practices in some places. And it's also because we know the Internet covers so many things. It's the proverbial elephant where people are feeling one part of it, and they think this is so important, and they look at one part, but they don't see the whole elephant.
And so I would like to tell you how we got in our little UNESCO virtual helmet and we steered our drone to get a view from on high of these issues. And we came up with white a holistic perspective that I think is quite useful for trying to see the interdependence of these different policy realms. And this is a concept that we call Internet universality. And it's very easy to work with because the acronym for what it means is ROAM, to roam. So you can speak about the elephant roaming along, roaming free.
Now, the R‑O‑A‑M is rights openness accessibility and multistakeholder. Rights open the accessibility and multistakeholder principles. And where this becomes very important is that I think what I've heard from people speaking a lot about the issues of rights. And we know that we have historically well‑established guidelines in the international covenant of how you balance rights, the right to security, right to expression, right to privacy, right to education. You always have to balance these. And we know that in the international jurisprudence, proportioned legitimate purpose on a legal basis, it should be the least intrusive limitation possible.
These are very, very important in the cases where one cannot argue, was it done properly or not? I think the value of this R‑O‑A‑M model is we are talking about balancing on the Internet. You have to bring in different considerations. Not just balancing rights, as we have proposed to balance them for for up to 70 years since the UDHR was declared. When you balance rights, how does that impact openness? For example, we know there have been cases around the world of governments deciding to block (?). If you block it, you may have openness on the Internet because you are affecting innovation, knowledge transfer, technology transfer and so on. We know, for example, that many states do see themselves as protecting the vulnerable. We had some suggestions coming out of these.
If you just speak about protecting the vulnerable which, of course, is the right of the people to be protected and you don't look at accessibility, the "A" of R‑O‑A‑M, I think you're missing a trick because part of accessibility is Internet a (?) Place. And if you have set up in balancing rights which doesn't make it friendly, it's not accessible. The other thing about protecting vulnerable people is not just to have protection which they deserve from the state, but to help people protect themselves, particularly young people through media and information literacy.
So the point I'm making is that policies balancing rights need to look at how do these translate? What's the impact? How do they implicate openness and accessibility? And the same way around. If you have policies and openness, open data, open markets, how does that implicate rights? How does it implicate accessibility? And the same with accessibility. How does it implicate rights and openness? So I won't go into further detail, but I'd urge you to just have a kind of conceptual philosophical perspective because we are speaking about the Internet. The Internet is a very fragile and very interdependent institution. And what happens in one sphere has these unintended effects in other spheres. And therefore good policy‑making should be holistic. And the "M" is multistakeholder which is one where you can have holistic policies.
And the last thing I wanted to say is that this is also obviously a very new world. So one example that we've been looking at recently is this question of policies about radicalization for violent extremism. Now, if you're sitting in a society with policies on this, you can do one of two things. You can say we're going to block this content that's inciting people to become radicalized, or you can say we'll leave it there, but we'll survey it. So we can actually see who's really going to be, you know, involved in some kind of terrorist activity. But you can't do both. Okay? You either block it and remove it, or you leave it and you survey it. These are not compatible policy options. So how should those options be decided? Well, you need to have some evidence. To what extent is it implicated in this, the content, because in many cases the radicalization is taking place not so much on the Internet but in prisons, in places of worship and so on. So maybe that's the wrong thing.
And the other thing is that whichever you do, you have to have some evaluation as to what is the impact of that strategy. And so what we're doing, to tie back to my last ‑‑ my ‑‑ this R‑o‑a‑m, we're trying to develop indicators whereby in a society, you could actually say let's look at the balancing of rights. And get evidence as to how the balancing is working and also vis‑a‑vis this O‑a‑m so you could make an assessment and say well, actually, society can do better in terms of balancing and openness and accessibility and multistakeholder practice. And you can use this with evidence because now you're doing mapping with indicators for this model.
So that's all I have to say for now. And I have to give apologies because I'm going into a session which is exactly on developing indicators for this R-O-A-M model. And if you want to find out more about it, it's, of course, easily available on the Internet. But I would really urge people ‑‑ we sometimes have to look up from the specifics and look at the more general principles. And I think these principles R‑O‑A‑M are really useful to begin to get interconnected policy frameworks that can avoid the silos that lead to unintended effects.
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Guy, thank you very, very much. We know you're a busy man here, and we appreciate you taking the time to spend with us. I think that notion of the blocking versus surveillance is ‑‑ resonates with me. I think obviously there's a sense of pick your poison on one hand, you've got to do one thing, you've got to do another, and both are going to bring equal amounts of criticism. So thank you very much for bringing that to us.
Now to the floor and/or cyberspace. I saw you first, ma'am, so please address any of our panelists with just a general question.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you very much. I'm from the European parliament, and I would like to thank you all for your input. I'm really happy that we had positions and experiences from all over the globe, not only Europe, but I'm also happy that we have someone from Europe because I wanted to take the discussion to maybe a different topic that is actually affecting the Internet globally.
So I would like anyone's reaction or reflection on the current policy discussion that is ongoing in the European institutions on copyright reform. So in the copyright reform, we have that are very troubling. So Article 11 is opting for neighboring right for news publishers. If not processed in a good way, it can even cover snippets and hyperlinks. Obviously this could lead to major effects on freedom of expression. And the second article is Article 13, which imposes upload publications to platforms which can also have effects on freedom of expression and censorship. And this can have a global effect as well as you can understand platforms in Europe. So I would like someone from the panel has something to say on that. Thank you.
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Anybody care to address that?
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Please.
>> PANELIST: I think that such kind of provisions in legislation negatively affect the ecosystem of the Internet. So it will require for some factors, mainly for intermediaries to install equipment which could be used not only in such cases. Not only for protection of copyrights or other rights, online, and, you know, from different jurisdictions and different legal regimes we are facing online.
Some repressive regimes probably will ask to use such facilities to limit political speech, to limit political expression. So that's why I think that initiatives like Microsoft Digital Geneva Convention should be supported by Internet businesses in a way that business should also have responsibility for maintaining Internet freedom and not allowing governments to use Internet intermediaries as instruments or tools for expression, freedom of expression online.
So another point that ‑‑ the voice of Civil Society in this case. I think (?) From industries, from Hollywood, from other copyrighting industries should be balanced with interests of access to information and free expression online. So reforms in the European union, of course, will influence all Internet community around the world. And for majority, it will probably have negative effect and probably will restrict access to cultural information to heritage, to all kinds of information. So I think that it should be a campaign against such provisions, and you should rely not only on European Union NGOs but also neighbors and general Civil Society community around the world.
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Thank you, Andrii. Yes, this gentleman straight ahead, please.
>> AUDIENCE: I am from India. I just wanted to make a point. See the basic problem today is that the governments at times are making laws on the freedom of speech and right to information. Like typically in our country also, the Information Act which was made was passed. These governments, all kinds of people, politicians, they used the provision of that act to arrest two people because they had posted some matter on the Facebook. And before streaming, nothing was wrong with it. I mean, I couldn't make anything. I printed it out. So since they used that provision to arrest, the social media became live. The Supreme Court of our country took cognizance of it and provisions of that particular act. So probably what is happening is that we need to formulate some kind of draft model laws towards a right of freedom of speech and towards your other associated things. Because what the gentleman said earlier about the Internet is fragile to that extent, so we need to strengthen it and propose laws, especially now since we are functioning under the IGF under the U.N., some draft model laws could be circulated around to the countries which would help the lawmakers at least get options as to what model law should be all about. Thank you.
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Thank you, sir. There are a number of international NGOs involved in that. But I agree that they need to be more and more widely circulated. Is there anyone else who would like to comment on that here or ‑‑ if not, Marta ‑‑ I'll call on Marta.
>> AUDIENCE: (?)
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Okay. Okay.
>> AUDIENCE: (?)
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: You should turn your microphone on.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you. Well, you know, in Latin America, we look very with a lot of apprehension from Civil Society that kind of revelations. Because I was hearing the guy of UNESCO to talk about bad consequences of good intentions. But in many cases in our countries, they are bad intentions. So ‑‑
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Absolutely true, Marta.
>> AUDIENCE: In the case of (?) We have our government has already used the MCA laws, the American MCA law, to take down content that was legitimate content because they copyrighted every log of public documents. So you cannot publish a public document because you were infringing copyright law. They copyrighted the face of the ex‑president. You could not put any kind of video with the face of the president. I was thinking about the Zimbabwe case because when you say oh, maybe in the cases when there is a threat to the government, but with putting the price of bread is considered a threat, you have to be very aware of the things that you are allowing. In Ecuador, we didn't have a war, but we have a warlike scenario. When the government perceived any people who criticize them as an enemy. So you are a threat to the state. I was a threat to the state. So everyone, every journalist, activist, environmentalist was a threat to the state.
So regarding that respect, the thing is that some things maybe make sense or seems to make sense in Europe. But they validate the repression saying things like, you know, European Union is doing that. In Ecuador, we had a privacy law that didn't protect citizens, but bureaucrats. So our e‑mails could be published by the government. We have extensive databases merged by the government with our credit card information and health information and all this stuff. But you could not publish any kind of information about the bureaucrats, about the authorities because that was ‑‑ that means you were violating their privacy. So they had privacy and citizens didn't.
So I want you please to be very cautious with that because that has really unintended consequences. Thank you.
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Thank you, Marta. And just to embarrass you a bit, I just want to thank you not only for that but being such a big fan of classic pop and rock. Marta has a great singing voice, but we won't ask her to perform for us today. This gentleman here I promised a question or statement, please.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you. I represent the International Federation of Film Producers Associations. My point is obviously on what you just said, of course, that the European model for copyright protection is not necessarily universal. However, the two articles referenced by the person behind me who asked the question or raised the issue of the draft directive, Articles 11 and 13 which she referenced. Having a direct link with curtailment of freedom of exception. All of us creators of films or any kind of other creative content with news publishing take objection to this. All of us fight extremely hard to guarantee and uphold freedom of expression in what we do. These articles are in fact, designed to address the playing field, you could argue. I'm not a news publishers so I can't argue on their behalf. But why does it seem to unreasonable that they should be asked certain rights to guarantee that they can make a living out of the iteration of their content through the Internet.
Even more so with Article 13. And again, I'm not arguing for everyone. But these big hosting sites have a responsibility to the content creators and to ensure that they can share in what are the returns from the enjoyment of their videos, for instance, on these platforms. And by arguing for our livelihoods, ladies and gentlemen, we are arguing for forming part of the edifice of freedom of expression. Participating in the democratic buoyancy, then you have a very big missing link. Thank you.
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Is there anyone else who would like to join in or have a comment? I saw your hand up first. And you're second. Sir, please.
>> AUDIENCE: My name is Bobby Bailey, I'm a content creator from India. It's very interesting that in the course of the last one hour, we have heard about freedom of speech, the use of free speech to terrorize, we've heard about how copyright is important for the protection of livelihoods. We have heard about how you can protect the ‑‑ you can actually damage the system by protecting the copyright of the faces of politicians, as we heard.
All I want to say is that this is a very, very complex task in front of us. And as a content creator, I think my request like the IGF is that find that fine balance so that we live in a safe area, but the content creator is protected, and he can earn a livelihood, engage and entertain audiences and sustain the backbone of the Internet because I still believe very strongly that while the Internet is the most important invention of the last decade, it's definitely a lot of its strength and backbone comes from the engaging and entertaining content and allows regulatory security and safety issues ‑‑ legislative issues. Thank you.
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Thank you, sir. I completely appreciate what you're saying as someone who listens to a lot of music online for free. And so I do agree that those content providers provide a lot of joy and value to us in our society, and they should be appropriately compensated.
This gentleman here.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you, Dominic. I'm Walid. I'm speaking here in my capacity as an academic. I teach media and technology, and this is really up my alley because I understand that the Internet has a facilitated many new forums of media and technologies that are sometimes rather growing rapidly, emerging in speed that we cannot really cope with. Among those that I would like to raise is the block chain technology because we are not giving it enough attention in the journalism field. And I feel that there is lots of potential of bringing in the subject of distributed networks on the data layer, meaning that we take the inherent characteristics of the Internet, which is a distributed peer‑to‑peer communication network, to the layer of data so it will be peer‑to‑peer data communication in the form of storing data.
So the particular example of copyrighted content can actually be solved in many ways through block chain structure because it would mean that the central authorities, the intermediaries, will not be involved. It's from the consumer directly to the creator. And all of the replicated data can be tracked, who has been replicating data. Because anyone who created content can be hashed in a way that makes it unique. It's impossible to forge, in other words. So that's one area.
Another area is the censorship, let's say, proof method that one can actually apply on a database such as the distributed ledger because it makes it possible for you as a journalist to publish your content in such a way that it's so distributed, it's impossible for certain authorities to block it from being accessed. And that's another way that could be extremely helpful as times of humanitarian, let's say, conflict or times of Internet shutdowns. So it's rather important for us to look into this. And I made this note given that this is marked as a new technology session. So it means a lot.
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Thank you. Is there anyone else who has a non‑copyright‑related issue? I mean, we can keep going, but I want to also bring in other voices and perspectives. Sir. Young man here.
>> AUDIENCE: Hi, my name is Rohan, I'm a secondary student. And one thing that comes to my mind when thinking about the dark side of Internet policy is that there's this compromise or this sort of, like, opportunity cost between privacy and security. And that once you get security, you lose out on privacy. So one question that I want to ask of the panel and everyone here is at what we should value ‑‑ or should there be a tradeoff between the two or how you think that we should deal with this issue.
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Thank you, young man. Your credit to your educational institution and your family. Who on the panel would like to address his question? Or anyone in the room?
>> SACHINI PERERA: I actually seen on the side of people who will take privacy as a premise instead of security. I think we are moving to a society that is controlled by fear, and that, then, enables governments, especially authoritarian governments to pass restricted laws and allow more controls over society. And I would be no question in favor of privacy, and also I really, really appreciate your question. I think it's one of the best questions so far.
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Yes, please, Nalaka.
>> NALAKA GUNAWARDENE: I think it's a government question and debate for many, many others. And also, the response is from individual to individual, generation to generation and culture to culture. Last week I was in a discussion forum like this where a member of the audience said precisely that, that younger members of most countries, the digital natives, are apparently willing to live more of their lives out in public, generally speaking, than the digital immigrants. Now, that's a sweeping generalization, yes. But the norms and limitations of what we regard as privacy and the enviable limits keep changing, keep changing from time to time and society to society. That's part of the problem. How do we then have safeguards when it's highly variable phenomenon?
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Thank you. This woman wanted to follow up on a question.
>> AUDIENCE: Yeah. That is a great question. First of all, go to any of the sessions on encryption, you'll hear a lot more of this debate. One of the difficult things about encryption is that it's essential to both privacy and security. So these things are no longer ‑‑ the tradeoff isn't what it used to be. And one of the things about the digital era is that the tradeoffs that governments used to be able to make, it's harder for technical reasons to have the tradeoff. And so there is all this end‑to‑end encryption. And it is essential to our economies and to our security as well as challenging our security. So this is a big challenge to governance, and there's no easy answer.
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: I think this is a question that will be debated for many IGFs to come. Any other questions or commentary from the floor or from cyberspace? Jessica, of course, my dear friend from Freedom House, please.
>> AUDIENCE: Hi. I just wanted to take this opportunity to highlight a very real case that we faced as part of our delegation.
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Yes, please.
>> AUDIENCE: Which exemplifies some of the challenges that some of our participants face in actually attending an event such as the IGF and participating in discussions on Internet freedom. One of our delegations from ‑‑ delegation members was actually stopped at the airport and detained, prevented from traveling to the IGF. He's an independent journalist and online editor for a website that provides critical news. And he faces charges of treason that could lead to 25 years in prison. So we are very concerned for him. And I just wanted to add a thought for those people who are not able to attend such discussions. Thank you.
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Thank you, Jessica. It's easy to forget, sometimes we take for granted, we can easily be here and have these discussions. But for other ones, it's a very dangerous proposition. And we hope that that gentleman is getting the legal remedy he deserves. Irina from Kiev.
>> AUDIENCE: I just wanted to add something about Ukraine. I think that the station we have now, after our president decided to block the Russian social networks, and it was ‑‑ it didn't have ‑‑ it didn't, like, do anything to stop it because it was a new challenge for us, as Vitaliy said, we didn't have, like, challenges according to Internet freedom before because our politicians didn't pay attention to Internet, only to TV. So what I think is the best way to do in Ukraine is to grow some people, experts, who will be real experts on digital rights. Because we have, like, a lack of organization and of people who actually understand what digital rights mean. Because we didn't have this problem before. So this is kind of an idea for Counterpart maybe to do some kind of duty for Ukrainian people to grow actually people who could speak about it. Thank you.
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Our chief of party is sitting to the right of me on the wall, and I'm sure he'd be happy to discuss with you training of trainers on digital security and other aspects of how you've recommended.
Is there anyone else ‑‑ I know we've got about five minutes left. Does anyone have any other issues or questions and specifically focused on perhaps some of the countries we're talking about? Marta, please.
>> AUDIENCE: One question for all the panelists. The problems that you face in your countries are, like, national problems because in Ecuador, and I think in Venezuela, when we have problems, they are not just pertaining to Ecuador. I mean, Ukraine is a case. Sometimes we know that this is a regional thing. We have a lot of troll centers. So I want to know what is the case ‑‑ I'm not asking Ukrainian ‑‑ but to Venezuela and to Sri Lanka, to Zimbabwe, how do you perceive ‑‑ is there other kinds of interventions in your countries?
>> PANELIST: I'd like to answer, the panel is called dark side of the Internet. The situation with trolls, it's called, like, gray side of Internet because it's underresearched. We, like, don't know much about how, especially how (?) Function. But still, we are in the initial stage of researching and understanding that Internet is, first of all, business. And business suggests use the best options to operate. That's why everyone who wants to manipulate, they see it as business tools. They can implement their practices. So, like, Internet can be always used for good and for bad.
And since we have, like, regulations of self‑regulations of Facebook, of Google, we might ‑‑ we might have partners like to fight trolls and bots. But generally, the trend for Ukraine is that especially on the upcoming elections, technologies of using artificial intelligence, bots, trolls, will be rising. It will be used more and more. And the programs of media literacy, of research, how to use critical thinking, it will be more and more important. And they're all first to follow Civil Society because I don't believe that government can regulate because sometimes government is interested into promoting because like governments usually want to hear not all the critics in social media and Internet, which is usually users do, but some good feedback and feedback for government is usually done by trolls and bots.
>> PANELIST: Can I add? Definitely we have trends and patterns. We have someone from Pakistan who can probably support this point. So when we talk about violence against women online, one of the reasons why we keep saying we don't need new laws, but we want existing laws to be implemented properly, is because for an example in Pakistan, I know a cyber crime law was introduced with this framing it as, you know, in order to protect women from violence online. Up to date it has not been used for this purpose but it has been used to prosecute bloggers again and again.
And then even when it comes to e‑governance and around electronic national identification and the kind of surveillance and the data collection that can happen from that, we have very definite regional trends happening. So India introduced the scheme called ADAR. We, in Sri Lanka, we are trying to introduce a model that is based partly on that, partly on Pakistan. So some of these patterns, we see them coming. And then especially in relation to e‑governance, I think one of the biggest differences we see in the global north and the south is that in the north, we see people trying to opt out of these systems. Whereas in the global south, we are grappling with the fact that there are major privacy issues. There is no data protection. All of those are there. But at the same time, if people want to access services, you want to be counted in this system. So definitely there are regional trends. And I think one of the things we really need is to strategize in these regional and subregional levels as well because you can clearly see some of these trends. Thanks.
>> SACHINI PERERA: I want to add something. Certainly we see trends, interregional trends, on the use of bots and trolls. This year, 2017, elections in Ecuador, the flow of information using bots and trolls from Venezuela to attack the new position candidate (?). Also, I was able to confirm similar message attacking the government candidate, Morena, from Argentina. So it was (?) Using their own bots and trolls to intervene in another country election. We see a similar pattern in Venezuelan bots and trolls intervening in the debate about Catalonia referendum. So we are expecting next year for Brazil elections, we can see these similar patterns or bots from Venezuela intervening in that debate, too.
>> NALAKA GUNAWARDENE: So I'll just add that moral panic is not a good basis for policy‑making or regulation. Both governments and sections of Civil Society engage in pressing the button. How do we counter it? Part of regional and international networks, who can tell us good practices and bad practices and so we can quickly formulate our positions for advocacy.
>> EARNEST MUDZENGI: Thank you. In talking about Zimbabwe, what I wanted to mention is that we have a kind of different regional context. The context will be precise. When you look at the socioeconomic and political context, they are different. And for that reason, and in line with our topic here, good intentions that turn out to be dangerous, we are saying that the laws or policies should not just be formulated on a global perspective, but they should be formulated from the point of view of the context of a particular society. To say that what applies to South Africa does not apply to Zimbabwe. And indicators of good policies should actually consider the manner in which the policies are formulated, whether the policies include the citizen input, whether the policies actually address pressing concerns within a particular society, not to just see cybersecurity in the context for simplistic global trends, but in terms of trends that are applicable to a specific society.
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: I'm told by my producer that it's time to wrap here. If anybody has anything final for the good of the order, please speak now and very quickly. Otherwise ‑‑
>> SACHINI PERERA: Forever.
>> DOMINIC BELLONE: We will call this session to close. And we hereby declare it over. And thank you very much for joining us today.
[ Applause ]
(The session ended at 12:12.)