The Internet We Want

In today’s digital societies, Internet governance is critical for economic, social, and environmental development. Internet governance is a crucial enabler of sustainable development, ensuring that the Internet is used in a responsible and inclusive manner, and can contribute to promoting access to information, communication, and innovation. The importance of this agenda cannot be understated in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing economic recovery, supply chain shocks, and unfolding geopolitical tensions, especially as economies worldwide are working towards a sustainable economic rebuild.

Internet and other digital technologies are vital components of a sustainable future. Leaders across all stakeholder groups globally must come together and collaborate in a cohesive and inclusive manner to ensure that their actions align with existing commitments to:

promote a human-centric Internet that ensures respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law and protects against harmful behaviours;

expand connectivity and guarantee meaningful and affordable access for everyone, everywhere;

preserve an open, free, globally connected, interoperable, unfragmented, and stable Internet.

unlock the value of data for development and enable data free flow with trust, while ensuring data protection and privacy, to support a truly global digital economy;

Foster a safe and secure online environment, in particular by increasing efforts to strengthen cybersecurity;

facilitate collaboration for the development of new and emerging technologies in a trusted way while continuing to enable innovation;

adopt environment friendly practises consistent with reducing greenhouse gas emission when utilising the Internet and digital resources;

acknowledge, support and encourage the contribution of youth playing a key role in the achievement of sustainability; and

uphold the multistakeholder approach in the governance of the Internet.

 

In line with these commitments, the IGF Leadership Panel encourages all governments, private sector, civil society and technical and academic communities to come together to share this vision, define goals and targets to achieve the Internet we - as a global society - would want, and promote the necessary coordinated and effective actions at local, regional and international levels to realise this common vision.

We firmly believe in the multistakeholder model and the unique convening power of the Internet Governance Forum to achieve this vision and offer the following characteristics as a starting point for discussions.

The IGF Leadership Panel believes that the Internet We Want is:

1. Whole and open;

2. Universal and inclusive;

3. Free-flowing and trustworthy;

4. Safe and secure; and

5. Rights-respecting.

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Regarding inclusion and universal

Today's internet is the internet for all. The concept of not using or no internet is an unimaginable situation for any country. In this situation and time when the world citizen are directly impact the use they should be able to develop l, contribute and collaborate the policy and standardization issues.  Having said that internet and it's basic standard differ from countries to countries and from region to region more focus has to be given to real level of inclusion and values of  universal standardization. In the nomination and selection of MAG members of IGF it is written the priority is said to be given to least developed and lower economies but in reality the syndicate runs the power politics where the same people are elected and they are there in the IGF and other internet organization. In the name of inclusion and diversity more people from least developed and lower economies have to be given chances to learn, practice  and collaborate with the policies 

The internet we want, should not be discriminatory it should be Multistakeholder and collaborative ......

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If we care about human rights online lets cancel Riyadh

Writing a vision for the internet deeply rooted in human rights means nothing if our actions are not in line with it. I cannot contribute to an IGF mission document for the Internet in good faith, knowing that the next IGF’s meeting venue, and its host, fall short in upholding foundational human rights principles.
The selected host venue of Riyadh scores poorly on all matters of human rights, whether digital or not. And asking those of us who have been working on freedom of expression, media rights, labor rights, and women’s rights to go there—is in particularly bad taste.

The strength of an IGF document on ‘the Internet we want” lies in much more than advocating for inclusivity, freedom, and equity in the digital sphere, or on paper. It needs to be met with concrete actions, in person. Defining the Internet we want, means being willing to speak out about the politics we want, and the rights and freedoms we’re entitled to. This also means speaking out about who is a suitable host for the IGF, and who is not.

The decision to convene the IGF in Riyadh, a place that does not respect important human rights principles raises concerns about the authenticity and dedication of the IGF's efforts to safeguarding human rights.

Maintaining coherence between our professed principles and the chosen venue hosts is pivotal. This inconsistency not only challenges the credibility of our work but should prompt critical reflection on the consistency of our commitment to human rights within the broader spectrum of our actions—and the communities we hope to engage at the IGF.

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If we care about human rights online lets cancel Riyadh 1

Writing a vision for the internet deeply rooted in human rights means nothing if our actions are not in line with it. I cannot contribute to an IGF mission document for the Internet in good faith, knowing that the next IGF’s meeting venue, and its host, fall short in upholding foundational human rights principles.

The selected host venue of Riyadh scores poorly on all matters of human rights, whether digital or not. And asking those of us who have been working on freedom of expression, media rights, labor rights, and women’s rights to go there—is in particularly bad taste.

 

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Free-flowing and trustworthy;

The process in IGF needs to be standardized. In every protocol of  proposal selection, the MAG membership application  first needs to be transparent and accountable. From ages, it has been the same people and their group of circle people who have been getting the proposal and selected as MAG members.  

If possible, please check the data. We are talking about a multistakeholder and bottom-up approach that is always recommended and selected. Is this the multi-stakeholder approach where we want to select the people among the known...... 

1. How would the new people join if the same old people kept on doing what they did?
2. We are talking about evaluation with a descriptive language and process that is good for English-speaking people. How can that evaluate the competencies of a non-English-speaking scenario, and how can that keep people away from a multi-stakeholder environment?

The internet we want should not be biased toward any language, community, or region; it should be neutral, supportive, and collaborative. It should be open and transparent.

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Whole and open;

The internet of today has a lot of challenges; openness has greater issues of acceptance, and the values are very vague. It needs to be collaborated on at the UN level, making a unilateral decision among countries, and then further worked on. 
The clarity needs to come from the basic value. The struggle of today in different regions and communities is the definition of openness, which is subject to many jurisdictions and  their local laws, which can only be solved with primitively defined values of collaborative effort.

one values and one world for humanity 

 

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Regarding Safe and Secure

The Internet which was developed in the early 1970s continues to make an impact economically and socially on our global world. It has become a communication tool which is difficult not to be used on a daily basis. Consider its usage on the Social Media through LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, twitter,  etc every day. Whether young or old, the Internet through the social media is making a huge impact. Jobs are being provided through the Internet on a daily basis and this in effect is reducing the unemployment rate in many developing countries.  

Despite the benefits provided by the Internet, there are others on the Internet called Cyber-criminals who are on a daily basis mapping out strategies in order to hack into people’s account and steal funds from the accounts with financial organizations. If these cyber-criminals succeed, it will be realized that savings made through the efforts of these innocent ones in days, weeks, months or sometimes years would have been lost in few minutes or hours by these thieves on the Internet. This sad situation called Internet Fraud continues to affect many organizations through loss of fund on a daily or week basis.  In view of the negative impact of the behavior of these cyber-criminals, we all need to be involved in finding lasting solutions which continue to occur frequently. Solutions can be provided through adopting good Cybersecurity standards or strategies. Because these cyber-criminals are always around, it is an advisable that organizations whether small or large make an effort to create a unit or department to deal with these Cyber-criminals activities. Thank you.

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Collaborative internet

I propose to look on a collaborative perspective as a goal for the Internet we want. 

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The Internet we want towards Universal and Inclusiveness

In the critical step towards building a digital future that benefits all, building a truly universal and inclusive internet demands ongoing dialogue, innovative solutions, and a commitment to shared values. By collaborating and setting ambitious but achievable goals, we can create a digital space that empowers everyone to thrive.

These goals and areas can help build more towards "the internet we want"

  1. Universal Access and Connectivity
  2. Inclusion and Diversity
  3. Content Accessibility and Multilingualism
  4. Openness and Participation
  5. Safety and Security

Stakeholder groups must be able to;

  • Ensure affordable and reliable internet access for all, particularly low-income populations and remote regions.
  • Empower marginalized communities to actively participate in shaping the internet and digital policy, ensuring diverse voice heard.
  • Promote the development and use of multilingual content and tools, fostering cultural understanding and knowledge exchange.
  • Encourage multistakeholder participation in internet governance, including civil society, technical communities, and private sector.
  • Promote transparency and accountability in online platforms and data practices, empowering users to control their information.
  • Protect user privacy and data security, implementing robust safeguards against misuse and exploitation.
  • Promote ethical and responsible use of artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies, mitigating potential risks to human rights and democracy.

These actions can be achieved through collaborative efforts where Governments, civil society, technical communities, and the p must work together to develop and implement effective solutions with youth advocates funding that can help address these ch the local level to the global level. 

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Response from the Dynamic Coalition on the Internet of Things

The Dynamic Coalition on the Internet of Things (DC-IoT) has engaged in open meetings at IGFs, and at meetings in between IGFs on the usefulness of Internet of Things, specifically as a necessary resource in addressing global and local societal challenges, and on what issues need to be addressed in order to ensure that the Internet of Things develops in ways that serve people around the globe. It strives to develop and evolve a common view on Global Good Practice with IoT through a multistakeholder dialogue, as to ensure all stakeholders are involved.  

Based on its mission, DC-IoT is very happy to contribute to the IGF Leadership’s panel’s call and supports its invitation to collaborate on the existing commitments, to produce and sustain the IWW. The Internet would have never become what it is today without the tireless commitment of many to its stability, interoperability and adequate security. Only these properties can foster sufficient justified trust that use of the Internet will ultimately be to users’ benefit; and only this trust-based belief can fulfil the promise of the Internet. A good shared understanding of “global good practice” is important in this, as is the capacity building in regions to ensure local regions can develop and apply innovations in a way that serves them best.

We therefore believe it is crucial to remind ourselves of the necessity of the technical community’s adherence to Core Internet Values in order to create a durable One Internet for everyone: open, free, globally connected, interoperable, unfragmented (at least in technical terms), and stable.

With regards to the Internet of Things, there are specifics relating to “things connected to the Internet”, which are to serve us, directly or as part of larger (Cyber Physical) systems and services, that are important to ensure we actually can make sure we have a handle on how the Internet serves us, including through its extensions: the Things – and what specific requirements to “the Things” are necessary as they will be connected to the Internet.

Per section indicated on IWW we identify and comment on what we believe to be the key points presented by the IGF Leadership Panel:

1. Whole and open;

DC IoT supports the call on the stakeholders of the Internet to set goals to ensure that the internet stays whole, open, free, globally connected, interoperable, stable and unfragmented at its core.

Specifically for IoT: The Internet of Things will inevitably affect the way the world confronts societal challenges and develops business opportunities. For this influence to be beneficial, it must be developed in an open way, with predictable ways of working, according to commonly defined open global standards, allowing permissionless innovation – expecting from developers to take the impact on people and society into account from the outset.

2. Universal and inclusive;

DC IoT supports the call to move towards universal meaningful connectivity for everyone (and everything), everywhere, to encourage the development and appropriate uptake of promising new technologies that foster this and to address skills gaps.

Specifically for IoT: we believe that this initiative should prioritise universality in the sense that all can benefit from the use of IoT devices, systems and services and inclusivity in that this use will reduce marginalisation and damaging isolation. , it will be important to ensure development of and adherence to suitable global standards, and that the design of devices, systems and services involves users from the outset to ensure inclusivity; and it is also critical that the interests of stakeholders and affected parties from all over the world and all relevant sectors are taken into account (ideally by those most affected) in setting those standards in order to foster universality. NB: these standards both go for interoperability, as for security, and for data management. NB2: the fact that AI applications and services come up have specific meaning for IoT (and the other way around) as IoT devices generate data for AI as input, and AI may instruct IoT devices to take actions based on the data feeds.

3. Free-flowing and trustworthy;

DC IoT supports the call for Internet stakeholders to set goals to unlock the value of data flows to foster sustainable development of all and enshrine trust (or: trustworthiness) as a prerequisite for data sharing regimes, founded on the protection of data.

Specifically for IoT: global technical standards should be open, widely and transparently accepted and information provision about devices, systems and services on the functioning and specifically the data sharing should be available online and dynamically updated, just as many of the devices will include software that can and will be updated during its use. Certification of this information is crucial, via globally recognized methods and procedural standards (smart certification), and there should be a compliance/guarantee function to ensure standards work as intended. In addition, updating should be possible, and ensured to be correct. All this in recognition of the different contexts in which devices, systems and services function.

4. Safe and secure

DC IoT supports the call for Internet stakeholders to set goals to establish and implement robust frameworks for high levels of cybersecurity, and strong recommendations for legal structures, practices, and cross-border cooperation to combat cybercrime.

Specifically for IoT: in order for IoT devices, systems and services to be safe and secure, enabling this should be taken into account already in the design phase, taking real use cases into account. Certifiable information needs to be available online to enable users to assess and manage the risks associated with their particular IoT usage (smart labelling).

5. Rights-respecting.  

DC IoT supports the call for Internet stakeholders to set goals to ensure a human rights-based approach to Internet governance, and to promote human rights in the digital space.

Whereas many central aspects of respect for human rights depend very much on context (nature of use) and jurisdiction (the legal formulation and protection of those rights), smart labelling IoT devices, systems and services needs to disclose their specific nature to enable users to align their usage with applicable laws and regulations (e.g. not invading others’ privacy by capturing their images, sound and other information without adequate notice and consent) and so that human rights laws and regulations can keep pace with evolving IoT use.

 

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IWW premise

 

line 18-19:

facilitate collaboration for the development of new and emerging technologies that pursue public interests in a trusted way while continuing to enable innovation; 

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The Internet We Want

The Internet We Want:
What are the main challenges to Internet in the human rights online in Bangladesh?

• Use of digital technology to use for suppressing and violent Internet in the human rights

• Lack of due diligence which can ensure that technology products and terms of service comply with human rights principles and standards.

• Due to limited access to digital devices Internet in the human rights information are not accessible to a large number of people

• The benefit of the Judicial system is not yet fully digitalized, as a result, the benefit of online legal services takes more time

• Lack of awareness of policy-makers and mass people about Internet in the human rights online

• Lack of proper legal tools for addressing illegal and harmful contents

• Cyber-bulling of adolescent girls and women are risk of threats and attacks.
Which measures are necessary?

• Making access to the Internet affordable

• Judicial information both at upper courts and lower courts needs to be open digitally for easy access of the stakeholders

• Ensure online safe spaces, and transparent and accountable content governance frameworks.

• Framing legal framework for taking action against the persons responsible for misinformation, disinformation, and mal information

• Encourage the private sector to engage in dialogue with relevant State authorities and civil society in the exercise of their corporate social responsibility, in particular, their transparency and accountability encourage civil society to support the dissemination and application of the guide so that it provides an effective tool for Internet users.

• Promote and use trustworthy network infrastructure and services suppliers, relying on risk-based assessments that include technical and non-technical factors for network security

• Protect and strengthen the multistakeholder system of Internet governance, including the development, deployment, and management of its main technical protocols and other related standards and protocols.

• Refrain from undermining the technical infrastructure essential to the general availability and integrity of the Internet.

How can IGF contribute to addressing the issue?
• IGF can contribute towards guiding principles on business and Internet in the human rights

• Develop system-wide guidance on human rights, due diligence and impact assessment in the use of new technology.

• IGF should play an important role, as a catalyst for stimulating a united approach to the protection of human rights online.

• IGF should develop a regional framework to prevent misinformation, disinformation, and mal-information

• IGF should promote coordination with other state and non-state actors, within and beyond the country with regard to the standards and procedures which have an impact on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms on the Internet

• IGF should promote online safety and continue to strengthen our work to combat violence online, including sexual and gender-based violence as well as child sexual exploitation, to make the Internet a safe and secure place for everyone, particularly women, children, and young people

• Promote safe and equitable use of the Internet for everyone, without discrimination based on sex, race, color, ethnic, national or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of an indigenous population, property, birth, disability, age, gender identity or sexual orientation.

• Promote cooperation in research and innovation and standard setting, encourage information sharing regarding security threats through relevant international fora, and reaffirm our commitment to the framework of responsible state behavior in cyberspace.
How can ensure access to Internet in the human rights digitally?

• Expansion of internet service across the country
• Expansion of digital literacy about human rights
• Making internet service affordable and accessible without disruption
• Protect the right to privacy and other human rights in the digital space

• The Internet has a public service value. People, communities, public authorities, and private entities rely on the Internet for their activities and have a legitimate expectation that its services are accessible, provided without discrimination, affordable, secure, reliable, and ongoing.

• Furthermore, no one should be subjected to unlawful, unnecessary, or disproportionate interference with the exercise of their Internet in the human rights and fundamental freedoms when using the Internet.

• Ensure that existing human rights and fundamental freedoms apply equally offline and online

• Actively promote the guide to Internet in the human rights for Internet users among citizens, public authorities and private sector actors and take specific action regarding its application in order to enable users to fully exercise their Internet in the human rights and fundamental freedoms online

• Promote affordable, inclusive, and reliable access to the Internet for individuals and businesses where they need it and support efforts to close digital divides around the world to ensure all people of the world are able to benefit from the digital transformation.

• Foster greater exposure to diverse cultural and multilingual content, information, and news online. Exposure to diverse content online should contribute to pluralistic public discourse, foster greater social and digital inclusion within society, bolster resilience to disinformation and misinformation, and increase participation in democratic processes.

• Protect individuals’ privacy, their personal data, and the confidentiality of electronic communications and information on end-users electronic devices, consistent with the protection of public safety and applicable domestic and international law.

• Promote the protection of consumers, in particular vulnerable consumers, from online scams and other unfair practices online and from dangerous and unsafe products sold online.

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The Internet We Want

The goals and principles identified by the IGF Leadership Panel

1. Whole and open;

2. Universal and inclusive;

3. Free-flowing and trustworthy;

4. Safe and secure; and

5. Rights-respecting.

Resonate with, and are supported by not only me as an individual but are integral to the vision and purpose of the Internet Society Chapter of Australia (Internet Australia) that I have the honor to currently lead. 

Our support for these ideals is given here noting that in this current and upcoming times of so many risks and pressures on the Internet We Know becoming The Internet We Want; the IGF as it evolves should be in a prime position to facilitate and partner with other I* entities to better ensure that there is  fulsome and frank discourse using a multistakeholder model, that explores the risks and outcomes, intended and unintended, to our Internet with policies being made and actions taken; and to ensure a better understanding of these matters not only in those who make policy and take actions, but also those effected by these decisions and actions.  This is a timely and essential matter for a full focus of the IGF, not an opportunity we can risk missing (or messing up)  

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The Internet We Want - Support for the 5 Principles

I wish to have recorded my personal support and endorsement as well as that of the Australian Internet Society Chapter (Internet Australia), which I have the honor of currently leading, for the 5 overarching principles or goals identified by the IGF Leadership Panel for 'The Internet We Want';

An Internet that is:-

1. Whole and open;

2. Universal and inclusive;

3. Free-flowing and trustworthy;

4. Safe and secure; and

5. Rights-respecting.

This resonates with our principles, vision and goals and we will continue to find ways to pursue and protect these going forward as we have in the times to date.

We do however note that particularly at this current and near future time 'The Internet We Have' is exposed to a myriad of risks and pressures that are counter to, or have intended and unintended consequences on these ideals.

The IGF as it is currently evolving could and should take advantage of its unique multistakeholder model, and take the opportunity to work with other actors and I* entities to facilitate discourse and shared understanding of the intended and unintended effects of actions taken and policies made that threaten any or all of these principles;  ensuring not only that the decision and policy makers are fully cognizant of such effects but also that the communities and individuals effected by these actions are aware.

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Whole and open

The importance of the Internet lays with being a “one unfragmented network”, open in its uses and available for all. This is important to all users and stakeholders especially in the economic and social context. Therefore, it is of importance to reach a clear understanding to the definition of "one unfragmented Internet" that is acceptable to all, especially in the technical aspects and in the usage aspects.

With the growth of internet users, the principle of "what applies offline applies online and vice versa" has emerged, which is an important concept related to the civil rights of individuals, the work of the private sector, and the responsibilities of governments. It also lead us to the concept of digital sovereignty as it is in national sovereignty in the context of protecting citizens’ rights, preserving private sector interest and invoking national laws and regulations. This will extend to collect revenues and fees related to users’ data, profiles and cross border transactions from the Internet global companies and any other party.

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Support and suggesting the LP propose goals

As an overarching comment, we encourage the Leadership Panel to itself propose some specific goals for discussion in each area, to inform and challenge stakeholders. It is important that this discussion on internet governance focus on outcomes for users, not only organisational options.

auDA supports clear goals to guide the internet’s development, having argued for them in its August 2023 Internet Governance Roadmap (online at https://auda.org.au/IGroadmap). The Leadership Panel’s expertise and diversity, alongside its small scale, gives it a good opportunity to develop and propose some specific goals for community input. It should consider doing so as it assesses all the feedback received on this paper, and propose goals in time for community dialogue at the 2024 IGF.

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NetMission.Asia & Asia Pacific yIGF

The following comment is made on behalf of NetMission.Asia and as an alumni of Asia Pacific yIGF on The Internet We Want;

  1. Whole and Open

We affirm an Internet where youths are empowered to act in processes of agenda-setting, policy formulation, and evaluation of establishment of legal frameworks that promote net neutrality and prevent Internet fragmentation. We support initiatives to leverage human creativity in order to close the intergenerational Internet governance knowledge gap.

  1. Universal and Inclusive

We aspire to sustain the progression of youth engagement, meaningful participation and leadership at all levels—local, regional and global. We stress the significance of acknowledging Internet access as a fundamental right, and the inclusion of youths (of equitable gender and geographical representation) in policymaking.

  1. Free-flowing and Trustworthy

We advocate for the acknowledgement of the youth perspective and contribution towards upholding Internet Freedom; and the fortification of trust in the role of youths in data protection.

  1. Safe and Secure

We assert the pivotal role of resilient youths as intergenerational-mediator for cybersecurity capacity building—privy to discussions on regulatory or compliance frameworks and in shaping cyberspace as digital natives.

  1. Rights-respecting

We acknowledge the human-rights based approach to Internet Governance, and appeal for the enablement of youths—students or legal professionals, to address issues of digital rights infringement through access to talent development and expertise.

(for our full comments please refer to our website)

 

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Profile picture for user Abdirashid Ibrahim

The digital ecosystem I envision for Africa

 

The digital ecosystem I envision for Africa prioritizes rights, inclusivity, security, and an open, trustworthy Internet. I recognize the pivotal role that a well-designed digital ecosystem plays in shaping Africa's future. To harness the transformative power of technology for equitable development, we must prioritize rights, inclusivity, security, and an open, trustworthy Internet across the continent.

Firstly, safeguarding fundamental rights such as privacy, freedom of expression, and access to information is paramount. Governments and stakeholders must enact robust policies and regulations to protect users' data privacy and ensure freedom of expression online. Bridging the digital divide is equally crucial, ensuring that all segments of society, including marginalized communities, have equal access to digital resources and opportunities.

Inclusivity is essential for a sustainable digital ecosystem. We need initiatives to promote digital literacy and skills development, particularly among underserved populations, empowering them to participate fully in the digital economy. Digital platforms and services must be designed with inclusivity in mind, catering to the diverse needs of users across Africa.

Security remains a top priority in the digital landscape. Strengthening cybersecurity infrastructure, fostering collaboration between stakeholders, and raising awareness about online risks are essential steps. By prioritizing cybersecurity, we can instill trust in digital technologies and encourage their widespread adoption.

An open and trustworthy Internet is the bedrock of innovation and collaboration. Governments should uphold net neutrality and refrain from imposing unnecessary restrictions on online content. Efforts to combat misinformation and disinformation are also critical, ensuring that users have access to accurate and reliable information.

 

In summary, establishing the optimal Internet ecosystem for Africa necessitates a holistic strategy centered on upholding rights, fostering inclusivity, ensuring security, and cultivating an open, reliable Internet environment. Embracing these principles will enable Africa to unlock the complete benefits of digital technologies, fostering inclusive development, empowering communities, and paving the way for a brighter future for everyone.

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The digital ecosystem I envision for Africa

 

The digital ecosystem I envision for Africa prioritizes rights, inclusivity, security, and an open, trustworthy Internet. I recognize the pivotal role that a well-designed digital ecosystem plays in shaping Africa's future. To harness the transformative power of technology for equitable development, we must prioritize rights, inclusivity, security, and an open, trustworthy Internet across the continent.

Firstly, safeguarding fundamental rights such as privacy, freedom of expression, and access to information is paramount. Governments and stakeholders must enact robust policies and regulations to protect users' data privacy and ensure freedom of expression online. Bridging the digital divide is equally crucial, ensuring that all segments of society, including marginalized communities, have equal access to digital resources and opportunities.

Inclusivity is essential for a sustainable digital ecosystem. We need initiatives to promote digital literacy and skills development, particularly among underserved populations, empowering them to participate fully in the digital economy. Digital platforms and services must be designed with inclusivity in mind, catering to the diverse needs of users across Africa.

Security remains a top priority in the digital landscape. Strengthening cybersecurity infrastructure, fostering collaboration between stakeholders, and raising awareness about online risks are essential steps. By prioritizing cybersecurity, we can instill trust in digital technologies and encourage their widespread adoption.

An open and trustworthy Internet is the bedrock of innovation and collaboration. Governments should uphold net neutrality and refrain from imposing unnecessary restrictions on online content. Efforts to combat misinformation and disinformation are also critical, ensuring that users have access to accurate and reliable information.

 

In summary, establishing the optimal Internet ecosystem for Africa necessitates a holistic strategy centered on upholding rights, fostering inclusivity, ensuring security, and cultivating an open, reliable Internet environment. Embracing these principles will enable Africa to unlock the complete benefits of digital technologies, foster inclusive development, empower communities, and pave the way for a brighter future for everyone.

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The ideal digital ecosystem in Africa

 

The digital ecosystem I envision for Africa prioritizes rights, inclusivity, security, and an open, trustworthy Internet.

I recognize the pivotal role that a well-designed digital ecosystem plays in shaping Africa's future. To harness the transformative power of technology for equitable development, we must prioritize rights, inclusivity, security, and an open, trustworthy Internet across the continent.

Firstly, safeguarding fundamental rights such as privacy, freedom of expression, and access to information is paramount. Governments and stakeholders must enact robust policies and regulations to protect users' data privacy and ensure freedom of expression online. Bridging the digital divide is equally crucial, ensuring that all segments of society, including marginalized communities, have equal access to digital resources and opportunities.

Inclusivity is essential for a sustainable digital ecosystem. We need initiatives to promote digital literacy and skills development, particularly among underserved populations, empowering them to participate fully in the digital economy. Digital platforms and services must be designed with inclusivity in mind, catering to the diverse needs of u

In summary, establishing the optimal Internet ecosystem for Africa necessitates a holistic strategy centered on upholding rights, fostering inclusivity, ensuring security, and cultivating an open, reliable Internet environment. Embracing these principles will enable Africa to unlock the complete benefits of digital technologies, fostering inclusive development, empowering communities, and paving the way for a brighter future for everyone.

0 People voted for this
Profile picture for user Abdirashid Ibrahim

The ideal digital ecosystem in Africa

 

The digital ecosystem I envision for Africa prioritizes rights, inclusivity, security, and an open, trustworthy Internet.

I recognize the pivotal role that a well-designed digital ecosystem plays in shaping Africa's future. To harness the transformative power of technology for equitable development, we must prioritize rights, inclusivity, security, and an open, trustworthy Internet across the continent.

Firstly, safeguarding fundamental rights such as privacy, freedom of expression, and access to information is paramount. Governments and stakeholders must enact robust policies and regulations to protect users' data privacy and ensure freedom of expression online. Bridging the digital divide is equally crucial, ensuring that all segments of society, including marginalized communities, have equal access to digital resources and opportunities.

Inclusivity is essential for a sustainable digital ecosystem. We need initiatives to promote digital literacy and skills development, particularly among underserved populations, empowering them to participate fully in the digital economy. Digital platforms and services must be designed with inclusivity in mind, catering to the diverse needs of u

In summary, establishing the optimal Internet ecosystem for Africa necessitates a holistic strategy centered on upholding rights, fostering inclusivity, ensuring security, and cultivating an open, reliable Internet environment. Embracing these principles will enable Africa to unlock the complete benefits of digital technologies, fostering inclusive development, empowering communities, and paving the way for a brighter future for everyone.

0 People voted for this
Profile picture for user Abdirashid Ibrahim

The ideal digital ecosystem in Africa

 

The digital ecosystem I envision for Africa prioritizes rights, inclusivity, security, and an open, trustworthy Internet. Recognizing its pivotal role in shaping Africa's future, we must prioritize these aspects to harness technology for equitable development.

Safeguarding fundamental rights like privacy, freedom of expression, and access to information is paramount. Robust policies and regulations are needed to protect users' data privacy and ensure freedom of expression online. Bridging the digital divide is crucial for ensuring universal access to digital resources, particularly for marginalized communities.

Inclusivity is essential, requiring initiatives for digital literacy and skills development, especially among underserved populations. Digital platforms and services must be designed to cater to diverse needs.

In summary, establishing the optimal Internet ecosystem for Africa demands a holistic strategy focused on upholding rights, fostering inclusivity, ensuring security, and cultivating an open, reliable Internet environment. Embracing these principles will unlock the full benefits of digital technologies, fostering inclusive development and empowering communities across the continent.

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Increased Reference to UN Charter, UDHR, UNGPs

The introduction to the IWW would be strengthened through referencing the UN charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). The IWW should include in its introduction a clear recognition of a state’s obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law and the responsibilities of companies under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). The IWW should also make reference to the fact that human rights apply online and offline in the introduction (in addition to the reference in the section on a “rights-respecting” internet) rather than just committing to “promote a human-centric Internet that ensures respect for human rights…”

The first commitment should be shortened to “promote a human-centric Internet that ensures respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.” “Harmful behaviors” is a subjective term that can be  weaponized to promote narratives and policies that undermine human rights. Additionally, the introduction should include a commitment to ensure that the IWW’s implementation be connected to discussions in related fora and processes, including but not limited to the Pact for the Future / Global Digital Compact, Code of Conduct on Information Integrity, NetMundial+10, and the World Summit of the Information Society+20 Review. The IWW should also include a commitment to “proactively integrate other communities working on relevant internet governance issues to mitigate the difficulties faced by civil society and small, island, and developing states, which lack the resources to track multiple, simultaneous processes.”

The section on facilitating collaboration for the development of new and emerging technologies would be strengthened if rephrased as such: “facilitate collaboration for the development of new and emerging technologies in a trusted manner while continuing to enable innovation and ensure human rights safeguards are protected”

Lastly, on the sentence on internet connectivity, we would recommend rephrasing as follows: “expand connectivity and guarantee meaningful, regular, secure and affordable access for everyone, everywhere”.

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Whole and open - AFRINIC Contribution

Advocate for Policy Frameworks: Engage with policymakers globally, including Internet organizations to advocate for the adoption and enforcement of policies that uphold principles of net neutrality, freedom of expression, and open access to information. This includes supporting legislation that prevents discrimination in data transmission and ensures equal access to online content.

 

Support Infrastructure Development: Collaborate with the Regional Internet Registries (RIR), governments, Network Operators Groups, Network Internet Services Providers, National Research and Education Networks, and private sector entities to invest in the expansion and maintenance of Internet infrastructure, particularly in underserved regions. This includes deploying broadband networks, building data centers, and improving connectivity through initiatives like the Internet Exchange Points (IXPs).

 

Advance Interoperability Standards: Contribute to the development and adoption of open and interoperable standards for Internet protocols, ensuring seamless communication and compatibility across different networks and devices. This includes active participation in standardization bodies such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and  the Internet Telecommunication Union (ITU),.

 

Combat Digital Fragmentation: Monitor and address emerging trends and policies that threaten the global connectivity and openness of the Internet, such as data localization requirements, content blocking, and restrictions on cross-border data flows. Advocate for approaches that prioritize interoperability and prevent the fragmentation of the Internet into isolated networks.

 

Engage in Capacity Building: Provide technical assistance and capacity-building support to governments, organizations, and individuals, globally and especially in Africa to strengthen their ability to effectively participate in Internet governance processes, and contribute to policy discussions.

 

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 1. Whole and open

A whole, open, free, globally connected, interoperable and stable Internet is vital for sustainable development, the functioning of digital societies and economies, for supporting business operations worldwide, and a prerequisite to the effective functioning of public services such as education, health care or various governmental services. When properly harnessed, information and communication technologies (ICT) and digital technologies are formidable engines of innovation, competitiveness development, sustainable economic growth, and instruments of social, cultural, and economic empowerment for all.

This unique potential can only be fully exploited if the fundamental nature of the Internet as an open, whole, interconnected, and interoperable network of networks is preserved. However, at present, there is a heightened risk that some potential policy or business decisions might fragment the Internet into siloed parts.

The potential fragmentation at either the technical, content or governance layers, threatens the open, whole, interconnected, and interoperable nature of the Internet, and its associated benefits to social and economic development, while also harming human rights.

We call on the stakeholders of the Internet to set goals to ensure that the internet stays whole, open, free, globally connected, interoperable, stable and unfragmented.

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chapter 1 "Whole and open"

LINE 3:

A whole, open, free, globally connected, interoperable and stable Internet is vital for sustainable development, the functioning of digital societies and economies, for supporting business operations worldwide, and a prerequisite to the effective functioning of public services such as education, disaster prevention, health care or various governmental services. 

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Support for the 5 principles of 'The Internet We Want'

I wish to have recorded my personal support and endorsement as well as that of the Australian Internet Society Chapter (Internet Australia), which I have the honor of currently leading, for the 5 overarching principles or goals identified by the IGF Leadership Panel for 'The Internet We Want';

An Internet that is:-

1. Whole and open;

2. Universal and inclusive;

3. Free-flowing and trustworthy;

4. Safe and secure; and

5. Rights-respecting.

This resonates with our principles, vision and goals and we will continue to find ways to pursue and protect these going forward as we have in the times to date.

We do however note that particularly at this current and near future time 'The Internet We Have' is exposed to a myriad of risks and pressures that are counter to, or have intended and unintended consequences on these ideals.

The IGF as it is currently evolving could and should take advantage of its unique multistakeholder model, and take the opportunity to work with other actors and I* entities to facilitate discourse and shared understanding of the intended and unintended effects of actions taken and policies made that threaten any or all of these principles;  ensuring not only that the decision and policy makers are fully cognizant of such effects but also that the communities and individuals effected by these actions are aware.

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Comments from auDA (.au) in support

auDA supports the direction proposed by the Leadership Panel in this section. To avoid fragmentation of the internet , with all the negative consequences for users and innovation this would entail, requires a coherent governance structure, and governance fragmentation should not be allowed to occur.

Where stakeholders, including governments, see the need for new strands of coordination or cooperation, the first approach should be to ground these in existing mechanisms – primarily the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). This could include instigating new working methods within those mechanisms that can deliver on new needs, issues and concerns. Such an integrating approach supports coherence and ensures the diverse technologies and policy issues that have the internet at their core, or rely on the internet, will remain able to shape its evolution and be developed in ways more fully aware of the internet’s realities.

If new areas of policy require different assemblies of stakeholders, we suggest applying the internet’s multi-stakeholder approach, given its proven track record in the successful stewardship of the evolving and resilient internet. It is the genuine inclusion of stakeholders and consensus decision-making that has led to the internet’s success. This successful approach can and should be applied more broadly. 

In both current and new areas of internet governance, bolstering the participation of people from all around the world is vital. More participation from under-represented regions and communities is vital to ensure the system is shaped by everyone’s needs and concerns.

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Integrate Concrete, Action-Oriented Commitments

This section could build on work that has already been carried out within the internet governance community to understand and address internet fragmentation, e.g within the IGF’s Policy Network on Internet Fragmentation. It could call on the global community to further study and advance the recommendations by that mechanism. To address this, we propose adding the following sentence: “The development of technical standards and other state-based efforts to regulate the internet may directly support the enjoyment of human rights and ensure an open, interconnected and interoperable internet. An internet that is not whole and open poses a number of risks to human rights, including the right to privacy, freedom of expression and access to information, amongst others. These risks can emerge from specific laws, policies or other efforts that impact the development and implementation of technical standards and broader user experience.”

The addition of the following principle would also strengthen this connection: “We call on all stakeholders to commit to a principle-based approach to internet governance, grounded in human rights and that commits to protecting the critical properties of global connectivity.” The IWW should also encourage all stakeholders to not only promote the continuity of a whole and open internet but also efforts to counter threats to it such as by adding the following to the last sentence of this section: “A commitment to not politicise the core technical elements of the internet - such as domain name systems, identifiers, etc.; refraining from imposing bans or restrictions on international data flows or engaging in techno-protectionist initiatives, interfering with free expression, and Internet shutdowns all work towards achieving this aim.”

Additionally, the call to action is currently very high-level and lacks sufficient detail to provide adequate guidance to stakeholders. We would encourage the drafters to integrate the following to strengthen this section: “A principle-based approach grounded in human rights and that commits to protecting the critical properties of global connectivity is needed. These commitments need to be specific and tied to concrete actions.” Examples of such commitments include conducting research to ‘connect the dots’ between policy discussion and the technical components of the internet, ensuring there is meaningful engagement with stakeholders in all stages of  policy development with a view of identifying threats to an open internet, and developing and implementing means of measuring the incremental steps that are leading to internet fragmentation, among others.

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2. Universal and inclusive - AFRINIC Contribution

Mobile Technology development: The widespread adoption of mobile technology should dramatically increase internet accessibility, enabling more people to connect to the digital world. This has been particularly transformative in developing countries, where mobile internet often represents the primary means of online access.

Broadband Connectivity expansion: The expansion of broadband infrastructure should improve internet quality and speed, crucial for modern applications and new technologies.

 

Promote Multi-Stakeholder Governance: Work to strengthen multi-stakeholder governance models that involve governments, industry, civil society, and technical experts in decision-making processes related to Internet governance. This ensures diverse perspectives are considered and fosters consensus-building on critical issues.

Engage in Capacity Building: conduct effective Programs aimed at enhancing digital literacy and skills, specifically in developing countries. This is  crucial for boosting new technologies adoption and enabling people to take full benefits from the Internet.

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1. Whole and open - AFRINIC Contribution

Advocate for Policy Frameworks: Engage with policymakers globally, including Internet organizations to advocate for the adoption and enforcement of policies that uphold principles of net neutrality, freedom of expression, and open access to information. This includes supporting legislation that prevents discrimination in data transmission and ensures equal access to online content.

 

Support Infrastructure Development: Collaborate with the Regional Internet Registries (RIR), governments, Network Operators Groups, Network Internet Services Providers, National Research and Education Networks, and private sector entities to invest in the expansion and maintenance of Internet infrastructure, particularly in underserved regions. This includes deploying broadband networks, building data centers, and improving connectivity through initiatives like the Internet Exchange Points (IXPs).

 

Advance Interoperability Standards: Contribute to the development and adoption of open and interoperable standards for Internet protocols, ensuring seamless communication and compatibility across different networks and devices. This includes active participation in standardization bodies such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and  the Internet Telecommunication Union (ITU),.

 

Combat Digital Fragmentation: Monitor and address emerging trends and policies that threaten the global connectivity and openness of the Internet, such as data localization requirements, content blocking, and restrictions on cross-border data flows. Advocate for approaches that prioritize interoperability and prevent the fragmentation of the Internet into isolated networks.

 

Engage in Capacity Building: Provide technical assistance and capacity-building support to governments, organizations, and individuals, globally and especially in Africa to strengthen their ability to effectively participate in Internet governance processes, and contribute to policy discussions.

 

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1. Whole and open - AFRINIC Contribution

Advocate for Policy Frameworks: Engage with policymakers globally, including Internet organizations to advocate for the adoption and enforcement of policies that uphold principles of net neutrality, freedom of expression, and open access to information. This includes supporting legislation that prevents discrimination in data transmission and ensures equal access to online content.

 

Support Infrastructure Development: Collaborate with the Regional Internet Registries (RIR), governments, Network Operators Groups, Network Internet Services Providers, National Research and Education Networks, and private sector entities to invest in the expansion and maintenance of Internet infrastructure, particularly in underserved regions. This includes deploying broadband networks, building data centers, and improving connectivity through initiatives like the Internet Exchange Points (IXPs).

 

Advance Interoperability Standards: Contribute to the development and adoption of open and interoperable standards for Internet protocols, ensuring seamless communication and compatibility across different networks and devices. This includes active participation in standardization bodies such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and  the Internet Telecommunication Union (ITU),.

 

Combat Digital Fragmentation: Monitor and address emerging trends and policies that threaten the global connectivity and openness of the Internet, such as data localization requirements, content blocking, and restrictions on cross-border data flows. Advocate for approaches that prioritize interoperability and prevent the fragmentation of the Internet into isolated networks.

 

Engage in Capacity Building: Provide technical assistance and capacity-building support to governments, organizations, and individuals, globally and especially in Africa to strengthen their ability to effectively participate in Internet governance processes, and contribute to policy discussions.

 

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2. Universal and inclusive

Since its inception, the Internet has evolved from an information exchange network to the platform for sustainable social and economic development we recognise it to be today. An open, stable, and trusted Internet is vital for the effective functioning of a diverse array of services, as varied as agriculture, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, or education, continuously reimagining the way people interact with their peers, businesses, and governments. However, despite the enormous progress in expanding connectivity in recent years, 2.7 billion people remain unconnected.

Connecting the unconnected and reconnecting the disconnected is not just about infrastructure and access to the Internet. Meaningful connectivity also requires focus on bridging the barriers to adoption, including creating and maintaining an enabling environment in which locally relevant, local language content is created, as well as adopting policies and tools designed to identify and address skills gaps. The enduring digital divides in access, application, and skills among and within countries emphasise the need for universal, affordable, and meaningful connectivity in order to reach the development potential of the Internet, ICTs, and digital technologies. Meaningful connectivity should also be secure, resilient and cost-effective.

In pursuit of these goals and of a human-centric, sustainable digitalization, all stakeholders must improve their understanding of how ICTs work in practice, including knowledge of the ICT ecosystem, the roles of the various stakeholders and relevant policy issues.

Frameworks that enable Internet connectivity should be based on light-touch ICT policy and regulations, encourage universal access through competition and the entry of new players into the ICT ecosystem to foster the emergence of innovative products, services, and business models. Policy and regulatory mechanisms should consider the value of the entire communications and digital services ecosystem. They should be non-discriminatory, technology-neutral, and supportive of innovative business models and the development of a wide range of technologies, standards, and system architectures. Successful efforts to deliver universal meaningful connectivity need to balance the needs of all stakeholders, should be grounded in evidence and data, should seek global harmonisation in terms of interoperability and standards, should enable the effective management of spectrum between all stakeholders, and must facilitate investment across the entire digital value chain.

We call on the stakeholders of the Internet to set goals to move towards universal meaningful connectivity for everyone, everywhere, to encourage the uptake of new technologies at need, and to address skills gaps.

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The Internet we want towards Universal and Inclusiveness

In the critical step towards building a digital future that benefits all, building a truly universal and inclusive internet demands ongoing dialogue, innovative solutions, and a commitment to shared values. By collaborating and setting ambitious but achievable goals, we can create a digital space that empowers everyone to thrive.

These goals and areas can help build more towards "the internet we want"

  1. Universal Access and Connectivity
  2. Inclusion and Diversity
  3. Content Accessibility and Multilingualism
  4. Openness and Participation
  5. Safety and Security

Stakeholder groups must be able to;

  • Ensure affordable and reliable internet access for all, particularly low-income populations and remote regions.
  • Empower marginalized communities to actively participate in shaping the internet and digital policy, ensuring diverse voice heard.
  • Promote the development and use of multilingual content and tools, fostering cultural understanding and knowledge exchange.
  • Encourage multistakeholder participation in internet governance, including civil society, technical communities, and private sector.
  • Promote transparency and accountability in online platforms and data practices, empowering users to control their information.
  • Protect user privacy and data security, implementing robust safeguards against misuse and exploitation.
  • Promote ethical and responsible use of artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies, mitigating potential risks to human rights and democracy.

These actions can be achieved through collaborative efforts where Governments, civil society, technical communities, and the p must work together to develop and implement effective solutions with youth advocates funding that can help address these ch the local level to the global level. 

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new wording for para 2 : Universal and inclusive

LINE 12:

The enduring digital divides in access, application, and skills among and within countries emphasise the need for universal, affordable, and meaningful connectivity in order to reach the development potential of the Internet, ICTs, and of all digital technologies. Meaningful connectivity should also be secure, resilient and cost-effective, and able to reach the whole of the population (including rural areas and the poorer). 

LINE 17: 

Policy and regulatory mechanisms should consider the value of the entire communications and digital services ecosystem but have to prevent the creation of monopolies.

LINE 25:

should seek global harmonisation in terms of interoperability and standards, should enable the effective management of spectrum between all stakeholders (preserving the free-to-air services for emergency communication), and must facilitate investment across the digital value chain. 

 

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Address barriers to access

To achieve a truly universal and inclusive internet, the IGF community should consider how women and marginalized communities such as persons with disabilities, refugees, and LGBTQ+ communities experience the internet, and what barriers to access they face which are often greater than the barriers for general population. Barriers to access go beyond insufficient ICT infrastructure or prohibitive costs. Factors such as online gender-based violence and harassment and inaccessible technologies have further hindered the promise of a universal and inclusive internet for all. The IGF Secretariat should consider including metrics that seek not only to promote the affordability of the internet access, but also take steps to reduce harassment online (which often translates into physical risks offline) and examine how to improve the accessibility of online content and affordability of assistive technologies, especially for persons with disabilities from Global Majority countries.

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Universal and inclusive

As we are approaching twenty years since the inception of the forum, Internet access is still an important topic for the Arab region and for many developing countries. Issues related to access are not limited only to the number of Internet users, but they became more complex to include the quality of service, bandwidth, reasonable cost for all, size of investment in Internet infrastructure and securing this infrastructure. Furthermore, finding alternative means and quick solutions for Internet access in areas of instability and natural disasters to alleviate the suffering of individuals in these areas remains a huge challenge for everyone.

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Comments from auDA (.au) in support

auDA supports the direction proposed by the Leadership Panel in this section. In our view, the primary goals should be:

  • To ensure affordable connectivity to the internet is accessible to all people everywhere, through the diverse and increasingly resilient physical connectivity models now available.

     
  • To ensure that all people everywhere have access to the training and support that would allow them to realise the internet’s promise, and to be equipped to deal with the risks that can come with internet access.

     
  • To encourage widespread adoption of universal access principles so that all online services and systems accept input in all scripts, making the online world more fully multilingual.

The first goal is in sight, and would require stakeholders (particularly governments, given their role) to support infrastructure rollout and to engage in targeted support for disadvantaged people and communities.

The second goal is underway but is a multi-generational effort. All stakeholders could engage in supporting training and other initiatives that help people learn about the opportunities the internet offers and how to use it securely and confidently.

The third goal requires action by all stakeholders offering online services and should simply be factored in as an essential component of all system renewal efforts. It could be helpful for the Leadership Panel to propose a date after which all stakeholders publicly commit that any service or product launched will be characterised by universal accessibility.

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Need for an Intersectional Gender Perspective & Accessibility

The IWW should encompass an intersectional gender perspective that recognizes and takes into consideration the different impact that digital technologies have on women, girls and people of diverse genders and sexualities. Currently, this section mentions the digital divide but does not address its disproportionate impact on women and girls, persons with disabilities, and those in vulnerable or marginalised situations. We encourage the drafters to ensure their perspectives are integrated into the final document.

 

Additionally, while we applaud the commitment to non-discrimination, we encourage the drafters to integrate the following as essential to ensuring an open and diverse model of internet governance: “the inclusion and integration of all perspectives, particularly those subject to discrimination or other forms of marginalisation.”

 

There is also a concerning lack of commitment to accessibility. This could be remedied through the addition of a commitment to ensure that internet governance processes and forums are “open, inclusive, accessible, consensus-driven, and transparent. This includes ensuring that stakeholders from the Global Majority and other under-represented groups in global public policymaking can fully participate in decision-making processes and providing adequate notice and funding and accessible accreditation systems.”

 

This section should also encourage all stakeholders to take a comprehensive and holistic approach to understanding the potential impact of regulatory frameworks on the internet. We encourage the drafters to include a recommendation for governments and policymakers “to meaningfully engage with all stakeholders in policy development, with the view to identifying threats to an open internet - particularly as these might be inadvertent.” This call to action would strengthen this section.

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3. Free-flowing and trustworthy - AFRINIC Contribution

Promote Ethical AI and Algorithmic Transparency: Advocate for the development and adoption of ethical guidelines and standards for the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms in Internet  services. Encourage transparency and accountability in algorithmic decision-making processes to mitigate biases, discrimination, and unintended consequences in the use of Internet.

 

Engage in Multistakeholder Dialogue: Increase Participation in multistakeholder forums, working groups, and initiatives that bring together governments, industry, civil society, and technical experts to discuss and address challenges related to online trust and safety. By fostering dialogue and collaboration among diverse stakeholders, we can develop holistic solutions that promote a free-flowing and trustworthy Internet for all.

Combat Disinformation and Misinformation: Collaborate with stakeholders from across sectors to develop and implement strategies for combating disinformation and misinformation online. This includes promoting media literacy, fact-checking initiatives, and platforms' efforts to reduce the spread of false information while respecting freedom of expression.

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2. Universal and inclusive - AFRINIC Contribution

Mobile Technology development: The widespread adoption of mobile technology should dramatically increase internet accessibility, enabling more people to connect to the digital world. This has been particularly transformative in developing countries, where mobile internet often represents the primary means of online access.

Broadband Connectivity expansion: The expansion of broadband infrastructure should improve internet quality and speed, crucial for modern applications and new technologies.

 

Promote Multi-Stakeholder Governance: Work to strengthen multi-stakeholder governance models that involve governments, industry, civil society, and technical experts in decision-making processes related to Internet governance. This ensures diverse perspectives are considered and fosters consensus-building on critical issues.

Engage in Capacity Building: conduct effective Programs aimed at enhancing digital literacy and skills, specifically in developing countries. This is  crucial for boosting new technologies adoption and enabling people to take full benefits from the Internet.

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3. Free-flowing and trustworthy

Cross-border data flows underpin many aspects of business today — cloud services, remote work, workplace collaboration, management of human resources, customer relationships and supply chains. They also underpin distance learning, telemedicine, the fight against cybercrime and child abuse online, fraud monitoring and prevention, investigation of counterfeit products, and a broad range of other activities. The processing and transfer of both personal and non-personal data are integral to many of these exchanges, making trust a vital element for resilient and sustainable economic growth and recovery.

However, there is an increasing lack of trust, or confidence, due to concerns that policy objectives—such as privacy, national security, consumer and human rights protection, access to data or even industrial competitiveness—would be compromised when data moves abroad. This lack of trust serves as the rationale for the adoption of an increasing number of data localisation and sovereignty measures, leading to fragmented national approaches to data governance and a growing number of restrictions that prohibit or considerably encumber cross-border data flows. Failure to address this lack of trust and to find an appropriate trust model risks impeding cross-border data flows, thereby limiting economies of scale and scope, driving inefficient, unsustainable investment, and restricting innovation.

Promoting policies that facilitate the adoption of applicable technologies and the global movement of data, including through governance models that allow for data-sharing for public good, is fundamental to harnessing their significant economic and social benefits. In particular, policymakers should support open cross-border data flows, while also assuring the protection of privacy, security, as well as intellectual property, and that those protections are implemented through a risk-based approach and in a manner that is transparent, non-discriminatory and in line with the principles of necessity and proportionality.

Trust is strengthened when governments adopt robust and comprehensive commitments to protect the rights and freedoms of individuals, including the fundamental right to privacy. In addition, cooperation between governments and stakeholders including business and multilateral organisations is needed to advocate for interoperable policy frameworks that would facilitate cross-border data flows, enabling data to be exchanged, shared, and used in a trusted manner, thereby aiming for high privacy standards.

We call on the stakeholders of the Internet to set goals to unlock the value of data flows for sustainable development of all and enshrine trust as the prerequisite for data sharing regimes, founded on the protection of data.

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New wording for para 3: Free-flowing

LINE 28: (conclusions)

We call on the stakeholders of the Internet to set goals to unlock the value of data flows for sustainable development of all and enshrine trust as the prerequisite for data sharing regimes, founded on the protection of data. The free-flow of data could then happen among countries that guarantee the same level of data protection to their citizens and companies.

 

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Free-flowing and trustworthy

With our life becoming more digital, misleading and false information has become a major concern for everyone. Its impact is not limited only to economic harm, but it extends to destabilize societies, harm civic peace, and threaten the lives of individuals. During the covid pandemic, it reached to the level where it harmed public health and caused the loss of lives. Therefore, it is important to adopt appropriate and acceptable mechanisms and frameworks that verify such information, its sources, and reduce its dissemination. These mechanisms and frameworks must take into consideration that the world is a mixture of cultures and ideas and that what is acceptable in one part of the world may not be acceptable in another part. Consequently, these mechanisms and frameworks must be neutral and not influenced by the ideology or thoughts of any group.

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auDA (.au) support of this

auDA supports the Leadership Panel’s direction. The internet is a global network of networks. It was not designed to follow national boundaries and there is no public interest in shaping it, or the services that operate using the internet, in such a fashion.

Concerns around security and privacy of data are important, and should be dealt with through multi-stakeholder processes that would see rising standards, and thus rising trust and confidence in every corner of the internet and for all those offering services online.

Likewise, governments in particular could collaborate under IGF auspices to drive shared ideas and establish norms for consumer protection approaches. Doing so could drive compatible or somewhat harmonised regulatory and policy approaches. This is important to help make sure that national concerns and priorities can be achieved in a way that does not compromise a broadly free-flowing and trustworthy internet environment.

The alternative approach of increasingly national silos with specific regulation, lack of cross-border data flows and decreasing trust, would be a poor alternative option. It would lead to fewer opportunities for people in any given place, and overall higher costs and less efficiency. That is a high price to pay, and it is a price we can choose not to pay if we work collectively to mitigate current privacy and security risks and concerns.

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Stronger Statement on the Right to Privacy

This section would benefit from a stronger statement on the right to privacy, such as by including the following: “States should recognize the right to privacy as a universal, indivisible, interdependent human right that applies across borders and media and is intrinsically linked to the effective protection of personal data. This could be complemented through the inclusion of the following recommendation: “ that the collection, processing, sharing and use of personal data be subject to personal data protection regulation that is in line with international human rights law standards.” The IWW should also emphasise that the adoption and implementation of data protection regulation should be a prerequisite for the adoption of applicable technologies and the global movement of data; these protections are even more important in light of the vast capabilities of generative AI to process personal data.

 

This section would also be strengthened by adding the following: “It is important for all stakeholders - especially policymakers - to recognise the importance of technical solutions to protecting the confidentiality of digital communications, such as encryption and anonymity, which are critical for the enjoyment of all human rights offline and online.” We would recommend adding this sentence at the end of the paragraph on trust and the right to privacy. 

 

Additionally, we suggest adding the following sentence to the call to action:  “We encourage all stakeholders to not seek to influence technical protocols and standards or their implementation in a way that would impede the free flow of information globally or otherwise act in ways that do not promote and encourage respect for human rights and/or facilitate human rights violations and abuses.”

 

To the paragraph on “....cooperation between governments and stakeholders including business and multilateral organisations,” we would suggest noting that “cooperation is needed among different stakeholders not only for interoperable policy frameworks that would facilitate cross-border data flows, but also to ensure that these security principles do not inadvertently limit the global, open nature of the Internet.”

 

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4. Safe and secure - AFRINIC Contribution

Promote Encryption: Advocate for the widespread adoption of strong encryption standards to protect the privacy and security of online communications. Encryption helps safeguard sensitive information from unauthorized access and surveillance, thereby fostering trust in online interactions.

 

Strengthen Cybersecurity Measures: Work to improve cybersecurity practices and resilience across the Internet ecosystem, including networks, devices, and applications. This involves promoting best practices such as regular software updates, secure coding standards, and threat intelligence sharing to prevent cyberattacks and data breaches.

 

Empower Users with Privacy Tools: Educate users about privacy-enhancing tools and technologies that enable them to control their personal data online. This includes promoting the use of virtual private networks (VPNs), ad blockers, and privacy-focused browsers to enhance users' control over their online privacy and security. Again, Africa is lagging behind so a dedicated progarm has to be customised to address this gap, with the help of Af-STARS

 

Legislation and Regulation: Advocate for the enactment and enforcement of comprehensive legislation and regulations aimed at protecting users' rights, privacy, and security online. This includes laws addressing cybersecurity, data protection, online harassment, and digital rights.

International Cooperation: Promote international collaboration and cooperation among governments, law enforcement agencies, and relevant stakeholders to combat cybercrime, address jurisdictional challenges, and harmonize legal frameworks across borders.

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3. Free-flowing and trustworthy - AFRINIC Contribution

Promote Ethical AI and Algorithmic Transparency: Advocate for the development and adoption of ethical guidelines and standards for the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms in Internet  services. Encourage transparency and accountability in algorithmic decision-making processes to mitigate biases, discrimination, and unintended consequences in the use of Internet.

 

Engage in Multistakeholder Dialogue: Increase Participation in multistakeholder forums, working groups, and initiatives that bring together governments, industry, civil society, and technical experts to discuss and address challenges related to online trust and safety. By fostering dialogue and collaboration among diverse stakeholders, we can develop holistic solutions that promote a free-flowing and trustworthy Internet for all.

Combat Disinformation and Misinformation: Collaborate with stakeholders from across sectors to develop and implement strategies for combating disinformation and misinformation online. This includes promoting media literacy, fact-checking initiatives, and platforms' efforts to reduce the spread of false information while respecting freedom of expression.

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4. Safe and secure

Cyberspace is now an intrinsic part of every country’s development, creating enormous opportunities and enabling economic and societal growth. At the same time, the indispensable nature of cyberspace in day-to-day human activities also generates growing vulnerabilities. Rapid digitalisation is testing the resilience of cyber infrastructures. The escalating vulnerabilities resulting from disparate states of cyber hygiene hinder the effectiveness of countermeasures against cyber attacks, threatening to thwart the potential economic impact of ICT and digital technologies.

The borderless nature of the Internet and the associated digital economy, the increased cyber-physical interdependency of IoT, and cybercrime paint a complex legal and operational picture for cybersecurity. A collective, collaborative multistakeholder approach is required to find meaningful ways and effective solutions to mitigate local, cross-border and global cybersecurity concerns.

To empower and protect societies from increased cybersecurity risks, the international multistakeholder community should explore practical ways to mainstream cybersecurity capacity building (CCB) into broader digital development efforts. This is also essential for building resilient societies and promoting a whole-of-society approach to dealing with threats emanating from cyberspace.

We call on the stakeholders of the Internet to set goals to establish and implement robust frameworks for high levels of cybersecurity, and strong recommendations for legal structures, practices, and cross-border cooperation to combat cybercrime.

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Effects of Low Price of Non-targeted Web Traffic

While governmental agencies have been focusing on the topic of targeted onlline advertising and the subsequent privacy concerns, the  topic of non-targeted traffic has been left completely out of the discussion for web safety and the ethics of advertising.
 

The sale and purchase of non-targeted web traffic for the purpose of advertising has created a massive financial incentive for rampant online advertising of unregulated health products, illegitimate retailers, borderline-legal scams and predatory industries such as online gambling. These types of malignant advertisers, including many ones involved in criminal activity, depend on the low price of non-targeted traffic to continue their operations which often prey on vulnerable web users such as seniors and underage users.

A proposal as seen at https://nocheaptraffic.com suggests that the reallocation of funds from massive governmental advertising budgets could raise the price of non-targeted traffic and remove the financial incentive for the advertising of unregulated products, criminal activities and malware. 

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New wording for para 4: Safe and secure

LINE 8:

The borderless nature of the Internet and the associated digital economy, the increased cyber-physical interdependency of IoT, disinformation and cybercrime paint a complex legal and operational picture for cybersecurity. A collective, collaborative multistakeholder approach is required to find meaningful ways and effective solutions to mitigate local, cross-border and global cybersecurity concerns. 

LINE 11: 

his is also essential for building resilient sustainable societies and promoting a whole-of-society approach to dealing with threats emanating from cyberspace, especially during elections times.  

LINE 17 (conclusions):

We call on the stakeholders of the Internet to set goals to establish and implement robust frameworks for high levels of cybersecurity, and strong recommendations for legal structures, practices, and cross-border cooperation to combat cybercrime. Principles of the Open internet will apply to countries that are committed to this system.

 

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Include perspectives from the local private sector

To assess how to ensure the digital economy remains safe and secure, multistakeholder consultations should include perspectives from local business communities from across the Global Majority, such as small and medium-sized enterprises, business associations, and chambers of commerce. These local private sector actors are important drivers of the ever-growing digital economy yet are largely excluded from crucial conversations on internet governance and cybersecurity. 

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Safe and Secure

Cybersecurity is becoming increasingly important with the growth in internet use. Internet users are increasingly exposed to cyber risks. Economic losses from cyber risks are in the increase too. With time, we have experienced how cyber risks evolve into new patterns that we did not experience before. There is an urgent need for international and regional mechanisms to confront cyber risks and enhance cooperation in this field among all stakeholders. The need for an international convention similar to the “Budapest Convention on Cybercrime” is becoming more of an urgent matter that requires the cooperation of everyone.

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auDA (.au) supports this goal

auDA broadly supports the Leadership Panel’s direction. We propose adding two areas of focus:

  • Embedding Secure-by-Design principles into the creation of all internet-connected devices, such that they are less likely to become security risks over time
  • Generating momentum - particularly in the small business and small organisation sectors - towards more effective maintenance and management of software and services, so that for example, patching and updating key systems happens more often.

Both would be best achieved by effective and well-resourced multi-stakeholder forums that bring all the relevant expertise and perspectives together so that all stakeholders are informed and can share commitments to act. Trying this approach is justified given the failure of the current global approach to deliver the levels of security that are needed.

Secure-by-Design: https://www.cyber.gov.au/resources-business-and-government/governance-and-user-education/secure-by-design#
 

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Development, Data Privacy, and Int'l Peace & Security

The IWW should reiterate that international law, including the UN Charter, international humanitarian law and the international human rights law apply to the maintenance of international peace and security - including in cyberspace. The IWW should also make reference to the acquis of responsible state behaviour in cyberspace, and to the establishment and operationalisation of a Cyber Programme of Action where relevant. As a call to action, the IWW should integrate the following: “We encourage all stakeholders to commit to supporting the effective implementation of the acquis, and of international law which underpins the acquis and international peace and security in cyberspace.”

 

The IWW should also recognise the asymmetries and inequalities that underlie the global digital economy, and emphasise the need for investment in digital technology for the public good by ensuring that all peoples can benefit, including groups subject to historic and structural forms of discrimination and persons in vulnerable situations. The IWW should subsequently recognise that human rights and sustainable development are not competing values but mutually reinforcing: it should reaffirm that human rights is an enabler of sustainable development – noting that the goals and targets correspond with states’ existing human rights obligations – and that attainment of the Agenda 2030 can only be achieved through the effective realisation of human rights. The IWW should also incorporate a commitment to mainstream cyber resilience across international development programming and the integration of cyber capacity building community of practise with the development field.

 

Finally, the IWW should reiterate that the protection of personal data is intrinsically linked to the right to privacy, and emphasise the importance of the adoption and implementation of comprehensive data protection frameworks The IWW should also emphasise the important role data protection safeguards play in enabling effective cybersecurity and of peace and security in the use of data-driven technologies.

 

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Safe and secure - AFRINIC Contribution

Promote Encryption: Advocate for the widespread adoption of strong encryption standards to protect the privacy and security of online communications. Encryption helps safeguard sensitive information from unauthorized access and surveillance, thereby fostering trust in online interactions.

 

Strengthen Cybersecurity Measures: Work to improve cybersecurity practices and resilience across the Internet ecosystem, including networks, devices, and applications. This involves promoting best practices such as regular software updates, secure coding standards, and threat intelligence sharing to prevent cyberattacks and data breaches.

 

Empower Users with Privacy Tools: Educate users about privacy-enhancing tools and technologies that enable them to control their personal data online. This includes promoting the use of virtual private networks (VPNs), ad blockers, and privacy-focused browsers to enhance users' control over their online privacy and security. Again, Africa is lagging behind so a dedicated progarm has to be customised to address this gap, with the help of Af-STARS

 

Legislation and Regulation: Advocate for the enactment and enforcement of comprehensive legislation and regulations aimed at protecting users' rights, privacy, and security online. This includes laws addressing cybersecurity, data protection, online harassment, and digital rights.

International Cooperation: Promote international collaboration and cooperation among governments, law enforcement agencies, and relevant stakeholders to combat cybercrime, address jurisdictional challenges, and harmonize legal frameworks across borders.

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5. Rights-respecting

Human rights must be respected online and offline. Governments are responsible to ensure that human rights are respected, protected, and promoted, while businesses and digital service providers are obliged to comply with all applicable laws and to respect human rights. Governments must refrain from internet shutdowns. Any restriction of access to the Internet must be lawful, legitimate, necessary, proportional, and non-discriminatory.

All stakeholder groups have the responsibility to promote transparency, accountability, and human rights due diligence throughout the lifecycle of existing, new and emerging technologies. We have learned that certain behaviours on the Internet can be very harmful to our societies. The Internet we want will protect us from them.

A human rights-based approach to Internet governance is required in order to realize the full benefits of the Internet for all, including the rights to education, to participation in public and cultural life or to access to information, as well as empowering businesses of all sizes. To that end, standards development organisations should introduce processes to ensure due consideration of human rights in their work, including by inviting participation of experts from all stakeholder communities.

We call on the stakeholders of the Internet to set goals to ensure a human rights-based approach to Internet governance, and to promote human rights in the digital space.

If we are to achieve the Internet we want, we have significant multistakeholder work ahead of us, including collaboration with existing and ongoing initiatives.

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New wording for para 5: Rights respecting

LINE 3:

Human rights must be respected online and offline. Governments are responsible to ensure that human rights are respected, protected, and promoted, while businesses and digital service providers are obliged to comply with all applicable laws and to respect human rights, including the one of the citizens to be properly informed. Governments must refrain from internet shutdowns. 

LINE 14: 

To that end, standards development organisations should introduce processes to ensure due consideration of human rights in their work, including by inviting participation of experts from all stakeholder communities, with the aim to deliver HR compliant-by-design standards.

LINE 18:

If we are to achieve the Internet we want, we have significant multistakeholder work ahead of us, including collaboration with existing and ongoing initiatives, starting from WSIS follow up and the GDC, plus all the others concerning Artificial Intelligence.

 

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Embed rights considerations into the internet governance process

Multistakeholder consultations that include perspectives from Global Majority stakeholders from civil society, the local private sector, and independent media are essential in achieving a rights-respecting digital space. However, these important stakeholders are often absent or underrepresented during the development and implementation of national legislation and regional frameworks that impact the future of the internet and human rights on- and offline. Similarly, international technical bodies on internet governance should provide more opportunities for inclusive consultations across diverse stakeholder groups. Therefore, we recommend that the IGF Secretariat considers including goals for both governments and international multilateral organizations to expand opportunities for multistakeholder consultations on how to achieve a digital space that respects human rights in the digital age. 

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auDA supports this goal (.au)

auDA supports the Leadership Panel’s contention that human rights apply offline and online. The human rights framework is substantially intergovernmental in character, given the nature of such frameworks are grounded in law and protected by the state (noting also the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights).

In many areas of life, it is the technology industry and the Standards Development Organisations (SDOs) that underpin the design and deployment of new and emerging technology. It is essential that, in pursuing innovation, human rights centered designs are the norm and appropriate human rights guardrails are included.  Where they are not, new and emerging technologies can pose an increased risk to human rights.

It may be that internet governance and human rights stakeholders should be convened (under the auspices of the IGF) to consider the issue of how the internet governance system – not just SDOs but, the IGF processes, WSIS, and indeed all parts of the community – can better integrate human rights-supporting approaches in their work, and come to a common understanding of how the human rights framework can best be included and fully implemented online.

Given the rapid pace of change in technology, including those that rely on the internet, this may need to be an ongoing dialogue over time.

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Ensure Grounding in IHRL and Frameworks

This section would be strengthened if it begins with reference to the “universal respect for, and observance and protection of, all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, other relevant instruments relating to human rights, and international law" and then followed by “any restriction of access to the Internet must be lawful, legitimate, necessary, proportional, and non-discriminatory.” This could be in addition to the point that “Governments are responsible to ensure that human rights are respected, protected, and promoted while businesses and digital service providers are obliged to comply with all applicable laws and to respect human rights.”

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5. Rights-respecting - AFRINIC Contribution

Legal Frameworks and Protections: Advocate for the development and enforcement of legal frameworks that protect fundamental human rights in the digital space, including the rights to privacy, freedom of expression, access to information, and non-discrimination. This includes updating existing laws and international treaties to address emerging digital issues and ensuring that digital rights are upheld both online and offline.

 

Digital Privacy and Data Protection: Promote strong data protection laws and regulations that safeguard individuals' privacy rights and limit the collection, use, and retention of personal data by governments and corporations. Advocate for transparency and accountability in data processing practices, including clear consent mechanisms, data minimization, and user control over personal information.

 

Multi-Stakeholder Engagement: Facilitate multi-stakeholder dialogue and collaboration among governments, civil society organizations, technology companies, academia, and other stakeholders to address complex digital rights issues and develop inclusive, rights-based solutions. Support initiatives that promote transparency, accountability, and meaningful participation in decision-making processes related to digital policy and governance.

International Human Rights Standards: Uphold and promote international human rights standards and principles in the digital space, including those articulated in treaties such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Advocate for the application of human rights principles in digital policymaking, regulation, and practice at the national, regional, and international levels.

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