14 SEPTEMBER 10
FREEDOM OF CONNECTION, FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
Note: The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during Fifth Meeting of the IGF, in Vilnius. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> JANIS KARKLINS: Good morning. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Janis Karklins. I am an assistant director general of UNESCO in charge of communication and information. I want to see whether you can hear me. Very average. I'll try to eat the microphone.
Welcome to the workshop, freedom of connection, freedom of expression: The changing legal and regulatory (feedback)
Changing legal and environment shaping the internet.
UNESCO has been organizing workshops in each editions of Internet Governance Forum. This is one of the topics UNESCO is interested in, is working in because as you may know, the notion, free flow of information by word and by image, is the core of UNESCO's constitution. This is indeed the core of our mandate.
In our work, in working on the issues related to freedom of expression in internet, UNESCO supported a team of leading academics from Oxford Internet Institute to develop a study which is now required the form of the report entitled "Freedom of connection, freedom of exchange, the changing legal and regulatory environment, regulatory ecology shaping the internet."
UNESCO recognizes that freedom of expression is essential to building strong Democracies contributing to good governments, promoting civic participation, the rule of law, encouraging human development and security.
The principal of freedom of expression as stated in Article 19 of the universal declaration of human rights must not apply only to traditional media but also to internet.
Internet is rapidly growing. In 2010, we estimate that there is about 1.8 billion internet users around the world. Internet opens an unprecedented opportunities for self expression and exchange of information and civic participation. But equally, we see that in a number of parts of the world, there are attempts at limiting freedom of expression on the internet. And we would like to see, we would like to analyze whether that is a global tendency and whether that is, the tendency finds expression only in regulations or there are other ways, namely technological ways, to influence freedom of expression or to limit freedom of expression on the internet.
All these issues are addressed in the study made by Professor Dutton, whom I would like to offer the floor. Professor William Dutton is a director of Oxford Internet Institute. He is a professor of internet studies, a fellow of valley college. Before coming to Oxford in 2002, he was professor in the Anaberg school of communications of the University of Southern California where he was elected president of the faculty and remains emeritus professor.
In the UK, he was a full scholar in '86 '87 and was director of communication technologies from 'nine three to '96. His recent publications on the social aspects of information and communication technologies includes, society on the line and transforming enterprise and worldwide research shaping the science and humanities with Mr. Jeffries. Professor Dutton, you have the floor.
>> WILLIAM DUTTON: Thank you, Chairman. It's an honour to be here. I think it's only it's quite wonderful to have a session on freedom of expression with all the voices surrounding this session. So I'll do my best for to you hear me, and I'll speak up. Let me know if you miss anything I say.
The report that is available, if you have not seen it, I welcome you to take it and read at your leisure tis lengthy. I want to thank UNESCO for asking us to do that. It's been an incredible experience trying to pull
And central to the discussion of freedom of expression.
Vicky Nash will be presenting with me. Victoria Nash, Dr. Nash is a research fellow at the OII and director of our research in policy outreach. Three of the other coauthors could not join us, but I want to thank them for their work on this.
This is a work in progress. Even though it's about 100 pages now, we need your feedback for it to get shorter or to get longer, whatever. So I welcome your criticism and feedback in any way possible.
We think it's incredibly important that we continually re look at the issues of freedom of expression, freedom of connection because every new technology changes, reconfigures access to information, to people, to services, and to technology itself. So this photograph of a cyber cafe, that is almost a creation of the internet. It's changing the way in which the kinds of technologies and facilities we need to communicate with one another. And it's certainly changing not only how we communicate but what we know, not only how we talk to people but who we speak with, what services we get, but also from whom we purchase various services.
So even though freedom of expression has been a long enduring topic, it is continually changing with each new technology that's reconfiguring access.
One of the principal things we did for the report, which you'll read, is review of existing literature on freedom of expression. And we came up, I'll just mention a couple of the conclusions we came up from our review. One is, there is some really stellar work involved in that field. For example, the McBride Commission has had a landmark work in the McBride report in the early '80s.
There's also some very strong empirical research such as by Diebert and others with the open net issue that we'll talk about in a bit on internet filtering. But with a few exceptions such as those, the literature is relatively light in terms of research. It is heavy in terms of advocacy. And it's also primarily focused on freedom of expression as a single issue. And I think one of the conclusions that we came to is by focusing on freedom of expression in isolation from other issues might be a mistake.
I heard in the first plenary session the notion that each of these issues dealt with by IGF is co existing with a variety of other issues. I guess what the ecology of games argues is that that coexistence can be placed in a broader framework. A central contribution we hope to make to this debate about freedom of expression is that it's useful to think of freedom of expression within the concept of an ecology of policy and regulation about other things.
Let me give you a sense of what there's a theory called the ecology of games which basically says, often when you think about communities or freedom of expression or anything else, people don't get up in the morning thinking that about how to governor freedom of expression. govern freedom of expression. They think about how they can get to school, how they can get to work, can they get a better job. They're playing other games. They have other objectives and goals.
And what we need to do is understand the range, the full range of goals and objectives that key actors are playing and the decisions they're making that affect the freedom of expression. So freedom of expression is on the one hand an issue that people care about, and on the other hand an outcome, an outcome of decisions people are making about other things like industrial policy, like security, like privacy and data protection.
So we have to look at the full range of issues, choices made about those and for what reasons and how they may be influencing freedom of expression.
This graph or this figure gives you an idea of how freedom of expression is nested within this larger ecology of choices being made about technical invasions and use innovation and user policy and internet policy.
In the report, we have a table that gives more detail to that, goes beyond those larger areas. And you can see that every one of these larger areas has a lot of very specific areas. For example, in digital rights, there's issues over access. That's a separate issue. But also issues over censorship and equality of access and privacy and data protection. These are all various rights that are often considered in isolation. But it's the outcome of decisions made about these particular areas of interest that are shaping freedom of expression in the longer term.
What we'll do is, I want to spend a few minutes outlining the centrality of the issues about connection and expression, and then we'll go over some examples within these various areas of user centric policy, net centric policy, security, and also others
So we're saying, freedom of expression is not an inevitable outcome of technological change. The literature often paints technological change as the solution to freedom of expression or that the internet is inherently free and inpersonalitily not going to be regulatable. We're arguing that, no, the choices made in a variety of policy areas and about technologies including technologies of disconnection are going to shape the overall long term implications for freedom of expression.
So we don't focus only on filtering and censorship. We take a much broader sweep. And we're arguing that freedom of expression can be enhanced or eroded indirectly by the pursuit of these other goals so that we can pursue industrial policy in ways that actually enhance freedom of expression, which I think is generally the case, or undermine it as we'll see in the area of potentially copyright.
So we'll look at these six areas. But I think, I want to first make a point that partly, even though I'm at Oxford, I am an American. And often some people think that freedom of speech is somehow uniquely an American invention or extreme in the United States. I'd like to say that it is a very international value. It is embedded in so many other declarations of human rights and conventions in Europe and the Americas generally that it's not simply a U.S. venture.
But I wanted to play three minutes, if we can hear it over the
>> Individuals with the same work or interests. But the internet is a network that magnifies the power and potential of all others. And that's why we believe that it's critical that its users are assured certain basic freedoms: Freedom of expression is first among them.
This freedom is no longer defined solely by whether citizens can go into the town square and criticize their government without fear of retribution. Blogs, e mail, social networks and text messages have opened up new forums for exchanging ideas and created new targets for censorship.
As I speak to you today, government censors somewhere are working furiously to erase my words from the records of history. But history itself has already condemned these tactics. Two months ago, I was in Germany to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The leaders gathered at that ceremony paid tribute to the courageous men and women on the far side of that barrier, who made the case against oppression. By circulating small pamphlets called nanistad. These questioned the claims of leadership in the eastern Bloc. And many people paid dearly for distributing them. But their words helped pierce the concrete and concertina wire of the Iron Curtain. The Berlin Wall symbolized a world divided and it defined an entire era. Today remnants of that wall sit inside this museum where they belong. And the new iconic infrastructure of our age is the internet. Instead of division, it stands for connection. But even as networks spread to nations around the globe, virtual walls are cropping up in place of visible walls.
Some countries have erected electronic barriers that prevent their people from accessing portions of the world's networks. They've expunged words, names, and phrases from search engine results. They have violated the privacy of citizens who engage in non violent political speech.
These actions contravene the universal declaration of human rights which tells us that all people have the right to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. With the spread of these restrictive practices, a new information curtain is descending across much of the world. And beyond this partition, viral videos and blog posts are becoming the szandidat of our day.
>> WILLIAM DUTTON: This presentation by Hillary Clinton at the museum raised this concept of freedom of connection as being absolutely inherent in freedom of expression. And in that spirit, I thought it's important to begin our presentation with the way in which technical developments has been one of the major aspects in considering freedom of expression, the degree to which, the chairman mentioned 1.8 billion people. Now I think it's 2 billion people are now counted in terms of having access to the internet.
And perhaps there has been no greater implication in terms of the diffusion of the internet has been the greatest impact so far on its ability to connect people and to enable greater empowerment of individuals globally.
That still means that only about a quarter of the world's population is online. But the numbers here are incredible in terms of the throw away.
There are two things that think about. One is the percentage of people online. . The other is the throw rate of individual countries. North America was dominant in the early years of the internet in terms of the proportion of people online. In terms of the proportion of people in the U.S. that are online, something over 70 percent, diffusion in the U.S. is quite high.
In North America, the percentage of North Americans online now is declining as a proportion of the world's population in dramatic ways. And you can see that the greatest growth is in Asia. The best example, China perhaps, where there are more Chinese online than there are Americans on the planet.
So it's absolutely the percentage of people online in particular countries should not be confused with the throw weight, the influence and the significance of countries that have maybe lower levels of penetration. But the diffusion of the internet has been great. That's a positive value for freedom of expression. The BBC did a survey globally of quite a range of countries that also suggested that people worldwide endorse the notion that the internet the question was, do you agree or strongly agree that access to the internet should be a fundamental right of all people.
And in almost every country surveyed, a lion's share of individuals agreed with that concept. However, people varied widely in the degree to which they felt the internet is a safe place to express their opinions.
So the question about what kinds of public policies are shaping people's perception that they are safe to express their opinions and what kinds of policies both with respect to freedom of expression but also in other areas may be disconnecting people and creating a fear of using the internet.
Vicky is going to pick up now.
>> Maybe before Vickie is taking the floor, very brief introduction of her credential, if I may say. So Vickie Nash received her master's degree in '96. After completing her first baccalaureate degree in economics. Before going on to complete her doctor's degree in politics from Newport College, Oxford University in 1999, Vickie was a research fellow at the institute of public policy research prior to joining the Oxford Internet Institute in 2002. She also serves as a lecturer in politics at Trinity College, University at Oxford. She is editor of "Building community."
And any volunteers for the good society and the author of the forthcoming, "Making sense of community."
Research and policy fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, Dr. Nash focuses on linking the institute's research to policy and practitioner communities. Vickie, please
>> VICTORIA NASH: Thank you, Janis. It makes me realise I must update my biography. Picking up from where Bill left off, I'm going to talk in a few minutes about some specific examples that we featured in our ecology of games framework to give you a better understanding of how different policy areas impact on freedom of expression.
But I just wanted to add a slight counter to the analysis as to the increasing diffusion of the internet. One of the sort of analyses that we undertook looks at filtering surveys. We've just given you a positive picture of growing internet diffusion but the back drop to this report is also perhaps a slightly more negative picture of a growing degree of filtering and censorship. But it's also quite a nuanced picture. I think it is worth noting the group listed on this slide, that the types of countries that filter information include America, all the western Democracies where we think that freedom of speech is a goal and filtering does not happen. A quite nuanced picture of censorship and filtering.
So to move on to give you some examples of the six policy areas that we chose to focus on I should say that those six policy areas are probably not a complete or exclusive list. You might choose to cut things up in a different way. It's way that we felt was helpful in undertaking our analysis
The first is industrial policy and regulation. I think many people are aware that copyright and intellectual property protection are increasingly difficult issues that arise around the internet. Over the last two years, we've seen policies in France and proposed policies in the UK which have sought to very much limit illegal file sharing by making it possible to actually disconnect internet users who are guilty of unlawful file sharing, unlawful peer to peer sharing of copyright material.
We've also seen activities such as developments call the pirate party. Pirate party was a party that started in Sweden. That person is smiling. I believe you're from the pirate party. Which was a movement started to look at legalizing ways of file sharing for non commercial purposes as well as other issues to do with reducing surveillance of internet use and so on.
That movement has now spread from Sweden to, I believe, 33 other countries. It's also, I think, had a significant presence in elections in Sweden and Germany.
So I raise those as examples, if you like, on the one hand moves that seem to be potentially threatening being countered by counter responses which seek to increase freedom of expression online. So again, positives and negatives.
We also look to what we call user centric policy, which means it's policy and regulation focused on us, the use of the internet, what we seek to do with tan issue close to my heart is child protection, something I do a lot of research on at OII. I think that child protection policy, no matter how important I think it is, it is also important to recognize that it can have implications for free speech.
There are two types of policy often that we see which is the first, hopefully the last controversial, the blocking of illegal child abuse images. Very hard to see that anyone could complain their freedom of expression is limited by blocking illegal child abuse images. On the other hand, it is also important if we are going to have such blocking that is undertaken in an appropriate way that takes freedom of expression concerns into account. So for example, you want lists to be as transparent as possible. You can't publish them, but there are other ways of making them transparent, making sure there are rights of appeal if err ors are made.
Perhaps more controversially to some, there are child protection policies which seek to simply reduce harm to minors by limiting exposure to content, perhaps pornography, perhaps violent content. I think I've listed America, Australia, China here but also Afghanistan, Germany, lots of different countries choose to have different sorts of filtering in place.
Here I think it is worth making two points. In some country, it's a very legitimate concern to restrict access to this sort of content but even then it may have freedom of expression implications, for example, for adults. In the United States, the children's internet protection act applies to libraries and schools which receive state subsidies. They may also limit what information adults can access from those services.
In other cases as in China, it may be suspicions that those filtering policies are in place perhaps to restrict other sorts of information which may be deemed more controversial by the State. I don't have proof of that here, but again as a child protection advocate, one of my concerns is that those policies are in place solely to limit risk to children and they are not used for larger political purposes.
So those are examples of user centric policy. I won't talk about defamation and libel here.
Net centric policy, one of the big developments in 2009 was the final introduction of what we call internationalized top level domain names. Very hard to say. Which finally meant that countries which don't use Latin based script could still have URL's in their scripts. I think this is an interesting example because it has been argued to affect freedom of expression in either way. So it could be perceived as allowing people, a great number of people to access the internet opening up content in their own language and their own script.
On the other hand, others have argued that actually this might restrict freedom of expression by vulcanizing the internet into content by language groups. I don't know where I sit on this, but again, it clear had I has freedom of expression implications.
Then we look to policies which focus specifically on the structure, the architecture, the standards of the internet itself. One thing we've done a lot of work on at the OII over the last couple of years is standard setting in terms of identity. Clearly there is a real need to find identity settings such that we're not constantly having to enter PIN numbers, that we are reducing the degree of identity theft, of credit card theft online but it also has implications of free speech. One of the big concerns, for example, that we might introduce identity settings which remove the potential for anonymity online.
I'm just going to check the time.
Security, I believe we have a respondent from Google. I hope, Alan, you'll be able to speak more. There are issues about privacy and national security. There is a real issue in recent months with the use of Blackberry in the UAE and Saudi Arabia where they objected to the cryptography and asked that keys could be given such that the information could be de encrypted if needed.
Again, we have examples in the U.S. for this. All we can say, it has clear freedom of expression implications. It's very uncertain, I think, as to the way this debate is going to go, whether companies like RIM will feel pressured to giving up those keys or whether they will choose to stay out of countries that restrict information in that way
We need to move on to findings in the last ten minutes. I think it's fair to note that we have a mixed set of finding the mixed set of findings. We could have done a lot more on a country by country basis. There are certain things that we can say in the positive, certain things we can say in the negative. As Bill noted, increasing internet penetration means more individuals online. It means more information that can be accessed. Similarly more content in more languages and more scripts would seem to be a positive thing enabling more people to find and share great information.
We also did see, though, that there is a growth of some filtering and censorship. On the other hand, there are glad to say many obvious efforts by individuals and NGO's to limit the way in which censoring and filtering can work by allowing individuals to find ways around them.
Information is very fluid. It seems to leak out now matter how hard you try to keep it in.
The ecology of games framework we used we think was very positive. We already highlighted the different policy areas it revealed to be important. I also want to emphasize that it reveals a wide range of actors to be important. We often think that only states filter or censor or have an impact on freedom of expression. This analysis helped show that companies, for example, in the industrial decisions that they take, the way in which they operate in different country, they have an impact. NGO's have an impact in highlighting misuse of freedom of expression legislation in pressing for certain sorts of policy. Individuals have an impact.
Similarly, our research highlighted the wide range of goals that are perceived. One of the things we can do is stimulate more discussion as to how we trade off these different goals, different values, how they intersect.
I will finish with this slide before I give Bill a couple more minutes to talk about direction for research. I won't talk about all of these. The directions of policy, though, that are a great many policy implications to this research. For me I think the two main ones are that we really need, first of all, to continue efforts to counter the divide. That is the most surefire way to increase freedom of expression online
Secondly, we also really do need to renew informed debates about how we regulate the internet. This is a subject I find very dry and difficult to talk about in the abstract but actually when we talk about concrete cases of different policies, whether we' looking at child protection, how to manage that online, or national security, we really need to make sure we have a clear and open dialogue about appropriate models for the internet that involve a wide variety of stakeholders including users.
Bill, I'm going to hand it over to you for the last couple of slides.
>> WILLIAM DUTTON: Okay. In concluding, we want to just say what is so blindingly obvious to everyone, that this is a cascading array of issues. I mean, on the plane on the way over here yesterday, I saw reports about concerns over Microsoft, in Russian, people confiscating computers that were perceived to have Microsoft software, illegal versions of Microsoft Office on them raising concerns over whether this is being done for other reasons and so forth.
If you look at Terry Jones and the 100 journalists reporting on Terry Jones and his threats and the leaks, with the issues it raised over the safety of people in Afghanistan and also the just issue after issue of freedom of expression is going to make this area greater and greater in terms of our importance of attention.
There's one finding from our study in the UK that I think merits attention here, which is that this table illustrates something over time that I think is happening globally. It is, on the one hand we're seeing a rise in the perceived significance of the internet. Today, unlike in the early 2000s, people perceive the internet as becoming not just important or not just an interesting innovation but actually essential to the way they go about their day to day life.
So the significance of the internet is increasing dramatically. Trust in government and trust is not very high, but yet what you find is a trend, is increasing numbers of people who think the internet must be regulated more than it is today. So I don't know how to square the fact that there is not increased trust in government, but there's an increased concern of government, positive attitude towards more government regulation of the internet.
But that means that there are threats to overregulation as well as underregulation and that regulation is going to be a key issue to look at in terms of its impact on freedom of expression.
I would just like to conclude with saying that we think that there are numbers of there's a need for research both to more systematically and comprehensively and in a sustainable way monitor filtering worldwide. We need to track more than single issues like freedom of expression but track an expanded range of policies and regulatory issues and how they are having outcomes relevant to freedom of expression.
And we need to study the impacts on the ground. We not only need to study filtering but one of the perceptions of individuals globally in terms of their freedom to express themselves online and their fear of doing so.
And we need to also, the flip side of that is when you understand freedom of expression in an ecology of games, you have to understand, sometimes when people are assaulting freedom of expression, it's not because they are against freedom of expression. It's because they are concerned about other issues, whether it's child protection or whether it's security and so forth.
I think if we have a perspective on the ecology of games, we can understand, where something doesn't seem rational or something doesn't seem could he herein to you, it may be coherent to you, it may be people have other priorities thinking about something else. The ecology of games can help us understand what objectives do they have and how it can be reconciled. I'll stop there. I think we'll have time for questions hopefully afterwards. We'll go back up with the panel. Thank you very much.
>> JANIS KARKLINS: Thank you, Professor and Vickie for the presentation. If you could now come back to join me here.
Now we will turn the microphone to Dr. Yaman Akdeniz. He is a an associate profess of law, faculty of law in Istanbul Bilgi University. He teaches and writes mainly about internet legal and policy issues. He's also the founder and director of cyber rights and cyber liberties, a nonprofit civil liberty organisation. He has acted as an expert of the United Nations high commission for human rights and published extensively on topics related to policing the internet. He is a graduate from University of Leeds. And he has served as analyst in Turkey and the United Kingdom. I would like to ask you to give your comments and impressions about the presentation we just heard. Do you agree, do you disagree? What are the points would you like to raise with respect to the presentation we just heard?
>> YAMAN AKDENIZ: Thank you. I'm just trying to pull the microphone towards me. Can you hear me? I don't really think so. Anyway, I would like to, first of all, thank UNESCO and the authors of the report for this lengthy but worth reading report. And I have some just to clarify, I don't have any negative comments on the report. So that's to take it out of the spot.
I was just curious, maybe this is a question that I should ask later, but I was just curious about the target audience for the report. Is it intended for the policy makers or general public? Who is in mind? It is very informative. And considering the length, perhaps I shouldn't say this, but certain parts perhaps need to be a bit more detail. I'll come back to that.
In terms of the review of existing literature, I agree with William that it's the existing literature is light in terms of research and is more on advocacy. I think that's a general comment because there has been a lot of research out with some specific content related issues child as child pornography, propaganda, defamation, piracy, and so on. Different issues have different freedom of expression concerns. It's difficult to bottle all these different content related matters together or tackle them together.
For example, blocking of child pornography Web sites is rather or quite different than blocking access to YouTube or social use websites that do not promote illegal atty. I come from Turkey where we have this problem. And in the name of protection of children, the government is blocking access to social use Web sites like YouTube, Daily Motion, several Google related sites have been blocked.
A couple months ago Google Maps and Google Docs. I think this is a huge problem especially in developing countries. I understand many states, as highlighted in the report, have growing concerns about content related matters.
So they started reacting. Initially, in the mid 1990s, they were using the law or amending existing laws. But now they shifted towards using the technology to combat internet content. So we're witnessing, as highlighted by the report, more and more blocking and filtering policies. And based on the because why, because based on the limited effectiveness of state law, states started to develop these tools. And we're not only witnessing this in countries like Turkey, Pakistan, Iran and China but some of the western Democracies and states are also relying on blocking access to Web sites and other types of internet content. However, blogging policies are not always subject to due process principles. Decisions are not necessarily taking by the courts of law. And often administered by these or hotlines decide which content or Web site should be subject to blocking.
I'm not necessarily saying this should not be the case, but often blocking policies lack transparency and the administrators lack accountability. Therefore, increasingly the compatibility of freedom of expression I'm sorry, therefore increasing the compatibility of blocking action is questioned with regards to the fundamental right of freedom of expression.
There could be a breach of Article 10 of the European convention on human rights, for example, within the European region if blocking measures or filtering tools are used at state level to silence politically motivated speeches on the internet or the
. Available for legal challenge. So I think in terms of the human rights angle and concerns for freedom of expression
There are general blocking policies. Finally, I would like to mention that I am currently working on a parallel study, I would say, with the OEC in terms of internet regulation. We're working towards developing an internet legal matrix. And this will cover all the 56 participating states of the OECE. We are going to be sending them a questionnaire, each individual country, and we are look into individual policies with regard to internet information. Blocking policies will be widely covered by the study. Hopefully, we will be publishing a human rights assessment of these findings sometime in January 2011. Thank you.
>> JANIS KARKLINS: Thank you, Yaman, for your intervention, for your questions. Now I will turn to Dr. Alan, director of policy for Google in America. Alan leads public policy and government relation efforts in north and South America. He has written and spoken widely on internet policy issues including privacy, free speech, encryption, network neutrality, and copyrights, online issues. Prior to joining google, Alan was associate director for the centre of technology, a public interest group promoting internet civil liberties. Alan started professional life as a computer scientist. He got his education, his bachelor of education, mathematics and computer science and then master's in technology and policy from MIT and also a law degree from Yale Law School. Alan, please give us a perspective of a company which is in some quarters seen as a devil, in some quarters seen as a God. How you, from an industrial perspective, where do you see this balance between rights and responsibilities, limitations, freedom of expression, but also all the negative things we witness on the internet.
>> Alan: Thank you. I'll do my best to be angelic today. And I want to say thank you for having me. I have to say, I feel like this audio setup is somehow like supposed to be a metaphor for expression on the internet. We have this cacophony of voices. And we struggle to find the meaningful conversation within it.
But regardless, it's great to be here. I'd like to start by also uncontroversily praising the authors of this report and UNESCO for sponsoring it. It is a very helpful contribution to this debate and a very good assessment, I think, of the state of affairs generally.
I particularly praise it for cataloguing the fact that the protection of free expression online is a global value and needs continued attention. I'll try to make three just very general points and reactions to the report. The first thing that really struck me is that I think it does a good job of reminding us that free expression is not an inevitability online. I started working on these issues probably about 15 years ago. And at the time, in 1995, there was a guy named John Gilmore who is an activist in the United States who had a sort of famous, famous for the internet quote, that the internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.
The internet interprets censor ship as damage and routes around it. The idea was that, you know
(Off microphone) was an inevitability. If you had the internet, you had liberty. And I think maybe through a lot of the late '90s, that once we had the internet, we would be free.
I think experience is now showing us 15 years after that first quote that governments, in fact, do have greater control, do have a greater ability to control expression online than some had thought and are using it.
My second broad point, I think the report does a very nice job of cataloguing this as well, is that the threats to free expression are actually increasing. The report notes that a sizable group are limiting freedom of expression for a variety of reasons. Vicky listed some of the countries that are doing filtering. This has certainly been Google's experience. We've experienced this firsthand.
Over the last few years, more than 25 different governments have actually blocked Google services outright, services like YouTube or Blogger or Google search. As Yaman indicated, YouTube is currently blocked right now in Turkey. In 2009, YouTube was blocked in Pakistan during the elections there because of opposition videos. The list goes on and on. It is not just countries that we typically associate with these kinds of acts. It is a broad list of countries that are increasingly turning to filtering or blocking. And of course, probably the most, I should say, the example that we most publicized is the situation we face in China.
It's also not just outride censorship. The report mentions this, that the regulatory framework is allegation important to look at. So for example, we are very concerned about intermediary liability rules, the questions about whether ISP's or other intermediaries will ultimately be held liable for the content that they carry on their network so that they allow access. One case in Italy, several of our executives were held criminally liable for content that we did not create and that we followed the rules about taking down when we were notified about it.
I think the general point, though is that the legal environment can have an impact on the kind of expression that people are capable of. It would be very different if intermediaries were turned into gatekeepers and held accountable for the content carried on their networks. It is especially true in this increasingly user created world of content ha we face.
There are many other things in the report that I think are important in this area. I would mention the issue of access to the internet itself as a major issue and one where we need to kind of increase access, increase free expression.
My last general point is just to briefly, and this is one area where I thought the report could have had sharper focus as well, which is on what can we do. And I think the fact is that internet, the internet industry and government and civil society together have a shared responsibility to promote a free and open internet. On the industry side, there is much that we can do to try to protect free expression online and come up with best practices. Google was a founding member of the global network initiative, which is a very unique collaboration of human rights groups and industry to come up with best practices around free expression and privacy, especially when we encounter restrictions in countries.
But we need more corporate members. There is a small group of us who are part of it. We need more members to make that an effective organisation.
Google itself is doing a lot in this area. We are actually supporting a conference next week in Budapest with the central European University. We're very excited about that, it will bring bloggers and speech activists and academia together to talk about free expression online. If people are interested in hearing more about it, I'd be delighted to talk more about it
A second big area is that no single company and no single industry can solve this problem by itself. We need the help of governments if we're going to make a difference in this area. We need governments to make free expression a part of their foreign policy agenda, to make it part of their trade agenda. We have called on the United States government to do more in this area and we need more help.
A last area to mention of things that we can do, and I think this is for both government and industry, is to be more transparent and give people more information about exactly when restrictions on speech are happening and when requests for information about users are being given to industry. Google launched a tool last spring, you can see it at google.com/governmentrequests. It catalogs all of the requests that we have received from governments around the world to either take down information from our services or to turn over information about users. We receive literality thousands of requests in both those categories.
And we hope to make this more granular so people can see even more information about how we handle those requests and what they were specifically for.
It is incredibly important for people around the for users around the world to understand what governments are doing. And so I think one of the things that we can do together is to try to get more of that information out there, to have a declaration of information access where governments and industry provide information about these take down requests and these requests for information because otherwise, it backs very, very difficult to really understand the full scope of this issue.
So in summary, I would just say once again, free expression and open internet is not an inevitability. It is something that we need to work on together in each generation of internet users. We look forward at Google to being part of the continuing conversation. I commend the report's authors again for their contribution. And thank you.
>> JANIS KARKLINS: Thank you, Alan, for your contribution and sharing the practices and work Google is doing in the field of promotion of freedom of expression on the 'net.
So now we are having about an hour for interactive dialogue with the authors of the report as well as with discussions. So I have the first request for the floor from Frank Delajolla, who is a special Rapporteur on the expression on the council of freedom rights. I know Frank, but I may not know all of you around the table and, therefore, those who will be asking for the floor after Frank, please introduce yourself, tell your name and your affiliation. That would be very helpful also for the record.
Equally, as you know, all the sessions from the forum are streamlined. And we may have some interventions from participants who are not physically in the room but follow the discussion from outside.
So we have Xianhong Hu who is following this online participation. And once in a while when there will be something asking for the floor, we will provide the information.
So now, Frank, I'm turning the microphone to you.
>> Frank you: Thank you very much, Janis. I would also like to congratulate UNESCO for this study. It is a perfect contribution at a perfect moment.
I believe that, number one, one of the issues that we have discussed in the IGF last year, and I have repeated it yesterday in the pre conference setting, that we're not building entirely new standards. We're building on the traditional standards of freedom of expression. I think this is important as all human rights, they have to grow and they have to be developed. And there may be new issues, new themes. And even new standards. But still based on Articles 19 and 20 of the ICCPR and all the other principles that have been developed.
I think what we're doing is reaffirming and adapting those principles to a new agreement with what was said by Ala from Google that internet, different from what it appeared at the beginning, does not actually give freedom of expression as a granted right because there are mechanisms of censor ship.
Here is where I have several worries. I work in my own country on children's rights, for instance. And I believe in mechanisms of protection. But I think these issues have to be discussed really much more seriously. The technologies of filtering begin with good intentions and to protect a right and a superior goal, and probably are needed but eventually fall into the political temptation of States and Governments to be misused and adapted.
So the idea being that we really have to look at the ways in which they're being applied. And I also understand what Vickie was saying that in many occasions, these filtering technologies are actually being circumvented by new developments, users of other corporations.
And the big preoccupation is that when some messages have been blocked, the States feel that then they don't have responsibility to investigate and prosecute those that were responsible for the origin. I think this is the crucial element. Normally child pornography will be linked to child prostitution and trafficking of children. Normally it is done by organised crime of different forms.
So this should be investigated beyond the question of filtering or not in the internet. It should be investigated by the State. And the obligation for pro there is an obligation for protecting children. One is no excuse for the other. I think this often times happens.
Finally, I think that the two issues are the biggest issues, the filtering technologies and who is responsible. This brings in the corporations and corporate policies. I discovered in Korea when diversity in South Korea that they have the commission and the standards commission which set the standards for filtering. But what they do is they set the standards and they give them to the servers, to the internet service providers, for them to do the filtering.
So actually the State was delegating the responsibility. That's a double problem. Number one, the State can never delegate the responsibility of human rights and number two, whether the private ISP's are forced to obey those standards or not. That was not very clear even in their own legislation in Korea.
That puts a tremendous degree of responsibility on both States and corporations that have to be discussed.
Finally the question of accessibility, accessibility is being discussed in various ways, in technological development, for instance, in terms of the people with disability. I myself as one who is legally blind, I'm very eager to see this technological development. Accessibility is seen in terms of what are the State policies to allow servers to reach the whole country, but also, as someone from a third world country, from Latin America, accessibility also has to be seen as an economic issue.
There is no sense in talking about freedom of expression over the internet when wide sectors of the population have no access to computers or to a server itself. So to guarantee freedom of expression, we also have to guarantee accessibility. Otherwise we're not fulfilling it. Thank you. And I congratulate the report again.
>> JANIS KARKLINS: Thank you, Frank. I will take additional comments before asking authors of the report to reply. So anybody who wants to take the floor at this stage?
Yes. Please introduce yourself.
>> Thank you. Your excellence, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Andre Cherpovic, State university, Moscow, Russian federation. This is just a short question and a comment.
The short comment is that we should divide political and technical aspects of filtering of the internet. And we should divide the censorship as a political matter and the limitation of the information flows, which is allowed as well by several divisions of the European court of human rights. For example, Keu versus Finland in 2008.
So this court allowed to limit, restrict some information flows for the reason of the public security, for the reason of the children's security, protect public moral issues, and something like that. And the question is as follows. How to ensure the balance between freedom of expression and information accessibility rights on the one side and the public interest on the other side. Thank you very much.
>> JANIS KARKLINS: Thank you for your comment and question. I think I see Andrej Unej from UNESCO is asking for the floor.
>> Thank you. Just to show that you UNESCO really believes in freedom of expression, the report is commissioned by UNESCO, I still would like to say a few things about the report. First let me commend the authors on an excellent job, on a complex and more increasingly challenging question which is getting complicated by other issues.
I would like to commend you on the use of the ecology of games issue. There has been a lot of debate about whether freedom of expression is the only right, how do it match to other things we do in life.
There are two things which surprise me in the report. One was the fact that there was no reference at all to the right to information act, which I think is having a profound impact in those countries where there has been suppression and censorship and where the Act has been actually passed by parliament. India is a brilliant example of that. How the right to information act more enhances, impinges the discussion about freedom of expression, how it empowers people to come forward
The second issue is more a pragmatic one, which relates to your classing not your, but whoever did the classification of Singapore as a low filter country. I spent many years in Singapore, worked in the country. There they have come up with a new law which is brilliant when you come to think about it, is that all rules which apply to offline content also apply to online content. Therefore, what they've done is neutralized the uniqueness of the internet. You don't need that much filtering in Singapore, if you do anything that contravenes existing acts for newspaper, television, whatever, you're going to get taken to court anyway. So that may be one of the reasons for which apparently the amount of filtering is less than in other countries like India, which filter the internet for various other reasons. Thank you.
>> JANIS KARKLINS: Thank you. So I see three more requests. But before giving the floor, I will ask the authors of the report on the comments which have been said until now. Professor?
>> WILLIAM DUTTON: Maybe I could pick up a couple of the comments. First of all, Google was angelic today, we think. But everybody was. I appreciate support for this project for the report.
On the case of the target audience, right now we're just trying to get our story straight. And I think we'll take direction from UNESCO. We wanted this to be accessible to a broad public. So we've tried to have a lot of boxes and explanations of terms that people might not understand. So we tried to make this accessible to a broad audience, not just an academic audience. And if we filed, please let us know.
Generally, I appreciate even positive remarks about themes that people thought were particularly important such as the fact that freedom of expression is not inevitable. It's extremely important for us to hear so we can make sure that these are not lost in the report. Some things like freedom of information, that is in that grid. But it's one of those things that fell on the editing room floor. But we have to bring it back. And we will. But it's just that we had to try to think about what we could do in the time allotted.
Let me make a comment on the I'm sorry, the gentleman from the Russian federation. I didn't hear your name. Let me comment on your excellent point. I would just say that no country, in no country is freedom of expression absolute. There's also a sense in which, in every country, there is there are some things that can be rightfully suppressed. The U.S. included. So I think the debate would certainly be improved by not always looking at censor ship or freedom of expression as simply a dichotomy. There are always reasonable ways in which people can think of not shouting "fire" in a theater or not doing things that put people in harm's way and so forth that are rightfully child protection is another area in this regard.
I think the word that hasn't been used today, I keep thinking we have it rest resurrect in this arena, is proportionality. How do we get proportionality in terms of freedom of expression and censorship? So we are not taking away a fundamental right for an issue that does not merit taking away that right. But that kind of proportionality will be decided differently in different countries, in different value frameworks. But that's something that I think has to enter the discussion more prominently.
On the ratings of different countries, we accepted the ratings that were done by the studies that have been done. But we do agree that I think they have to be constantly updated. And it's very interesting, when you look at public opinion about freedom of expression, it's really complex to interpret that. Some countries where there is a great deal of freedom of expression, you would think, such as Germany, people perceive that there are threats to freedom of expression.
And countries where there is certainly, the journalistic coverage would suggest that the internet is behind a wall, see the internet as a boon to freedom of expression. And I think it's all relative to, there's a relativistic term of how people perceive how we capture, keeping both up to date on these ratings but also capture filtering practices in a way that come down at the ground level in terms of how people perceive it and how do we balance that with what they might have expected with other media is an important point you're raising.
I don't know if you want to add anything, Vickie.
>> VICTORIA NASH: I don't know if you can hear me. I guess I'd also like to thank our respondents for their excellent comments on the report, Yaman and Alan, that was extremely helpful. It's worth noting to all of you that any comments you make here today will help us draft the final version of this before we public this with UNESCO in about a month's time. So please, don't be afraid to criticize as well.
I just really wanted to pick up on one further thing because Bill has covered quite a bit, and it was Alan's comment about transparency. I that I is the second most policy finding really of the report, which is that we wanted to highlight in this report
(Feedback) am I too loud? People tell me that.
We really wanted to highlight in this report the wide variety of policy areas precisely to draw attention to them so that we might find ways of being more transparent about their impacts on freedom of expression.
I think that the initiatives that Google has taken both by itself and with the global network initiative to highlight what companies can do to promote freedom of expression are excellent. But I think that we can yet do more. One of the things in particular in this case, the internet government for them we would like to be considered is that there should be, perhaps it might be a task force here or it might be something for UNESCO to do, there ought to be monitoring of the impact on freedom of expression on all these areas that can be brought together so that we don't somehow find that we don't really know what the state of play is.
So I think Bill said one buzz word should be proportionality. Another one should be transparency, these should be kept under intention that we continue to monitor all of these on a regular basis. Thank you.
>> JANIS KARKLINS: Thank you for your comments. Now I have the three requests from the floor, now four already. Please, go ahead.
>> Thank you very much. My name is Stuart Hamilton, I am the senior policy advisor at the International Federation of Library Associations.
I want to thank professor Dutton and his team for the very interesting report. And actually I wanted to go on to mention a report which IFLA has just produced. That is the name of my organisation. We've been producing global surveys of freedom of expression issues in libraries since 2003. We produced global surveys in 2003, 2005, and 2007. We release add database con continuing reports which you can find at IFLA report IFLA world report.org.
I want to mention this because the report specifically looks at filtering and censorship in libraries. And all of these reports show a trend towards increased filtering and censorship in public libraries throughout the world.
Whether this is a result of something such as the children's internet protection as act which was mentioned in the presentation or upstream filtering is perhaps not the point. The point is the public access points such as libraries are suffering in some countries from restricted access.
And as libraries often serve people who cannot afford computers themselves, disadvantaged members of the population, I think this is a bit of a worry. We heard about ways in which you can get around filtering software and use different methods to actually get at the information you want, but public libraries as publicly funded institutions are actually unable to take advantage of many of these methods.
So I wanted to flag this as something for consideration, something which is very interesting, public access for members of the community.
>> JANIS KARKLINS: Thank you, Stuart, for your comments. So now next to you.
>> Good morning, everyone. My name is Yvar Hartman. I'm from Brazil. I'm a DiploFoundation student. I'd like to ask Professor Dutton, the way we face both access and freedom of expression, in the sense of, we're talking about both a right of freedom of expression sometimes. Other people in other covenants, in other lists of rights and some other literature, there is a talk of a right to access.
What is, in your opinion, the best way to face these problems and the best way to deal with this at the IGF level? Should we talk about a right to access the internet that encompasses, that protects freedom of expression online or should we talk about a freedom of expression light that encompasses freedom of expression online, or should we talk about both rights which would have different levels of protection for different situations. Thank you.
>> JANIS KARKLINS: So thank you for your question. Now I had, first of all, the gentleman there and then you.
>> Thank you very much. Can you hear me? Thank you very much. You hear me? Okay.
>> JANIS KARKLINS: So now we don't hear you anymore. And please introduce yourself.
>> My name is Vladimir Rakmanoff. I am the legal advisor of the Geneva for the internet. I want to talk about the relationship between freedom of connection and freedom of expression. In my opinion, this concept needs, in fact, more clarification.
As well as we know, people, nations are different. In their attitudes, they have their private life which must be respected. We have agreed in this point. Everyone knows the case, the famous case of Yahoo in France, things with advertising on the internet was a crime according to the law of France, to the French law. But it is a freedom of expression according to America, in America.
So, in my opinion, to enforce the relationship between the two freedoms, we must first work to people how to connect and respect the private lives of others at the same time. This is the job of government but not only government, civic society, had to assume the responsibilities in this field. As an example, our association, association of the law and multimedia, by organizing samples to inform people and youth both how to connect, how to avoid misconduct, namely the first, which took place in Geneva last year. Its theme was, "Youth in cyberspace."
And we tried to organise our second forum, which was named the protection of youth against internet crimes during February 2011. We invite you to participate in this forum. All information you need are in the Web site of the association, WWW.ATDIM.ORG.DM. Thank you very much.
>> JANIS KARKLINS: Thank you for your intervention and information about upcoming youth forum.
And now I have a gentleman over there, please.
>> John Carr, from the European NGO alliance for child safety online. First of all, I agree that in areas of this kind where there is a great deal of justifiable anxiety and worry and sensitivity about the question of censor ship, particularly wherever State institutions are involved, that the key, a key to a lot of these problems has got to be transparency. It's got to be knowing exactly what kind of policies are, in fact, being implemented. And that should in turn, in my opinion, at any rate be linked to the potential for judicial review of whatever action is being taken.
But I just wanted and just to be clear, from the child protection point of view, we have no interest at all in providing a cover or camouflage for totalitarian states to use child protection simply as a clever way of hiding a wider political agenda, absolutely not. It discredits the cause that we are trying to focus on. So we absolutely support the notion of transparency, accountability, and the potential of judicial review precisely because we want to focus on child protection, not secret agendas or hidden agendas that different political regimes might be trying to pursue.
Just a couple of quick other points. On the question of intermediary liability or liability of intermediaries, I believe that the decision in the Italian court against the employees of Google was wrong. There is no way those guys should have been found criminally liable, but what I think and nobody who provides a channel for user generated content should be held liable for it unless they have actual knowledge of it. But equally, I don't think it makes any sense at all of a situation that we have in Europe at the moment where you have no you can become liable simply by attempting to look at what might be on your Web site. That's wrong. Lots of companies, in fact, don't observe that principle. Lots of companies do attempt to control. They do attempt to inspect the content on their Web sites. Irrespective of the fact that they know they are risking attracting legal liability. They shouldn't have to. It should be clear, and we are agitating for the safe harbor professions of the Ecommerce be changed to make it clear that if Google or MySpace or Facebook or any of these big companies that provide UGC content, if they simply attempt to look at the content that is on their sites, that alone cannot make them liable. At the have to have actual knowledge for things to exist. I'm afraid some companies are hiding behind the eCommerce directive as a means of doing what we consider to be a perfectly reasonable job of trying to inspect the content and make sure it is okay.
We are very keen to support the notion of child porn images being deleted. No one supports filtering as an end in itself. The objective must be to get the image taken down and removed. The sad and inevitable fact for the time being at any rate seems to be that in lots of countries, that simply isn't hang, within any kind of acceptable time frame. And that's why the question of filtering arises or blocking arises of those images. And I can tell you, every time this question crops up in lots of different countries, you hear people say, oh, yes, well, of course child pornography is wrong. Nobody wants to support the continued access to child pornography. But if you start filtering child pornography, tomorrow it will be gambling. The day after that it could be pirated music Web sites.
In other words, what they're really saying is that they're quite content to allow child pornography to continue to be accessible because they worry if they let that happen, sometimes else will happen further on down the line that they don't approve of. So they make child pornography and the rights of the children in those images a bargaining chip. It's something that's negotiable. It's a continent arm that we're worrying about. That seems to be unacceptable. Think of this from the violent of view depicted in the image. How do you get, what are the proportionality considerations where you have a picture of a child being raped that's being published on the internet to be seen in perpetuity, putting that child further at risk, who is going to see the image. How do you measure that? What's the argument that leads to you conclude, "Well, let's leave that picture up there."
I don't see it. I see we're in favor of proportionality in all things. But there are some things where it's very, very hard to weigh them in the balance in some kind of highly judicious and careful way. I think child pornography goes beyond a point where those sorts of considerations can be applied. It's wrong. It's bad. There's nothing to be said in favor of allowing it to continue to be visible on the internet. Deletion is preferable. Blocking is a temporary stopgap until it can be deleted.
>> JANIS KARKLINS: Thank you for your comment. Let me ask you, listening to you arguing against child pornography, I think that the difference with any other issue is that, at least seems to me, that there is a universe at acceptance of the fact that child pornography should be banned. And I think that this is the only issue where there is universal agreement. There is no other issue where it would be universal agreement. So from that perspective, I think we can agree to act together because we, all of us, no matter which country in the world, no matter whether it's private or public, consideration that child pornography is bad. So from that perspective, I think this issue differs from any other.
So I now would like to give the floor on that side of the table, and also invite respondents, maybe if they want to come in or answer questions or provide comments at this stage. Please, sir, you have the floor.
>> Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My name is Henry Judy. I'm with the American Bar Association.
There are a few points that I'd like to suggest just from the standpoint of drafting and perhaps improving the report in a little bit. In reading the thing over, and I have I was fortunate enough to get a copy of this a while ago and had a chance to read through it fairly carefully, I think it is a little light on the economics and financial and marketing motivations that are behind some of the issues. For example, the discussion of net neutrality doesn't really point out what are the economics at stake. It simply says, some people have this view, some people have the other view, some people have the other view.
I think the one aspect of privacy probably falls into that category as well. Many of the issues that are being faced in the privacy area are being driven by the economics of advertising and the debates over that. So that's just a that all the. I agree with the professor from Turkey that there's a certain moral equivalence problem here on exactly what is being blocked.
I think a third point is, I think that the report might be a little light on the military concerns being a driver in the security area. I give you an example, of the United States government has developed a programme called Einstein. The Einstein programme is to provide an intrusion detection system for the entire federal network. And it has gone through a couple iterations. The last iteration, in effect, can provide deep packet inspection for the entire federal network. And it is the it has the technical ability to be offered to protect critical infrastructure in the private sector. And there's a move to do that. That raises any number of privacy issues. I think that the he owe those kinds of drivers might be reflected a little more in the report if you have the ability to do that.
I think maybe as a drafting point, I think persons who are familiar with games theory and those kinds of or the uses of the word "game" in academic connections might be, you know, quite comfortable with the ecology of games, but a person who doesn't have that background would look at it, there's the risk that they'll look at it and say, what do you mean it's a game. This isn't a game. This a very serious matter. It reminds knee, there's an old issue, I don't remember exactly whether it is an essay, but it involved Lichtenstein. Somebody asked him to define a game. Spiel was his question. By the time Lichtenstein got finished discussing games, nobody knew what games were.
I think there's just a very brief section in here about what you mean by games. And I think that might be beefed up, particularly where it draws the conclusion that the global result of the games is largely unplanned. I think there's an awful lot of people here who think that there are large parts of it that are you know, they employ a large number of people to plan the outside. It may have more.
I think that doesn't come across quite the way you probably intended. Those are not intended as criticisms. They're intended as helpful suggestions. Thank you.
>> JANIS KARKLINS: Thank you for your comments. I see around the room, Doctor, please.
>> Thank you. I just want to add some clarification to what John said earlier on. In terms of expanding the concerns with regard to blocking, I need to clarify this because at the moment, the majority of the blocking decisions are taken by hotlines or administrative bodies rather than courts of law, where that means there is lack of due process and appeal mechanism.
In terms of child pornography, many organisations said so far as that is done by the hotlines or administrative bodies, that's okay because it's easier to identify in terms of the images. When you move into other areas like hate speech or even pornography or even more controversially, terrorist propaganda, it makes it much more difficult because we are talking about more written text.
So nobody wants to really leave that decision to administrative bodies or hotlines. If a court decides to block access to a Web site or particular content, then I have less problem with that because we can discuss it by the need for such a low or such a severe sanction. It can be challenged, I already took a decision, a court decision blocking access to last FM, the particular music Web site, last FM, from Turkey. End of September, I'm referring to the YouTube decision to the human right court of civil rights. So I can challenge this. But when a Turkish administrative body blocks access to Web sites, challenging their decisions are much more complicated because you need to go through administrative law and administrative courts which is no experience in terms of freedom of expression. Same problem in certain countries where the hotlines do not have administrative appeal processes. Is he that's the problem. Secondly, I want to make the point that I don't see blocking as a solution. I don't even see blocking as a partial solution because blocking does not necessarily make the problem go away. Even in the case of child pornography. John said this is a partial solution until the content is taking down. So in terms of illegal content. It needs to be done to remove the problem. In Turkey, even a five year old child knows how to everybody still continues to access those Web sites, its. It makes people more curious because when you see a Web site is blocked, you everybody knows terms like IP addresses and proxy servers in Turkey. The censorship thing in Turkey is an educational aspect. Internet users from a 5 year old to a 70 year old know how to change their proxies and DNS numbers and so on. Circumvention is possible. I'm not saying let's talk about them, but I think blocking comes with a big question mark. And it needs to be challenged further because it also mainly targets Web sites rather than anterior types of content. And content is not disseminated or distributed, only through a Web site at the moment. Thank you.
>> JANIS KARKLINS: Since we are moving to the end of the session, I would like to see how many people still want to intervene. So one? Myself? Go ahead.
>> I'm Ian Brown, I'm also at the Oxford Internet Institute. I just wanted to follow up a little bit on what Yaman was saying and come back to this idea of proportionality. I think any idea about the proportionality of a measure, one of your starting points will how effective it will be. If you want an impact on freedom of expression if you consider that. One of the questions you have to ask is, how likely is it to achieve your goals. And certainly I share John's goals
My concern as Yaman was outlining is how easy most filtering technology is in reality to overhead, when you're trying to stop accessing that information, that content. I don't think most of these filtering systems are going to have some impact on that population's access to this material.
I also wanted to briefly say, the one thing you said I slightly disagreed, blocking pornographic images is controversial. I talk about this in the UK a few weeks ago. Let me tell you what the member of the European parliament, who is the rapporteur for a current directive on protection of children from exploitation on blocks had to say about the measures. Blocking is out. It has never helped a single child. Lots of organisations have been calling for deletion and there is no evidence blocking is effective. With blocking, I will wheel content is still on the net. We run the risk of censorship on the internet. We don't want an infrastructure that would lead to blocking of other people.
That's Patrick Cambebert. People have very different positions on this
>> JANIS KARKLINS: Thank you for those comments. I will give the floor to conclude the debate. What I would like to react on, in your presentation, you mention the net solutions and you referred to international as the main names and the debate which is present, whether internet of IBN's international domain names would lead to vulcanization of internet. This a very fake debate. It's not a debate about internet itself. It's our debate about knowledge of other languages. Today we have a Web sites which are on many languages, not so many as we would wish, but still many languages. And as a consequence, if we do not know whether Japanese or Chinese or Russian, when we open the Web site. So we cannot. We can say, we can identify from where this page is originated.
>> The only, we will not be able to, without knowing the language, we will not be able to identify where the page is internetted. It is about our core knowledge of other languages. In this respect, I would argue contrary because today, there are already countries which are using internationalized domain names but with a different technology but a different electric logical situation that is plug ins. The most exam is China who for a long time use add plug in to have the address line all in Chinese characters. By introducing IDN's in the DNS system, we are assuring that this is the one sought. In that count, we're running the risk of splitting into many different internets rather, rather than having one in different languages.
So this is my comment to your report. Now I would like to invite all panelists maybe to say a few words at the closure of the debate. Alan, please, you have the floor.
>> ALAN: Just to respond to a couple of the points that have been raised, I would just note generally, the conversation was good because it highlighted some of the areas where we still have a lot of work to do. In the child safety area, I would like to make a different point than the one that's been said.
>> I think there is still a lot of work, positive work to be done in empowering users to control one of their own experiences. One of the great promises of the internet was that we can bring users cools so they can make their own choices about what they see online. One of the things that people had predicted ten years ago and has not come to pass is more of these tools.
We're trying, at Google, we launched a child safety centre. There's a lot more to be done in terms of educating tumors and giving gem. That would go towards addressing some of the serious concerns.
A second point was to respond to the gentlemen from Tunisia who raised the point about the Yahoo case from ten years ago. One of the anything, one of the issues for all of this is our question at jurisdiction. Many companies out there are trying to be sensitive to nationality. In Germany, a different set of rules than France, which is different than Google.com in the United States.
The issue that was raised in the Yahoo case and still troubles many of us, I think, is one country's rules are basic. We don't want to have any country impose its views on the rest of the world. The last point that I would just like is about this issue of proportionality. We need to indicate what a blunt instrument blocking can be. We're not talking about a particular lack. We have the subject of blocking of an entire service, the blocking for all of YouTube for all users in Turkey. Trying to work through that, trying to help people understand that a blocking order for an entire service actually has a very broad impact on speech. It's something, I think, we're eager to do
Generally, 'em very encouraged by the sophistication of the debate. I comment the reports and I hope we're do more information on this.
>> YAMAN AKDENIZ: I think I said already too much. So I'll be very brief. I agree with Alan, there's much more to be done. I am quite pessimistic about the future because as the report highlighted and my only. We're witnessing more filtering, blocking policies, now we're moving to do. As she build from France or the digital act in the U.S. I am concerned about treatment of these new laws. Increasing in less developed countries including in Turkey, the government officials come with an argument saying, look, the British or the policy generated in western Europe, and even worse versions are being developed in other countries. And it becomes new measures. Like the convention on human rights, proportionality is a measure there as well. As most of you will very well know, challenging a decision takes many years before you can get a law. That's why I am quite pessimistic.
>> Thank you.
>> VICTORIA NASH: Thank you very much. I really just want to thank everybody here who made suggestions for material that we can include in this report, the comments on, for example, self filtering, on military strategy, all very helpful. I think we'll make sure we include some mention of those
It's nice to know that we can disagree on something. Probably I didn't praise things particularly carefully and actually, I would absolutely and John that block. Even when we're talking about something on which I think, the hideous nature of child abuse online, deletion should be the goal
I wanted to raise one other thing on child protection, seeing as it's an issue that I work on quite a bit. I wanted to give another exam how we might make. We've been doing some work bringing together freedom of expression. Trying to find, starting from the assumption, trying to find ways that we might do. So I would suggest that there might be other policies areas where we can balance freedom of expression with a policy concern.
I think, Bill, I'm going to hand it over to you. You'll have the bigger questions about perhaps what we do with this report. Thank you.
>> WILLIAM DUTTON: Yes. I'll be brief because I know we're running out of time. These were really great questions and important criticisms. They're all taken very seriously. I really appreciate it. It will help improve the next version of the report.
Let me just comment on a few things that I think are really tough to deal with. One is the proportionality issue. John Carr, I think, has left but he made his case that something was disproportional that it should be deleted from his perspective, that's what personality means.
But take, for instance let me give you an anecdote about skills to pick up almost have no access to the internet literally because the schoolteachers are afraid of any potential risk that they may run. So kids go to the school, one of my colleagues said she'd like to talk to the school about access to the internet. And she said, don't worry. They can't get access to anything.
So this is the technology that Gordon Brown has talked about that the greatest education technology the world has never had and is trying to promote the diffusion of the internet in Africa. Here in the schools in the UK, almost no access is available. That is ridiculously overregulating the internet.
The connection between access, freedom of connection, and freedom of expression, I agree that, is complex. We're not saying that the 90 percent of people in the African continent who do not access are being denied rights, I suppose, as equivalent to saying denying somebody's freedom of expression in a more general sense. But it's a but clearly, governments who have tried to and have effectively blocked access in Burma, Miramar, for example, in terms of stopping discussion online of legitimate issues have used disconnection, basically taken away computers, arrested people and so forth so in a way, disconnecting is a policy that is at the severe end of freedom of expression in a number of countries. And it should be factored into the equation, it is not just simply a matter of filtering people who are online. If some people are restricted, we need to know how to deal with that as well
On the question of intermediary area, I think that's an extremely important issue. That relates to not having a good framework for regulating the internet. We're still trying to appropriate old models of regulation. Broadcasters we're trying to move ISP's into an intermediary like an ISP. They are not newspapers. They are not broadcasters. If we start trying to push them into a position of being like the old media, then we will undermine the true vitality of the internet.
So it's an extremely important issue to consider. I think the Chairman raised the question of vulcanization. This concern over international domain names was not really resolved on the basis of freedom of expression. It was really based upon a discussion about the management of critical internet resources. In other words, it was a jurisdictional, a symbolic issue, a national pride issue. What I'm saying is if you adopt an apology of claims framework, it's going to have consequences beyond the management of critical resources. We need to consider freedom of expression issues and understand what the likely consequences will be for freedom of expression.
So it's because many of these issues are decided for other reasons and have consequences for freedom of expression that the ecology of games works. I agree with the point that people feel if you use the term games, it's fun and games and it's not ears yes, sir. I get criticized for that often. I don't learn my less on here. It is unplanned. I think is, it's very important to realise, every you know, those people in this room, all of us, may actually get up in the morning and think about what's happening that might affect freedom of expression. But many people in industry, that that we were light on the financial and economic.
We should build that up. That's an ecology of games. There's thinking about advertising revenue, not about freedom of privacy. How are they going to design the internet to full fit. There are other values that we cherish. Is the outcome unplanned. That does not mean if the outcome shifts in a very significant direction that people might actually it might be a game changer. That is, if the outcome changed in a dramatic way where all of a sudden filtering is okay, blocking is okay, deletion of sites are okay, depression of freedom of expression is okay. All of the names involved in regulating the internet. It's very serious. I thank you for all your comments. I think it's absolutely valuable for us to hear from you. I don't want the end of this session. The papers are posted, or you can write me and we can get it. We'll try to target this at the right audience eventually.
>> JANIS KARKLINS: Thank you, Professor, for your concluding comments. Our debate on multilingual internet, we can take offline. I disagree with your comments. We'll continue.
Thank you very much indeed for your presence and your interest to UNESCO's session, what I makes me think that they should stay involved at a minimum if not strengthen their activities in the work of freedom of expression, particularly with a focus of freedom of expression in the internet.
We heard that there are similarities. And we should not reinvent the wheel. But equally, there are specificities. And we need to factor that in. The next edition of the IGF, we will organize. And in the meantime, we will find a way to exchange.
Thank you very much indeed. I thank all of you for being present in the room. Thank you.
(End of meeting at 5:33)
Freedom of Connection – Freedom of Expression
- Parent Category: IGF 2010