Main Session - Access and Diversity
Sixth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum
27 -30 September 2011
United Nations Office in Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya
September 29, 2011 - 10:30AM
The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during the Sixth Meeting of the IGF, in Nairobi, Kenya. 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.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We'll start the session on access and diversity in two minutes. Thank you. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the access and diversity main session. The chair of today's session will be Dr. Ndemo, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communications. Over to you.
>>BITANGE NDEMO: Hello. Okay. We'll get started now.
In each of the IGF meetings to date, the scope of the access and diversity topic has broadened and depends based on the evidence in the Internet. Particularly in the mobile Internet and the new issues introduced as outcomes of workshops.
This year, the key question we are addressing, as stated in the program paper is: Internet access as a basic human right, what challenges and opportunities does this pose for policymakers and the broader Internet community?
This question in itself raises many questions, some of which are noted in the program paper, and many more have been or will be discussed in workshops at this meeting of the IGF.
I am pleased to say we have had nine feeder workshops for this session and I'm sure we will be given many insights from these meetings.
An issue of interest over the past years has been increasing the use of filters installed to block content, and in some cases access, and as I think will be clear to all, concerns over these issues have taken on great significance this year, as access to social networks and other media and networks have been driven -- have driven social change.
These issues lead us also to issues about access to networks, both infrastructure and services, and here again, we have multiple perspectives from issues about network neutrality and (indiscernible) neutrality through to issues about affordability and issues of coverage, especially with regard to mobile and fixed broadband networks.
And of course our attention must also focus on issues of accessibility for all, whether it be with respect to multilingualism and expressing creativity or issues of accessibility for people with disabilities.
In Kenya, for example, we have had many challenges with respect to this issue of access. We are still struggling to cover the entire country which, in some parts is sparsely populated, and we also have had a crisis at one time to a point where we even thought about shutting down the Internet. This is when we had a crisis in 2007 and 2008.
But on deeper analysis, we found that shutting them down would have been more counterproductive and we did not shut the systems down.
We have also had many problems with respect to hate messages through the systems but we have tried as much as we can to leave the systems -- or to brace the neutrality concept in Kenya, and if you look at the new constitution that we have in place now, we talk about the freedoms of expression and ensuring that every citizen has access to information. Which means that we have now fully embraced access to information and Kenya has been or was or has been the first country in Africa, indeed, to release much of its government information to the public and this all goes to enhance this freedom of expression.
So I would introduce the coordinators of this function, this session. It will be moderated by Theresa Swinehart, who is Executive Director, global Internet policy, Verizon Communications, then Laurent Elder, who is a program leader, information networks, International Development Research Center, IDRC.
The remote moderator is Virginia Paque, IGCB coordinator, DiploFoundation. Thank you, and I look forward to the discussions.
Theresa, Laurent, you have the floor.
>>LAURENT ELDER: Thank you very much, chair.
So it is clear from the comments of the chair that this is an important issue. When Kenya was dealing with its riots in 2008, there was the question of whether or not they should shut down the Internet network, whether they should shut down the mobile network. They decided not to. But this -- this must have been a very complicated debate. That debate will happen more and more, and has happened more and more in different contexts. And this is why access to the Internet as a human right has become a fairly important topic recently, and the Special Rapporteur for the U.N. on human rights, Frank La Rue, recently this year stated that cutting people's access to the Internet was actually a violation of their human rights.
Moreover, certain countries, as you know, like Finland and Estonia, have actually put into law the fact that access to broadband, in the case of Finland, is also a human right.
So this is definitely an important issue, and we have a panel with us that will help to enlighten us on the nuances of this issue, the extent to which there is a debate as to whether access is a human right, but also help us understand what would help justify notions of access as a human right.
So I will ask each of the panelists to first introduce themselves, and also to say, in a few minutes, why this -- they think this is an important issue and help set the context for this issue. Sir.
>>SHADI ABOU-ZAHRA: Yes. Good morning. My name is Shadi Abou-Zahra. I work with the World Wide Web consortium, the Web Accessibility Initiative. Today, I speak to you representing the IGF Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability, and for people with disabilities, access and accessibility are essential aspects. In fact, the U.N. convention on the rights of persons with disabilities recognizes access to information as essential as a human right. It's an essential aspect not only to have physical access to the Internet, but also to have accessibility to the information. That means that the services and products online are developed in a way and provided in a way that people with disabilities can actually use them.
So it's not only the access aspect, but the accessibility actually, the usability of those services.
I would like to present to you some of the -- a statement from the dynamic coalition accessibility and disability, DCAD.
We certainly welcome the opportunity to contribute to this dialogue of access and diversity.
As a diverse cross-disability coalition supporting accessibility of the Internet, this includes the availability, the affordability, and also the accessible design of the Internet as a whole.
As I already said, accessibility for persons with disabilities is an essential aspect of inclusive society as it affects millions of people around the world.
Actually, over 1 billion, according to the WHO, and many other sources.
Many of those who belong to the most vulnerable groups in our society, in each of our countries, actually without differentiation between the different regions of the world, in all societies people with disabilities belong to the most vulnerable groups and need accessibility -- access to information.
Lack of accessibility excludes persons with disabilities. It further contributes and exacerbates the discrimination of people with disabilities. Despite the Internet being an unprecedented opportunity for people with disabilities to contribute equally in our society, accessibility also addresses the needs of older people, people with aging-related impairments, so actually it affects most of us. Maybe sometimes sooner, sometimes later.
Accessibility also has many benefits for everyone, regardless if you're using a mobile phone without a keyboard, for instance, and need to enter the data in a different way, regardless if you're in a loud environment and cannot hear what's being said and need captioning for that purpose, or if you simply want something to work properly.
In all those aspects, accessibility helps proper design and the use of the Internet to be genuine for everyone.
Unfortunately the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability concludes that accessibility for persons with disabilities is not sufficiently prioritized and addressed at the IGF.
In fact, accessibility is often placed as a side topic rather than being recognized as a fundamental and cross-cutting topic for the IGF.
This is despite the tangible achievements of the DCAD. For instance, the captioning that you're seeing right now, that helps us with our different languages, our different backgrounds, in order to be able to participate equally. Despite those achievements, we're still seeing a lack of recognition of accessibility for people with disabilities.
Finally, the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability would like to thank the host country for its efforts in addressing accessibility of the conference venue, the conference program, transportation, and accommodation, given the challenges at hand.
However, it seems that lessons from past IGF meetings have not been passed on to this IGF, and so challenges -- participants of the IGF have been faced with accessibility challenges anew. It was made difficult for many people to be able to participate in many of the sessions of the -- and the venue of the IGF this year.
The Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability continues to offer itself as a resource body to help ensure the full accessibility of the IGF, to ensure it's inclusive for people with disabilities, and to cover the substantive topics relating to the barriers in Internet policies, technology, and interoperability impacting inclusion of people with disabilities.
The DCAD strongly urges that there be a person responsible for the accessibility at the IGF at each host country, that the person consult disability organizations in the host country throughout the IGF planning and preparation, and the IGF Secretariat to maintain an accessibility checklist that is refined and passed on from one IGF to the next.
Actually, the DCAD developed such an initial checklist and contributed to the DCAD -- to the IGF Secretariat after the Rio meeting.
Unfortunately, as I said, this has not been passed on.
Again, we thank the organizers and the host country for their efforts and look forward to seeing you all next year with more prominent discussion of inclusions for persons with disabilities in all aspects relating to the use and governance of the Internet. Thank you.
>>LAURENT ELDER: Mr. Pepper.
>>ROBERT PEPPER: Thank you. And thanks for the opportunity to be on this session.
A couple of things. Maybe three points.
One, I think the discussion of -- well, let me start with the following.
What we know from development literature, going back many years, is that there's three essential infrastructures for development. Access to drinkable water, transportation, and power. Electricity. Today, it's electricity.
Those of us who are here also understand that there is now a fourth essential infrastructure. That fourth essential infrastructure is connectivity. Without connectivity, we will not have development, either economic or social development, for the 21st century.
So when we think about essential infrastructures, when we develop and we work both across the globe, forums like IGF or within our individual countries, we all need to be advocating for connectivity, the availability of connectivity, in addition to the three historic essential infrastructures.
At the infrastructure level, it is not clear when we talk about what is a human right -- and there can be long debates over, for example, is it -- everybody should have access to electricity. Is it a human right to have access to electricity? I mean, that's a debate. We've not historically done that. Even within the U.N. declaration of human rights. I mean, they're framed in a different way.
So I think that's an interesting conversation, but in many ways distracts from the goal to make sure that there is universal access to these essential infrastructures.
The second issue is not the infrastructure issue.
So Laurent, when you raised -- when you sort of set this out and, you know, Mr. Secretary, when you set this out, you talked about infrastructure and then applications and content.
I think we're talking about, then, a second level of access, which is to the content, the applications. And quite clearly, this is much more directly related to the U.N. declaration of human rights.
The access to the infrastructure is the necessary, but not sufficient, platform on which we have access to the information. But there are also alternative ways. If we don't have access on a network, we can have -- you know, there's print, there's broadcast, there's a multiplicity of ways to access. But the fundamental question is the access to the content.
And again, the decisions that were made here to not block I think at the time were viewed as very risky, but as you said, they would have been counterproductive, and I think Kenya is to be applauded for making that very difficult political decision. It was the right decision in terms of society.
So I think when we talk about this, we need to think about these sort of different layers. This is an Internet meeting, so we can talk about layers.
That's permissible. The people here actually understand that.
But I do want to pick up on something that you said, which I think is extraordinarily important.
If we have infrastructure and we're designing and building infrastructure, it is much easier and lower-cost, and in fact the cost approaches zero, is if at the beginning you design in accessibility for people with disabilities, if you design that in at the beginning instead of retrofitting.
Take a building like this one. This building was not designed for people with disabilities when it was built 20, 30 years ago. Today, if this building -- and to retrofit it is very expensive and we, you know, have seen some of the problems, right? Especially with workshops on the roof.
As well-intentioned as everybody to make it work, there are difficulties. It would be very expensive to retrofit a building with elevators and make it easy.
Today, no building that's being designed does not have ramps, does not have elevators. So when you design it in from the beginning, it's much lower-cost. And that applies to the Internet world as well. In the United States, there's something called the Americans with Disabilities Act, and there's a portion of that called Section 255 which applies directly to communications. It's not part of the telecom act. It's not part of a telecom regulation, but it's an obligation. And the Federal Communications Commission, where I worked for a very long time, has made sure that as technologies are being developed, they are being developed in concert with and in compliance with Section 255.
That's extremely important.
Whether it's, you know, a new digital television system with captioning, whether it's technologies with voice over IP, whether it's all kinds of technologies that are related to the Internet and communications, designing those protocols in at the outset actually lower the cost but have huge benefits across society.
Again, we call this the "curb cut" benefit.
In the United States, as part of ADA, when new roads and sidewalks were built and even had to be retrofitted, there had to be -- instead of having a curb drop off, there had to be a cut so that people in wheelchairs could easily get across the street.
Right? And people said, "Oh, this is, you know, too expensive and it's not going to -- only benefit a very small segment of society." Everybody uses it. People who have babies in carriages. People who have luggage that they're dragging with wheels, right? I can tell you that the curb cuts have benefitted everybody. Even though maybe the initial design was for a small part of the population.
Buildings with elevators, right? And frankly, captioning. We all benefit from this captioning because a lot of times I'm in a room and I can't hear. I'm reading it. Or it's crowded, I'm in the back of the room. We all benefit from the captioning, even if it was initially designed for people with disabilities. So, you know, there's a huge knock on social and economic benefit from these kinds of accessibility requirements and we really just need to think of these, not as something separate but as something that we just do as a matter of course as we design in the next generation of technologies. Thank you.
>>LAURENT ELDER: Mr. Bekele.
>>DAWIT BEKELE: Thank you. I'm Dawit Bekele. I am the director of the Africa Regional Bureau of the Internet Society.
Well, access is really very important. I think we all agree with that. And it is for this reason that the Internet Society, which is promoting Internet around the world, has made it the cornerstone of all its works. And in fact, its vision is Internet for all, and this starts with access, of course.
Access is a fundamental issue, because without access, all the other issues that we have discussed this week, like security, privacy, cloud computing, are completely irrelevant.
So I believe that it is very important that IGF has considered it throughout its history as an important issue for the discussions.
Well, I agree with the former speakers that there are two aspects of access. Access to infrastructure, which includes of course the access to the networks through fixed or wireless networks, but also access to the computer devices which is important in developing countries where the device is sometimes not affordable for the majority of the population.
But we have to think also of the affordability of the access to the Internet, and also quality of access, because in some cases the quality is so poor that we can't really do much with it. It's not only the bandwidth, but it's also the reliability.
There are places where you have Internet access a small part of the day. You can use it to read some news, but you cannot do something very -- well, very serious with this kind of connection.
And I believe that the second part of access, which is access to knowledge and content, is probably the most important.
It is clear that there is a wealth of knowledge on the Internet today. You can think of anything and you'll find something on the Internet, and in fact, many of us rely on the Internet to learn about something that we don't know. And there is virtually nothing that you will not find on the Internet.
But is it in a usable form for the majority of the population of the world?
Just consider language. Most of the content is in a language that many citizens of the world don't understand and will probably not understand during their lifetime. People consider that English is the language of the world, which is not the case for many people, even in countries like Kenya which officially has English as the national language, but if you go outside the cities, you'll find a lot of people who don't speak English and who will probably not speak English during all their life.
Do we have to deny them access to the Internet just because they don't speak one of the languages that are considered as international languages?
But there are other issues that come to mind as well, like -- like, for example, literacy.
Many people can't read and write, and again, they might not be able to read and write during the -- all their life.
Do we have the right to deny them access to the Internet because they don't read and write?
I think we have to consider all the issues when you consider access.
Another thing is understandability.
Maybe there are people who can read and write, but they might not understand the content because it is not in the format that is easily accessible to them. Like children.
So when we think of access, I believe that we have to enlarge and consider all these issues that are crucial to make the content, the knowledge available on the Internet, accessible, usable for everybody.
[ Applause ]
>>LAURENT ELDER: And Mr. Haga.
>>FRED HAGA: Thank you. My name is Frederick Haga, and today I am representing the World Blind Union through its continental organization called the Africa Union of the Blind. However, I work at the Kenya Institute of Education.
Today, I just wish to speak to the topic from the perspective of people with print disabilities. And the previous speakers have made some very strong, relevant points, which I just wish to add to.
Ever since information was put in print, persons with print disabilities have been disadvantaged for many, many years.
In fact, the World Blind Union for the last 20 or so years has been trying to negotiate for the development of a treaty that could end the book (indiscernible) for persons with print disabilities. And we are talking about 10% of the world's population.
While that negotiation is still continuing, it was felt that the development and use of the Internet would provide opportunities, especially for persons with vision impairment. And, indeed, it has. It has revolutionized access to certain information that persons with visual impairment needed to go through a human medium in order to access.
For instance, newspapers. Well, now that is much more available and much more accessible.
However, this is only to a very small percentage of persons with vision impairment. Either those who are born in developed environments, where access to Internet infrastructure and the broadband, all that is not an issue, or those who might be living in the developing countries but in urban centers like Nairobi. And not only that, they have to be able to afford the equipment used to access the Internet.
And earlier, a point was made on the issue of the cost of infrastructure. The person with vision impairment has to pay much, much more in order to acquire a gadget that he or she can use to access the Internet. A moderate estimation in Kenya is that if a person with vision impairment needs to get a phone that he or she can use to access the Internet, he or she has to pay about ten times more what a sighted counterpart will pay.
When we are talking about other gadgets like computers, either laptops or desktops, he or she has to pay about five to six times what the average person has to pay.
And this happening while there is the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a convention that really underscores the right to access of information and participation. It is, indeed, a significant barrier in this section of the community.
And we are all different, and, really, nobody should be penalized, either in inadvertently or deliberately, because of being different.
And the previous point that was made about in-building accessibility features right from the design or planning stage is one that I wish to repeat, because right now, we know of certain manufacturers who right from the manufacturing have built in features of accessibility in their gadgets. And this has really opened up this frontier for those who ask access or who can obtain these gadgets that we are talking about.
But I wish to remind all of us that this happens to be a very small population of people with vision impairment.
This is a population that because of other factors that might not -- we might not want to get into right now, find themselves, if I could say so, at the bottom of the heap in terms of employment. And, therefore, the issue of resources and affordability. They are just not able to afford this equipment to access the Internet.
So whereas we are probably discussing issues of development of the Internet and its usage, this person is still at the very basic level that he or she is not able to get that mobile phone or that computer.
Secondly, accessibility features. And we are aware that in some countries there is legislation that guide the issue of accessibility in whatever products you develop. There are certain, for instance, Web sites that are fully accessible and takes cognizance of our difference or our diversity. That is all good for those who can access these sites. And these features make it -- help these people with vision impairment to be fully independent, and they can access the Internet with the dignity and independence that is desirable.
However, there are some of those countries who don't pay at lot of attention to accessibility features, even on information that is posted on the Internet. And it can be quite frustrating for anybody, especially these people with vision impairment, trying to access this information. And it's just not in a format that is friendly.
Therefore, it is very crucial that laws guiding or regulating issues of accessibility features on information that is put in the public domain or the Internet factor in the diversity of people. And here I'm specifically talking about people with vision impairment, and I'm sure there are probably other groups that are also affected.
Therefore, it is not just enough to just make it accessible or pause it there, but we should really think about the accessibility features. Is this information really accessible?
And the sharing -- My point is that the sharing of knowledge and content is very key.
I am from Kenya, and I know there are initiatives meant at -- aimed at giving, providing the knowledge and the content for use of information, even that which is on the Internet. But we can really benefit from the experiences of other areas. Of course the Internet makes it all a global village but we still have our different households in this global village. And our fear as the World Blind Union is that persons with vision impairment are watching as the world moves on.
And whereas the Internet is actually able to levelize and bring opportunities that we couldn't have thought of some time back, it is unfortunate but it is ending up not only widening the gap between people who are vision impaired and those who are sighted, but also within the group of people with vision impairment, we are having different gaps depending on factors like where you happen to be and what kind of work you do.
In other words, probably how rich you are.
So we think that as the World Blind Union that it is very important that we continue with our pace of development of the Internet and its usage, but we also think and factor in the concerns and the interests of persons with vision impairment.
[ Applause ]
>>THERESA SWINEHART: Well, we have certainly had a diverse perspective on what accessibility is. We would now like to throw it out to the audience and the participants on what you think it means and why it's important to you.
So first let's do the remote participants and then we will do the participants from the audience.
>>GINGER PAQUE: Good morning. I actually don't have a direct intervention from a remote participant, but I would like the audience to be aware of kind of an update of remote participation, because as this is an access panel, while remote participation is not access to the Internet, it is access to global policy processes. And I really enjoyed Mr. Haga's comment that we can be geographically challenged as well. So we have people with us from eight different countries, as far away as New Zealand and Australia, Serbia, the Cook islands, St. Lucia, Papua New Guinea.
We have had eight individuals with us and two remote hubs. Remote hubs are groups of people who are sitting together at a university or their place of work or in another area and are watching in parallel and discussing the problems and access as they deal directly to them.
I also would like to point out there is a very close symbiotic relationship between the Disability Coalition and the Remote Participation Working Group, because as a member of the Remote Participation Working Group we are so happy to have disability dynamic coalition on our side because when our Webcast went off just a little while ago we had everyone following the closed captioning or the audio. So we all depend on these different and varied forms of access. It isn't one group, and there is overlap and replication. We have to keep those other aspects into account and realize that they are all access, and they are being addressed.
Another challenge that may -- I don't know if anyone particularly addressed multilingualism, but we are offering remote moderation in four languages, which is very good for an access panel: French, Spanish, English and Portuguese. We have actively using Spanish and English.
>> I do have a question. Sorry, I am just jumping in because we do have one comment and one question. I will start with the comment from Deidre Whealans (phonetic) from St. Lucia. And she says that we, the remote participants, have a disability, which is we (indiscernible) be there, and are grateful for the inclusion. So this is a great comment and timely.
And the question from Maureen from the Cook Islands is like some other small island, developing states in the Pacific region, the Cook Islands operates under a monopolitical telecom. In comparison to other Pacific countries' access and Internet connectivity, we think our country is quite advanced, yet when compared to that of nearby developed countries, our services are slow and hugely expensive.
The monopoly situation also deprives our people the right to an open market, to the growth of our own entrepreneurial capacity and to freedom of choice. My question is, how are we as developing countries supposed to promote people's access and use of the Internet as a tool for the future when we don't have any control over or any say in how we might want to or be able to use the -- use it, and when top-down decisions are often made by decision-makers who know little about the technology anyway?
>>THERESA SWINEHART: Which of the panelists would like to take that on? And Dr. Ndemo, I realize you are chairing but please feel free to also speak.
Who would like to take this on? Bob.
>>ROBERT PEPPER: The last point I think is a terribly important one. This is the sixth IGF. At the earlier ones we did talk about access of infrastructure. We talked about the importance of competition as a driver for investment. We have even had sessions at this IGF on spectrum policy for providing mobile Internet.
I think one of the important things that we know is that transparency in public policy, independent regulatory procedures, introducing competition, especially for Internet things like undersea cables and access to bandwidth, that each of those component pieces are very important in order to ensure that the infrastructure -- the investment in infrastructure grows, and it is deployed widely.
There obviously will be places where, by itself, those policies will be insufficient, especially remote areas, very low-density areas, high-cost areas.
But one of the things that we do know, and again, have been discussed here, and last week, for example, at the global symposium of regulators, as well as a result of work from the World Bank on their regulation tool kit that there are some basic fundamental principles of communication, telecom policy and regulation, independence of regulators, transparency of process that actually empirically have led to increased investment, lower prices, higher quality, and higher adoption.
So these are issues that have not been highlighted at the top of the agenda this year here, although they have been sort of the side issues, but we cannot forget them, because they still are important as the basis for everything else that we're talking about.
>>SHADI ABOU-ZAHRA: Just to add on very briefly. I think it's a good example that shows that access and accessibility and the different terms we talked about, connectivity and so on, are not only in the actual design of the product but also in the policy-making and in the entire ecosystem and therefore the participation of all groups is essential, to involve all the groups in the policy-making as well. This is, I think, a fundamental aspect of the IGF in itself.
And as the people with disabilities, the disability organizations typically say nothing without us -- nothing about us without us. The idea of being involved in all the decision-making is an essential aspect.
>>LAURENT ELDER: Thank you very much. I would like to piggyback on that and ask the question to the audience, actually. Is talking about access to infrastructure, to Internet infrastructure as a human right, is that useful? Does that help us? Is the context in which Finland has taken this -- i.e., ensuring that broadband gets to each person, each citizens's household. Is that a useful framework or does that sometimes hinder what we are trying to get at, which is more access?
I would like to put that out to the audience. Does anybody have a point of view on this?
>> So in that particular case, I would be curious and probably ask how much access -- I mean, what the minimum amount of capacity, for instance? How do you define that?
>>LAURENT ELDER: Answering a question with a question. Very good.
Remote participation, I think.
>>GINGER PAQUE: Okay. Because we do have a large group of remote participants, there are other comments.
We did, just before you brought in human rights, we had a question and remote participation. Is remote participation for inclusion a right we should expect? It's just thrown out. I don't think it's really meant to be answered, but it is interesting that the remote -- there is a chat going on among the remote participation about what rights are -- it's really not appropriate to read it all into the transcript.
There is a question from a hub, which is the groups that is listening together in Australia, and they ask a question: Australian government Web sites are required to provide full accessibility in line with WCAGT. The cost of providing text alternatives to time-based media is sometimes prohibitive. Do guidelines like these -- and I believe this came in a few minutes ago, I think she is addressing Bob Pepper's comments. Do guidelines like these run the risk of discouraging the provision of content more broadly so as to avoid discrimination? For example, if it is not possible to provide speech-to-text, to avoid discriminating one may decide to provide no streaming media at all.
>>LAURENT ELDER: Thank you. There was a gentleman in the back. Please, sir.
>> There was -- there was the question about discussing access in the context of human rights. Well, I think that it is useful, it is helpful, because in practice, if we want to go anywhere beyond the theory and just paperwork, in practice the right to work, the right for education, the right to participate, all the essential elements in modern society require the use of high technologies, require access to the Internet.
So I think it's incredibly helpful. I think it's not about Facebook status changes. I mean, I think anybody that wants to compete effectively in the workplace these days, anyone that wants to research and develop him- or herself academically and so forth, they require meaningful, practical access to the Internet.
>>LAURENT ELDER: Thank you.
>> Hello. I represent myself. I'm (saying name). I'm from the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee and I'm from the Consumer Defense Institute in Brazil, and now I'm talking more with my Consumer Defense Institute hat.
Contributing to answer your question, I don't know exactly, I'm not pretty sure if we have to talk about in an Internet -- Internet access fundamental right itself. I think it's inside the right to communicate. And we have a discussion in Brazil, and a constitutional amendment in discussion, to include this right in the constitution, and I think it's a very good debate, but the access to Internet, it's as we talk, a right to provide other rights, as a right to education, freedom of expression, access to information, and even though you have another means to participate and to put your opinion, Internet is today one of the best means to do it, so we have to have this in mind. And if we don't have those -- actually the report, the Frank La Rue report, for example, when it says that Internet is a human right and this has two implications like access to knowledge, access to information, and at the same time the need for the governments to have policies and -- policies to universalize the access, it's something they reported in the discussion.
In Brazil, the recognition that the Internet is essential is something very important, even to the regulation. We have great implications in the regulation.
So this is a very important matter, and I think it should be not a side discussion in IGF because everything that we discuss here starts with access. So we should be more attentive with that. Thank you.
>>LAURENT ELDER: Thank you. And fortunately, it is a main session topic. Yes.
>> My name is Cecilia. I'm a law student, and to answer to your question, I think when you have laws that talk about access to information and access to human rights in ICT, then these laws provide a means of government to ensure that they have fulfilled the rights of the human beings. So in my opinion, I think it's important to have access to information, access to ICT in the laws, so that government has a duty or a mandate to fulfill those rights.
>>LAURENT ELDER: Sir.
>> Yes. I think before we talk about Internet access as a human right, we have to sort of clear up the issue of where we are right now in some ways, and we're the Family Online Safety Institute and we're doing a global portal called Grid, which talks 194 countries around the world. And it's very interesting, because what you realize is that actually just the basic concept of freedom of expression and just access to content is not -- you know, not a given, and there are many countries around the world, certainly in the Family Online Safety sector, who use the protection of children as a pretext to filter the content of all their citizens.
So I think there is a debate to go on about that.
I think the other element, too, which has been discussed in a number of workshops, is the concept of digital citizenship, which has been discussed in a number of panels, and rights come into that as well. So it's a complex area and I think the reality is right now that we have a multispeed approach to this that needs to be resolved before we start talking about it as a universal right.
>>NICOLA DOUGLAS: Hello. I'm Nicola Douglas. I'm here representing Childnet International. I would just like to say I think it's -- as Cecilia said, I think it's incredibly important that we work within a framework of human rights when expanding the Internet. As a citizen of the U.K., I know that it's very important to keep pressure on Internet Service Providers to expand broadband, and I think it's a -- if the Internet and the access to information is seen as a human right, then it's a lot easier for them to keep it as a priority and as Cecilia said, it's a duty for them to make sure that they're providing that service.
>>LAURENT ELDER: Thank you.
>>THERESA SWINEHART: We have a few folks over here so I think we'll swap back and forth at this point. The lady in the back. There, and then sir.
>>CYNTHIA WADDELL: Thank you. My name is Cynthia Waddell and I'm a founding member of the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability.
I'd like to make a comment from the Workshop 137, which was a feeder workshop to this main session.
Our theme was "Mainstreaming the disability perspective for an inclusive society," and it's directly on point to what we're discussing now.
Mainstreaming the disability perspective is a fundamental principle of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, since the purpose of that convention is to promote, protect, and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities.
Kenya is one of the 105 nations, along with Brazil, that have signed and ratified the convention. Of relevance today are two convention articles. Article 9, "Accessibility," explicitly mandates that nations promote access to the Internet. This includes availability, affordability, and accessible design.
Article 21, "Freedom of Expression and Opinion," and access to information provides for nations, including providers of information through the Internet, to make their services accessible to persons with disabilities.
Why is access to the Internet a fundamental human right enshrined in the convention?
Our workshop touched on the diversity of the community of persons with disabilities and the means of equalizing opportunities through Information and Communications Technology. By equalizing opportunities for persons with disabilities, we promote respect and dignity for the individual.
And finally, perhaps we could say that the Internet for persons with disabilities is our eyes, our ears, our hands, our feet, and some might even say our heart that enables us to make our own unique contributions to society from the disability perspective.
>>THERESA SWINEHART: That was a wonderful reminder to myself to also remind those participants from the feeder workshops, we will be asking the feeder workshops to be providing their input after we finish up this round of the questions also to the panelists.
So you've reminded me to warn everybody. Be prepared.
We want to make sure that the feeder workshop information gets in, and we'll tee that up in a little bit.
We had one more question -- we had a -- hold on, hold on. We've got a lot of hands. The gentleman here, and then we're going to turn it over to my colleague, Laurent, on the other side, to get questions there, and then we'll come back here. Yes, you, sir.
>> Thank you very much. (saying name). I'm speaking on behalf of the Steering Committee on Media and Information Technologies and the Council of Europe, just to also say, if you do not know it, that the Council of Europe has been working a lot, actually, on all these questions on access. There is -- especially from 2003, the declaration of freedom of communication on the Internet, where member states in the council are concerned about any limits to public access to communication on the Internet, be it for political reasons or other motives, and also actually -- and the general secretary of the Council of Europe, Mr. Jagland, recently said that we, the Council of Europe, is fully supporting the U.N. initiatives for -- in this context, and the Council of Europe thinks that we need a global instrument for this purpose, and therefore it will be also a main point in the strategy of the Council of Europe for the upcoming year, so everybody -- because we really tried to do the multistakeholder approach there -- everybody is warmly welcome to get in touch, especially with the relevant steering committee which will be called in the future as the media and Information Society and bring in their proposals and take part on the discussion there. Thank you very much.
>>THERESA SWINEHART: Thank you. Laurent, you want to have some questions from that side?
>>LAURENT ELDER: Yeah. And can I remind people? I think it's useful if you mention your name and the institution you're affiliated with. And try to be as brief as possible. So I think I had somebody here.
>>ALEX EVERETT: Hi there. I'm Alex Everett, representing Childnet International here.
I wondering if maybe we need to be a little bit careful talking about legislation the whole time because sometimes this can be quite a broad generalized thing which can actually in some cases throttle access for the smaller up-and-coming websites. So perhaps instead we need to look at kind of incentives, whether this is from government, from the bigger corporations, and therefore, you're not just going to say to be online, you must have the accessible controls in place, but perhaps when you reach a certain user base, depending on the kind of service you're providing, then you can actually put in these controls. Of course it's incredibly important we do, but we need to remember actually the smaller Web sites sometimes struggle just to still afloat, so putting in these actual really rigid controls may also throttle the access too.
>>THERESA SWINEHART: Fantastic. I'm going to come back to everybody here, but first I'd like to give -- if you'd like to. Thank you.
>>GERRY ELLIS: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Gerry Ellis. I am from Dublin in Ireland. I'm a software engineer in Dublin and a consultant in usability and accessibility.
I'd like to make two things -- just to make two comments, really, rather than a question.
One, I'd like to support all the things that were said so far about the benefits to Society of -- of our inclusion, and we heard about curb cuts and we heard about captioning and that sort of thing. But of course our own inclusion, if we have access to the Internet and the information on it, it's only a tool for access to information, education, whatever. Instead of forced dependence, we become fully -- fully functioning, active members of society, and we're paying our taxes and you're adding to gross national product and becoming economically functioning people within society. So that benefits society as well.
One other point I'd like to make is that we've been -- advocates like myself and the DCAD who are here, and people who have been speaking this morning, have been talking about this for 20, 25 years, and have been getting good results sometimes, and poor results sometimes, but if you talk to the actual people who are the designers, even if you convince them, they say, "Well, I went through an education -- technology education system that didn't know about accessibility." So about three years ago, a number of us got doing with CEN, which is the official European standards body and we developed what's called a workshop agreement that involved people from eight different countries around Europe, coming together on four occasions, putting out information to public -- public consultation where we got over 200 responses from all over Europe, and there is now a document which is an official workshop agreement from the official European standards body, CEN, which is a curriculum for a course on universal design. And what I'm asking people here today, and people who are remotely participating, is to take that curriculum, bring it to your local technology trainers, your local universities, and promote the inclusion of universal design in all technology courses, and that will work its way through the system. And you'll find that at www.cen.org. Thank you.
>>THERESA SWINEHART: Thank you very much. We had other questions over here. One second, I think I had two in the back and then I'll come to you. I'm sorry. Yes. You, and then the gentleman -- then here.
>>CHAT GARCIA RAMILO: Good morning. My name is Chat Garcia Ramilo. I'm from the Association for Progressive Communications. Before the IGF started, we had a workshop on access and one of the things that came out of that workshop is that access is a multifaceted concept, and that there are possibly two things that we -- that we need to look at, and one is that while there -- there are still a lot of people who are not connected, the issues around getting people connected is one thing, but the other point is that there are now a lot of people who are connected and are facing different kinds of issues in maintaining access, which includes the questions around rights, the questions around freedom of expression, and how they actually use this connectivity to be able to exercise your rights.
So I think when we think about access to infrastructure, we also look at the differences in that. And I just want to say that one of the things that came out strongly in that workshop is that there needs to be a lot more discussion around human rights approach. Possibly looking at how this has been used other areas. For example, concepts of -- and I think it's been mentioned here -- emphasizing participation of individuals in decision-making, introducing accountabilities because now we're seeing how there are adverse effects on individuals in relation to the use of the -- of the Internet.
So those concepts are very useful in looking at a human rights approach when we're thinking about access to the Internet.
And lastly, there was a discussion around perhaps the next theme for the IGF should focus much more on human rights. Thank you.
>>THERESA SWINEHART: Thank you.
>>LAURENT ELDER: I'm actually going to -- to possibly put our chair on the spot. I would -- there's been some question as to whether legislation is useful or not in this area, and this is as much on the point of view of connectivity as the point of view of human rights on -- to access to the content or the information.
You're well privileged in your position in the Kenyan government to actually influence these kinds of decisions. What is your take on whether legislation or policy in this area is useful or not?
>>BITANGE NDEMO: Thanks for the question.
We are actually working towards that end. If you look at our bill of rights, it's very, very comprehensive and we are now developing legislations that would operationalize the bill of rights.
The reason why we are aggressively taking broadband to rural villages throughout the country is to ensure that when we begin a smart government through the e-government initiatives that we have, that we do not discriminate against any of the Kenyans. Then technology enables us to deal with a lot of our people who have been discriminated before, like those who are visually impaired, others who have not been able to access education.
It's going to be much easier to legislate this as a human right, so that we can be able to deal with those injustices we have had on the -- on several people who have never -- or who have not been able to access knowledge.
>>LAURENT ELDER: Thank you. Maybe we should move to the feeder workshops?
>>THERESA SWINEHART: I actually have two folks over here, if I don't let them ask questions, I think I might have a problem. And I think you have some over there. Yes. And a remote. So the gentleman and then the lady and then I'll turn it over to that side and the remote.
>>ARUN MEHTA: My name is Arun Mehta. I'm from the Bidirectional Access Promotion Society.
Unfortunately, when governments talk about access, very often they mean in one direction, that you should be able to access their information.
But it's incredibly important that information and influence should be able to flow in both directions, and we consider that to be such an important point that we make that point in the very name of our organization.
And there was this question about making remote participation a right.
I think that for governments, instead of first making a policy and then waiting to get feedback and all of those things is an inefficient way. If people via remote participation could actively participate in the making of policy, we'd have much better policy, so my question is: Are there governments where -- in other countries where this happens that you can remotely actively participate in policymaking? Thank you.
>>THERESA SWINEHART: Thank you. May I take the privilege of one more here and then -- okay. And after that side, it's the feeder workshops, so be prepared.
>>DOROTHY GORDON: Thank you. My name is Dorothy Gordon. I'm the Director-General at the Ghana India Kofi Annan Center of Excellence in ICT which is a capacity building institute and I'm very pleased that the gentleman behind me gave us some indication of what we can do as capacity building institutes to include training and prepare our new generation of technologists to be more sensitive to these very important issues.
I think when it comes to design -- and I thank Mr. Pepper for his comments -- it's really important that we address it at that level. And that means that even this workshop must keep in mind issues relating to open standards and protocols, which are fundamental to the design of all we do, as well as the protocols concerning content and IP. And I haven't heard any discussion yet of the open movement, the open source software movement, as well as the creative commons licensing, which is really ensuring access. And in fact, when we talk about it, open education resources, open data for government, it's very important.
But really, the other thing I wanted to bring to the table that I haven't heard yet but I think has figured previously in other discussions is that access to become a creator of content for the net.
We recognize that literacy or illiteracy is seen as a disability when it comes to the net. Ability to speak English, as our colleague from Ethiopia has mentioned, is another disability. And that means for many women, especially in Africa, but we observe it with the very well-known studies on the proportion of women who contribute to Wikipedia that throughout, on the Internet, we see there must be something which is impeding women from actually contributing to the content that we see on the net.
And that means that unfortunately the content is not always relevant to the lives of women. So I think that we need to pay attention to this and see what we can do to correct it. And I'd like to also encourage this meeting to also look at some very specific metrics. As you can see, I've been to a lot of meetings. We keep going over the same ground. Let's be clear on what we want to measure and the progress we want to make before the next IGF. Thanks.
>> Thank you. My name is Hisham. I am coming from Egypt. I just think in this session we -- we should think about the difference between access and accessibility as the first speaker, Shadi, has indicated. I think the concept of disabilities and people with disabilities, we shouldn't be only thinking about physical disabilities. I think an emerging concept that we should consider at the IGF is also people with connectivity disabilities. Unfortunately in many developing countries, we have lower speeds or we have the option of higher speeds but it's still expensive for most of the people, and some people would prefer to go with an economical choice.
We have to make sure that those people are still enjoying the content on the Internet in a way that encourages them also to continue with the Internet experience and also to take it to another level with higher speeds.
So I was in a session, in a workshop, with Mr. Pepper also speaking on that, and he indicated the portion of videos on the Internet and the evolution of the percentage of traffic, video traffic over the Internet, and I think we should be also very conscious about the limitations of people with limited connectivity.
We often actually fall into the trap of thinking of people in the world as either connected to the Internet or not connected to the Internet. We have a large portion of people actually connected but with limited connectivity speeds. They want to also be able to see maybe video content with low resolution, or maybe even an audio alternative to that. Thank you.
>>LAURENT ELDER: We should move to a question from our remote participants, I think.
>>GINGER PAQUE: Thank you. This question comes out of the discussions being held in the Australia National University in Canberra.
It is for the panel but perhaps particularly for Mr. Pepper.
He was talking earlier about the universality of design infrastructure, the curb cuts. What kind of scope is there for this to be applied to content, given the complexity of international boundaries and range of content providers? Thank you.
>>LAURENT ELDER: Go ahead.
>>ROBERT PEPPER: Thank you. Since -- I thought we were collecting all of these, but that's fine.
So I actually think the metaphor -- you know, metaphors are imperfect, but we've already heard, I think, some excellent suggestions about making content -- right? -- accessible. The metaphor of curb cuts for content.
Number one, we have to -- I mean, and again, IGF has done this very well over the last six years -- recognize that English is not the only language. Right?
In fact, it's a minority language. So we need, you know, content in local language, that's number one.
Number two, there was the question about literacy, and what I'm struck by is that when we started off talking about -- or hearing about the need for people with vision disabilities have access to content, that -- that is, you know, either in text or images, how do they have content? Well, in terms of the text, to solve some of those issues with text-to-voice into multi-languages, it begins to address the issues of accessibility to content, and if we have widespread deployment, as we are beginning to see now, of text-to-speech and speech-to-text in multiple languages, if that's being done in the market, it's being done for people with visual disability, it also addresses literacy issues.
I think we're seeing a -- a confluence of technologies in the market, at the high end, needs for people with disabilities, as well as now mass market coming together with some fundamental technologies like speech-to-text, text-to-video -- I'm sorry, text-to-speech.
Also video compression. I agree completely with the point that was just made about, you know, video. And the access to networks with video.
You know, in the blogosphere today, there are reports that the new iPhone -- whether it's true or not, we'll find out next week -- is going to have a -- you know, a speech-to-command function, so you will tell -- if that's correct, you'll be able to speak into your iPhone and it will take commands, right?
If that's the case, we're seeing sort of the mass deployment of technologies that people have been talking about for years. And once you have mass deployment, the costs come down. Then it becomes widely available.
That, to me, is extremely important, and this also goes to the point that was made back here about the incentives to design in technology, and it's the question of regulation or law versus the incentives.
You know, we don't want the well-intended regulation to become a barrier to new content. If the costs are too high for the small providers, they're not going to be there. You know, so it's a balancing. We want as many voices as possible and we don't want to make the cost of the voice high, and yet, on the other hand, we want to make sure that there's wide, widespread availability in many ways. And that's a hard question. There's no easy answer. But it's the balancing and it's exactly -- I was really pleased that you raised that question on the economic tradeoffs.
There are ways to do it, but also the point, if you design it in at the beginning and the technology is available, it's not a cost to the little user, the small start-up, right?
And that's where we want to be. That's the goal. And the point of metrics and measure -- right? -- if we can't measure it, we can't get there. Right? We don't know whether we've been successful. So I actually think we should have a conversation and a workshop on metrics -- on measurement. How do we know when we get there? How do we know when we're going even in the right direction?
So those are just some thoughts that pick up on this question of content, because I think that's actually at the core of what, you know, we want to be doing.
>>THERESA SWINEHART: Great. Thank you. We're actually -- oh, hold on. Okay. We're going to take Dr. Ndemo quickly and then I'm actually going to work it up to the feeder workshops, so -- and then we'll go back to the audience for questions and further dialogue.
So Dr. Ndemo.
>>BITANGE NDEMO: I was going to respond to the question on remote participation and policymaking.
Indeed, in Kenya, we have done this very successfully. Practically, most of the policies that we do, we put them out there, we crowdsource them, we sieve out what we want, and then make the policy.
It's a much, much more inclusive process than doing it the other way.
>>THERESA SWINEHART: Thank you. The feeder workshops. Should I call them off or can people just raise their hands who was a feeder workshop?
I'm going to start -- I'm going to start with the gentleman in the back, and go to you, and then to you. So I'm going to work it across the room like this.
And please identify which feeder workshop you're reporting in from. Thank you.
>>FERNANDO BOTELHO: Okay. Hello. My name is Fernando Botelho. I'm with F123 Consulting. I'm respond -- contributing based on the Workshop 136, which was organized by the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability.
It was quite clear in our workshop that the major challenge we have of inclusion of persons with disabilities, which are estimated to be about 1 billion persons around the world, is fundamentally caused by three or four challenges.
One is affordability of assistive technologies. One is the need to customize assistive technologies. And localize assistive technologies.
Let me just expand very briefly on each one of these.
Affordability, since persons with disabilities are statistically the poorest among the poor, customization because many disabilities, including persons that have multiple disabilities, require us to be able to go in and adjust the technology, the software, so that it meets their needs.
So one example that was shared with us by Professor Arun Mehta was the case of persons who are blind -- who are deaf-blind.
Localization. There are many languages around the world, and many specific needs that are not necessarily financially viable if we are following conventional model -- business models.
So many languages in Africa, we don't have speech synthesizers for those languages. And finally, because there are relatively small or few resources dedicated to persons with disabilities around the world, relative to the amount of work that needs to be done, we have to facilitate somehow the process of international cooperation in the development of these technologies.
And in our workshop, it became clear that a model that is very, very productive in meeting every one of these needs is the free and open source software model.
Finally, I want to conclude by saying this is not so much a matter of convenience for persons with disabilities. This is something that effectively determines the opportunities we have in education, and ultimately employment and participation in society.
Thank you very much.
>>THERESA SWINEHART: Thank you. And if I could just ask the feeder workshops to try to keep it to maybe three to four minutes, or two, because we are running out of time.
>> Good afternoon.
My name is (saying name) from KENET, the Kenyan research and education network. And I am reporting on the workshop AD-188 titled transforming higher education with broadband. And it had several panelists. Dr. Ndemo was there. There was someone from Verizon, ISOC, and even from the leading mobile operator, Safaricom. And there were two key issues that came out. One of them is the special need for broadband access for that higher education community, which for the panelist was translated to mean universities and research institutes.
One of the things that came out is that higher education tends to be quite important, especially in developing countries, because it's the source of the young entrepreneurs and innovators. It's seen as critical for development and job creation, especially for the youth.
And the question was how do we increase access to broadband in an affordable fashion? And one of the things that came out is that creating a consortium of universities in a particular country and them operating as a research and education network is one of the probably best vehicles for getting access.
And the example for Kenya, which is KENET, is it has been able to provide broadband to over 74 campuses, just because we have come together as a group. We get help from the government, a little help. And the consortium also helps itself to run a broadband network.
And that means that, very quickly, in the last two years have been able to transition from just about 75 megabits per second for the entire community to about 2 gigabits of international capacity. And that was seen as something that can happen for all African countries. We had a contribution from Uganda where the partnership with the private operators also work to help a access broadband Internet.
Then we went on and discussed that it's not enough to have broadband access, but the real challenge is actually to transform the way universities and research institutes use that broadband connectivity in teaching, in learning, and in research. And one of the most important points that came out is it's a cultural change and so we need to work hard to change the culture, motivate faculty to change the way they teach, so there is all sorts of things about the reward system that is put in place in order to transform the culture.
And the leadership of the university was seen to be quite important.
The other thing that came out is that the ecosystem for broadband includes the campus network, so the universities themselves need to be ready. And that has -- In general, that means reallocating resources. Ready in terms of the broadband infrastructure encompass and ready in terms of faculty development and obviously ready in terms of transforming the curriculum so that it is electronically available.
So those are the issues that came out.
The big challenge obviously is lack of devices, networked computers for the students, for the faculty. And the fact that, yeah, there has been some intervention, the private sector being able to provide to this group. In Kenya alone we have over 220,000 university students, and they become a big market for probably lower price devices. But also, the other thing that came out is the mobile device is probably going to be the critical -- the critical device for accessing broadband resources and for learning.
And then we said, well, so there are many other opportunities broadband provides, especially in a developing country like ours in terms of access to education. It can provide remote access to education. And as we have been having discussions here, it can also provide access to those with disabilities.
>>THERESA SWINEHART: Yes.
>> Yes. Thank you. My name is Yuliya Morenets, and I represent the civil society organization Together against Cybercrime. I will just shortly give few points about the workshop 126, and it was about the use of ICTs by vulnerable people for the better participation of public democratic life. So it was a best practices exchange workshop.
I would like to say at the beginning of this plenary session I was asked not to summarize the workshop but just go to the direction of the access to the Internet rights. So I would like to give the points and go to this direction.
So practically, what we have done, we exchanged the experience from all over the world, and we try to speak about a number of categories of vulnerable people. Of course we did not cover all categories of vulnerable people, but we had some presentation of vulnerable -- categories of vulnerable people from all over the world. For instance, we had Pacific country, Fiji, where the problem was the transport infrastructure. We had also the discussion about displaced people, the people and of course the initiatives, the use of ICTs, the use of ICTs in the refugee camps, the use of ICTs and the concrete initiatives for blind people.
We discussed about exploited children and exploited women, and those integration of migrants in new countries. So we tried together all these initiatives and we unconsciously agreed the access to Internet it's a right. It's a right. Why? And it's a very important issue for these vulnerable people, and we agreed for all categories of vulnerable people. Why? Because it -- it's a possibility to assist these categories and to be helpful and to better integrate them into the public democratic life and to have their voice heard.
I would like also to say that we agreed that there is a need to further develop these kind of initiatives in the area of ICTs, at the local, national and international levels.
Concerning the access to Internet and vulnerable people, of course once again, very important for them and it was already raised why. Because it's access to information, it's access to information comprehensible to them, it's access to knowledge and to the equal participation, of course.
But if we speak about the access to information, access to Internet, which will allow to the access to information, it's of course a human right which is covered by the European Convention on Human Rights. So already, we know that it's a human right and a basic right of all people, but a very important issue for vulnerable people.
What I would like to say, that it was raised all that the access to equipment and Internet rates is still an issue. And just one -- just to conclude I would like say that as a result of this workshop agreed maybe on the need of creation of a network in order to share the existing initiatives in this area, ICTs, and the Internet. And at the beginning of this initiative we propose to create a mailing list in order to exchange, and Together against Cybercrime will create the mailing list. All actors are invited to participate in this initiative.
>>THERESA SWINEHART: Thank you very much.
Who else do we have from feeder workshops?
Okay. One, two, three. Three more.
Okay. Brief. Please be brief. We still want to have an opportunity for the panelists to also make comment.
Who is it in the back? Yes, ma'am, yes.
>> Good morning, everybody. I am Rajeshree Dutta Kumar from Center for Science Development and Media Studies, India. And I report workshop number 113 which was accessibility and diversity, broadband Internet access.
Now, before I start off with the pointers, I will be very precise and brief. I just wanted to share with the august audience here that we have had a balanced panelist in which we are representing the civil society, the private sector, and the government of India as well as international panelists.
Idea was to understand and bring on board the challenges, the opportunities that we may have had or we may learn from each other on the accessibility issues as far as broadband is concerned.
The pointers that emerged were, first of all, there is a considerable difference among definitions of the term broadband across countries. However, the one constant factor that remains constant within the definition of broadband is connectivity. So we always understand broadband in terms of connectivity. Can we have one uniform understanding of broadband for across all the countries, or at least for the subcontinent India, kind of is a part of member of. And there are certain issues that came kind of that emerged were broadband, high cost connectivity and broadband in rural areas is a big challenge. In India also we are facing the same challenge. The local language remains a challenge because India is one country with 11 scripts and 22 languages.
And there is a very strong need with the diversity that we have in India, there is a very strong need for us to have all the 22 languages recognized when we are talking about using Internet. And that's when we could actually talk about access.
The second point that emerged was technology solution must be made legitimate solution barring all copyright issues. We must also look into the patent issue to make it easier for compliance. There has to be free and open source license, and for enhancing access.
The government of India is setting up a thousand -- 100 and thousand kiosk in villages and rural areas which can provide Internet connectivity in these regions. And actually when we are talking about access, it doesn't mean we will have to have a laptop or a personal computer to have the access. In India, we have the shared way of using Internet.
So the community service centers, that's the model that we follow in India, so why not we acknowledge, when we are talking about access, why not we also have that model for understanding the accessibility issues.
And also, at the -- And the last point was Internet can be used for improving the quality of life for an ordinary citizen. We believe that Internet can be kind of considered as one of the basic human rights, to disseminate information, to bring people, to empower people, and to have equitable and equality quality of life.
>>THERESA SWINEHART: Thank you very much.
Yes. And please, very, very brief because we are running short on time.
>> I will be very brief. Good morning, everybody. I am (saying name) from the OECD and I am reporting on workshop number 91, mobile government for effective and inclusive public services. And I think the most relevant contribution that came out of the workshop which contributes to the discussion we are having here today concerns the fact that all participants in the workshop and panelists agreed on the fact that mobile technologies provide a channel to access public information and services to groups of the society which we would not be willing or capable of using already existing challenges. These groups of the population include not only physically impaired people but also women in some countries around the world, as well as, for instance, people living in rural areas. So from that point of view, if we consider equal and equitable access to resources available as a right for people to be sustained in their effort to personal growth and personal development. And in that sense, the access to the Internet should be considered as a basic right.
And what was underlined during the workshop is for governments to be able to fully capture this opportunity to use these mobile technologies to provide services and information in a new way which is more responsive, there is an absolute need for adopting a multistakeholder approach to include the specific groups which are interested in using this channel in the design of the services. So user-centered approach which is also a strategic approach, which makes sure that adding a channel doesn't lead to the creation of new divides but actually creates a more inclusive society.
>>THERESA SWINEHART: Thank you.
Yes, sir. Okay. Very brief, please.
>> Thank you. I am Satish Babu of the International Center for FOSS, from India. I have been a member of DCAD since 2009.
This is to supplement work Fernando had presented on the workshop.
I had presented a case study of a project in India which is about accessibility. For the province -- a population of about 32 million, the main highlight of this presentation was the use of free and open source software, for multiple reasons. For example, some of the points mentioned here before: Cost, customization, especially the language localization, the licensing and the fact the you can distribute as many copies as you wish. But most of all, for the communities such as the disabled, a sense of community can be built by FOSS. This is actually a support structure and support system that can enable much more effective use of a technology, because FOSS is not just about technology. It's about a community and ecosystem.
And we started four years ago. Currently we are rolling out in the whole of this province and the experience has been uniformly positive. And we would like to request the international community to examine this model closely and explore ways of replication.
>>THERESA SWINEHART: Thank you very much.
>>GARLAND McCOY: Thank you. I am Garland McCoy with Technology Education Institute, and in partnership with DiploFoundation we did access workshop number 101. And we really tried to have some panelists and some speakers that could talk about success stories that are actually happening in the field and how those are drivers of access.
We had some experts on mobile medicine and mobile health care that talked about, for example, the fact that you could use your cell phone, very low bandwidth, to check to see if the pharmaceutical medicine that you got is legitimate or if it's counterfeit; to monitor the insulin devices for diabetics, for kids that are in school that might be distracted, and you get a text message on their phone to remind them to, you know, push the pump up. All types of examples of how currently they are using this long distance Wi-Fi and the current systems to do health care.
We also had some drivers on education, talking about the universities and rural schools and how they are taking advantage of and using the Internet and wireless connectivity.
Mobile banking, which -- particularly mobile money which actually was invented in Kenya. We don't even have it in the United States, in developing countries yet. It's rolling out. And how that's evolved and how that's moving now into debit cards in partnership with credit card companies. That's a driver for access.
We had senior officials talking about the infrastructure, both from the submarine fiber cable coming in. There's now three. There will be four shortly. And the fiber build-out, but how things are going to move into the 3G and other broadband applications as it rolls out across the country.
LTE, et cetera.
And finally, we had some people talking about content. We had an official from Walt Disney company that did the Lion King, for example. Very locally based content. And how folks like Disney and Electronic Arts and other companies are using interactive games that are very popular, but moving them into the education field. Because as you know, right here in Kenya, there is at least a 20,000 shortage of trained teachers.
So as the training of the teachers progress, the -- we're not losing a generation of educating students. We can use these very engaging, interactive devices to educate.
And finally, we ended on a very positive note where we had an individual from Inveneo, an NGO that had extraordinary success in building a Wi-Fi network, sustainable, enterprise level, business-based Wi-Fi network in Haiti just after the earthquake for less than $2 million. And again, that's business base. When they rolled out, they left it for the ISPs and so it wasn't one that the government had to continue to provide infusions to support.
So that was a very positive success story.
So we were just looking at drivers and trying to get concrete in terms of what is currently out there, and where we're going with that.
>>THERESA SWINEHART: Wonderful. Thank you.
I'd really like to thank all the feeder workshops for making the effort to be here and to report in. I think it's fantastic.
I am going to turn it over to my colleague, Laurent. I think.
>>LAURENT ELDER: Sorry.
So we're going to try to close this off because we are keeping you guys from lunch. So I'm going to ask the panelists to each come up with their recommendation about this issue in 140 characters or less. So if they were to have a Twitter-friendly comment about this, what would it be? And let's start with Mr. Haga.
>>FRED HAGA: Okay. Let's enable the disabled and appreciate diversity.
>>LAURENT ELDER: Very good.
[ Applause ]
>> Inclusiveness and providing access is a choice of society. Let's make the right choice.
>>LAURENT ELDER: Good.
>>ROBERT PEPPER: Design access in as you design technologies, and leverage commercial developments.
>>LAURENT ELDER: Mr. Abou-Zahra.
>>SHADI ABOU-ZAHRA: Yeah. Taken from disabled people's organizations, nothing about us without us.
>>LAURENT ELDER: I know a lot of other people had questions and comments. I'm afraid we won't be able to take all of them. I think there may be a process for still feeding in questions. I know I used Twitter to do it, and maybe at some point during the event we can answer them, but I will actually ask our chair to close this off and then I think the Secretariat has a comment as well.
>>BITANGE NDEMO: For me, I ask you to think about making this resource a human rights issue. So I would like to thank the moderators, Theresa, Laurent, and Virginia Paque and our panelists for leading a very high-quality discussion. And thank you, the audience, for your questions and ideas, and a very sincere thank you to our interpreters.
So I now officially close the session, but I want to hand it over to Adam to make a few remarks.
>>ADAM PEAKE: Thank you, Dr. Ndemo.
Ladies and gentlemen, I understand at the beginning of the session there was a comment about the accessibility in the IGF itself. And I just wanted to make the comment the perspective of the IGF and the IGF Secretariat is this is an issue that concerns us very much. It is of great importance to us. We have worked with the dynamic coalition on accessibility and disability and will continue to do so both on physical accessibility issues and on accessibility issues for our Web site and other online resources.
We want to improve. We know we must do a better job, and we will do a better job. And we look forward to further discussions with the coalition on this.
So I just wanted to make that very clear that this is an issue that concerns us greatly, and the IGF Secretariat has worked over the last five or six years to make it a priority for us and for the IGF in general.
With that, I'd like to move on to a general housekeeping matter, and that is the reminder we use at the end of all the sessions. Please refer to the program that is on the Web site and not the printed document. You will find changes. You will find changes to rooms and times, so please use the online program.
And last, just a reminder that the main session this afternoon is security and privacy, and will begin at 2:30.
With that, thank you very much, and I hope you enjoy your lunch.
[ Applause ]
- Parent Category: IGF 2011