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IGF 2016 - Day 1 - Room 6 - WS234: Linking connectivity, human rights and development

 

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Jalisco, Mexico, from 5 to 9 December 2016. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

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>> PETER MICEK:  (Off microphone)

Executive Director of the Alliance for ...

(off microphone).

Broad Coalition of member organizations from across Civil Society, public and private sectors, combination of research, advocacy and direct country engagements.  A4AI works with national multistakeholder Coalitions to enable affordable equal Internet access for everyone everywhere.  Excellent partner of ours at the table, at the Internet inclusion events which are giving input into the global connect initiative, which the U.S. Department of State can fill us in on a bit later, Manu Bhardwaj. 

Before going to Sonia Jorge, I want to lay out the scene that I see and that led us here.

We are here to extend the benefits of the open Internet, the economic benefits, benefits to human rights, realization of rights, as well as to prevent harms and inefficiencies.  We want to embed respect for human rights, affordability and sustainability into the design of network systems, whether it's technical or policy.  Speaking of technical systems, and we want to apply this to the whole stack from the underground cables up to the spectrum policy and the application layer.

There is also urgency.  We are not doing this in a vacuum.  The global goals compel us to significantly increase access to information and communications technology, and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020.  By 2020, universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries, that is 9C.  If that wasn't urgent enough, this summer at the high level political Forum, goal 9 will be reviewed.  The progress will be reviewed.

There is a bit of urgency here.  First I'll ask Sonia Jorge, what are the lessons that you have learned around the world over the past few decades, working with local communities, working to advance information and communications technology, what are the lessons that financiers and funders not to mention implementers should learn?  What is the guidance looking like and what are the challenges?

>> SONIA JORGE: Thank you, Peter.  Thank you for having me here.  It is a pleasure to talk to all of you.  Very interesting topic.

What I would like to, if you don't mind, I'll step back a bit, and speak a little more to how we are working not only at the A4AI, because of the trends that are worrisome, not just in terms of lack of access but also lack of privacy and full digital rights agency in the space, we look at the entire ecosystem, let's call it, from a digital equality perspective.  With that, we focus on two kinds of areas, one, digital inclusion; as you said, I lead the digital inclusion program within the foundation of which A4AI is one of the anchor projects.  Then we also work on digital citizenship.

Why do we think both are important?  One, because from a digital inclusion perspective, for us this is important that all of the work and the thinking that we as a collective community do in this area focuses on ensuring that everyone regardless of gender, income, location, benefits equally from the Internet and the economic and social opportunities that can bring.

That is an important point to remind ourselves from the outset.  The other, very much so in line with our digital citizenship concept, is that we need to ensure that the Web remains truly open, and that affords everyone the rights and information that they need to participate fully in civic life.

The reason why I mention these two points from the outset is because they cannot be divorced from each other.  The reason why for us at the Alliance for Affordable Internet access and equal access are so key is because ultimately we want everyone, regardless of where they are, regardless of who they are, to enjoy the benefits of full Democratic participation in society, economic and social opportunities that they are entitled to have.

It's important that we bring all of this together, and understand the intersections, so we can then address the challenges that we are faced based on the trends that unfortunately we are not only seeing, but as a community working on Internet need to understand how to address.

I would say some of the challenges in addition to what you mentioned, Peter, that has to do with of course finance and many other issues around affordable access, I would also call attention to a few other challenges that for us at the Web Foundation are important and are becoming increasingly a worry as we define our programs and work for the next few years.

One is the fact that the digital revolution is creating not just new patterns of privilege but also new patterns of discrimination.  I think that many of you here in the room can probably share with us how you see that is taking shape.  But if we are serious about changing the picture of development of the Internet, we need to think from that perspective.

It's not important, it is not enough to think about some of the questions that we are starting to pose.  We need to start thinking about why the digital revolution is causing job losses, and wage polarization and not just productivity gains.  There is always two sides of each question.  We need to address both sides.  Only when we address both sides are we doing justice to the full extent of the challenges that we face.

Same way that privacy and autonomy of citizens, we need to ensure that it is not taken away from anyone, and that ordinary citizens can have the power to exercise their agency to make their choices and to fully benefit from the opportunities of the Internet.  It's also important that we recognize the complexities of crossborder interactions and crossborder issues from policy, regulatory perspective but also from human rights perspective and from a social perspective.

Lastly, amplifying voices of fear and hate can be a worrisome trend on the Internet today, one that we need to battle against, and increase many more voices of tolerance and rationality to combat that.  We need to look at both sides of the picture.  For us it's important to always ground ourselves in that reality, when we think about issues of access, digital rights, affordability, citizenship, what have you.

Without taking too much time, please tell me if I should stop, Peter, what I would say is that it's really important for us to think about all of these issues from the perspective of what we at the Web Foundation see as three goals for our work, some around power, making sure that everyone has their voice heard, accountability, so we can keep companies, governments, ourselves accountable in all shapes and form and opportunities, so that all of the work that we do brings those opportunities, especially to marginalized populations, not the privileged.  Many of us are the privileged here in these rooms.  Not those of us who are already privileged and can enjoy the benefits of the Internet but marginalized populations around the world that we work with, women, poor and rural populations, those are the ones we need to focus on to create the opportunities that the Internet can bring about.

I'll stop there.  And we can address more specific actions as the discussion continues.

>> PETER MICEK: Thanks.  I think that is a very comprehensive picture, and it lays out the intersections and the very real problems that are already seen, new patterns of discrimination.  Given this mass, kind of wall of potential harms, new harms and then added on to the traditional divides, these marginalized populations, perhaps during the last mile, perhaps in the last urban area on the political agenda, how does a company like Microsoft with global operations, Carolyn, approach these massive problems, but really try to bring a technical expertise and a overarching belief in the power of technology to bring these benefits, democracy, Democratic politics, or it's socioeconomic and really improving people's lives.  But first let me give a introduction, who you are.  One of two PhDs on this distinguished panel, Carolyn Nguyen is smarter than me, is a director of technology policy at Microsoft.  She has co‑chaired the open Government partnership private sector council, has a PhD in electrical engineering, is it?  (chuckles)  Please lead us.  Go ahead.

>> CAROLYN NGUYEN: Thank you very much, Peter, and also for revealing the fact that I'm a geek to the entire world.  (chuckles).

But on a more serious note, thank you so much for enabling us to be part of this really important conversation.  I want to applaud Access Now for taking the leadership and putting forth the need for human rights ... do you hear me now?  I want to applaud Access Now for leadership to make sure that human rights principles are incorporated in connectivity projects going forward as part of the global connect initiative that we will be talking about later.

Thank you for laying out a comprehensive context for the issue, Sonia.  I'm going to start with a couple things.  One is the integration of human rights principles into the WSIS process.  This is mentioned in your principles, but it is also very much recognized as part of the WSIS+10 review, which extend the mandate for the IGF.  It is very much about progress towards the WSIS vision should be considered with respect to the realization of human rights and fundamental freedom.

As a technology company, we absolutely strongly believe that in terms of the potential of ICT to enable and strengthen the exercise of human rights, enabling affordable access as well as freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association.

You mentioned as a technology company, so yes, we do operate in 120 countries around the world.  As part of that, we recently released actually a policy roadmap called cloud for global good, where integrated within it are principles for establishing a trusted cloud and inclusive cloud and also a responsible cloud.  Inclusive means it's built entirely into our mission.  We believe in empowering every individual in the world to achieve more.

Let me talk a little about commitment to human rights and specifically some of the affordable acts as initiatives that Sonia had laid out for.

Since 2006, Microsoft has been signatory of the UN global compact, and it is very much about how we as a leading technology provider with global operations and presence in working throughout the communities where we operate globally can help to advocate, have developed responsible policies that will support human rights.

The human rights issues that we focus on, in addition to appreciating ‑‑ we are a strong believer in all of the human rights principles, but specifically on human rights issues or accessibility, ensuring online safety, freedom of expression, privacy as well as security, to the point that Sonia made, when you look at a technology company we need to take responsibility for innovation but also addressing and mitigating challenges that are posed by technology.  This is where we strongly believe in being a part of the conversation and the strength of the multistakeholder process as we engage in these conversations, because it is only through working together that we can identify the challenges and issues, and as we work together to address to find solutions, to address them as well.

As an example, let me take one of our affordable access initiatives.  We have been involved in the last mile projects around the world.  For example, one of the projects that we were involved in is in Kenya, the last mile access, in a remote village with no utility infrastructure.  What we did there was try to work with the Government as well as the local communities which include the local Red Cross office, the local school, a local flower farm.  The notion there is what are the issues.  It is not just about putting down infrastructure but it's enabled them to be used in a meaningful way, in other words in a way that would enable economic development for the community.

That is where the issues around solar power came up.  We worked to, one solution to that is we use a container as a Internet cafe, where it is operated by a local systems integrator and as a story about how a young man would come into the Internet cafe, pay 3 or $4 for a month and come online, and start to provide technology support around the world, actually one of the things he said was to somebody who lives in San Francisco.  So this is enablement and empowerment economically at the most basic level.

Some of the approaches that we use are, there is a three pronged approach, enablement through connectivity, empowerment through education as well as transformation through employment.  We work with nonprofits and organizations as well as UN around the world to enable that.

I want to bring up, as a specific challenge, is that recently we also partner to address the refugees issues, in terms of enablement for connectivity.  Refugees needing to stay connected to their family, needing to get educated and apply for basic things as settlement on line, so all of this is enabled through ICT.

I want to end with the fact that we really do need to work with everyone in order to address the challenges that Sonia mentioned to balance but also enable the reaping of the potential that technology can provide.

>> PETER MICEK: Thank you.  That is excellent.  I want to hear more about the flower farm and how it was integrated into this fledgling last mile system.  But first, you did mention one of the elements in the room which is Government, which we do not have on this panel, except for the person to my right, from the United States.  But I want to push to set the groundwork here.  We know that governments are not monolithic; in fact, sometimes they completely change.

But we do see patterns, and there is a study in science in September 2016 that found that governments still play a key role in the allocation of the Internet and can intentionally or not sabotage its liberating effects.  The study was called, digital discrimination, political bias in Internet service provision across ethnic groups.

I'm not going to ask you to answer, to solve the problem that study laid out.  But I want to hear about how people within governments can make real change and positive action, working on their own and with in partnership with Civil Society and other stakeholders.

>> MANU BHARDWAJ:  Good morning.  About two years ago, when I came to IGF, I often would feel that there were voices missing from the discussion about connectivity.  Some of the voices were from the technical communities, some were from the financing community.  It became a real concern, because you can't create and craft solutions to these big challenges if you don't have the full scope of input and voice and expertise at the table.  Enter global connect.  We launched the initiative 14 years ago and the top metric which is a international metric, and at the State Department we are always looking for international metrics for which we can maintain support.  This metric sought to bring billion people on line by 2020.  We decided to launch the initiative when the Sustainable Development Agenda was adopted, in New York, because we are trying to make a important point about how the Internet is a way to achieve a lot of the SDGs, whether it's health insurance, education, we try to give the issue we care deeply about ... that continues to be a big push.

  (muffled audio)

Infrastructure is as important as traditional infrastructure, electricity, economic development.  What we have found, all of us collectively, is that perspective is missing from key players at the multi‑lateral banks, at finance ministers, at technical community, at high levels of political leadership.  On the Development Agenda, we have work to do together to make the point that a free, open and accessible Internet should be a priority for everyone.  The initiative has taken things to the work of strategic partners.  Here I want to make sure I highlight the work that Access Now did and particularly Peter Micek, who is here.  When we launched the initiative, we had partners like IEEE, World Bank, a lot of the industry players, A4AI, but there was a voice missing and that was the human rights voice.

When you launch an initiative, it is good to have an open mind and realize that there are things that need to be adjusted.  When Pete and other folks came to us to say, what are we going to do to give visibility to human rights considerations, they were absolutely right and they put together a set of important human rights principles for connectivity and development that I encourage everyone to look at.  We are promoting it through global connect.  We are proud of the work that they have done.  Through the initiative, we have put together principles that I think any, I would say between us, any Democratic country would probably have no problem getting behind.  But for us it is important that we make sure when we talk about access we talk about meaningful access.  That includes freedom of expression, that includes a lot of these considerations that are in this document.

To give you a sense of what we have been able to achieve in the past year and a half and in the road ahead, it's exciting that the State Department, our key partners have been able to highlight 65 global actions, $20 billion to promote connectivity.  We felt there was a need for information about what other stakeholders are doing in connectivity and giving visibility at the Finance Minister level, at the senior leadership level, there is a chance to get more funding, resources and attention.  We announced this April when we had secretary Kelly and President Kim convened finance ministers, and we had every single President of the MDB there and out of that came certain assumptions.  One assumption that connectivity can happen just with the private sector, this is something we need to be thinking deeply about and what is our response to it because I think we would agree that there are important considerations for PPPs and for ways for a partnership with the private sector through community centers, libraries and giving visibility to that is critical because that is a impression that people have, and a lot of these institutions and probably elsewhere.

The other achievement that we have is every single bank fund, meets April, and October of every year and it is convened by the International World Bank, about the Internet, we got IEEE and Internet Society and all these great partners working together to give visibility to our cause about the Internet.  Sometimes, why are you inviting me, why am I invited.  We are like, this is the whole point.  The Internet is a critical part of economic growth.  We need to be thinking about how does taxation of ICT products affect connectivity.  How can you as a Minister encourage the banks to increase their funding.

Right now at a typical bank they only do 1 to 2 percent of their entire budget in infrastructure for connectivity.  We think it should be a lot more.

1 to 2 percent at every bank in the infrastructure budget is devoted to ICT and connectivity.  This is something I learned going through the journey together with others.  They were under the impression that the private sector will take care of this.  There is no demand for ICT Internet.  And we had to do work in educating, I'm proud of the work that we are doing on working group with MDBs.

Global connect, it is important to have impact in these types of initiatives.  First approach, countries we help whether it's technical assistance or financing or aid or other resources from the U.S. or allies, we are inviting them to raise their hand, and ask for help.  They have, Tunisia was one of our first global connect focus countries, where we are trying to help them reach ambitious goals in Tunisia.  India has come forward.  A number of countries are coming forward.  We are trying to work with the private sector, with other stakeholders to highlight impact for this going forward.  The State Department has been leading in all of the U.S. Government effort with all of our development agencies, all of our financing agencies and through that process I'm proud to tell you that we have, just in a year, have over $2 billion funding from USTDA from overseas private investment corporation from USAID, this is remarkable because some of the organizations do not do connectivity to this degree before.  I would say overseas private investment corporation two years ago was not as active of a player.

At the IGF it is critical to send this message, for us to succeed, it rests on your shoulders.  The IGF sends a message it is not about a Government.  A Government can catalyze, a Government's policies are important, create a enabling environment for growth.  But to be successful is not going to be determinative by one single Government actor.  It rests on all of you to help and lead the way, and I think the IGF is a important venue and we should work hard to make sure that we have all the voices here, all the experts here to deliver progress on connectivity.  Thank you, Peter.

>> PETER MICEK: Thank you, Manu.  I want to make sure the remote participants are watching closely and come up with questions.  We will throw it to you soon.  Carolyn Nguyen will need to leave early.  I want to get you the opportunity to give one last response and maybe respond to what Manu Bhardwaj said about assuming the private sector will solve all our connectivity and access funds, is that something you hear, does that resonate?

>> CAROLYN NGUYEN: Yes, that is something that we hear a lot.  At the same time that we are expected to fund everything, we are not invited to be at the table.  Thank you for bringing that up.  The private sector can start to make some of the points, but we do absolutely need involvement from the development banks and organizations who are able to fund multi‑year projects, as well as make a huge difference in the trajectory, in the national agendas of governments.

We can provide technology and some of the project management capabilities, but we are not able to do that.  I think it does take the whole every one to be at the table to work towards these goals.

>> PETER MICEK: I have two more speakers from Civil Society but I want to open it up.  UNESCO would like to start.

>> Thank you very much.  I want to take advantage of the presence of Carolyn Nguyen because you have mentioned the human rights chapter in the World Information Society outcome document.  It is a important gesture from last year, advancement of the WSIS agenda, because in the Tunis and Geneva phase we didn't have this human rights chapter so explicitly as independence highlight part of the program.  I'd like to draw attention to the text of the SDG, I mean there is a very explicit target and goals in the SDG as endorsed by UN last year.  SDG 16 is call for justice and fundamental freedoms, particularly 16.10 is to ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms.  That is a very important item we can really work on towards the development, from which means not only Internet should be human rights based, but also development should be human rights based.  From UNESCO, our member state has endorsed a new framework guiding Internet Governance which is called Internet universality, which you might have heard before, which called for four principles which cut across our discussion today.  The first principle is human rights based which is fundamental freedom, freedom of expression, privacy, cultural, economic, right to education, security, etcetera.  Secondly, the principle is about openness, the open standard, open technology, should be respected by Internet, all stakeholder including private sector, technical community, Civil Society, etcetera.  The third pillar principle calls for the accessibility by all.  By accessibility we go beyond the technical access.  It is not just about connectivity technically.  It is also about the literacy skills, ethical behavior on line which is a crucial role to so many and fourth principle, I agree with all of you, it's a multistakeholder approach, which means that to integrate human rights to Internet it is not any single actor which can solve.  It is up to the collaboration and global dialogue and collaboration among all stakeholders, all actors.  We need to cut across borders.  We need to work together on this and target.  That is two cents from UNESCO.  Thank you.

>> PETER MICEK: Beautiful.  Thanks.  Quick response from Rebecca, please.

>> I'm curious, I know that in the States there has been some research that has been done on looking at digital divide projects and low income communities, to see if attention is not paid to privacy and freedom of expression concerns, what impact that has concretely on people's lives in these communities.  I'm wondering if there is any, if anybody here knows of any research that has been planned or ongoing or has been conducted about the impact, what are the concrete impacts on people's lives, when privacy, freedom of expression, other human rights concerns are not taken into consideration in ICT development related projects.  I'm curious how, what the state of the research is, what research needs to be done and who might do it and how that might help in getting people to implement some of these principles, and understand how this affects people's lives, and how it affects their ability to actually have agency and choice over their lives.

>> PETER MICEK: That is excellent.  Thank you.  I think we need to take human rights out of the ether and talk about what it means concretely and on the ground.  You called a question on research, I want that to be on people's minds.  But we have two panelists with research in their job titles.  We have Mario, Mario Viola, PhD and Masters of Research degree from the European University Institute.  He is research coordinator at ITS‑Rio.  I think we have been talking, Mario, about some of the policies that even after connectivity, even after there is mobile coverage, policies can still impact people's access and connectivity in a real way.  Please tell us.

>> MARIO VIOLA: Good morning to everyone.

I think it's, I'll talk about from the Brazilian perspective.  Brazil has strong legislation on protecting rights on the Web.  But even having this strong legislation, it is not a guarantee that you have the protection of human rights and protection of access and connectivity to the Web which I consider to be rights in this legal framework in Brazil.

Two cases that we face in the last years, one is the data cap issue because Brazil is discussing at the beginning of the year, they announce they put data caps on land lines and so on, something that we didn't have in the past.  We used to have a limited access to the Web, at least land lines.  Facebook and other applications, they are not included in the cap.  But for land lines they are planning to put data caps.  The National Telecommunication Agency, they said that they support this idea, but then there was a strong let's say call from the Civil Society against this idea.  They were pushing the Government and then representatives of the Parliament to back this idea.  For the moment it was suspended, so there was a decision for the National Communication Agency and they decide to suspend for a while, to do some research, because at telecos they announce that the use of the Internet, of course some specific applications using video and so on were let's say consume a lot of data, but they couldn't let's say support this with true research, but the National Telecommunication Agency said that they would conduct research to see if it's really the case.  Then they will take again this decision on board.

The other case which is still ongoing discussions, is the idea of blocking uncertified mobile phones.  Brazil, it's quite common for, especially for low income populations to have let's say the smart phones that they enter into the country without the normal, following the normal rules and without paying taxes.  What the national communication said is they would create a black list of numbers.  They have been doing that.  They have this black list, LNI, they collect the information.  It goes to issues of data privacy and protection, because they monitor those let's say low income population because they represent the major group using this kind of mobile phones.  I would say it's a significant number, it's 40 million people using this kind of mobile phones.

>> Uncertified.

>> MARIO VIOLA: Uncertified ones.  It's uncertified, but it doesn't mean that they were counterfeit or, usually they buy these mobile phones in shops or on the street with receipts and everything.  So they don't know what happened behind.  They bought it in good faith.  That is one of the main arguments.

Then the Government has to do that, but again ITS and other Civil Society organizations presented a petition and put again the issue of human rights because access to Internet and connectivity is a strong right in the Brazilian framework.  We pushed for that.  They decided to postpone, but this year in ITU meeting they announce that they will do that, well, they would create the database, now they create the database, they are going to behave.  There is a black list.  So there was a database because they use this information to block stolen mobile phones, because in Brazil, someone steals a whole truck full of mobile phones, when it leaves the company.  So they were using at the beginning for that.  But then they enlarge the scope of this initiative.  Now they are monitoring but they are not blocking.  Let's see what will happen in the future, is that they would postpone the idea, they now don't mention anything about blocking uncertifiable, but they announce they are starting measures to do that without creating a lot of impact.  An important point in that initiative is that they do have a huge impact on low income groups because they are the ones that use the Internet, and mainly they access the Internet through mobile phones.  Mobile phone in Brazil is quite expensive, about $250, you see that is the average in Brazil.  You have a huge impact and huge discrimination for the moment, that is it.

>> PETER MICEK: Thank you, Mario.  We have a call for evidence based policymaking, looking at data caps, even on land lines and really interesting interplay between registration, identity and privacy in terms of using uncertified phones.

I want to go just back to our final panelists, Chinmayi Arun, the other research expert, research director of the center for communication governance, assistant Professor of Law at National Law University, Delhi, a client fellow, and it will be interesting to hear from you as India is one of the partner countries that was mentioned raised its hand to join global connect and to participate to come to the table.  Given that kind of top level willingness, what are some of the challenges that you see that the policymakers should be aware of, when okaying these infrastructure projects?

>> CHINMAYI ARUN: This is something that we have been bringing up repeatedly from the WSIS+10 review to our own internal Zero‑Rating and net neutrality debate.

What gets difficult in countries like India is when people see connecting, laying out cables and infrastructure the way you would do anywhere else, so what CCG has been saying over and over again is that it's important in that kind of country to recognize marginalized people and the kind of effect that unthinking connectivity can have on them.  This speaks to what Rebecca was saying, what is the impact of human rights.  If you think about it, for example, in the context of the Zero‑Rating debate, here are people with no access to Internet will finally come on line, and little subtle part of this that they were missing is that the basics at the time offered text based connectivity, and no video content, in a country in which most marginalized people are illiterate and consume content basically through videos.

This is something that you mention to people living in other countries, it's obviously unthinkable; if you have not run into a lot of people that aren't literate, it is not reality, it is not the first thing you think of.  But very simple.  You spend a lot of money and a lot of infrastructure to connect people, except that they can't understand what they are reading.

Problem number 2 is that, I think that this probably applies to a lot of other countries, when we talk about connectivity, again I think everyone imagines the manner in which they access the Internet and we say here we bring every household on line, we make sure people have computers, we run cables.  They forget that in feudal parts of India, and there are many, we talk about patriarchal families in which women are not allowed to touch mobile phones without permission.  We have got village governance bodies issuing edicts saying that women will not be permitted to carry mobile phones.  Giving the computer to a household that is even remotely like that means that women are not able to access the Internet, or that their access is monitored.

Google has done a study on this, so has UN women.  One of the studies, I think the Google one, found that a lot less women choose to go online than men, and one of the reasons that they offered was that they felt that they didn't get private access to the Internet and so it didn't mean very much to them.

The third, which honestly we haven't studied but I wish that somebody would, if you were to bring a religious governance body on line, it is likely to be from a dominant caste and the odds are it will be in a dominant area and you go to feudal India, it's likely that the caste system applies, and even marginalized people don't have access because the upper class hold on to it.  I feel that connectivity is a little more ... than most people suggest.

>> PETER MICEK: That is our sense.  We definitely want to throw it out to the audience, and the participants here in the room as well as on the remote.  Sonia, please, quick intervention.

>> If you have questions, fine, I can wait.

>> PETER MICEK: We have one question ready.  Then we will go to you.

>> I have one comment.

>> PETER MICEK: Please, yeah.

>> I have sense of eagerness for providing connectivity particularly to economically challenged areas in search for development through ICT.  I consider we should emphasize the need for creating spaces for people to decide when, how and why they need this connectivity.  We presume that they need connectivity because we assume that we are the experts.  But we are developing this, it is a human right to let them decide on their own when this is required, and for this we need a different perspective of what is development for the people.  Thank you.

>> PETER MICEK: Thank you.

>> Thank you, that is a interesting comment.  The comments resonate to what I mentioned early in the session.  At the Web Foundation we have done extensive research through our women's rights online program, not just to uncover exactly what the reality is for women's access to the Internet, much of which is very much grounded around failure to of course not only embrace but to respect women's rights as human beings.

A lot of our research not only is grounded on those ideals, but the questions that we asked through our research surveys and other types of research that we do, are really to uncover what are the kinds of experiences that women and girls are having in different geographies and how can we think about policies that can address that.

I wanted to mention that, in fact my colleague who leads our women's rights online program is here.  You should ask her many questions, because she is the guru on that.  A few things, our research is very clear in showing that women are 50 percent less likely to use the Internet than men.  But what is interesting, besides the sad reality of this disproportionate access, is that the barriers that prevent women from coming online are quite serious.  It's not just about know‑how.  Those are important education, some of the things that you were saying, but there is cultural issues and social issues that are preventing that to happen.

That is where the rights discussion comes into play.  That is why as I mentioned early on my intervention that it is important to really ground the whole discussion on digital inclusion and digital citizenship from a digital rights approach so we can look at all the dimensions of rights, when we bring access to people's realities.

When we are giving access to a person, being a woman, a girl, a boy or man, what are the different dimensions of access?  And how does that interaction with access to the Internet change their lives?  So we are exploring a lot of these questions in fact in our research.  Rebecca, you were asking, we are definitely not doing research in the U.S. because we focus on the global south.  In the future we would like to look at some of the marginalized communities in the U.S. and other parts of the western world, only because in fact inequalities in many of those communities are increasing, instead of diminishing.  That is a issue.

But what I wanted to mention and share with all of you is that the work of the Alliance for Affordable Internet and our program at the foundation is very much about uncovering these realities and turning these lessons into what can we do at the policy level to address that.  Our focus at the work at the alliance and WRO program is about turning our knowledge into action.

Not only our scorecards from the gender audit that we just did issued five point action plans on what each of the countries that we cover can do to actually start changing that picture of where the gender digital divide is, but the work of the Alliance for Affordable Internet is fully focused on policy and regulatory reform to address these challenges, to address these gaps.  And we work in a whole array of issues and areas in all the countries that we support directly, through our country engagement program, very much based on sound evidence and research that we conduct and our partners conduct many of which are here at IGF and do fantastic work that we all benefit from.  But our work through our multistakeholder national Coalitions at the country level are about finding policy solutions, policy solutions that in many cases are around infrastructure sharing policy and regulations, in some cases around how universal access strategies need to be focusing on public access solutions, public access through libraries, public access to schools, public access through other new innovative approaches to public access, how can we think of a spectrum policy approaches that will not only be open to but actually support innovation for spectrum use, something that Carolyn Nguyen is very much focused through Microsoft as well, but how can we benefit from, for example, wi‑fi approaches to community access and community development.

There is a whole community here at IGF that focuses on community networks.  I'm sure all of you are thinking about these ideas.  But the point is, we use our research and these findings and uncovering these challenges so we can also address them from a policy perspective.  I challenge all of us here in the room through our work as we leave IGF to move beyond identification of those issues.  A lot of us have done really fantastic work to identify where the challenges are.  We need to move into action, and putting our efforts into solving problems.

We are challenging ourselves to do that for sure.  I hope that you can join us in that journey.

>> PETER MICEK: Excellent.  Thank you.  At the end of the table, thanks.

>> Hi, thank you very much.  I'm part of the university, research fellow in privacy, I'm happy to read in principle 6 it's about privacy because privacy in big part contributes to the construction of one's identity in both individual and collective way.  However, users are not always concerned about digital data, because they don't know the privacy threats of the online world.  How should we connect users in order to achieve a policy world social environment.

>> PETER MICEK: Thank you for referencing these principles which I'm happy to promote as a nonobjective moderator.  A few more.  Let's take a few more questions from the audience.

>> I thought it was Tuesday and it's Wednesday.  I'm a member of the European Parliament.  I'm in the women's rights and gender equality committee.  I'm interested in the stuff you are doing.  I work in cultural education.  I'm doing stuff around citizenship and countering hate speech on line.  I have a educational and development degree, I know about work putting the computer in the world and some of the work that I'm doing in Europe, in fact Microsoft has been supporting a literacy project.

But I've been struggling with thinking about human rights today, having just come in fact from Brazil, where I've been doing some work with indigenous people there.  I've been struggling with, when we talk about human rights and the reality of people's rights, people trampled over, it's not nice reading.  Development issues where people are really suffering from poverty exclusion, marginalization, effects of climate change, effects of globalization, effects of ‑‑ I'm a socialist so I lay my cards on the table now, effects of big business and profit driven agendas.  When you encounter the reality of that, and I do that in my every day working life as a politician because I decided I wanted to be a voice for people who didn't have a voice, it doesn't make nice reading.

A lot of people are not necessarily inclined to engage those difficult painful issues.  Often we talk about our successes.  But we are not so comfortable talking about steps backwards because I don't think we are even, I think the way the world is at the moment in terms of women's rights, I was at CSW in New York last year, and we were struggling even to maintain the status quo.  We weren't even making progress with the text.

I think it's a challenge for us here when we talk about human rights and development, about it's not nice reading and it's not what companies want to hear.  How can we still be telling the truth and really pushing for progress, real progress?

>> PETER MICEK: Please, quickly.

>> Connectivity, I've been doing research in South Africa, not only gender issues, but there are people, from the evidence, people are sacrificing food for connecting.  In the community where I live, there has been ... is global connect in those 250 billion U.S.Ds going to be included, but with the agenda you have ahead of you in the next four years, how are you going to have activities in action.  I would like to hear from you.

  (audio is muffled).

>> We have three minutes left.

>> I agree with what has been said.  The Internet is extremely disruptive and some of the actors are talking only about how it generates growth.  I think we need to talk about how it distributes the growth.  Usually the Government actors that are invited are the ones who spend the money and not the ones who collect the money.  We should be seeing who is taking the bigger part of the cake that is growing and to see how taxation can redistribute that.

>> You are asking all the questions that I left to answer, I will not dominate but I have to speak to all of you after.  I mentioned quite a bit about our work on gender issues and I'm happy to talk to you.  We have to run to the next session, where my colleague is presenting.  But two things.  The picture is actually not good.  It is getting worse.  That is the concern.  Getting worse for the same reasons that all of you are mentioning.  That is really why, as I mentioned earlier for us, as we think through our programs and how we are going to work in the next few years, we need to actually bring that reality much closer to the core into the center.  We need to, it is our responsibility, all of our responsibility, to highlight that picture, that is not so nice, that it's hard to read but it's the reality.

One thing I have to say, not to put a plug to the World Bank but I have to say the recent World Bank, world development report, digital dividends that focus on wider Internet work, was actually really, I thought, a breath of fresh air in highlighting some of these not so nice picture that we are all facing, having to address.  I thought it was courageous of the author especially coming from the World Bank to take that stance.  I urge you to look at it.  Some of the things they highlight is exactly the increasing inequalities that are taking shape, the trends of increasing inequality, the trends of increasing discrimination, the trends of increasing issues and problems at the labor market level, from gender perspective, many different dimensions of life.

I think that is a good way to, they placed it in a way that I thought it was very useful, that many of us can understand.  It also allows us and empower us to speak to all the stakeholders we need to speak with, because part of the reason that I was saying all of us have a responsibility, but we all have a responsibility to be able to speak to each other in a way that is productive, and that can move the action.  On the issue of taxation and others, A4AI works extensively on all those issues.  Happy to share with you more.  There is a lot on our Web site you can look at.  We have a good practices in policy and regulation document.  If you look at those for the issues we highlight there, we have specific advocacy plans that we focus on and taxation is one of them.  But it is not just about reducing taxes in our sector but bringing about a fair taxation environment for the entire sector.

>> Thanks.  I want to turn the last word to the representative of the United States Government.  It is worth noting that U.S. will soon have a leader like many in the world who is on the record disparaging women's rights.

>> We are lucky when access now came to us early and raised human rights considerations with respect to global connect, making sure that we did our best to highlight these important considerations, and with stakeholder groups like the banks or governments or agencies human rights is center on their mind, however we have amazing product like this, we have the ability to highlight the issues for them, both of the conferences we had for global connect so far, in April and in October, with Pete, we were talking to individuals from New York in the financing world.  We are trying to bring different stakeholder groups together, to see if we can find a way to accelerate progress.  These guys had no conception about human rights in the stage.  We had folks talking to them about why these considerations are important.  All the global actions and we have highlighted I'm very proud of, a lot of them are being done by major governments, some of them are being done by the World Bank.  I think they all have taken into account these considerations.

We cannot, all we can do is convene and highlight the importance of and be there proactive with respect to how important the issues are.  That is what we have done.  I would end with one thing, which is the ITU state of broadband report came out a month or two ago.  In it, it says that we have not ... in terms of coming online.  We have a lot of progress to go.  That is not a acceptable metric for us, 4.3 billion each year it is going to take a lifetime to connect the rest of the world.

  (audio is muffled).

What is it that we can do to accelerate progress in the space, and work as a community, to, because just to make sure that given all the high level attention we have from CEOs, from Government leaders, it would be a shame if we didn't make progress here.

>> PETER MICEK: Everyone thank the excellent panelists and thank you for your participation.

  (applause)

  (end of session at 10:05)

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