IGF 2017 WS #162 Towards a Digital Geneva Convention?

Proposer's Name: Ms. Roxana Radu
Proposer's Organization: Geneva Internet Platform
Co-Proposer's Name: Ms. Tereza Horejsova
Co-Proposer's Organization: Geneva Internet Platform
Prof.,Jacques,de Werra,Civil society,University of Geneva
Ms,Patrizia,Pesenti,Business Sector,Digitalswitzerland


Session Format: Round Table - 90 Min

Content of the Session:
In the beginning of 2017, the president of Microsoft, Brad Smith, triggered significant reflection in digital and diplomatic circles when he proposed a Digital Geneva Convention (DGC) ‘calling on the world’s governments to implement international rules to protect the civilian use of the internet’.

Microsoft’s proposal for a Digital Geneva Convention, and its related policy documents, also gave rise to many important issues for consideration. What clauses should be included in such a convention, and how should it be implemented? Do we have already preambula of DGC based on more than 30 (un)official proposals under titles such as Internet declarations, principles, charters, social contracts, etc.? What should be the operational provisions of such convention? Can the convention be enforced, and who should enforce it? Can we draw parallels from other processes in making such a convention an effective tool, and what is the link to Geneva? What we can learn from humanitarian field which inspired Microsoft’s proposal (Red Cross, Geneva humanitarian conventions).

In addition to questions about the proposal itself, a zoomed-out view triggers additional questions related to a possible trade-offs that negotiations and implementation of such convention is likely to face. 

Relevance of the Session:
The Internet governance issues tackled by the session are both governance-focused and legal. The discussion is expected to touch upon international law and legal instruments, and the role of states in cyberspace (state behaviour), as well as proposals for governance instruments in the cybersecurity field.

With regards to the main theme, participants will be able to better understand and contextualise the proposal, and contribute to a discussion that may influence the way the proposal is shaped and ultimately implemented.

The session will also rely on the experience, expertise, and tradition of Geneva as a place where delicate issues have been addressed throughout history (e.g. humanitarian, trade, health).

Tag 1: Cybersecurity Norms
Tag 2: International Geneva
Tag 3: Digital Geneva Convention

The speakers bring in expertise in international law and the Internet governance ecosystem, and can contribute to advancing the discussion on the proposed convention. In addition, they will be able to connect the dots between the proposed convention and Geneva’s role.

The speakers will provide viewpoints to open the discussion (5-minute-intervention), followed by a moderated discussion with the on-site and online participants. The role of the onsite moderator is crucial in encouraging a wide range of viewpoints to enrich the discussion. 

The session aims to bring in a diversity of voices and viewpoints. In addition to the confirmed speakers listed above, the organisers will invite other speakers that will bring more diversity to the session (in terms of stakeholder group, region, gender). These include: Ms Angela McKay, Director of Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy, Microsoft; Mr Parminder Singh, Executive Director, IT for Change, India; Ms Souhila Amazouz, Senior Radio Transmission and Broadcasting Officer, Infrastructure and Energy Department, African Union Commission.

While the speakers will ensure a diversity of views at the start of the session, for the rest of the session, the moderator will make sure to engage as many participants as possible, thus ensuring that multiple policy perspectives (human rights, business, cybersecurity, government, etc.) are shared during the discussions.

Onsite Moderator: Jovan Kurbalija, DiploFoundation/Geneva Internet Platform
Online Moderator: Katharina Hoene, DiploFoundation
Rapporteur: Barbara Rosen Jacobson, DiploFoundation

Online Participation:
Online participation will include monitoring and input of social media feeds by the online moderator. Also, true participation will be ensured for online discussion participants through equal opportunity to intervene using strategies for instant communication between the panel moderator and online participant moderator, to overcome the frequent lag in online input, which can cause online input to be out of sync (too late) with the discussion. Online participants will speak to the room when possible, although a backup will be ensured for text input with online moderator representation to the room when necessary and appropriate. Online participant input will be respected, i.e., it will not be summarised or edited by the online moderator, but presented on equal footing to onsite participation. Online participants will follow the same rules for timing and rotation of input.

Discussion facilitation:
The session will start with a 5-minute intervention from the speakers, followed by a moderated discussion with the participants (onsite and online). The audience will have the possibility to share their views on the DGC proposal, and ask the speakers specific questions related to the proposal, with the aim of achieving a better understanding of the proposal, and its legal ramifications.

Mics will be rotated among stakeholder queues to ensure equal opportunity for different stakeholder groups, as well as online and onsite participants.

Conducted a Workshop in IGF before?: Yes
Link to Report: http://www.intgovforum.org/multilingual/content/igf-2016-day-4-room-7-ws-149-finding-ways-to-build-confidence-in-stakeholder-legitimacy