IGF 2018 WS #111 National Security and the Digital Economy

Organizer 1: Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Organizer 2: Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

The past year has been turbulent for digital free trade and the digital economy. The protectionist agenda of some governments have affected the digital trade globally. Trade protectionism has direct and indirect effects on Internet governance. It also affects the digital economy and economic growth. Running a digital protectionist agenda is not compatible with the argument that the Internet should be governed through a global, multistakeholder mechanism and that it should remain open and interoperable. Moreover, free trade approaches to digital transactions might facilitate the governance of the Internet and its interconnectedness by preventing data localization and providing minimum privacy protection.

The workshop will build on various discussions that have been going on in Internet rights fora, international organizations, and academic discourse. Speakers and organizers are experts on the digital trade and national security issue and have been involved with research and operational matters on digital trade. The session aims to take the outcome of the discussions to other digital trade policy fora both nationally and internationally.

Format: 

Round Table - 90 Min

Interventions: 

Interventions will be from various stakeholder group. Business representative discusses how digital protectionism has affected their business and their role in the governance of the Internet. The technical community provides viewpoints on digital protectionism and its effect on the interoperability of the Internet and the civil society discusses the effect of digital protectionism on human rights and the intergovernmental organizations discuss the economic effect of digital protectionism globally.
The business stakeholder group, such as Tencent, describes that negative impacts of digital trade protectionism on digital trade from a business, operational perspective. The business representatives come from regions that are affected by digital protectionism.
The civil society and academia discuss the adverse effect of digital protectionism on Internet governance, and its effect on our digital rights.
The technical community representatives will discuss how digital protectionism affects the operation of the Internet.
The governmental and intergovernmental representatives discuss their activities regarding digital trade and why some governments have a protectionist approach towards digital trade and under what circumstances it is justified.

Diversity: 

We have confirmed speakers from Asia-Pacific, WEOG and LAC. We will include more regions as the workshop develops. The co-organizers of the workshop are from two different regions. We have at least three women on our panel. One of our speakers is an up and coming young scholar and we have representatives from developing countries. From business we have already confirmed with TenCent their participation. We are in search of government representatives and we are planning to invite intergovernmental representatives active in digital trade policy and research such as UNCTAD.

The session will discuss:
- limits on information services, data sovereignty initiatives,
- the securitization of telecom equipment and industrial policy competition over 5G,
- Artificial intelligence and other “strategic” technologies, and how such securitization affects Internet governance
- Data localization, national security and free flow of information
Using national security to limit foreign digital trade and foreign made Internet communication applications and services has become common practice among the states. Data localization and other forms of “data sovereignty” initiatives threaten the cross-border free flow of information. What are the solutions to this problem? Are protectionist measures justified when it comes to data?

Discussion Facilitation: 

In our sessions, we treat participants and online participants as discussants and not just attendees. There will be short interventions -up to 5-7 minutes- from the speakers, there won't be any presentation and to facilitate discussions for the participants as well we will distribute a background paper about the topic. We will also have questions ready to ask the audience and not just the speakers. This is a roundtable discussion, the floor is always open to make interventions and discuss issues.

Online Participation: 

When publicizing the session, the co-organizers will emphasize the opportunity to get involved remotely either through WebEx or Twitter. Our remote moderator is a part of the co-organizing team and will pay attention to WebEx as well as Twitter and gather comments and interventions. The moderator will also prioritize the remote participants' interventions when he opens the floor.Following the design of other successful and effective remote participation facilitation, all the participants in the room are encouraged at the beginning of the workshop to log into the WebEX room and follow remote participation discussion in WebEX chat. This way remote participants will be able to interact with various people present in the room. The people in the room will be encouraged to monitor the discussions happening in WebEX room. This year we will allocate a section to our report about remote participants interventions and how they contributed.

Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Villa Le Bocage
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland

igf [at] un [dot] org
+41 (0) 229 173 678