IGF 2018 WS #308 Community Networks meet Blockchains: Friends or Foes?

Format: 

Other - 90 Min
Format description: Roundtable with focused groups

Subtheme: 

Organizer 1: Stavroula Maglavera, University of Thessaly
Organizer 2: Harris Niavis, University of Thessaly
Organizer 3: Luca Belli, Center for Technology & Society at FGV

Speaker 1: Loretta Anania, Intergovernmental Organization, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: George Roussos, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Satish Babu, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: Samer Hassan, Technical Community, Intergovernmental Organization
Speaker 5: Monique Morrow, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Relevance: 

Community networks (CNs) have a great potential with regard to the empowerment of individuals as well as of local communities. CNs prove particularly valuable to foster the production and circulation of new local content and new local services, thus promoting freedom of expression and access to information while triggering a virtuous circle of knowledge-and-information sharing amongst the community networks’ participants.
The development, the sustainability and the expansion of CNs can greatly benefit from the adoption and deployment of Blockchain technologies and, for this reason, this workshop will aim at exploring synergies and fostering partnerships between CN and Blockchain developers. The promotion of such synergy and partnerships may have a tremendous impact on the lives of the billions individuals that are currently disconnected.

Session Content: 

Community Networks lie at the heart of the Internet decentralization vision, empowering citizens to own and collectively manage the information and communication technologies that mediate their everyday interactions. Such networks have been successfully deployed and operated in different locations all over the world (e.g. guifi.net in Barcelona).

In this workshop we want to explore how Blockchain solutions could be utilised as the DC3 group will invite special guests to discuss the combination of CNs with complementary tools, allowing CN members to expand their local digital ecosystem, and technologies that can create creating added value and build trust among relevant stakeholders. More specifically, the following key areas of innovation will be covered in the workshop:
- Blockchain technology in CNs (tools for customized local, private blockchains)
- Collective learning processes (methodologies for informal learning on technology)
- Hybrid urban nodes (acquisition, design, and management of urban spaces)

Tentative agenda:
1. Opening comments by workshop Moderator (5 min)
2. Introductory presentations & questions from the audience to the panel (45 min)
3. Split into groups for focused discussions (30 min)
4. Wrap-up (10min)

Interventions: 

Satish Babu is an experienced presenter at IGF and involved in community networks with Fishers in Southern India. Loretta Anania will give European Commission view on the Next Generation Internet: a human centric Internet. George Roussos, expert in IoT technologies will explain how to engage communities through Social Urban Tapestries. Samer Hassan, a young researcher recently earned an ERC fund will talk about shaping new type of communities through Blockchain-based organisations. Finally, Monique Morrow will talk about the loss of identity and citizenship of the individual caused by the circumstances of migration and the role of Community Networks in shaping a new society.

Diversity: 

The organizing team addresses very well the diversity required in terms of gender, geography and stakeholder group. The organizing team is led by Stavroula Maglavera (female) who also moderates the proposed session. She is an experienced Research Engineer from University of Thessaly in Greece (Eastern European country). Harris Niavis, a young Research Engineer from the same university is also participating in the organizing team.
Speakers are of male and female gender and come from diverse geographical areas, such as Western Europe, Eastern Europe, North and South America and Asia. In addition, speakers involve people from communities, academics, NGO founders and European Commission scientists.

Online Participation: 

The online moderator will encourage remote participation through various social networking platforms in addition to the platform provided by the IGF Secretariat. Besides using social networks, the remote moderator will utilise the mailing list of the Dynamic Coalition on Community Connectivity to facilitate continuous online debate before, during and after the workshop.

Discussion Facilitation: 

For each of the areas of interest, introductory presentations by experts will provide basic knowledge and discuss important trade-offs. The moderator will ensure the active participation of the audience who will be able to intervene and ask questions to the experts. Sufficient time will be given to online participants to ask questions, by the online participator.
After the introductory presentations, the participants will be split into groups, where focused discussions led by each expert will explore the development of solutions that could complement CNs for a more holistic approach in building local community networks.

The panellists will engage in an open an dynamic debate with the participants, acting as resource persons and steering the discussion.

At the end of the roundtable panel session, we will bring everyone together in order to share the outputs of each group and wrap-up the session.

In addition to the background documents and papers that will be prepared ahead of the IGF, additional articles of interest, reference materials and social media conversations will be published and distributed ahead of the workshop.

Onsite Moderator: 

Stavroula Maglavera

Online Moderator: 

Harris Niavis

Rapporteur: 

Luã Fergus

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