IGF 2018 WS #39 IG 3.0: Reinventing Global Internet Governance

Organizer 1: Satish Babu, ISOC-TRV
Organizer 2: Lianna Galstyan, ISOC Armenia
Organizer 3: Maureen Hilyard, Cook Islands Internet Action Group

Speaker 1: Glenn McKnight, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Lianna Galstyan, Civil Society, Eastern European Group
Speaker 3: Maureen Hilyard, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: Sarah Kiden, Civil Society, African Group

Internet Governance has undergone evolutionary changes in the last three decades, moving from less-structured, a relatively ad-hoc set of processes largely involving just the Technical Community ("Maybe the Internet cannot be governed"), to the present, post-transition position where the Multistakeholder model--with States, Business, Technical Community and Civil Society--is driving the policy in most Internet Governance processes.

Despite the structural equitability of the multistakeholder model, in terms of function, the model has far to go, as the current functioning of the MS Model is perceived to be driven by Business, regulated and modulated by States and mediated by the Technical community. "Civil Society" has been represented mostly by NGOs--which are, for the most part, well-intentioned, but self-mandated groups representing interests of users--who have in many cases taken on activist positions stressing on rights (for instance privacy, anonymity, or data protection).

While the MS model--even if it's not operationally perfect--is perhaps the most equitable and responsive model that we have seen so far, it still appears to have several weakness: one, individuals and communities, who form the bulk of civil society, are insufficiently represented as there does not appear to be any platform (except NGOs) for individual opinion to be adequately represented (ISOC Chapters and ICANN RALOs, which permit independent individuals as members, is perhaps a start in this direction); two, other stakeholders have the wherewithal and the capacity to participate in the IG processes while individuals often do not have; three, emerging processes such as GDPR are trying to bring back the individual to the centre of Data Protection, but for the vast majority of people outside the EU, there are no mechanisms or platforms that propel individuals and communities to drive a similar process for them; and four, the diversity present in the existing multistakeholder model is still limited and needs enhancement, be it gender, geographic, cultural, linguistic or sexual orientation.

This workshop proposes to explore the future of Internet Governance under the Multistakeholder model, from a post-transition, post-GDPR perspective, taking into particular focus the roles, rights, and obligations of individuals and communities--in addition to existing structures such as NGOs and civil society organizations--together with the other Stakeholders.

Format: 

Panel - 90 Min

Interventions: 

The Session will be organized as a Panel, with 5-6 panelists from different geographies who have been involved in the practice of Internet Governance, and have prior exposure to multiple instances of the Multistakeholder model (through organizations such as ICANN, Internet Society, RIRs and Regional and Global IGF communities). The panel will be co-moderated by two senior IG specialists (a man and a woman).

The panel will follow the sequence:
1. Introduction by Co-Moderator (5 min)
2. Positions by Panelists (8 x 6 = 48 min)
3. Discussions with the audience (30 min)
4. Closing remarks by Panelists (2 x 6 = 12min)

Diversity: 

The list of speakers/moderators currently covers a wide geographical range: Asia, Pacific, Middle East, Africa, North America and Europe. There are 4 women and 2 men who are organizers/co-moderators in the current list.

The session will explore the following aspects:

1. The current state of the Internet Governance discourse, post-IANA transition and post-GDPR
2. Perceived Limitations of the discourse, such as:
- Policy Participation still confined to isolated pockets
- Developing economies do not participate adequately
- Diversity, particularly gender, geographic and culture, still low
- Awareness of the need for, and the role of a free open Internet still low
- Concepts and enablers such as Privacy, Data Protection, Human Rights and Anonymity are not understood well
3. Under the Multistakeholder model, what improvements could address these limitations

Onsite Moderator: 

Satish Babu

Online Moderator: 

Lianna Galstyan

Rapporteur: 

Sarah Kiden

Discussion Facilitation: 

The onsite moderator is a veteran of 8 IGFs (2009, 2011-2017), and has organized several workshops in the past. The co-moderator will be Maureen Hilyard from Cook Islands in the Pacific, who has also had significant exposure to Internet Governance in the past.

The moderator and co-moderator will ensure:
a. No speaker speaks for more than 5 minutes continuously and over 10 min in the whole session
b. Remote participants get priority over onsite participants
c. Gender and Geographical diversity will be kept in mind while allocating speakers
d. The time for participant discussions will not be cut (even if some speakers' time has to be cut)

Online Participation: 

Remote participation will be facilitated and encouraged. The services of a trained and experienced online moderator (who has been associated with the organizers for several workshops in past IGFs) will be used this time as well. Care will be taken to ensure that remote participants are accommodated and specially provided for, even if network disruptions occur.

All speakers are part of multiple communities involved with Internet Governance, including ICANN, IGF and Internet Society. Other community members in different parts of the world, from Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia-Pacific, Africa, Europe and North America will be informed through email, and where possible, remote hubs will be set up (for instance, at ISOC Chapters).

On the whole, remote and online participation will be taken up as an essential aspect of the workshop.