IGF 2019 WS #316 Emerging perspectives on the Internet Exchange Points

Organizer 1: Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Organizer 2: Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 3: Private Sector, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Organizer 4: Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Speaker 1: Patricia Vargas, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 2: Olga Cavalli, Government, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 3: Enrico Calandro, Civil Society, African Group

Policy Question(s): 

1. What is the role of the IXPs in facilitating Internet connectivity?
2. What are the essential aspects local legislations include when they regulate IXPs?
3. How is the perspective of the private sector about IXPs?
4. What are the policies of hybrid and democratic regimes regarding IXPs when considering a form of extreme government control, like an Internet kill switch?

Relevance to Theme: This panel intends to cover at least two relevant sub-themes of the IGF, related to the areas of stability and resilience of the Internet infrastructure, and at some extent, digital inclusion.
Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) are part of the physical layer of the TCP/IP protocol, and their function is to allow Internet networks to interconnect directly or exchange traffic. In this way, IXPs are infrastructures that facilitate and transfer information among Internet service providers (ISPs) and interconnect national and international networks. The more IXPs a nation-state has, they improve the quality of the Internet activity (in and out of the territory of that nation-state) and reduce the costs of the service.
In recent years, different stakeholders of the Internet highlighted the importance of the IXPs to guarantee the stability of their infrastructure and to keep the Internet packets within the national borders of the territory of individual nation-states. This characteristic allows preserving the confidentiality of the information the different national stakeholders handle through the Internet and keep the stability of the Internet ecosystem.

Relevance to Internet Governance: The OECD has established that an essential characteristic of the IXPs is that their design is based on voluntary contractual agreements. In fact, most IXPs at a worldwide level are privately owned and built by private organizations, but provide stability in the Internet connection for all Internet stakeholders (governments, citizens-Internet users, corporations, international organizations, etc). The exchange of traffic through an IXP is possible because of the routing configurations by the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP).
In this context, IXPs become a critical element for the resilience and stability of the Internet, but also an aspect of facilitating and enabling Internet connectivity. Being this the case, they are also an element to analyze when considering an Internet kill switch, the most extreme form of government control over the Internet.


Round Table - U-shape - 90 Min

Description: The moderator will begin the session by presenting and introducing the discussion (2 minutes). Then she will give the floor to the speakers who will offer their perspective and personal experience according to the sector they represent (academia, civil society, the private sector, government). Each speaker will have 15 minutes for their presentation. The Q/A session will take around 25 minutes and finally the conclusion (3 minutes).
The speakers will:
1. Provide an overview of IXPs functionality and their importance to facilitate the traffic of the Internet packets
2. Explain local legislations attempts to control the IXPs networks activity and their effect over the private sector
- At least two speakers will provide an overview of IXPs functionality from the private sector perspective. This is a crucial point because, as mentioned before, IXPs all over the world are mostly privately owned.
3. Explain how nation-states attempted to recognize legally a form of government control, known as "Internet kill switch," (shutdown of the entire Internet within the borders of a nation-state) and why IXPs are relevant in this context.
4. Explain how the stability IXPs provide within the Internet ecosystem can prevent Internet kill switches

Expected Outcomes: It is the purpose of this panel to explore the ways IXPs facilitate connectivity among multiple international networks and, with this goal in mind, to analyze local legislations attempts that try to control IXPs and their impact over the private sector.
The listed policy questions address two problems, connectivity and of government control policies over the Internet infrastructure.
Up to this point, most of the academic and non-academic work is based on the importance and role of the ISPs, while IXPs have been analyzed mostly from a technical perspective, but not from a policy one.
This project attempts to bring back into the debate the role and multiple advantages of the IXPs as one of the main elements that facilitates the end-to-end principle and keeps the integrity of the Internet data packets and the Internet ecosystem.

Discussion Facilitation: 

We are planning to have a round table of at least four speakers, of which at least they will present five topics for debate.
The order will be opening of the moderator (presentation of the workshop) - each speaker makes a presentation- the moderator calls for the Q/A session. Finally, the moderator will call for the last comment and will provide the final remarks.
Our onsite moderator is an experienced member of academia that has been and participated in multiple panels at past IGFs. Our online moderator, a member of the private sector, has been the organizer of a workshop in previous IGF as well.
Online participation will enrich the debate, and we intend to have diverse involvement from all over the world.
To increase the exposure and impact of this workshop, we will use both platforms, twitter, and Facebook, to facilitate coordination and communication. Additionally, we will use the official participation channels. Our moderator will distribute remote and local participation of the speakers and the audience.
During the Q/A session, questions will follow queuing, and the moderator will try to group similar items so that more issues can be addressed and no single topic or speaker or group of speakers monopolize the debate.

Online Participation: 

We expect to spread the news about our workshop to have active participation in line, and our online moderator is qualified to moderate the interventions.

Proposed Additional Tools: If possible, we expect to transmit the workshop by Facebook Live/Live Video Streaming and Instagram. The use of these platforms would help to increase participation even in countries where connectivity is low, or people only have access to the mentioned platforms.


GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities