The Internet We Want

The Internet We Want

Invitation to Contribute from Leadership Panel Chair | Overview of IWW Process | Comments Deadline (Extended): 8 March 2024 

lbobo Wed, 18/10/2023 - 10:33

In today’s digital societies, Internet governance is critical for economic, social, and environmental development. Internet governance is a crucial enabler of sustainable development, ensuring that the Internet is used in a responsible and inclusive manner, and can contribute to promoting access to information, communication, and innovation. The importance of this agenda cannot be understated in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing economic recovery, supply chain shocks, and unfolding geopolitical tensions, especially as economies worldwide are working towards a sustainable economic rebuild.

Internet and other digital technologies are vital components of a sustainable future. Leaders across all stakeholder groups globally must come together and collaborate in a cohesive and inclusive manner to ensure that their actions align with existing commitments to:

promote a human-centric Internet that ensures respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law and protects against harmful behaviours;

expand connectivity and guarantee meaningful and affordable access for everyone, everywhere;

preserve an open, free, globally connected, interoperable, unfragmented, and stable Internet.

unlock the value of data for development and enable data free flow with trust, while ensuring data protection and privacy, to support a truly global digital economy;

Foster a safe and secure online environment, in particular by increasing efforts to strengthen cybersecurity;

facilitate collaboration for the development of new and emerging technologies in a trusted way while continuing to enable innovation;

adopt environment friendly practises consistent with reducing greenhouse gas emission when utilising the Internet and digital resources;

acknowledge, support and encourage the contribution of youth playing a key role in the achievement of sustainability; and

uphold the multistakeholder approach in the governance of the Internet.

 

In line with these commitments, the IGF Leadership Panel encourages all governments, private sector, civil society and technical and academic communities to come together to share this vision, define goals and targets to achieve the Internet we - as a global society - would want, and promote the necessary coordinated and effective actions at local, regional and international levels to realise this common vision.

We firmly believe in the multistakeholder model and the unique convening power of the Internet Governance Forum to achieve this vision and offer the following characteristics as a starting point for discussions.

The IGF Leadership Panel believes that the Internet We Want is:

1. Whole and open;

2. Universal and inclusive;

3. Free-flowing and trustworthy;

4. Safe and secure; and

5. Rights-respecting.

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Regarding inclusion and universal

Today's internet is the internet for all. The concept of not using or no internet is an unimaginable situation for any country. In this situation and time when the world citizen are directly impact the use they should be able to develop l, contribute and collaborate the policy and standardization issues.  Having said that internet and it's basic standard differ from countries to countries and from region to region more focus has to be given to real level of inclusion and values of  universal standardization. In the nomination and selection of MAG members of IGF it is written the priority is said to be given to least developed and lower economies but in reality the syndicate runs the power politics where the same people are elected and they are there in the IGF and other internet organization. In the name of inclusion and diversity more people from least developed and lower economies have to be given chances to learn, practice  and collaborate with the policies 

The internet we want, should not be discriminatory it should be Multistakeholder and collaborative ......

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If we care about human rights online lets cancel Riyadh

Writing a vision for the internet deeply rooted in human rights means nothing if our actions are not in line with it. I cannot contribute to an IGF mission document for the Internet in good faith, knowing that the next IGF’s meeting venue, and its host, fall short in upholding foundational human rights principles.
The selected host venue of Riyadh scores poorly on all matters of human rights, whether digital or not. And asking those of us who have been working on freedom of expression, media rights, labor rights, and women’s rights to go there—is in particularly bad taste.

The strength of an IGF document on ‘the Internet we want” lies in much more than advocating for inclusivity, freedom, and equity in the digital sphere, or on paper. It needs to be met with concrete actions, in person. Defining the Internet we want, means being willing to speak out about the politics we want, and the rights and freedoms we’re entitled to. This also means speaking out about who is a suitable host for the IGF, and who is not.

The decision to convene the IGF in Riyadh, a place that does not respect important human rights principles raises concerns about the authenticity and dedication of the IGF's efforts to safeguarding human rights.

Maintaining coherence between our professed principles and the chosen venue hosts is pivotal. This inconsistency not only challenges the credibility of our work but should prompt critical reflection on the consistency of our commitment to human rights within the broader spectrum of our actions—and the communities we hope to engage at the IGF.

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If we care about human rights online lets cancel Riyadh 1

Writing a vision for the internet deeply rooted in human rights means nothing if our actions are not in line with it. I cannot contribute to an IGF mission document for the Internet in good faith, knowing that the next IGF’s meeting venue, and its host, fall short in upholding foundational human rights principles.

The selected host venue of Riyadh scores poorly on all matters of human rights, whether digital or not. And asking those of us who have been working on freedom of expression, media rights, labor rights, and women’s rights to go there—is in particularly bad taste.

 

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Free-flowing and trustworthy;

The process in IGF needs to be standardized. In every protocol of  proposal selection, the MAG membership application  first needs to be transparent and accountable. From ages, it has been the same people and their group of circle people who have been getting the proposal and selected as MAG members.  

If possible, please check the data. We are talking about a multistakeholder and bottom-up approach that is always recommended and selected. Is this the multi-stakeholder approach where we want to select the people among the known...... 

1. How would the new people join if the same old people kept on doing what they did?
2. We are talking about evaluation with a descriptive language and process that is good for English-speaking people. How can that evaluate the competencies of a non-English-speaking scenario, and how can that keep people away from a multi-stakeholder environment?

The internet we want should not be biased toward any language, community, or region; it should be neutral, supportive, and collaborative. It should be open and transparent.

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Whole and open;

The internet of today has a lot of challenges; openness has greater issues of acceptance, and the values are very vague. It needs to be collaborated on at the UN level, making a unilateral decision among countries, and then further worked on. 
The clarity needs to come from the basic value. The struggle of today in different regions and communities is the definition of openness, which is subject to many jurisdictions and  their local laws, which can only be solved with primitively defined values of collaborative effort.

one values and one world for humanity 

 

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Regarding Safe and Secure

The Internet which was developed in the early 1970s continues to make an impact economically and socially on our global world. It has become a communication tool which is difficult not to be used on a daily basis. Consider its usage on the Social Media through LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, twitter,  etc every day. Whether young or old, the Internet through the social media is making a huge impact. Jobs are being provided through the Internet on a daily basis and this in effect is reducing the unemployment rate in many developing countries.  

Despite the benefits provided by the Internet, there are others on the Internet called Cyber-criminals who are on a daily basis mapping out strategies in order to hack into people’s account and steal funds from the accounts with financial organizations. If these cyber-criminals succeed, it will be realized that savings made through the efforts of these innocent ones in days, weeks, months or sometimes years would have been lost in few minutes or hours by these thieves on the Internet. This sad situation called Internet Fraud continues to affect many organizations through loss of fund on a daily or week basis.  In view of the negative impact of the behavior of these cyber-criminals, we all need to be involved in finding lasting solutions which continue to occur frequently. Solutions can be provided through adopting good Cybersecurity standards or strategies. Because these cyber-criminals are always around, it is an advisable that organizations whether small or large make an effort to create a unit or department to deal with these Cyber-criminals activities. Thank you.

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Collaborative internet

I propose to look on a collaborative perspective as a goal for the Internet we want. 

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The Internet we want towards Universal and Inclusiveness

In the critical step towards building a digital future that benefits all, building a truly universal and inclusive internet demands ongoing dialogue, innovative solutions, and a commitment to shared values. By collaborating and setting ambitious but achievable goals, we can create a digital space that empowers everyone to thrive.

These goals and areas can help build more towards "the internet we want"

  1. Universal Access and Connectivity
  2. Inclusion and Diversity
  3. Content Accessibility and Multilingualism
  4. Openness and Participation
  5. Safety and Security

Stakeholder groups must be able to;

  • Ensure affordable and reliable internet access for all, particularly low-income populations and remote regions.
  • Empower marginalized communities to actively participate in shaping the internet and digital policy, ensuring diverse voice heard.
  • Promote the development and use of multilingual content and tools, fostering cultural understanding and knowledge exchange.
  • Encourage multistakeholder participation in internet governance, including civil society, technical communities, and private sector.
  • Promote transparency and accountability in online platforms and data practices, empowering users to control their information.
  • Protect user privacy and data security, implementing robust safeguards against misuse and exploitation.
  • Promote ethical and responsible use of artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies, mitigating potential risks to human rights and democracy.

These actions can be achieved through collaborative efforts where Governments, civil society, technical communities, and the p must work together to develop and implement effective solutions with youth advocates funding that can help address these ch the local level to the global level. 

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Response from the Dynamic Coalition on the Internet of Things

The Dynamic Coalition on the Internet of Things (DC-IoT) has engaged in open meetings at IGFs, and at meetings in between IGFs on the usefulness of Internet of Things, specifically as a necessary resource in addressing global and local societal challenges, and on what issues need to be addressed in order to ensure that the Internet of Things develops in ways that serve people around the globe. It strives to develop and evolve a common view on Global Good Practice with IoT through a multistakeholder dialogue, as to ensure all stakeholders are involved.  

Based on its mission, DC-IoT is very happy to contribute to the IGF Leadership’s panel’s call and supports its invitation to collaborate on the existing commitments, to produce and sustain the IWW. The Internet would have never become what it is today without the tireless commitment of many to its stability, interoperability and adequate security. Only these properties can foster sufficient justified trust that use of the Internet will ultimately be to users’ benefit; and only this trust-based belief can fulfil the promise of the Internet. A good shared understanding of “global good practice” is important in this, as is the capacity building in regions to ensure local regions can develop and apply innovations in a way that serves them best.

We therefore believe it is crucial to remind ourselves of the necessity of the technical community’s adherence to Core Internet Values in order to create a durable One Internet for everyone: open, free, globally connected, interoperable, unfragmented (at least in technical terms), and stable.

With regards to the Internet of Things, there are specifics relating to “things connected to the Internet”, which are to serve us, directly or as part of larger (Cyber Physical) systems and services, that are important to ensure we actually can make sure we have a handle on how the Internet serves us, including through its extensions: the Things – and what specific requirements to “the Things” are necessary as they will be connected to the Internet.

Per section indicated on IWW we identify and comment on what we believe to be the key points presented by the IGF Leadership Panel:

1. Whole and open;

DC IoT supports the call on the stakeholders of the Internet to set goals to ensure that the internet stays whole, open, free, globally connected, interoperable, stable and unfragmented at its core.

Specifically for IoT: The Internet of Things will inevitably affect the way the world confronts societal challenges and develops business opportunities. For this influence to be beneficial, it must be developed in an open way, with predictable ways of working, according to commonly defined open global standards, allowing permissionless innovation – expecting from developers to take the impact on people and society into account from the outset.

2. Universal and inclusive;

DC IoT supports the call to move towards universal meaningful connectivity for everyone (and everything), everywhere, to encourage the development and appropriate uptake of promising new technologies that foster this and to address skills gaps.

Specifically for IoT: we believe that this initiative should prioritise universality in the sense that all can benefit from the use of IoT devices, systems and services and inclusivity in that this use will reduce marginalisation and damaging isolation. , it will be important to ensure development of and adherence to suitable global standards, and that the design of devices, systems and services involves users from the outset to ensure inclusivity; and it is also critical that the interests of stakeholders and affected parties from all over the world and all relevant sectors are taken into account (ideally by those most affected) in setting those standards in order to foster universality. NB: these standards both go for interoperability, as for security, and for data management. NB2: the fact that AI applications and services come up have specific meaning for IoT (and the other way around) as IoT devices generate data for AI as input, and AI may instruct IoT devices to take actions based on the data feeds.

3. Free-flowing and trustworthy;

DC IoT supports the call for Internet stakeholders to set goals to unlock the value of data flows to foster sustainable development of all and enshrine trust (or: trustworthiness) as a prerequisite for data sharing regimes, founded on the protection of data.

Specifically for IoT: global technical standards should be open, widely and transparently accepted and information provision about devices, systems and services on the functioning and specifically the data sharing should be available online and dynamically updated, just as many of the devices will include software that can and will be updated during its use. Certification of this information is crucial, via globally recognized methods and procedural standards (smart certification), and there should be a compliance/guarantee function to ensure standards work as intended. In addition, updating should be possible, and ensured to be correct. All this in recognition of the different contexts in which devices, systems and services function.

4. Safe and secure

DC IoT supports the call for Internet stakeholders to set goals to establish and implement robust frameworks for high levels of cybersecurity, and strong recommendations for legal structures, practices, and cross-border cooperation to combat cybercrime.

Specifically for IoT: in order for IoT devices, systems and services to be safe and secure, enabling this should be taken into account already in the design phase, taking real use cases into account. Certifiable information needs to be available online to enable users to assess and manage the risks associated with their particular IoT usage (smart labelling).

5. Rights-respecting.  

DC IoT supports the call for Internet stakeholders to set goals to ensure a human rights-based approach to Internet governance, and to promote human rights in the digital space.

Whereas many central aspects of respect for human rights depend very much on context (nature of use) and jurisdiction (the legal formulation and protection of those rights), smart labelling IoT devices, systems and services needs to disclose their specific nature to enable users to align their usage with applicable laws and regulations (e.g. not invading others’ privacy by capturing their images, sound and other information without adequate notice and consent) and so that human rights laws and regulations can keep pace with evolving IoT use.

 

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IWW premise

 

line 18-19:

facilitate collaboration for the development of new and emerging technologies that pursue public interests in a trusted way while continuing to enable innovation; 

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The Internet We Want

The Internet We Want:
What are the main challenges to Internet in the human rights online in Bangladesh?

• Use of digital technology to use for suppressing and violent Internet in the human rights

• Lack of due diligence which can ensure that technology products and terms of service comply with human rights principles and standards.

• Due to limited access to digital devices Internet in the human rights information are not accessible to a large number of people

• The benefit of the Judicial system is not yet fully digitalized, as a result, the benefit of online legal services takes more time

• Lack of awareness of policy-makers and mass people about Internet in the human rights online

• Lack of proper legal tools for addressing illegal and harmful contents

• Cyber-bulling of adolescent girls and women are risk of threats and attacks.
Which measures are necessary?

• Making access to the Internet affordable

• Judicial information both at upper courts and lower courts needs to be open digitally for easy access of the stakeholders

• Ensure online safe spaces, and transparent and accountable content governance frameworks.

• Framing legal framework for taking action against the persons responsible for misinformation, disinformation, and mal information

• Encourage the private sector to engage in dialogue with relevant State authorities and civil society in the exercise of their corporate social responsibility, in particular, their transparency and accountability encourage civil society to support the dissemination and application of the guide so that it provides an effective tool for Internet users.

• Promote and use trustworthy network infrastructure and services suppliers, relying on risk-based assessments that include technical and non-technical factors for network security

• Protect and strengthen the multistakeholder system of Internet governance, including the development, deployment, and management of its main technical protocols and other related standards and protocols.

• Refrain from undermining the technical infrastructure essential to the general availability and integrity of the Internet.

How can IGF contribute to addressing the issue?
• IGF can contribute towards guiding principles on business and Internet in the human rights

• Develop system-wide guidance on human rights, due diligence and impact assessment in the use of new technology.

• IGF should play an important role, as a catalyst for stimulating a united approach to the protection of human rights online.

• IGF should develop a regional framework to prevent misinformation, disinformation, and mal-information

• IGF should promote coordination with other state and non-state actors, within and beyond the country with regard to the standards and procedures which have an impact on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms on the Internet

• IGF should promote online safety and continue to strengthen our work to combat violence online, including sexual and gender-based violence as well as child sexual exploitation, to make the Internet a safe and secure place for everyone, particularly women, children, and young people

• Promote safe and equitable use of the Internet for everyone, without discrimination based on sex, race, color, ethnic, national or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of an indigenous population, property, birth, disability, age, gender identity or sexual orientation.

• Promote cooperation in research and innovation and standard setting, encourage information sharing regarding security threats through relevant international fora, and reaffirm our commitment to the framework of responsible state behavior in cyberspace.
How can ensure access to Internet in the human rights digitally?

• Expansion of internet service across the country
• Expansion of digital literacy about human rights
• Making internet service affordable and accessible without disruption
• Protect the right to privacy and other human rights in the digital space

• The Internet has a public service value. People, communities, public authorities, and private entities rely on the Internet for their activities and have a legitimate expectation that its services are accessible, provided without discrimination, affordable, secure, reliable, and ongoing.

• Furthermore, no one should be subjected to unlawful, unnecessary, or disproportionate interference with the exercise of their Internet in the human rights and fundamental freedoms when using the Internet.

• Ensure that existing human rights and fundamental freedoms apply equally offline and online

• Actively promote the guide to Internet in the human rights for Internet users among citizens, public authorities and private sector actors and take specific action regarding its application in order to enable users to fully exercise their Internet in the human rights and fundamental freedoms online

• Promote affordable, inclusive, and reliable access to the Internet for individuals and businesses where they need it and support efforts to close digital divides around the world to ensure all people of the world are able to benefit from the digital transformation.

• Foster greater exposure to diverse cultural and multilingual content, information, and news online. Exposure to diverse content online should contribute to pluralistic public discourse, foster greater social and digital inclusion within society, bolster resilience to disinformation and misinformation, and increase participation in democratic processes.

• Protect individuals’ privacy, their personal data, and the confidentiality of electronic communications and information on end-users electronic devices, consistent with the protection of public safety and applicable domestic and international law.

• Promote the protection of consumers, in particular vulnerable consumers, from online scams and other unfair practices online and from dangerous and unsafe products sold online.

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The Internet We Want

The goals and principles identified by the IGF Leadership Panel

1. Whole and open;

2. Universal and inclusive;

3. Free-flowing and trustworthy;

4. Safe and secure; and

5. Rights-respecting.

Resonate with, and are supported by not only me as an individual but are integral to the vision and purpose of the Internet Society Chapter of Australia (Internet Australia) that I have the honor to currently lead. 

Our support for these ideals is given here noting that in this current and upcoming times of so many risks and pressures on the Internet We Know becoming The Internet We Want; the IGF as it evolves should be in a prime position to facilitate and partner with other I* entities to better ensure that there is  fulsome and frank discourse using a multistakeholder model, that explores the risks and outcomes, intended and unintended, to our Internet with policies being made and actions taken; and to ensure a better understanding of these matters not only in those who make policy and take actions, but also those effected by these decisions and actions.  This is a timely and essential matter for a full focus of the IGF, not an opportunity we can risk missing (or messing up)  

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The Internet We Want - Support for the 5 Principles

I wish to have recorded my personal support and endorsement as well as that of the Australian Internet Society Chapter (Internet Australia), which I have the honor of currently leading, for the 5 overarching principles or goals identified by the IGF Leadership Panel for 'The Internet We Want';

An Internet that is:-

1. Whole and open;

2. Universal and inclusive;

3. Free-flowing and trustworthy;

4. Safe and secure; and

5. Rights-respecting.

This resonates with our principles, vision and goals and we will continue to find ways to pursue and protect these going forward as we have in the times to date.

We do however note that particularly at this current and near future time 'The Internet We Have' is exposed to a myriad of risks and pressures that are counter to, or have intended and unintended consequences on these ideals.

The IGF as it is currently evolving could and should take advantage of its unique multistakeholder model, and take the opportunity to work with other actors and I* entities to facilitate discourse and shared understanding of the intended and unintended effects of actions taken and policies made that threaten any or all of these principles;  ensuring not only that the decision and policy makers are fully cognizant of such effects but also that the communities and individuals effected by these actions are aware.

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Whole and open

The importance of the Internet lays with being a “one unfragmented network”, open in its uses and available for all. This is important to all users and stakeholders especially in the economic and social context. Therefore, it is of importance to reach a clear understanding to the definition of "one unfragmented Internet" that is acceptable to all, especially in the technical aspects and in the usage aspects.

With the growth of internet users, the principle of "what applies offline applies online and vice versa" has emerged, which is an important concept related to the civil rights of individuals, the work of the private sector, and the responsibilities of governments. It also lead us to the concept of digital sovereignty as it is in national sovereignty in the context of protecting citizens’ rights, preserving private sector interest and invoking national laws and regulations. This will extend to collect revenues and fees related to users’ data, profiles and cross border transactions from the Internet global companies and any other party.

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Support and suggesting the LP propose goals

As an overarching comment, we encourage the Leadership Panel to itself propose some specific goals for discussion in each area, to inform and challenge stakeholders. It is important that this discussion on internet governance focus on outcomes for users, not only organisational options.

auDA supports clear goals to guide the internet’s development, having argued for them in its August 2023 Internet Governance Roadmap (online at https://auda.org.au/IGroadmap). The Leadership Panel’s expertise and diversity, alongside its small scale, gives it a good opportunity to develop and propose some specific goals for community input. It should consider doing so as it assesses all the feedback received on this paper, and propose goals in time for community dialogue at the 2024 IGF.

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NetMission.Asia & Asia Pacific yIGF

The following comment is made on behalf of NetMission.Asia and as an alumni of Asia Pacific yIGF on The Internet We Want;

  1. Whole and Open

We affirm an Internet where youths are empowered to act in processes of agenda-setting, policy formulation, and evaluation of establishment of legal frameworks that promote net neutrality and prevent Internet fragmentation. We support initiatives to leverage human creativity in order to close the intergenerational Internet governance knowledge gap.

  1. Universal and Inclusive

We aspire to sustain the progression of youth engagement, meaningful participation and leadership at all levels—local, regional and global. We stress the significance of acknowledging Internet access as a fundamental right, and the inclusion of youths (of equitable gender and geographical representation) in policymaking.

  1. Free-flowing and Trustworthy

We advocate for the acknowledgement of the youth perspective and contribution towards upholding Internet Freedom; and the fortification of trust in the role of youths in data protection.

  1. Safe and Secure

We assert the pivotal role of resilient youths as intergenerational-mediator for cybersecurity capacity building—privy to discussions on regulatory or compliance frameworks and in shaping cyberspace as digital natives.

  1. Rights-respecting

We acknowledge the human-rights based approach to Internet Governance, and appeal for the enablement of youths—students or legal professionals, to address issues of digital rights infringement through access to talent development and expertise.

(for our full comments please refer to our website)

 

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The ideal digital ecosystem in Africa

 

The digital ecosystem I envision for Africa prioritizes rights, inclusivity, security, and an open, trustworthy Internet. Recognizing its pivotal role in shaping Africa's future, we must prioritize these aspects to harness technology for equitable development.

Safeguarding fundamental rights like privacy, freedom of expression, and access to information is paramount. Robust policies and regulations are needed to protect users' data privacy and ensure freedom of expression online. Bridging the digital divide is crucial for ensuring universal access to digital resources, particularly for marginalized communities.

Inclusivity is essential, requiring initiatives for digital literacy and skills development, especially among underserved populations. Digital platforms and services must be designed to cater to diverse needs.

In summary, establishing the optimal Internet ecosystem for Africa demands a holistic strategy focused on upholding rights, fostering inclusivity, ensuring security, and cultivating an open, reliable Internet environment. Embracing these principles will unlock the full benefits of digital technologies, fostering inclusive development and empowering communities across the continent.

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Increased Reference to UN Charter, UDHR, UNGPs

The introduction to the IWW would be strengthened through referencing the UN charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). The IWW should include in its introduction a clear recognition of a state’s obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law and the responsibilities of companies under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). The IWW should also make reference to the fact that human rights apply online and offline in the introduction (in addition to the reference in the section on a “rights-respecting” internet) rather than just committing to “promote a human-centric Internet that ensures respect for human rights…”

The first commitment should be shortened to “promote a human-centric Internet that ensures respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.” “Harmful behaviors” is a subjective term that can be  weaponized to promote narratives and policies that undermine human rights. Additionally, the introduction should include a commitment to ensure that the IWW’s implementation be connected to discussions in related fora and processes, including but not limited to the Pact for the Future / Global Digital Compact, Code of Conduct on Information Integrity, NetMundial+10, and the World Summit of the Information Society+20 Review. The IWW should also include a commitment to “proactively integrate other communities working on relevant internet governance issues to mitigate the difficulties faced by civil society and small, island, and developing states, which lack the resources to track multiple, simultaneous processes.”

The section on facilitating collaboration for the development of new and emerging technologies would be strengthened if rephrased as such: “facilitate collaboration for the development of new and emerging technologies in a trusted manner while continuing to enable innovation and ensure human rights safeguards are protected”

Lastly, on the sentence on internet connectivity, we would recommend rephrasing as follows: “expand connectivity and guarantee meaningful, regular, secure and affordable access for everyone, everywhere”.

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Whole and open - AFRINIC Contribution

Advocate for Policy Frameworks: Engage with policymakers globally, including Internet organizations to advocate for the adoption and enforcement of policies that uphold principles of net neutrality, freedom of expression, and open access to information. This includes supporting legislation that prevents discrimination in data transmission and ensures equal access to online content.

 

Support Infrastructure Development: Collaborate with the Regional Internet Registries (RIR), governments, Network Operators Groups, Network Internet Services Providers, National Research and Education Networks, and private sector entities to invest in the expansion and maintenance of Internet infrastructure, particularly in underserved regions. This includes deploying broadband networks, building data centers, and improving connectivity through initiatives like the Internet Exchange Points (IXPs).

 

Advance Interoperability Standards: Contribute to the development and adoption of open and interoperable standards for Internet protocols, ensuring seamless communication and compatibility across different networks and devices. This includes active participation in standardization bodies such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and  the Internet Telecommunication Union (ITU),.

 

Combat Digital Fragmentation: Monitor and address emerging trends and policies that threaten the global connectivity and openness of the Internet, such as data localization requirements, content blocking, and restrictions on cross-border data flows. Advocate for approaches that prioritize interoperability and prevent the fragmentation of the Internet into isolated networks.

 

Engage in Capacity Building: Provide technical assistance and capacity-building support to governments, organizations, and individuals, globally and especially in Africa to strengthen their ability to effectively participate in Internet governance processes, and contribute to policy discussions.

 

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Response from the Dynamic Coalition on Core Internet Values

 

The Dynamic Coalition on Core Internet Values (DC-CIV) plans to list and define Core Internet Values as also ideals that need to be addressed. The Coalition members strive for a commitment to the Core Internet Values across stakeholder groups as well as to seek to define Core Internet Values as a reference standard for Internet Policy. 

Much of the initial drive to form the Coalition came from the concern, which is even more pressing today, that attempts to "fix" the Internet to correct or compensate for undesirable events, such as spam, phishing, human-rights abuses, intellectual property rights violations, etc., easily end up denaturing the Internet and turning it into an intranet, make it less interoperable, fragment it into a set of networks that do not have global reach any more, or in many other ways defeat the principles and goals on which it was designed and has evolved.

This concern today has to be addressed ever more intensely and in an environment made even more complex than fifteen years ago by the expansion of the Internet to a large fraction of the world's population in a huge diversity of cultures and stages of development; the adoption of the Internet for forms of practically all human behaviours, some unquestionably good, some unquestionably destructive, and many whose valuation may vary among cultures and societies. 

The Internet we want must be resilient against such challenges.

The Internet is often blamed for undesirable events and conduct that range from the petty to existential threats to humankind; from distraction and discomfort to serious crime, from unsavoury conversations to the risk of global financial disruption, from preying on the naïve to the escalation of hostilities ending up in war, from profiteering and rent-seeking to the economic exploitation of the whole of humankind by a few. The Dynamic Coalition on Internet Core Values firmly asserts that while the Internet has indeed proven to be disruptive in many fields, the damages attributed to it are invariably generated by human conduct and motivation, be it individual, collective, or the product of institutions, corporations and states, and calls on the broader community to attribute each harm to an actor separately from the way in which the harm evolves from intention to effect.

Based on its mission, the DC-CIV is very happy to contribute to the IGF Leadership’s panel’s call and supports its call to come together and collaborate on the existing commitments, so as to ensure creating the Internet We Want, that it be:

  • human-centric
  • for everyone
  • unfragmented
  • balanced between allowing for the free flow of information and ensuring data protection and privacy
  • safe, including cybersecurity so as to minimise potential harms
  • an open environment for collaboration to foster innovation
  • environmentally friendly
  • inclusive of the next generation to achieve sustainability
  • multi-stakeholder in its governance approach

In particular, we believe it is crucial to remind ourselves at every step that this Internet we created together was only possible to develop because of the adherence of the technical community to Core Internet Values that made it possible to create one Internet for everyone: open, free, globally connected, interoperable, unfragmented, and stable.

Per section, we indicate what we believe to be key, from this perspective, for that specific section of  the five points presented by the IGF Leadership Panel:

 

1. Whole and open;

The DC CIV agrees with this point..

In particular, the DC CIV emphasises the risk of fragmentation, wholly commercial exploitation and digital exclusion if this point is ignored.

 

2. Universal and inclusive;

The DC CIV agrees with this point as the Internet is Global.

In particular, the DC CIV emphasises the user centricity of the Internet, which brings its inclusiveness.

 

3. Free-flowing and trustworthy;

The DC CIV agrees with this point since it brings together the concept of sharing and trust.

In particular, the DC CIV emphasises the capacity for the Internet to be both free-flowing and trustworthy due to its layered approach.

 

4. Safe and secure; and

The DC CIV agrees with this aim.

In particular, the DC CIV emphasises the development of standards that make Internet use as well as devices safer to use. This is particularly valid for Internet of Things (IoT) devices that have a lower unit device cost.

 

5. Rights-respecting.  

The DC CIV agrees with this focus.

In particular, the DC CIV emphasises the user (human) centricity of the Internet, which brings with it obligations when taking a human rights approach to Internet Governance, Coordination and Development.

 

The above points shared by the Leadership Panel are at the heart of our community’s work and we firmly believe that it is these principles that have made the Internet the Global success that it has become, thanks to its overwhelming positive effects on the world’s development.

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Fostering inclusive Internet Governance with ordinary citizens

Thank you for extending the invitation to contribute to shaping the future of Internet governance. I am particularly championing the concept of a citizen council within the IGF framework. The idea of incorporating ordinary citizens' perspectives alongside expert viewpoints is both innovative and essential for fostering a truly inclusive and democratic Internet governance landscape. I had a fruitful discussion remotely during the IGF 2023 on the citizen council concept with Mark Carvell and Concettina CASSA. I hope we will continue championing that idea together.

In today's interconnected world, where the Internet plays an increasingly pivotal role in our daily lives, governance structures must reflect the diverse voices and experiences of ordinary people. If we establish a citizen council within the IGF, we can ensure that the policies and decisions made regarding the Internet are not only informed by technical expertise but also grounded in the lived realities of individuals worldwide.

There is a noticeable trend of the same individuals attending IGF discussions repeatedly, which will further exacerbate the issue of exclusivity. This perpetuates a cycle where the voices of a select few dominate the discourse, potentially sidelining the concerns and perspectives of those who are not part of this recurring cohort. I wish we could find a better way to integrate the voices of ordinary citizens into these discussions. We can ensure that Internet governance truly reflects the needs and aspirations of all stakeholders, not just a privileged few.

I fully support the notion that the Internet We Want should be whole, open, universal, inclusive, free-flowing, trustworthy, safe, secure, and rights-respecting, as outlined by the IGF Leadership Panel. However, to truly realize this vision, we must actively engage with and listen to the concerns, aspirations, and insights of citizens from all walks of life.

Civil society organizations, while present, often struggle to effectively convey messages to remote communities due to a lack of appropriate mechanisms for engagement. By including ordinary citizens in these discussions, we ensure that the perspectives of those who rely on the Internet for their daily lives are heard and considered. This not only promotes inclusivity but also strengthens multistakeholderism, the legitimacy, and effectiveness of Internet governance processes by incorporating diverse viewpoints and experiences.

Therefore, I humbly urge the Leadership Panel to embrace the proposed citizen council concept and integrate it into the broader multistakeholder approach to Internet governance. we can create a more democratic, transparent, and effective framework for shaping the future of the Internet—one that truly reflects the needs and desires of the global community.

Thank you for considering my input.

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On Safe and Secure

The Internet We Want should envision a Judicious Unification of Global Digital Ecosystem Security (JUDGES) philosophy that should be well-mapped to align with the judicious use and supremacy of the Internet Governance principles of transparency, multistakeholderism, openness, and neutrality in securing and safeguarding the Internet. Securing a unified Internet remains one of the most profound challenges, and it is one of the foundational stones that must be reconstructed in line with this philosophy. Security of the Internet should uphold the UN Universal Declaration on human rights, freedom of access to information, and application of such security to safeguard solutions to our human problems as well encapsulated within the framework of the UN SDGs. It should embrace the challenging risk posed by emerging technology, most specifically the unethical application of AI and blockchain technologies. There is an unholy marriage occurring gradually between the abuse of AI and the unethical application of cryptocurrency platforms that can lead to the damage of trust and erode our confidence in the Internet. For instance, many nations and big tech organisations (i.e. OTT operators) are hiding under the pretext of cybersecurity and trade to fragment and polarise the Internet. Fragmentation is emerging through the backdoors of e-commerce and digital trade protection and portends a huge threat to Internet neutrality and security. A polarised segment of the global community on account of their poor purchasing power parity will always seek compromised channels to gain access. At the heart of the Internet We Want should be a consideration for the ''JUDGES'' philosophy that should inspire and empower the much-needed global cooperation and partnership with commitment towards a secure and safe Internet. I believe we can achieve it together.     

 

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Internet whitout hegemony.

Internet we want is the socio-technical ecosystem based on network of interrelated sovereign and regulated local networks that is trustworthy, ethical, lawful, neutral, fair, transparent, healthy, safe, secure, family friendly, development oriented, civilian environment designed for global public good and peaceful coexistence with international governance system that is based on principles like multilateralism, truth, public interests, justice, legal rights and digital sovereignty.

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Profile picture for user Vittorio Bertola

User-centred, not free-flowing

In general, this framework is very abstract and high-level, leaving ample room for it to be interpreted in very different ways. This is perhaps unavoidable for a U.N. document, but I would still find it very hard to commit to it without further clarity on what it actually means.

Specifically, I find the "free-flowing and trustworthy" principle noticeably imbalanced. In its current formulation, it puts privacy and trust into the back seat by affirming that the purpose of the Internet is to "unlock the value of data for development" and that all data should flow freely "while ensuring data protection and privacy", as a second-thought constraint. This vision is clearly oriented by big business interests that want to track and monetize Internet users and everything they do online.

You should rather formulate the principle in the opposite way: the Internet should be built for and around its users and their privacy. Reprising many foundational documents of the contemporary Internet (e.g. RFC 8890), the Internet should be "user-centred and trustworthy". This also entails the free circulation of non-personal data, but it should be made clear that personal data should only circulate when the users freely choose to do so and only for the agreed purposes, in line with the GDPR and most other major national privacy regulations.

Most Internet users really have enough of the "surveillance Internet", in which people and their data are only considered as goods, and as a means of production for a very limited number of companies from a small part of the developed world. I think that the leadership panel should take a clear stance against this model and not in favour.

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Shaping The Future of Internet Together

As we engage with the 'Internet We Want' (IWW) consultation, our insights and contributions are pivotal in shaping a future where the Internet reflects our collective aspirations for inclusivity, security, resilience, and sustainability.

Here is how we can all make a difference:

Ensure Inclusivity and universal acceptance: We should advocate for universal access to the Internet, working towards breaking down barriers related to infrastructure, affordability, digital literacy, and content availability in diverse languages and cultures. Our voices should highlights the necessity of making the Internet accessible and relevant to everyone, regardless of their geographical, social, or economic status.

Enhance Security and Trust: We have to focus on bolstering Internet security and user trust, championing the development of robust cybersecurity measures, data protection policies, and ethical standards that prioritize privacy and personal data. Our contributions should help create a safer Internet where trust is the foundation of user interactions.

Build Resilience: We have to promote the development of a resilient Internet infrastructure capable of withstanding disruptions, whether they are from natural disasters, cyber-attacks, or other challenges. Our advocacy for resilience should ensures that the Internet remains reliable and accessible in the face of adversity.

Promote Sustainability: We should emphasize the importance of environmentally sustainable practices in the development and operation of Internet infrastructure, driving the conversation towards reducing the environmental footprint of digital technologies. Our engagements should make sustainability a core consideration in the evolution of the Internet.

Strengthen Governance and Cooperation: We must encourage a governance model that is inclusive, transparent, and collaborative, fostering a multistakeholder approach where governments, private sector, civil society, technical community, and academia work together in decision-making processes. This efforts would help ensure that the Internet is governed in a way that respects diverse perspectives and interests.

Foster Innovation and Openness: We all have to support the principles of open standards and interoperability to nurture innovation, advocating for net neutrality to maintain the Internet as a vibrant platform for free expression, creativity, and entrepreneurship. In doing so, our voices would helps protect the openness that has been fundamental to the Internet's success.

Invest in Education and Skills Development: All of us need to champion the cause of education and skills development, empowering individuals with the necessary tools to navigate, contribute to, and benefit from the Internet. Our involvement highlights the importance of digital literacy as a cornerstone for participating in the digital age.

I believe that by adopting these collective and proactive stance, we all become key players in the movement towards an Internet that is open, secure, resilient, and inclusive. Our actions and advocacy contribute significantly to realizing the vision of the Internet We Want, ensuring it remains a global public resource that enriches lives and fosters a just and equitable society.

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Dynamic Coalition on Internet & Jobs

We really applaud for putting up the highest calibre people on the leadership panel and we trust them for taking up the right issues. 

 

1. Eliminating the Digital Divide: IGF should have a high-level panel on 'Connected the Unconnected'. We need to bring everyone on the internet by 2030. This should be the overarching theme of all IGF meetings going forward. 

 

2. Addressing inequities: Seniors and Women are left behind in our race to bring the best of internet technologies to the world. I would call them a vulnerable class.  We need to upskill them 

 

3. Taking everyone together; We must bring everyone to speed with regards to AI .

 

4. Work with academia and industry to reform the education system to match the needs of the digital economy 

 

5. Adopt Project CREATE for the summit of the future. www.projectcreate.tech 

 

Dr. Rajendra Pratap Gupta

Chairman

Dynamic Coalition on Internet & Jobs 

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Regarding Safe and secure

In an ever-changing world, Online safety has never been more important. The use of internet has grown and so much of our personal and professional data are all over the internet today. collectively we can do many things to fortify our cyberspace and make it more safer and secure. We must start somewhere, we should put emphasis on making use of the rights skillsets in the right place and Improve cyber capacity building for sustainable development. More over we need to enhance international cooperation to combat cybercrime and build meaningful Public-Private partnership for cybersecurity.

Have the right skillset in place — It all begins with having the right people with the right skillset to help in protecting our countries from falling victims to cyberattacks. The ones who are able to quickly recover data and systems when exposed to cyberattacks. When we luck the right skillset, it become harder to prevent cyberattacks, detect any attack attempts and response to any cyberattacks.

Capacity building is very important — Human are the weakest link to the security chain. The most common ways cyber criminals get access to our system and data using social engineering techniques (exploiting human weakness) . This is why capacity building and cybersecurity awareness is vital. One of the most efficient ways to protect against cyberattacks and all types of data breaches is to train our people on threat landscape and how cyberattacks can be prevented, inform them about how cyberattacks can impact the internet we want!

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Together, Let's Shape the Future of the Internet

 

We extend our heartfelt thanks to the IGF Leadership Panel for the opportunity to engage in this vital dialogue. As we contribute to the discussion initiated by the IGF Leadership Panel, the RIPE NCC is guided by the principles of openness, connectivity, security, and inclusivity. These principles are not just the foundation of our work but are integral to achieving a digital world that benefits all stakeholders. Our engagement in policy development processes and community collaborations is a testament to our unwavering commitment to these ideals, aiming to foster an Internet environment that mirrors the aspirations outlined by the Leadership Panel and the broader Internet governance community.  

As we navigate the complexities of today's digital societies, the pivotal role of the Internet in driving economic, social, and environmental development cannot be overstated. The RIPE NCC's commitment to enhancing Internet governance reflects our deep-seated dedication to fostering a robust, secure, and inclusive Internet environment. This dedication aligns seamlessly with the expansive themes laid out by the Leadership Panel.

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The IRPC supports the Internet We Want framework

The Internet Rights and Principles Coalition (IRPC), a dynamic coalition under the umbrella of the Internet Governance Forum has been - since it started its activities in 2008, actively working and committed to create awareness to human rights on the Internet and promoting an online environment that is free, open, inclusive, safe, sustainable and rights respecting.

As a multistakehoder network, this coalition believes that only dialogue and collaboration among all stakeholders can lead to a successful Internet Governance and we  are happy to contribute to this call and to support future discussions. 

The IRPC welcomes the  Leadership Panel paper "The Internet We Want" as it aligns with the work we have been undertaking under the umbrella of our main output document The Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet and its 10 Internet Rights and Principles and supports our vision of the Internet for present and future generations. 

In this context the  IRPC would like to suggest the following edits:

Paragraph 1:
First sentence: add  “cultural”
to read: In today’s digital societies, Internet governance is critical for economic, social, cultural, and environmental development.

Second sentence: add “freedom of expression
to read: “Internet governance is a crucial enabler of sustainable development, ensuring that the Internet is used in a responsible and inclusive manner, and can contribute to promoting freedom of expression, access to information, communication, and innovation.”

Paragraph 2: 

point 1: add “practices”
to read: 

  • promote a human-centric Internet that ensures respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law and protects against harmful behaviours and practices

Point 5: add “ and to support, protect and empower vulnerable groups”

to read:  

  • Foster a safe and secure online environment, in particular by increasing efforts to strengthen cybersecurity and to  support, protect and empower vulnerable groups

Point 7: replace “environment” with “environmentally”,  “practises” with “practices”,  “emission” with “emissions”  “digital resources” with digital technologies” and add  “e-waste, protecting biodiversity and ensuring the responsible and sustainable use of natural resources” to read: 

  • adopt environmentally-friendly practices consistent with reducing greenhouse gas emissions, e-waste, protecting biodiversity and ensuring  the responsible and sustainable use of natural resources when utilising the Internet and digital technologies

Point 8:  replace youth with “younger generations” replace “playing a key role in the achievement of sustainability” with “who play a key role  in the global effort to achieve sustainability
to read:

  • acknowledge, support and encourage the contribution of younger generations who play a key role in the global efforts to achieve sustainability; and 

Point 9:  add “and promote”,  replace “the” with “a” and “in” with “to”
to read:

  • uphold  and promote a multistakeholder approach to the governance of the Internet. 

In line with the paragraphs above, which highlight the importance of the Internet and Internet-connected technologies for a sustainable future,  The IRPC also believes it is  crucial to add a sixth characteristic:

6. environmentally sustainable

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Support for more inclusive participation requests

I would also like to support the comments on the striking contrast between all the high-sounding words on the importance of human rights and the choice of Riyadh as the place for the next IGF meeting. While I would much like to get in contact with such a different country and culture, I feel that I would have to give up a lot of my freedom of expression, my values and my own self to be present in person, and it would be the same for many participants from all stakeholder groups (not just civil society).

I have not made up my mind yet on attending in person, but I encourage the leadership panel to take into account the problem, starting with the letter by another well known IGF participant, Avri Doria, which I wholeheartedly support:

https://m17m.is/an-open-letter-1b9383fefd01

A public reply and practical action to provide either adequate guarantees of freedom to in-person participants or adequate options for remote participation would be much appreciated.

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The importance of a people centered Internet (DC-PAL)

The information society should uphold the fundamental values of freedom, equality, tolerance and shared responsibility amongst others. In order to achieve this, we must see universal internet connectivity as part of the universal human right of access to information.

Connectivity needs to be accompanied by investment in skills and support. This implies ensuring not just a one-off investment in physical connectivity, but also investment in people and institutions which can deliver over time. Public internet access must not be seen as a 'stepping stone' towards private access but rather as an ongoing value that is a complementary means of connectivity for a whole community. 

 The growing digital divide that separates those with and without access to the internet greatly increases the importance of libraries as a trusted gateway for access in ways that can enhance civil society. Libraries just as the Internet, have also gone through radical changes during the past decades. Today they have become anchor multipurpose institutions that actively work towards the achievement of an inclusive, rights-based information society. Nevertheless, there is still an outdated social narrative about libraries that needs to change. Overall, they support community development at different levels so they should be considered as part of the broader connectivity infrastructure. Today, their resources, staff, network, infrastructure and knowledge continues to play a crucial role in the achievement of many Internet outcomes. Building up and supporting the library sector can help ensure that libraries have the resources to effectively deliver interventions for the years to come.
Meaningful universal connectivity should be a core pillar of development assistance programmes and libraries should be considered when seeking systemic support for this purpose.

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Internet Society Comments on the Introduction

The Internet Society supports and promotes the development of the Internet as a global technical infrastructure, a resource to enrich people’s lives, and a force for good in society. Our work aligns with our goals for the Internet to be open, globally connected, secure, and trustworthy. We reaffirm our interest in contributing to the upcoming discussions of the 5 subgroups created for the above sections. If there is an opportunity to add another subgroup, we propose “Facilitates Individual Participation on the Internet.”

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Submitted on behalf of the…

Submitted on behalf of the Greater Internet Freedom (GIF) Consortium run by Internews and uniting over 100 organizations with local, regional, and global reach across 8 regions in 39 countries.

The Internet We Want is built upon a multistakeholder approach to internet governance and digital cooperation, where governments, private sector, technical community, civil society, and academia, in their respective roles, collaborate and participate in decision-making processes to ensure that internet remains whole and open, universal and inclusive, free-flowing and trustworthy, safe, secure, and rights-respecting.

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Comments are closed on this paragraph.

 

 1. Whole and open

A whole, open, free, globally connected, interoperable and stable Internet is vital for sustainable development, the functioning of digital societies and economies, for supporting business operations worldwide, and a prerequisite to the effective functioning of public services such as education, health care or various governmental services. When properly harnessed, information and communication technologies (ICT) and digital technologies are formidable engines of innovation, competitiveness development, sustainable economic growth, and instruments of social, cultural, and economic empowerment for all.

This unique potential can only be fully exploited if the fundamental nature of the Internet as an open, whole, interconnected, and interoperable network of networks is preserved. However, at present, there is a heightened risk that some potential policy or business decisions might fragment the Internet into siloed parts.

The potential fragmentation at either the technical, content or governance layers, threatens the open, whole, interconnected, and interoperable nature of the Internet, and its associated benefits to social and economic development, while also harming human rights.

We call on the stakeholders of the Internet to set goals to ensure that the internet stays whole, open, free, globally connected, interoperable, stable and unfragmented.

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chapter 1 "Whole and open"

LINE 3:

A whole, open, free, globally connected, interoperable and stable Internet is vital for sustainable development, the functioning of digital societies and economies, for supporting business operations worldwide, and a prerequisite to the effective functioning of public services such as education, disaster prevention, health care or various governmental services. 

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Support for the 5 principles of 'The Internet We Want'

I wish to have recorded my personal support and endorsement as well as that of the Australian Internet Society Chapter (Internet Australia), which I have the honor of currently leading, for the 5 overarching principles or goals identified by the IGF Leadership Panel for 'The Internet We Want';

An Internet that is:-

1. Whole and open;

2. Universal and inclusive;

3. Free-flowing and trustworthy;

4. Safe and secure; and

5. Rights-respecting.

This resonates with our principles, vision and goals and we will continue to find ways to pursue and protect these going forward as we have in the times to date.

We do however note that particularly at this current and near future time 'The Internet We Have' is exposed to a myriad of risks and pressures that are counter to, or have intended and unintended consequences on these ideals.

The IGF as it is currently evolving could and should take advantage of its unique multistakeholder model, and take the opportunity to work with other actors and I* entities to facilitate discourse and shared understanding of the intended and unintended effects of actions taken and policies made that threaten any or all of these principles;  ensuring not only that the decision and policy makers are fully cognizant of such effects but also that the communities and individuals effected by these actions are aware.

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Comments from auDA (.au) in support

auDA supports the direction proposed by the Leadership Panel in this section. To avoid fragmentation of the internet , with all the negative consequences for users and innovation this would entail, requires a coherent governance structure, and governance fragmentation should not be allowed to occur.

Where stakeholders, including governments, see the need for new strands of coordination or cooperation, the first approach should be to ground these in existing mechanisms – primarily the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). This could include instigating new working methods within those mechanisms that can deliver on new needs, issues and concerns. Such an integrating approach supports coherence and ensures the diverse technologies and policy issues that have the internet at their core, or rely on the internet, will remain able to shape its evolution and be developed in ways more fully aware of the internet’s realities.

If new areas of policy require different assemblies of stakeholders, we suggest applying the internet’s multi-stakeholder approach, given its proven track record in the successful stewardship of the evolving and resilient internet. It is the genuine inclusion of stakeholders and consensus decision-making that has led to the internet’s success. This successful approach can and should be applied more broadly. 

In both current and new areas of internet governance, bolstering the participation of people from all around the world is vital. More participation from under-represented regions and communities is vital to ensure the system is shaped by everyone’s needs and concerns.

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Integrate Concrete, Action-Oriented Commitments

This section could build on work that has already been carried out within the internet governance community to understand and address internet fragmentation, e.g within the IGF’s Policy Network on Internet Fragmentation. It could call on the global community to further study and advance the recommendations by that mechanism. To address this, we propose adding the following sentence: “The development of technical standards and other state-based efforts to regulate the internet may directly support the enjoyment of human rights and ensure an open, interconnected and interoperable internet. An internet that is not whole and open poses a number of risks to human rights, including the right to privacy, freedom of expression and access to information, amongst others. These risks can emerge from specific laws, policies or other efforts that impact the development and implementation of technical standards and broader user experience.”

The addition of the following principle would also strengthen this connection: “We call on all stakeholders to commit to a principle-based approach to internet governance, grounded in human rights and that commits to protecting the critical properties of global connectivity.” The IWW should also encourage all stakeholders to not only promote the continuity of a whole and open internet but also efforts to counter threats to it such as by adding the following to the last sentence of this section: “A commitment to not politicise the core technical elements of the internet - such as domain name systems, identifiers, etc.; refraining from imposing bans or restrictions on international data flows or engaging in techno-protectionist initiatives, interfering with free expression, and Internet shutdowns all work towards achieving this aim.”

Additionally, the call to action is currently very high-level and lacks sufficient detail to provide adequate guidance to stakeholders. We would encourage the drafters to integrate the following to strengthen this section: “A principle-based approach grounded in human rights and that commits to protecting the critical properties of global connectivity is needed. These commitments need to be specific and tied to concrete actions.” Examples of such commitments include conducting research to ‘connect the dots’ between policy discussion and the technical components of the internet, ensuring there is meaningful engagement with stakeholders in all stages of  policy development with a view of identifying threats to an open internet, and developing and implementing means of measuring the incremental steps that are leading to internet fragmentation, among others.

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2. Universal and inclusive - AFRINIC Contribution

Mobile Technology development: The widespread adoption of mobile technology should dramatically increase internet accessibility, enabling more people to connect to the digital world. This has been particularly transformative in developing countries, where mobile internet often represents the primary means of online access.

Broadband Connectivity expansion: The expansion of broadband infrastructure should improve internet quality and speed, crucial for modern applications and new technologies.

 

Promote Multi-Stakeholder Governance: Work to strengthen multi-stakeholder governance models that involve governments, industry, civil society, and technical experts in decision-making processes related to Internet governance. This ensures diverse perspectives are considered and fosters consensus-building on critical issues.

Engage in Capacity Building: conduct effective Programs aimed at enhancing digital literacy and skills, specifically in developing countries. This is  crucial for boosting new technologies adoption and enabling people to take full benefits from the Internet.

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1. Whole and open - AFRINIC Contribution

Advocate for Policy Frameworks: Engage with policymakers globally, including Internet organizations to advocate for the adoption and enforcement of policies that uphold principles of net neutrality, freedom of expression, and open access to information. This includes supporting legislation that prevents discrimination in data transmission and ensures equal access to online content.

 

Support Infrastructure Development: Collaborate with the Regional Internet Registries (RIR), governments, Network Operators Groups, Network Internet Services Providers, National Research and Education Networks, and private sector entities to invest in the expansion and maintenance of Internet infrastructure, particularly in underserved regions. This includes deploying broadband networks, building data centers, and improving connectivity through initiatives like the Internet Exchange Points (IXPs).

 

Advance Interoperability Standards: Contribute to the development and adoption of open and interoperable standards for Internet protocols, ensuring seamless communication and compatibility across different networks and devices. This includes active participation in standardization bodies such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and  the Internet Telecommunication Union (ITU),.

 

Combat Digital Fragmentation: Monitor and address emerging trends and policies that threaten the global connectivity and openness of the Internet, such as data localization requirements, content blocking, and restrictions on cross-border data flows. Advocate for approaches that prioritize interoperability and prevent the fragmentation of the Internet into isolated networks.

 

Engage in Capacity Building: Provide technical assistance and capacity-building support to governments, organizations, and individuals, globally and especially in Africa to strengthen their ability to effectively participate in Internet governance processes, and contribute to policy discussions.

 

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Support for a Unified and Open Internet - An Indian Perspective

As an Indian researcher specializing in internet governance and security studies, the first principle advocated by the IGF Leadership Panel— a whole and open Internet forms the foundation for the theme of "the internet we want". Recognizing the significance of a free, globally connected, interoperable, and stable Internet for sustainable development, digital societies, and global business operations, India underscores the indispensable role of a unified digital space in supporting critical public services like education, healthcare, and governmental operations. Emphasizing the transformative power of information and communication technologies (ICT), India acknowledges their role as engines of innovation, competitiveness, and economic empowerment. However, the current landscape poses a heightened risk of potential policy or business decisions leading to Internet fragmentation, jeopardizing its open, interconnected, and interoperable nature. This fragmentation, whether at the technical, content, or governance layers, not only threatens the associated benefits to social and economic development but also poses risks to human rights. India also actively participate in international forums, such as the Internet Governance Forum and ICANN, to contribute to the global dialogue and ensure the realization of the principles outlined by the IGF Leadership Panel it .

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Response from Dynamic Coalition on Core Internet Values (DC-CIV)

 

The Dynamic Coalition on Core Internet Values absolutely supports an Internet that is “Whole and open” - with its interconnected interoperability being at the centre of its fundamental design - these are Core Internet Values. The focus on the risk of fragmentation is real and is captured well in the declaration.

One risk that should be mentioned alongside “fragmentation” is the risk of overwhelming “privatisation” of “public spaces” and digital exclusion: the Internet is a network made up of thousands and thousands of networks, each run independently but exchanging traffic through peering agreements. A consolidation of these thousands of networks towards a much smaller number of giga-operators (huge cloud providers) could be as detrimental as fragmentation if the global players exert so much power that they can unilaterally shift rules of interoperability. This would result in “closing” the Internet’s open nature. We call this Core Internet Value: Decentralised: The Internet is free of any centralised control.

Thus we call on governments to keep flows across borders, to legislate with awareness of the global reach of the Internet and its benefits, and to cooperate across borders in good faith against crime and abuse; on corporations to decisively avoid building up "walled gardens", choosing instead to opt for interoperability at as many levels and as early in product development as possible; on civil society to make sure the preservation and enhancement of human rights is built on an underlying assumption of the functional equivalent of a right to an entire, global, interoperable, decentralised Internet; and on the technical community to support and expand these ideals under an open, multi-stakeholder governance model.

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Defining the World we want to define the Internet we want:

The Internet spans across geographies, cultures, ideologies and economies. We haven’t had anything like the Internet ever before. One culture learns about another, one geography or ideology about another. This has never happened before on this scale and extent. Baseless hatred or fear diminishes when one culture gets demystified about another. There has never been an opportunity for this before. The Free and Open, Global, end to end, Interoperable Internet of today is a space to cause changes in the world we live in, on a scale and extent never possible before. 

The Internet we want 

To define the Internet we want, we need to understand the persistent issues in the world we live in, define the world we want and go on to define the Internet we want.

 
The Internet we want is the Internet that would rebuild the world we live in, by addressing and resolving persistent and elusive problems. 

At least 50 million people live in modern slavery in 2021 -in forced labour or in forced marriage; Over a billion are over 60, many of whom may be ill or lonely; We have 150 million orphaned children and there are widows who are uncared for; and others those whose sufferings are unseen or unknown 

The Internet we want is the Internet that would enable actors to identify, reach out and connect to care for the helpless and protect them from unseen harm, and ensure that they live free, and live well. 

We have 130 million forcibly displaced persons, stateless and homeless and 1.6 billion people worldwide live in inadequate housing conditions, with about 15 million forcefully evicted every year. 

The Internet we want is the Internet that would cause to redeem and prosper marginalized or downright downtrodden segments of the population including refugees, build a billion and more homes of sufficient comfort, to ensure fair livelihoods for those who are weak and meek. 

770 million face hunger, predominantly in Africa and Asia. For argument, to illustrate, it would take $770 million a day to provide food for everyone who is hungry, which would take ONE charitable corporation to match its profits with that of the most profitable business corporation in the world and set up a kitchen (It is well understood that this would not really the solution for the long-term) 

The Internet we want is the Internet that would bring together various actors to create sustainable programs to eradicate hunger and provide livelihoods.

Many rivers are dry or contaminated; draughts are followed by floods which equally devastate, rather than nourish the dry lands. In our World we have a problem with water to drink, for us and for animals and birds, and water to farm; a billion lack safe drinking water and 600 million suffer from foodborne illnesses annually, with children under 5 bearing 30% of foodborne fatalities; 

The Internet we want is the Internet that would forge cross-border, cross-cultural collaboration, generate creative solutions across and within borders to cause rivers to branch out and flow 

Governments, when not sufficiently connected beyond their sphere of comfort, almost always find it difficult to deal with impossibly huge problems such as conflicts, poverty, and in resolving socio economic problems that persist from time immemorial. 

The Internet we want is the Internet that would open up for Governments and policy makers a wider spectrum of thoughts and ideas for solutions to historical and persistent problems and connect Governments and communities to cause quantum changes away from temporary fixes or marginal changes, the Internet that would cause greater good. 

John Hay’s Open Door policy of 1899 was the cornerstone of America’s foreign policy for 40 years, was significant in its attempt by the United States to establish an international protocol of equal privileges for all countries trading with China and to support China’s territorial and administrative integrity. Its follow-up missive in 1900 was significant in its attempt to establish an international protocol of equal privileges for all countries trading with China. 

The Internet we want is the Internet that would build collaborative spaces, even between Governments among others, cause the information flow expands the goodness of Governments and inspires them to augment their goodness. 

Over 70% * of all Internet traffic is cinema (including very good cinema), sports, soap opera, junk exchanges and shopping, which is relatively an awful waste of the Internet technologies. [ * Most statistics in this presentation are gross approximations ] 

The Internet we want is an Internet primarily as a space for education and collaboration; It is a space for Cinema with the awareness that the images you see and the stories you hear make you who you are; It is a space where cinema could also educate, with an intricate model to ensure copyright fairness. 

There is a relatively recent trend, at least in the YouTube / netflix-like cinema space, to republish old cinema, publish recent zoom conversations, university lectures, even whole courses (such as a Harvard course on Justice or a computer course (CS 50) and this trend is expanding.

The Internet we want is the Internet ecosystem of such expanded, affordable or relatively free and largely open access to education of values, knowledge and skills across geographies, cultures and economic divides. 

What do we read? What do we hear? What do we see? How do we know what is true, what is correct, what is fair and leads to a good understanding? Would the Internet point to what is true and fair and good, and characterize what is true and fair and good as true despite narrow or short-term compulsions to call them otherwise? 

The Internet we want is the Internet that would increasingly cause an information flow, good and true. 

Could "access" be an expanded idea of not merely access to connect, but as access to content across geographies and across cultural spaces past excessively copyrighted and politically filtered content? 

The Internet we want is the Internet of decent access across borders, across cultures, across ideologies. 

Bad actors loom large, but they are proportionally few in number than good people. 

The Internet we want is the Internet that would raise and empower good people in business, politics and in public/private workplaces, to discourage unethical policies and practices and substandards everywhere. 

There are good standards for products and services in one part of the world that needs to reach other parts of the old; good standards in the higher end of the industrial and consumer spectrum including from military or space or fields such as aeronautics which needs to percolate down to the middle and lower spectrum of business and consumers to affordably benefit them 

The Internet we want is the Internet that would enable cross-sectoral, 
cross-border flow of standards and technologies across income groups.
 

What was it that Tesla and Tucker and Hughes wanted to do? Would the Internet help innovators see through their ideas without undue barriers ? And help recollect and gather disconnected or disarrayed components from otherwise common ideas to make them whole? 

The Internet we want is the Internet that would offer fair opportunities by enabling networks of people with multiple degrees of freedom, redundant pathways to connect and communicate. 

There are historical challenges, such as the natural and infused misunderstandings that cause hatred, geographical and cultural animosities that in turn have caused wars to happen. If there is hatred and divide in the world there are also Communities that are exemplary, such as the Hull House and Toynbee Hall and Universities, several Think Tanks and Charities initiating solutions. 

The Internet we want is the Internet that would address ‘impossible’ problems that have eluded the brightest minds of the past millenniums, one of which is cultural divisions often arising from and in turn perpetuating baseless hatred, fear and the resultant reluctance to change the way the world works. 

In matters related to economic models and business, change could be smooth, swift and at the same time without drastic upheavals, with receptiveness from the 1% of the 1% who are said to be in a position to effect changes and actually with lead-participation by the select who are highly privileged. As a non-zero sum and at a quantum pace. Change does not have to be a shift from one ideology or political system to another. Change can be brought about by dispelling extreme notions of either ideologies, by causing a balance far, far from that of a zero sum game.

 
The Internet we want is the Internet that would cause a balance. The Internet we want is the Internet that would cause quantum changes in every sphere. 

As the world transitions to AI technologies, it is time to revisit the answering machine invention which enables the business to stay distant, if not hide, from the consumer, and even governments in some manner, in some places, to become more unapproachable and even invisible. The Internet we want is an Internet that would bring back the corner store of the 50s and pathways into doors. 

The Internet we want is the Internet of people connecting to people with 
essentially minimal doorways, where and when there are reasons. 

The Internet we want is the Internet that would strive to restore Justice as of old, build cities of refuge, impart wisdom to make our parliaments and executives wiser and far more connected to build a better world.
 

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On Safe and Secure

The Internet We Want should envision a Judicious Unification of Global Digital Ecosystem Security (JUDGES) philosophy that should be well-mapped to align with the judicious use and supremacy of the Internet Governance principles of transparency, multistakeholderism, openness, and neutrality in securing and safeguarding the Internet. Securing a unified Internet remains one of the most profound challenges, and it is one of the foundational stones that must be reconstructed in line with this philosophy. Security of the Internet should uphold the UN Universal Declaration on human rights, freedom of access to information, and application of such security to safeguard solutions to our human problems as well encapsulated within the framework of the UN SDGs. It should embrace the challenging risk posed by emerging technology, most specifically the unethical application of AI and blockchain technologies. There is an unholy marriage occurring gradually between the abuse of AI and the unethical application of cryptocurrency platforms that can lead to the damage of trust and erode our confidence in the Internet. For instance, many nations and big tech organisations (i.e. OTT operators) are hiding under the pretext of cybersecurity and trade to fragment and polarise the Internet. Fragmentation is emerging through the backdoors of e-commerce and digital trade protection and portends a huge threat to Internet neutrality and security. A polarised segment of the global community on account of their poor purchasing power parity will always seek compromised channels to gain access. At the heart of the Internet We Want should be a consideration for the ''JUDGES'' philosophy that should inspire and empower the much-needed global cooperation and partnership with commitment towards a secure and safe Internet. I believe we can achieve it together.     

 

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Internet without hegemony.

Internet we want is the socio-technical ecosystem based on network of interrelated sovereign and regulated local networks that is trustworthy, ethical, lawful, neutral, fair, transparent, healthy, safe, secure, family friendly, development oriented, civilian environment designed for global public good and peaceful coexistence with international governance system that is based on principles like multilateralism, truth, public interests, justice, legal rights and digital sovereignty.
We want internet without hegemony.

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Preserving Internet Unity: RIPE NCC's Commitment to Openness

The RIPE NCC fully upholds the principle of a whole and open Internet as being fundamental to its mission. We advocate for an unfragmented digital space that remains globally connected and interoperable. This vision underpins our efforts to support innovation, foster collaboration, and facilitate the free exchange of ideas, thus maintaining the Internet's role as a driver of social and economic progress. Our efforts in promoting open standards, transparent policy development, and community engagement are central to preserving the Internet's openness and integrity.

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adding safe and secure

A whole, open, free, safe and secure , globally connected, interoperable and stable Internet is vital for sustainable development,

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Re: A whole and open Internet

The Internet Rights and Principles Coalition (IRPC) fully supports the call for a whole and open Internet. Drawing on Article 1 of this coalition’s Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet:  the right to access the Internet is “increasingly indispensable for the full enjoyment of human rights”. Any restrictions to the access and use of the Internet must be lawful, necessary in a democratic society, proportionate, non-discriminatory and time-limited.  

The IRPC highlights the risks of further digital exclusion brought by Internet fragmentation and privatisation and that more needs to be done to  ensure that the Internet remains a global commons. 

The coalition notes the valuable work of the Dynamic Coalition on Internet Core Values in this regard and echo the call for a decentralised Internet, which is free of any centralised control, equal, ensures digital inclusion, supports public services and community-driven services,  provides quality of service and freedom of choice.

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Internet Society Comments on Section 1 “Whole and Open”

We agree on the goal of avoiding Internet fragmentation. However, we’re concerned about the increasing number of policies and decisions that can undermine the Internet’s open, global, interoperable nature. To help illustrate the types and effects of fragmentation and the kind of decisions that may lead to it, the Internet Society has developed a Fragmentation Explainer, which includes a range of examples of policies and decisions that could undermine the open, global Internet or that are already doing that. Our Internet impact assessment toolkit is also helpful in analyzing and understanding the consequences of Internet fragmentation. We believe that Internet impact assessments, inspired by analogous work in the environmental domain, are critical for all Internet-related decision-making. We invite all stakeholders to use these resources to analyze existing decisions and avoid the consequences that may harm to the Internet.

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on behalf of Greater Internet Freedom (GIF) Consortium

Submitted on behalf of the Greater Internet Freedom (GIF) Consortium run by Internews and uniting over 100 organizations with local, regional, and global reach across 8 regions in 39 countries

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To ensure that the Internet stays whole, open, free, globally connected, interoperable, stable and unfragmented, we recommend setting the following goals:


1.  

Governments should ensure that their laws do not unduly restrict the right to freedom of expression online. As enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights, restrictions to the right to freedom of expression should be provided by law, legitimate, and proportionate. Internet shutdowns, vague prohibitions of online content, and criminalization of legitimate expression on online platforms and websites are examples of how the governments across the world have restricted access to a whole and open internet in violation of international human rights law.


2.  

The telecommunication companies should improve their transparency reporting to ensure that their consumers understand how and why their services and data are impacted by government orders. This can be achieved, inter alia, by publishing timely and accurate information about government shutdown orders, takedown requests, and user data seizures. They should also set up mechanisms to transparently respond to government orders and to appeal orders that do not comply with domestic or international law. The IGF community should engage with telecommunication companies to monitor if and how companies observe this commitment and highlight positive examples of transparency reporting and appeals mechanisms during local, regional, and global IGF convenings.  


3.  

With the increased usage by the public of digital means to access services and resources, governments should ensure universal access to public resources and services. This necessitates fostering initiatives for their digitization, while simultaneously prioritizing data security and inclusivity. In conjunction with this commitment, governments should also ensure the implementation of robust security measures safeguarding the data and information used by these digital platforms.


4.  

Governments should invest their best efforts to bridge the digital divide and ensure equal access to resources and services for individuals regardless of their internet bandwidth limitations. Governments should also address gender, age, and geographic divides. In many countries, women still have limited access to mobile devices and internet compared to men. When introducing digital services, governments should pay special attention to vulnerable and marginalized groups of population, including the elderly, youth, and people with disabilities.


5.  

Governments should provide access to basic digital literacy and cybersecurity courses in local languages for the most vulnerable groups of population. By doing so, governments can empower citizens and bridge the gap towards a more equitable and efficient society.


6.  

Governments of island nations, developing and least developed countries should prioritize the connectivity and affordability of digital services to their population. Similarly, rural areas should receive necessary resources to improve internet connectivity.


7.  

Governments should envisage the right to affordable and inclusive internet access in their national legislation, as well as undertake a positive obligation to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is in place for full and unrestricted enjoyment of this right.

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2. Universal and inclusive

Since its inception, the Internet has evolved from an information exchange network to the platform for sustainable social and economic development we recognise it to be today. An open, stable, and trusted Internet is vital for the effective functioning of a diverse array of services, as varied as agriculture, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, or education, continuously reimagining the way people interact with their peers, businesses, and governments. However, despite the enormous progress in expanding connectivity in recent years, 2.7 billion people remain unconnected.

Connecting the unconnected and reconnecting the disconnected is not just about infrastructure and access to the Internet. Meaningful connectivity also requires focus on bridging the barriers to adoption, including creating and maintaining an enabling environment in which locally relevant, local language content is created, as well as adopting policies and tools designed to identify and address skills gaps. The enduring digital divides in access, application, and skills among and within countries emphasise the need for universal, affordable, and meaningful connectivity in order to reach the development potential of the Internet, ICTs, and digital technologies. Meaningful connectivity should also be secure, resilient and cost-effective.

In pursuit of these goals and of a human-centric, sustainable digitalization, all stakeholders must improve their understanding of how ICTs work in practice, including knowledge of the ICT ecosystem, the roles of the various stakeholders and relevant policy issues.

Frameworks that enable Internet connectivity should be based on light-touch ICT policy and regulations, encourage universal access through competition and the entry of new players into the ICT ecosystem to foster the emergence of innovative products, services, and business models. Policy and regulatory mechanisms should consider the value of the entire communications and digital services ecosystem. They should be non-discriminatory, technology-neutral, and supportive of innovative business models and the development of a wide range of technologies, standards, and system architectures. Successful efforts to deliver universal meaningful connectivity need to balance the needs of all stakeholders, should be grounded in evidence and data, should seek global harmonisation in terms of interoperability and standards, should enable the effective management of spectrum between all stakeholders, and must facilitate investment across the entire digital value chain.

We call on the stakeholders of the Internet to set goals to move towards universal meaningful connectivity for everyone, everywhere, to encourage the uptake of new technologies at need, and to address skills gaps.

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The Internet we want towards Universal and Inclusiveness

In the critical step towards building a digital future that benefits all, building a truly universal and inclusive internet demands ongoing dialogue, innovative solutions, and a commitment to shared values. By collaborating and setting ambitious but achievable goals, we can create a digital space that empowers everyone to thrive.

These goals and areas can help build more towards "the internet we want"

  1. Universal Access and Connectivity
  2. Inclusion and Diversity
  3. Content Accessibility and Multilingualism
  4. Openness and Participation
  5. Safety and Security

Stakeholder groups must be able to;

  • Ensure affordable and reliable internet access for all, particularly low-income populations and remote regions.
  • Empower marginalized communities to actively participate in shaping the internet and digital policy, ensuring diverse voice heard.
  • Promote the development and use of multilingual content and tools, fostering cultural understanding and knowledge exchange.
  • Encourage multistakeholder participation in internet governance, including civil society, technical communities, and private sector.
  • Promote transparency and accountability in online platforms and data practices, empowering users to control their information.
  • Protect user privacy and data security, implementing robust safeguards against misuse and exploitation.
  • Promote ethical and responsible use of artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies, mitigating potential risks to human rights and democracy.

These actions can be achieved through collaborative efforts where Governments, civil society, technical communities, and the p must work together to develop and implement effective solutions with youth advocates funding that can help address these ch the local level to the global level. 

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new wording for para 2 : Universal and inclusive

LINE 12:

The enduring digital divides in access, application, and skills among and within countries emphasise the need for universal, affordable, and meaningful connectivity in order to reach the development potential of the Internet, ICTs, and of all digital technologies. Meaningful connectivity should also be secure, resilient and cost-effective, and able to reach the whole of the population (including rural areas and the poorer). 

LINE 17: 

Policy and regulatory mechanisms should consider the value of the entire communications and digital services ecosystem but have to prevent the creation of monopolies.

LINE 25:

should seek global harmonisation in terms of interoperability and standards, should enable the effective management of spectrum between all stakeholders (preserving the free-to-air services for emergency communication), and must facilitate investment across the digital value chain. 

 

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Address barriers to access

To achieve a truly universal and inclusive internet, the IGF community should consider how women and marginalized communities such as persons with disabilities, refugees, and LGBTQ+ communities experience the internet, and what barriers to access they face which are often greater than the barriers for general population. Barriers to access go beyond insufficient ICT infrastructure or prohibitive costs. Factors such as online gender-based violence and harassment and inaccessible technologies have further hindered the promise of a universal and inclusive internet for all. The IGF Secretariat should consider including metrics that seek not only to promote the affordability of the internet access, but also take steps to reduce harassment online (which often translates into physical risks offline) and examine how to improve the accessibility of online content and affordability of assistive technologies, especially for persons with disabilities from Global Majority countries.

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Universal and inclusive

As we are approaching twenty years since the inception of the forum, Internet access is still an important topic for the Arab region and for many developing countries. Issues related to access are not limited only to the number of Internet users, but they became more complex to include the quality of service, bandwidth, reasonable cost for all, size of investment in Internet infrastructure and securing this infrastructure. Furthermore, finding alternative means and quick solutions for Internet access in areas of instability and natural disasters to alleviate the suffering of individuals in these areas remains a huge challenge for everyone.

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Comments from auDA (.au) in support

auDA supports the direction proposed by the Leadership Panel in this section. In our view, the primary goals should be:

  • To ensure affordable connectivity to the internet is accessible to all people everywhere, through the diverse and increasingly resilient physical connectivity models now available.

     
  • To ensure that all people everywhere have access to the training and support that would allow them to realise the internet’s promise, and to be equipped to deal with the risks that can come with internet access.

     
  • To encourage widespread adoption of universal access principles so that all online services and systems accept input in all scripts, making the online world more fully multilingual.

The first goal is in sight, and would require stakeholders (particularly governments, given their role) to support infrastructure rollout and to engage in targeted support for disadvantaged people and communities.

The second goal is underway but is a multi-generational effort. All stakeholders could engage in supporting training and other initiatives that help people learn about the opportunities the internet offers and how to use it securely and confidently.

The third goal requires action by all stakeholders offering online services and should simply be factored in as an essential component of all system renewal efforts. It could be helpful for the Leadership Panel to propose a date after which all stakeholders publicly commit that any service or product launched will be characterised by universal accessibility.

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Need for an Intersectional Gender Perspective & Accessibility

The IWW should encompass an intersectional gender perspective that recognizes and takes into consideration the different impact that digital technologies have on women, girls and people of diverse genders and sexualities. Currently, this section mentions the digital divide but does not address its disproportionate impact on women and girls, persons with disabilities, and those in vulnerable or marginalised situations. We encourage the drafters to ensure their perspectives are integrated into the final document.

 

Additionally, while we applaud the commitment to non-discrimination, we encourage the drafters to integrate the following as essential to ensuring an open and diverse model of internet governance: “the inclusion and integration of all perspectives, particularly those subject to discrimination or other forms of marginalisation.”

 

There is also a concerning lack of commitment to accessibility. This could be remedied through the addition of a commitment to ensure that internet governance processes and forums are “open, inclusive, accessible, consensus-driven, and transparent. This includes ensuring that stakeholders from the Global Majority and other under-represented groups in global public policymaking can fully participate in decision-making processes and providing adequate notice and funding and accessible accreditation systems.”

 

This section should also encourage all stakeholders to take a comprehensive and holistic approach to understanding the potential impact of regulatory frameworks on the internet. We encourage the drafters to include a recommendation for governments and policymakers “to meaningfully engage with all stakeholders in policy development, with the view to identifying threats to an open internet - particularly as these might be inadvertent.” This call to action would strengthen this section.

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3. Free-flowing and trustworthy - AFRINIC Contribution

Promote Ethical AI and Algorithmic Transparency: Advocate for the development and adoption of ethical guidelines and standards for the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms in Internet  services. Encourage transparency and accountability in algorithmic decision-making processes to mitigate biases, discrimination, and unintended consequences in the use of Internet.

 

Engage in Multistakeholder Dialogue: Increase Participation in multistakeholder forums, working groups, and initiatives that bring together governments, industry, civil society, and technical experts to discuss and address challenges related to online trust and safety. By fostering dialogue and collaboration among diverse stakeholders, we can develop holistic solutions that promote a free-flowing and trustworthy Internet for all.

Combat Disinformation and Misinformation: Collaborate with stakeholders from across sectors to develop and implement strategies for combating disinformation and misinformation online. This includes promoting media literacy, fact-checking initiatives, and platforms' efforts to reduce the spread of false information while respecting freedom of expression.

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2. Universal and inclusive - AFRINIC Contribution

Mobile Technology development: The widespread adoption of mobile technology should dramatically increase internet accessibility, enabling more people to connect to the digital world. This has been particularly transformative in developing countries, where mobile internet often represents the primary means of online access.

Broadband Connectivity expansion: The expansion of broadband infrastructure should improve internet quality and speed, crucial for modern applications and new technologies.

 

Promote Multi-Stakeholder Governance: Work to strengthen multi-stakeholder governance models that involve governments, industry, civil society, and technical experts in decision-making processes related to Internet governance. This ensures diverse perspectives are considered and fosters consensus-building on critical issues.

Engage in Capacity Building: conduct effective Programs aimed at enhancing digital literacy and skills, specifically in developing countries. This is  crucial for boosting new technologies adoption and enabling people to take full benefits from the Internet.

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Indian Researcher's Perspective on Inclusive Internet Access

The principle of universal and inclusive access to the Internet resonates deeply with India's commitment to leveraging the transformative power of digital technologies for sustainable social and economic development. India's success with its flagship movement "Digital India" that helped in accessing citizen centric services more easier addressing the digital divides in access, application, and skills, emphasizing the importance of universal, affordable, and meaningful connectivity to unlock the Internet's development potential securely, resiliently, and cost-effectively.

While at the global level achieving these goals and embrace a human-centric, sustainable digitalization, stakeholders will require a deep understanding of ICTs' practical workings based on the demand and resources, of the area, where the roles of various stakeholders, and pertinent policy issues will play key role. 

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Response from the Dynamic Coalition on Core Internet Values

The Dynamic Coalition on Core Internet Values supports these attributes. 

One Core Internet Values is: Global – The Internet is a global medium open and accessible to all, regardless of geography or nationality.

As for inclusivity, the Core Internet Value is: User-centric: End users maintain full control over the type of information, application, and service they want to share and access. By controlling the edge, end users are at the heart of the Internet.

But to be able to maintain this control everyone needs to be able to access it, including persons with disabilities. We point out the work undertaken by the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability in relation to this matter.

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Internet without hegemony based on fair International law.

Internet we want is the socio-technical ecosystem based on network of interrelated sovereign and regulated local networks that is trustworthy, ethical, lawful, neutral, fair, transparent, healthy, safe, secure, family friendly, development oriented, civilian environment designed for global public good and peaceful coexistence with international governance system that is based on principles like multilateralism, truth, public interests, justice, legal rights and digital sovereignty.

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Expanding Access: RIPE NCC's Drive for Internet Connectivity

We are committed to expanding Internet connectivity to achieve universal and inclusive access. Recognising the transformative power of the Internet, the RIPE NCC actively supports initiatives aimed at enhancing Internet infrastructure, such as the development of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) and the adoption of IPv6. We provide training to the technical community and collaborate with the academic community (such as through RACI, the RIPE Academic Cooperation Initiative). These efforts ensure more resilient, efficient, and accessible Internet services for all, bridging the digital divide and fostering inclusivity.

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The Internet Rights and…

The Internet Rights and Principles Coalition (IRPC) through the Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet and its 10 Internet Rights and Principles highlights importance of the principles of universality and equality, diversity and  the right to equal and universal access and use of the Internet, which underlines the vital need to ensure an inclusive Internet environment which is:

  • accessible to all,
  • promotes and encourages cultural and linguistic diversity,
  • promotes gender equality and
  • caters to the needs of minorities and vulnerable and  marginalised groups, including women, children, indigenous communities, homeless, refugees and displaced people, and people with disabilities.

The IRPC supports the call to bridge the digital divide. This can be done by  promoting an Internet that is free, open and non-discriminatory and  by ensuring  that techno, legal, political, socio-cultural and economic barriers are overcome to provide everyone with the meaningful access and participation in the online environment for a full realisation of human rights online.
 

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Internet Society Comments on Section 2 “Universal and Inclusive”

Efforts to expand Internet connectivity must remain a priority, as it is an essential tool for individuals to access information, communicate, and connect with others. The rapid expansion of Internet connectivity has only been possible due to the collaborative efforts of stakeholders. However, significant challenges remain in bridging the digital divide. Barriers to expanding Internet access range from lack of business interest and adequate policy and regulatory frameworks to challenging geographical or weather conditions. Some populations are offline and unlikely to be connected unless new connectivity models are used, such as Community Networks. We call on all stakeholders to redouble their efforts in favor of facilitating Internet access, including the enabling environment for complementary connectivity solutions.

Community networks are deployed and operated by communities to meet their needs. These do-it-yourself networks are a solution for many remote and rural areas and underserved urban areas with a limited business case for traditional Internet service providers. Such networks are an excellent example of the importance of preserving the Internet as a networking model since they leverage the open Internet to enable communities to connect themselves. This is crucial for expanding connectivity and promoting inclusion.

Further, connectivity efforts may face additional barriers without actions favoring Internet resiliency. A resilient Internet against disruptions –created by targeted decisions or due to non-intentional occurrences like natural disasters– is the foundation for contemporary societies that allow people a more prosperous and secure future. Pulse, an Internet Society initiative, offers the Internet Resilience Index as a resource to understand how countries and regions are progressing towards a more resilient Internet based on four pillars: infrastructure, performance, security, and market readiness. We invite all stakeholders to promote and adopt actions that advance Internet resilience in the four pillars.

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Submitted on behalf of the…

Submitted on behalf of the Greater Internet Freedom (GIF) Consortium run by Internews and uniting over 100 organizations with local, regional, and global reach across 8 regions in 39 countries.

 

To move towards universal meaningful connectivity for everyone, everywhere, to encourage the uptake of new technologies at need, and to address skills gaps, we recommend setting the following goals:


1.  

Governments have made considerable strides to increase connectivity in the past two decades. However, internet access remains out of reach for too many. To this end, governments should enact and enforce policies to connect the unconnected and make the internet more affordable. Thus, governments should prioritize innovative solutions to last mile connectivity, particularly in rural and underserved areas and work with the international community and the private sector to improve subsea cable infrastructure.


2.  

Governments of landlocked countries should seek opportunities to connect to submarine cables, thus diversifying access to broadband internet and reducing monopolies. 


3.  

Governments should commit to exploring ways to make the internet more affordable for poor and marginalized communities by subsidizing internet access costs and instituting price caps to prevent the telecommunications sector from price gouging consumers, as well as by establishing public-private partnerships that accelerate the deployment of affordable and accessible digital infrastructure.


4.  

Governments should collaborate with regional stakeholders to regularly assess connectivity, digital literacy, and access to online services, ensuring that indicators accurately reflect the region’s unique challenges and opportunities. Governments should also develop region-specific metrics and benchmarks to measure progress in closing the digital divide.


5.  

Governments should prevent tiered access to the internet by enacting and enforcing net neutrality legislation and regulation. Efforts by the private sector to circumvent net neutrality principles should be highlighted during IGF meetings. The IGF technical community and civil society should engage with the governments to explain the importance of net neutrality and ways to enforce this principle.


6.  

To design products that reflect the needs of a diverse society, including its most vulnerable and marginalized groups, the private sector should ensure inclusion and engage with critical voices. As such, the private sector has a responsibility to engage meaningfully with civil society organizations (CSOs), who hold invaluable insights into the needs and concerns of communities, providing a direct link to those impacted by products and services. By fostering collaboration and incorporating CSO input throughout the design, manufacture, and management processes, businesses can develop solutions that are socially responsible, sustainable, and meet the needs of the information society. This partnership benefits not only communities but also strengthens the legitimacy and ethical grounding of the private sector.


7.  

The private sector should increase inclusivity of their products and services by prioritizing user-centric design that considers needs of local communities, as well as local and regional context. Companies should not ignore the needs of consumers outside the Global North – instead, their policies, reports, and products should reflect the diversity of their users. New products, platforms, and sites should be tested for accessibility, including language accessibility, in different countries and regions to ensure people of all abilities can use their services, including in local languages.


8.  

When digitizing public services, governments should consider the digital divide in their country. Digitalization should not hinder access to these services, because some people stay behind in digital skills or because they do not have access to (affordable) internet. To overcome this obstacle, governments can offer offline alternatives to access public services, provide training for individuals lacking digital skills, and improve accessibility in remote areas.


9.  

The IGF community should commit to taking actionable, concrete steps to increase participation in internet governance from the Global South, including island nations. The Global South is not a homogenous and different countries and regions have unique obstacles that should be addressed through global digital cooperation. Thus, requiring that leadership positions are filled by representatives from all regions, level of economic development, and unique geographic conditions will better ensure that diverse views are considered and reflected in discussions and decision-making. IGF should also be cognizant that many countries in the Global South face barriers to meaningful participation due to lack of human and financial resources and, thus, should provide funding and capacity building opportunities to meet the needs of domestic policymakers, civil society, academics, and technical experts.  


10. 

Governments should localize digital literacy resources to reach all people in their countries, regardless of language, literacy level, ability, socio-economic status, or other factors that might otherwise prevent access to these resources. Governments should also identify specific skills needed for effective utilization of new technologies in their respective countries and in collaboration with other stakeholders develop training programs and educational initiatives tailored to the region’s economic and technological landscape.  


11. 

When the global internet governance community engages in capacity building efforts with local stakeholders in different regions across the world, they should ensure that rights-based norms are mainstreamed throughout the agenda and that there is correlation between human rights, free and open internet, inclusion, and sustainable development. Local civil society organizations and technical experts should be asked to review and provide feedback on the capacity building curricula to ensure they reflect local contexts.


12. 

Governments should establish collaborative dialogue between the policymakers, industry leaders, and regulatory bodies in their respective countries to enhance policy frameworks that promote competition, innovation, and investment in the ICT ecosystem. Governments should implement policies that support local startups and businesses, fostering a dynamic and competitive digital environment, as well as policies that promote the integration of technology in healthcare, education, and government services, with a specific focus on reaching underserved communities.

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3. Free-flowing and trustworthy

Cross-border data flows underpin many aspects of business today — cloud services, remote work, workplace collaboration, management of human resources, customer relationships and supply chains. They also underpin distance learning, telemedicine, the fight against cybercrime and child abuse online, fraud monitoring and prevention, investigation of counterfeit products, and a broad range of other activities. The processing and transfer of both personal and non-personal data are integral to many of these exchanges, making trust a vital element for resilient and sustainable economic growth and recovery.

However, there is an increasing lack of trust, or confidence, due to concerns that policy objectives—such as privacy, national security, consumer and human rights protection, access to data or even industrial competitiveness—would be compromised when data moves abroad. This lack of trust serves as the rationale for the adoption of an increasing number of data localisation and sovereignty measures, leading to fragmented national approaches to data governance and a growing number of restrictions that prohibit or considerably encumber cross-border data flows. Failure to address this lack of trust and to find an appropriate trust model risks impeding cross-border data flows, thereby limiting economies of scale and scope, driving inefficient, unsustainable investment, and restricting innovation.

Promoting policies that facilitate the adoption of applicable technologies and the global movement of data, including through governance models that allow for data-sharing for public good, is fundamental to harnessing their significant economic and social benefits. In particular, policymakers should support open cross-border data flows, while also assuring the protection of privacy, security, as well as intellectual property, and that those protections are implemented through a risk-based approach and in a manner that is transparent, non-discriminatory and in line with the principles of necessity and proportionality.

Trust is strengthened when governments adopt robust and comprehensive commitments to protect the rights and freedoms of individuals, including the fundamental right to privacy. In addition, cooperation between governments and stakeholders including business and multilateral organisations is needed to advocate for interoperable policy frameworks that would facilitate cross-border data flows, enabling data to be exchanged, shared, and used in a trusted manner, thereby aiming for high privacy standards.

We call on the stakeholders of the Internet to set goals to unlock the value of data flows for sustainable development of all and enshrine trust as the prerequisite for data sharing regimes, founded on the protection of data.

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New wording for para 3: Free-flowing

LINE 28: (conclusions)

We call on the stakeholders of the Internet to set goals to unlock the value of data flows for sustainable development of all and enshrine trust as the prerequisite for data sharing regimes, founded on the protection of data. The free-flow of data could then happen among countries that guarantee the same level of data protection to their citizens and companies.

 

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Free-flowing and trustworthy

With our life becoming more digital, misleading and false information has become a major concern for everyone. Its impact is not limited only to economic harm, but it extends to destabilize societies, harm civic peace, and threaten the lives of individuals. During the covid pandemic, it reached to the level where it harmed public health and caused the loss of lives. Therefore, it is important to adopt appropriate and acceptable mechanisms and frameworks that verify such information, its sources, and reduce its dissemination. These mechanisms and frameworks must take into consideration that the world is a mixture of cultures and ideas and that what is acceptable in one part of the world may not be acceptable in another part. Consequently, these mechanisms and frameworks must be neutral and not influenced by the ideology or thoughts of any group.

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auDA (.au) support of this

auDA supports the Leadership Panel’s direction. The internet is a global network of networks. It was not designed to follow national boundaries and there is no public interest in shaping it, or the services that operate using the internet, in such a fashion.

Concerns around security and privacy of data are important, and should be dealt with through multi-stakeholder processes that would see rising standards, and thus rising trust and confidence in every corner of the internet and for all those offering services online.

Likewise, governments in particular could collaborate under IGF auspices to drive shared ideas and establish norms for consumer protection approaches. Doing so could drive compatible or somewhat harmonised regulatory and policy approaches. This is important to help make sure that national concerns and priorities can be achieved in a way that does not compromise a broadly free-flowing and trustworthy internet environment.

The alternative approach of increasingly national silos with specific regulation, lack of cross-border data flows and decreasing trust, would be a poor alternative option. It would lead to fewer opportunities for people in any given place, and overall higher costs and less efficiency. That is a high price to pay, and it is a price we can choose not to pay if we work collectively to mitigate current privacy and security risks and concerns.

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Stronger Statement on the Right to Privacy

This section would benefit from a stronger statement on the right to privacy, such as by including the following: “States should recognize the right to privacy as a universal, indivisible, interdependent human right that applies across borders and media and is intrinsically linked to the effective protection of personal data. This could be complemented through the inclusion of the following recommendation: “ that the collection, processing, sharing and use of personal data be subject to personal data protection regulation that is in line with international human rights law standards.” The IWW should also emphasise that the adoption and implementation of data protection regulation should be a prerequisite for the adoption of applicable technologies and the global movement of data; these protections are even more important in light of the vast capabilities of generative AI to process personal data.

 

This section would also be strengthened by adding the following: “It is important for all stakeholders - especially policymakers - to recognise the importance of technical solutions to protecting the confidentiality of digital communications, such as encryption and anonymity, which are critical for the enjoyment of all human rights offline and online.” We would recommend adding this sentence at the end of the paragraph on trust and the right to privacy. 

 

Additionally, we suggest adding the following sentence to the call to action:  “We encourage all stakeholders to not seek to influence technical protocols and standards or their implementation in a way that would impede the free flow of information globally or otherwise act in ways that do not promote and encourage respect for human rights and/or facilitate human rights violations and abuses.”

 

To the paragraph on “....cooperation between governments and stakeholders including business and multilateral organisations,” we would suggest noting that “cooperation is needed among different stakeholders not only for interoperable policy frameworks that would facilitate cross-border data flows, but also to ensure that these security principles do not inadvertently limit the global, open nature of the Internet.”

 

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4. Safe and secure - AFRINIC Contribution

Promote Encryption: Advocate for the widespread adoption of strong encryption standards to protect the privacy and security of online communications. Encryption helps safeguard sensitive information from unauthorized access and surveillance, thereby fostering trust in online interactions.

 

Strengthen Cybersecurity Measures: Work to improve cybersecurity practices and resilience across the Internet ecosystem, including networks, devices, and applications. This involves promoting best practices such as regular software updates, secure coding standards, and threat intelligence sharing to prevent cyberattacks and data breaches.

 

Empower Users with Privacy Tools: Educate users about privacy-enhancing tools and technologies that enable them to control their personal data online. This includes promoting the use of virtual private networks (VPNs), ad blockers, and privacy-focused browsers to enhance users' control over their online privacy and security. Again, Africa is lagging behind so a dedicated progarm has to be customised to address this gap, with the help of Af-STARS

 

Legislation and Regulation: Advocate for the enactment and enforcement of comprehensive legislation and regulations aimed at protecting users' rights, privacy, and security online. This includes laws addressing cybersecurity, data protection, online harassment, and digital rights.

International Cooperation: Promote international collaboration and cooperation among governments, law enforcement agencies, and relevant stakeholders to combat cybercrime, address jurisdictional challenges, and harmonize legal frameworks across borders.

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3. Free-flowing and trustworthy - AFRINIC Contribution

Promote Ethical AI and Algorithmic Transparency: Advocate for the development and adoption of ethical guidelines and standards for the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms in Internet  services. Encourage transparency and accountability in algorithmic decision-making processes to mitigate biases, discrimination, and unintended consequences in the use of Internet.

 

Engage in Multistakeholder Dialogue: Increase Participation in multistakeholder forums, working groups, and initiatives that bring together governments, industry, civil society, and technical experts to discuss and address challenges related to online trust and safety. By fostering dialogue and collaboration among diverse stakeholders, we can develop holistic solutions that promote a free-flowing and trustworthy Internet for all.

Combat Disinformation and Misinformation: Collaborate with stakeholders from across sectors to develop and implement strategies for combating disinformation and misinformation online. This includes promoting media literacy, fact-checking initiatives, and platforms' efforts to reduce the spread of false information while respecting freedom of expression.

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Importance of Trust in Cross-Border Data Flows

As an Indian researcher engaged in internet governance and security studies, the third principle highlighted by the IGF Leadership Panel—fostering a free-flowing and trustworthy digital environment remains more a question of deep study in today's interconnected world, cross-border data flows are pivotal for various business operations, distance learning, telemedicine, and combating cybercrime, among numerous other activities. However, a growing lack of trust in these data exchanges poses a substantial challenge. Concerns regarding compromised policy objectives, such as privacy, national security, and consumer rights, have led to the adoption of data localization measures, contributing to fragmented national approaches and hindering cross-border data flows. It remains imperative to address this lack of trust through the promotion of policies that facilitate the global movement of data while ensuring privacy, security, and intellectual property protection.

Developing nations relying on e-governance for citizen services can involve Indian policymakers to study for open cross-border data flows, incorporating a risk-based approach, transparency, non-discrimination, and alignment with principles of necessity and proportionality, thus gathering the required trust for robust commitments to protect individual rights, especially the right to privacy, and collaboration between stakeholders. India, with its commitment to a multi-stakeholder approach, stands ready to contribute to these discussions and endeavors on the global stage.

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Response from the Dynamic Coalition on Core Internet Values

The Dynamic Coalition on Core Internet Values supports an Internet that is both Free-flowing and trustworthy. 

One particular concept which needs to be associated with any description of “The Internet We Want” is the concept of a layered approach. The text in this section describes uses of the Internet and its services - from cloud services to databases, communications and information gathering - all encompassed by the general nomenclature of “data flows”. It is important that this all relates to a higher layer on how the Internet is used than on what architecture the Internet uses to connect everyone together. This layered approach helps both lawmakers and participants to understand that the challenge they are addressing is often not the Internet itself, but the use of the Internet - a challenge that is part of a wider societal problem that cannot be addressed only with an “Internet solution”. Trust needs to be achieved both on and off the Internet.

We insist on this point, already made in the introduction. Not only must governance proceed layer by layer; as much as possible, problems in each layer should be solved within the layer and, when needing recourse to another layer, layer crossings must be clearly identified and their consequences be taken into account (e.g. blocking and filtering IP addresses in order to counter cybercrime.) Further consideration must be given to the fact that much of what people want to be "governed on the Internet" actually happens at the edge, in computational services delivered by means of the Internet, such as the delivery of video and film content, games, financial services, and of course crime and political interference. 

These intrinsically non-Internet problems must be solved in their respective layers and environments, and in a combination of domestic/national jurisdiction and global, multi-stakeholder collaboration.

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Internet without hegemony based on fair international law.

Internet we want is the socio-technical ecosystem based on network of interrelated sovereign and regulated local networks that is trustworthy, ethical, lawful, neutral, fair, transparent, healthy, safe, secure, family friendly, development oriented, civilian environment designed for global public good and peaceful coexistence with international governance system that is based on principles like multilateralism, truth, public interests, justice, legal rights and digital sovereignty.

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Securing Trust: RIPE NCC's Vision for a Free-Flowing Internet

RIPE NCC champions the principle of data free flow with trust, emphasising the importance of a secure and trustworthy Internet. We work towards enabling a digital environment where data can be shared freely, fostering innovation and development while also ensuring robust data protection and privacy standards. Our commitment to routing security, through initiatives like Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI), is a testament to our dedication to a trustworthy Internet ecosystem.

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This section is completely flawed

As per the comment I left on the top paragraph, I find the logic of this section entirely flawed. Internet policies should be built around end-users, not around the need of businesses (or governments) to track people and extract data to suit their business models and objectives.

By the way, governments are often prey to global companies that offer to gather data about their citizens and then provide insights useful for "development" - reality is that they often get a bit of reports but most of the value will stick with the private sector partner, making the country dependent on foreign technology and suppliers and allowing other countries to monitor the national economy and society in depth.

There is no need for "cross-border data flows" to do telemedicine. For all the law enforcement needs that are mentioned, the need is for controlled and confidential exchanges between national authorities, not for open and unconstrained "cross-border data flows". Most of these arguments are just excuses.

Moreover, "cross-border data flows" on a global scale entail unnecessary long distance communications that are a waste of energy and resources. Minimizing the quantity of data and the distance they travel is also necessary for environmental sustainability. This is also not recognized in the current text.

In the end, data localisation laws are an essential tool to protect the privacy of citizens in privacy-friendly countries (e.g. the EU ones) from attacks and surveillance by actors in other parts of the world, and now for training AIs that will then be sold to them as a service, destroying their jobs or making them economically dependent on the usual global oligopolists.

I think it is impossible to just fix this line by line - you should just rewrite it entirely starting from the basic principles of data minimization and control by individuals (I'd be happy to help).

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Internet Society Comments on 3 “Free-Flowing and Trustworthy"

It is important to recognize that the success of the Internet comes from a few fundamental principles, which include worldwide accessibility and the ability to share data across borders securely. Protecting voluntary interconnections across a general-purpose network that allows for the free flow of data is crucial to maintaining this global network. However, this approach may be challenged by a lack of adequate Internet infrastructure that improves traffic flow and Internet service, such as Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)—facilities where networks can interconnect with one another—IXPs also serve as focal points for localizing traffic—their use lowers the cost and latency of traffic exchange and increases the resilience of the Internet ecosystem. We call on all stakeholders to create an enabling environment for interconnection. By ensuring that Internet Exchange Points can be established and sustained, it is possible to make Internet access cheaper and more reliable for users across the globe. The 50/50 Vision for Internet traffic is an Internet Society initiative that illustrates how different stakeholders can join efforts to facilitate the conditions for such an environment.

Moreover, end-to-end encryption is a vital factor in increasing trustworthiness on the Internet. It supports many sensitive online activities, such as securing online transactions in the finance industry, safeguarding crucial health information online, and protecting users' information from cybercriminals and state actors. According to the Internet Society's Pulse, 96 percent of the top 1,000 websites worldwide support HTTPS. Millions of users worldwide use end-to-end encrypted messaging applications, and more services have enabled encryption by default, leading to greater public awareness of encryption as an important security tool. However, the Internet Society is concerned about threats to end-to-end encryption through policy approaches to address crime, terrorism, hate speech, and harmful content online. They argue that having access to encrypted content is necessary for safety and public security, but weakening or breaking encryption creates vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malicious actors, which will have major negative impacts on security and safety on the Internet. We encourage all stakeholders to protect users’ online interactions by promoting the widespread use of encryption, especially end-to-end encryption, across the Internet. 

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Submitted on behalf of the…

Submitted on behalf of the Greater Internet Freedom (GIF) Consortium run by Internews and uniting over 100 organizations with local, regional, and global reach across 8 regions in 39 countries.

To unlock the value of data flows for sustainable development of all and enshrine trust as the prerequisite for data sharing regimes, founded on the protection of data, we recommend setting the following goals:

Governments that still lack comprehensive and up-to-date privacy and data protection laws and regulations should prioritize adoption and implementation of such legislation, and establish robust enforcement mechanisms.

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4. Safe and secure

Cyberspace is now an intrinsic part of every country’s development, creating enormous opportunities and enabling economic and societal growth. At the same time, the indispensable nature of cyberspace in day-to-day human activities also generates growing vulnerabilities. Rapid digitalisation is testing the resilience of cyber infrastructures. The escalating vulnerabilities resulting from disparate states of cyber hygiene hinder the effectiveness of countermeasures against cyber attacks, threatening to thwart the potential economic impact of ICT and digital technologies.

The borderless nature of the Internet and the associated digital economy, the increased cyber-physical interdependency of IoT, and cybercrime paint a complex legal and operational picture for cybersecurity. A collective, collaborative multistakeholder approach is required to find meaningful ways and effective solutions to mitigate local, cross-border and global cybersecurity concerns.

To empower and protect societies from increased cybersecurity risks, the international multistakeholder community should explore practical ways to mainstream cybersecurity capacity building (CCB) into broader digital development efforts. This is also essential for building resilient societies and promoting a whole-of-society approach to dealing with threats emanating from cyberspace.

We call on the stakeholders of the Internet to set goals to establish and implement robust frameworks for high levels of cybersecurity, and strong recommendations for legal structures, practices, and cross-border cooperation to combat cybercrime.

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Effects of Low Price of Non-targeted Web Traffic

While governmental agencies have been focusing on the topic of targeted onlline advertising and the subsequent privacy concerns, the  topic of non-targeted traffic has been left completely out of the discussion for web safety and the ethics of advertising.
 

The sale and purchase of non-targeted web traffic for the purpose of advertising has created a massive financial incentive for rampant online advertising of unregulated health products, illegitimate retailers, borderline-legal scams and predatory industries such as online gambling. These types of malignant advertisers, including many ones involved in criminal activity, depend on the low price of non-targeted traffic to continue their operations which often prey on vulnerable web users such as seniors and underage users.

A proposal as seen at https://nocheaptraffic.com suggests that the reallocation of funds from massive governmental advertising budgets could raise the price of non-targeted traffic and remove the financial incentive for the advertising of unregulated products, criminal activities and malware. 

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New wording for para 4: Safe and secure

LINE 8:

The borderless nature of the Internet and the associated digital economy, the increased cyber-physical interdependency of IoT, disinformation and cybercrime paint a complex legal and operational picture for cybersecurity. A collective, collaborative multistakeholder approach is required to find meaningful ways and effective solutions to mitigate local, cross-border and global cybersecurity concerns. 

LINE 11: 

his is also essential for building resilient sustainable societies and promoting a whole-of-society approach to dealing with threats emanating from cyberspace, especially during elections times.  

LINE 17 (conclusions):

We call on the stakeholders of the Internet to set goals to establish and implement robust frameworks for high levels of cybersecurity, and strong recommendations for legal structures, practices, and cross-border cooperation to combat cybercrime. Principles of the Open internet will apply to countries that are committed to this system.

 

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Include perspectives from the local private sector

To assess how to ensure the digital economy remains safe and secure, multistakeholder consultations should include perspectives from local business communities from across the Global Majority, such as small and medium-sized enterprises, business associations, and chambers of commerce. These local private sector actors are important drivers of the ever-growing digital economy yet are largely excluded from crucial conversations on internet governance and cybersecurity. 

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Safe and Secure

Cybersecurity is becoming increasingly important with the growth in internet use. Internet users are increasingly exposed to cyber risks. Economic losses from cyber risks are in the increase too. With time, we have experienced how cyber risks evolve into new patterns that we did not experience before. There is an urgent need for international and regional mechanisms to confront cyber risks and enhance cooperation in this field among all stakeholders. The need for an international convention similar to the “Budapest Convention on Cybercrime” is becoming more of an urgent matter that requires the cooperation of everyone.

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auDA (.au) supports this goal

auDA broadly supports the Leadership Panel’s direction. We propose adding two areas of focus:

  • Embedding Secure-by-Design principles into the creation of all internet-connected devices, such that they are less likely to become security risks over time
  • Generating momentum - particularly in the small business and small organisation sectors - towards more effective maintenance and management of software and services, so that for example, patching and updating key systems happens more often.

Both would be best achieved by effective and well-resourced multi-stakeholder forums that bring all the relevant expertise and perspectives together so that all stakeholders are informed and can share commitments to act. Trying this approach is justified given the failure of the current global approach to deliver the levels of security that are needed.

Secure-by-Design: https://www.cyber.gov.au/resources-business-and-government/governance-and-user-education/secure-by-design#
 

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Development, Data Privacy, and Int'l Peace & Security

The IWW should reiterate that international law, including the UN Charter, international humanitarian law and the international human rights law apply to the maintenance of international peace and security - including in cyberspace. The IWW should also make reference to the acquis of responsible state behaviour in cyberspace, and to the establishment and operationalisation of a Cyber Programme of Action where relevant. As a call to action, the IWW should integrate the following: “We encourage all stakeholders to commit to supporting the effective implementation of the acquis, and of international law which underpins the acquis and international peace and security in cyberspace.”

 

The IWW should also recognise the asymmetries and inequalities that underlie the global digital economy, and emphasise the need for investment in digital technology for the public good by ensuring that all peoples can benefit, including groups subject to historic and structural forms of discrimination and persons in vulnerable situations. The IWW should subsequently recognise that human rights and sustainable development are not competing values but mutually reinforcing: it should reaffirm that human rights is an enabler of sustainable development – noting that the goals and targets correspond with states’ existing human rights obligations – and that attainment of the Agenda 2030 can only be achieved through the effective realisation of human rights. The IWW should also incorporate a commitment to mainstream cyber resilience across international development programming and the integration of cyber capacity building community of practise with the development field.

 

Finally, the IWW should reiterate that the protection of personal data is intrinsically linked to the right to privacy, and emphasise the importance of the adoption and implementation of comprehensive data protection frameworks The IWW should also emphasise the important role data protection safeguards play in enabling effective cybersecurity and of peace and security in the use of data-driven technologies.

 

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Safe and secure - AFRINIC Contribution

Promote Encryption: Advocate for the widespread adoption of strong encryption standards to protect the privacy and security of online communications. Encryption helps safeguard sensitive information from unauthorized access and surveillance, thereby fostering trust in online interactions.

 

Strengthen Cybersecurity Measures: Work to improve cybersecurity practices and resilience across the Internet ecosystem, including networks, devices, and applications. This involves promoting best practices such as regular software updates, secure coding standards, and threat intelligence sharing to prevent cyberattacks and data breaches.

 

Empower Users with Privacy Tools: Educate users about privacy-enhancing tools and technologies that enable them to control their personal data online. This includes promoting the use of virtual private networks (VPNs), ad blockers, and privacy-focused browsers to enhance users' control over their online privacy and security. Again, Africa is lagging behind so a dedicated progarm has to be customised to address this gap, with the help of Af-STARS

 

Legislation and Regulation: Advocate for the enactment and enforcement of comprehensive legislation and regulations aimed at protecting users' rights, privacy, and security online. This includes laws addressing cybersecurity, data protection, online harassment, and digital rights.

International Cooperation: Promote international collaboration and cooperation among governments, law enforcement agencies, and relevant stakeholders to combat cybercrime, address jurisdictional challenges, and harmonize legal frameworks across borders.

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Embracing Secure and Inclusive Internet Governance

The fourth principle articulated by the IGF Leadership Panel for "The Internet We Want," focusing on a safe and secure digital space remains crucial recognizing cyberspace's intrinsic role in national development and societal growth. The escalating threats posed by cyber attacks, often exacerbated by varying states of cyber hygiene, underscore the critical need for effective countermeasures. The borderless nature of the internet and the complex interdependency of the cyber-physical landscape necessitate a collective, collaborative multi-stakeholder approach to address local, cross-border, and global cybersecurity concerns. India being acutely aware of the enormous opportunities it brings, coupled with the growing vulnerabilities resulting from rapid digitalization, through its active engagement in international forums like the Internet Governance Forum and ICANN, supports such collaborative efforts.

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Response from the Dynamic Coalition on Core Internet Values

The Dynamic Coalition on Core Internet Values’s work in 2017 gave rise to an additional Core Internet Value which was required due to the evolution of the Internet itself: Freedom from harm. 

The Internet needed to become a much safer place and the people that designed it did not foresee misuse of devices. Malware is a technical challenge and there is difficulty in applying software updates across the network, especially for the Internet of Things (“IoT”) - and the Dynamic Coalition on Internet of Things (DC-IoT) excellent work on standards relating to this topic is to be noted.

The DC-CIV proposal of Freedom from Harm (“FFH”), addressed Internet safety issues by suggesting Transparency in development of safe devices, standards development to make the Internet safer, development of these safer practices in a multi-stakeholder way, coordination between governments and organisations, and certification / good practice. We would recommend that elements of this “Freedom from Harm” are included in the above paragraph. As Freedom from Harm is essentially and traditionally a function of society and States, we call on a risk-based approach that starts from the bottom and involves other actors as necessary, with efficacious and efficient institutional design, and the participation of all stakeholders.

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Internet whitout hegemony based on fair International Law.

Internet we want is the socio-technical ecosystem based on network of interrelated sovereign and regulated local networks that is trustworthy, ethical, lawful, neutral, fair, transparent, healthy, safe, secure, family friendly, development oriented, civilian environment designed for global public good and peaceful coexistence with international governance system that is based on principles like multilateralism, truth, public interests, justice, legal rights and digital sovereignty.

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Internet without hegemony based on fair International Law.

Internet we want is the socio-technical ecosystem based on network of interrelated sovereign and regulated local networks that is trustworthy, ethical, lawful, neutral, fair, transparent, healthy, safe, secure, family friendly, development oriented, civilian environment designed for global public good and peaceful coexistence with international governance system that is based on principles like multilateralism, truth, public interests, justice, legal rights and digital sovereignty.

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Fortifying the Net: RIPE NCC's Cybersecurity Imperative

Ensuring a safe and secure online environment is paramount for the RIPE NCC. We advocate for increased efforts in cybersecurity, recognising its critical role in protecting infrastructure and users alike. Our involvement in developing and promoting security best practices, alongside fostering collaboration among stakeholders, is aimed at enhancing the Internet's overall security posture, safeguarding it against evolving threats.

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Legal enforcement for cross border cybersecurity matters

It is not sufficient to have cybercrime conventions to handle and obtain support for cross border cybercrimes. Such conventions does not enforce signatories to provide legal assistance, support for cybercrimes evidence collection and investigations. Most of the time to obtain personally identifiable information  (PII) related to cybercrimes it is required to go through mutual legal assistance treaties (MLATs) disregarding such conventions.

If there is an international cyber law, the above issues can be resolved and it will help the countries to investigate and prosecute cybercrimes in a timely and efficient manner with mandatory cross border support.

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A safe and secure online environment for all

The Internet Rights and Principles Coalition (IRPC) supports the call for a safe and secure online environment. The Coalition’s Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet highlights in Article 3 "Right to Liberty and Security on the Internet" the importance of ensuring  the  “protection against all forms of crime committed on or using the Internet” and “from services and protocols that threaten the technical functioning of the Internet”.

The IRPC notes and fully supports the Dynamic Coalition on Core Internet Values  proposal of Freedom from Harm (“FFH”) and its suggestion of “Transparency in development of safe devices, standards development to make the Internet safer, development of these safer practices in a multi-stakeholder way, coordination between governments and organisations, and certification / good practice.”

The IRPC also highlights the crucial need for further multistakeholder collaboration to support, protect and empower minority, disadvantaged and vulnerable groups which are at higher risk of being targeted and harmed by online crime.

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Internet Society Comments on Section 4 “Safe and Secure”

We agree on the need to explore and discuss the implementation of robust frameworks for a safe and secure Internet. One of the challenges facing these initiatives is an increased appetite to maintain closed discussions without securing full participation from all stakeholders, including the technical community. The members of the technical community are indispensable in the discussions, as they’re directly responsible for developing and operating crucial parts of the Internet. They can contribute with their experience and insights to avoid compromising the Internet’s critical properties that have contributed to shaping the Internet we know today. 

The development of the Internet has been based on voluntary cooperation and collaboration. Both aspects have remained essential factors for the Internet’s prosperity and potential. That’s why the success story of the Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS) is an important achievement. MANRS is a global, community-driven initiative to improve the security and resilience of the Internet’s global routing system, Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). With support from the Internet Society, MANRS was created in 2014 by a small group of network operators who recognized the need to join forces to improve the system. MANRS has grown from nine original operators to a community of more than 1,000 participants within a decade.

The innovation fueled by the Internet would not be possible without increasing the security and trustworthiness of online interactions. Enabling technologies such as HTTPS and DNS-over-HTTPS, DNS-over-TLS, have helped ensure users can confidently bring themselves into online environments, from social life to health care to all kinds of economic interactions. Internet Society Pulse curates indicators of DNSSEC adoption by the registries for country-code domain names and data on worldwide adoption of TLS1.3 and HTTP/3. We call on all stakeholders to promote developing and using technologies and practices that enhance Internet security and safety.

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Submitted on behalf of the…

Submitted on behalf of the Greater Internet Freedom (GIF) Consortium run by Internews and uniting over 100 organizations with local, regional, and global reach across 8 regions in 39 countries.

To establish and implement robust frameworks for high levels of cybersecurity, and strong recommendations for legal structures, practices, and cross-border cooperation to combat cybercrime, we recommend setting the following goals:


1.  

The IGF community should undertake efforts to increase the capacity of stakeholders in cybersecurity. This can be achieved by lowering the barrier of entry for stakeholders to engage with matters relating to cybersecurity, for example: making knowledge about cybersecurity more accessible by simplifying overly technical language and translating cybersecurity policies and frameworks into national languages; undertaking collaborative efforts particularly between Global North and Global South countries; ensuring that cybersecurity protocols and regulations are grounded in respect for human rights, such as the right to privacy.


2.  

All stakeholders should tailor cybersecurity capacity-building programs to address the specific challenges faced by different countries, ensuring accessibility for those with limited resources and technical capabilities. In many countries rapidly progressing digitalization lacks nationwide awareness campaigns about potential negative consequences of uninformed decisions. Governments should also promote cybercrime incident reporting by end-users, which will improve actions directed on combatting cybercrimes. By empowering individuals and organizations with cybersecurity knowledge, we foster a culture of online safety and responsible data practices.


3.  

Ensuring a truly safe and secure internet requires ensuring inclusivity and empowering marginalized communities, including but not limited to women, indigenous peoples, and LGBTQ+ people. This includes incorporating their unique challenges and obstacles in navigating the internet into design of safety measures. One way this can be achieved is by ensuring meaningful representation of members from marginalized communities in internet governance mechanisms and bodies, as well as ensuring their meaningful participation in internet policy-making processes at the local, regional, and global levels.


4.  

Governments and private companies should commit to refraining from the use of spyware and engaging in extra-legal or disproportionate targeted surveillance practices.


5.     

Governments should ensure that their national policy and legal cybersecurity frameworks remain adaptive and effective and that they do not include vague provisions or disproportionate measures that unduly restrict fundamental human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression and privacy. When adopting sectoral regulations, policies, and practices on combating cyber extremism and terrorism, governments should adhere to the UDHR and ICCPR, including the principles of legality, necessity, and proportionality. Derogation of rights during emergencies is not absolute.


6.  

Governments should undertake multistakeholder approach when designing their cybersecurity policies with the aim to enhance cooperation and skills sharing, which is a cornerstone of effective prevention of cybercrimes.

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5. Rights-respecting

Human rights must be respected online and offline. Governments are responsible to ensure that human rights are respected, protected, and promoted, while businesses and digital service providers are obliged to comply with all applicable laws and to respect human rights. Governments must refrain from internet shutdowns. Any restriction of access to the Internet must be lawful, legitimate, necessary, proportional, and non-discriminatory.

All stakeholder groups have the responsibility to promote transparency, accountability, and human rights due diligence throughout the lifecycle of existing, new and emerging technologies. We have learned that certain behaviours on the Internet can be very harmful to our societies. The Internet we want will protect us from them.

A human rights-based approach to Internet governance is required in order to realize the full benefits of the Internet for all, including the rights to education, to participation in public and cultural life or to access to information, as well as empowering businesses of all sizes. To that end, standards development organisations should introduce processes to ensure due consideration of human rights in their work, including by inviting participation of experts from all stakeholder communities.

We call on the stakeholders of the Internet to set goals to ensure a human rights-based approach to Internet governance, and to promote human rights in the digital space.

If we are to achieve the Internet we want, we have significant multistakeholder work ahead of us, including collaboration with existing and ongoing initiatives.

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New wording for para 5: Rights respecting

LINE 3:

Human rights must be respected online and offline. Governments are responsible to ensure that human rights are respected, protected, and promoted, while businesses and digital service providers are obliged to comply with all applicable laws and to respect human rights, including the one of the citizens to be properly informed. Governments must refrain from internet shutdowns. 

LINE 14: 

To that end, standards development organisations should introduce processes to ensure due consideration of human rights in their work, including by inviting participation of experts from all stakeholder communities, with the aim to deliver HR compliant-by-design standards.

LINE 18:

If we are to achieve the Internet we want, we have significant multistakeholder work ahead of us, including collaboration with existing and ongoing initiatives, starting from WSIS follow up and the GDC, plus all the others concerning Artificial Intelligence.

 

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Embed rights considerations into the internet governance process

Multistakeholder consultations that include perspectives from Global Majority stakeholders from civil society, the local private sector, and independent media are essential in achieving a rights-respecting digital space. However, these important stakeholders are often absent or underrepresented during the development and implementation of national legislation and regional frameworks that impact the future of the internet and human rights on- and offline. Similarly, international technical bodies on internet governance should provide more opportunities for inclusive consultations across diverse stakeholder groups. Therefore, we recommend that the IGF Secretariat considers including goals for both governments and international multilateral organizations to expand opportunities for multistakeholder consultations on how to achieve a digital space that respects human rights in the digital age. 

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auDA supports this goal (.au)

auDA supports the Leadership Panel’s contention that human rights apply offline and online. The human rights framework is substantially intergovernmental in character, given the nature of such frameworks are grounded in law and protected by the state (noting also the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights).

In many areas of life, it is the technology industry and the Standards Development Organisations (SDOs) that underpin the design and deployment of new and emerging technology. It is essential that, in pursuing innovation, human rights centered designs are the norm and appropriate human rights guardrails are included.  Where they are not, new and emerging technologies can pose an increased risk to human rights.

It may be that internet governance and human rights stakeholders should be convened (under the auspices of the IGF) to consider the issue of how the internet governance system – not just SDOs but, the IGF processes, WSIS, and indeed all parts of the community – can better integrate human rights-supporting approaches in their work, and come to a common understanding of how the human rights framework can best be included and fully implemented online.

Given the rapid pace of change in technology, including those that rely on the internet, this may need to be an ongoing dialogue over time.

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Ensure Grounding in IHRL and Frameworks

This section would be strengthened if it begins with reference to the “universal respect for, and observance and protection of, all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, other relevant instruments relating to human rights, and international law" and then followed by “any restriction of access to the Internet must be lawful, legitimate, necessary, proportional, and non-discriminatory.” This could be in addition to the point that “Governments are responsible to ensure that human rights are respected, protected, and promoted while businesses and digital service providers are obliged to comply with all applicable laws and to respect human rights.”

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5. Rights-respecting - AFRINIC Contribution

Legal Frameworks and Protections: Advocate for the development and enforcement of legal frameworks that protect fundamental human rights in the digital space, including the rights to privacy, freedom of expression, access to information, and non-discrimination. This includes updating existing laws and international treaties to address emerging digital issues and ensuring that digital rights are upheld both online and offline.

 

Digital Privacy and Data Protection: Promote strong data protection laws and regulations that safeguard individuals' privacy rights and limit the collection, use, and retention of personal data by governments and corporations. Advocate for transparency and accountability in data processing practices, including clear consent mechanisms, data minimization, and user control over personal information.

 

Multi-Stakeholder Engagement: Facilitate multi-stakeholder dialogue and collaboration among governments, civil society organizations, technology companies, academia, and other stakeholders to address complex digital rights issues and develop inclusive, rights-based solutions. Support initiatives that promote transparency, accountability, and meaningful participation in decision-making processes related to digital policy and governance.

International Human Rights Standards: Uphold and promote international human rights standards and principles in the digital space, including those articulated in treaties such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Advocate for the application of human rights principles in digital policymaking, regulation, and practice at the national, regional, and international levels.

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Embracing a Rights-Respecting Internet Future

In alignment with the fifth principle set by the IGF Leadership Panel, emphasizing a rights-respecting digital space, it is imperative that human rights must be upheld both online and offline. Governments play a vital role in ensuring the protection, promotion, and respect of human rights, while businesses and digital service providers must adhere to applicable laws and uphold these rights. The unequivocal rejection of internet shutdowns and the insistence that any restriction on internet access must be lawful, legitimate, necessary, proportional, and non-discriminatory underscores the commitment to safeguarding individual liberties leading to an internet wanted by all. Recognizing the potential harm certain behaviors on the Internet can inflict on societies, the desired digital future prioritizes protective measures. Embracing a human rights-based approach to internet governance is deemed essential for unlocking the Internet's full benefits, including the rights to education, participation in public and cultural life, access to information, and empowerment for businesses of all sizes. As part of this commitment, standards development organizations are urged to incorporate processes ensuring due consideration of human rights in their work, actively inviting experts from diverse stakeholder communities to contribute to a rights-respecting Internet.

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Response from the Dynamic Coalition on Core Internet Values

The Core Internet Value of User Centricity places the end user at the centre of the Internet’s purpose. In the face of all the challenges to the Internet’s Core Values, the only way to keep the end user at the centre of the Internet is to follow a human rights-based approach to Internet Governance, Coordination and Development. Human rights are fundamental to keep the Internet serving humanity and the greater good. As stated in our introductory comment, extreme care is needed in order to preserve the entire, global, interoperable, open Internet as a part, and not in opposition, to all other human rights. The problem of conflict of rights must be transformed into one of coexistence of rights over an Internet infrastructure that continues to evolve, adapt, and provide benefits to all.

A like-minded initiative to be noted is the work led by our sister coalition, the Internet Rights and Principles Coalition (IRPC), with its Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet, on awareness raising and promotion of Human Rights in the online environment. We highly recommend the use of their work in the context of “rights-respecting”.

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Internet whitout hegemony.

Internet we want is the socio-technical ecosystem based on network of interrelated sovereign and regulated local networks that is trustworthy, ethical, lawful, neutral, fair, transparent, healthy, safe, secure, family friendly, development oriented, civilian environment designed for global public good and peaceful coexistence with international governance system that is based on principles like multilateralism, truth, public interests, justice, legal rights and digital sovereignty.

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Rights-First Internet: RIPE NCC's Human-Centric Approach

The RIPE NCC is steadfast in its commitment to a human-centric Internet that respects fundamental human rights. We believe in the Internet as a platform for freedom of expression, access to information, and the promotion of democracy and the rule of law. Through our policy development processes and community engagement, we strive to ensure that the Internet remains a space that upholds and protects individual rights.

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5. Rights respecting 6. Environmentally sustainable

The Internet Rights and Principles Coalition (IRPC) fully supports the call to ensure a human rights-based approach to Internet Governance. This coalition was established in 2008 and has been working under the umbrella of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) “to uphold human rights on the internet and to embed internet governance decision making processes and system designs in human rights standards”.

The coalition’s main output document, the Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet and its 10 Internet Rights and Principles connects existing human rights law and norms with rights-based aspirations for the online environment. It draws on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other covenants that make up the International Bill of Human Rights at the United Nations and it is the outcome of a collaborative work among all stakeholders. Its goal is to provide a recognisable and authoritative framework anchored in international human rights for upholding and advancing human rights for the online environment.

The IRPC agrees that States are legally obliged to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of their citizens online and offline and that the “right to access the Internet” as per Article 1 of its Charter is not only necessary but increasingly indispensable for the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Any restrictions, including internet shutdowns, must therefore be lawful, non-discriminatory, time-limited, legitimate and necessary in a democratic society.

The IRPC agrees that other stakeholder groups, including the private sector - in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, have the responsibility to respect human rights in the online environment.

This coalition believes that the Internet Governance Forum with its multistakeholder model is crucial to promote an open and transparent discussion on issues related to digital human rights. Its intersessional work, particularly its Dynamic Coalitions are vital spaces for multistakeholder dialogue and collaboration among different stakeholder groups.

The challenges to human rights in the digital environment are a growing concern and stakeholder groups must come together to tackle the worrying spread of disinformation and misinformation campaigns, online discrimination, online hate speech and other forms of cybercrime.

Cooperation in Internet Governance is vital to ensure that current and emerging technologies are inclusive, sustainable, non-discriminatory and rooted in democratic processes, the rule of law and human rights. 

Multisatkeholder collaboration is also necessary to ensure transparency, accountability and the development of clear regulatory frameworks, the incorporation of human rights and sustainability frameworks into AI systems and their regular monitoring. 

A multistakeholder effort is crucial to ensure that the rights of minorities and vulnerable and disadvantaged groups - including the rights of refugees and displaced people, disabled people, indigenous people, women, children and the elderly, journalists and human rights defenders are protected in the online environment. 

Solutions must be sought through multistakeholder cooperation for the protection of the Internet and internet-connected technologies and services in times of crisis and conflict to ensure that meaningful access is not disrupted and to promote promote peace and cooperation. This may take the form of humanitarian ICT services and peace infrastructure projects to provide assistance when Internet access is severed.

The IRPC also suggests the following edits:

First paragraph:
Where it reads: “Governments must refrain from internet shutdowns. Any restriction of access to the Internet must be lawful, legitimate, necessary, proportional, and non-discriminatory.” 

Add sentence: “Governments must uphold and protect the fundamental rights and freedoms online particularly the rights of minorities, disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.”

Second paragraph:
Where it reads: “We have learned that certain behaviours on the Internet can be very harmful to our societies. The Internet we want will protect us from them. “

Replace with: “Certain behaviours and practices on the Internet including internet shutdowns, disinformation and misinformation campaigns, online discrimination, online hate speech and other forms of cybercrime have very harmful impacts in society. Multistakeholder cooperation can help eradicate those harmful practices and will help us achieve the Internet we want.”

Third paragraph
Where it reads: “To that end, standards development organisations should introduce processes to ensure due consideration of human rights in their work, including by inviting participation of experts from all stakeholder communities.

Replace with: “To that end, standard-setting organisations  should introduce processes to ensure due consideration of human rights in their work including the  invitation of experts from all stakeholder communities to participate in these discussions.

 


 

6. Environmentally sustainable 

In line with the call for the adoption of environmentally friendly practices shared above and drawing on this IRPC's work through Article 4 of the Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet: "Right to Development Through the Internet", this coalition believes it is crucial to ensure the promotion of an environmentally sustainable digital transformation. 

Human rights and environmental sustainability are intrinsically connected and should be at the core of Internet Governance. The IGF community has a responsibility to ensure that both are fully embedded in the Internet Governance practices and discussions to promote an inclusive and sustainable internet for all.

The IRPC suggests the following addition:

“6. Environmentally sustainable 
As the UN SDGs look to connect the next billion, human rights and environmental sustainability must be fully considered in Internet Governance agendas and beyond and embedded in the rules, policies, standards and practices that coordinate and shape the Internet.  A human-centric digital transition that is diverse, inclusive, democratic, and sustainable is needed to ensure that Internet-connected technologies cause no harm to people and the environment. 

  • All stakeholders, particularly governments and the private sector and the technical community, must make environmental sustainability an integral part of all internet policy-making agendas, and investment decisions into new and emerging technologies.
  • The technical community and the private sector must lead the way by including life cycle assessment experts in all teams and ensuring and promoting human rights and sustainability by design.
  • Civil society has an important role to play by providing crucial education and raising awareness in their communities so that everyone can be empowered to demand a human-centric and environmentally sustainable digital transformation.
  • Multistakeholder collaboration is vital for effective solutions. Dialogue and collaboration is key to avoid siloed decisions, to promote the development of informed policy frameworks and create a space for sharing good practices that promote rights and sustainability by design. The private sector,  governments, civil society, and the technical and scientific communities must come together to better develop and promote a green digital transformation.
     

We must ensure the promotion of:

  • A standardised methodology and indicators which are vital to assess and monitor the environmental and social impact of digital technologies, to avoid greenwashing, to promote transparency, and to enable evidence based decision-making at the regulatory and political levels. International coordination is imperative in this regard as it can help promote  a circular economy, facilitate the sharing of environmental data and ensure transparency;
  • Accountable, practical and effective regulatory frameworks that ensure sustainability throughout the entire life cycle of technologies: from the use of natural resources design and production to their consumption and disposal;  measure the impact on Internet-connected technologies on the environment and ensure transparency;
  • Circular production and consumption, clear standards in procurement and  sustainable business models;
  • Education for sustainability for more sustainable and informed choices. 

We call for multistakeholder dialogue and cooperation for better governance and to ensure the development of human rights-based and sustainability-by-design approaches to new and emerging technologies.”

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Internet Society Comments on Section 5 “Rights- Respecting”

The Internet has become an indispensable resource for information, communication, human connection, and human rights. It has fueled extraordinary economic growth and catalyzed social progress, enabling more and more people and communities to achieve their full potential in improving their quality of life. We reaffirm the commitments needed to bridge the digital divide, which can only be achieved by adhering to the multistakeholder model for Internet governance.

Emerging major threats to the open Internet—such as fragmentation and shutdowns—can negatively impact the Internet and its properties. Some pose a serious risk to the Internet as we know it today and to its future, with the potential of creating barriers not only for exercising human rights but for the full range of opportunities enabled by the Internet. The Internet Society believes Internet shutdowns harm societies, economies, and the Internet's technical infrastructure, as the NetLoss Calculator illustrates. We are therefore working to encourage governments and decision-makers everywhere to support policies that keep the Internet on and resilient as the foundation for modern societies that offer people the opportunity for a more prosperous and secure future. Internet shutdowns constitute a major risk for many businesses and investors, including those building infrastructure and/or developing services.

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Submitted on behalf of the…

Submitted on behalf of the Greater Internet Freedom (GIF) Consortium run by Internews and uniting over 100 organizations with local, regional, and global reach across 8 regions in 39 countries.

To ensure a human rights-based approach to Internet governance, and to promote human rights in the digital space, we recommend setting the following goals:


1.  

Governments should establish rights-respecting legal frameworks fostering more inclusive and trustworthy digital future for all. To ensure a just and secure online environment, governments should prioritize the continuous development and revision of respective digital policies, laws, and regulations, while ensuring that these legal frameworks protect fundamental human rights, including privacy, personal data protection, freedom of expression, and equitable access to information and resources. 


2.  

Governments should adhere to the multistakeholder approach to public consultation on relevant digital policies and legislation, as well as engage all relevant stakeholders in their respective roles in the monitoring mechanisms over the implementation of approved policies and legislation.


3.  

Given the increasing frequency of government-mandated internet shutdowns across the world, governments and the IGF community should seek to enact legally binding obligations, at both local and international levels, to make governments explicitly commit to refrain from internet shutdowns. To ensure its effective enforcement, an international mechanism can be established to document instances of internet shutdowns and bring governments to accountability for arbitrary internet shutdowns.


4.  

Recognizing the role of private sector actors in ensuring respect for the enjoyment of human rights in the digital space, IGF community should explore ways to identify how the private sector affects the enjoyment of human rights in the digital space and demand accountability in situations where private sector actors have been violating their commitment to respect human rights. One way this can be achieved is through the enactment and enforcement of mandatory human rights due diligence for tech companies in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.


5.  

To avoid arbitrary and undue interference with human rights in the digital space, governments and other stakeholders should collaborate to provide adequate and continuous capacity-building to state authorities, including law enforcement officials, public prosecutors, judges, and national human rights institutions, on the application of international human rights law and standards concerning human rights in the digital space.

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