The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Fourteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Berlin, Germany, from 25 to 29 November 2019. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> MILTON MUELLER: All right, everybody. Welcome to the workshop, or the roundtable I should say, although it is not round at all. It is decidedly rectangular. Welcome to the roundtable on Digital Sovereignty and Internet Fragmentation.
We are going to start on time because we have a somewhat large roundtable and we're hoping to have a lot of free‑flowing exchanging of ideas. I'm going to quickly introduce our panelists and ourselves, and then we'll get underway with Bill offering a disquisition on the nature of sovereignty which will take less than five minutes, and then I will get my turn to do the same thing, and then we'll have a set of questions.
We've tried to break down the topic into four parts. Number one, we're going to talk about the nature of national sovereignty and its extension to digital sovereignty in general terms, in abstract terms.
In part two, we're going to talk about the national effects of digital sovereignty, how it affects human rights and the security and privacy and so on.
Three, we're going to talk about the global effects of digital sovereignty, whether it's compatible with the global Internet, et cetera.
Finally, we're going to talk about the governance responses regarding how we should deal with this tension between sovereignty and Cyberspace.
So, I am Dr. Milton Mueller. I'm a Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Director of the Internet Governance Project. To my immediate left here is Dr. William Drake, who is a professor at the University of Zurich in Department of Media and Communication Studies.
Let's see, going from my left to the right. We have Ambassador Achilles Zaluar of Brazil, and we all know that Brazil is one of the leaders in raising issues regarding sovereignty in Cyberspace going back to the days of World Summit.
Next to him we have Dr. Peixi XU, or XU Peixi, as they say in Chinese, a Professor at the Communication University in China of Beijing.
Then we have Lise Fuhr and unclear as to whether you're still the ETNO? You are still at ETNO, European Telecommunications Numbering Organization, where you are the Director General, so she's not a Sergeant or Private but the Director General of ETNO.
To the right we have Alexander Isavnin, with the Internet Protection Society of Russia. And in fact, two Russians on the panel, the other is Ilona Stadnik, a PhD candidate at St. Petersburg University. Russia is an interesting on their dialog on sovereignty of Internet because of their recent policies and actions.
Last but not least, we have Mona Badran, who is a Professor at the American University ‑‑ or Cairo University in Egypt, and she specializes in economics and international trade.
All right. Everybody set as to who we are? Now, let me turn it over to Bill to introduce the topic.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Okay. Thank you, Milton and hello, everybody. Who is Vint? Who is this other guy named Vint? There is another guy named Cerf at the end of the table who is also with us from Google.
Good afternoon, everybody. So, as the resident scientist on this panel, I felt compelled to say we live in an anarchic international system, a system characterized by absence of any centralized political authority and therefore authority delves down to the level of nation‑states, and that is the origin of the nature of national sovereignty. Under international law it's worth remembering the sovereignty, simply means states are not subject to any other sources because of legitimate political authority.Sovereignty has an external or horizontal dimension. States jurisdictionally separate and equal and enjoy the same rights and privileges as each other and not bound by any super national authority. And then internal or vertical dimension which says that essentially nation‑states are hierarchically organized and states at the top with society of imposing laws and taxes and raising armies and things like that.
Sovereignty does not require any particular kind of policies. This is important to remember. Liberal capitalist countries, state socialist countries, and everything in between are equally sovereign despite the varying laws, regulations, and ways of dealing with the Internet in the digital environment.
Nevertheless, from a sort of constructivity standpoint, you can say that sovereignty is what states make of it, and states have always construed or claimed to believe that certain cross‑border flows of information, people, money, et cetera originating from other actors, threaten their sovereignty in some way and require a strong state of responses.
This has been configurative of the history of global communications, ever since the treaty of Dresden of 1850 the first multilateral agreement on international electronic communications. All international regimes created to deal with telecom, radio, broadcasting, satellites, so on, have been characterized by these kind of strong and expansive interpretations of what sovereignty meant and what sovereignty allowed states to do.
Invoking sovereignty is like playing a joker card in the card game. You throw it down and it trumps all other considerations and ends all discussions, much like security in some respects.
It's easily deployed to rally nationalist sentiment; you can tribal sentiment and position of state is the necessary defender and rightful beneficiary of unrequesting loyalty.
We see the expansive approach to sovereignty characterized communications historically being applied to the Internet. The original Internet vision of a transnational space with end‑to‑end exchange of packets among willing endpoints is being now treated to the wonders of a vertically segmented pattern of political authority in which states seek to sort of divide the Internet into mutually exclusive sorts of territorial‑based domains.
Of course, we're all very familiar with the position that's been advocated by China, very aggressively about cybersovereignty, the Russian Internet segment and the sovereign argument and what's done in North Korea, et cetera, but of course we also see the discourse being picked up in the Western world as well to justify a wide range of policies. Madam Merkle or whoever, the language of sovereignty is deeply engrained in discussions of the Internet and the digital environment throughout the world, which raises some real questions.
It's interesting for those of us who have been around a long time and remember the WSIS and everything since then. For many years, people in the multi‑stakeholder Internet Governance environment were trying to limit the encroachment of sovereignty‑based models at the national and inter‑governmental level into areas of Internet Governance where they might not be necessary.
Yet today, some stakeholders seem to embrace various constructions of sovereignty as a necessary antidote to the dangers and other types of things, and this often involves suspending any concerns regarding states in their actions.
So, we've ended up in a situation where we have a fairly polarized and unproductive kind of conversation about the digital sovereignty, cybersovereignty, et cetera, but clearly this is a growing phenomenon. Clearly, we may be at sort of an inflection point in the evolution of government policies towards the Internet space, and so today that's what we want to consider. What actions are being taken under the justification or label of preserving national sovereignty and how might those kinds of policies impact at the national and the global level with regard to the Internet.
Okay. So, innovating on the fly, so we will then just begin with the first little bit of discussion. We have four 15‑minute segments as we talked about, so we're going to start with the notion of the nature of national sovereignty and the extension to digital sovereignty or Cyberspace sovereignty, and our lead respondent it's here are Peixi and Ilona and Ambassador Zaluar. Let's start with a view concerns, what does it mean in the digital, is digital sovereignty compatible with context provided by Internet protocols? What do we gain and what do we lose by trying to make Cyberspace conform to nations of territorial sovereignty, and how does sovereignty in Cyberspace relate to or differ from traditional notions of sovereignty that we've had in international communications?
So, let's ‑‑ that's the kind of nexus that we want to get into first. What is digital sovereignty about, what claims are being made about it, what are the costs and benefits of it?
Why don't we start with you?
>> PEIXI XU: Thank you, Bill. Professor XU. I see this in a different way. I see this challenging because individuals and others like nice ‑‑ they all support freedom, and they all support the free flow somehow, so it's important to observe how they make exceptions to it. China has this social stability exception. U.S. has national security exceptions, and EU has privacy exceptions, so it's important to look at these details and also, I would like to, since there is a wide representation of different countries with Russia, Brazil, and also by the way, Egypt and EU, Milton and Bill and Vint, they are globalists. They don't have a motherland. But anyhow we observe how China looks at this topic in different contexts, so different categories.
Category number one is a military image, and from Chinese perspective I see that is most hard‑core extension of national sovereignty into the Cyberspace which should be viewed in the most natural way, and such a context, China for example, remains reluctant to admit that the Cyberspace is a military zone, but still China promotes national sovereignty in such a context against the possibility that national sovereignty might be used for aggressive purposes by some other nations, so it's rather paradoxical situation.
The next category is cybercrime. Again, it's a sovereignty story, but there are a lot of transnational initiatives and Americanism in store. EU and Russia has convention against information crimes and the United States and UK signed the first detail‑sharing agreement.
China follows a rather practical way, busy with catching cyber criminals from abroad committing telecommunication fraud and cybercrime is the biggest crime in China, which is happening because it reduced the crime on the street.
So, the second category ‑‑ the third category is about trade and the most recent declaration and I think I look forward to perhaps the prohibition of the data localization practices in this context and China I think our supports free flow in this particular category.
And when turning to the technical communities and the monument of core Internet resources, I think this is where institutional innovation really happens and has the value to be supported to some other categories to inform other categories, and China is a strong supporter, by the way, of mighty stakeholdership in this category, and the present keeps talking about this for four or five years, even though the voices are not very much heard. And the values, by the way, of the technical community is also wider shared, rooted into Chinese culture.
And then talking about, for example, content. I think China has a rather sovereign approach about a content and a human rights standards in such a category, by the good and use is this word of diversity of media ownership in China, brought about by the Internet, so you have ‑‑ I mean, we have grassroots media ownership represented by this micro‑blogging accounts. And by the way, the accounts we have of course the state ownership of the media, but still we see the rise of a private media ownership like Tik Tok and so forth and so that is quite reassuring, so I provided these different contexts and how national sovereignty is extended into the context. Thank you.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Okay. Thanks. Let's turn from a Chinese view to Russian view. Ilona, what do you have to say about these opening questions?
>> ILONA STADNIK: Thank you so much. I would like to speak maybe about some theoretical ‑‑ some theoretical parts of this question and point to very particular terms. So, sovereignty is always about territory. It's always about specific borders that are defined by the particular territory.
And if we speak from the viewpoints of political signs or international relations, it's always the ability of a particular authority to exercise this authority or this territory.
And then we speak about digital sovereignty. It's a tricky term because sometimes we just perceive it as something negative as Bill thought in the opening remark, but basically, this is just the intention of states to exert authority regarding the digital things, right.
And there is always a big temptation to treat Cyberspace like the high seas or U.S. space or border space, because obviously there are no physical borders but some states decide how to tackle regulation of use of this global commons, right. But Cyberspace is a bit different. It's interconnected. It's technically interconnected, and when you speak about sovereignty as independent policy development and implementation towards some, for example, content data control or infrastructure control and protection, it's really hard to be very independent because of the nature of the network itself.
For me digital sovereignty is a constructed term, it's like intention to signify for states a new domain for their powers, for assertion of their powers. But probably it's just a play of terms. Thanks.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Okay. Excellent. Thank you. It's always nice to hear constructivism mentioned. Ambassador, your thoughts from Brazil?
>> ACHILLES ZALUAR: Thank you. Speaking of personal capacity, I think it's more interesting and more in terms of what the IGF is.
There is a kind of elephant in the room, the date that few people mention in public, which is the fact that the Internet was already born sovereign. It was the creation of a military research project from the sovereign government of the United States of America. We must all be grateful to our American friends for that. It was a great demonstration of tech technological and organizational ingenuity and I take my hat to Vint Cerf who is here is took part in it from the beginning.
A quarter of century later the Internet is a global utility like the global postal system in the 19th Century or global telecommunication sentry in the 20th Century.
The Internet is the 21st Century regard. Don't need to go back to the debate of creating a word Internet organization to manage this global utility. Many of us were on opposite sides of the debate and it didn't work.
The outcome is that the Internet today is both sovereign and global. It is sovereign because control, at least indirect control over the critical infrastructure of the Internet is still under the sovereign authority of our American friends. ICANN which had the meeting a few weeks ago Montreal is it a non‑profit corporation registered in the wonderful State of California not far from where the adventure began in Silicon Valley. If anyone runs the Internet, ICANN and digital mega platforms do. This has benefits. Nobody questions the technical sovereignness of the technical programs that form the backbone of the Internet, but it also has inconvenience side.
We could point out the recent decisions on dot Amazon and monopolies are being granted to private companies in Amazon case against objection of community and government's concern who represent the public interest and think the dot org case without meaningful public debate.
So much for the sovereign side. The global dimension of the Internet on the other hand is reflected here at the IGF and in exercises such as High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation. Should we have an IGF +. What would be the powers if any? And the best of that, we're able to agree on some principles, selective in the interest of time.
Open participation consensus‑driven governance, inclusive and equitable decision‑making, meaningful participation by all stakeholders, respect for the respective rights and responsibilities of all stakeholders, including governments as wardens of public policy concerns as well as Civil Society, businesses, international organizations, and the technical and scientific community.
In light of the cases I just mentioned and other controversy, have we lived up to these principles? My impression is that if we did, we would not have had to go through the exercise of the High-Level Panel. Current challenges to Internet regulation may lead us to regret the declining application of the principle but common but differentiated responsibilities.
There is a growing demand for regulation. For instance, related to data protection standards brought about by concerns related to application of artificial intelligence and surveillance of technologies to big data, either big governments, or by a few monopolistic companies.
Converging technologies bring about the perspective of economic and welfare gain, but also, they bring concerns related to cybersecurity, including the vulnerability of critical infrastructure to terrorism and other forms of hostile action.
Freedom of expression is threatened by algorithm censorship, both by states and by monopolistic companies in charge of social networks, search engines, digital detail, and other data‑mining enterprises.
Now, at the same time, national political debate takes place more and more in global virtual medium, so the old rules about sovereignty interference come under stress. These are mostly questions against they have ready made the answers to them and if I take the floor again, I may give you one or two ideas. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you very much. That was very provocative, and in fact we have a couple of minutes before we turn to the next question, so I can't let go of the fact that the Ambassador has suggested that the Internet was born sovereign and it was a creature of a sovereign state from the outset.
I wonder if any of our other panelist, and Vint I'm kind of looking at you, panelists, that might like to respond to that provocative concept to start?
>> VINT CERF: I'd be happy to start. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The interesting fact is that the design of the Internet was born sovereign in a sense that Bob Kahn and I released that design freely for anyone to use, and we said if you can build a network that behaves this way and finds someone to connect to, it should work.
And that was about as far as we went. Different networks were built by different organizations inside the U.S. our research agencies like the Department of Energy and NSF and others built their own backbone networks and interconnected them. Research networks were created in other parts of the world, and there was an effort by NSF on the U.S. side to build international connections so that those research networks could be interconnected and share information.
In the early days, the idea of free flow of information arose largely out of the academic exchange of information since most of the users of the Internet, prior to its commercial incarnation, were researchers and academics. And another portion of the net was carved off to be something in support of the U.S. Defense Department.
So, to that extent, I would understand the assertion that the Internet was born sovereign in a sense that anyone who wished to participate was free to do that. No one dictated whether anyone participated or not and no one dictated who connected and under what terms and conditions.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: My guess is the Ambassador's use of sovereign is a little different from yours.
>> VINT CERF: Maybe we should try to sort out that.
>> MILTON MUELLER: Yes. Let's do that. There are actually two meanings of sovereignty. The original debate of Internet sovereignty took place in the mid-90s when John Perry Barlow declared in the sovereign space that Cyberspace is a sovereign space on its own and I think that's what you mean when you say it was Open Sourced and freely available and nonproprietary protocol and it was a thing on to itself and it was not under the sovereignty of a territorial state, is that kind of what you're saying?
>> VINT CERF: No state claimed it and it didn't look for a claim. It simply said, if you want to participate, you're free to do so.
>> MILTON MUELLER: And I think Ambassador Zaluar is saying the exact opposite that because it was developed by the U.S. Military, that it was a sovereign output or product or controlled by the U.S.?
>> VINT CERF: If the implication was that the U.S. developed this for the purposes of controlling it, I would beg to differ because we didn't do that. We handed it out freely.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Would you like to say a bit more and then turn to the next question?
>> MILTON MUELLER: I think we have a variety of interesting responses here. I like what Ilona said about this is digital sovereignty is an attempt and aversion by governments as part of an attempt to assort their authority in Cyberspace. I think that what Professor XU said in some ways supported that, that he is interestingly saying that China does not want to recognize Cyberspace as a military domain, but on the other hand when it comes to content, they do want to assert authority over that and therefore they do take more of a sovereignty approach, and the same with trade and data localization.
I think we'll get into this a little deeper in the next part of the questions, and that's where we're talking about the national effects of digital sovereignty. So here we're asking questions about how countries who assert digital sovereignty or try to create a sovereign Internet, how do these affect their citizens? In particular, how do attempts by countries to create a sovereign Internet affect the human rights of Internet users, how do national boundaries on data flows affect economic development, competition, and efficiency in the global digital economy? And how does sovereignty and Cyberspace affect the security and privacy of Internet users?
So, I'm going to begin with Alexander of the Russia Internet Protection Society. What do you think about the national effects of sovereignty?
>> ALEXANDER ISAVNIN: Well, like Ilona mentioned, she was talking about theoretical aspects, so let me talk a little about practical aspects of Russian Internet Sovereignty.
First of all, Russian Internet Sovereignty Law, actually in Russia called Internet Sustainability Law, so main intention declared by government of security and sustainability. But what is the fact of this law? Previously, Russian Federation tried to have an attempt to control the distribution of Internet resources like IP addresses and domain names via mechanisms provided by international Telecommunication Union and have not succeeded.
Also, Russia implemented mechanism of enforcing the sovereignty. Well, already have working mechanism of blocking of unwilled resource, so government can enforce its own sovereignty. Previously personal data of Russian citizens was declared as sovereign. Russia declared sovereignty over personal data of Russian citizen, and so for this reason it is now blocked in Russia because it does not respect, from viewpoint of government, this part of sovereignty.
This law which we're mentioning, actually, gives government the right to control relations between holders of Internet resources. I think more bylaws are being written, but it's a first attempt to control relations between holders of system numbers, holders of IP, holders of domain names which government decides need to be sovereign.
All legislation related to this law is written in completely technical language, so it's technical regulation and human right protecting organization just does not react to this. Russia is not declaring it will to violate human rights, perform censorship, no. It's just technical regulation.
But the fact of how previous regulation and this regulation will work, it will control the flow of information. It will control possibility of Russian users processing information that the government would or would not like. It will control ‑‑ it will lock all user activities for purposes of security for sure by government.
So, it will have government have possibility again. It could not declare efficiently the will to violate human right, but the fact that it will have such possibility. Will it use it? For sure as we've seen in previous rounds of Internet regulation. Also, there is a question about how it will affect national boundaries. Responsibility of Internet number resources declared by these legislations, it is inside Russia.
So, for example if Russian wants to connect Internet exchange, it needs to connect only to registered Internet exchange, so it's definitely ‑‑ I'm not sure will register under this law because they will need to follow rules of national security of Russian Federation, like data to FSB.
What will consequences? We don't know yet, but we hope that in this case, we hope for traditional Russian corruption.
Meaning for legislation of this law will be stolen and the fact we will not have working sovereignty.
>> MILTON MUELLER: This is a beautiful twist on the sovereignty theme. (Laughing) I think you starkly laid out some of what you think are the consequences of digital sovereignty for national citizens of your country.
Now, let's turn more to the economic dimension and I'll go first to Mona, who is from Egypt and say, as an economist, how do national boundaries on data flows affect economic development, competition, and efficiency in the global digital economy, and then I'll turn to Lise with the same question.
>> MONA BADRAN: Thank you, Professor Mueller. Data localization is one of the policies applied to reach digital sovereignty. On the one hand with invent of the Internet and more recently the Fourth Industrial Revolution, individuals, businesses, and machines are generating huge amounts of data that flows internationally in the global economy.
On the other hand, governments have mandate to protect citizens, law enforcement, and national security.
>> MILTON MUELLER: Mona, could I ask you to slow down a little bit, some people might have trouble following you, and a little louder.
>> MONA BADRAN: Governments are restricting cross‑border flow of data with extreme regulatory requirements of data localization. Data localization laws are an increasing trend and they are creating virtual borders that lead to Internet fragmentation.
We can classify countries according to the strength of measures applied by them to protect their data. There are countries who have strong measures to protect their data which is data localization requirements, processing, and storage of data in the same country, like in Russia.
There is conditional flow of data like the EU GDPR and GDPR‑inspired laws by Argentina and Brazil. There are partial measures like regulations applying only for certain domain names or requiring the consent of individuals before cross‑border flow of data, such as in South Korea, and there is sector‑specific data localization requirements such as in health sector in Australia and banking and financial sector in India and Turkey.
However, Internet openness is critical for the private sector in developing countries, especially for SMEs. Allows free flow of data cross borders is strongly correlated with promoting competition, leveling the playing field for SMEs in particular. In addition, SMEs, unlike multinational companies, cannot afford to comply with complex laws and stringent data localization requirements.
Cross‑border flow of data would allow for e‑commerce and digital tried of innovations to flourish in developing countries such as Africa, and would lead to reduced digital divide.
Another important motivation for increasing cross‑border flow of data by African countries is the recently announced African Continental Free Trade Area which will lead to gains estimated to about 3 trillion dollars in GDP growth.
It is essential that cross‑border flow of data is essential and it creates an enabling environment for the newly established trade area in Africa.
Recent research findings reveal that developing countries such as African countries are not benefiting from recent technological changes or even Internet as much as developed countries, and this will lead to global economic growth is not inclusive and leads to increased digital divide.
Sovereign factors led to that, and among them is that African countries or developing countries are not having an enabling environment for businesses and not regulatory frameworks. For example, if one compares Africa with the 1.2 billion citizens, Africa is only home for ‑‑ is home for only 3unicorns, which are companies that are valued at more than 1 billion dollars. By contrast, the UK with just 66 million people is home of 16 unicorns. So cross‑border flow of data is vital for inclusive growth due to the following reasons.
It reduces transaction costs and constraints of distance. It increases organizational efficiencies, it promotes connectivity by increasing the speed of ideas and innovations and economic activities, show it reduces bias to entry for SMEs where they can enter or plug into global value chains and global digital platforms. They can also use big data and big data analytics to allow for creation of new services and to add value to goods exported.
Digital ‑‑ I'm sorry. Data localization impacts the effective provisions of mobile money in Africa as well where it poses threat to the growth of the sector, it imposes a challenge to the exchange of data with partner remedy companies for customers screening requirements, so it has a negative impact on mobile money and mobile money transfer of remedies in Africa.
Finally, I'd like to conclude that it is estimated that cross‑border flow of data raised global GDP by approximately 3.5%, which amounts to 2.8 trillion dollars in 2014.
>> MODERATOR: Wow. That was a pretty thorough economic analysis of the impact of data localization. Thank you, Mona, and ‑‑
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: And there were 16 unicorns in the UK.
>> MILTON MUELLER: And I believe in unicorns, especially if they're fluffy. Lise you're dealing, you're European, dealing with large quantities of suppliers, what do you think about this question?
>> LISE FUHR: Thank you, Milton. First of all, thank you for inviting ETNO. I want to give a quick introduction. ETNO is European Telecommunication Network Operators and we are so my members are European telecos and represent 70% of the investment in digital infrastructure. And I'm still the Director General and I hope to remain that, but from here I take it from a European perspective, so when we talk about national effects, I will take it from a European perspective because Europe regulates us overall and we look at it from the European perspective.
I don't know if you know that the new Commission has just been approved today, so that is also, of course, very important for this remedy that we talk about here today because the new President of the Commission was defining a main goal to establish European digital sovereignty, and so all we're talking about is digital sovereignty here in Europe, and it's very important for all the players, and I have another. This is a personal one and this is not ETNO. I would prefer to call it digital leadership because I think it's important that we have digital leadership also in Europe.
So, if we look at it and the data regulation that's happening in Europe and how that affects the Internet, GDPR is a very good example. We've seen GDPR has meant a lot globally, it has established a high level of standards in Europe, and I don't think it fragmented the Internet because it was made without discrimination, and this is key here, not to set up artificial boundaries.
And from our point of view, regulation that actually protects the users is important because we need the trust in order to have a free and open Internet that works.
So, from my perspective, and here I disagree with the Ambassador from Brazil. I actually find that the Internet is a decentralized system and we want to make sure that it remains strong and decentralized that, of course, operates on a set of common rules, but it's strong because everyone is able to connect to the Internet and it should remain that way.
So look at it, if it's how the regulation in Europe is affecting economically and also on competition and efficiency, there are effects in Europe on the GDPR regulation. If you look at AI, we might have an issue of developing AI because of rules like e‑privacy or GDPR.
So, here, the way we deal with data and the free flow of data in Europe might have an effect. I don't know exactly what the effect is, but it is something that we look into with some concern, of course.
We also look into regulation on terrorist content, we look into regulation on a lot of areas, so it's not only on the data but also on the actual content on the Internet. And, of course, there is a risk when you start making specific rules for a region as big as Europe.
So, from a teleco side, we strongly support that there are some rules but they need to be made so we're not hampering an Internet that is for all. Thank you.
>> MILTON MUELLER: Excellent. So, Bill, do you want to summarize what you heard or shall we move on to the next section?
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: I'd say move on.
>> MILTON MUELLER: Okay. So, next ‑‑
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: I mean, I can summarize but we're starting to run short of time and I want to make sure we have enough time for discussion feature so my thoughts about this are not so central. I would like to turn from the national level to the global level and try and get us to think a bit about in parallel with what was said about the possibilities that certain kinds of policies adopted and sovereignty might have impacts on human rights, freedoms, economic development and so on and to think about what it means in a cumulative and systemic way at the international level.
Is digital sovereignty compatible with the global Internet or will it lead to fragmentation of the infrastructure or the services or processes it supports? There are a lot of people talking now these days about splinternet, you see almost daily articles in newspapers and magazines using this term. Apparently, we should have trademarks Internet fragmentation because that didn't take off as well.
But a lot of people are saying, you know, that we're seeing a world where there is the U.S., China, and Europe and like these three big blocks, that's the kind of vision a lot of people are putting forward.
It does raise a question, you know, if more and more countries begin to adopt sort of processes and policies that internalize control within their territorial domain, what does this mean for the Internet overall? And a related question, how do foreign boundaries impact ‑‑ are they consistent with international trade obligations and other multilateral obligations that countries may have entered into, and why or how are countries trying to create national Internets and how do they ‑‑ how do they visualize that interworking with the global Internet environment?
So, there is a nexus of different questions here that we can ask about the sort of cumulative impacts. So, our lead respondents on this one are Vint, Lise, and Ambassador, Zaluar. Why don't we start with you, Vint, you might have some thoughts on this?
>> VINT CERF: Thank you very much, Chairman. I'm going to start by making the suggestion that the desired normal state of an Internet that we would like, or if Tim Burnsly were here a web that we would like is essentially a free flow of data and commerce across this global system, and that that free flowing system, at the same time, protects the privacy and safety and security of all who are using this global system.
I would like to suggest, possibly for debate, that an international boundary, a boundary between two national jurisdictions is a little different from the jurisdictional boundaries in a domestic setting. The difference I would suggest is that in a domestic setting, the state has something to say about what the nature of those jurisdictional boundaries are, and in the United States we would talk about local law enforcement, for example, and state governance and then federal governance and those are the boundaries inside the United States that are under the control of the United States.
Whereas the international boundaries are not in control of any one country at all. In fact, that's the whole point about sovereignty, the international boundaries identify a place where country authority applies and only by agreement across international boundaries will policies apply.
So, what we would be looking for, I think, in this global context, are policies that are somehow compatible, if not identical, as they get applied as the information flows from one country to another. What we'd like to do, I think, if we were lucky enough, is to maximize the value of the global span of the Internet for everyone's benefit.
But as you can tell, as the Internet has penetrated more deeply into the population of the world, we're also discovering abuses that show up, harms that show up, and we know that those abuses and harms cross international boundaries, and governments have a reasonable response to that, which is to try to protect the safety and security of their citizens and their other infrastructure.
The result is an attempt to put some kind of control over the various layers of the Internet, and I would like to draw your attention to the layered architecture of the network and suggest that some of the jurisdictional boundaries and regulatory mechanisms might vary depending on what layer, or in which layer issues arise.
So, for example, many of the issues that are showing up now are way up in the application space, above the level of web‑based platforms. Whereas, transmission of data across underlying optical fiber networks, for example, or by way of satellite are the focus of other organizations, satellite carriers, telecos and things like that. And so, the layer at which the activity takes place might have a great deal to say about what regulatory structure one might be expecting and who might exercise that regulatory constraint.
I would like to draw attention to an earlier meeting today, the Internet and Jurisdiction Meeting where an attempt is being made to make more concrete agreements across those international boundaries in order to help governments cope with what they see as problems they should be solving on behalf of their citizens.
So, an example of this is establishing standards for the capture of evidence that's supposed to hold up in court. How do I make sure that integrity is maintained, how do I know what the province of the data and what circumstances data is to be transferred across an international boundary for a legal proceeding?
In your next session, you'll be talking about the MLAT process and so maybe I'll intervene again with your permission there. I'll stop there and say that the problem deserves all of our attention because it's a hard one, but at the same time, I think we're all eager to maintain the beneficial value of the free flow of information across the Internet to the degree that we are able to.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Okay. Thank you, Vint. Mr. Ambassador, how about you? Thoughts about how the policy is being adopted under the rubric of sovereignty might cumulatively impact at the global level?
>> ACHILLES ZALUAR: Thank you. Thinking about what Vint Cerf said. And the Internet has had a paradoxical effect. It has led to the formation of global monopolies who benefit from certain effects. The first mover effect, herding effect, scale effect, winner takes all effect, among others. And these effects, intended or unintended, may stifle innovation and may render more security the improvement of the individual and of national authorities.
On the other hand, the Internet enables the existence of a wide variety of niches of which contesting forces, some legitimate and some less legitimate may enrich political debate, avoiding policy, and avoid disruptive innovations of tomorrow which may lead to the breakup of current monopolies.
In this context cyberscape, the differentiated ‑‑ the principle of differentiated and inter‑connected roles of responsibilities of the actors, public, private, or third sector, should allow in principle for decision‑making process in which the evolution of the Internet is not determined exclusively or only by a few.
The equality among governments, for instance, could reduce the risk of policy capture by monopolistic interests. In practice, however, the deaf rigs of roles and responsibilities remains uncertain. In ear forum, IGF, ITU, UNESCO, et cetera, operate it's according to very diverse and necessarily coherent sets of rules. We in Brazil are attached to the multi‑stakeholder model which we implement internally, and to the concept of a single global safe, secure, and free Internet.
The technology that these ideas have been under stress. When the global Internet started in the 90s, I doubted ‑‑ I doubt that many people foresaw that 90% of global digital add advertising revenues would be concentrated in two mega‑platforms. A data digital platform, now the largest retailer in the world could have 11 billion dollars in yearly profits and pay essentially no tax. Where that the flow of information criticism and debate would be largely dependent on four or five social networks.
I doubt that many people would think that the platforms would consider creating their own currency, setting up the equivalent of a private intelligence service, using the combination of data accumulated from billions of individuals and the new capability of artificial intelligence or establishing their own censorship boards to determine what can and cannot be said.
It is this consideration of influence, power, and profit in four or five digital platforms, among other factors, that may create a reaction or demand for the assertion of digital sovereignty in other countries and could lead to the breakup of the Internet, something that I insist Brazil does not want. We want a single global safe, secure, and free Internet.
I was struck or maybe inspired by Chancellor Merco positive reference to the possibility of digital sovereignty within a single global Internet. It was a combination of German dialectics that could be the headline of this IGF. Maybe if there were 40 or 50 global digital platforms instead of 4 or 5 or 8 if you include the Chinese company, and some located in Europe, some in Asia, some in Africa, some in Latin America, then the pull for the fragmentation of the Internet would be lesser.
In the early 20th Century when monopolies or legal policies and trusts appear in more dynamic industries, such as roads, oil, or telephone, they were often broken up by the state. It was called antitrust law and it worked fine. It led to decades of innovation and prosperity. Thank you.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Thank you. Well, dialectics, the conversation is getting interesting. Lise?
>> LISE FUHR: Thank you. Well from the ETNO side, of course, we think it's essential to have digital leadership in Europe and also to keep the trust in the Internet because all the services that people use today are Internet based, or many of the services, the banking, messages, emergency, we buy online, we have a lot of things going on via Internet services.
So what we see is happening in Europe is that I don't think we're creating more a national Internet, but I think what we see is that we try to regain control of the data here, so for example, what's happening in Germany, our host country, is that they are now creating GIA which is a Cloud service that will have that purpose to ensure that the data are treated with a certain level of security and standards to the data protection that's there.
So from our side, what we see is when we, as a global community, are looking into trade agreements and we do business together, we find that it's actually important to include free‑flow of data provisions in trade agreements because by doing this, we can ensure that the trust of the data that goes from Europe and vice versa are treated in a way that actually meets certain standards.
So, from our point of view, it's important that we're not creating a fragmented Internet but it's also important that we keep the trust in the Internet that is in Europe, and you can do that, for example, by having trade agreements that actually have provisions on free flow of data.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Thank you. We want to get to an open discussion with everybody, but just we have a little bit more to do first. I note that our Russian Colleagues are both percolating during the last segments with some thoughts, so maybe if you could concisely offer your thoughts on the cumulative impacts, that would be great.
>> ILONA STADNIK: So, basically, just food for thought, very short, let's go away from this data and money and advertisement and I would like to talk about national Internet versus individual Internets. This is what we already forget about.
I have a fellow colleague, she's psychologist and interpologist and made a series of field studies of how Internet is used in different countries, in different regions, and the practices are different. So, if we even make a national Internet with national sites, national services, national platform implication, people will still be using it in their own way.
And even if it will be locked like inside national borders, technology developments will always outweigh this, and we see it already with the DOH Protocol, right, that completely changes how users will access sites and platforms. So, kind of a positive hope, engineers’ brains always digital sovereignty of states.
>> ALEXANDER ISAVNIN: Thank you for this hope, Ilona. I also add about global effects. The more sovereignty the governments and the states set up over Internets, the more regulations need to be implemented for a company or Internet business to run in this country.
So, it's definitely impact. If there is no regulation related to sovereignty development of Internet, infrastructure, and services will be much easier and cheaper. If like in Russia, you require to have a lot of compliance to sovereignty‑like regulations. The global forums understand that they need to study more and I doubt that they will come to Russia, unless it would be really money‑bringing products.
>> MODERATOR: I haven't given you two a chance. Professor would you like to have anything on this particular point?
>> PEIXI XU: Sure. I actually don't like the notion of a national Internet very much, but I think whatever it is, it's important to remove the rationale motivations behind the actions, and the way to do it is to some way protect the public core of the Internet and treat that as a kind of corridor of trust that nobody should damage the integrity and so and so forth.
If we write international law or something, I think that might be a better solution. In addition to it, I think the powerful countries also have a lot of worries and fears because the Internet provides a kind of symmetry, they're worried about financial data being manipulated, drones being hijacked and so and so forth, and so there are worries also, and so they say there is a kind of digital interdependence or somehow, that's the right departure of thought on it, so if there is a prosperities digital economy globally that will reduce the tensions in the military domain.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Digital interdependence and sovereignty are one of the dialectics we're interested in here. Milton, why don't you take us.
>> MILTON MUELLER: All right. So then the fourth segment of our discussion here and hopefully we'll move very quickly now to open questions, is pertains to are of the how do we respond in Internet Governance to the problem of sovereignty and the apparent incompatibility of the global Internet? I spent a lot of time working on this question. I've actually writ an very long scholarly paper, which I have a few copies here, but I can give you a URL if anybody wants to actually download it, and I warn you that if you're not a scholar and you don't want to read a 15,000‑word paper exploring this concept in detail, then do not take this and get the cliff notes version.
So the argument that I make is that the protocol of the Internet, because it is non‑proprietary, because it is open, the TCP‑IP, joint use of the TCP‑IP protocols and the Internet protocols creates a virtual territory that is not geographical territory, and therefore it is contradictory and impossible to have territorial sovereignty in Cyberspace and that we need to consider Cyberspace as a global sense that we have formerly recognized that in the high seas and we have also declared outerspace to be a place where states have actually formally recognized that they do not have sovereignty in outerspace, they cannot put nuclear weapons in outerspace and so on.
What are the implications of this governance model? Well, one of the things that it does is it formally ratifies multi‑stakeholder participation because in a sovereignty‑oriented dialogue, states are privileged and the rest of us are not.
So, one of the questions for people who might support digital sovereignty, is, you know, is that notion compatible with the multi‑stakeholder concept?
Another point that has to be emphasized here is that the Cyberspace as a domain is being declared a domain by the military, and particularly the military of the United States, although I think other countries are imitating this notion.
And, if indeed it is a domain, then that means states are going to compete over dominance of this domain, and so that's another reason why we want to come up with governance systems that are predicated on the notion of a global commons and not view it as something that a particular government can dominate.
So there are a lot of other interesting parallels between ocean governance in a sense that when you get closer and closer to national territory, the importance and significance of national sovereignty increases in the oceans, even though the high seas are themselves considered a global commons, but I think the main import of this, and I'd like to use this as a point of stimulating discussion, is that essentially, I'm arguing that there is no Hegelian trick, dialectical trick that can be used to reconcile digital sovereignty with the global Internet, and that we really do have to conceive of it as a global commons, and we have to abandon notions of sovereignty in Cyberspace completely and think of it more as a global commons.
So, with that in mind, I would just notice that among our panelists, we have an very interesting observation by Ambassador Zaluar that the demand for digital sovereignty comes from the concentration of market power by large players who have used this globally accessible space to create what he perceives as an illegitimate concentration of influence, power, and profit, and the question of whether the assertion of digital sovereignty actually rectifies this or does it make it worse in certain ways is an open one that I encourage us to debate.
So, now let's open it up to questions.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: And can I say because we have a lot of people in the room and we have a lot of questions and we have 25 minute, so can I ask that everybody would you raise your hand, say who you are, trying to keep to 1 minute. If it's a comment, tell us that. If it's a question for somebody in particular, make that clear. Okay. We start with you here.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you, Bill. This is Jeorge from Switzerland speaking in a personal capacity, and I believe sovereignty from the 16th Century has many connotations that are really not very productive, in Switzerland we like to talk about self‑determination both in an individual sense and in a community sense, also, as a nation.
And building walls is for a small country which has an open economy and which is highly interconnected, is no option. And even if we wanted, and we don't want to, we couldn't, so it makes no sense. And for all small country, that's not real option, so it would be dilutionary to try to do that.
And taking up the idea of Milton, I haven't read ‑‑ I have to apologize, your lengthy academic article, but let's try to reduce a bit of Hegelian dialectics to solve this paradox. We think that we can self‑determine as a community, as a country with interdependence, with participation in global policy dialogue. Through that participation, we can participate in co‑shaping the rules of the digital world, and this means we can try to go to a rule‑based cooperation instead of cooperation based or non‑cooperation based on the application of pure power, and that's also why in this age of interdependence, we're pushing so much for making real high‑level panel recommendations. Thank you.
>> MILTON MUELLER: Thank you, Jorge as a Swiss resident and how that resonated. I'm trying to try to move this around so not just getting people from one place. Let me try to take you here, yes, sir, the gentlemen right here.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you very much. Very interesting discussion here. My name is Neil from Canada, not representing my nation‑state. I am a private sector but advise on matters of sovereignty as it relates to cyber.
And although I unfortunately have not read Milton's academic dissertation, do I have an interesting statement to make related to sovereignty and then I'm curious, I'd like to share various nation‑state's positions on sovereignty as well.
The discussion is the applicability of nation‑state laws that bring in the collection of interpretation of national law by various states so in order to violate sovereignty over cyber one would likely need to violate under international law the territorial or impact inherently governmental functions, so stopping a government from functioning in their regular business, and that tech technically applies that sovereignty applies to governments and not individuals, so the discussion here is really around nation‑states and, so maybe as an example, close access, cyber‑operations of any kind resulting in functional damage would likely violate territorial integrity. Cyberactions causing permanent or physical damage to ICT infrastructure, like permanently encrypting all of your data, including backups, destroying it all, likely would violate sovereignty.
And but the question that we have and when we discuss this is temporary violations, or call it slowdowns or port scans and things like that, it's kind of an interesting outcome, but the U.S. has taken some stands in 2012, you heard Harold Coe, 2018 speaking as well and clarifying that there is an impact to sovereignty and from the U.S. And the UK has taken a position, the Attorney General saying that their sovereignty is not a rule that can be violated. Estonia as well has taken an interesting position, a little bit softer on it, and France very strict recently with the Minister and as well you'll see in the UNGD reports, 2013 and 2015 reports discussing that sovereignty applies to ICT in Cyberspace, but some are very vague in data.
I'm curious, what are your thoughts on that?
>> MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you. I'm going to have to count that as more of a comment than a question because there was a lot there. We really need to try to stick to one minute, please, if we can to get everybody in.
Was there anybody over in this chunk, otherwise I'm going to turn around over to here. Okay. Yes?
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: My name is Peter, and I'm from Russia representing Sputnik International News Agency but speaking in personal capacity. I would like to mention a couple of points which I think are worth taking into consideration. First, there is a 40‑page document issued last year by the Administration of President Trump in the United States and that's national cyber strategy, which clearly stipulates the United States' interest in not only maintains but further maintains global dominance in the Internet in the interest of the United States' businesses, policy, et cetera, et cetera. And not only that they want to maintain and develop the dialogue and things like that, but also, they clearly say that they will punish those who are defined as malicious states, namely Russia, China, and so on. We know that the malicious states they change from time to time, could be Yugoslavia or something like that.
I think it's pretty normal that every country should adopt its own national strategy model from the United States and basically depend and foster its own interest.
And second very short comment is about the notion that it is very common that without open Internet, the economic development will suffer.
Here I would like to point out the example of China which is an example of sovereign from the very beginning where economic development has not suffered but has been on a good track despite the fact that they're imposing probably the toughest control other than North Korea worldwide. Thank you.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Thank you. I'm going to rotate around, as I said, so I'm going to go to the next segment over here. Hans?
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you. I'm Hans Klein from Georgia Tech. I'm going to make a point of information and a question. There was an earlier question about U.S. sovereignty over the Internet. We do have very explicit episodes with the U.S. did assert sovereignty over the Internet. The striking one was in January 1998 where magazine representing the President of the United States threatened force on John Postel to do what the United States wanted him to do, so no ambiguity there. Madeline Albright, Secretary of State of the United States asserted sovereignty toward the ITU and so on and so forth. So, U.S. sovereignty over the Internet is absolutely clear.
Up to 2016 when the U.S. made the sovereign act to relinquish the Internet but up to that point there is no ambiguity about sovereignty. I suggest here that Vint Cerf suggested a Hegelian synthesis that represented the global Internet and fragmented Internet and the synthesis lies in the network layers model, and the Brazilian Ambassador identified a number of problems with the existing Internet, profit, concentration, taxation, avoidance, civic communications and a few platforms, and almost all of these problems, thus identified, reside at the application layer of the Internet, so it seems that there is some push to fragment the Internet at the application layer.
The Internet, as true engineers know, the Internet is actually at a lower layer, the network of layers lies below that and it may be possible to continue a global network of networks, even as we break up the applications that function on that network of networks. So, my question is, is this a feasible approach to addressing the problem?
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Thank you. Okay. The lady here?
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: I asked here ‑‑ I was the second person to put my hand up ‑‑
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Taking them in sections. Right next to you, I will come back to you. The lady here, please.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you very much. My name is Hannah, and I'm from Germany. I have a question. When you mentioned the fact that you think Cyberspace should be like the high sea, at the end of that metaphor, you said okay, but the closer that we get to the physical territory of states, the more sovereignty applies.
And I have two questions concerning that. The first one would be, what are exactly those elements where you would say the Internet dips towards these notions of sovereignty? And I mean for the law of the CE, you had endless discussions among states where sovereignty ends and where their sovereignty doesn't apply. So how would you convince states that would argue the whole of the Internet falls into their coastal territories and their coastal waters?
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: A actual question to one person. Can you come back to that? Since you were itching, go ahead.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you so much. Parmenter from IT for Change. A high‑level question about I think sovereignty should be discussed in relation to what it really is about. It's about rule of law, so when we say there shouldn't be sovereignty, what happens to the rule of law component, because if there isn't rule of law, there is a rule of the strong, which the methodology alluded to, and is there a tradeoff we're making between rule of law and certain global independences which always works against the weaker sections?
Connected point is that in the development, there is a lot of discourse about local controls and subsidiary, so why when in the real world we need to take control lower and lower to the local, why should here the control migrate upwards to the global and why such an Internet exception is, and connected to the rule of law question.
And, again, we're fine with certain non‑sovereignty in certain layers of the Internet, but then it gets collapsed over everything what the Internet does, and the Internet now has gone into ‑‑ it is said that personal data is an extension of a personal being and if data is a part of the Internet, then beings are flowing inside the Internet, and if you're talking about everything should be non‑sovereign then there is a problem, because for example Vint Cerf said there should be free flow of data and commerce in the same breath. Free flow of commerce is highly contested in many areas by developing countries, for example, free flow of agriculture produce and many other kinds of free flow which have lively hood issues, so I think we need to advance which layer of the Internet we're talking about non‑sovereignty and then also what is the relation with the rule of law and the interest of weaker sections in people and countries.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Thank you. So, rolling along this way.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hi. Victoria. I actually have two questions, the first one is a bit rhetorical, but the first one is of course you had several questions related to the problems and damages by that happened from exerting national sovereignty, shouldn't we also think the problems that come from not exerting national sovereignty, because there is a reason we have all of this talk of digital sovereignty that we have a problem, political problems, so for example in the terms of human rights, people see their freedom of expression, basically, being managed by these international social media platforms that can close up accounts for no apparent reason and no explanation, even for points about sometimes, and the restrictions on data flow, I think, are also connected to the fact that we've been told several times that data is the new raw material for the new economy, and so we've been treated like ‑‑ you know, like the mining corporations went to certain parts of the world and went away and ‑‑ I think we don't have the same.
The other question is really about what Milton was saying, we have a protocol that has no borders built in it so it's inherently global, but shouldn't we basically have the technology follow the societal objectives? So once we rise the list, for at least a certain degree of national sovereignty to be applied to let sovereign countries apply rules to the Internet, shouldn't the technical community of others follow these and provide technology that can actually support the exertion of national sovereignty rather than dragging feet and saying no, protocols don't support it, so just go away.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Thank you. Gentlemen here, please.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: I'm Lobanda from DRC and on the side of the sovereignty, I think the big players are the USA, EU, and China have different view, but as a African country, we're very concerned that we still not have ‑‑ we still need infrastructure from you, the big players, the infrastructure, the provider, the platform, but we have something we need also to protect is our data. We are ‑‑ we have data, we have users, and I think in a few years we will have more users, Internet users in Africa than in Europe and the U.S. combined, but on top of those users and data, African data of African users, companies in U.S. are making a lot of money and we are getting zero dollars back, and for that we need also to see not only speak on the sovereignty on platform level layers, but also on data.
We have to further, even if we are not already as country to with the tools, the company, or the research to make money out of those data, we have to make sure that those data belong and remain Africa property, and the time will come when we're ready or so to see how to explore those data, and for that we need that because otherwise the digital divide will increase and not only on infrastructure but also on data coming with the big data and artificial intelligence and all of those kind of things coming out, we need data and they're getting data, most of the data from Africa, so we need also to have some money back from those data. Thanks.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Excellent. Thank you very much for your intervention. I'm just going to take one more because we have to go ‑‑ he was waving at me a lot, so please concisely, and then we're going to go back around with the group.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you, and Andrew from Online Consulting, and where there have been discussions about the current sort of global Internet, in reality it's largely dominated by U.S. norms and standards and U.S. companies. And because of that, it doesn't reflect the different values elsewhere, so on things like data privacy between Europe and the U.S. or freedom of expression where U.S. companies often hide behind the first amendment to resist the blocking of certain content in other jurisdictions.
So I think if you actually want to maintain and develop a true global Internet, then what's needed to balance the dominant voice of U.S. tech companies is a lot more involvement by political and policy participants from around the rest of the world, so rather than leaving it to the technocrats, the democrats have to be in the conversation as well.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Perfect. Thank you. Let's go back around the table. We've got about 10 minutes to all the panelists to pick up on whichever of the questions or comments that were made that you find provocative and would care to respond to. Why don't we start with this end with the Ambassador? Would you like to go first?
>> ACHILLES ZALUAR: Thank you. I think we should all be clear that if something, it's the commitment to the stakeholder model, the freedom of expression, to the protection of individual privacy, to a sensible balance between private interests and public policy concerns, and to the idea of a single global Internet instead of a fragmented one.
Breaking up the Internet is not, reiterate, not the best solutions to the problems that we face today.
Preventing natural monopolies from consolidating and expanding would be a better one. How to do that? I don't have a complete answer. There was an article by Mike Masnick recently called Protocols Not Platforms, that may provide part of the answer. I will provide the reference for those interested, very good article from this year. Also, a project called Solid by Tim Burns Lee that might point in the right direction. I don't have an answer really, we don't have a global forum that can make decisions about the these. We must try if we wish to preserve a global free Internet. Maybe to avoid breakup of Internet, governments have to break up some digital monopolies. Thank you.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Okay. Thank you. Vint, you're actually over there too but I was looking down this side. You, please.
>> VINT CERF: Well, I actually like protocols, as you might imagine, and I think a lot of the problems that we have will be solvable with the right set of protocols; although, in this case the protocols are more about policy than they are about the technical mechanics and moving packets around.
So, the biggest challenge that I see is that there is this tension at the national level to try to protect citizens from various kinds of harm, and there is a desire to impose where it's possible to do so, a set of policies that achieve that protection.
The question in my mind from an engineer's point of view is whether you can take this group of policies and find a way to make them at least interwork so that the network and the policies that are adopted still make this thing function.
It's not a good metaphor, but some of you will remember that the original Internet was designed around networks that were not compatible and they were made compatible and they were made compatible by adopting a common global address space and common packet format and encapsulation and decapsulation as it went back and forth.
So I'm trying to imagine whether there is a way of achieving a similar objective but in the policy space, and I don't quite know how to interpret what I just said, but the desire here is to make sure that the policies can be adopted if necessary at the national level, but which still allow the system to function on a global scale.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Okay. Thank you.
>> PEIXI XU: I would like to respond to the question from Russia who said that China, from the very beginning, perhaps has a more element of sovereignty in terms of the Internet stories, anyhow. I believe, that I think I agree on that point, there are indeed more elements in it, and that's why, by the way, China has a differentiation from EU. EU is busy with chasing the big Internet platforms because those platforms are not European and somehow do not feel painful about it when exercising big points. By China, the platforms are all somehow Chinese and, by the way, Milton also did a kind of research on it with a law article comparing China and the United States and how similar in terms of using some websites and so on and so forth in that category, so I think I agree with the Russian speaker.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Thanks. Lise?
>> LISE FUHR: Thank you. First of all, I agree that we need to have a global multi‑stakeholder discussion on these issues, and I need ‑‑ I think we need to have all stakeholders represented in these dialogues, so it's uses, it's industries, it's the governments.
We all need to have these discussions on how to actually establish common standards that can secure a global open and secure Internet for all. I don't think it's an easy task and I think this dialogue is a starting point and we need to have it in order to not get a fragmented Internet for the future.
To my fellow panelist's remark, one from Vint Cerf and other from Ilona from Saint Petersburg with technology, and I agree we can do a lot with technology, but on the DOH I think we need to tread carefully here because we need to avoid establishing a concentration of data on a few private companies and we need to implement a security standard that is actually not shooting sparrows with canons and to make sure that we do it in a way so it's not, again, creating this concentration of data.
So, I'm not against having more secure standards and protocols, but it's just it can also be used to actually do a bit of concentration instead of having the Internet as we have it today, a decentralized Internet. Thank you.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Alexander?
>> ALEXANDER ISAVNIN: I would like to continue discussion of protocols because none of Internet protocols actually supports any governmental interventions. It doesn't support sovereignty, it does not support interest of any state, and that was actually the success which lead to current development of Internet. Governments have no ‑‑ governments have no mechanisms to interfere with development of the Internet and so sovereignty or discussion of sovereignty in selected states is a real threat for development of Internet as we've seen before.
But also, I want to respond to gentlemen from the DRC, that Internet still gives a lot of possibilities for development, for development of underdeveloped countries and others. For sure, we know that some states are abusing Internet for spreading fake news or instead of pointing to the problems of their own countries starting discussions on U.S. strategy, but the Internet still gives possibilities. It's not talking about big platforms or negative impact. Develop Internet in your economy and your own country and you will succeed.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Thank you. Ilona?
>> ILONA STADNIK: Thank you. I will return to the question of the UN DG and international law. It's surprisingly that states that push for cyber sovereignty, they oppose the idea of military of Cyberspace and use it as a military domain. If you have seen the discussions in the OE, WG group it was the parallel track of the group, the Russian channel is actually pushing against militarization of Cyberspace, but in this turn, should we see a digital sovereignty notion as to think without this military dimension, that is kind of one of the important components of the classical notion of sovereignty.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Okay. Mona?
>> MONA BADRAN: I would like to address the issue of Internet and how to benefit from the Internet in Africa. I'd like also to mention that digital platforms in developing countries play a different role than compared to the developed countries. Digital platforms in developing countries create opportunities, overcome many market inefficiencies, help allocate resources in the right way, they help generate job opportunities, so this is only with the help of Internet and the leveraging of the data to promote digital platforms. This is very important in developing countries.
Also, for China, I think that now the trend is toward interoperable regulatory frameworks around the world inspired by the GDPR, and so I think that China recently, even if it succeeded in reaching certain economic benefits with its previous regulations that were built on data localization in certain areas, but recently it has made changes to these regulations, and also we need to remember that China is the home of 1 billion consumers, so it's a huge market in itself, so that's why it is ‑‑ it has succeeded. But this is not applicable for other developing countries. Thank you.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Okay. We have run out of time so we're just going to do closing very quickly. And, so, Milton?
>> MILTON MUELLER: I'm not going to do a closing Ben diction. I'm going to try to respond to some of the points that were made and if you have to filter out, good luck to you all.
So, there are too many questions to respond to here, but in general, I see a tendency among the critics of this panel to see sovereignty as a way of counterbalancing the power of the big U.S. companies. That really is what it comes down to. Right.
There are so many false assumptions and false assertions that are part of this argument. For example, the false assertion that the basic Internet standards are American. I thought Vint had made it quite clear that the U.S. Government does not own those standards. Anybody can use them in any country in any part of the world, it's nonproprietary standard, and as Alexander said, that's why it succeeded, it wasn't attached to a government.
There is a false assertion that sovereignty is about the rule of law. Well, that's true historically about the domestic policy, but it's completely false internationally. Sovereignty is anarchy internationally and I thought Bill made that point clearly. So, if you think that by asserting sovereignty, you'll counterbalance the rule of the strong, I got some news for you, and maybe the guy from Sputnik can remind you about the Trump Document in which the American Government is asserting its ability to dominate Cyberspace.
Hans has asserts that had the U.S. has asserted sovereign power over the DNS route on a couple of occasions. I got news for Hans, something called the Ilona transition and Lise were part of that in which we formally detached ICANN and the DNS route by any control from the U.S. It's true that ICANN is located in the U.S. and it has to be located somewhere, so in some sense it's in there, but the DNS policy is no longer subject to U.S. authority.
For the rest you have to pay attention what happens when sovereignty is asserted, do you think Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and Iran are nice examples of how data is only exploited for the sake of the people in that country? Do you think that privacy and security are actually helped by these assertions of sovereignty? Or do you think that this is states doing what states do, which is to protect and preserve their own power?
The question about the parallels between ocean governance, you know, we can take that offline and talk about it. Thank you.
>> WILLIAM DRAKE: Okay. Well Milt touched on a little of what I would have as well, and I think some of the conversations which has been very interesting and robust, and I thank everybody for contributing to it. It has drifted a bit from the topic of sovereignty, which I think is somewhat difficult to discuss in some ways. It's perhaps kind of a conceptual abstraction that is a little hard to sink your teeth into so we moved into some of the broader kinds of long‑standing arguments and concerns about power and which countries and which companies, et cetera, et cetera, have more power, et cetera.
But getting to the core question of how it is that states utilize the discourse of sovereignty to justify their actions and to provide rationales for a range of activity, which may or may not be beneficial from the standpoint of preserving an open global Internet, is I think an important question to give further thought to.
Obviously, here we're only scratching the surface. It's a big topic and we had 90 minutes. We had a lot of people in the room, so hopefully this was at least a useful start to everybody, and we'll give you some food for thought and we thank you for coming and enjoy the rest of your afternoon. Okay.