IGF 2019 OF #37 Future Internet Governance Strategy for the European Union

Description

The interactive panel session at the Internet Governance Forum 2019 will include experts from different stakeholder groups to discuss their perspectives on the future of internet governance and the role of Europe, and aims to encourage audiences to join the conversation.

Fostering digital transformation is higher than ever on the political agenda of the European Union and has been identified as a priority for unlocking future growth in Europe. Cutting-edge digital technologies such as artificial intelligence or distributed ledger technologies do not only promise economic advantages, they are also shaping the structure of our society. 

This rapid diffusion of digital technologies asks for increased inclusive, multistakeholder and multidisciplinary collaborations to manage the internet, implementing new governance mechanisms that are fit for purpose for these new challenges.

Internet governance is now a top priority of several different public institutions and is becoming central to the geopolitical debate. The EU, as an important global actor, will play a fundamental role in setting standards and regulatory frameworks, as well as becoming a global trusted hub for ethical technology development.

The panel discussion will then unfold around few main questions:

  1. Does internet governance still appeal to all stakeholders, working together to foster on the internet the values that Europe holds dear: openness, inclusivity, transparency, privacy, cooperation, and the protection of data?  
  2. What concrete governance steps need to be taken for ensuring that innovation is driven by an ethical, sustainable and human-centric internet? 
  3. What role will the EU play as a global actor of internet governance in the coming decade? 

The session opens a window for discussing fundamental values that lead the way towards a new approach in internet governance. Moderated by Antoine Vergne (Missions Publiques), the Open Forum panel will consist of five experts with diverse backgrounds relevant for the future of internet governance.

Organizers

European Commission

Speakers

Panelists:

  • Andrea Beccalli, Director Stakeholder Engagement at ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers)- Technical community
  • Olivier Bringer, Head of Unit “Next-Generation Internet”, DG CNECT, European Commission-  International organisation
  • Maarit Palovirta, Director of Regulatory Affairs at ETNO (European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association)-  Private sector
  • Dr. Julia Pohle, Senior Researcher at WZB Berlin Social Science Center- Academia

Moderator:

Antoine Vergne, Missions Publiques

Online Moderator

Nina Van Der Giessen

SDGs

GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

1. Key Policy Questions and Expectations
  1. Does internet governance still appeal to all stakeholders, working together to foster on the internet the values that Europe holds dear: openness, inclusivity, transparency, privacy, cooperation, and the protection of data?  
  2. What concrete governance steps need to be taken for ensuring that innovation is driven by an ethical, sustainable and human-centric internet? 
  3. What role will the EU play as a global actor of internet governance in the coming decade? 
2. Summary of Issues Discussed

Discussions evolved around the collective efforts of different stakeholders in working together to foster on the internet the values that Europe holds dear: openness, inclusivity, transparency, privacy, cooperation, and the protection of data. It addressed the concrete governance steps that need to be taken for ensuring that innovation is driven by an ethical, sustainable and human-centric internet. It also touched upon EU’s role as a global actor of internet governance in the coming decade.

One of the panellists, Dr. Julia Pohle argued that there is an increased interested by high-level stakeholders in the Internet Governance Forum. According to her, we experience a transitional phase, in which technical and clear objectives of internet governance (set 15 years ago) are now diversifying and diffusing into political/economic and social issues as well. Platformisation and digital scandals such as Cambridge Analytica affect the societal trust in the internet’s open characteristics.

3. Policy Recommendations or Suggestions for the Way Forward

Issues today under the name of “internet governance” go far beyond the infrastructural components, applications and services of the internet. Therefore, Internet governance is transforming into to a broader definition of governance, better defined as digital governance. Concrete examples are automatic driving systems and localization of health related data, which do not address open/transparent characteristics of the internet.  Taking the ambitious goals of the European Green Deal and the UN Sustainable Development Goals into consideration, environmental sustainability should be prioritized on the internet governance agenda. Relevant to address in upcoming discussions on the future of internet governance, is therefore: how can we use ICT to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

5. Making Progress for Tackled Issues

Fostering digital transformation is higher than ever on the political agenda of the European Union and has been identified as a priority for unlocking future growth in Europe. Cutting-edge digital technologies such as artificial intelligence or distributed ledger technologies do not only promise economic advantages, they are also shaping the structure of our society.

6. Estimated Participation

150, balanced gender ratio

8. Session Outputs

During the 14th Internet Governance Forum in Berlin (25-29 November), Unit E3 “Next Generation Internet” held an open forum panel session with constructive discussions on the future of the internet. The session opened a window for discussing fundamental values that lead the way towards a new approach in internet governance. The multidisciplinary panel consisted of Andrea Beccalli (ICANN), Olivier Bringer (European Commission), Maarit Palovirta (ETNO), Dr. Julia Pohle (WZB Berlin Social Science Center) and was moderated by Antoine Vergne (Mission Publiques). Over 150 people participated. Critical questions from the audience involved topics such as: decentralisation, data privacy and ICT sustainability.