IGF 2020 WS #301 Fighting Pandemic in the Digital Era

Thematic Track

Organizer 1: Ihita Gangavarapu, Youth IGF India
Organizer 2: Ashwin Reddy, 8FX
Organizer 3: Dikchya Raut, Together against Cyber Crime International
Organizer 4: Mohammad Atif Aleem, Youth Special Interest Group, Internet Society
Organizer 5: Lily Edinam Botsyoe, Ghyrate Ghana
Organizer 6: Emilia Zalewska, LegalTech Polska
Organizer 7: Jaewon Son, Korea Internet Governance Alliance

Speaker 1: Felicia Anthonio, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Bridget Boakye, Private Sector, African Group
Speaker 3: Yuliya Morenets, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Ihita Gangavarapu, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Online Moderator

Mohammad Atif Aleem, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group


Ashwin Reddy, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group


Round Table - U-shape - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

1. Are the current cyber policies, standards, and norms along with the existing internet infrastructure inclusive, robust, secure, and resilient when dealing with the challenge of trust?” 2. How the policies can be made to reform the laws to make it inclusive of the risk posed as the consequence of lockdown resulted by pandemics? 3. How can states learn from the best practices from different communities to address the security concerns and dealing with misinformation around the pandemic?

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the way states to deal with global health emergencies. The major takeaway from this experience is that the nations alone find it challenging to handle the crisis brought forth by the outbreak of the virus. For this, a wider collaboration is a must in order to reiterate the shortcomings experienced in the use of internet tools. Thus, a collaborative effort of multi-stakeholders has proven to be an effective solution not only to tackle the pandemic but also to address immediate technical issues, humanitarian effects, and economic challenges. In this roundtable session, we aim to initiate effective dialogues on two important emerging questions: a.” How do the current cyber policies, standards, and norms along with the existing internet infrastructure need to evolve to be more inclusive, robust, secure, and resilient when dealing with the challenge of trust?” b. “How will the internet be a driving factor for the change in the global workforce after the coronavirus pandemic?” The speakers in the session will discuss how the internet has been beneficial to adopt the best practices in their respective sectors with a focus on the various challenges of trust in cyberspace. Challenges faced due to this pandemic have added emotional and financial burdens in allocating resources. Thus, the discussion will be further developed by speakers talking about stakeholder relations and cooperation to work towards these challenges by highlighting how the internet has helped their stakeholder communities have functioned even under lockdowns & state emergencies.


GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals


In 2015, Bill Gates during one of his TED Talk mentioned that epidemics have replaced nuclear warfare as the number one threat that can wipe out tens of millions of lives globally. The COVID-19 pandemic has become the biggest crisis of the world, and to fight against the disease many digital technologies are being widely used. These days, anyone with a smartphone can have access to the internet and can broadcast news online. The round table discussion is about initiating dialogue and sharing learnings on the efforts and mechanisms brought about during the pandemic in the digital era. Though along with Information Technology methods, various multi-stakeholder efforts were put in to fight the pandemic, it gave rise to a new set of challenges of cybersecurity, misinformation, privacy, phishing. Thus, through the session, these aspects are put forward by the speakers and participants to effectively collaborate and pave the way ahead towards trustworthy cyberspace.

Expected Outcomes

The swift shift of the internet as a result of lockdown necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic saw some major shortcomings in the existing internet tools. With increasing security concerns on various communication platforms, building confidence of netizens on these platforms is becoming more and more challenging. Therefore, this session will:- 1) Facilitate a discussion on how the relationship between humans and the internet can be sustainably built. (2) Sharing best practices of addressing the security concerns and dealing with misinformation which will be a lesson learned for other present stakeholders. (3) Promote the technical community to design and implement secure systems giving specific attention to data protection. (4) Encourage policymakers to reform the laws to make it inclusive of the risk posed as the consequence of lockdown resulted from pandemics.

Introduction: 10 Mins The moderator will start the session by introducing the agenda and the background of the speakers on the panel. Speaker Presentation: 25 Mins 5 speakers are invited to address the issue and discuss the topic affecting their stakeholders at the individual, organizational, and regional levels by sharing their viewpoints. Roundtable Discussion: 30 Mins The session aims to allow speakers to respond to each other’s presentations. Attendees can ask a few quick questions that might be critical in forming the focal point of the discussion in the second half of the roundtable, for an open floor discussion. Conclusion: 5 Mins The moderator will summarize the viewpoints of the speakers, and conclude the session. As such throughout the session, the moderator will engage both the audience and the speakers on the different aspects of the session and encourage participation not only at the on-site level but also through off-site interaction, which will be facilitated by the off-site coordinator. The organizers also aim to make the session digitally inclusive and encourage questions through social media channels, held in parallel with the session, and summarized in the last 5 minutes.

Relevance to Internet Governance: The recent profusion of cooperative innovation on digital cooperation at critical times such as the Coronavirus pandemic shows great promise. Shared learnings from various sectors to understanding and develop ways to build as well as implement global internet policies and emerging technologies effectively is essential. The Session will bring together a myriad of viewpoints to the table to discuss stakeholder challenges, efforts, and initiatives taken to facilitate an exchange of best practices and insights from stakeholders to understand the challenge of trust during this global pandemic. Various trust-related challenges that fall under the Internet Governance umbrella such as online frauds, internet infrastructure attacks, unregulated access, privacy, use of Artificial Intelligence, will be discussed to work towards redefining technological developments and policy formulations. Through this session we further help organizations and individuals to develop, deploy, or operate in pandemic preparedness work, further encouraging community engagements and solutions on the global pandemic in the age of digital interdependence. We will also analyze the internet as a driving force for the change in the global workforce post the CoronaVirus pandemic. In turn, helping the participants get closer to productive future collaborations for Internet Governance, which is something that IGF aims to achieve. In line with UN Sustainable Development Goals, this session will bolster agility and flexibility post the pandemic and open avenues of a more robust economy through balances in income and opportunity effects of digital disruption which will also be a motivating factor for the audience of IGF.

Relevance to Theme: The session aims to bring together a myriad of viewpoints to the table to discuss stakeholder challenges, efforts, and initiatives taken during the coronavirus pandemic towards maintaining trust in cyberspace, which is one of the major components of IGF’s thematic track. Thus, facilitating an exchange of best practices and insights from stakeholders for the future of the internet. The session will involve analyzing the effectiveness of the current global cybersecurity policies and standards and thus initiate dialogue on the requirement of modifications to the existing structure and its application. The existing internet infrastructure, systems, devices, and the challenges will be discussed to understand the requirements of stakeholder collaborations to make them more robust, secure, and resilient. Ever-evolving challenges such as fake news and misinformation, especially during the pandemic, will be addressed and the way forward in dealing with them will be discussed. Along with this, the focus will be on the points from the media stakeholder group to understand their challenges and to stress upon the importance of broadcasting trustworthy content. Therefore in entirety, the session will cover all major verticals of trust in cyberspace with a focus on the challenges and learnings from the global pandemic period.

Online Participation


Usage of IGF Official Tool.