IGF 2020 WS #365 Global Perspectives On Intermediary Liability


Organizer 1: Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 2: Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 3: Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Speaker 1: Caroline Greer, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Snead David, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Lars Steffen, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Debate - Classroom - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

Will leaving the policing of the Internet to intermediaries rather than authorities holds major risks, because the incentive will always be to shut down content first, rather than presuming to have sufficient expertise to determine legality? Will tbis lead to more silenced voices and a strong risk of forcing criminal networks further underground? Will larger sized companies ultimately be the only ones able to create, develop, or implement costly filtering procedures (through a combination of humans or sophisticated AI algorithms), which in turn could make it impossible for smaller companies to compete? Will taking measures to disable encryption will add fundamental weaknesses to communication infrastructure?

proactive monitoring, mandatory local incorporation, enabling the traceability of originators (which would impact encryption), timelines for content takedown, and user data sharing.


GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


On the Internet, generally, a third party is always involved. Discussions around the responsibility of that third party is a matter of determining liability in circumstances of real or perceived wrongdoing. Right now, intermediary laws are being reconsidered in major jurisdictions including the United States, the EU, and India. Data flows across borders. This panel will discuss the global ramifications for that regarding how it will affect the growth of the Internet economy, barriers to trade, and the ability of the Internet to continue to flourish as a tool that keeps us all connected.

Expected Outcomes

i2Coalition and eco plan to continue the debate started at IGF in a series of workshops in both the EU and U.S, to attempt to foster an ongoing conversation about the relevant themes, after hearing from the broader global community.

Questions will be posed to people with opposing views who will be asked to engage one another, and then time will be left to ask the audience to engage the debaters directly.

Relevance to Internet Governance: The goal is to engage in spirited debate on whether changing intermediary laws is a threat to a single global Internet, and whether changes will result in further fracturing.

Relevance to Theme: This sits at the nexus between trust, which is at the heart of the debate around intermediary liability, and digital soverignty.

Online Participation


Usage of IGF Official Tool.