IGF 2021 – Day 0 – Event #84 Internet governance, with and for the citizens

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. 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, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.



>> ANTOINE VERGNE:  Hello.  I'm Antoine, the Moderator of this session. 

    Hello, everyone.  From the IGF team, is someone in the room?  Yeah, I see myself in the room.  Okay.  That's good.  So hello, everyone.  Ahh, yes, we have people in the room.  Hi.  Nice to see you.  Okay.  Because I had another ‑‑ that's fantastic.  So welcome.  We have a couple of people that are trying to join online.  And the link or the Web page from IGF seems not to be working very well.  So they are trying to join.  So maybe we wait a couple of minutes more and then we can start. 

    In the meantime, can we try an interaction?  Can someone from the room say hello or speak so we can see if it works for me and you can hear well and you can hear me well? 

   >> Hello.  We can hear you, of course. 

   >> ANTOINE VERGNE:  Yes.  Hello. 

   >> Yes, hi.  Everything seems to be pretty good.  We can hear you and we can see you.  Yeah. 

   >> ANTOINE VERGNE:  Okay.  Perfect.  Perfect. 

   >> We all live in a digital world.  We all need it to be open and safe.  We all want to trust.

   >> And to be trusted. 

   >> We all despise control.

   >> And desire freedom. 

   >> We are all united. 

   >> ANTOINE VERGNE:  Okay.  Thank you.  Those were the intro movie.  I am here.  I see you are seven in the room.  We are online.  And I think people still are struggling to join, remote people.  Maria, hello, Maria. 

   >> Hi everyone.  Hi Antoine.  Hi everyone.  Good to see you here, yeah.  Apparently there are some ‑‑ lots of people still struggling to get on to the platform.  So I don't know if we should wait or no.  But Antoine, go ahead. 

   >> ANTOINE VERGNE:  Yeah.  Maybe we can start.  And I wanted to welcome you and thank you.  And first of all, maybe seeing that it is quite a pity, I would have loved to have been in Poland this week.  But it didn't work.  So I'm sad and at the same time I'm happy that we can have that moment together. 

    What we are going to do, we have 40 minutes now.  The idea for us is to present you a short reminder of what is with the Internet, why we do it.  And then start a discussion in bridging the results of the citizens' dialogue with the discussion at IGF '21.  This is our key idea of what we are doing.  Our idea is how do we create a bridge between ordinary citizens, citizens that are nonactive stakeholders of Internet Governance that have that knowledge, that have the wishes, that think about something.  How do we make that connection.  How do we bridge the stakeholder discussion with citizens of the world. 

    I will now share my screen to give you a short presentation of what we have been doing and some results that we think are connected to this year's IGF

    So with Internet, as I said, is ‑‑ what is our vision with the project and the process is to test, improve and institutionalize Internet Governance with and for the citizens.  That's our goal.  The journey started in 2017.  And we started to build a coalition of key actors coming from all stakeholder groups.  So you see the main supporters at the bottom of the presentation.  But we have had much larger coalition of partners all over the world.  And in 2020, we ‑‑ we were ready to run and implement a global citizens' dialogue. 

    What is a global citizens' dialogue?  It is a way to engage ordinary citizens in to governance.  We select randomly or through ‑‑ we select groups of citizens to represent the diversity of their country.  We give them a moment, we give them a day, a full day of discussion with information input on key topics of governance and in that case an Internet Governance.  The idea is to have a process through which citizens are able to discuss, confront the opinion with people they have never seen, people that are very different from themselves.  But on the basis of information and different opinions and expertise.  And what we get out of this is what we call the enlightened opinion of citizens, the informed opinion of citizens.  We feed it back in to the governance process. 

In 2020 we had the dialogue in 80 countries of the world.  We had more than 5,000 participants in all these countries.  And also due to the pandemic last year we had half of those dialogues being online dialogues and half of them being physical, face‑to‑face meetings.  Some of them being hybrid meetings.  So who are the participants?  We had participants in terms of gender which were very diverse with overrepresentation of youth.  Youth is the biggest group of population.  And in terms of occupation, it is the same. 

    So you have a big group of students and people due to the demographics of the participants.  But you see that you had also many different professions and people engaged in that process. 

    So as we prepared the decision this morning, we are thinking okay, what are the results of the dialogue that are of interest for this year's IGF.  And we looked at the High‑Level Tracks and we picked three of them. 

    And what I would like to do now shortly, before we have a discussion, is try to understand what is being discussed at IGF this year.  That is ‑‑ that can be felt.  That can be inspired by the residents of the Internet.  The first track is the sustainable value and inclusive society. 

And the second one is the question of inclusive and diverse innovation and the corporate social responsibility in digital technologies.  To illustrate those High‑Level Tracks we have connected that to the results around one of the topics of the dialogue of last year, which was my data, your data, our data. 

    So the question of data society and how do we make it an inclusive process for all citizens. 

    And so if we look at some results and we can then discuss them and have an exchange on that, a huge majority of the participants had a view that data based economy is an opportunity and a threat.  Not only an opportunity, not only a threat, but something we need to work on and to govern, to be inclusive. 

    Then what they said participants had a very strong view on their responsibility and their urgency on the data they produce.  And as you said the majority of them wanted to make all the decisions by themselves when it came to data.  Also that of setting the data. 

    And if you look at after the discussion, so this is one of the key elements of such a deliberative process, is that we have citizens that enter a process, gain knowledge, and build their opinion. 

    So we ask them at the end of the day if they have changed their opinion, if something has changed in their mind. 

    What we see here is that for the participants, the huge majority of participants they have a better understanding of data.  And this means for us that it is the results are then strong in the way that people have taken the time to think about it.  And also if we ask them at the end of the session if they will share more or less data, or if they will go on doing the same, we see that a huge majority of participants say that they would share less data.  There is a kind of process that goes in the head of the people.  We had another part of the process which is related to the question of inclusion and data economy and inclusive business models.  We ask citizens to consider the three main actors in the Internet Governance.  Public bodies and private sector and Civil Society and the kind of tools that are being put in place in order to fight this information. 

    And we asked them to rate those different tools, those different solutions.  So what came out of that is that citizens ranked the highest tool of the ‑‑ with being the most impactful and the most urgent as being education.  So that's an interesting view and things that it is the most urgent for participants is not a technical solution is education.  So to tackle the problem by education. 

    But they also say this is what will have the highest impact.  This for them, we ask them how is it for public bodies.  Is it for public bodies, private or not private to tackle this information through education. 

    And will that have an impact?  As you see the majority, the clear majority of the participants were saying okay, for public bodies it is very important and very impactful to work on education, to fight this information. 

    And this is the results of a work group.  It is not individual results.  It is the results of a table of six to eight people discussing and coming to agreement together, saying okay for us as a group, this is the solution. 

    So what you have is a percentage of groups, not percentage of participants.  And this is very important because it is a collective view.  It is not an individual view on the question.  So for public bodies very urgent, very impactful. 

    What is interesting is that for Civil Society participants consider that it is the same.  So education is urgent and will have impact if Civil Society works on this information, tackling this information through education.  And the same for the private sector.  And that's interesting, too, because for the private sector we would have expected more that maybe people choose a tool around technology, around algorithm, around content, moderation through people and no citizens picked as a priority and an impactful way of tackling this information for the private sector education. 

    So that's a clear appeal for all stakeholders to work around education and digital interest in order to have those inclusive society and the sustainable value that is the high track and the role of digital platform is ever important. 

    And then when we ask them to rate who should take the lead in that work of tackling this information, so for the people, the less good solution is no one.  So while or less fair it is not a solution for citizens they want action.  And they see the main responsibility on the side of the technical communities, it is the most blue one on the below.  And the Civil Society, the United Nations and original organization. 

    National Governments are a bit less.  And then citizens themselves they don't see themselves as being the one main actor to do that.  But they see that the lead should be taken by a technical committee and Civil Society. 

    Now if we ‑‑ I won't be too long.  We have a lot of results.  But we have not so much time.  And I would like to have more time for the discussion.  We will pick another High‑Level Track which is the one on the governance models. 

    So governance models, we asked the citizens at the end of the process, and that's one of the questions that we always ask, if citizens' dialogues should be a way of making a decision in the future of Internet.  And citizens were strongly, of course, supporting the view that it would be a good thing to do.  So, of course, we can say there is a bias because they went through the process.  But at the same time it is a very clear message that citizens want to be engaged in the governance of the Internet. 

    And if we ask them, to put in that perspective, we should be included in the decision‑making process.  They have a strong view that almost everyone should be.  So there is no one that is below 50%.  And all actors should be engaged in to that.  But you see that there is a bit of stronger view for the research community and the technical community and other actors to be engaged in that.  So the multi‑stakeholder model is very supported by citizens. 

    Then we asked also them to rate as a ‑‑ as groups which is the best level to make decision.  And they clearly see that there is a priority for the global level.  So IGF and global IGF is a very relevant place for them to take decisions.  But they have slight different views on the different kinds of decision making.  And if we look at that, the question of disinformation on data, they see more at the local level.  And this is due to the fact that, of course, it is said the content is in local languages.  So this information is also a more local question. 

    But if we look at topics like environment or Internet Governance itself, they see it more as a global thing.  Artificial Intelligence was ranked the highest as a governance topic for the global level. 

    So and this is what we ‑‑ we asked ‑‑ when we asked ‑‑ we had a session on Artificial Intelligence and we asked them if it would be important to hire ‑‑ it felt to us that it is relevant and interesting if we discuss the governance model to promote inclusive and diverse business models that many, many business models now are going to be based on Artificial Intelligence and that for citizens, one of the key while developing business models based on Artificial Intelligence there should be an ethic point of view on that topic within the organizations that are developing such models. 

    So I say what are the next steps.  We are preparing at the moment and we can open the floor and have a discussion and we have two, three guests today that I would like to give the floor to before we open the discussion.  But we are working on a plan towards 2025.  Our idea is to understand how we connect the process to the global Internet Governance process, while thinking about 2025 and the next cycle of Internet Governance.  We are coordinating global activities.  We are supporting national activities and we are engaging Internet Governance to understand how we can push for that idea, how citizens have a say on Internet Governance if we have the good tools to do that. 

    So I will stop the presentation and I would like to give the floor to Louie who is with us today.  I know that you have read the report, that you have thought about the results.  And I would like to have your feedback, your feelings about that process and its results. 

   >> Louie.

   >> MARIA TAZI:  Louie, would you mind unmuting yourself?  We can't hear you.  Unmute on the Zoom.  On the Zoom tool. 

   >> Sorry.  It's okay. 

   >> MARIA TAZI:  Brilliant. 

   >> Hello.  Okay.  So now I apparently have the sound.  Do you have the sound, too?  Hello. 

   >> MARIA TAZI:  Hi.  We have the sound and we hear you loud and clear. 

   >> All right.  So I had the intention to talk about what we are doing now, not to go back to the things we have done several years ago. 

    But at the moment, you know, we are involving RINA.  You have heard of RINA?  Not at all.  Okay.  RINA means recursive Internetwork architecture.  If you can see it, I'm not sure the ‑‑ the leaflet is the opposite.  It is called RINA.  This is a totally new architecture, which has been created actually ten years ago by one of our colleagues, American colleague, called John Day.  John Day has done remarkable work of defining a new architecture for Internet.  At the moment when you work TCP, for example, when you have ‑‑ you have the ability to dispatch what you are doing around the world, that's fine. 

    But on the other hand, what you are dispatching is only one language, at least one text or one document.  That can be received by everyone.  It is the only one they can receive at the same time.  In other words, it is a system that provides a sort of unique capacity for dispatching many things.  But not at the same time. 

    So what we have done, what John Day has done is to create something that looks similar to TCP but completely different.  We have in RINA the ability to have a multiplicity of channels so you can send information.  It can be received by a large population, and everyone can select or choose a particular, a particular channel they want. 

    It is a little bit like the radio. 

   >> ANTOINE VERGNE:  Louie, thank you for the RINA.  I suppose you will be presenting that also at the booth you have at IGF.  But I want to ask you about your feelings and your feedback on the process of the Internet.  You have talked with Maria and discussed the ‑‑ with the Internet process and the way of engaging citizens. 

    And I wanted to have your feedback on that, what you ‑‑ what was striking for you in the results with the Internet. 

   >> I'm not sure I understood what your various aspects, your various points.  First, you want me to repeat the number of things or you be more precise of RINA? 

   >> ANTOINE VERGNE:  I wanted to see if you react with the Internet and the process of the citizens' dialogue.  I'm sorry, I can be a bit louder for you.

   >> It means that the process of the citizens' dialogue it is a mixture of having a dialogue of multiplicity of individuals to communicate with other groups or individuals.  That's not exactly what we have at the moment on TCP.  And the next thing is the ability to create new groups which can be ‑‑ which can be first independent from ICANN, independent from the ones that are delegated by ICANN.  And they can have exactly the same services they have on the Internet, but they can be in different languages.  And they can also be in different ‑‑ in different codes, if you want to make it easier ‑‑ either crypted or not.   

   >> ANTOINE VERGNE:  Okay.  So thank you, Louie for your feedback.  Maria, do we have others from our partners that wanted to maybe, yeah, give the floor on the list? 

   >> MARIA TAZI:  Maybe Steven is here.  And Stephen McCarthy is one of our partners in Ireland.  And he was able to implement a citizens' dialogue in Dublin, if I recall.  Maybe Stephen, very quickly you could tell us how that went.  And maybe remind us what were the key findings that came out from that dialogue. 

   >> STEPHEN MCCARTHY:  Yeah, I think the event we had was fantastic.  

    A space for citizens to speak and have their say on the very important topic.  I think the key finding was citizens need more of these kind of opportunities.  Particularly to have their voice heard and I think across the board, as we heard different types of citizens speak.  And yeah.  Be very glad to organize another one.  I think the opportunity is there. 


   >> ANTOINE VERGNE:  Thank you, Stephen.  I would like to see now from the room in Katowice or in the room online, if you have some questions, feedback, things that you ‑‑ that struck you or where we are ‑‑ where you are wondering what's that about.  And if we can have that discussion. 

    So the floor is to the room.  And I would be happy to ‑‑ Maria and I would be happy to answer as we can.  Stephen is here and is one of our partners.  And see what we can do. 

    Sarah.  We can hear you.

   >> SARAH LIBERTY:  Hi.  My name is Sarah.  I'm based in Sydney, Australia.  I'm the founder and CEO of an online Human Rights NGO here in Australia. 

    We recently did some research in Australia to understand what do Australians know about their online Human Rights, which is our area of specialty.  And we conducted a poll of Australians.  And we had a simple yes/no answer.  And we asked people do you know what your online Human Rights are.  And a very large proportion of people don't know what their rights are.  And it highlights to us the importance of what you ‑‑ what's being touched on is education.  And reaching people to really engage with them so that they do understand what their rights are online, which are no different than their offline rights. 

    I'm curious to know what are the best strategic ways of reaching a broad population, because we do a lot of media communication work, public affairs, but it seems like this is a really big area where people want to be educated.  They want to know.  And where Civil Society Organization and we want to do this work.  But we also recognize that it's everyone's ‑‑ we think it's everyone's responsibility.  I guess that's kind of my question and my observation. 

   >> ANTOINE VERGNE:  Thank you very much.  I think it exactly aligns with the results of the dialogues, because what we saw is that citizens enter the process.  For many of them we asked at the beginning their knowledge on different topics and usage of Internet. 

    So we had many people using the Internet on a day‑to‑day basis of the participants.  But then we ‑‑ in some of the topics we are quite familiar to them.  When we ask about do you know about this information was something they knew about. 

    But then we asked something, like Internet Governance and they had no idea of that, of course.  A couple of other topics, we saw that the people were not knowledgeable. 

    And then they entered the discussion and got that information.  And we can share also the materials.  We had produced short videos.  Each of them in the local language of the country to explain the stakes of those topics and also the concepts in a very easy way. 

    So in itself it is an education process that people could go through it and understand better.  During the process we saw that ‑‑ and the results were presented, that people see that everyone is responsible for education on the rights and on the responsibility.  At the same time they see that themselves as citizens need to be reached out by other actors.  So this is a kind of a tension because as you said we see they won't.  It is a clear message they give.  We want to be educated.  And we need to be educated. 

    But at the same time, they don't see their responsibility by themselves alone.  And they see others to do that.  As a Civil Society Organization it's ‑‑ should it be part or we think it is part of our responsibility here we would have very strong for from citizens, saying okay, that's indeed.  Your one million question, that's a good one. 

    Because here I can only tell what we have as results that citizens said we need more literacy and Internet literacy.  And then what we could do is look in to the qualitative results to see the path they wanted to.  Because we asked them what kind of tools.  And here that data we have, but we could look, we could share with you that kind of data.  And you could have a look at okay, this is maybe some of the paths that they see.  But overarching, it should be a collaborative effort with part responsibility from the citizens and part from the stakeholders.  I don't know, Stephen, if you want to add on that. 

   >> STEPHEN MCCARTHY:  Yes.  I think one other thing that came up during the Irish results and it is a great question and also embedding these topics in to a curriculum of primary schools and secondary and at the University level.  At the University level, when you talk about these topics it seems quite late in the person's education to start learning about these topics.  So I think learning from an early age, that was definitely something that came up.  I think there is a lot to be said for.  It is a very good question. 

   >> Sarah Liberty:  Thank you.  Great answers. 

   >> ANTOINE VERGNE:  Thank you.  So other questions from the group around the results, around the process?  In the room I don't see if you have your hands up because it's ‑‑ I don't see no one in the room. 

    Okay.  So then I would say Maria.

   >> MARIA TAZI:  Maybe someone that's in the virtual booth with us.  So, of course, there are a lot of people who actually are supposed to come to the virtual online booth but there was a technical issue.  So we're still actually waiting for a few people.  But maybe someone else in the online session wants to actually ask a question or have a comment on the results.  We can see Sonia, Tome, Abdulla.  Just go ahead and take the floor.  Go for it, if you have any comments. 

   >> ANTOINE VERGNE:  There is someone in the room. 

   >> Yep.  Hello.  My name is Rob.  I'm with Electronic Frontier Finland.  And I was wondering do you have this educational videos on your websites so that we could disseminate them to ‑‑ in Finland? 

   >> ANTOINE VERGNE:  Yes.  We have all materials published as a copy left.  It is a creative comments license.  Also the design of the dialogue and they are in the local languages.  I don't remember our group in Finland, Maria, if they were able to do it or they had to cancel last minute. 

    I know that in one of the Nordic countries we had a partner that had to cancel last minute but I don't remember if it was Finland.  It may be the case that all materials are in Finnish.  But you find everything on the website and the method.  The idea for us it is not something that we keep but something that can be reused, redone.  And we also are very happy to take an hour with you to go through the materials, explain you.  And if you want to use it, we are really happy.  Because it is the way we think it should be done, that we have produced that material.  And it is still valid.  That's one of the interesting maybe aspects of the liberative process, they are not short, very short time.  But they can be used a couple of years. 

    So we are really happy to share it with you.  And if you want to take ‑‑ to get in touch with us, we can do that.   

   >> Okay.  Just an idea, I saw UNESCO as one of the partners.  I know that there are UNESCO schools around the world.  Maybe that's a place to start to disseminate that information to primary schools. 

   >> ANTOINE VERGNE:  Very good question.  We started that partnership with UNESCO and the schools are a good point.  We had IBM, it is less of a top priority to work with, go to centers all over the world.  They have a very good coverage but that's something that we want ‑‑ those networks, also the network of libraries are very important partners.  But thank you for the advice.  We can do this.   

   >> Hello.  Can you hear me? 

   >> ANTOINE VERGNE:  Yes. 

   >> Thank you for the presentation.  I just want to ask whether you at the regional level, whether you do collaborate with regional IGFs or the local national IGFs to present these or gather information as well? 

    And if you just run your program independently, independent of the NRIs.  I'm referring to the national regional initiatives, whether you collaborate with them. 

   >> ANTOINE VERGNE:  Thank you very much for the question.  Indeed many of your partners who run the dialogue in their country are active in the national or regional IGF.  So it is a very good link that we were able to build with the national IGFs.  In some countries, for example, we had a very strong connection between the national IGF and the citizens' dialogue.  The example of Rwanda.  In Rwanda the citizens' dialogue was part of the Rwandan IGF.  And that's also part of our idea, is how do you connect also that discussion between citizens and stakeholders at a national level.  And not only at the global level.  And then you can build on that. 

So it is, for example, also in Bolivia, Robert Sanbrano who did the process in the country.  And it was connected to the local IGF, to the national IGF.  We also had a strong link with Germany.  We are trying to see and understand if we can connect those local discussions with the local initiatives.  And we are in many discussions with the IGF Secretariat, NRIs group.  So it is for us, of course, one very important path because it's ‑‑ it is logical of the Internet Governance to have that local level and global level.  So yes.  But if you are active in one of the countries at a national level, we are also happy to connect and see if we can do something together. 

   >> Okay.  I would like ‑‑ I would be happy to connect because we are shortly going to run the African Internet Governance Forum.  And if we can connect and do some presentation, that would be excellent for us.  Thank you. 

   >> ANTOINE VERGNE:  Yes.  Very good.  No problem.  Maria, maybe you can give us news from one of our partners in West Africa. 

   >> MARIA TAZI:  Yes.  Actually we've received very good news lately that one of our partners in Benin has wanted to relaunch a citizens' dialogue now in December.  So it's going to be held in a few weeks' time, I think on the 17th of December.  So in practically ten days around data protection and Beninese data protection.  We're very much looking forward to their findings and results. 

    And this dialogue in Benin has actually also led to another dialogue that's going to be held the day after in Burkina Faso.  So we're very happy that partners are actually getting involved independently from us and relaunching citizens' dialogues all around the world in the internet format, of course.  So that we can all together bridge this ‑‑ make bridges between ordinary citizens, everyday people and stakeholders at the national, regional and global level. 

    So, of course, if any of you are interested in implementing such a citizens' dialogue in your country, in your region, we have everything necessary for you to do so.  We have all the materials.  Videos, infographics, all the detailed outline of the format in a specific toolkit that is accessible and open to everyone in our Internet site.    

   >> ANTOINE VERGNE:  Thank you, Maria.  We have four minutes left.  Maybe one last comment, question, and then we can close the round for today.  And ‑‑ so is there a last wish to comment or ask something?  I see not in the room.  And not online.  So I would say thank you very much for those 45 minutes together.  I hope that we can build relations and go on working with that.  On our side, 2021 was a year to restate forces, how you say to rebuild forces on the process.  We have plans from '22 to '25.  And we have that ambition that we want to keep that line of understanding, how can we make it normal way to do it, to have ordinary citizens in to Internet Governance for the many advantages that it can have for everyone.  Thank you very much for being with us this morning.  I wish all the people in Katowice a great day on the place. 

    And maybe we see each other in another room during the week.  And I hope it was interesting for you.  Don't hesitate to reach out to us. 

    Thank you very much. 

   >> Thank you very much. 

   >> MARIA TAZI:  The very last thing if you want to follow us on social media you can follow us at #wetheinternet.  You can go on our Internet site and look at photos and watch videos and have a view of what we are doing here visually.  Thank you so much for being here.  Thanks everyone. 

   >> ANTOINE VERGNE:  Bye. 

   >> Bye.  Thank you.