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.
>> REBECCA MacKINNON: Greetings. I assume everyone can hear me in the Cloud and that the room can hear me. I see a thumbs up. I think we're to go.
Just to remind you, to everyone who is joining us virtually, please make sure you're muted so that we don't get any funny sounds while we're trying to talk.
Welcome to this conversation on the Facebook of the Internet. I'm Rebecca MacKinnon, Vice President for global advocacy in the Wiki Media Foundation. I think most of you at the IGF are pretty well familiar with, with the non‑profit organization, that's supporting the global community of volunteers that run projects like feet online encyclopedia that's now in over 300 languages that anyone can access and edit and where rules set and enforced bay global community of volunteers.
I advocate for the interests of our movement and therefore it is very important that the future of the Internet and the future of a fully interoperable Internet is protected and our rights are protected on it. I'm here working with Tim Wu, working with technology and professor Tim Wu is an influential legal scholar who many of you may have read his work over the years and his ideas have shaped how a lot of people think about the Internet policy, regulation in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world. We're going to be hearing from Professor Wu who I'm in the habit of calling Tim most of the time. I have known him for number of years, about the White House's efforts to create an a alliance on the future of the Internet.
Exactly what is that, what it means, that's the question that we'll be talking to Professor Wu about today, democracies have been making commitments to Internet freedom and Human Rights online and in the past and I think many in the Civil Society community have been concerned that governments have fallen short on their promises to put it mildly.
The question that I'll start out by posing to Professor Wu, to Tim, it is how does the Biden administration review the relationship between democracies and the Internet and how is this new alliance of countries that you're putting together come together to work to meet these ends?
>> TIM WU: Thank you, Rebecca.
Hey, everybody, it is good to see you. It is good to see some people in the room, also people online.
Yeah. No. It is a.
This is a vital forum, the IGF, for discussing and for debate. The topic really today is the topic top of mind for the Biden Administration, it is the particular question of the responsibilities that the state agencies around the world have in respect to the Internet, it is not a new question, but I think it is one that has ‑‑ that is sort of achieving a kind of burning significance in our times. I also think that it is we believe we have been going in the wrong trajectory for a long period and we believe it is important to set things in a more positive direction. To do so with some ‑‑ you know, not gently, but, you know, to do so with some strength.
Let me talk about, you know, a bit about the framework of how we see this. You know, part of this goes back to the original vision I think that most of us, many have shared, about the Internet, about the vision of the '90s, when the Internet first became popularized and reaching millions of people and the sense that it may hold an immense promise for the advancement of democracy, for the wellbeing of human, for the betterment of all, many saw this as non‑democratic in nature, an open network of network, single enter connected network system, I will add also from the beginning that it was understood that the technical protocols were governed, created by multistakeholder approach, that it was understood very resistant to government direction or control.
The multistakeholder side of developing norms, developing standards and protocols has always been a big part of it. It seemed even from the very beginning to make everything distinct. We had this extreme, you know, attractive new vision, and, you know, as I said before, I think most of us ‑‑ it kind of dovetailed, but I think with thinking of the '90s, the dreams of the '90s, that democracy was spreading more generally, that many of the communist or authoritarian governments around the world were becoming democratic, holding first elections. Poland was one of the countries in this period that was emerging in the '90s. Moving forward, in the last few decades, there were bumps in the road, more than a few.
The trouble began when some governments began to erect firewalls, blocking content at the border, denying Human Rights and fundamental freedoms. It was 20 years ago that places like Citizen Lab, which some of you may know, ran by Ronald Deibert and the Better Internet Center, directed by Jonathan latrain began to track the idea of blocking that was starting to happen. Things went further, some countries began to institute technical measures such as Internet shutdowns to restrict the ways that information can flow, contrary to the Human Rights commitments and obligations. The fact is, the trends have gotten worse in the last five years in our view.
For example, some countries made active use of the Internet as a tool for interfering with the elections by their countries. We have seen state sponsored and condone malicious cyber activity on that, criminal activity, and finally, you know, social media platforms have proven to be potent vectors for the spread of misinformation, disinformation which has too often led society during the COVID‑19 crisis and in a potent sense, a major problem for the efforts to communicate accurate public health information and, you know, overall we have just seen a series of problem, both the private and public side of the ledger.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention privacy concerns have grown, as have competition concerns, as the decentralized Internet has become one in which there is much greater concentration in major markets and also where companies stockpile and sell data.
I think you would have to admit, even the most determined Internet optimist would have to admit these are serious challenges. Let me think what we, the United States believe we should do. We believe that we should acknowledge and meet the challenges as opposed to pretending that all is well and pretend that those ‑‑ that nothing has happened to challenge the original vision of the Internet.
I ‑‑ we believe it is incumbent first most for the democracies of the world to respond even more forcefully and directly. We believe we need to revitalize and put forth the positive vision. We need to embrace and reaffirm the vision of the future of the Internet recommitting governments now to defending Human Rights and fostering equitable, economic prosperity.
Now, in other words, now is the time to take a stand, to say what we believe in and the time for governments to finally take full responsibility.
We believe along with our like‑minded partners and Allies, that digital technologies can reinforce democracy, respect for Human Rights, we believe the Internet can support the economy and connect us and between our societies, we believe that the technology can support democratic systems and we believe in the dream of the '90s, it is alive in Washington, put it that way if you want to, if somewhat battered, realistic, we nonetheless remain optimists. What we want to do, what we're working towards, it is really something of a new covenant.
We are working towards building and signing countries up for a new alliance for the future of the Internet.
What we believe, it is that democracy of the world should be recommitting themselves, defending an open, interoperable, secure, reliable Internet. We need to double down. The point is to ‑‑ on what made the Internet great in the first place, and at the same time, try to address and repair what isn't working. We can't be naive about the challenges we face or assume things will take care ever themselves. We're on the wrong trajectory. We have to do this to be more precise to make it very clear what countries should and should not do when it comes to building and promoting our shared vision.
This cannot just be an American effort, an American project, it certainly cannot be the United States saying hey, look, here is the answer, we have got it. This needs to be a broad effort involving governments around the world and also needs to involve key stakeholders like Civil Society, other groups.
Now, I hasten to add, it is not as if we invented the idea of Internet freedom yesterday, we have to build as much as we can on the preexisting efforts, whether it is multistakeholder fora like here at the IGF, Freedom Online Coalition, other stakeholder groups, government bodies, they should build on the work of some of the people that have been active in this area for so many years, obviously like founder, Vint, earlier work even, not to mention the more recent figures Marguerite, Karl, Mitch Baker, Rebecca, our moderator, the list goes on and on. I'm sorry I can't mention everyone.
There is a huge number of people that are active in this space and we're trying to build and harness efforts. They have seen this coming. We are really ‑‑ you know, as a cliche goes, standing on their shoulders and trying to commit both the resources of the United States and of our allies and like‑minded countries to this project.
Our goal is to commit to and arrive at principles that form what states and also or relevant authorities should and should not do when building and promoting a positive vision for the future of the Internet.
Let me be clear about one thing. This effort, it is not trying to seek to create new norms in any sort of broader sense.
This effort, it is to answer narrow, yet key questions on what constitutes responsible state behavior in this area, how states can defend the global Internet and the principles it stands for.
Here is some of the obvious principles that are in the working list. These are more of the dos, the do not will be next.
States should respect Human Rights online as they do offline, respect the human declaration, the Human Rights. Countries should be promoting affordable, inclusive, reliable access to the Internet, and basically supporting efforts to close digital divides around the world. We should all be strengthening the work to combat abuse online, including gender‑based violence and we should be free and affirming of our conditions to actions ‑‑ sorry ‑‑ we should reaffirm our commitments to governments made to reduce illegal and harmful content online, consistent with Human Rights laws while consistent with Freedom of Expression and encouraging a diversity without fear of censorship.
On the other hand ‑‑ and I said those are the dos.
Here is what some of the do not, thou shall not need to be: Countries should not be blocking, shut down or degrading access to loss of content services or applications on the Internet consist with the principals of net neutrality, applicable law, including international Human Rights law. Countries should not be misusing or abusing the Internet for algorithm Mick tools or suppression, including developing social scoring cards, other mechanisms of control, free crime, or intention ever arrest. No country should be using the Internet to undermine electoral infrastructure, the elections or political processes of other countries. Finally, governments cannot unilaterally govern the infrastructure so countries should avoid undermining the multistakeholder system of Internet Governance and they should be supporting consensus‑based decision making for technical policies involving all stakeholders.
These are the basics of shalls and dos not, dos and don't, I'm sure others have other lists. Part of the goals, maybe part of the conversation is to understand what should be here. I want to close ‑‑ thank you for your patience with these remarks.
I want to close by linking what we're doing here to a growing movement both in tech and beyond, and Civil Society, to reimagine what the Internet and the web can be. We must be reimagining a statement, back in 2016 the ground was set up by the Global Commission on Internet Governance, you know, organizations like the Center for Human Technology ran by Tristan Harris, you know, all of these, these are efforts, there are many more that are trying to reimagine what the Internet should be for this coming decade and we want the nation states of the world to do their part, we think that the democratic governments need to take action to ensure that the Internet is what it needs to be.
The tide is high. The time is now. I want to encourage private sector governments, international organizations, technical community academia, Civil Society to work in partnership together for the better future which I believe we think is obtainable.
It was a long answer. I'm looking forward to our discussion. Thank you to everybody.
>> REBECCA MacKINNON: Thank you.
So we have got about a half hour. We have got a lot of people with different experience and knowledge both in the room and online. Just so people know what my plan is, there are three different ways that people can ask questions, one is by raising hands virtually in Zoom, the other is by typing in questions in the chat and I understand there are some people physically in the room who may not be online on Zoom in the chat. I think if you wave your hand very noticeably, I may be able to see that or perhaps in the room, there is a representative to call my attention to the fact that there is a raised hand in the room.
>> ANRIETTE ASTERHUYSEN: Here. I'm here, I will make sure you see the hands.
>> REBECCA MacKINNON: Thank you. I appreciate that.
Three different ways, I will try for a mix. (Technical issue).
>> YIK CHAN CHIN: You have probably noticed as well, whether the intention of this kind of the framing is to target such as Russia and China. That's the first question. The second question, it is actually, this is a ‑‑ I ask for my colleague. You know, on behalf of them.
The second question, my personal question, actually it is about international Human Rights law.
We know that in terms of international Human Rights law, there is an ICPPR and the economic and social rights and China didn't sign up to ratify that but the Americans didn't ratify the second one, the economic, social, cultural rights. So when we talk about the Human Rights, do we talk about which one, two countries, there is only the European and the E.U., so are we following what approach? That's the second question.
One look at the previous publication, there is a ‑‑ there is a first generation, second generation, a third generation of the governance of the Internet and the first generation, it was about the sovereignty, the national sovereignty in cyberspace and (technical issue).
>> TIM WU: Thank you for the questions. (Technical issue).
There is no intention of the alliance to target China or any other country, any country abiding by the principle, maybe I have said this too quickly, but the alliance is about democracy and the rule of law of nations. And the current position, any country that subscribes to the basic principles, which we think are pretty fundamental principle, it is welcome to join. There is no sort of idea that one certain forms of government are excluded.
I will put that out there first.
The second ‑‑
>> REBECCA MacKINNON: If I could interrupt. I'm sorry, I will be an aggressive mod moderator in the interest of the conversation here. The covenant, it is connected to the right to participate in the political processes and democracies.
So am I correct in understanding that if a country is not subscribing to the kind of core fundamental civil and political rights related to the Rights of individuals to participate in democratic processes that that may not be consistent with membership in your alliance?
>> YIK CHAN CHIN: My question too.
>> TIM WU: I didn't realize you were a huh man rights lawyer.
>> REBECCA MacKINNON: I spend a lot of time on Human Rights matters.
>> TIM WU: I appreciate that.
So the current ‑‑ you know, basically I think that we need to ‑‑ the ‑‑ right now, as I said, you know, as we're visioning things, and I take this as an opportunity. I think we need to think about when we say Human Rights principles, Human Rights law, what we mean, universal declaration, others, we haven't quite in this process gotten into this and I will appreciate this opportunity to take back and think about, you know, when we're saying a Human Rights norms, whether we're meaning the universal declaration, whether, you know ‑‑ what exactly I have in mind. I'll take that as an opportunity to wind our way through those questions.
I think you also asked about my ‑‑ I do want to get through some more of these questions. My own scholarship, I'm right now speaking on behalf of the U.S. government, I'm not ‑‑ my own scholarship is not a topic, but I'll return to when I return to academia.
I see we have a lot of questions and I want to make sure we reach all of them.
>> REBECCA MacKINNON: Absolutely.
So Wolfgang Kleinwaechter is next.
>> WOLFGANG KLEINWAECHTER: Thank you. I'm a professor and researcher from the University.
First of all, see the aspirations and the intentions, and we have 25 years of John Peter Declaration of the Cyber Independence and the founding ideas are forgotten. However, what you know, what we have seen in the last year, it is really a proliferation of similar initiatives. I myself was involved in the initiatives and I was an Ambassador for this initiative where we had similar aims, you know. I would not say it has collapsed but we have seen now a number of the initiative, the one that you had mentioned, we have the Paris call, we have not only the global commission and also the global commission on stability in cyberspace and we have Freedom Online Coalition. There is a huge bouquet of different initiatives and, you know, what I wanted to ask you, do you see the risk that this will be to splintering all of these platforms, and this will win democratic for us, you have only limited resources. What would be the concrete activities.
The second question, the Secretary‑General of the UN has proposed now the drafting of a global Digital Compact which is for the 193 Member States of the UN, plus all other stakeholders. I think it is an interesting move on the United Nations to invite non‑state actors, you know, to participate in drafting of such a Global Digital Compact. How does the alliance relate to that process to come together soon to draft this digital compact.
Thank you, back to you.
>> TIM WU: That's a good question. I appreciate it.
You know, it is a concern of ours. I think there are ‑‑ you know, that's something that we have wanted to be compatible, to build on. I will say that I think what distinguishes this current effort, it is a few things:
First of all, we're not trying to create a new institution over the secretariate. We're trying to bake down and have states commit in harder terms than they have before to what they should and should not do. It is very centered on the question of nation state behavior and I think it is going to be relatively, you know, you heard what I said, it will be relatively short as these things go and basic and ideally clear, it is going to be binding, it is not going to be ‑‑ the plan is not to be a treaty, but we do expect countries to commit themselves to this. I know I think it is a lot different than some efforts to sort of develop in a more general norms or efforts like G7 that are limited to much smaller group of countries. It is planned to be, you know, the countries that can sign up with this, it will be the ones that do it.
The other question, and I think this is ‑‑ the other part that is worth ‑‑ I also think it will be quick. I want to suggest that we are planning to have ‑‑ we are optimistically attempting to launch in the early year and then with sort of an initial draft, vision statement, and then knock this thing out over the next several months, the timeline process is on a completely different timeline than some of the other processes.
In terms of, you know, the functioning, I think, as it is currently envisioned, it will also, you know, whether you're ‑‑ maybe I should just leave it there. I don't want to go over my skis. That's some important differences in what's going on.
You know, there is a serious question. You raised two, I want to discuss them.
One, it is is there a chance of this ‑‑ just too many efforts, people can't keep track of it, it gets.
(Zoom frozen). ‑‑ (Zoom frozen).
>> You know, what we're trying as much as we can to incorporate else, we feel an urgency and that's why we're acting. Thank you.
>> REBECCA MacKINNON: Great.
Andrew Bennett had his hand up for a very long time. I'm going to get to him next, and there is a set of questions in the chat relating to compliance. I will ask and pose a blended question that draws from several comments and questions in the chat and then in line after that, it is Milton, I don't see any hands in the room.
That's our batting order for the moment.
>> ANDREW BENNETT: I'm from Global Change, and in the UK and it is great comments here and great states in this place that have values around the same values, for countries at a tipping point in the Internet model, particularly many emerging economies, how could these new coalitions we're describing be best around their economic interest, not just values and where are the carrots and sticks so that we can build sustainable coalitions for the long‑term? An example may be, you know, security in the sigh ply chain, freeing up other sort of constraints that states may have given that they're the partners that they're currently working with.
I'll pause there.
>> TIM WU: That's a great question.
You know, we're as I said very early stages. That is I think for us a key question that we are asking. I mean, one of the things we want to do, you know, we believe the values here are very important, we believe the economics are also very important and I think that we want ‑‑ you know, to ‑‑ some countries may be on the edge, may be saying, well, why don't I just ‑‑ you know, shut down the Internet around elections or, you know, spy on the journalist, arrest them, you know, the countries on the edge, I think we want to vehemently discourage that and you will get in the status of being ‑‑ you will ‑‑ you will cross a line. I think that's part of the point of having clear principles and lines here. I'm not saying, you know, Human Rights norms are obviously, they already exist, we're not rewriting them. We want to protect the Internet if is what it means to cross the line if you're a state. That's something that will be the stick. What's the carrot.
I think that's something we need to work.
There is basically the promise of interconnection, the promise of help. I think also the United States needs to think and other wealthy countries need to think about how they help countries, the semiconductor, that's a good one, I welcome ideas to make this work, how this is an enticing thing to want to be in given temptations that may be out there to go with a different kind of Internet approach.
>> REBECCA MacKINNON: Unless you were going to make another separate point, maybe I'll go to some of the questions in the chat. Does that work?
>> TIM WU: Make sure we get to Milton.
>> REBECCA MacKINNON: We'll get to Milton, don't worry. I won't ‑‑ yeah.
There are some questions, in the chat.
Several relate to the same thing about compliance, about actually how are you going to get countries to actually follow the principles and not violate them, that may relate to all agencies of the U.S. government along with other governments which sort of leads to the question of, you know, of related question of is there going to be a complaints mechanism, say members of this community can file a complaint against, through or to the alliance on a member government that's clearly violated the principles? Do we want to be benchmarking governments against the principles? What's our mechanism for this really kind of not just having carrots but having a bit of a stick?
>> TIM WU: Great question.
You know, let me deal first with that question of benchmarking, complaint process, something.
I think that's an area, an active consideration. There are private groups, Freedom House as an example, Citizens Lab, the best of my recollection, Man Center at various points ‑‑ Berkman Center can ‑‑ trying to spend a lot of time delivering a picture of what how they should have the mission statements. I think that you know, they have their own internal benchmarks, part of the role is to set out the principles to make them clear that that they're agreed on as between countries. As for the consequence, there is ‑‑ you know, as we envision now, it is not as if the alliance has its own enforcement mechanisms.
I would put it this way without getting too far ahead, I feel that countries ‑‑ if this effort is successful, countries should be nervous to be breaking these rules. They should feel a sense that could come with consequence and I think part of that comes ‑‑ maybe I'll just leave it right there.
>> REBECCA MacKINNON: So since all the questions have been answered by ‑‑ have been posed so far by men, I'll use the moderator prerogative of keeping with the forum's values to point to a question that is posed by a woman in the chat, Rasha Abdulla, who is asking for a bit more specificity and I know part of the problem here is that the alliance hasn't been announced, the principles have not been announced, they're still being negotiated I guess and figured out. This is a bit of a preview.
It is kind of acknowledging that.
You know, how do we get the specific ‑‑ this specific enough, what exactly is the action plan as Rasha is asking, what is the something that people are going to do, and how do you make sure that other countries follow this plan and not abuse their power?
>> TIM WU: I guess I would ‑‑ you know, I guess I would point to a similar answer.
You know, as we said, this is in process. This is a group of countries whose agreeing with each other, you know, that these are the principles we believe in. We think ‑‑ I guess you have two questions. One of the countries that don't join at all, what happens to them? The other question, what about the country that joins and doesn't tell about these expectations.
I'll say this much, because I don't want to ‑‑ perhaps this is an ongoing thing and we're putting it together. It is a view of our government, it is the view that we intend this to have some teeth, we intend it to be more than sort of a declaration of principles, the countries feel free to sign up and deviate from willy‑nilly. I want to make that clear, that that's is the intent.
We will have a sense of the mechanisms as things go forward. I don't believe as I said before, that the mechanisms will be in any of the alliance themselves, but located elsewhere.
>> REBECCA MacKINNON: We have two more and we're nearing time. We have two more hands from the room as Anriette has helpfully described.
We have Milton and Anriette who will get the last question and word I suspect given the time.
>> MILTON: Can you hear me?
>> REBECCA MacKINNON: Yes.
>> MILTON: Tim, thank you very much for trying to rekindle the vision of Internet freedom and the kind of growth and excitement and positive social benefits that came out of it in the early days.
I think when we started that process the U.S. helped to create institutions, didn't just articulate principles, it did create institutions that implemented that, things like ICANN, sort of dissolve run advertised the global governance of the Domain Name System, section 230 of the communications decency act and the global eCommerce principles of the bill Clinton administration. That really helped to make the vision of freedom of Internet a reality. In many ways, I sense your initiative is kind of undercut, undermined from within with withdrawal from the vision within the U.S. itself, you know, section 230 is under attack in the U.S., President Biden has said bad things about it, both Democrats and Republicans are now against free trade in information services, and the blacker, you mentioned Tristan Harris, for example, the backlash against big tech means that state regulation and platforms is on the agenda everywhere and of course this acts to justify various kinds of restrictions and impediments to a globally open Internet, particularly this idea of digital sovereignty.
I guess my question is, are you willing to really challenge that trend, without saying that we have gone too far this that direction, particularly the notion of digital sovereignty, are you willing to come out against that and explain why it is not a good thing.
>> REBECCA MacKINNON: That's a great question. Over correcting trying to address problems.
>> TIM WU: We don't really have time, why don't we collect two three.
>> REBECCA MacKINNON: Sure.
Anriette, can we get your question as well, please.
>> TIM WU: Maybe Milton.
>> ANRIETTE ASTERHUYSEN: There is one more question in the room S there time for it.
>> REBECCA MacKINNON: Onto what extent the organizers will be strict about our ending time?
>> REBECCA MacKINNON: We're using less time than originally allocated. If everyone is okay with that (Anriette) we can take a few more minutes. I will do mine later, let's give it to the other person and then I'll do mine.
>> REBECCA MacKINNON: Very good.
>> ANRIETTE ASTERHUYSEN: Okay.
So my question was ‑‑ well, I echo the fact that ‑‑ firstly I think this is a good thing, we need to talk about these things.
It is complex because there are so many other initiatives. I think there is the carrot as she said, there are the sticks, but there is also walking the talk. I think that the challenge, I think Milton articulated it now, for states to fulfill their duties in terms of compliance of Human Rights they also need to hold business accountable, particularly business that operates in a national jurisdiction, and when you're dealing with companies that are global and have a global footprint, that becomes very complex but I think for the U.S., if it is going to show any leadership in this area it's going to come up constantly against people saying what are you doing about your companies? That has to be because there is a ‑‑ the business model level, there is a violation of rights that's kind of hard wired into how that operates. Challenging that, changing that I think is going to be quite complex but has to happen if showing leadership in taking this forward globally is going to work.
>> TIM WU: You know ‑‑
>> ANRIETTE ASTERHUYSEN: Sorry.
The final thing, in terms of Human Rights, there is actually a really sophisticated network of institutions and also principles and decisions. I think the Internet has actually done quite well and through Freedom Online Coalition, through the Special Rapporteur, David Kay, you know, in terms of Human Rights mechanisms, there is actually fairly good practices and norms and monitoring, but it is that other level of market regulation that I think really needs more attention.
Sorry, back to you, Tim.
>> TIM WU: No. I appreciate that.
In fact, the two questions together are helpful. They actually point in exactly opposite directions to be honest.
You know, one view of it would say, well, you need to go back to basically keeping governments distant, and that's the point of restoring freedom in the Internet.
Your point is, you know, a lot of the world's populations, when they think about, you know, what's wrong with ‑‑ what the challenge it is, they see it as a concentration of private power. I think that ‑‑ well, our view, it is that while we see that the original vision of the Internet was powerful and it had a certain compulsion ‑‑ certain assumptions that didn't turn out to be exactly correct: One, it was sort of a ‑‑ I don't know if it was ever explicit, that, you know, sort of ‑‑ it was ‑‑ I don't know if everyone said this, obviously, you know, there is an assumptions that the nation states, countries would ‑‑ some believe they would be unable to regulate the Internet, not everybody, but some people said they are sort of irrelevant. Another, was, well, anyway, it is not really clear if they're part of the story here. I think that's something that's changed. Given the level of blocking fragmentation, all of the things we discussed that they have played a very negative role.
The other thing that happened, there was an assumption I think that the economy which was first non‑commercial obviously until some point and then became commercial would be sort of inherently competitive, somewhat easy to get small business, they would flourish as well as large, a great place for everyone, and I think that the concern, this is a concern that the Biden administration certainly share, is that too much the proceeds have gone to too few companies, that there's been a loss of competition and ‑‑ on the Internet, and a sense of a loss of opportunity to, you know, sort of start a small business, an entrepreneur, even whether or not it is a tech or whether you want to sell something that's ‑‑ that it is harder and harder to make a decent amount of money. This dovetails with larger concerns about inequality which we have had that we also share.
I think in some ways what we're pushing towards, it is ‑‑ it is ‑‑ it is an ‑‑ it is a fine line and a corrective, a vision that's both reaffirming the past and the values and the promise but first correcting for the fact that, you know in, fact, nation states not only are irrelevant but they can be very dangerous to some of the freedoms that we expected to come with the Internet and second a sense that private companies and particularly concentrated market power can also pose a threat or endanger the vision that people believed in in the first place. That can also involve a role for states, anti-trust or privacy protection, protecting citizens, to answer the question about the United States and the Biden administration, you will say let's see it, but we are committed, tech accountability, we have supported a vigorous anti‑trust program, we're in litigation with major platforms and we have ‑‑ we have ‑‑ I think we are in a different ‑‑ we're in a decidedly different position than the United States was ten years ago with respect to private power. That's ‑‑ in some ways only natural, 20 years ago, the Internet economy was still very small, even 10 years ago, very different, we have seen a growth of concentration that's changed our domestic policies. In some ways, we're aiming here as a reflection of what we think domestically.
It is not all just about us. I want to reiterate that. You know, the internal deliberations of the United States is part of this, but certainly not all of it. I think that's just about it.
I appreciate Rebecca. Thank you again for your moderation. It was a very good conversation. The IGF is playing a role certainly, and we have a lot here to figure out. I expect you will see things happening.
>> REBECCA MacKINNON: Thank you to the IGF organizers for letting us go a few minutes later. Thank you, Professor Wu for sticking with us a few minutes later.
It sounds like what you're saying, this alliance, once we learn the specific, which are still getting sorted out, consulting with necessary stakeholders, that this is going to be about what is and is not the appropriate use of state power in relation to the Internet and private actors if I understand it correctly and certainly this community and many others have a lot to input into that and it is great that you are consulting with this community and others as you work to refine what the alliance is going to be committing to and how. I'm sure that many people here are eager to continue the dialogue in various ways.
Thank you to everyone here for your excellent participation and challenging questions. I commend Tim for coming, for exposing himself to challenging poking and prodding as we hope you improve this idea. Too much is at stake and I think we would all like to see power being wielded responsibly and being held accountable.
Thank you very much.
>> TIM WU: Thanks again! Bye, everybody!
>> REBECCA MacKINNON: Take care, everyone.
Good evening in Poland.