IGF 2021 – Day 4 – NRIs Collaborative Session: Digital sovereignty and digital self-determination

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.



>> We all live in a digital world.

We all need it to be opened and safe.

We all want to trust.

>> And to be trusted.

We all despise control.

>> And desire freedom.

>> We are all united.

>> Hello, everyone.  Welcome.  Welcome to the last day of the IGF 2021 and to one more amazing session to the NRI's collaborative sessions.  This session is about digital sovereignty and digital self‑determination.  I'm very happy to have some colleagues here on site and also our colleagues online.  I can sear there are many ‑‑ still coming in.  And the session today, was organized by the NRI network.  And it's tackling the underlying question since the beginning of the digital times which is how to accommodate this network of networks without the boundaries, with the state laws that have the territorial underpinning in it, but also tackling some of the changes in the geopolitical scenario where you have some models surfacing from the US, from the Chinese, and perhaps the Europe in the middle, making suggestions on how to accommodate regulation and the rights of sovereignty countries, with the digital society.

And so, without further ado, we do have a great roster of speakers today that are going to bring this local level discussions through the NRIs.  The session today is structured into three main parts.  The first one I'm going to call for the next 20 minutes local IGF organizers to give their pitch talks, their tweet talks about what has been surfacing in their local IGFs.

Then we will open up for 20, 25 minutes of interaction and debate and with the audience, online and on‑site and then we will wrap it up for ten minutes at the end, bringing it all together, and having the final remarks from ‑‑ from the speakers.

So let me start by putting some ‑‑ some questions for the speakers, I will call first Pedro Lina, he's on site, and Pedro, I will put ‑‑ I will put the two questions, you feel free to tackle them.  First is:  The risks of digital autonomy, what are the concrete cases from the NRI community in terms of infrastructure.  Are there specific uses in terms of Internet development and safeguards or citizens, rights, for example, cooperation among countries?

Pedro, please.

>> PEDRO:  I will answer that on a more general note that the interesting part about the youth LACIFG to digital sovereignty, the youth and the LAC region have a similar way to be treated about the sovereignty in general, that others try to do it for us.  So in this ‑‑ in this place, when we are talking about digital sovereignty, we have to know that the same concepts that apply to the United States, that apply to Europe, can be and normally they are not the same things that will apply to us as youth in Latin America.  Data sovereignty may be something here in Europe, and it may be something totally different as others proposal it.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, and I think self‑determination is the key remark that we need to take into consideration.

Next, I have online Eileen Cejas, Eileen is going to talk about the perspectives of the youth IGF Argentina.

Eileen, you can take the floor.

>> EILEEN CEJAS: Thank you.  I'm having issues to start my video.

>> MODERATOR: Let me just ask the technical support, if you can allow Eileen to open up her video.  Yes?  Yes.

They are working on that Eileen.  Yes, you are here.

>> EILEEN CEJAS: Hi, everyone, and thank you very much for giving me the floor again.  I can give you a little bit of perspective from the youth in Argentina.  While in Argentina, we have the president of the draft bill about the digital sovereignty and data from 2017, when the reason behind this law was to protect the data of Argentinian state by keeping all the data in national servers without the possibility of making security backups in foreigners’ jurisdiction.  I think this law could have been relevant if we have an appropriate service agreement strategy and national law.

The recent disclosure of database IDs in Spanish compromised deeply the data of citizens.  That is not something to take lightly in consideration.  Besides the seriousness of the security of the national database.  In the general picture, we believe the idea of having national data in national servers is a good thing.  Argentina doesn't have the capacity on its own to those servers.  Not only because of the necessity of more funding in building the Internet infrastructure networks and providing digital tools to marginalized communities from both private and state contributions but also because first, we need to think about implementing a strong cybersecurity strategy, with the participation of all stakeholders in this, besides asking, of course for the support on other neighbor countries to gather best practices, because we believe we should maintain an open Internet approach.

Thank you very much.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Eileen, and I take your key points on how to balance the data localization and the open Internet and what are the threats in the middle.

And then next, I'm going to call Carlos Alfonso for the IGF Brazil.  I don't see Carlos.  Are you online?

Perhaps if he has not been able to join yet, I can call the next speaker and then we go back to ‑‑ to Carlos later.

So next is Salyou Funny from Cote d'Ivoire IGF.  Salyou, sorry if I'm not pronouncing correctly.

Are you online with us?  I cannot see everyone right now.

So let me call ‑‑ I will keep Carlos and Salyou for the last ‑‑ for the bottom of the list.  And then I will call Mr. Poncelet Ileleji.

>> PONCELET ILELEJI: Thank you very much, Raquel.  For me, in looking at this particular discussion, we have to take into account that it indirectly focuses on the new initiative on digital cooperation, the roadmap on digital cooperation.  All the key action points are really linked to this.  And we have to take a human‑centric approach in dealing with this.  That is it has to be bottom, top.  And what I mean bottom top, it's not just coming down to the grass roots and saying, okay, for the sake of bottom, or bottom top approach is making use of our youth as catalysts to achieve this, because overall, we are having a very younger population.

In Africa, by the time we talk of getting into the end of the sustainable development goals, you discover that our population, over 60% of the African population, for example, which is about 1 point something billion now, will be under age of 35.  So having that young, vibrant population, which are eager to do things, we have to realize the importance of this topic.  And that is where we stop for now, before going further.

Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank very much, Poncelet, and very good point.  I think, of course, Pedro also agrees and has mentioned the power of youth and how it's important to give them also autonomy and respect the self‑determination.

So next, I have from IGF South Sudan, Kennedy Bullen, and Adop Guy.  I believe they are online.  Could you open the mic and take the floor?

I don't see they are online too, so we might be having some issues with the online participants.  And let me see the next one is also an online participant, Dustin Loup.

Dustin, are you online with us?  Can you open up the mic?

Okay.  Let me call another participant from the IGF Netherlands, Stephanie Teeuwen.  I think ‑‑ not here.  Okay.

So let me call one that I saw was online, and so Peter Koch from IGF Germany.  Peter, are you with us?

>> PETER KOCH: Yes.  Yes.  Thank you, Raquel.  I cannot share my video, but ‑‑

>> MODERATOR: Let me just ask ‑‑

>> PETER KOCH: Thank you so much.

So, yeah, thanks for the invitation, and let me ‑‑ let me reflect a bit on what we've been discussing.  So on our ‑‑ in our meeting in September, actually, we had a couple of action points that kind of really relate to the questions here.

First, I should probably that when it comes to cooperation across countries, being a ‑‑ being in an EU Member States, there is ‑‑ in most all the legislation and the cooperation as cross‑country cooperation built in, in a way.  But that doesn't necessarily make things easier.  It also means that we usually have a multistage legislation process, things that are decided at the European level, and then go directly into force in the Member States or go to the national legislator for implementation or refinement.  And the most prominent topics on the table for this are currently the NIS2, the network information security directive and the digital services act that regulates intermediaries and platforms most prominently.

That is just an example.

So we have been discussing digital sovereignty from two angles, I would say.  One is the enabling part.  So we had an example of open source in the administration to actually enable the national administrative entities to go back to a repository and go cooperate to reduce the dependencies of, say, external suppliers and help each other to ‑‑ to deal with our ‑‑ or to serve the citizens and cooperate on a more technical operational level.

And the other prominent example that probably has been ‑‑ a couple of participants here have heard of, is this European initiative called GIAX, when it comes to a cloud service that is user friendly, that is supposed to support the GDPR and the national or I will say continental sovereignty in a way.  And maybe that is enough for the introduction.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Peter, and very comprehensive presentation.  I like the structure also, on this reduce ‑‑ and trying to balance how to reduce the dependence with the foreign and external suppliers and ‑‑ but also keeping up with the technology.

So I cannot see more of the participants that were listed and I'm so sorry if I'm skipping anyone.  You can jump in at any time, but I think it's important that we start now the discussions and the debate.  I see lots of people online.  We do have our participants on site.  And I would like to open up for some further comments.  If you have from your national and regional initiatives, if this topic has surfaced and how it's going ‑‑ it's been tackled.  Is there any considerations?

Please feel free to put in the chat also if you want to speak about it.  We are restricting the video sharing just to avoid Zoom bombing, but ‑‑

>> Hello, can I?

>> MODERATOR: Yes, of course, Mary.

>> Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are joining.  This topic is of interest to us in Africa.  Poncelet has already painted a picture of our young people, the population of young people in Africa.  Vibrant and they are also unemployed.

I would think that in Africa, when we did a school on Internet Governance with FREDA, this topic came up strongly, that we need data sovereignty, not only that we need it for ‑‑ for political reasons or economic ‑‑ no, more of economic reason, because we want our people, our children to be employed or our young people to be employed.  So we need to develop ‑‑ host our data within our continent.  And in that process, we will create employment for our young people, and we'll also help them to develop local content and also that ‑‑ that data collection is within the African continent.

Strongly people raised those issues during the school on Internet Governance.  And also, the fact that ‑‑ there's also the fact ‑‑ the truth of the security issues that are involved as well, that our data could be vulnerable anywhere, if we don't develop our own sovereignty in terms of hosting our data.  There's security issue and economic issues and also there are social issues, and that's the intervention I will give for now.  And I can intervene again.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Mary.  And I think it was part one of the key points which are how to make this data sovereignty.  I mean, Peter has the experience from the GDPR, which is precisely to bring this data closer to the user, to empower the user, but also to have all the other surrounding, and the enabling environment that surrounds it, right?  So it's about the infrastructure.  It's about the social, economical impact that needs to be in place.  But also about the resources that needs to be in place, because once you ‑‑ you bring that back, you need to have the proper infrastructure, but also the skills for the local content development.  So thank you very much for sparking first part of this discussion.

And I have Nadia Tjahja that would like to bring some of the perspective of the YOUthDIG.

I will ask ‑‑

>> PARTICIPANT: Hello, this is Nadia Tjahja, I'm braced here in Europe.  I want to talk about the youth messages that came out of the EuroDIG.  Every year, the EuroDIG has a youth program and young people come together to design youth messages to present issues that are happening in their local communities that they wanted to raise the to European stakeholders and also the wider communities.  One the issues that was added to the agenda was digital self‑determination.

I'm trying to add it to chat.  I'm having a little problem with Zoom this morning, but for them, they had a really interesting discussion about digital self‑determination and what it would mean and how the future is going to look like in regard to this.  They talk about biased views against specific countries and having a sense that we need to protect the openness of what the Internet needs to be.  And they want to look at different types of tools that private and public bodies could use, and as well, digital literacy as a way to provide a confident approach for digital self‑determination.

So I hope that this will give you a little bit of an insight of what youth or doing here and the kind of thought that youth are doing and these were also brought into the EuroDIG process itself.  They had a session on digital self‑determination ‑‑ sorry, we talked about digital self‑determination and they talked about digital sovereignty, and then some of the issues and points were discussed with actors and policymakers.  So this is something that westerly very keen on supporting further.  Thank you very much.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Nadia for also bringing us to this ‑‑ to the difference also that is so important about digital sovereignty and digital self‑determination.  They are intertwined, but it's important to bring this difference forward.

I see the link that you sent with the ‑‑ the youth EuroDIG messages.  So thank you very much in the chat.

I'm looking if there is any other comments, and welcoming our Dhaka, Bangladesh hub to the session.  We are now opening up the discussions if anyone else wants to make a comment, otherwise, I will bring some teaser questions, perhaps, for ‑‑ for our speakers.  Okay.  So Dhaka Bangladesh, you want to take the floor.  I will ask our technical support to open up your video.

>> BANGLADESH:  Still we can't open our video.

>> MODERATOR: Just one second.

Can I ask technical support to open up the video for remote hub Dhaka Bangladesh.  Oh, it's now on.

You can open up.

>> Hello.

>> Hello!

>> BANGLADESH: We are so glad to be a part of this IGF 2021 Poland.  It's a very great opportunity for Bangladesh Internet Governance Forum and the remote hub.  Thank you so much, IGF.  One of us now share our statement to the IGF.

>> MODERATOR: Dhaka, Bangladesh, we lost your video.  If you could turn your camera on again.  We are glad to hear your statement.

>> BANGLADESH: Thank you.  Thank you so much.

It's okay.  We will share our statement later.  One of us is ‑‑ please pardon us.

>> MODERATOR: Okay.  No worries.  I have in the queue Osvaldo.  Osvaldo.

>> OSVALDO:  Hello.  (Garbled audio).

>> MODERATOR: Osvaldo.  You can take the floor.

I think we are having some connectivity issues, perhaps.

Osvaldo, I will keep you in the queue, and I'm going to call next Yik Chan Chin, I'm so sorry if I didn't pronounce it protect correctly.  Would you like to take the floor?

>> PARTICIPANT: Yes thank you.  Mine is just a question.  It is not a ‑‑ so, yeah, I have a question, actually, for ‑‑ for the host, the organizer of this panel.

Actually, I'm just wondering, because we had a previous discussion about digital sovereignty in many other platforms, even among academias.  I think there's a general agreement in many ‑‑ between the youth approach and the Chinese approach, which is about the sovereignty.  There is sovereignty and the sovereignty can apply.  The concept of national sovereignty can apply to cyberspace, but the major differences and distinction is that between the European, China and American approach.  So basically, it is the American who has the other opinion, a strong opinion, which is against the application of the national sovereignty to cyberspace.

So therefore, my question is ‑‑ because I haven't heard any speaker from the national or regional Internet Governance talk about their position.  So I wonder, is this any voice from America can share their view with us?

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Yik Chan Chin.  We are waiting for our IGF USA connected.  As soon as they are, perhaps they could share more on the inputs from ‑‑ from their local discussions, but I would also open up after we go through all the questions, if anyone in the room or any of the speakers wanted to tackle, because I think it's important ‑‑ I have Milton Mueller here who wants to take the question.  If you allow me, before you respond to Yik Chan Chin's question.

We will try to go back to the Osvaldo.

>> PARTICIPANT: Yes, I will just say ‑‑ I will be brief.  Just to say that in the implementation of Internet exchange point, it's a kind of local network that experienced sovereignty, you know?  But the fragmentation of networks is the case of the different countries that are implementing this kind of infrastructure, or blockage.  It's not so good for Internet, because the nature of these infrastructure is especially to interconnect in the global ‑‑ in the global sphere ‑‑ creating inclusion for everyone.  And each country has their own contents, their own language, their own cultural behaviors that are represented in the network.  And giving us the opportunity not only to share our local values, but to share the global culture is part of this network that is intended to promote knowledge, to promote best practices, and fragmenting it in a way that we cannot access or get out of the premises of our countries limits the possibilities of the ‑‑ this digital divide that we all are trying to implement.

Another thing is that infrastructure.

Best practices, the infrastructure, are above ‑‑ are down in the bottom for the data collection.  So when the geopolitics are mixed in the technical infrastructure, they create a confusion that most of the time create a weakness in between all of us.

So implementing Internet Exchange Points is a way of creating some kind of sovereignty because we all create local contents and attract international content providers to strength the interconnection.  So that approach, we are working on from Internet Society and the Dominican Republic to a strength and to interconnect, but not to separate or fragment the network.

I think other countries must consider their positions in order to create bridges, not to separate us.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Osvaldo.  For your intervention.  And Osvaldo speaks from the Dominican Republic.  So thank you very much, also, for raising another layer that is so important in this discussion, which is the geopolitics and the ‑‑ the infrastructure, right, how when they are embedded one into the other, and what is the threats in this approach.

I'm going to see if the Dhaka, Bangladesh hub is ready to make the statement, otherwise we can ‑‑


>> MODERATOR: Okay.  Go ahead.

>> PARTICIPANT: The question is as we know, many of the local government-imposed data protection, social media users, however, we fear that it will be less about production and more about intervention into user data.

What about the opinion on this statement?

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Dhaka, Bangladesh.  We do then have the question on local government imposing data protections to users.


>> MODERATOR: And the fear it will be less about production and more about intervention to user data.

>> PARTICIPANT: Yes, exactly.

>> MODERATOR: I see Mary has hands up.  Can I go to Milton and then I open up for ‑‑ for the replies.  Milton, if you want to tackle Yik Chan Chin's question about the US approach and how this is ‑‑ let's say accommodating or not, with the Chinese and European perspectives.

>> MILTON MUELLER: Well, thank you, Raquel, for the ability to intervene here.  And I appreciated the comments from Umberto was it?  Yes, talking how you can have local diversity and so on, without building borders and walls around your Internet economy.

One reason I came into this session is I see it is continuing to propagate this confusion between digital sovereignty and self‑determination.  So this is something that we addressed in our own session on Wednesday, on digital sovereignty.  We just tried to shoot that down completely.

So sovereignty is a collective characteristic of a ‑‑ a collective entity, the state, and it refers to their supreme authority, and fundamentally sovereignty is about building walls or borders between your authority and other states' authority.  And individual self‑determination in a digital sphere is something completely different.  It would mean maybe your state does not prevent you from seeing content from other countries or maybe it does not allow you to buy the equipment or services that you want on the Internet.

So sovereignty, as the Chinese interpret it, means bordering the Internet.  There's just no way around that.  And I just ‑‑ whether you are in favor of that or not, that's not what I care about.  Let's just have a clear dialogue and not confuse individual self‑determination with a state sovereignty‑based approach.  Get the word "sovereignty" out of your vocabulary if you want to talk about digital self‑determination, because it's completely opposed to ‑‑ to state sovereignty.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much for the clarification, Professor Milton Mueller and the opportunity to have this exchange between the NRI's perspective and the workshops and sessions organized during the IGF.  I think is one the goals for the IGF to bring us together precisely to share those views and to have the opportunity to exchange and really build something going forward.  So the remark to keep the difference that was made a little bit earlier too is very important, in terms of distinguishing digital sovereignty and self‑determination.  Some of the speakers made this distinction, but I think it's important to highlight that.

And I go next to my dear friend Mary.  Mary Uduma.

>> MARY UDAMA:  Thank you.  I like what Professor Milton said to us.

It clarified it better.  I was going to raise the issue of impairing the user when you come to digital sovereignty, and how the intermediaries are empowering the user to use your date, and not use your data for other purposes.

In Nigeria, we have NDPR which is equivalent or similar with the GDPR.  And so there are structures that are in place and there are penalties already for violation of individual data privacy.  And so I like the clarification, because the ‑‑ the issue is that how can I have control over my data?  And not exposing myself to taking my data to where I didn't want it to go to.  So that's some of the things we want to do or we are doing in Nigeria because the NDPR specified how individuals can take care of their data and where it's violated, what should be done.

And there are structures on how to build capacities of data users.  You know your right.  This is your right to use your data.  This is your right to give out your data, but we not gotten there.  We are just building capacity.  Capacity building is something to be looked at in personal data or empowerment on individual on use of data.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Mary, and I see Poncelet has also the hands up.

>> PONCELET ILELEJI: Thank you very much, Professor Milton.  I think what you just said, and Mary's contribution is very key.  A lot of people look at digital sovereignty to want to be as if it's like a state with border, and then digital, you know, so it's very good the way you put it, but we have to understand that I think the Europeans, I give them credit for setting up the GDPR and to me, the beginning of digital sovereignty starts with this General Data Protection Regulation, you know.  You have been able to determine what to do with your data.  A good example is the right to be forgotten.

And I think as much as possible, we should try to promote in all aspects of the globe the GDPR, the European Union standards of the GDPR.  I know in Africa, we have a convention, and because of lack of understanding or the lack of the will to endorse it, and to rectify it, I think we have less than 10 countries that have done that.

But when you ‑‑ when we are talking of this digital sovereignty, I think everything relates to the EU GDPR because today, when I look at my European colleagues, what ‑‑ whether it's old folks of my age or younger folks, they all know what it means being online and what it means for data protection to them.

And I think when we look at digital sovereignty from that aspect, it will ease the fears of states that want to put the Internet in a box, you know, because once we don't define it well, in the lemming pens as Professor Milton just did, we're in for a long ride.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Poncelet.

And I think we came to a point where we have perhaps two trends that are very interesting.  One is an example, where ‑‑ well, regulatory approaches at the local level and then we are talking about sovereignty in the sense of the ultimate power of ruling, that is positive, which is the data protection one.  So it's ‑‑ the ultimate goal of empowering the user and how ‑‑ well, capacities also need to be built and fostered within the policy, but we come with a more positive.

Then we had the question from Dhaka, Bangladesh, who were bringing the threats or the potential risks for the regulatory approach at the local level that could ‑‑ I'm avoiding the good and the bad in terms of the moral sense but there is this balance that needs to be taken into account that I think we can ‑‑ I have Pedro.  Pedro, you want to make a comment on that?  Go ahead.

>> PEDRO:  Yes, I just want to add something to what Professor Milton has said and complimenting what Audrey has already added to the discussion.  Another kind of confusion that we must be careful to not fall into is that between governmental desires.  Because too many times governmental desires or government objectives, aims, are presented as cultural differences, and this is presented more as a self‑determination way, a self‑determination advancement when it's, in fact, digital sovereignty movement, a digital sovereignty acts and the concepts that were presented to us by Professor Milton and this can be really stressful when we are talking about, because you can't get ‑‑ you can offend the part about cultural differences, but if it's something that a government ‑‑ a government is imposing through their own view, their own desire, it's bad for the population.  We can't just talk about cultural difference.  The example I'm thinking of is the attempts, the ongoing attempts to regulate content moderation in Brazil, that the justification is about giving freedom of expression, and self‑determination to Brazilians in relation to social media, but it's actually something that there was a survey around the population and it's something that the population ‑‑ the Brazilian population doesn't want.

But when you see the government trying to pass this bill or through another means, the provisional measure, for example, it's always based on something that we as a country, as a people cannot just let orders from the outside say ‑‑ you know, we can say what we can say.  So something very important to keep in mind.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Pedro and I think you make an important point also, on where we're talking about sovereignty and what we are talking about the so‑called sovereignty and it might be a tweak of more of the terminology speaking.

Thank you very much.  And I have online in the queue, Yik Chin, you would like to come back.

>> PARTICIPANT: Yes, and just some comment.  As academia, we have some comments.  I would encourage people would are interested in academia perspective to join us next year.  It's on day zero.  Sovereignty is a big issue which has been started academically, from different authors, from both EU and China or North America.  So basically, the data sovereignty have two aspect.  One is a weak sovereignty and strong sovereignty.  When we talk about weak sovereignty, we talk about a personal protection data privacy.  So this is about how do we protect individual rights.  This is data sovereignty.  How do you protect your own data?  Or how do you have more autonomy in using the digital tools.  So this is a weaker theory of data sovereignty.

And then we have a strong theory of data sovereignty, which means it's state‑led strategies, for example, something like concerned, national security, data security, for example, data that is are ‑‑ well, sensitive data related to some secrecy.  So how we handle those data.  So this is a kind of other perspective about data sovereignty as well.  So we call it a strong sovereignty and national security, even at the EU level, you know, they also have this concern, for example, for economical concern, that's why they have, where they want to maintain the autonomy of the technology, and as well the economic development.  So is what we call a strong sovereignty.  So we have more nuanced about how do we categorize, define and understanding the sovereignty to some extent.

And so this is the first point I would like to make.  And the second point about sovereignty, actually, is also about policy levels, the public policy level and the infrastructure level.  For example, when we talk about infrastructure, like, actually we seek critical infrastructure, we receive DNA, and the Domain Name System, I think those things belong to the public ‑‑ the global public good, which means it's not just subject to one nation to control it.  So not one nation can control the domain system is subject to the management by the ICANN, of course.

And of course, people argue that ICANN is American‑based, American ‑‑ subject to the American jurisdiction, but up to now, we haven't seen any bad ‑‑ I mean, bad case related to the independence of ICANN, so far.  So this is a ‑‑ so we can see the infrastructure level, we have some accord.  We have the accord of the public infrastructure which is not subject to the national sovereignty, but, on the other hand, in terms of public policy level, for example, if ‑‑ in terms of content regulations or antitrust regulation, or even resource regulation, the national country, or national government has a jurisdiction over it.  So that is what they talk about, national sovereignty and that aspect.  So the ‑‑ the sovereignty has an international public good aspect, as a well as a public policy aspect.  I want to clarify that.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much for your clarifications, Yik and also raising the discussions with another session, the giganet that happened day zero.

>> PARTICIPANT: Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: And just as a parenthesis, Giganet brought me to 2007, to present a paper on data sovereignty.


>> MODERATOR: I'm going for the last ‑‑ the last intervention that I have in the queue, and then I'm going to wrap it up.  We have only ten minutes, and I want to give the speakers a chance to react to everything we have been hearing and ‑‑ and so let me call Kwaku Antwi.  I'm so sorry if I'm pronouncing.

>> PARTICIPANT: Thank you for the opportunity for an intervention on this topic.

I think when we talk about data sovereignty and data policy, we tend to miss out one of the repositories of data.  That is ‑‑ for Ghana, for example, we are speaking from, we have a statistical service, and they are the representative of government data and any kind of data.  And I like the intervention with between giga net and academia.  I tend to pick up from that in data itself.  I think in collaborating and moving these conversations forward, we need to be able to have that collaborative research approach, and in terms of the sense of people also contributing data.

Because what we tend to find a lot is the absence of data and also persons being able to share their data for it to be utilized in a manner which it's useful for all of us to benefit from becomes a problem.  So I would like to raise the point and thank you for the opportunity as we collaborate forward.  Thank you so much.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you so much.

And let me then wrap it up by asking our speakers who shared in the beginning the pitches from their respective local initiatives.  What do we do next?  What is going ‑‑ what can we do and what is the call for action ‑‑ to action that you would recommend after hearing so many views?  There are certainly synergies among the ‑‑ the regions and the initiatives and there are also different diverse views.  So what would you propose going forward?

I'm going to start with Pedro.  Please, go ahead.

>> PEDRO:  Well, this, of course, isn't an easy answer, but I would just come back to what I said before, when we're talking about digital sovereignty and self‑determination as a side part, it's ‑‑ I believe the most important thing right now is being able to make a ‑‑ to differentiate what is state‑oriented policy, and what is actual self‑determination.  What is something that ‑‑ a way to see the Internet that doesn't just apply the US values and somewhat manner, European values are hard wired into the way we see the Internet right now, data governance system.  So being able to make this difference is a great regulation and making public policies upon that is probably the most important part of this discussion right now.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Pedro.

And next, I have Eileen.  Would you like to say what's next?

>> EILEEN CEJAS: Thank you very much for giving me the floor.  I will try to be very brief because my connection isn't great today.  So about the way forward, I think about ‑‑ well, different investments from countries.  I can tell about ‑‑ a little bit about the example of the Argentina government who received a loan from the World Bank, and this loan was key for the implementation of the modernization and the innovation project of public services, and this loan allowed implementation of government digital services across Argentina, the development of the digital platforms and the usage of data to foster the innovation of the provision of public services.

And over this loan of $80 million, it's focused on the harmonization of access to ICTs, the opening of 200 digital points, and the compilation of the national center of data of Arsat, a‑r‑s‑a‑t.  And I will say previously, these loans can also be dedicated to increase all the infrastructure, it could definitely help to improve the digital sovereignty of Argentina.

And as youth, we believe these type of measures to bring a more inclusive Internet Governance for our country.  Thank you very much.  Gracias.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, for your remarks.  And also I know it's very early in Argentina right now.  So thank you very much for joining us in certain conditions.

And then next, I have Poncelet, if you want to tell us the way forward.

>> PONCELET ILELEJI: To me, the main thing in the way forward, we should make it have a human rights‑centric approach, when we are looking at digital sovereignty, because once we look at it from that dimension, and you look at the rights for people to be able to express themselves, however they feel, and we link it up to the digital cooperation roadmap, in terms of digital inclusion, especially for the most vulnerable, I think we will be having a good discussion.

Because a lot ‑‑ a lot of things, when I look at digital sovereignty, people also fail to understand the need for it to have that human rights approach in doing things that, compassion, that need, that there are people still there that have millions, that are still digitally excluded and we cannot be talking about these subjects for people staying in big cities, getting that we have millions that have not even been able to see the benefits of the Internet to their day‑to‑day lives.

We have all seen what has happened during this pandemic.  There are countries whereby children have not gone to school for a long time.  Yesterday, we were having a session in the morning, during the preliminary, my colleague from Uganda a friend Sarah Keating was saying how long Ugandan kids have been out of school.  And that shouldn't be happening in the world we have today.  You know, and I think when those things, the human rights‑centric approach, we will be able to address them.  Thank you very much and have a nice day.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Poncelet and our final remarks from Peter.  Peter, can you take the floor?  What's next?

>> PETER KOCH: Yes, thank you.

Well, that ‑‑ there is an easy ‑‑ there's an easy response to that and that is definitely continuing the discussion, but at the same time, making it a bit more informed in a way that excuse me ‑‑ I appreciate all the remarks about confusing ‑‑ confusion of language and so on and so forth but on the other hand, this is reflective of what is happening within the local or national communities and within politics and so on and so forth.  So what is on us, I think, collectively and individually in the various NRIs to actually take up this confusion, and try to dissect it a bit, and address all of these important topics, make sure that we understand and we make other people understand where they are connected, because, of course, there is a connection between the self‑determination of an individual and the sovereignty of a state as Milton and others have suggested.

But it probably doesn't make sense to now at a progressing state of discussion to discuss this all ‑‑ all together.  So we have the state sovereignty aspect and we have this question of whether or not there are boundaries on the Internet, whether or not focusing on data locality is important or what data access regimes might ‑‑ how they might come into play.  And this whole surveillance aspect that was touched upon or the aspect that I think came from Bangladesh, where someone said that, yes, states are imposing data protection, but in the end, it is somehow about content regulation.  That's also an interesting connection.

That's something ‑‑ and maybe quote/unquote being easy, we should go back to anybody who is proposing a session about data sovereignty and make sure they explain what they exactly mean, and so can steer the discussion a bit.  That's at least what we are trying to do back home to make sure that we have a continued and improved discussion by improving the focus maybe.

I think this was a very helpful information exchange.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Peter, and also thank you for making my job easier.  You gave such a good wrap, that I can't do any better.  I just want to tell you that the Polish hosts made it very difficult for you.  It's a very competitive process.  Now IGF 2021 is as good as Berlin one.  So I just want to say thank you very much for everyone here on site and online for this very interesting discussion.  I think we are going to have much more into the NRIs collaboration list, and then Anya, our dear focal point is going to take over.  Thank you very much, everyone.  Enjoy!  Bye.