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.
>> JOANNA KULESZA: Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you might be.
Welcome to the first day of the hybrid IGF. I am pleased to welcome you to a session where we are looking forward to discussing the future of internet, of global internet governance. And this is a session that is cohosted by the Polish Foreign Ministry together with the University of Lodz, which I have the pleasure of representing.
My name is Joanna Kulesza. I work at the University of Lodz where I research and teach internationally on internet governance. And it is my pleasure to moderate a session where I'm joined by representatives of various sectors of research, of the technical community, of local economic enterprises around the globe to discuss the future of global internet governance.
Please let me start with a brief round of introductions. And after that, we will dive right into the discussion where I will ask our panelists to share perspectives on a few specific questions we have posed in the agenda, and we are looking to collect the answers for.
This is just a 60-minute session so I will, without any further ado, briefly introduce our panelists, recall the questions that we agreed to discuss, and ask them to share their insights.
Our first speaker today will be Mr. Alain Durand who is the principal technologist for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. We will start off today with discussing the future of internet governance by looking at a proposal from a Chinese company Huawei that focused on what they referred to as a new IP.
ICANN is in the business of managing core internet resources including the domain name system, internet names and numbers. So when a new IP proposal comes onto the scene, our first speaker has been eagerly interested and he has kindly agreed to share his insights as reiterated in a report on new IP to give us a perspective on the technical aspect of that proposal. Is there a need for a new IP? Is there a reason for it to be introduced?
We will ask Alain to give us his thoughts on this specific proposal, but I'm certain he will also highlight about similar proposals coming onto the scene. We will seek to explore whether the contemporary model of internet governance is legitimate or whether we might look to alternatives.
To help us answer this question, I am thrilled to welcome today also Mandy Carver, supporting the Internet Corporations for Assigned Names and Numbers in her role as the Senior Vice President for Government and Intergovernmental Organizations Engagement.
Mandy is on the pursuit of ensuring that global policies around the DNS names and numbers are intact with the technical model of governance that ICANN so effectively supports.
So I will very much be eager to learn from Mandy whether the new IP proposal and similar prospects around the world reflect the multi-stakeholder model that ICANN has been supporting, or whether there is something that we should keep in mind when such proposals are being discussed.
And then we would like to hear from members of business and academia from different regions of the world.
We will start with Professor Xu Peixi who is the Professor at the Global Internet Study Center at the Communications University of China where he also manages the operations of the Global Internet Governance Study Center. He's a seasoned academic in internet governance, international relations.
He disposes of in-depth knowledge of the new IP proposal but also of the multi-stakeholder model that the IGF has been supporting over the years. So we will start off with Professor Xu, looking very much forward to his insights on how the new IP proposal reflects onto the current multi-stakeholder model and international relations including economic relations.
Then we will kindly request the opinion on these issues from Abdul-Hakeem Ajijola who among different hats, including, for example, supporting the Global Commission on Stability of Cyberspace as a Commissioner is experienced in Nigerian and African international relations including economic relations and their impact on cybersecurity where he has had the opportunity to chair the Nigerian National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy Committee.
And then last, but by no means least, Professor Wolfgang Kleinwachter, now a Professor Emeritus at Aarhus University, a leading international internet governance scholar, a pioneer, a member of the working group on internet governance and a long time ICANN director.
I could imagine no better suited European perspective presented than the one by Professor Kleinwachter today.
I think that uses up my five minutes for the introductions. I'm very much looking forward to Alain giving us a brief technical introduction into the new IP proposal. What does it hold? How does it support the multi-stakeholder model as we know it? Is there anything we should particularly keep in mind when discussing it? And is there a need to see proposals like the new IP enter the stage?
Without further ado, I would love for you to take the floor. Thank you again for joining us today.
>> ALAIN DURAND: Thank you Joanna, for having me today. I appreciate the opportunity to have this conversation with the larger community.
I would like to start by saying that IP is not an old 40-year-old protocol that is static. This is something that has been evolving over time. And there are things that were thought impossible only 10, 20, 30 years ago like multimedia, like video conferences.
And look at what we are doing here in this hybrid meeting. We are talking over IP. We are having these video conferences. And millions and millions of people every single day are using this in COVID times. It is quite remarkable. What we thought was impossible are actually today the bread and butter of this industry and everybody in the planet.
So proposal to evolve IP have been existing for quite a while, maybe 5-10 years there are some new ideas that are coming from.
And they are usually coming from the academic community where numbers that we can mention -- for example, there was a genuine effort a number of years ago in the U.S. There was an effort by one of the pioneers of the internet in the 1970's. There have been public and non-IP that came at ETSI and many others.
New IPs is one of such proposal. It is not a standard. It is not even a draft standard. There are actually no published documentation about the protocol.
So it is impossible for today somebody to go and implement this thing. There might be some implementation in the lab, but that never has been exposed, never been shown. But to evolve from a lab experiment into something that can be deployed across an entire internet is a very long one. And we have an example of that.
Today the internet works mostly on protocol known IP Version 4. In the early '90s, 1992, I started to work with many others on the new version of this called IP Version 6. And here we are 30 years later, and it is still not deployed across the world.
IP Version 4 to IP Version 6 was a minor departure. We were talking about a major departure from IP. So we'll have to contemplate as least as long of a transition from one to the other is something to really keep in mind.
Now about the technical aspect of a new IP. One thing that really struck me when I was looking at this and trying to analyze it by its bits and pieces I could find is that it put a greater burden on all of the intermediary routers on the internet.
You need to remember one thing. The internet was built on a paradigm called the datagram paradigm. And in this, the task is to simply dynamically discover all of the technology around all the other routers and all of the different links and from one packet to the next hub, to the hub that is closer to the final destination. And that is essentially it and not much else.
This is the key design property of the internet. And this has enabled what we call permissionless innovation where if you want to deploy something new, you just deploy it at the edges. Don't need to request permission to all of the service providers or the routers in the world to go and implement something. That is how in the mid '90s we could deploy the web so quick.
Facebook or Google or any of the other platforms we use today, even Zoom as we are using right now, could be deployed without having to ask for the authorization of anybody. Permissionless innovation. And that's a major property.
So asking routers to do more is essentially the back road to the telephony model. And we can only fear that it will slow down innovation. Remember, innovation rate during the telephony days were not exactly the same as what we see on the internet.
Now, another point which is introduced by my new IP is the idea of strict quality of service features on the peripheral basis. This is actually not new, it was proposed more than 20 years ago, and the technology on the internet was called InServ for integrated services and had very, very little deployment for a number of reasons. The first one is that when you reserve bandwidth for specific application, you take away bandwidth from the common pool. And bandwidth is expensive, and resources associated with it are also expensive.
So when you are doing this, especially in the multi-operator environment, it requires very strong collaboration between those operators, and this is something really complex to do.
Complex and expensive don't work well on the internet. Things that are cheap and easy actually work much better. So if you want to do this in a dynamic way as proposed in the new IP, what you need to do is have every single router do some extra hard work to go and authenticate every single flow if only to be able to charge the money associated with reservation of those resources to that particular user.
Doing this will require that routers will have the key of a cryptographic session used by every single router. That introduced in the architecture of the internet control points, control choke points, and those points, control points will have some severe implication on privacy, of course, but also could be used for large case surveillance and population control.
Those are concerns that I have, that we have when reading the various documents related to new IP. Remembering that this is not a protocol that is published. We cannot really look at all of the various details because they are simply not available. So I don't want to use too much of my time, and I would like end and throw it back to Joanna. Thank you.
>> JOANNA KULESZA: Thank you very much, Alain. That was brief yet very clear.
The iteration of the new IP has not yet seen a technical proposal, one that is tangible. But at the same time of withholding a certain threat to the permissionless innovation upon which the internet has been built. Therefore, there seemed to be a certain challenge with, A, understanding, and B, possibly implementing the new IP or similar proposals.
We don't want to focus on this one too much. You do have papers on similar proposals that are popping up around the world trying to change the paradigm of multi-stakeholder governance as we have known it. So this is the technical perspective.
And a new proposal on how to manage the internet resources might prove challenging to innovation and the internet as we know it. I'm happy to turn the floor to Mandy who focuses on the multi-stakeholder governance model with regard to intergovernmental relations and how such proposals might impact the consensus we have built as the international community around governance on what critical resources are.
Mandy, if you would like to share your thoughts. Again, not just on the new IP but on similar proposals popping up, that would be wonderful. Again, thank you for joining us today.
>> MANDY CARVER: Thank you, Joanna. As Joanna said, my name is Mandy Carver. I am the Senior Vice President for Government and IGO Engagement at ICANN.
I want to follow about the technical comments about new IP. But as Joanna said, about the proposal of any new protocols to address some concerns raised from governance or policy implication side of what an operational or implementation of a new protocol might bring.
And my focus, as is the focus of everyone at ICANN, is on a single globally interoperable internet.
For those of you who don't know ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Signs and Names and Numbers, the mission is to ensure the stable operation of the internet's unique identifier systems.
So we coordinate the allocation and assignment of names in the root zone of the Domain Name System. We facilitate the coordination and operation and evolution of the root zone name server system. We coordinate the allocation and assignment of the topmost level of Internet Protocol numbers, the autonomous system numbers. Collaborate with other bodies as appropriate to provide registries needed for the functioning of the internet as specified by the Internet Protocol Standards development organizations. And that is really the first pillar that is the technical core of our work.
There is a second pillar which is a policy development process that uses a multi-stakeholder model to develop policies and procedures related to the coordination and administration of the unique identifiers.
And it is through that multi-stakeholder model that governments through something called the Government Advisory Committee, or the GAC at ICANN, as well as the technical community and industry can all work together.
So we are an open global organization and a dialogue and consensus-building multi-stakeholder model.
As I said, ICANN's core mandate is to ensure the stability, security, and resilience of the DNS that allows tens of thousands of networks across the globe to be one global internet connected internet. So it's fundamental to this mandate that we be aware that there are risks of internet fragmentation by changing protocols and that that risk is real.
Because it is the integration of the internet, it is the decision by everyone to use a common domain name space, a common IP addressing system, and to adhere to the same protocol specifications that has been the biggest factor enabling the success of the global internet over the last 30 years.
And that's the primary concern with the discussion of the new internet protocol or any of the other discussions that have been brought up with potential new protocols. Because changing core protocols of the internet pose a much greater potential risk to interoperability than the development of a new product or an application that is compatible with the existing protocol.
A new core raises questions about the trust and use of the existing protocol if you don't have a consensus over what that new protocol is and what questions it is trying to answer.
So we would ask, and Alain has already flagged that it's very hard to find any materials about or any well-developed materials about some of the new proposed protocols.
What is the problem that the new protocol seeks to solve? What are the ideas or services anticipated that could not be developed using and implemented using existing protocols? And through that then, it is important to identify what do we currently have. Is new IP, as it is referred to, or any of the other dialogues and proposals, are they actually a protocol? Or are they a proposed research project or a series of research projects?
Is this ready to be implemented? Or isn't it? There is quite a bit of confusion out there when we talk to representatives of governments or members of the technical community. Because the language used in various proposals in different meetings have very much confused the discussions.
The global community needs to understand what they would be trading away versus what they hope to gain with any change in protocol. So again, what are the problems they seek to solve? And what do they risk breaking in the process of that new implementation?
As Alain has mentioned, the transition from IPV4 to Internet Protocol 6 has been under way, under discussion, implementation for 30 years and it is still not completed. And that wasn't a change in the fundamental protocol.
So at a time when we are all focused on trying to bring the next billion users online, when there is growing concern and dialogue about a digital divide or the potential that some countries or economies are at risk of being left behind, is that the time to change the core protocol?
Do you choose the moment when you are trying to bring the next billion online to actually increase the complexity of access and slow innovation?
When manufacturers produce incompatible products, then the consumers are constrained in the choices and the future application's extensibility of the products -- I'm sorry, the discussions of those potential product changes are necessary to address the potential new services that would be facilitated by new IP. All of these things bring heavy tradeoffs.
As has already been said, the existing internet or network of networks relies on a simple core. Allowing the complexity, if it is needed, to reside at the edges. That allows permissionless innovation, as Alain has said. If a new internet protocol creates more burdens on intermediary routers, then it will potentially require a more centralized design compatibility that, as Alain has already mentioned, was used in the telephony model. And this creates constraints on innovation because you can't just add things at the edges, you have to reverse engineer back to the core.
In addition, by requiring intermediary routers to perform more tasks, you increase the potential for failure. You introduce potential brittleness in the design. You introduce potential chokepoints.
Alain has mentioned the cryptography needed in order for the routers to work as far as we can understand. And that would create the possibility and the potential impact on privacy, potential surveillance. All of these risks would be in the core so that if something breaks the harm is much more widespread than if you have small failures at the edges. An example would be the kinds of switching failures that took place under the telephony models in the past.
So, as Alain has mentioned, there are similar examples of protocols that have similar aspects. The InServ model because of the quality of service requirements, they have already demonstrated that the costs are high. And that creates poor scalability if you have a multi-operator environment.
And when you are discussing core internet protocols, you are not talking about changes for a single country or a single market. You are talking about a global model. So a change at the core would require a global change. Similarly, if there are sectors of the internet that reject the harmony of the internet unique identifier system, internet and users would be constrained on sites they could visit and applications they could use.
So creation of a new protocol without a clear consensus in the technical community erodes confidence and trust in the existing protocol. ICANN believes and government engagement within ICANN believe that our role is to have technical conversations with governments to continue talking to them. And we do meetings, briefings, we publish papers, government engagement does, as does Alain's department, OCTO. And I encourage you all, if you haven't seen them, to go to the ICANN website and to look at those papers because they are helpful in understanding where the discussions are taking place and the potential impact of some of the discussions in those forums.
We ought to continue an informational outreach effort so that if governments are discussing these issues in other fora they know that about ICANN's role they know that they have a role within the multi-stakeholder model that they can participate in the Government Advisory Committee and what it does and what ICANN does.
So my team is involved in an analysis of potential impacts of governmental actions on the technical functions of the internet. And we are engaging with governments and IGOs on those potential impacts.
As I said before, we want to understand the issues and challenges that governments seek to address and to assist them to through the sharing of information to avoid unintended consequences of impacting the infrastructure of the internet.
Any changes to the core protocol should only be undertaken with a very clear problem description, a defined framework, an extensive and transparent study, debate and consensus of the possibilities versus the tradeoffs of a change in the protocol. I will stop there. Thank you, Joanna.
>> JOANNA KULESZA: Thank you, Mandy. That is a very clear message, wonderful for us to start with.
Again, just to highlight, this is not just about the new IP, but I am thrilled that Professor Xu has kindly agreed to share his insights, his entire perspective on why this proposal would be put on the table. We will use it as a point of departure for a larger discussion around keeping the internet one internally as it is at this point.
So this is a very strong technical perspective on keeping the multi-stakeholder model as it is including governmental engagement through the GAC within ICANN, for example.
But I would love to give the floor to my fellow academics for their regional perspectives as well as to thank you very much for joining us, Abdul Hakeem, for the business perspective in a very vital area where the next billion resides which would be the largely broadly understood African region.
I'm curious if you would like to share your thoughts on this example of advancing the multi-stakeholder model that we have taken the IP to be for the new discussion but to more broadly discuss the potential that the multi-stakeholder model holds and the potential challenges we would like to resolve.
With this in mind, I'm going to encourage our participants, I see we are enjoying quite a few of our colleagues joining us here, to make the best use of the chat. We only have 60 minutes. There will really not be much room for Q&A. But I do encourage participants to put their comments or questions in the chat. This is just the start of the discussion.
Professor Xu, the floor is yours again. Thank you so much for joining us.
>> XU PEIXI: Thank you, Joanna, for inviting me to present Chinese perspective about this very important topic. I'm very glad that Alain and Mandy has talked about the new IP proposal from a technical perspective.
I think the reports written by ICANN has been also very widely distributed among the Chinese ICANN community. And our ICANN representative based in Beijing is also in the room, by the way.
I'm talking from a rather nontechnical perspective about my understanding about the new IP proposal, which is rather regional, by the way. So I will somehow answer your questions listed on the website one by one. There are three.
The first one is about this core concept that is called why internet in one word or one word on why internet. You are asking whether it is outdated.
And from the Chinese perspective and my own perspective, that this is not only not outdated but it is the most needed and urgently needed. And that my -- my observation about the Chinese perspective about how the new IP proposal was interpreted by the media and by the politicians especially, I'm not talking about the technical community, is actually the wakeup call that -- not about Huawei's ability, it is about others splitting the internet which is actually against the thought of various stakeholders in China.
And we all know that China is the second largest digital economy. And it is totally valued at -- somehow the statistic is six trillion USD in terms of digital economy in 2022. And China is, by the way, the most dependent country on digital economy. And the exact percent of DGPA is 39%.
So it's completely against the Chinese interests or the stakeholders' interest to split the internet. Somehow in my idea it is impossible for the Chinese businesses and the Chinese authorities and the Chinese Civil Society actors to propose anything that would split the internet.
And, however, as the debate, the political debate around the new IP proposal of the accusation of Huawei of splitting the internet serves actually as a wakeup call that people may use this kind of excuse to actually do a splitting by themselves.
So that is somehow very detailed economic background about how the different stakeholders feel about how the new IP was debated by the media like Financial Times and by the political forces.
So I'm very glad that ILAN has produced a kind of ICANN perspective of the report from the representative of the technical community.
And secondly, you raised the question about, for example, the new IP proposal as departure of thought, thinking about fragmentation. And in my opinion what is really at issue in the global debate about Huawei's proposal is somehow about a trend that political actors or national security narratives are gaining momentum in the debate about the internet governance. So there is a kind of invasion of the national security narrative in the debate about this internet core resources.
That is something that we should be alarmful. And, of course, this is somehow like a blind man and the elephant story that everybody has their own perspective about it. Somehow, I personally started from a media expert, by the way. So I tend to somehow at very beginning interpret this as kind of a misinformation or misreading by the media like Financial Times role. Only in a familiar way, my kind of study about the media so Financial Times was the right input. On a cold day late last September, half a dozen Chinese engineers walk into a conference room in the heart of the Geneva UN district with a radical idea.
So this kind of media narratives about something I think is not contributing to the discussion. It's somehow trying to exaggerate and ILAN has pointed out that it's not a standard, it is actually on Huawei to build. If it is good, take it. If it is not good, drop it. Simple like that.
So it had been debated already by the technical community at ITU and also some others for quite a couple of years, but it was given political attention after the Financial Times story, which is not helpful, by the way.
And, by the way, this is about the future. But how about the past? Huawei as a company, its chief supply was cut off and also by the way Android system was cut off. Now it had to develop a kind of harmony system. So my Huawei mobile phone, I have to restart in a different way because of the Android system architecture was no longer useful.
So all of those things that took place in the past, the media didn't pay attention to it. So they would like to pay attention to a kind of a wire that is interesting about what might happen in the future. But that isn't the future.
Everybody has the right to think about the future. I think Huawei meant to actually contribute to the discussions, but it turned out that it is somehow misunderstood by the media.
So I think beyond the technical community, the discussion about the new IP was not that helpful and didn't contribute a lot to the discussions.
And then you raise the third question that is about should we distribute the authority to manage the core of the internet among national government.
I think the answer is no. And the Chinese government and other stakeholders have repeatedly expressed its support of ICANN. For example, about the INI transition, so it is repeated from the bottom to the top. But those voices were not heard, by the way.
So China, actually the stakeholders support one world and one internet and also the one internet coordinated by ICANN. So but those voices somehow were put aside. So if there is one lesson that we learned about the political and media discussion about the new IP story is that, okay, it might be the political actors who accuse Huawei's new IP proposal, they might have the intention to split the internet. So that might be the lesson that somehow I have observed.
But the truth I think will be out very soon that this might be used to take political actions and ICANN and the technical communities and academic and Civil Society actors should pay attention to all of the governments and all of the political actors in the field of the internet instead of one government.
Solution, I think the Global Commission and I think quite several people where you work in the Global Commission had a proposal about the popular core of the internet. So I think if we accept that as a norm and if that norm can be translated into international law, that would be very helpful, for example, to defend the core resources of the internet from being intervened by governments and authorities.
Thank you, Joanna.
>> JOANNA KULESZA: Great, thank you very much. That is music to my ears as an international lawyer. And as a moderator, I'm glad to see that we are all on the same page. One world, one internet remains the chime for internet governance. And since the Global Commission has been mentioned, I will hand the floor over to other commissioners starting with Abdul Hakeem.
Let me just note that I'm certain that international lawyers and ICANN as well are following the processes within the UN when there are debates around conventions, keeping the internet safe that are led by specific governments. So the strong position to keep the internet governance mechanism as it is in place, keeping the key resources safe is much welcome. Thank you very much for that contribution.
And I hand the floor swiftly off to Abdul Hakeem. We're looking for regional perspectives. You mentioned the elements of supply chain security, how we want to keep the devices interoperational whereas at the same time key global resources might need to stay at the trustworthy hands of the multi-stakeholder community.
There is also a question that refers to that region in the chat should you wish to look into that, Abdul-Hakeem. Again, we are short on time, but discussion probably needs more space. But if you would just like to make your key points that would be much appreciated. Thank you again for joining us and for bearing with the technical issues here.
>> ABDUL-HAKEEM AJIJOLA: Thank you very much, Joanna. First of all, my understanding is that Huawei has a study initiative that is looking into next generation network protocol systems for the digital network industry and society. From my reading, Huawei itself indicates that its work is actually not currently, quote-unquote, not currently relevant to the governance model discussions.
So, you know, instead the new IP study is to study the technologies that fulfill the need for increased flexibility, determinism, security and privacy and so on.
So basically, I think they are trying to work towards what might or might not be required in the future. However, from my perspective in Africa it is clear that these conversations are compounded by different philosophies, ethics, and principles of the various protagonists and unfortunately there are some consequent negative impacts on trust.
However, that said, we must be wary of potential fragmentation of technologies as we have seen manifest in, one, separate initiatives by Russia and Iran to create independent network infrastructure with separate Domain Name Systems or related architecture.
Two, we have seen geopolitical tensions which are exacerbated by what Harvard Professor Emeritus Joseph Nye describes as the weaponization of the efforts by the previous Trump administration to sanction and coerce other nations into banning, raising tariffs, or domesticating ownership of foreign technology, providers and products.
Again, 5G infrastructure is a very classic case in point and apps like TikTok. We have also seen India in 2020 banning 118 Chinese apps ostensibly for national security reasons. So retaliation to such sanctions can motivate the development of alternative often incompatible models, standards, and pathways. So this is very real in terms of the threat.
There are initiatives including across Africa to impose digital taxes. And, you know, we are seeing the collapse of established data protection agreements and technology sovereignty rearing its head with, you know, a number of initiatives across the world and reining in the power of global technology giants which in of itself is not a bad thing.
But, you know, we do need to force the indigenous alternatives, else we will only exacerbate some of our difficulties.
So the concerns here for some of us are that one, how does this impact the public core of the internet? And I think we have heard some very good inventions on this.
Two, does it help or hurt IPV adoption?
And three, what is the policy impact on global internet governance, if any?
Unfortunately, from the African perspective in particular, our challenges are deepened by the misperception that things like internet governance are not really African problems to solve. This is compounded by a lack of awareness, inconsistent approach, and certainly little consensus on cyber norms, indeed, based on lack of understanding.
So how do we move forward? Especially the Global South and Africa. First of all, the Global South and African nations in particular, our Member States must understand that we do risk being caught. Caught out as unwary victims of potential China-USA, USA-Europe, USA-Russia and/or China in their geopolitical and cyber warfare battlespace. And this also flows into the internet governance space.
So to this end, we must understand that contemporary geopolitics impacts technology interests. And new tools like online fake news and hate speech are being weaponized. Memetic warfare resulting in the spreading of weaponized ideas for influence and control is happening. And it is now a very well-established tool for State and non-State actors to exploit.
For the Global South to begin to sustainably address these and related challenges, we must ourselves define and protect the Global South interest in all spheres and domains. Plus, articulate our own internet governance and related technology philosophies, ethics, principles, policies and strategies.
Arguably, it is the underlying philosophy that are the heart of internet governance misunderstandings and in particular this new IP discussion. And Africa, in particular, needs to develop its own philosophies and ethics and principles to guide us through our own options.
We also must understand that the Global South must moderate and adapt to the realities of a multi-polar world of technology by, one, building proficiency in monitoring and proactively navigating complex and varied economic commercial technology, privacy, and connectivity relationships as they relate to cyberspace.
Two, we must mobilize or motivate the Global South to research, develop, and innovate by understanding and employing indigenous technologies and solutions to minimize our total dependencies on the single external parties.
We must not be vendor driven. And we must also develop and implement robust vetting mechanisms when interrogating hardware, software, or networking solutions and segment operations across multiple pathways, organizations, and technologies to minimize single, you know, points of failure.
So the bottom line here is that the Global South must develop its indigenous capacities based on teaching, learning, research and innovation. And I think the question about AFRINIC is very important here.
For many of us in Africa, we see it as an extension of the exploitation of African resources. Africa receives about 5% of the global IP addresses. A single company in Hong Kong basically surreptitiously acquired 3% of our total IP resources and was selling them to -- allegedly to, you know, gambling sites and pornographic sites and basically extracting very high profit without any commensurate return to Africa.
And when challenged on this, they were able to get AFRINIC's assets frozen. Not only did this cause the potential for a failure of the Africa internet space, but actually was a single potential single point of failure for the global internet management space.
So I think there are lessons for us to draw here on how -- and one is very grateful that the other RIIs actually did come to the rescue during of AFRINIC during this trying period and we are grateful for that.
But the point is that we do need to learn the lessons, we do need to make the improvement. We do need to make sure that we do not have these single points of organizational failure, and we do need to move forward. Thank you very much.
>> JOANNA KULESZA: Thank you very much, Abdul Hakeem. That was wonderful.
You've managed to combine all of layers of the internet. Some say that there is no more lasagna, it's all spaghetti and I think that you've made that very clear in your intervention where we look at the IP numbers, we look at IRRs, but we look at the platforms, TikToks and GDPR as well.
I warmly welcome your emphasis on capacity building and understanding the complexity of the issue. Something that in Central Europe we have struggled with as well. There are programs that are dedicated to capacity building. Europe wishes to be a leader in international internet governance paradigms and norms. Whereas it in itself is quite diverse. And with that wonderful introduction, I hand the floor over to Professor Kleinwachter.
What is the European perspective on all of the things we just discussed starting with the splinter-net scenarios with the new IP as Peixi clearly emphasized it's not. What is the European perspective on the new paradigms for multi-stakeholder governance? Professor Kleinwachter, the floor is yours.
>> WOLFGANG KLEINWACHTER: Thank you very much. First of all, Joanna, thank you for organizing this. It was organized in the last minute, but it is a very needed discussion. And as just said, we need the discussion, we need the improvement because it is as Bill Clinton has said in an ICANN meeting 10 years ago, the whole discussion is stumbling forward.
So we are moving into a new territory, and we have to find out, you know, what is the best next step. So it is not big jumps, it is next step. We are exploring, you know, what is the useful for meanwhile five billion people in the world.
So and one of the beauty of the system is -- of the internet is it is a layered system. And so it was the designers of the original protocols which kept the internet or presented the internet as an open network. So you could add, as our speakers said, without permission, new applications, new services for the openness and the interoperability is our key features. And it is an evolving process. I think Alain has made this very clear in his opening.
So since 50 years we see a process where we add new layers and new protocols. So we have now 8,000 or 9,000 already IFCs in the Internet Engineering Task Force. And new IFC's, that means new protocols, new standards will come. So this is a process which is open and will lead us, fortunately, or hopefully into a better future.
But we see a lot of, as I say, as problems which were around it. I see with the new IP process for me it is a tool to interlink problems. One is a substantial problem, and the other one is a procedural problem.
So the substantial problem, what I see is that then, you know, the founding fathers of the internet, you know, had -- they were driven by the idea to enable communication.
So there was not security at first. So and there was also not, you know, speed first. So it was just to enable communication. And if you look into the internet as we have today, for there are certainly, you know, some weaknesses which has to be improved. And so one of the weaknesses are security and the other one is latency.
We have for some applications, which will be beyond the horizon, 5G applications, you know, autonomous cars and, you know, surgeries or whatever, so you cannot work with a latency which, you know, could be dangerous for life and death situations.
And also, you know, you have to have a higher standard of security. What I have seen in this discussion, and so far I think the paper which was distributed in the focus group of the ITU, you know, raises some issues which has to be discussed. So how to do this.
So I remember a discussion 10 or 15 years ago when France came with the idea that we need a new protocol for the Internet of Things. They called it the ONS, the Object Naming or Numbering System and said, you know, this will be next to the DNS.
So the idea was also to create something like an alternative or a substitute to say we have the internet for persons or for people, which is based on the DNS, and then we'll build something for objects. So it was a special idea of France. And it was actually up in Nairobi where we discussed and said, okay, wait a minute, what is the Internet of Things? It is an application on top of the DNS.
So that means if you want to promote the Internet of Things, there is no need, you know, to build a new network, you know, ignoring the existing protocols. It's just an application on top of this.
As it was said already, a lot of this new application, search and things, server networks are services application on top of the protocol. And the beauty of the system is that this is an open protocol so you can add an endless chain of new services and applications.
And then, you know, within this new application you can add some specific protocols how to manage within this special application. Facebook has its own rules, Google has its own rules. So that means if you are looking for applications for autonomous cars or for online surgeries or something like that, then you can, let's say, manage issues like latency and security within this special network.
So that means the way forward is not to change the whole system to remove the IP protocol and have a new IP protocol, but on the edges allow a greater flexibility with the new applications and services which are enabled by the existing protocols because protocols are also enablers, so they enable innovation without permission.
So they do allow, then, you know, the emergence of certain bubbles, networks or whatever thought, and then you can settle the real problems of security and latency in a way within this network.
But if you try to change the whole system, then this exactly happened what Mandy has said, this creates confusion. This politicized and neutral technical resource and leads us to nowhere. And the outcome will be battles that you have immediately two camps, you know. which really is just a way backwards and not a way forward.
So when Clinton said, you know, the stumbling forward, he said it has to be forward and not to go in circles around or backwards. So that means we have to move into the new territory. And then so far, this taking some arguments seriously, and then to have an open debate.
So what I have seen now also in some Chinese papers, and I had discussion also with Piexi already on this or other organizations, you have now papers on so-called polymorphic networks. So that means you have on the basis of the existing protocol you can go further and then have a number of networks or the internet was in the very early day a network of networks. And each network, you know, can be managed in a certain way differently, but as long as it is based on the open protocols.
And the interoperability is a very key issue. And when Alain said that we have the IP Version 4 and IP Version 6 problem over 30 years, one of the problems is that it is not backward interoperable. So there would be backward inter-operability probably we would have already now full IP Version 6 based system.
So let me come at a very short comment on the procedural issue. And I think this was also part of the political debate.
Because the question is who drafts the intended protocol? Is it done by governments or is it done in the multi-stakeholder environment?
And I think this was also one of the problems which stimulated the political debate because the ITU is the accepted standard setting body, the ITU team. But it is an intergovernmental body. While s the internet and the whole development of internet protocols came out from the multi-stakeholder discussion in different ways. So it's bottom up.
So that means if you bring internet standards into an intergovernmental body, the risk is high that you politicized the thing and have immediately strategic or cultural differences as part of the debate.
So and it means to leave it in the existing standardization organizations, make it the ITF, we have to work with the consortium. We have the IEEE. And we have the standardization organizations for mobile communications. And that means -- while there is a different nature between the intergovernmental body, you know, which is good for a number of things like for telephony probably it is good if you have standards for telephony drafted by the ITU.
Because you know, this is a really governmental affair. Every country has a telephony communication law. And then so far, you know, to have standards for the telephone via the ITU, it's a good thing.
The internet is different, and I think this was part of the problem where we triggered a political debate. And I think this would be a big mistake if these neutral resources, I think Karen Mabi from ICANN has introduced new language technical internet governance and protocols, domain names and IP addresses. All these are neutral resources. So it's like AI.
And if you start to politicize these neutral resources, what we have the permission to the public core of the internet, then this will be dangerous for all sides. And I think from the European perspective I can see it was a very wise move that this directive now to have to exception clause for the roots of operation which should not be under European legislation.
I think this is the only way forward, and we would expect also such exception clauses from other governments and other cases, but it means if you put all of the political confidence into this technical debate, then this will be a big disaster for the five billion people who are using the internet today. Thank you. And back to you, Joanna.
>> JOANNA KULESZA: Thank you very much. It is a very clear message. I could wish for no better summary for this panel.
I think we have presented a very coherent and clear message on the need to keep it one world, one internet. You could say we are biased. There does seem to be a strong technical and ICANN link. If you think we are biased, reach out to us. You can put it in the chat, or you can just write to us, and we are happy to carry that discussion forward.
In summary, I would like to first thank the foreign ministry for hosting us. I helped to set this panel up but was the Polish Foreign Ministry who thought that this message was important to kick off the IGF. And that's why we were strategically placed in day zero. Thank you very much for facilitating this.
We would not have been able to start the IGF with that message in our modest contribution. Thank you very much for doing that.
On the second point I wanted to raise, I would like to use one word which we have not used in the session, yet which is cyber sovereignty. There are a lot of sessions on cyber sovereignty.
Later today, Wolfgang and myself will probably be joining the giga net symposium, and I will chairing a panel on digital sovereignty.
Please keep this panel in mind whenever someone says cyber sovereignty or, worse yet, national cyber sovereignty.
We can talk about those political concepts but let me just sign off today with carrying forward the message of one world, one internet as that is the only feasible solution.
We are perfectly on time, which as a moderator is a joy to my heart. Thank you to the panelists. Again, thank you to the foreign ministry for setting this up. I'm very much looking forward to the IGF. Thank you for joining in Katowice and online. Keep safe, everyone, and I will see you across this week. The session is adjourned. Thank you, everyone.