IGF 2021 Day 0 Event #99 Global Road(s) to Digital Sovereignty

Time
Monday, 6th December, 2021 (16:45 UTC) - Monday, 6th December, 2021 (17:30 UTC)
Room
Conference Room 3

The Kosciuszko Institute Association
The format will be organized by the Kosciuszko Institute, representatives include:

Michał Rekowski - Programme and Research Director, the Kosciuszko Institute; Ewelina Kasprzyk - Project Manager and Researcher, the Kosciuszko Institute; Maciej Góra - Project Coordinator, the Kosciuszko Institute

Other representatives of the Institute might be engaged as well.

Speakers

Capitaine Romaric Agbagla, Chief Technology Officer, Togo Digital Agency

Nathália Lobo, Director of Sector Policy of the Secretariat of Telecommunications of Brazil

Ang Peng Hwa, Director of the Singapore Internet Research Centre, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Paul Timmers, Research Associate, Oxford University; Prof, European University Cyprus

Host: Michał Rekowski, Programme Director, Kosciuszko Institute

Onsite Moderator

Michał Rekowski

Online Moderator

Ewelina Kasprzyk

Rapporteur

Maciej Góra - Project Coordinator, the Kościuszko Institute

Format

Chain reaction panel with Q&A. The format will be split in three parts: 1. Moderator will briefly explain the significance of the concept of digital sovereignty and introduce this topic to the speakers (5 min) 2. Chain reaction panel: each panellist is asking another panellist some questions, so they all play a role of interviewer and interviewee. The discussion should focus around the regional perspectives on digital sovereignty, the model of internet governance and conclude with the agreement on the universal values, which could be incorporated into digital sovereignty concept by every country. (30 min) 3. Short Q&A with moderated questions from the audience. (10 min)

Description

Over the last years digital sovereignty has become a central element in political discussion on digital issues across the globe. This term has a variety of meanings influenced by the regions and culture, and it’s not limited to control of a state of critical digital systems but also touches the broader scope of economy, society and rule of law. Today, the issue of digital sovereignty has become a much more encompassing concept focusing on wider digital transformation of societies, oftentimes used to present an ordered, value-driven, reasonable and secure digital world. Digital sovereignty can be used to solve the problems of individual rights and freedoms, fair economic competition or political and legal enforceability. However, the problem is that regional perspectives differ on the issue of digital sovereignty and even contradict each other. But the problem of development of ethical technology will challenge every country and the values based digital sovereignty will be profitable to everyone. The panel intends to spark a discussion on regional approaches to digital sovereignty, identifying similarities and main differences. Since values-based digital world is desirable, the panel looks for the universal values, which can be incorporated into digital sovereignty by every country. • What are the perspectives on digital sovereignty in various regions of the world? • Do we have to make the choice between multi-stakeholder internet governance model and digital sovereignty? • What universal values could be incorporated into digital sovereignty concept globally?

The panel refers to promoting digital trust and security and calls for global dialogue to advance the conception of Digital Sovereignty based on values and is aimed at ensuring the protection of human rights in the digital era.

The format will be split in three parts: 1. Moderator will briefly explain the significance of the concept of digital sovereignty and introduce this topic to the speakers (5 min) 2. Chain reaction panel: each panellist is asking another panellist some questions, so they all play a role of interviewer and interviewee. The discussion should focus around the regional perspectives on digital sovereignty, the model of internet governance and conclude with the agreement on the universal values, which could be incorporated into digital sovereignty concept by every country. (30 min) 3. Short Q&A with moderated questions from the audience. (10 min)

The audience joining either on-site or online will be given a chance to ask a question in the Q&A part.

Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Digital sovereignty denotes states’ ability and efforts to re-establish authority over their digital domain, protect interests, and have greater authority over national data.

Digital sovereignty needs to be collectively pursued by the international community through democratic processes that integrate various stakeholders to forge a consensus of what it should be and the means to acquire it.

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Developing data protection and digital sovereignty legislation democratically by relying on international cooperation to collectively determine digital aspects which in turn create stronger cyberspace with diverse input from around the world.

Session Report (* deadline Monday 20 December) - click on the ? symbol for instructions

The session started on time with opening remarks by Michał Rekowski of The Kosciuszko Institute. Michał opened up with a brief introduction of what digital sovereignty encapsulates and some of the most pertinent challenges facing digital sovereignty and the rise of data as a lucrative resource. Followed by the introductory statements, the expert speakers were introduced to share their opinions. Panelists include Capitaine Romaric Agbagla, Nathália Lobo, Ang Peng Hwa, and Paul Timmers.  

The speakers commented on both their national strategies and hopes for international cooperation on developing digital sovereignty. An interesting conversation was had on the topic of collective governance bodies developing a unified approach to creating and protecting digital sovereignty. 

Key points addressed:  

  • States need to be able to promote their digital innovation strategies, own systems, and own technology.  
  • Data is increasingly becoming a lucrative resource that requires greater data protection legislation, enhanced digital literacy, and awareness about data storage.  
  • Fragmentation is the single biggest challenge facing the development of digital sovereignty; global cooperation allows for states to better protect their national sovereignty.  
  • The increasing role of digital technology requires broader engagement with the private sector, enhanced capacity building, and the digital transformation of the economy and government.