IGF 2021 - Day 3 - OF #29 Internet Society Open Forum 2021

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.



>> CARL GAHNBERG:  I think we can get started.  Good morning and welcome to this open form by the Internet Society.  I hope everyone is having a wonderful IGF so far.  On this open forum, we will focus on the question around the open Internet and talk about the work we have been doing at the Internet Society around this question.  We will start with a few initial remarks by Rinalia Abdul Rahim, then we will go to a short presentation.

>> We all live in a digital world. 

We all need it to be open and safe. 

We all want to trust and to be trusted. 

We all despise control and desire freedom. 

We are all united.

>> CARL GAHNBERG:  That was a feature I didn't expect.  We will focus about the open Internet and talk about work we have done at the Internet Society around this.  We have a fantastic panel, with a broad range of stakeholders to discuss this question around the open Internet.  I'm Carl Gahnberg, a senior policy advisor with Internet Society and will moderate this session throughout, but I wanted to kick us off with handing off to my colleague, Rinalia Abdul Rahim, senior vice president at the Internet Society for initial remarks.  Over to you.

>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM:  Thank you.  Hello, and thank you for joining.  A special welcome to our ISOC chapter members as well.  It is wonderful to see all over you here, both online and on site.  We are all stim going through a pandemic, and it's been difficult for many people around the world, but through it all, the Internet has been there for us, a lifeline for people in so many ways, including access to remote work, education and health care. 

The Internet Society champions the open globally connected secure Internet.  We do it because we know this quality is what makes it for everyone.  The value of this Internet is embedded in a concept we call the Internet way of networking.  As the Internet is fulfilling growing demand and proving its resilience worldwide, there is no better time than now to inspire others to join us in our cause, to defend the Internet that is for everyone.  At the Internet Society, we value the enormous range of diversity, knowledge and expertise found air cross the whole Internet community.  Our collective voice and influence are what is needed to shape the Internet for future generations.  The theme of this year's IGF united Internet.  If we want a united Internet, we must unite and work together to create the Internet we believe in.  This is because there are plenty of people in the world who do not want it, they don't want it to be open or globally connected, they don't want it to be secure and if they are successful, the Internet cannot be trustworthy.

We are long-time supporters of the IGF.  We are here or spotlight important work so this around the globe are doing to champion the Internet.  We are proud of the work the Internet Society community is doing.  We believe that bringing diverse stakeholders together and converging around common interests can help us combat the that is facing the Internet today.  We mobilize champions around the world to defend against these threats, so we are here to promote and defend the properties that underpin the Internet as the preferred model for network development, we are here to emphasize the value of strong encryption, as a primary means of protecting our activities online and ensuring our communications are safe and private and we are here to show how greater network resilience includes us all. 

Last, but not least, we are here to prioritize connecting the unconnected, extending the Internet to communities that do not have it and need it most, concentrating on building and empowering the movement of people who can make it happen.  The challenges are extremely complex and demand that we all work together for a shared cause.  The more we can unite in aligning our efforts, the greater the effect we will have to ensure the Internet really is for everyone.  Thank you for listening.  Back to you, Carl.

>> CARL GAHNBERG:  Thank you very much, Rinalia.  We are working towards an open Internet on many fronts.  One of those fronts has been around the Internet way of networking and promoting this vision for an own Internet based on an Internet way of networking.  I will hand it over to my colleague, Andrei Robachevsky for a brief presentation on some work we have done that will tee up the conversation that we'll have with the panelists.

>> ANDREI ROBACHEVSKY:  Thank you.  I'm Andrei Robachevsky, at Internet Society.  Trying to share my slides.  I would like to make a short introductory presentation, just to set up a scene.  I would like to present elements of the work we have done at the Internet Society to create what we call the impact assessment toolkit.  This allows us, our community, policymakers, everyone who is interested, to analyze the impact proposed change can have on the Internet.  For doing this, we need to understand what makes the Internet the Internet, what contributes to the benefits, because the Internet the really an ecosystem.  I think realizing the inter-senate an ecosystem is very important, because relationships and dependencies between different components are constantly building and not always visible or obvious.  So is the impact of proposed change.

What if we did the environmental impact assessment, but for the Internet, the Internet ecosystem?  Well, I think in our approach, we looked at the system from two perspectives.  First is what the Internet needs to exist.  We came to the conclusion that for this is the very Internet model of the Internet, the Internet way of networking, and its critical properties. 

The second perspective is what the Internet needs to strive.  We want the Internet to be open, more interconnected, more secure and trustworthy, to unclear its full potential.  Its infrastructure and global goals, we call the characteristics enablers.  They advance and enable for targeted goals.  So bringing this all together, we can come up with a similar model to what I just showed for in natural ecosystems.  Let's look at the benefits -- the elements in more detail.  Beginning with the Internet wait of networking.  That's really about the Internet model, but broader than just a prodigal step.  What are the critical elements or properties of the Internet that continue to the ensure its healthy evolution.  Working through this essential elements, what we now call critical properties, we realize the Internet owes it success not only to technology, but also the unique way it operates and evolves, unique way independent networks interconnect and cooperate. 

Let me walk you through these critical properties of the Internet way of networking.  It's accessible infrastructure.  Internet prodigal, that's the barrier it has.  It is based on open architecture of interoperable and reusable building blocks.  You can puzzle together technologies and build new systems.  It is decentralized management, based on distributed routing system, no central authority, no network operation centers and local decisions for local needs.  It has common global identifiers, naming, addressing, they are consistent and unique.

Last, but not least, technology-neutral network.  The Internet was designed for nothing in particular, but for everything, in fact.

The Internet way of networking is the necessary conditions.  If the critical properties are eroded, we lose to Internet.  And when we look at what Internet needs to drive, openness is one of the goals.  It is open when anyone can deploy the Internet as its technologies.  Any person is free to take any technology that could make up the Internet and use the technology to build other things, or combine them and deploy them without barriers and expect others will do the same.  The open Internet is also accessible.  It is easy to connect, become part of the Internet and used as services and applications.

You may notice I described openness in a rather absolute terms, but it is -- it was helpful for us to set this as an aspirational goal and have a stable point.  Let me walk you through the enablers of the open Internet.

The list of enablers, and I will show you three we define for open Internet, it is not meant to be a complete enumeration of everything.  This is a list to inform our analysis of changes that may affect this goal, openness, but if for instance you find some aspect of after change that affects a goal but doesn't fit into the list, the framework is extendible, which can aid your analysis.  Let me start with the first enabler, easy and unrestricted access.  It is easy to become part of the Internet.  That means Internet connection is affordable, it is accessible without necessary regulatory barriers.  Accessibility, we mean that in the broader sense. 

For example, recommendations strengthen the enabler and make the Internet more open.  Unrestricted use and deployment of Internet technologies.  These standards are available for adoption without restriction.  The Internet infrastructure is available as a resource to anyone who wishes to use it.  Existing technologies can be mixed in and used to create new products and services.  This is an example of strengthening this enabler by the building block based on calibrated process.  As a negative example, you may remember the RSA developed secure ID system, great system, but proprietary, which limited its use and deployment. 

The third enabler we identified, Internet is not only about technology, it is about people, it is about the collaboration of different entities, independent entities.  This collaboration extends to building and operating the Internet.  One of the examples which is close to our heart is Internet exchange points.  It facilitates open access using non-discriminating policies and building local communities.

I will open this slide, which is not really related to open, but just say we define enablers for other goals, such as globally connected secure and trustworthy.  If you would like to look at this in full, there are slides of my presentation that you can look up.

The purpose of the Internet Impact Assessment Toolkit, it is not just a narrative, it is also a tool, in order to determine if an issue at hand impacts the fundamental principles, properties of the Internet or its goals.  The elevation stage is based on asking a question.

Thank you, and back to you, Carl, and let the discussion start.  Thank you.

>> CARL GAHNBERG:  Thank you.  This is really how we have approached this question around the open Internet and trying to provide a tool to assess change and make efforts and strides towards to opening trend.  But the enablers that we have identified is not a complete enumeration.  There could be other things in there that fosters an open Internet.  People may approach this concept from different perspectives. 

So we wanted to organize a panel on this open firm, where we invite different stakeholders to talk about how do they see an open Internet.  What are the characteristics they see.  What we were interested to see is to identify where there might be over-lapse in terms of how someone from the business community looks at the open Internet, as an engineer looks at the open Internet and where there might be differences.  Basically, trying to see how are we approaching the open Internet, how are we thinking about it and how could that complement the work we are doing at the Internet Society in this framework and helping analyze change against the open Internet. 

I'm honored to have a fantastic panel with us today that is going to drive these discussions and help us figure out what an open Internet could mean from different perspectives.  I will start with an introduction, then we will have initial remarks.  Towards the end of the discussion, we also open up for Q&A from the audience as well, to engage in the conversation and ask for questions to the panelists.

I wanted to start with a round of introduction of our panel today.  I want to start with a thank you to our panelists who are joining from different parts of the world, in some cases, very early in the morning, but first, we have Mehwish Ansari, the head of the digital at Article 19, where she leads the global team digital, which works on human rights considerations in the development and deployment of Internet infrastructure. 

We also have with us Maimouna Diop, from Senegal.  An engineer, both in the government and private sector.  She also has extensive experience and played a major role in growing and supporting the African Internet community and its participation in ICANN.  Also is a cofounder of the Senegal chapter.  We also have Nick Pickles, from Twitter.  He leads the company's work on critical issues at the intersect of tech, policy and politics.  He is currently also the chair of the global Internet forum for counterterrorism. 

We also have with us Mirja Kuehlewind.  She works on congestion control and Internet measurements.  She has been an active participant in the engineers Task Force many years, served as a director for the transport area and currently serving as chair of the Internet Architecture Board.  Welcome, everyone and thank you for agreeing to join the panel.

The idea was we will start with initial remarks from all the panelists.  We have sort of constrained them a little in those initial remarks.  So we asked them to focus on three highlights, three main characteristics they sew in open Internet.  Be aware of that, when you hear them.  They may have more to say, but we have tried to constrain them to three in those initial remarks, then we will illuminate other aspects as the conversation goes on.  I wanted to start with Mehwish Ansari.

>> MEHWISH ANSARI:  Thank you.  Hello.  I will dive right in.  I think the first characteristic is competition.  One of the major challenges to an open Internet is the presence of gatekeepers, because their presence threatens meaningful choice for communities and individuals, whether we are talking about connectivity or communications platforms.  The second characteristic that I would talk about here is interoperability.  I think that is pretty closely related to composition.  Having alternatives and giving communities and individuals meaningful choices about the services they connect on is important, but you only have those choices if they can inter-operate with other providers in this network of networks.  The third characteristic is meaningful multi-stakeholder decision-making in global Internet technical policy and standards development.

While this characteristic may feel like a copout, it doesn't feel directly -- doesn't feel like it is directly about the Internet itself.  I believe it is a necessary factor for an open Internet.

>> CARL GAHNBERG:  Thank you very much.  I'm sure we'll get a chance to elaborate more on that.  I want to go over to Maimouna Diop now, to share.

>> MAIMOUNA DIOP:  Thank you, Carl and good morning, everybody.  I'm very happy to be here this morning with you at IGF, and thanks to ISOC and all the organizers to making this decision.

I think my first interesting characteristic is inclusion.  We can talk about access or restricted access.  I think we need to address the infrastructural needs to connect everyone and fill the gap, not only the infrastructure gap, but specifically the gender issue.  I had the honor to be in a session yesterday, and I had to address this issue.  I think it is an important gap we have to fill.

Universal access is not easy to address, and everyone can do something to achieve this.  I think it is important to have the stakeholders approach, not only at the global level, but also the regional and national level.

And I think we have to think about the regulation policy from our competition.  If you want to develop the infrastructure, we need to have kind of relation which can allow us to bring more competition.

Thank you.

>> CARL GAHNBERG:  Thank you very much.  I am already seeing a couple of overlaps in the competition and the governance elements of inclusiveness there.  I want to go over to Nick to share his thinking, and how Twitter has approached open Internet.

>> NICK PICKLES:  Thank you.  I will drop in the chat a link to the white paper.  One of the most striking things in my work is how often the Internet is seen as a handful of companies, and the Internet is far, far more than a few large service providers, so the competition that exists online is absolute lit critical.  The more competitive Internet, the more open Internet. 

Secondly, I think an open Internet empowers people and puts people at the center of many of the coverings we are having.  That could be a choice and control over things like ranking and recommendation algorithms, but also things like control of personal data.  The choice the people have in terms of the services they use.

Thirdly, I echo that in terms of open to all, there is an absolute red line as far as we are concerned, that policies that adopt blocking and throttling are absolutely incompatible with a global open Internet.

>> CARL GAHNBERG:  Thank you very much, Nick.  I want to hand over to Mirja to share her view.

>> MIRJA KUEHLEWIND:  Thank you.  I think what I want to say does match what others say, it is close to what Andre said, and I see -- I would rather reiterate on one aspect is openness for everybody to connect to exchange data, to access information, which is -- it goes down to the roots of the Internet, because it was created as a network between researchers that wanted to exchange data quickly. 

Another aspect of openness is also related to competition and access for driving innovation on the Internet.  For that, from a technology point of view, it's really important that the Internet is this kind of mutual platform that can create new applications on tap, new people can access and that's also why the Internet has been so successful, because it is a platform for innovation, and we have to keep it like that if we want to keep the Internet successful. 

The third point I want to look at, it's the openness to the Internet government process.  That's also V. what we try to support in the ITF, which is an organization which is open for everybody to participate.  We don't have membership and it's really important for the process to keep the Internet as open as it is, that everybody can contribute and engage in this process.

I think this is like what makes the Internet open, and what makes the Internet secure, globally connected network of networks, as I would define the Internet, and we should try to keep it that way by supporting this.

>> CARL GAHNBERG:  Thank you very much and thank you for those initial remarks.  I think the way to approach this, the continued discussion, by thinking was we could kind of start on those areas where we heard a lot of over-happens.  For instance, the competition issue and the inclusive governance aspect, and see if we could elaborate a little more, both what might be important, also what might be concerns when it comes to competition and inclusive governance.  Then to move from there, and see if we discover additional characteristics that might complement to the one I already mentioned.

I wanted to start with you, Mehwish on that question.  You talked about why it is important to have competition, but I wanted to see if you could elaborate a little on why competition is so important for an open Internet.

>> MEHWISH ANSARI:  Sure.  I think the first thing, when I talked about competition, I talk about gatekeepers.  I think it is important to know gatekeepers exist across the entire Internet stack.  We aren't just talking about social media.  We are seeing centralization across cloud service providers, network operators, DNS service providers, all of whom are providing critical infrastructure structures and technologies that we don't really think about much when we think about the Internet in our daily lives. 

And the problem with gatekeepers is they often raise the barriers to entry, in order to keep their market power.  Particularly for small and non-profit providers.  That is a major problem.  The providers are often the ones that ever alternative profit models and technical approaches and frankly, different stakeholders.  These are often providers that are the ones designing, developing and deploying technologies to meet the needs of individuals in communities that are the most marginalized from power.

It is important these types of providers are enabled by the regulatory environment to be able to participate in the market.

>> CARL GAHNBERG:  Thank you very much.  The consolidation and competition issue is something to look at, at various layers.  I want to go to Mirja in a second, but before that, I want to bring in Maimouna in, to see if you think about it in a similar perspective, or is there particular parts of the Internet you are concerned around the competition hampering an open Internet? 

>> MAIMOUNA DIOP:  Thank you, Carl.

Competition has been enacted in only 14 of the 15 countries.  We have supernational organization in east Africa.  We also have one in west Africa.  We try to have a regional law that will be implemented by the country.  It can be flexible, and it should be applied after a proper market assessment.  I think this approach is very interesting when it comes to regulation, because if we wait for every country to have a competition, it will take more time to get this competition and have access to an open market. 

And we have a lot of things to do on accessibility, because when we look at the divide, even if we make significant progress, we have 49% of people still excluded from service and at risk of being left behind.  And there is a need of 1099 billion to address the universal access, and that is why they have an initiative around Africa.  The strategy aims to double connectivity by 2011.  From education, to transport, to enable public service delivery and policy, public management and transparency.  And we really need to bring all African people on the Internet.

>> CARL GAHNBERG:  The way I see that, the relevance of that institutional framework to enable competition to promote that digital inclusion is that key piece to the open Internet.  I wanted to spin off that, to you, Mirja.  We are talking about bridging the digital divide, but what could be the consequences from a technical point of view from a lack of competition and how that may affect the open platform in various parts of the Internet.

>> MIRJA KUEHLEWIND:  Yeah.  She mentioned centralization, and we discuss that in the ITF, for everybody to connect, so we are watching this trend and trying our protocol design to support our protocols in order to make them easy to deploy, limited barriers, and keep this network distributed in a way, but it is also something for regulation that is needed.  This is like not in the hands of the product, but something to keep in mind, keep a dialogue.  One small side point that centralization, we have the big content providers, it is easier for them to secure, to fight against these kind of things.  You can host your content on the platforms and don't have to build up your own infrastructure.  So there's a tradeoff here and we have to monitor it carefully to make sure it goes in the right direction.

>> CARL GAHNBERG:  Just as a follow-up question, you said there could be some benefits of that consolidation.  Is that a tricky paradox, that some of that centralization could have as a consequence of makes it slightly more open because of those properties of being allowed?  Is there a paradox there, or is it not necessarily that it contributes to more openness?

>> MIRJA KUEHLEWIND:  I think it does on both ways.  The providers, that makes it more open, but restricts competition.  One of those players gets attacked, so we are also looking at different layers of the problem.  In some sense, it is a paradox, but it is also because we built this Internet out of layers, and we have look at the different implications of the different layers.

>> CARL GAHNBERG:  One part of the Internet might be smaller in that sense, but it opens up something else, perhaps.

>> MIRJA KUEHLEWIND:  Perhaps, yeah.

>> CARL GAHNBERG:  So I wanted to go to you, Nick, because your mentioned competition as well.  You said there's that perception of the Internet that there's handful of players out there.  What are the concerns or returning you see around competition related to openness?  Is it the angle of consumer choice that is the important part, or is it for new providers to come in?  What is the benefits to competition with openness?

>> NICK PICKLES:  Well, one of the trend we see around policy-making is a desire from policymakers for some content to be proactively identified and removed quickly.  What happens is the companies who have the largest data set versus a competitive advantage to build technology to be more accurate and more successful in finding this content.  The larger the company, the stronger the training data they have, the higher quality machine learning models they can build, the stronger their competitive advantage to comply with regulation. 

One question is, given the Internet will continue to grow, the amount of the content being generated will continue to grow at significant rates, but the technology that is essential to protect any service from harmful content from the kind of attack and infrastructure-based attack, how does that technology support the new entrants to the mark, the new companies.  A small company isn't going to have access to that same model, but they may face the same challenge.  One of the things we observed in a terrorist space is they do then move to smaller platforms who don't have the same resources and technology, so we need to understand, if we want to Internet to tackle some of these harmful content challenges, we can't have the technology that's essential to do that only held by a few of the largest companies.  So I think that's one piece of it.

The second piece, and you are seeing it play out around the world, is around things like liability protection, which give companies and ability to proactively moderate content and not face legal repercussions, but also when they do remove content, they are protected from lawsuits as well.  In a civil case.  That doesn't apply to criminal content.  That is more important for start-ups.  The number of different areas, this comes back to large companies with greater resources have an advantage, so we need to protect the things that make it possible to start a new service, to enter a market, and I think that is the basis of competition, the foundation that you build an open Internet on.  The real worry is some of the larger players see a business benefit in some of those foundations being eroded, so maybe advocating for policies which will pull up the draw bridge behind them.  We need to make sure that ability to grow is protected for the whole range of services, not just the largest.

>> CARL GAHNBERG:  Thank you.  I think that was a great connection to what Mirja was mentioning.

So how to deal with the challenge of competition is similarly accompanied by the challenge around security, where there are benefits in that scale.  And what is the role of that inclusive decision-making process, in terms of finding a solution to this.  Are we sort of destined to go down a path where the scale is the solution for everything, or is there a path where that inclusive participatory governance structure can play a role to mitigate that dominance by scale?

>> MEHWISH ANSARI:  Yeah, I think these are difficult questions.  That's why we have been talking about them for a long time in multi-stakeholder circus.  I don't think they are easy answers.  From a human rights perspective, thinking about scale is really difficult, because I think when coming at it from human rights and thinking about those values, there are certainly tradeoffs when it comes to having large providers. 

There was a point made about sort of lower layer, like cloud service layer, having big players is useful for having a more robust content layer, but I think from a human rights per, it can be difficult to see that all the way through, because the fewer players there are, the larger their decision-making power.  I think when you have very few players deciding really important content moderation decisions, that could have a major impact on freedom of expression if legitimate expression is limited on a few platform and there aren't alternatives to be able to flourish. 

Nick was talking about blocking and throttling content.  We can see how a more centralized environment can play into the hand of authorities that want to limit certain expression.  Your question was about meaningful multi-stakeholder decision-making and how that may be important to sort of counter the more adverse consequences of consolidation.  Right now, it is important to note that global technical standards and policy bodies that make these decisions in regards to the Internet are largely made up of global north representatives.  I think that means there's a limited perspective that has significant influence over the priorities and values that go into the standards that determine Internet technologies for everyone around the world. 

If we want to Internet to be open for all individuals, we need to make sure the technologies are designed, developed and deployed with local context and constraints taken into account, to the extent possible.  That is based on lived experiences, so we need diverse voices in the room, where it is happening in these technical spaces that are so well-known in the mainstream and even in other parts of Internet governance.  I think this lends itself to the importance of having those small community non-profit providers, having Civil Society stakeholders in those rooms to represent those lived experiences, so we can take those into account as well when we are designing these technologies and setting global standards and setting global technical policies.

>> CARL GAHNBERG:  Thank you very much.  That brought us into that question around the inclusive governance model.  I wanted to go to Maimouna to talk about her view.  She's been a champion of building an Internet community in the African region.  But I wanted to jump to Mirja quickly, around the design around protocol and so forth.  Is it possible to sort of consider the consolidation consequences of the design and protocols or the larger second order effects of the design of the protocol.  Is that something you are discussing and thinking about, how that might be an avenue to address these concerns?

>> MIRJA KUEHLEWIND:  Yeah.  What we are discussing is how protocol -- to understand how protocols get used.  They are building blocks to have this general platform open for innovation, but we need to consider what can be done and how they can be used for good or bad, how they get deployed, war the challenges, war the incentives for deployment, and also to make our own protocols successful.  This is a lot of discussion we have in the last years in the ITF.  We consider also discovery of new protocols of new services, so it's open for everybody to access.  We try to look at this in the protocol design, but at the end, we don't make the parliament decisions.  We can only try to set the right incentives, but it is not the ITF making this decision.  It needs discussion between different stakeholders in order to steer it in the right direction.

>> CARL GAHNBERG:  Thank you very much.  There seems to be an important role to have those discussions, even at the protocol design stage, and include those voices.  I wanted to jump over to Maimouna, who has experience building those communities and including voices in discussions.  Talk about the value that you see of having inclusive governance structures for the open Internet and your experience in driving such work.

>> MAIMOUNA DIOP:  Thank you, Carl.  I will start with what Mirja said about ITF.  I think there's room for more inclusion from developing countries.  When it comes to design and innovate, I think we also need to weigh the issue of protection of our innovation, and we need to protect them from the largest company.  Most of the time, we use our start-up to develop innovation for our specific needs.  When they see this is very innovative, it can be owned by largest company, at the detriment of our start-up.  We need cooperation on this issue.

And I would like to thank and welcome the forum hosted by the U.K. government this year.  This forum tackles how technology impact in our society change over the next five to ten year, and how can we collectively leverage such technology to tackle global challenge.

That means that we, like IGF, we really need this kind of open discussion, like IGF.  Since the beginning in 2007, it was a place where all the stakeholders came and discuss about the Internet governance, but also about how could we make the Internet more open and trustworthy.

To come back to what stakeholders wanted, I think we need to really think about this model.  Most of the time, when we talk about, from the government side, when they bring the private sector for them, when you talk about stakeholders, we need to have representative from all interest of sector, the private sector, government, academic communities, technical communities and civil society.  If each actor participates, I think it is the best way to raise interest of everyone and to make a decision balanced from the interest of all the sectors.  I think something has to be done on this model, to improve the model and to improve the involvement of all the stakeholders.  I don't know if I can work on it at the corporate level, but we need kind of organization out of the UN who really tackle this issue.  Thank you.

>> CARL GAHNBERG:  Thank you.  I think that's also perfect opening for the sort of last part of this panel, which is to open it up for other participants in the audience to ask their questions to panelists and to Maimouna's point, foster that dialogue around these issues.  We heard from the panelists giving some of their views, and would be curious to hear from the audience, if they have questions. 

I see there are a few questions posted in the chat.  I am not able to keep track of all of it, but my colleagues are helping me.  I see we have a question to Mehwish from the audience.  The question is I really like what you sail.  I wanted to ask you about implementation about net neutrality regulation to maintain the open network.  Do you think computation regulation with a market approach has worked or is it maybe now important to think about taking a rights-based approach?  So basically, the regulation, has it worked or is it valuable to take a human rights approach?

>> MEHWISH ANSARI:  I think it is a broad question.  I want to stick with thinking about competition in the context of the human rights framework.  I think if we are trying -- we need the open Internet, we need all these characteristics to be able to enable the free and full expression of how many concern rights online.  If we have gatekeepers, if people don't have the ability to build tear own services and technologies, to connect them to the global Internet, then we have an environment where the few providers that exist have enormous power over people's rights, including free expression, access to information, privacy, freedom of association, and no real incentives to uphold their responsibilities to respect them.

If we are thinking about as the end goal, we want an Internet that enables free and full expression of human rights, we can think about competition and improving competition and looking at competition regulation as a tool to help us.  I think it is not an either/or proposition.  It is really thinking about how we can engage with policymakers so improve competition, not just of the content layer, but across the Internet stack, to be able to improve -- to enable human rights principles like freedom of expression.

>> CARL GAHNBERG:  Thank you.  And a follow-up question for Mehwish, you mentioned an open Internet is the one that enables expression of human rights.  Could that be a good criteria for us to have, when we are looking at the Internet being more open or closed, if it is able to facilitate the exercise of human rights?

>> MEHWISH ANSARI:  Absolutely.  I think so.  If we take each of these characteristics in their own stead, the bigger picture, zooming out, I see the extent to which the Internet is able to enable free and full expression, that is an indicator of its openness, because an open Internet places power back in the hand of people and communities to be able to connect to each other that respect and enable these rights.

>> CARL GAHNBERG:  Thank you.  We have a hand as well from the audience.  If you want to ask your question, please go ahead.

>> Thank you very much.  I will try to be quick.  Just wanted to underline the very important point about creating the right -- I work for the Internet governance.  The point made about creating the right incentives around protocols, and I think this is really important to support not only connectivity to infrastructure, but also around protocols and different standards in order to ensure that open Internet is provided everywhere in the world. 

Just wanted to mention, because I think this is of importance around the different topics that have been mentioned, as main characteristics and to be worked upon, is that we could launch an initiative to which I have put the link in the chat on global gateway, which is an initiative to support a deployment investment in connectivity around the world.  This would be based on partnership and based on the needs of local communities, so I just wanted to say for participants to this panel, I think it is important to see how we could work in synergy.  Thank you very much.

>> CARL GAHNBERG:  Thank you.  It is encouraging to hear there's a lot of people out there thinking about this the open Internet and thinking about different ways of sustaining it and making it even more open.

We are approaching the end of this session.  We only have one minute left, unfortunately.  I'm hoping the conversation around these issues can continue either in the hallways in Poland -- I am not there -- otherwise, online.  And I think on that message from the panelist, there is a value in that inclusive governance process to actually find solutions to some of the challenge we see to an open Internet, whether it is thinking around protocol deployments or competition, there is a value in having these dialogues.  I want to extend a big thank you to our panelists for joining us today, uncomfortable hours it pay be for some.  So grateful to have you on board, and thank you very much to my colleagues.  And I wish everyone a great continued IGF.  Thank you all very much.

(Meeting concluded at 10:30 CET)