IGF 2021 Main Session Regulation and the open, interoperable, and interconnected Internet - challenges and approaches

Time
Thursday, 9th December, 2021 (10:15 UTC) - Thursday, 9th December, 2021 (11:45 UTC)
Room
Plenary Room

Stakeholders around the globe are increasingly considering legal and regulatory approaches to address various public policy issues posed by rapid digitalization. However, the very nature of the Internet as a borderless, interconnected system makes it too complex to be solely managed by any single country, company or organisation. As a result, whether designed to address Internet content, guide market functions, or reinforce data protection, security and consumer rights, isolated measures taken unilaterally or in silos risk undermining the open, interconnected and interoperable nature of the Internet.

Policymakers at the local, regional and global level, should work to maintain this unique nature of the Internet as highlighted also by the UN Secretary-General in his recent report Our Common Agenda.

This main session will highlight regulatory experiences under three main layers of the Internet: infrastructure, content and data aiming to promote collaborative global approaches and best practices. For the purpose of this session we consider various initiatives at local, regional and global level that impact the Internet in its different layers from technical infrastructure, to content, data and emerging technologies such as AI. These include, among others, conditions that might impede or enable the ability of systems to fully interoperate, as well as practices and policies by all stakeholders that can either facilitate, or constrain or prevent certain uses of the Internet. These impacts can lead to discriminatory results in different parts of the world in the ways users experience the use of, and access to the Internet.

We will begin with a discussion where the speakers for each of the three areas identified provide best practices, examples of experiences and approaches coming from their own involvement with different regulatory processes. A diversity of perspectives will inform the debate: the session co-organizers will seek to involve parliamentarians, technical experts, human rights advocates, ministers, academics, Internet users, and business representatives in the discussion. Following the presentation of the regulatory experiences there will be a general discussion reflecting on the commonalities, the challenges, and the useful lessons learned that could be leveraged as best practices to ongoing and future regulatory processes.

This session will build upon the IGF2020 Trust Main Session, where relevant, and could be used to establish a future intersessional work program on the topic at the IGF.

Policy Questions:

  1. What best practices can be identified from the regulatory examples presented in the session to achieve greater international consistency in the proposed regulations?
  2. Are there non-regulatory approaches that could be explored to achieve the intended policy objectives of some of the regulatory experiences examined? How could non-regulatory alternatives interact with regulatory approaches? Non-regulatory approaches would include self-regulation, co-regulation, guidelines, principles, codes of conduct, various voluntary measures etc.
  3. What can be the role for IGF and its multistakeholder approach providing policy discussion and guidance to avoid fragmentation that may result from national or regional regulatory developments and preserve the open, interconnected and interoperable nature of the internet?

Session Agenda

Welcome and Introduction (5 minutes)

Scene Setting Remarks (5 minutes)

Recap of the preparatory session (5 minutes)

The following part of the session will look at three particular issue areas and consider the impact of regulatory efforts. Discussion will consider how these efforts align with human rights approaches, consumer’s rights, fair competition and preserve the open, interconnected and interoperable nature of the Internet:

Regulatory example 1 - Data (20 minutes)

  • Speaker presentation: overview and examples (10 minutes)
  • Discussion and identification of best practices (10 minutes)

Regulatory example 2 - Content (20 minutes)

  • Speaker presentation: overview and examples (10 minutes)
  • Discussion and identification of best practices (10 minutes)

Regulatory example 3 - AI (20 minutes)

  • Speaker presentation: overview and examples (10 minutes)
  • Discussion and identification of best practices (10 minutes)

Conclusion: general discussion reflecting on the commonalities, the challenges, and the useful lessons learned that could be leveraged as best practices to ongoing and future regulatory processes. (15 minutes)

Moderator: Jovan Kurbalija, Executive Director, DiploFoundation
Speaker 1: Miapetra Kumpula-Natri MEP, European Parliament, TBC
Speaker 2: Vint Cerf, Private Sector, US , TBC
Speaker 3: Anton Gorelkin, Member of Parliament, Russian Federation
Speaker 4: Nighat Dad, Executive Director, Digital Rights Foundation
Speaker 5: Carolina Aguerre, Civil Society/Academia, Center for Technology and Society (CETYS) University of San Andrés, GRULAC
Speaker 6: Sally Radwan, Government, Egypt, Africa

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

 

Key Takeaway 1

Interoperability is key for everything that happens on the Internet and is key to enable data flows. We need rules and regulations that work, uniform and are globally interoperable as possible

Key Takeaway 2

We need to make sure all countries, communities are part of the conversation - access to Internet for all is starting point, to make sure we take everyone along on the road toward universal solutions. We should work on piloting, trying out approaches, perhaps regulatory and policy sandboxes. Corporate responsibility should also involve the responsible use of data, just like companies mind their CO2 emissions, they should mind good governance policies for data

Call to Action 1

Wise and balanced approach to regulation with the interests of all the stakeholders taken into account is needed

Call to Action 2

We need to keep sharing the best practices of formal and informal policies and continue discussing the new approaches during the next IGFs.