IGF 2021 WS #245 The importance of being Earnest, a good Internet Citizen

Tuesday, 7th December, 2021 (13:30 UTC) - Tuesday, 7th December, 2021 (14:30 UTC)
Conference Room 3

Organizer 1: Eduardo Barasal Morales, NIC.br
Organizer 2: Tiago Jun Nakamura Nakamura, NIC.br
Organizer 3: Tuany Tabosa, NIC.br
Organizer 4: Antonio Marcos Moreiras, Brazilian Network Information Center - NIC.br
Organizer 5: Hartmut Glaser, Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br)
Organizer 6: Olatunde Awobuluyi, African Network Information Center
Organizer 7: Fernanda Rosa, American University

Speaker 1: Antonio Marcos Moreiras, Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 2: Olatunde Awobuluyi, Technical Community, African Group
Speaker 3: Fernanda Rosa, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Eduardo Barasal Morales, Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Online Moderator

Tiago Jun Nakamura Nakamura, Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Tuany Tabosa, Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Round Table - U-shape - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

Defining universal and meaningful access: What are the key elements that constitute universal and meaningful Internet access? How can it be measured? How is the concept evolving in time and what does this evolution mean for policy?
Barriers to universal and meaningful access: What are the main challenges that people face in obtaining and making full use of Internet access? To what extent are these the result of social, economic and cultural factors, and to what extent do they result from aspects of the digital environment? How can we use the responses to these questions to better understand the intersection between digital policies and other policy areas? Can this understanding help us to develop and implement more realistic Internet-related policy goals?

The importance of the Internet for our society is indisputable. It facilitates communication between people, expands remote work, improves trade and business, and allows the emergence of new technologies.

However, despite the relevance of the Internet in people's lives, many do not use it in its full capacity. Either because they do not have meaningful access to the Internet or because they do not have enough knowledge to operate it safely and comfortably. These two issues are precisely what our round table hopes to address.

Our session will be divided into two main axes: first, it will tackle the concept of meaningful Internet access, what does it mean for different stakeholders? In addition, we will discuss the challenges involved in achieving meaningful access. The second issue is related to the Internet user's knowledge and skills for individuals to be considered a good internet citizen (ethical, respect, rights, duties, inclusion, safety, security, privacy) or not.

We aim to give all participants attending the session an opportunity to present their views and ultimately implement strategies for educating the Internet citizen. In order to achieve this goal, a quiz platform will be used to display policy questions and to interact with participants. Although the selected policy questions fit the theme, we have taken a different angle to simplify them and slightly rephrase as follows:

What are the key elements that constitute Internet citizenship and meaningful Internet access? What does it mean to be a good Internet citizen and what are the barriers to becoming one? What is the responsibility of each stakeholder in the formation of a good citizen on the Internet? Should Internet security and safety practices be considered part of meaningful access and good citizenship on the Internet?



Targets: SDG 4.7 By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development. This proposal focuses on how each stakeholder aids in providing Internet meaningful access to people, which includes learning how to behave and create a sustainable environment inside the Internet. SDG 16.6 Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels This proposal enforces the importance of accountability on each stakeholder in order to guarantee digital inclusion. SDG 16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels This proposal shows the importance of each stakeholder to the whole Internet environment and how important it is to participate in this discussion. SDG 16.10 Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements This proposal is willing to discuss the importance of government laws and regulations to ensure Internet sustainability and health.


Given the current situation we live in, it is difficult to imagine today's world without the Internet. Activities like classes, working from home, meetings, food delivery and even health check can be done without leaving your house using the Internet. Surely, the current pandemic situation accelerated services going online as people could not leave their homes. This pandemic led to some services even abandoning their physical activities, migrating to a fully Internet-only service.

As this virtual world keeps expanding and sometimes even taking place in physical world activities, it is important to think about how to take care of it. As virtual as it is, behind every screen there is a human being that is using the Internet, so we should still think on how to behave within Internet realms.

How we take care of the Internet would not matter so much if the Internet were not essential in current people's lives. In the past you could just plug off the Internet if you did not like it, but nowadays everything is so dependent on the Internet that plugging it off today would be almost impossible to do.

There are many reasons why someone would not like to use the Internet. Fakes news, illegal services, mature content appearing for your children, none of these services are desirable in a healthy environment.

How can we make the Internet a better place and empower its users? There are two faces of this issue. The first one is about citizenship: we as Internet users are citizens inside the Internet, and as citizens we should behave as one. The second one is about each stakeholder within the Internet: as the Internet is a multistakeholder service, we should take a look at how each stakeholder contributes to the Internet.

Governments need to ensure the Internet is available and safe for its citizens. They ensure the Internet is available by creating incentives which help social inclusion. They also create laws and regulations to stop Internet illegal services and keep the Internet a safe place.

The private sector can be divided into two main activities. Firstly we have Internet Service Providers (ISPs). ISPs are responsible for bringing Internet access to people's homes. Secondly we have Internet Content Providers, which provides people with information and leisure.

The technical community is responsible for developing new protocols and technologies that aid people and services within the Internet.

Civil society is mainly related to Internet users in general and is probably one of the main stakeholders of the Internet, as the Internet was created by the people for the people.

Lastly, we have the Intergovernmental organizations such as IGF. These institutions play a very important role in coordinating and leading the Internet governance on a global scale.

Everything that we discussed so far has been really important to Internet development, particularly digital inclusion wise. However, most of the focus on digital inclusion has been on how to give Internet access to people.

Another issue that has been arising is if just giving people Internet access is enough for them to be included. What constitutes an Internet meaningful access? How can we ensure meaningful access to people? Should people behave in a certain way when using the Internet?

Fake news, scams, cyber bullying, frauds, illegal services, all of this is a reality of today's Internet. If someone who has never participated in the Internet ecosystem is doomed to fall prey to these harmful activities. How can we prevent that from happening, both on the new user side as well as the harmful one?

This session will focus on how each stakeholder can or should help in providing people with Internet meaningful access as well as how we can be good Internet citizens (ethical, respect, rights, duties, inclusion, safety, security, privacy).

The workshop speakers are: Mr. Antonio Marcos Moreiras (NIC.br, Technical Community, Brazil) Mr. Olatunde Awobuluyi (Afrinic, Technical Community, Nigeria) Ms. Fernanda R. Rosa (University of Pennsylvania, Civil Society, USA) Government Representative (TBC) Private Sector Representative (TBC)

The agenda for this session will be carried as follow: First segment (5 minutes) - Introduction and house rules for the debate Second segment (40 minutes) - 10 minutes for each Policy Question Third segment (10 minutes) - Open mic and remote participation Fourth segment (5 minutes) - Wrap up and conclusions

Taking into consideration the recent COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, and the possibility of the IGF moving to a virtual meeting, it is worth mentioning that it is entirely possible to adapt this workshop session to fully remote format if necessary. The key component for interaction with the audience will be through Slido platform, which will have the desired effect of inclusion remotely too.

Expected Outcomes

One expected outcome for this session should be a more concise definition of what constitutes Internet meaningful access and how each stakeholder can contribute to this issue. These definitions should be on the final report of this session and would be used to aid future events that focus on meaningful access.

Another expected outcome should be a better understanding of good citizenship practices inside the Internet. It is now expected to be an exhaustive list of practices, but some guidance on best practices and frameworks that could be used to aid this issue.

One framework that is expected to be created is an online course focusing on how to be a good citizen inside the Internet, as well as website publications on Internet citizenship and safety.

The discussion will be facilitated by the onsite moderator who will use a quiz platform, called Slido, to present the policy questions that will be debated by the panelists and the audience. We used this platform last year, and we had great results in boosting audience interaction. The online moderator will make sure the remote participants are represented in the debate.

Online participation and interaction will rely on the IGF online platform (Zoom). Those joining the session using Zoom (either invited members of the debate or the general audience) will be granted the floor in each segment of the workshop. People in charge of the moderation will strive to entertain onsite and remote participation indiscriminately. Social media will also be employed by the online moderators who will be in charge of browsing social media using hashtags (to be defined).

Lastly, having two moderators will facilitate the control of time, which will be very important for the proper functioning of the workshop.

Note: In case the IGF happens remotely, the plan described in this part will be affected and needs to be changed.

Online Participation

Usage of IGF Official Tool. Additional Tools proposed: In order to achieve a better engagement of the audience and the panelists, we intend to use a quiz platform called Slido. We will present the policy questions on this platform, and the audience will be able to vote for the best answer. After the vote, the results and policy questions will be debated by the panelists.

Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Education should be one of the main focuses for good internet citizenship, it will help to close the gaps between new users and existing ones. Initiatives should be taken to make information about the Internet accessible and simple to as many people as possible.

It’s not possible to be a good internet citizen if you don't have access to the Internet at all. Access to infrastructure is a basic need and there should exist a movement from different areas in this favor.

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Educators should teach concepts of internet citizenship in schools, complex concepts like information security, should be simplified for the user so he can understand and adopt them.

Governments, institutions and society in general should help give universal access to the Internet. Be it by creating laws, encouraging competition to decrease prices or even individual actions to create infrastructure in their region.

Session Report (* deadline 26 October) - click on the ? symbol for instructions

When COVID-19 came, no one knew how things would progress. With time it became clear how important the Internet became in this scenario, from shopping to working, never before so many people relied on the Internet. 

This session focused on how to nurture good internet citizens in this growing environment for new users and current ones. To do so, few questions were presented to the viewers (about 15 people) using the site sli.do and the participants from technical community and civil society discussed the themes giving their view and opinions represented by Mr. Olatunde Awobuluyi, Mr. Antonio Marcos Moreiras and Ms. Fernanda Rosa. The session was moderated by Mr. Eduardo Barasal Morales and Mr. Tiago Jun Nakamura, both from NIC.br.

The first question was “In the context of your Country/Region should Internet Citizenship be taught to people in general?” 92% of people said yes. 

Mr. Awobuluyi from AFRINIC represented the technical community and raised the importance of giving access to information and taking into consideration regional differences. He gave the African continent as an example where more than 2000 dialects are used.
Mr. Moreiras from NIC.br, also represented the technical community and pointed out that the Internet isn’t bound by geographic borders and anyone who has Internet access can be considered an Internet Citizen. 
Ms. Rosa from Virginia Tech University represented the civil society and explained that education is a social right and as such all people should have access. She also highlighted the importance of digital literacy to create critical thinkers users. However, she pointed out that there wasn’t an agreement about what to teach. She also pointed to the importance of infrastructure to give access to all.

The second question was “What are the key elements that constitute Internet Citizenship and meaningful Internet access?”. The three most voted options were Education, Infrastructure and Accessibility. 

Mr. Moreiras agreed with the two first points but for him "People Empowerment" should be the third pillar. He emphasized the importance of full access to the Internet, without restrictions or limitations be it physical or political ones. He pointed out the importance of having a good infrastructure capable of attending to the needs of users and that users should be able to understand different concepts about it to make the best decisions. This is something that can only be done if they are digitally educated. He also commented about "Cidadão na Rede" (Internet Citizen) a NIC.br project that seeks to fill this gap, teaching many concepts from security and infrastructure to regular users in short 15 seconds videos. According to him, if you give the users the infrastructure to access and the education about how to use the Internet, empowerment will be a consequence.
Ms. Rosa agreed with Mr. Moreiras on the importance of educating users about infrastructure and added the legal aspect of it. Although everyone in the Internet can be considered an Internet Citizen, Internet data still needs physical infrastructures in countries and are subjected to the laws of those countries. This can raise questions about data privacy, for example. Another point made was about the hardships that new entrants face when they try to bring the infrastructure needed to access the Internet in their region. Ms. Rosa agreed that accessibility is of extreme importance for Internet users. If Internet newcomers feel oppressed they won’t feel welcomed in this environment. She is favorable to regulations regarding this issue but understands there is a dichotomy between regulation and freedom of speech.
Mr. Awobuluyi gave the view of the Africa region. For him the three key elements are Infrastructure, Accessibility and Government Policies. From his experience infrastructure and cost are the greatest barriers to overcome so government policies should be applied to increase the local competition reducing costs and expanding the infrastructure.

The third question was “Should Internet security and safety practices be considered part of meaningful access and good citizenship on the Internet?” All participants answered that yes it should be considered, with 40% said it was applicable only in specific situations.

For Ms. Rosa safety and security implies cryptography and anonymity for the user. However, if the information comes from a bot this information should be clear to the user.
Mr. Awobuluyi agrees that everyone should be taught these concepts to combat digital illiteracy, he also raised the importance of having legislation to deal with questions regarding misuse and abuse on the Internet and called for an active role of government authorities.
Mr. Moreiras expressed his concern about how people share information disregarding possible consequences as many companies collect and use people's data for their own interests. He is favorable to give the users the right over the content they generate. However, he understands that most users don’t know/understand concepts about security and safety. He believes this should be taught to them and that stakeholders should make the adoptions of technologies that increase security and safety as simple as possible to the users. He finished showing another two videos for the Internet Citizenship project.

Nobody asked questions during the open microphone, so the speakers did their final comments.
Ms. Rosa complimented the Internet Citizenship project and called for the education community to participate in creating materials, suggesting that technology should be integrated to regular subjects during classes.
Mr. Awobuluyi complimented the participation of all the panelists and thanked the audience.
Mr. Moreiras thanked all participants and highlighted Ms. Rosa participation and her contribution to the discussion as a member of the civil society and her suggestion of having the education community participate in the instruction of digital concepts together with the other stakeholders.

Mr. Nakamura closed the session praising the participants and concluding that connection only wasn’t enough, there was a need for meaningful connection and this topic is just an introductory discussion and should be further developed.
Viewers thanked the session and praised the approach and views given by the panelists.