IGF 2023 WS #236 Digital transformation and sovereignty towards autarchy


Avoiding Internet Fragmentation
Digital Sovereignty
International Legal Perspectives
Technical challenges of Internet fragmentation

Organizer 1: Andrey Shcherbovich, Free Moscow University
Organizer 2: Alexander Isavnin, 🔒

Speaker 1: Farzaneh Badii, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Andrew Sushko, Civil Society, Eastern European Group
Speaker 3: Shingo Hamada, Intergovernmental Organization, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: Keith Goldstein, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 5: Vlad Ivanets, Civil Society, Eastern European Group


Andrey Shcherbovich, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator

Alexander Isavnin, Technical Community, Eastern European Group


Andrey Shcherbovich, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Round Table - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

A. How is the state trying to establish political control over the Internet?
B. How the state controls national critical information infrastructures?
C. Where are we going: digital interdependence or fragmentation?

What will participants gain from attending this session? Participants will gain knowledge and understanding of new means of Internet regulation in the non-democratic regimes leading towards digital autarchies and fragmentation of the Internet. The workshop will issue warning message against these irrelevant and inefficient regulation measures in order to prevent using negative regulatory practices on national level.


The very meaning and significance of the Internet is that it is a global network. In this regard, any restrictions on its functionality in connection with the protection of state sovereignty, often misunderstood, will inevitably lead to fragmentation of the Internet. In fact, the main functionality of the Internet is the transfer of information, including international ones, and this functionality is violated when any fragmentation measures are applied. In addition, the inclusion of the Internet without restrictions and on the territory of the entire planet is the main value of the Internet as a global resource and property protected by the international community.
In fact, no digital autarky exists, in any case, the problem under consideration proves that the use of restrictive measures against the Internet is by no means a new word in Internet regulation. The Internet itself is much larger than the state borders of any country, and therefore the measures that are taken in relation to the sovereign Internet, the introduction of appropriate regulatory norms within the country, are exclusively negative and serve as a closure of the network from the world, then fragmentation on a global scale. The Internet is of value only when it has an interconnectedness that allows it to provide international communication without technical problems created by the state. Any complex technological system is the result of international efforts to create and maintain, roughly speaking, today it is impossible to create any technology only within the framework of one country, or such creation would be economically inexpedient or technologically deficient.

Expected Outcomes

We would like to encourage representatives of the national governments to use the materials of the workshop that will be published and distributed widely.

Hybrid Format: Participants from different countries and stakeholder groups will interact by using technical means (i.e. Zoom). We welcome remote participants from countries distanced from the IGF venue. Hybrid meeting allows to attend for those who physically will not be present. This will be facilitated by moderator trained for cooperation with remote participants.