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.
>> DANIEL OMALEY: Hello, everyone. Welcome to today's panel. This is Level Up: Methods for localizing digital policy and norms. It's a pleasure to see you all. My name is Daniel OMaley. I am the Digital Governance Specialist at the National Center of Internet Assistance in Washington, D.C., and it is my honor to serve as your moderator today for this panel, organized by the Open Internet for Democracy Initiative, a project co‑led by my organization, CIMA, the National Democratic Institute, and the Center for International Private Enterprise.
Today what we're going to be talking about is, I think we all know that the era of an entirely unregulated digital space, that kind of Wild Wild West of the internet from the 1990s is over. Societies around the world are coming to the conclusion that digital governance is important, but the question then is, what does that look like? And while we want to respect a global internet that connects everyone around the world, how do we do that in a way that takes into account different local particularities and do that in a way that upholds Human Rights standards and also can foster democratic societies? So, that is the broad topic of question today. And I'm pleased to be joined by just an excellent panel of experts who I am briefly going to introduce in just a second. But first, I want to explain how this session is going to work.
I'm going to give some brief introductions so you know who these experts are. Then we're going to engage in a moderated discussion. So, I have some questions that I'm going to be posing to our panelists that they'll answer. I'm going to ask them to keep their remarks brief, three to four minutes, so that we can hear from everyone. And I'm also asking them to engage with each other when they see fit. And then we'll wrap up with a Q&A portion.
So, for those of you who are participating either in person in Poland or virtually here in Zoom, please make sure to have those questions in mind, and we will get to you. Morgan Frost, who is on this call, is going to be our digital monitor, making sure any questions are answered. So, I will introduce our panelists.
We are pleased to have Marushka Chocobar from the Government of Peru. Marushka is the Government and Digital Transformation Secretary. In this capacity, she serves as the leader of the country's digital transformation process. She's a promoter of the Digital Government Law, the Declaration of National Interest of Digital Government, Innovation, and the Digital Economy of the Territorial Approach. She was instrumental in the publication of the Study of Digital Government Improve by the OECD and the Government and Transformation Laboratory, as well as the creation of the National Digital Transformation System and the establishment of the Digital Trust Framework. Obviously, she's got a lot. And we're just really pleased to have a government representative on this panel. So, thank you for joining us, Marushka. And also, I really love your background, Machu Picchu.
Next is Dr. Olga Kyryliuk, who has a PhD in International Law and is a Program Manager at the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative in charge of Freedom Advocacy. She is a Chair of the Southeastern Dialogue on Internet Governance and with the Influencer Platform, a Ukrainian think tank. She is involved in regional and international internet governance and Human Rights initiatives. She's a founding member of the Internet Freedom Network for Eastern, Central Europe and Eurasia, a Europe representative at the Committee Of Non‑commercial Users, a constituency NCUC at IPM and a former open internet leader with the Open Internet for Democracy Initiative. Also in her spare time, which I don't know how she has any, provides consultancy and expert support to Freedom House, the Council of Europe and a range of other international companies working on these topics worldwide. So, thank you for joining us in person in Poland, Olga.
Then we have, I believe ‑‑ actually, I'm trying to see if Sheilah Birgen has managed to join us from Kenya. She may not have made it. I'm going to go ahead and read her bio, on the off chance that she is able to connect. Sheilah is the Country Lead of Innovation at UK's KTN Global Alliance Africa. She has 12 years of experience in supporting start‑ups, building innovation ecosystems and convening stakeholders in the technology industry across Africa. She was in the founding and the first Vice Chair of the Initiation of Start‑ups and SNE Enablers of Kenya, on the Policy Task Force, as well as the Supervisory Board of the Global Innovation Gathering Network. She has been involved in drafting of start‑up acts in several African countries, including her home country of Kenya.
And last, but not least, is Richard Wingfield. Richard is Head of Legal at Global Partners Digital, where he oversees the organization's legal policy and research function, building the organization's understanding of the application of international law to internet and digital policy, developing its policy positions and monitoring trends and developments across the world. Richard also oversees DPD's engagement in key legislative and legal processes at the national, regional, and global levels, as well as its engagement with the tech sector.
So, again, it's a real pleasure to have all of the panelists with us here. And I want to kick things off by ‑‑ I'm going to ask, actually, Marushka. One of the things that we want to talk about is, when we're talking about these digital policies, whether it's around privacy protection and GDPR. We've seen a number of countries implement privacy protections. Content moderation is an area of global regulation that many countries are now trying to develop digital policies. But my question for you, actually, Marushka, is, you know, are there prior experiences of digital policy, localization in Peru, and then how did the government manage that?
>> MARUSHKA CHOCOBAR: Daniel, first of all, I would like to thank the Internet Governance Forum for the opportunity to present the Peruvian perspective on these measures and increasingly digital world. In this sense, I would like to comment that when we talk about the localization of digital policy, we need to focus on cultural diversity, geography challenges, situations and diverse conditions that exist in our territories.
Peru is a country with more than 32 million people, a huge challenge in connectivity, and more than 3 million (?) speaking citizens. Therefore, the first step to advancing territorial policies has been to improve the digital governance in the country. Today we have an enabling framework and active digital ecosystem in all regions of our country.
The second step on this road has been the recognition of the real needs for internet inclusion in the Peruvian territory and the identification of leading social actors in this ecosystem that join the effort to accelerate the closing of gaps. In this context, it should be added that the importance of the localization of internet policies is based in the strengthening of democracy, because the access to the digital environment and its opportunities are important, critical factors to guarantee that the voice of all citizens is heard. Seen from this perspective, it is also essential to recognize that the leadership of social and political actors and the groups that represent the voice of the most vulnerable population.
Combining the digital access and the opportunity for participation of local actors, we can clearly establish a line to fulfill the commitments of the States and society and the needs of citizens at a national level.
In Peru, we recently approved a general government policy that established as a central axis to guarantee inclusive access to the digital environment and the use of digital technologies and data to the benefit of citizens in all regions of the country. This policy interested and respects the condition of vulnerability, cultural diversity, native language, geography challenges and the condition of disability.
Under this objective, it is important to analyze the challenge of internet access, because it has expanded to a scope of forum where people can freely share their ideas but also fake news and hate speeches. These are the concerns of legislators. However, their relation is based only on international principles do not fit to local needs. Therefore, in a time of digital regulation or policy that is not discussed with a multi‑stakeholders approach could put these rights at risk. Thanks.
>> DANIEL OMALEY: Great. Thank you so much, Marushka. It's really interesting to hear about the power of multi‑stakeholderism, especially in a multicultural country with a lot of different needs and societies.
I'm really pleased that Sheilah has been able to join us. It wouldn't be a virtual IGF session without some technical issues, right? But Sheilah, actually, the next question's coming for you, and that is, we're talking about, you know, what are some examples of these global policy norms, be it around privacy, be it around content regulation, platforms, you know. What experiences have you seen from your perspective in Kenya or in East Africa around that process, and what does it look like? Do you have a specific example you want to share with us? Thank you.
>> SHEILAH BIRGEN: Thank you. Apologies for coming in late. Somehow, I couldn't get in, but I'm really happy to be here. Thanks again. I think I've seen a number of approaches. First of all, I think in Africa and I think globally there's a replication of policies based on ‑‑ I think it's just the global shift and interest in privacy, in creating better digital environment for communities and individuals. So, we are seeing a lot of countries copying each other in the policies that, for instance in data protection laws, in cybersecurity laws. Now we are seeing digital tax laws. We are seeing start‑up laws, so there are a number of these laws that other countries are copying each other or global standards in that case.
I think the challenge has obviously been in the implementation of this, because for approaches that have not been inclusive enough, especially with the private sector or even citizens who are very important in these laws, there's always a challenge in implementation, because they're set up. And unfortunately, after they've been put in place is when they now put an office that is supposed to come up with implementation plan for these laws, which, I mean, it's always a challenge. We don't have local expertise, for instance. You don't have adequate resources for these offices. You don't have stakeholders' buy‑in on implementation. And citizens are not adequately informed about either the consequences of not following these laws.
Price. I think cost is a big issue, especially for businesses, for instance, that have to comply with these laws. And most people don't even understand what is happening. So, in East Africa, there is this culture where people write all their details about it, information at the doors, when they get into buildings. You write your name, your full names, and then you write your national ID number. And then you write your registration plate and then you write the time you got there. And then your signature, your official signature. So, if I see your signature, I can take a picture of that, I can take a picture of your ID, your ID number. I can know your registration plate.
And even in countries, there are countries where you can literally check their registration plate and find all my information on a government website, which is very ‑‑ I mean, interesting ‑‑ so sorry about the noise in my background. Which is unfortunate, because especially governments that are putting these laws in place, they should at least from the government side comply. And so, because of lack of multi‑stakeholder engagement in drafting, not just in the implementation phase, in the drafting phase, then it becomes a big challenge on buy‑in and compliance issues.
So, an example I have in ‑‑
>> DANIEL OMALEY: Actually, I'll stop you right there just because I want to make sure we get to the others, but you'll have another chance to bring this back up. I think that's a key point. You've given us a couple of different fields where there's this, you know, urge to develop policy, it sounds like in the cases, like the government's like, oh, we need to do it. Then it's implemented, people are given the task, but then it's the drafting part that you really want to emphasize there.
I now want to turn to Olga. What are you seeing? We heard from Marushka about the challenges in Latin America, from Sheilah in Kenya. What are you seeing in the Eastern European space around this type of push? And you know, I think also coming back to that question of, you know, levelling up, are we levelling up to Human Rights standards or are we actually going to the lowest common denominator and decreasing Human Rights overall? Olga?
>> OLGA KYRYLIUK: Thank you, Daniel. I must say this is a weird feeling participating on the panel with no one else around. But I'm happy to be here with you on this panel. And I actually wanted to point out that current discussion.
Around localizing digital policies is probably from my perspective is a continuation of what we used to call before a digital sovereignty, but may be wrapped up in a bit better cover and better promoted by the states around the world. Because when before we were talking about the digital sovereignty, this was mostly common from the autocratic states, and this is why it was criticized a lot, that this is going against the Human Rights, this will lead to violations and restrictions of Human Rights.
But nowadays, we see that more and more democratic states are actually talking about localizing digital policies. And an interesting example which comes here to my mind is the European Union and its policies to localize in various fields of digital ecosystem the regulation, and of course, no one dares to criticize these movements. Because first of all, they offer indeed a high‑quality standard for the protection of personal data privacy, and they also try to show that they are powerful actor in this whole Internet Governance ecosystem, because let's say, they are not producing the technology as China does; they do not have those big tech companies as the United States. But what they are trying to do is to introduce policies, and by that way, to say that we also are a powerful actor in this whole ecosystem.
So, I think that GDPR is a good example of actually localizing digital policies, and it's a positive example, because as I said, it offers a high standard of protection, but also, many states are trying to actually copy this level of protection, and it would not be the exaggeration to say that what neighboring states to the European Union are trying to do, they just copy‑past those standards into their national legislation, not only because it's considered one of the highest and the best data protection standards, for example, but also because they need also to ensure this free and smooth flow of data across the borders.
But with the localization of policies, we, of course, come to this inevitable conflict of laws and jurisdictions, because we still like this legal interoperability when it comes to internet and to digital technologies. And the more we will go into this, let's say making it down and down to national level, the more complicated it will get. And in any case, we need to make sure that what is being nowadays introduced as localization of digital policies, that they still are Human Rights‑oriented and we still need to talk more about cooperation between the states and between different stakeholders in an attempt to still have the universal standards which would ensure the high level of protection of digital rights. I will stop here for this first intervention.
>> DANIEL OMALEY: Great. Thank you. Thank you so much, Olga. There's really a lot there. It's really fascinating what you've brought up about, you know, whether localization is just digital sovereignty repackaged or whether it is substantively different and responds to different needs in different environments. And that, actually, I'm going to kind of pass the baton to you, Richard, with that question in mind also, you know. What examples have you seen of this? And then also, in light of what Olga has just said about potentially some of the pitfalls of localizing in a way that doesn't uphold global Human Rights standards.
>> RICHARD WINGFIELD: Great. Thanks, Daniel. And really lovely to be here virtually, if not physically with you all. I think before I start, I think it's important to remember that, of course, when we talk about these issues, there are almost 3 billion people in the world who still don't have access to the internet. And we really shouldn't try to be solving many of the problems that we are trying to solve without always bearing in mind the need to make sure that those 3 billion people are connected as soon as possible, because otherwise, we are going to further increase a number of digital and other societal divides, which are only going to cause more problems.
But moving on to your specific question. I think I take a similar understanding of the way things have developed to Olga. It is incredibly difficult to get governments around the world to agree on anything. And we know that the Internet and technology is a global issue, but we look at other global issues, for example, environment and climate change, terrorism. These are also big global issues that need international cooperation, but you only need to see the challenges we've seen at COP26 recently or the inability for governments to agree on the definition of terrorism to realize this is going to be a very difficult task. And of course, tech policy moves faster than those issues to an extent.
So, I think what you have seen is with governments feeling frustrated about the inability to reach global solutions or global standards on many of these issues, they're simply not waiting and they're starting to legislate domestically, because many of the issues that are pressing ‑‑ concerns around privacy and data protection, around the risks of hate speech and disinformation on platforms that Marushka mentioned ‑‑ there isn't time to wait for a global standard to be developed, and governments need to serve the interests of their citizens now.
So, while there are some exceptions to that general approach, I think, for example, data protection is one example where we do have through a number of legal instruments a relatively consistent global standard of what data protection should look like. On some of the newer issues, for example, platform regulation, dealing with disinformation, taxation, regulation of AI and robotics, we don't have that. And so, we're seeing almost a kind of, I believe in the States you look at the sort of laboratory of the states, of 50 different states experimenting with different solutions. And I think we're seeing that around the world at the moment with different approaches to many of these issues.
The concern, of course, is, one, that those solutions are often not Human Rights compatible themselves. There are some big concerns around new forms of platform regulation and digital taxation on users, for example, social media taxes that are excluding people and making it more difficult for people to express themselves freely online. We're seeing forms of sort of mandatory surveillance being introduced in some of the new forms of platform regulation and a great degree of control over what people are saying and doing online.
But there's also a second issue, which is that even if we have Human Rights‑compatible national frameworks, if they're not consistent with each other, it risks fragmentation, and we risk making it difficult for companies to operate in multiple jurisdictions, and that will only leave the biggest actors and players left, because only they will have the resources to be able to comply with hundreds of different national frameworks, so we will end up with an internet which is just Facebook, Google, and Twitter. And I don't think that's good for anybody. So, I think we also really need to bear in mind that national frameworks are important; they must be Human Rights‑respecting, but we really must encourage harmonization as much as possible so the benefits of a global interoperable Internet aren't lost.
>> DANIEL OMALEY: Great. Thank you, Richard. I think you really hit the nail on the head. The difficult balancing act taking place right now between harmonization, upholding Human Rights standards and responding to what are sometimes urgent needs that can't wait.
I want to turn back now to Marushka, because as in your position, you obviously are responding to the urgent needs of citizens in Peru. And some of what you mentioned talked about that. I just wanted to talk about this multi‑stakeholder component that you also mentioned. And I believe Peru incorporates this approach in policy‑making, but maybe you could talk about, is that true? And then how do you do it? Which is maybe the more interesting issue, around these issues.
>> MARUSHKA CHOCOBAR: Well, the impact of the multi‑stakeholder approach to regulation, the challenges of Internet Governance and the digital economy, too, can be measured, I think, in the country's development indicators. This means that if we make wrong decisions in the digital economy revelation, we can undermine the competitiveness and the social development of our families. Also, if we wrongly regulate the Internet Governance, we can undermine the freedom of expression, Human Rights, and democracy.
As nations move from non‑regulation to an active regulation of the Internet and related technologies, there is an increasing need to harmonize the different perspectives around it. This ecosystem of technologies on which the Internet depends has evolved over time to maintain and improve the security, the stability, and the resilience of the Internet. The governance of this ecosystem as international issues with implication for all.
We also believe that the technical management and governance of the Internet should not be only under government control. In fact, it is a priority for us to keep working and improve capacities for all the stakeholders in order to promote this kind of mechanism.
In the case of Peru, we have various bills applied to Internet Governance and digital economy that have been born without this approach. In these cases, we have been working with the Congress, Civil Society, Private Sector, academia, local and regional governments, and with the citizens, in order to focus the design of digital policy in territories that cover the real citizens' needs and the opportunities offered by the digital world. In this sense, at the beginning of 2020 in Peru was approved a law that established the multi‑stakeholder approach as the guiding principle of the national digital transformation process.
As I mentioned, the active Peruvian general government policy has included access to the internet transformation of the country with equity. It is the first time that this topic has been added to a general government policy. This is to provide to this kind of discussion the relevance that they need. Thank you.
>> DANIEL OMALEY: Great. Thank you so much, Marushka. You know, I think what you're talking about is kind of what seem to be really interesting innovations in Peru around incorporating multi‑stakeholder processes within this real strong government commitment to a digital transformation. I think it's really fascinating. And I think it also kind of combines with something Sheilah was saying before. And I'm going to turn to you, Sheilah, now, to talk about it. You were saying it's in the drafting that's really important. And I was wondering if you could talk a little bit, because it's not just, oh, we've done it, this is it, this is the final thing, now go get Civil Society to, like, you know, help make it work, right? It's about, like, having that multi‑stakeholder model incorporated from the get‑go, which is what Marushka was also saying. So, if you could talk about that and maybe share with us the example you wanted to about how this process worked in action. But also, just say, you know, this is a broader question, but what happens if a multi‑stakeholder process doesn't lead to something that upholds Human Rights, you know, because you could accidentally do that, even, let alone intentionally. So, Sheilah, what are your thoughts?
>> SHEILAH BIRGEN: Well, first of all, I think the policy drafting needs to be decentralized, because I think for the longest time it's been only focused on experts in the assumption that the people that this policy will affect are not well informed to be able to then give suggestions around what should be drafted. So, the content of the policy is important as well as when it becomes a law, and that's why I feel in the drafting phase there needs to be multi‑stakeholder engagement as well, not just in public participation, because the approach has always been, we write it, you read it, you give us recommendation, we see if it's fit enough to be included in what we wrote, and then we see if we will pass it.
But what if we look at it the other way around, where we come to you, discuss the challenges that are there in the industry, for instance, in business. What is it that, you know, businesses are facing at national level, but also at global level? For instance, with the international digital taxes that only big corporations can pay. Why is it that they cannot involve start‑ups and SMEs and small businesses in understanding, what are some of the challenges and barriers that you're facing in your business environment in this country, and how can we help create a better business environment for you to apply locally, but also for you to scale regionally or globally in a fair and competitive environment?
The challenge with not having the right people in the room is you can have those big corporations who can lobby and work with government and then create those, you know, inefficiencies that you're talking about, or you know, going even against Human Rights, where they make sure that the laws that are put in place would only favor them. But if you involve all the stakeholders, if it's a policy, for instance, that affects children in education, why can't we have children, not draft the law, but talk about the challenges they face in school? And then the policies that will be drafted will incorporate some of those challenges. So, I've seen this work in business, for instance, in start‑up acts involving a number of them across the continent, where businesses are starting to say, wait, if we are not at the table, then when the policies are written and passed, there's nothing we can do. It's now the implementation phase. It cannot be changed. It's already law, it's already law.
So, I don't know if you could call it community‑centric approach to policy drafting or if you could call it stakeholder‑driven policy drafting process. I think it's very important, and not just at local level, also including the stakeholders who are international who either have experienced this in their different countries, but also proper analysis of what is happening globally for that harmonization that we've been talking about. Because while it's great to have policies that are very local, but what if it creates barrier for even your people to scale outside of the country?
So, I think with start‑ups, it's looking at what are the opportunities that are there for the businesses locally, looking at where are the opportunities to help these businesses work globally, but what opportunities can we create also for other businesses to be able to operate in this environment that we work in? And I feel in this digital space that we work in, that approach is quite needed.
Because I think we've seen this, for instance, with surveillance. We've seen this with the economies, especially in this continent, in Africa, where governments have locked out people from operating their own accounts because they introduce exuberant social media taxes. They have banned specific social media platform because they assume people are using this platform to criticize government or to lobby, because social media has been really instrumental in Civil Society movement across the continent. And so, governments are starting to be a bit more panicky around allowing people to express themselves online or organize themselves online to be able to do this. So, I think things like this, in essence, create barriers. And so, if there is stakeholder engagement in drafting, understanding the barriers and what better environment governments can use to create ‑‑ better environment governments can use to create policies that favor digital citizens, I think it will be important.
>> DANIEL OMALEY: Great. Thank you, Sheilah. Olga, I want to turn back to you. And it's still this question of multi‑stakeholderism. And in the region that you work in, you know, you mentioned previously GDPR and, you know, perhaps maybe we've made progress globally on data protection, but what are your thoughts on the ‑‑ how multi‑stakeholderism has been incorporated and some of the examples that you think about from your line of work and what that means, this tension between expertise and grassroots stakeholder engagement?
>> OLGA KYRYLIUK: Thank you, Daniel. Very important question, and I think it is especially important to develop the local policies in the digital sphere in the multi‑stakeholder manner. Yes, we overuse this word too often in the Internet Governance field, and it has become the buzz word, but still it is very important to bring all stakeholders on board when we are talking about shaping digital policies, because it is well known that we can have a perfectly drafted laws, but it also depends on how those laws are being enforced and how they're being used by those in power against the people. As at the drafting stage, it is always about national interests, about protecting citizens, about providing the higher Human Rights standards.
But then in practice, things can often go wrong. This is why it is so important to have all stakeholders for this checks and balances exercise. And I think there was a very good question also in the Zoom chat regarding whether localization of digital policies should entail capacity‑building for Civil Society organizations. And I think it is very important for Civil Society to actually build this capacity, but there would never be someone else to come to Civil Society and to tell them that we want to help you to build your capacity, so that, especially from the government, that we want you further on to be able to check whether we are doing all the things right. So, I think it's very important for Civil Society to actually catch up with what is happening and to be able to provide this not only thematic expertise, but also to make sure that they are a part of the discussions, that they are sitting around the same table so that they do not only come afterwards when the policy is already in place, and this is how it often happens in many countries. It's very important to be part of the discussions since the very beginning of this when the idea about some digital policy just is in the air and is still being discussed, and it still can be shaped and influenced.
And probably we all see that platforms like IGF may not lead directly to some practical results, they might not lead to some decisions being taken, but at the end, at least we can sensitize the issues, and maybe the problem which was not so visible at the local level can be brought to attention at these types of events and then later on again taken to regional or local, national level, and then there discussed between the relevant stakeholders. Because sometimes we see examples that government representatives, Civil Society, participants, they are coming to IGF, but this is probably the first time they (?) the charter, so that's a good starting point to have the discussion here and further work on some specific regulations.
>> DANIEL OMALEY: Great. Thank you, Olga. Richard, you mentioned, and I know you've done some work on kind of this space around platform regulation and what does that look like, and in some ways, it's a very global discussion that we see in the headlines every day, you know, around hate speech, around economics, I mean, everything, right? And so, this is ‑‑ I guess my question is, what do you see the role of multi‑stakeholder engagement in that debate, especially one being so global? Do you think it's happening at all? Are there places where it is happening? Is it largely not happening? Just, you know, because in some ways, we're still at that phase where, well, it is being localized. I mean, countries are passing laws. So, what's your take on that in the specific area of platform regulation?
>> RICHARD WINGFIELD: Yeah. It certainly is a good question and it's a huge issue, and I think it's one that has really taken off, even in the last couple of years. I think five years ago, the idea that we would be regulating the platforms was quite a niche idea, but things have changed dramatically.
One of the challenges there is that you're seeing very different approaches to platform regulation in different parts of the world. So, you see some places like the EU, which is looking at sort of all internet platforms at a systems and processes level, but in some parts of the world, you're seeing a focus on particular types of content, for example, hate speech or disinformation. In other parts of the world, you're seeing taxation as a way of addressing some of the issues or competition law as a way of challenging the role of platforms. So, there isn't a single kind of model of platform regulation itself.
I think it is in some ways an interesting area for multi‑stakeholder collaboration, because, inevitably, it requires at least the private sector to be involved. It would be if we're looking at regulation, government is there. But if you're regulating the companies, themselves ‑‑ and they are for the most part companies ‑‑ they also are inevitably part of the conversation, whether they're invited or whether they're effectively lobbying. And, ultimately, the issue is that the platform regulation is not just regulating the platforms; regulating the users; it's regulating what we can do on the internet; it's regulating what we see, what we can say, how information is curated, how we're able to communicate with others. So, in many ways, that stakeholder group of the individuals, the citizens, often represented by Civil Society is particularly critical.
There are different approaches that have been more or less successful. I think one really interesting example recently that has genuinely been multi‑stakeholder is the work that the OECD has been doing to develop a framework for transparency reporting relating to terrorism and violent extremism. This is a piece of work that came out of the terrorist attacks in Christchurch in New Zealand and the Christchurch call that followed. And the OECD has tried to develop a framework to encourage the level of transparency by platforms as to issues related to terrorism and violent extremism on their platforms. The OECD brought together government representatives, platforms, academics, and Civil Society groups. And I was involved in that work, and in over a year, we were able to develop something which probably didn't satisfy everybody, but was something that we could all agree on would be an effective starting point. So, I think that's been quite a good example of the multi‑stakeholder process.
But as I've been hearing in other channels, in other platforms, rather, other sessions during the IGF, multi‑stakeholder processes genuinely need to be open, inclusive, and transparent. It's not enough to say all Civil Society can participate, but they need to be able to sort of meaningfully engage and inform decisions, not necessarily take them, but to inform them and share that expertise, and that will often mean creating spaces and an environment where that is possible. And that may mean supporting financial resources, building capacity to understand issues, building understanding of how to engage in newly established processes or structures that are looking at some of these issues. And I think that's often where sort of the big challenge is, is that processes will say they're made multi‑stakeholder in the same way that it goes that everybody can go to the Ritz, it's open to everyone, but in practice, it's not if you don't have the know‑how and resources to be able to do so. So, it's that part that I think we really need to be focusing on and making multi‑stakeholder processes meaningful, rather than just in name only.
>> DANIEL OMALEY: Great. Thank you. Thank you so much. I'd like to open it up to questions. We do have about 15 minutes. I do see that there are some people in the queue, actually in Poland, and there may be some other people online. Morgan, can you give us a couple questions?
>> MORGAN FROST: Sure. Thank you, Daniel. And thank you so much to all of our panelists. I'll first begin by calling on Ayden, who is located in Poland. Ayden, if you could first briefly introduce yourself and then ask your question, that would be great. Thank you.
>> AYDEN: Thank you, Sarah. Can you hear me okay? Perfect. Well, thank you for an excellent session today. I have been learning a lot. So, I really appreciate everything that you have been discussing. I think my question is probably best directed towards Sheilah, but of course, anyone may answer it. Sheilah, you were talking about the need to decentralize the policy drafting process and the importance of stakeholder‑driven policy processes. And I was wondering what you thought about how do we engage a wider breadth of non‑digital rights, stakeholders, in these discussions? Because I'm thinking about areas like agriculture. Just because you don't participate in discussions around the Internet of Things does not mean you are not impacted by, say, precision, agriculture that is going to impact your future wealth and your country's future wealth. And yet, it's really hard to comprehend these trade‑offs sometimes, because you know, there are so many more pressing issues, both in your country and in your region and globally than something that seems so far off.
So, I'm wondering, and I know it's such a vague question, but how do we ensure that all of the voices that need to be in these conversations are resourced to be able to participate and understand the importance of participating in these conversations and that their governments who, themselves, are so underresourced, are aware of the discussions that are happening, say at the WTO on these issues? Thank you.
>> SHEILAH BIRGEN: Thank you, Ayden. That's a really, really good question. And I'll give you an example of a start‑up process that we did in Kenya. I think for the longest time, that process has been driven by government, and that's why they only look at public participation. So, whether you want to participate or not, that's your problem. But what happens if it's not driven by the stakeholders in the industry?
So, what we did, for instance, with the start‑up act was, it was driven by ecosystem players, the start‑ups, themselves. So, you mobilize communities within your area. So, it depends with, for instance, in Kenya, we have farmer groups. So, we will have regional farmer groups. So, they normally have leaders in those farmer groups. They're like cooperatives. I don't know if that's also what you call them. They're groups that discuss different things, could be fertilizer prices, availability of market, if there's an outbreak, things like that, and just share tools and what‑not. So, within those farmer groups, you have to have those discussions at that level.
So, for instance, say we want government to reduce maybe tax on input of farming input or whatever it is that the farmers are facing or whatever it is that the industry players are facing in that particular industry. And then they consolidate these different pieces. The only challenge you normally have with this process is you have to have a champion, if I can call them that, within government, who will sponsor that process, not financially, but to ensure not because it cannot take the draft ourselves as citizens to Parliament. It could be, but you could not take it, so you have to have someone championing it, then look for stakeholders, leaders, so those farmer group leaders, private sector leaders, who can then now mobilize those conversations.
And so, we discussed the different components. What are some of the challenges we're facing that we feel, especially at national level? There are some very specifically, you know, very granular to your local region that might not be included, obviously, in the law, but there are those that affect the wider group. So, I think it has to start from that point. Having community or groups, or I don't know what you can call them, but at that level for them to participate.
But also, there's a third component of people we normally (?) people in diaspora, for instance, who come from these countries who are never involved in these discussions, but it affects them because some of them have farms here, some of them have businesses here. And so, even in the digital space, with our approach, we had to have sessions with people in the digital space who, via Zoom. I think now this is one of the positive, I think, effects of what we're going through with the pandemic, is a lot of people have come online, and so, you can still have those discussions. And then consolidate everything you have to create a more comprehensive. And you will see a lot of similarities in these suggestions. But those conversations have to happen in the smaller groups, in the villages, in the counties for the consolidation to happen.
>> DANIEL OMALEY: Great. Thank you, Sheilah. And thank you, Ayden, for a really great question. I think it also kind of goes back to what Richard reminded us, about the importance of including more people. There are so many people who are unconnected. But really, we want to build digital policies that are inclusive of those people.
I actually want to ask something for Marushka, because I think this is something that she brought up before. In a country with a lot of different populations and different contexts, not all of them are digital natives, let's say. So, you know, what are your recommendations for engaging in citizens and other stakeholders in these types of conversations?
>> MARUSHKA CHOCOBAR: In the same line of Sheilah, I wish that we could consider four general recommendations. First is to keep a permanently open digital challenge to the opinion of the citizens. In Peru, we have the Participate Peru Platform, through which citizens can give an opinion any time on various matters, but in particular, of the progress of national policies and the strategy in the Internet environment.
Second could be the promotion of open innovation and citizen innovational spaces through innovation labs, such as Peruvian Digital Transformation Lab, that allow citizens to be protagonists in solving public problems with the application of digital technologies.
Third could be to establish other mechanism of interaction in addition to digital, such as telephone calls, in‑depth interviews, expert tables and co‑designed sessions.
And fourth is the permanent publication of open data, that allows surveillance, innovation, public sector accountability, proposals or evidence and transparency towards the actors of a digital society. By incorporating citizens, we ensure that the solutions and policies that results from this interaction are safe from design and involve multi‑stakeholder approach from design.
An example, in Peru, we are designing our National Digital Transformation Policy. The Artificial Intelligence National Strategy and the Digital Intelligence National Strategy which were decided by a committee containing multi‑stakeholder representatives and public sector for the opinion of the citizen in an open consultation process.
>> DANIEL OMALEY: Great. Thank you. Yeah, no, I mean, those are four kind of concrete things that can be done. I think oftentimes we talk about how to do that, and having those experiences and those examples is really important and it's really great to have government participation here.
I'm just going to read out a question that we have in the comments here from Elizabeth Sutterlin, and it's particularly for Richard. "For Civil Society groups focused on local or national issues in their own country context, are there avenues for groups to learn about international issues and encourage the harmonization of tech policy discussed?" And this one I think is for Richard, but I would also love to hear Olga's perspective of this, and of course, any of our panelists can jump in.
>> RICHARD WINGFIELD: Thanks. Yes. To answer your question, Elizabeth, directly, the answer is yes, I think there are avenues. And that's not to say there aren't barriers, there aren't challenges, but there are, and of course, we're in one of them right now, which is IGF, one of the more genuinely multi‑stakeholder processes, which, as has been said, may not deliver outcomes or outputs, but brings together stakeholders on an equal basis to talk about concerns, issues, and to try to think about potential solutions.
But there are other neat spaces, particularly where Civil Society groups can engage, and a couple that come to mind are the Global Network Initiative, which is a collaboration of particularly ICT and companies and telcos, academic, Civil Society groups, to come together to talk about some of the big concerns around privacy and free expression that relate to the actions of tech companies in different parts of the world, and the UN. The UN is a big piece and some parts of it are more open than others, but a lot of the work that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is doing, some of the expert consultations that will be taking place next year, looking at issues like technical standards or the role of businesses or the role of privacy in the digital age, these are all relatively straightforward processes for Civil Society organizations to engage in and to learn from.
There is a huge sort of caveat to that, and I think one of the big concerns I have is that when we talk about Civil Society and digital policy, we really often only mean digital rights groups. There is a huge, broad scope of Civil Society from racial justice groups to feminist organizations, children's rights groups, workers' rights groups, who really are not part of this conversation as much as they should be, because technology can seem off-putting or challenging. I think a big responsibility of those of us who support multi‑stakeholderism is try to reach out beyond digital policy experts and digital rights groups and bring in other parts of Civil Society and make spaces like the IGF as interesting and welcoming to them as it is for those of us for whom digital policy is our day‑to‑day work.
>> DANIEL OMALEY: Great. Thank you, Richard. And Olga, I think this harmonization issue is something you've thought about, too, in the legal space, you know, kind of what does that mean, how do you expand. There's an expertise issue here as well, but also an inclusion component. What are your thoughts?
>> OLGA KYRYLIUK: Yeah, I wanted to say here that for Civil Society, of course, the IGF was already mentioned, but apart from the Global IGF, there are also regional initiatives and national initiatives where all these issues also are being discussed in a multi‑stakeholder manner.
I think nowadays, with a lot of drawbacks that COVID brought to our life, it also made some good things to all of us, making available this online participation to many people who before could not join in person or travel to far countries. But nowadays, it's so much easier and everyone has this better feeling of being on equal participating, either remotely or on site. So nowadays it's so easy to connect to that same rights, which is an excellent platform where the digital policies and the digital rights are being discussed.
I also think it's important for local stakeholders to talk to international organizations, representative offices in their countries, and also to connect with the donors who are based in their countries to discuss this digital agenda and also to get to know about the possibilities of funding for Civil Society activities.
I think a good example of citizen participation, and probably some of you have heard of it, is the project which is called "We, the Internet ‑ Global Citizens' Dialogue," which is run by a French‑based organization, Missions Publiques. And they have been last year organizing these national dialogues in over 100 countries across the world. And the idea was just to collect the citizens' perception of the whole variety of digital rights, about how they think about data protection, about privacy, about artificial intelligence in their lives. And just the idea was to gather together just ordinary citizens and to understand what technology and digital policy means in their life.
And it's, to be honest, it's not the responses that you would expect from the usual IG crowd that you meet here at IGF, because you might hear quite interesting and fresh ideas as these people are not usually participating in such events, and they would just give you the perspective of the ordinary end users, and this is also important to understand whether at least those policies which are being discussed by us and by decision‑makers, whether they actually make sense for the target local communities.
And I think for the Civil Society, for example, we at American Bar Association, we are working with local organizations building their capacity on the Internet freedom advocacy and helping to create the network between these organizations from different countries so they can also share their experiences, learn from each other, but also develop some more joint actions to strengthen their advocacy activities. And I think this is what really matters, to find where you can be stronger together and to work in that direction.
>> DANIEL OMALEY: Great. Thank you, Olga. And I realize we only have four minutes left. We'll probably need to end on time. But I do have one last question for our panelists, and I'm hoping that you can answer relatively briefly. And that is just, do you think the proliferation of digital law and policy is effectively raising the bar in terms of Human Rights adoption globally at the moment? So you know, how ‑‑ this is like a check‑in. How are we doing? Is it raising the bar? And I'll start with Marushka.
>> MARUSHKA CHOCOBAR: I think the respect for the Human Rights around the world are definitely being impacted by the digital advance in all aspects of people's lives. In this sense, it is essential that the Internet Governance around Human Rights be reviewed and inspired with a digital work perspective, because this governance were created in totally different situation.
So, I would only like to close adding that Peru is a strong supporter of an open, free, safe, and secure internet and advocates for policy settings that support this position. Thank you.
>> DANIEL OMALEY: Great. Thank you, Marushka. Sheilah.
>> SHEILAH BIRGEN: I think it depends with the context and the content, but, I think, yes, because I think governments and individuals are being forced to be more aware about these things, either by law, and being forced by law to be deliberate around ensuring that this happens. So, I believe we are improving.
I think also using different digital channels to push governments in ensuring that these rights, either locally or globally by other stakeholders, that they uphold the digital rights. I think it's ‑‑ yes, I would say, yeah, yeah, I'm hopeful.
>> DANIEL OMALEY: Okay, great.
>> SHEILAH BIRGEN: We are starting with that, yes.
>> DANIEL OMALEY: Thank you, Sheilah. Okay, we have two optimists so far. Olga, we have just a short amount of time.
>> OLGA KYRYLIUK: As I said before, the law in itself is not a key word. It depends largely on the context. It can be ideal law, but it depends how it is implemented. And I would say it is yes to your answer, if Human Rights are the center and the focus of that digital law and policy. But if it's not, if it's just the declaration, but in fact, the implementation is so much different, then, of course, it would not be helping to protect the Human Rights in real‑life cases.
>> DANIEL OMALEY: Great. Excellent point. There's what's on the paper and there's what's actually in practice. Also another level that we haven't even discussed here, but really great point. Richard, where do you fall?
>> RICHARD WINGFIELD: Very briefly. Yeah, I agree with my panelists. It depends on the context and the particular policy issue. We're seeing advancements in some areas and weakening of Human Rights in others, but what I have seen is there is almost no area where there aren't Human Rights experts and organizations who are demonstrating the impact these policies are having on Human Rights. So, Human Rights is very much part of the conversation, even if the responses aren't always wholly consistent with them.
>> DANIEL OMALEY: Great. Thank you so much for your perspectives. I really want to thank the four panelists, Marushka, Sheilah, Olga, Richard. It's been a real pleasure to moderate this panel. I also want to thank the IGF support staff who have organized this hybrid event. I want to thank the people in Poland as well as the people who have joined us online and the captioner who has been Ellen, who has been doing a great job capturing everything that we've said. A round of applause for all of the people who have participated here. It's been a real pleasure. And I hope everyone has a really great rest of your IGF 2021 Poland experience.
(Session concluded at 1645 CET)