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IGF 2017 - Day 1 - Room XII - WS 50 Data is the New Oil: Shaping the Digital Economy of MENA

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Twelfth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Geneva, Switzerland, from 17 to 21 December 2017. 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 to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

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>>> Hello, everybody.  We'll be starting in two minutes.  We're just preparing the online presenter and participation.  Thank you. 

>> I'm connected to the system.  I don't know if you can hear me or not. 

>> Hello, everybody.  This is Ali AlMeshal.  We'll be starting the workshop.  I'm so happy to have all of these attendees with us.  And we have some remote participation as well.  Just before we start, I would like my panelists to introduce themselves.  And then we'll start the discussions on our topic.  So I'll start from my left hand.  We'll start right here. 

>> Thank you.  Good morning, everyone.  My name's ‑‑ I work for the Internet corporation for numbers.  I'm part of the global stakeholder engagement team ICANN and for those who don't know, ICANN is a global organization that coordinates policy and technical aspects of the Internet's domain name system. 

>> Good morning, everyone, I am Walid Al‑Saqaf, a senior lecturer in Stockholm specialized in media technology and journalism.  I'm a board member of the Internet society.  You must be familiar with it.  And also, I work rather broadly with the other organizations including ICANN where I chair the Middle East strategy working group. 

>> Good morning, everyone, my name is Lisa Feur, director general of the European Telco’s trade association in Brussels.  Our members are via telephonic and others who work all over the world with different countries.  Thank you. 

>> Good morning, everyone, I am a teacher from Tunisia.  I work for the government for the ministry of education in Tunisia.  I'm also the Africa representative in the noncommercial users constituency in ICANN and in ISOC's advisory council steering committee.  Thank you. 

>> Good morning.  My name is Satish Babu.  I'm from India.  I chair the Asia‑Pacific regional at large organization of ICANN.  And I belong to the ISOC community and I'm a programmer by profession. 

>> My name is Ali AlMeshal.  I'm part of ICANN which is the Asia‑Pacific region and Middle East.  I am a board member of Bahrain ISOC.  Officially I work in the technology and banking sector.  Thank you. 

>> Hello, everyone.  My name is Lianna Galstyan.  The vice chair and I will be the online moderator.  And I would like to introduce our online participants as well.  Our speaker George Sebastiano, international speaker, and we have innovation activist.  And they are both present online.  Thank you. 

>> ALI ALMESHAL: Thank you very much.  Before starting the session with our panelists here, I would like just to give a brief introduction and how we are looking to the data and how we see that the data is the new oil or the digital economy.  Actually, when I was preparing for this, I started to look into something globally.  Then I narrowed it down to regional.  Then I narrowed it more down and down until I get to the personal.  So I started thinking about it.  I said, how come is the data is being that much valuable and have sort of a financial when we say data is the new oil? 

Look into ourselves each of us, each individual of us, when we start an e‑mail account.  So we start putting our first, second name, what profession, which country we are and so on and so forth.  So this has eventually been taken more and more.  And then we start giving addresses when we are doing like a shipment.  We start giving credit cards.  Although we say it's encrypted and different technical terms and so on and so forth.  So the data that we were sharing from day to day has been more and more.  And if we look into why Facebook with that $19 billion, I believe.  Even there is no ads, but what was the value when Facebook bought that one.  These are things that we need to look into. 

One more thing is like previously when we were giving our finger scans, where we were doing this.  Maybe intelligence of our countries, to the interior intelligence within the countries.  And today is where we are putting these finger scans.  Everywhere, iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, they have ‑‑ I believe they have the highest database volume of database of our identity.  It's not ‑‑ even the finger scanned right now is the face recognition.  So previously we hesitate to give too much information to even an official entity.  Right now within these technologies of the telephone providers

[ Lost audio ]

>> It's because the people who have the ability to generate the technology and understand it are not based in the Middle East.  And it's the lack of education, the lack of commitment to pursue knowledge that's causing this dilemma.  So I'd say that this is a very good, let's say, critical point in our history to realize what we are missing.  And introduce new mindsets, have a paradigm shift in thinking of why data is important.  At the university in Stockholm what I teach, the first thing I do often is give numbers.  I often give ‑‑ the first number I give is 44 zetabytes.  I ask them what that is.  And the students will be amused.  What is it?  I tell them it's 10 to the power of 21.  So it's 21 zeros next to the 1.  And then I tell them this is basically the number of bytes that would be generated yearly by 2020. 

And so if you think of it that this is going to overwhelm anything we think of or thought of in the past or the future and generated and built with by over 50 billion machines around us.  If we are not ready, we will be left behind.  We will continue to be consumers.

So I keep giving them ‑‑ allowing them to be more motivated in understanding the power of data and how to use it. 

And the next stage would basically empower them with the education and tools.  And that cannot happen unless there is will.  There is will by governments, by institutions and by society and businesses at large.  I mean, how to do this is a second step forward, but at least if we have the commitment, then we can move forward.  And I'd like to keep the rest for the discussion later on.  Thank you. 

>> Thanks.  Looking for the next because the discussion of that is more important to know about the best use of the data.  Moving next, we said it's very much important to mix up the middle east experience with even the European experience and to understand more about how the data is being handled and taken care of.  The floor is all yours. 

>> Thank you very much.  I would take it both from an infrastructure perspective because I think infrastructure is key when we talk about data.  But also, of course, I'll talk a bit about our knowledge of data and how it's used in Europe.  I would like to start with a few numbers because I think it's interesting to see where we are in the Middle East and in the North African region.  And if we look at the latest numbers from the Mobile Worldwide Association, they say there are 365 million unique subscribers.  And this is actually accounting for 63% of the population.  So we're still not up to fully covered everyone having a mobile subscription. 

But if you look at the data traffic right now per month, per active Smartphone, it's 1.8 gigabit in 2016, and there is an expectation of this growing to 13 in 2022.  This is numbers from Ericsson.  This is expectations.  But it actually tells a bit about the explosion and use of data on the mobile phone that we will experience over the next couple of years. 

And, of course, more use of mobiles will actually increase the data all over the region.  We know some of our members are actually working very closely with Google like Orange are having a project where they're trying to actually push subscriptions for the young people who actually look into using more data, and they try to get a tariff and a subscription that's actually set to more use of data than we speak.  So it's interesting to see how you can hopefully push and actually tailor the subscription so there is more use of communication. 

From the telco side, of course, we would like to be very much part of helping and building the infrastructure in this region.  And we think it's important that we're active and that we help creating new and innovative services for the citizens.  And here I'm not only talking about the old infrastructure where we have speak, we have text, we have data use.  It's actually more into becoming platforms and to be more part of the ecosystems together with the Internet players that we see are actually building ecoplatforms on the Internet. 

So from our side, we think we should, of course, create the infrastructure, but we're also trying to move into actually creating platforms that hopefully can help all the countries.  And why is this important?  That's actually important because the latest McKinsey study on the region from 2016 showed that if you have 10% increase in mobile penetration, you would actually get an increase in GDP in countries.  So they estimated a 10% increase in mobile penetration would actually create 1.1 rate in GDP for Tunisia, 1.2 for Jordan, 1.4 for Morocco.  And I think this is interesting to see how data and use of communication can actually increase GDP in countries. 

So from a telco side, what do we think is important when we look at data?  Coming from Europe, that has a heavy regulation on data.  We have the general data protection regulation, which is actually a horizontal regulation that will cover everything, and that will be enforced next May.  We see that there is very much focus on protecting data, which is important.  So we find that trust is important here if we don't have the trust of the end users, we're not going to have the data, and we're not going to actually use the Digital Economy.  Then people will be afraid of using the services instead of being willing to use it. 

But from our side, we also see that Europe is actually also having an e‑privacy regulation which is sector specific which is actually creating more strict rules on the telcos.  And we find that this will actually create a barrier for the telcos to give more services to the citizens.  Here I'm not talking about confidentiality because I think this is key in every ‑‑ in every service of communication.  It has to be confidential.  But I'm looking into what can we do with location data, for example?  A lot of ‑‑ the telcos in Europe are not allowed to use the data in the same way as the Internet players.  So you would have Google Maps that could use the service but telcos cannot. 

And why is this important also for the Middle East and North Africa?  Well, it's important because this will give less consumer choices and less innovations if you create rules, that restricts the telcos.  But that being said, I'm still getting back to if we don't have the trust, if we don't have the protection of the users' data, this will be worth nothing because without this protection, I think there will be no use of the services. 

And I think if we create systems that safeguard ‑‑ actually, what we have in Europe with the GDPR, you give your consent to the user's data, and that's an important point.  You know what the data is used for.  So transparency again, I heard ICANN in the report said transparent rules is important, and I think that is also key when you talk about the use of data, transparency is key here. 

We have members of Etna who are creating platforms that will enhance the transparency of what it's used for.  Tell phonic has a platform that creates these services.  So I see they're there.  And I find if we can actually push for transparent use of data, that will be important. 

I also heard my fellow panel speaker talking about e‑skills.  And I think this is also important.  So what will we use the data for?  If I look at how it's used in Europe, it's used for a lot of data is used for better traffic.  It's used for better public service, better traffic also in the public transportation.  We use it also for studying health issues.  You can actually learn a lot from big data in relation to health.  And for smart cities, this is also key.  So data is actually going to be the driver of innovation in many countries.  So if we don't have the Middle East also being part of this, everyone, of course, will lag behind.  So I think data is important for all of us.  Data goes with infrastructure.  So from infrastructure side, we as telcos, of course, welcome very much if we have the right investment environment for infrastructure investments, here infrastructure competition is important. 

So getting back to where I started, we as telcos think data is the new oil.  We believe it's important for all regions of the world.  And we very much would like to be a part of it.  Thank you. 

>> Thank you, Ms. Lisa.  You have touched on very hot topics these days which is the GDPR and e‑privacy.  And we want to understand about it later on in the question and answer about the impact of these regulations on the Middle East and the other countries as well.  Moving forward, I would go to from an educational perspective.  She'll be presenting her slides about that.  The floor is all yours. 

>> Thank you very much, Ali.  Thank you very much, colleagues.  Good morning, everyone.  So as I said, I am a teacher in Tunisia.  So we don't really have a national strategy for the implementation in education, but we do have some personal and organizational incentives like myself and my colleagues like teachers of English and of technologies.  So today I'll be talking to you about ICT implementation in Tunisian education and sustainable economies.  Next slide, please. 

So first I'll be talking about creating a learned generation.  Next.  So this is the figure that I find really interesting.  So education for a new global reality.  So by 2050, half of today's jobs will be replaced by technologies.  This number is quite scary and quite interesting at the same time.  And I'll explain.  New jobs will demand different and higher‑level skills.  The population of Africa since I am from Africa, Tunisia, northern Africa, the population of Africa will double to 2 billion.  Half will be young people.  And unless education systems can respond, a major shortage of skilled workers will stunt the global economy.  Up to a quarter of the population could still live in extreme poverty.  And income inequality will increase.  Next, please. 

So a fact.  So up to half ‑‑ sorry ‑‑ up to half of today's jobs around 2 billion are at high risk of disappearing.  New technologies unfortunately risk not to create new jobs at anything like the skill.  They are eradicating them.  And demand of high‑level skills will grow.

Next, please.  So those with high Internet literacy skills, capacity to adapt to change, ability to access technology will expect an even greater share of earnings.  Thank you.  Next, please. 

So the expectations would be to provide resources and willingness to harness new technology, urging a commitment from policy and decision‑makers to every child, providing common training for teachers to teach 21st Century skills.  So this is a big issue right now in Tunisia.  Because as I said, the ministry of education doesn't really have a national strategy.  So that's why we are trying to have ‑‑ try online courses, and then those who manage to have international training like myself, I had to change to have training in the United States.  So we give training to other teachers.  So this is what is happening right now. 

Also, we need to create indicators to assess overall performance of educational institutions.  Because for example, in Tunisia, we don't really have international standards for teaching English, for teaching technologies, math, et cetera.  And also raising people's awareness about their privacy rights and data protection, and this is the crux of this workshop.  Next, please. 

So pathways from ICT implementation and education to sustainable Digital Economies in the MENA region.  Next, please.  So as teachers, we have noticed that ICTs restore curiosity to education.  And they are more keen on swapping a page on their phone than opening a book.  So it's a movement to textbooks.  It helps overcome physical and geographical barriers especially, for example, myself, I teach in a rural and remote area in Tunisia.  And it eliminates artificial boundaries.  And promotes an environment of global citizenship.  Next, please. 

This is also a very interesting figure.  So education is the smartest investment in terms of benefit cost ratios.  For example, a dollar invested in an additional year of schooling generates $10 in benefits and low‑income countries.  Some might ask what is $10?  Well, $10 in some developing countries like Tunisia is quite an interesting amount of money.  Next, please. 

So what I would recommend personally, what we recommend as teachers is to invent an ICT implementation as a value chain.  Because it would deliver more technology graduates.  It would sustain the Digital Economy mechanisms that have been very strong and did not fail amid the recent ‑‑ the recent economic crisis in the MENA region and all the revolutions that we had.  It would deliver new business opportunities, especially.  Next, please. 

So we would ‑‑ recommendations.  Raising public awareness.  We have been to some extent successful at this in Tunisia through some NGOs.  I am still repeating myself, maybe, that we don't really have a national strategy.  So we are trying to push for it so the ministry of education, but it is slow, but it's coming.  Let's wish for the best.  So raising public awareness. 

Raising people's awareness about privacy rights through national and local campaigns.  So we try to raise our ‑‑ because our students are very ‑‑ very fun and keen on using Facebook.  So we try to raise their awareness about how much data and information they are given about themselves, which is really dangerous, how much they are giving to Facebook and to all the apps they are using.  We hope that it can involve the youth and be (?) As possible.  We are asking for the policy foundation.  And to put this on the government agenda.  Next, please. 

The government also should have some responsibility in the digital economy.  For example, to help in regulatory risks in starting up new businesses, creating new infrastructures, technical side, create appropriate skills and developing practices, training the students not only the students and pupils because we are really asking for training of pupils at high school and also at primary school so that they know about the data and their privacy rights as soon as possible and as early as possible.  And we also are asking for a training of teachers to know as much as possible about data protection. 

And last but not least, investing in education as a value chain because it will pay off.  Next, please.  So this is our baby in Tunisia.  It's called Smart Tunisia.  And it is a huge national project.  So it aims at creating the field of Digital Economy.  So Smart Tunisia, the Tunisian government has allocated more than 15 million Euros in grants to encourage international operators to come and invest in Tunisia.  It aims at leveraging Tunisia in the Middle East and Africa.  Its main focus is offshoring, outsourcing.  It's an initiative of the national strategy plan in 2018.  And that's all for me now.  And I thank you very much. 

>> Thank you very much.  Great initiatives.  It goes outside the government initiative or strategy, but it's coming from a personal and group initiative which I think will apply.  Thanks a lot.  The floor is to Mr. Satish Babu from technical perspective for data.  Thank you. 

>> SATISH BABU: Thanks very much, Ali.  I am Satish Babu, and I chair the (?).  Maybe I should share for a minute the reason why this workshop was conceived.  We found that the middle east has made a very dramatic turnaround from the very pessimistic (?) As early as 2012 when people said the Middle East is in for trouble because the economic slowdown is going to impact the region.  We find that by 2016, there's not really a kind of complete turnaround.  The economies have actually bounced back, which we thought was interesting.  The resilience that the region has shown has been really remarkable.  And we thought we should highlight this because we felt that a prime enabler in this journey was the Internet. 

So that is the reason why we thought we should highlight this.  Now, if you look at the further development of the Middle East, we see that the governments have been quite proactive in using the latest technologies.  My friend mentioned block chain.  Actually, Dubai has announced a currency called m‑cash sometime back.  But not just that.  Smoothing out transactions.  They have decided to go in for 100% block chain based model by 2020 which is a very ambitious target.  Which I'm not sure whether we're going to achieve this, but they have stated it up front.  And it's all over the media that the government of UAE is strengthening.

If they can do that, they'll be one of the first governments in the world, one of the earliest, to do this. 

So we see that the free flow of data is really the engine that keeps economies alive.  We heard about GDPR and the whole issue of privacy coming out.  Some of the not‑so‑positive aspects of data would be, one is privacy and we are concerned about privacy in Europe right now, and Europe has shown the rest of the world how to deal with privacy.  Although some things are not yet very clear as to how it is going to unfold as we go forward.  But the steps have been taken.  And the rest of the world is watching. 

At the same time, you also are in the world of IOT, and we have billions of these devices which are monitoring all kinds of things about us.  Without any permission from us.  So this gives rise to issues about how can data be generated on me without my permission?  So those are (?) But also most important perhaps is the Internet giants, Facebook or Google, they are making billions of dollars in revenue based on user data.  Users don't get to see any of this.  They don't ask us.  But they're actually making money off us. 

We're not even getting into the role of government.  Now, in the Middle East, the governments have played a very proactive role.  But we do not know what has been the impact on individuals.  In the short run, it's not very clear.  In the longer term, this is going to become an issue as the data is collected. 

So I know we're running short on time.  So I'm winding up here.  I would just like to say that the free flow of data has proven itself to be one of the great enablers of development.  Thank you. 

>> Thanks a lot, Satish.  Very much great information.  I will tell you something about UAE when they said they will go 100% government block chain and cryptic currency, they will go.  They will do it.  I'll give the floor now to Ms. Minan to introduce herself.  Go ahead, please. 

>> Thank you.  I'm from Morocco.  I'm a senior tech policy adviser.  I don't want to dwell on what the colleagues mentioned previously.  I just want to focus on three points.  With regards to the role of data and driving additional economy, and economy in general, in the context of the Middle East, we all know it's important.  But I think we were a little bit late joining the party.  And that meant we have to tag along with whatever is available.  I will not speak about the economic mentioned or the Civil Society perspective on the issue.  But I will specifically speak about the recent meeting that was held in Argentina.  It was organized by WTO.  And I'm not sure if you're aware of the proceedings, but governments met to negotiate a digital trade agreement. 

I think we're definitely left behind because I doubt that the world's representation from the government level from the Middle East in this meeting where we see specific trend of negotiations now, we don't know the details about the trade agreements because I know from the reports that there was no consensus of what should happen.  I think governments of the Middle East should be better positioned to be able to negotiate these kinds of agreements at the global level.  Why?  Because we don't want to play the role of followers.  We want to be able to negotiate a deal that feeds into the interests of people in the Middle East. 

So I think this is an important point.  Now, we know the main players in this field are the tech giants, you know, the tech companies.  I think we need to open channels of discussions with these companies as regional consumers so we can highlight our interests in having a platform or having a data‑powered economy that feeds into our interests. 

As you can hear, you know, from my colleagues, there is a lot of enthusiasm about new technologies and new kind of trends of tech, in general.  So UAE is ready to adopt block chain.  And I'm sure other countries will follow.  It's just I think we are not good yet at the level of negotiation at the policy level.  And I think if we leave these opportunities, I think we will definitely play catch‑up constantly with these type of agreements. 

The takeaway from these kinds of meetings is that we need to position ourselves better to be able to lead the discussion that represents the interests of the consumer at the local level and the regional level.  We want, you know, the new push for any digital trade agreement to feed into the interests of public interest, in general.  And I think we should definitely fight the tech giant monopolies in terms of collecting our data without our consent sometimes.  And even without that, we don't have other alternatives.  And just for you to know, I mean, having the data is basically helping these companies shape their products.  And that means the better information they have about the consumers, the better the product is customized to the needs of the clients. 

I wish we were in a position where we were at the forefront of these innovations so we are in full control of the products which make sense to us.  But I obviously value the importance of being exposed, you know, internationally and having some kind of alignment with what's happening at the global level.  It's just in terms of products, I think our market should be protected from, you know, the floods of products that are basically maybe engineered or customized for a global consumer.  So this is what companies like Facebook, Google are doing.  They do not customize their products unless they are being hindered by government regulations.  So we speak about regulations a lot.  But we don't speak about their marketing strategy about how they make their own products, whether they are feasible, whether they are good for our markets.  I think we need to take the discussion to that level, not focus always on regulation, but also, you know, be able to talk to these companies, how they actually engineer their algorithms to customize a product that is present and available for the whole world.  It might not be for the benefit for other regions.  And thank you. 

>> Thanks.  I will hand it over to Lianna to look into our remote speakers, please. 

>> LIANNA GALSTYAN: Thank you, Ali.  We do have a presenter, George, he will be presenting.  Can we start that?  George, can you hear? 

>> Yes, I can hear you.  Can you hear me? 

>> LIANNA GALSTYAN: Can you speak louder, please?  We can see you. 

>> Yes, I'm trying.  Can you hear me now better? 

>> LIANNA GALSTYAN: Not that much.  A little bit louder. 

>> Okay.  I'm trying.  I unmuted.  Can you see my screen? 

>> LIANNA GALSTYAN: Yes. 

>> Let's see if I can share maybe the PowerPoint presentation.  Thanks very much for the opportunity to present.  Thanks to Ali for the invitation.  You see my presentation on the screen now. 

>> LIANNA GALSTYAN: Yes, we can see your presentation.  Please go ahead, George. 

>> Okay, sure.  Okay.  So in the next few minutes, I'll give you a little bit of an appreciation about data as the new oil from a practical and framework architecture perspective.  So first it's important driving the new economy and it really matters a lot, the type of company that you are because we can make the necessary transformation.  Obviously the likes of companies like Uber that have become pretty much virtual companies.  But to be data driven does not necessarily mean you're a virtual company.  We have other ones like (?) Are not virtual companies but are making data a key element of their entire strategy.  Like LinkedIn and so on. 

I think there are many elements that need to be addressed.  We need to understand the challenges, the scope.  We need to put an overall way of validating how we bring this to organizations and much more important than a structure that is capable of scaling it up as much as possible.  In order first to be able to do this, we need to address four major elements.  One is the collection, capturing of the data.  Second element is normalizing this data.  And moving it to a platform where we can use it.  Analyze it.  And it's quite interesting, the previous presenters were talking about artificial intelligence.  A revolution that is extremely important.  Another thing is the actions we take and how fast we take these actions that will actually make a difference. 

So how do we go about capturing this data?  We are familiar with the traditional method.  (?) QR codes, we use (?) For translation or even capitalized with the new accessibility of these means of capture, especially what we call microsatellites are changing the whole face of how we capture this data in the future. 

When we talk about IOT or IIOT or the Internet of everything, we are really trying to put an IP address on pretty much everything that makes our lives, whether it happens to be at home, at work or industrialized or even transportation, medical or other fields.  A lot of vertical work that is being done in this area.  (?) Capturing large amounts of data, how do we transport this data that is extremely important?  We are familiar with transporting the data fiber and others.  But (?) How we go about transporting this data.  So new advancements in narrowband or IT will make a big difference because it's simplified how we capture the data meaning we can put a sensor somewhere and the sensor will live for a period as long as 5 to 70 years or even much more. 

(?) The data is much larger and we saw some of the earlier presenters talk about zetabytes.  Of course, we have gone through a whole bunch of revolutions.  I think the biggest revolution in data storage is that everything is pretty much becoming solid state.  Even more important, we have moved away from deleting data.  We simply don't worry about it.  We keep as much data as possible.  So the cloud has enabled us to do something completely new.  How to go about processing it.  We have massive amounts of cloud capability.  We actually are building very large computers.  One of the earlier presenters talked about block chain.  What is block chain?  It's a very large computer that enables us to have access to that power.  Some of it is compete, but it goes much beyond that because the advent of thing like smart contracts.  We have the capability to have access to that computing capabilities as well on the cloud, not just through the traditional cloud mechanisms that we saw in the past. 

It only becomes useful when we digitalize it in something that is practical for our everyday lives.  So I think we need on what I call visualization or the usability of that data by the traditional users.  And obviously since we're talking about many participants from many countries from all over the world, each different user has different capabilities and different needs.  And we need to cater to this to make this data fully accessible in a visual way.  So when we took all these elements of adding value to this new oil, we really need to address all of these combined together. 

So the fencing simplifies our complexity of collecting this data.  By connecting obviously together in a much more virtualized way, we introduce much greater degrees of agility.  AI and big data enables us to introduce new and continued learning.  Less important aspect is actually how we deal with this data.  So being able to introduce things like multimobile response to this data becomes extremely important and extremely valuable. 

I think a call of action as a result of this data (?).  That really means you need to do not just digital transformation as we saw in the past.  It's how we transform based on this innovation associated with data.  So we need to look at new ways to reshape our organizations to actually take advantage of this new data approach.  That's my eight to ten minutes with you.  Hopefully you enjoyed it and now we leave the floor to some questions.  Thank you. 

>> LIANNA GALSTYAN: Thank you, George.  We'll keep it open for when all speakers have finished their speeches.  Thank you very much for your participation.  Now we will give the floor to our next ‑‑ the last speaker.  We're giving the floor to you.  We're taking into mind that we're running out of time and we'll give you two to three minutes.  Thank you. 

>> Can you guys hear me? 

>> LIANNA GALSTYAN: Yes. 

>> Hello? 

>> Yes, we can hear you.  Go ahead. 

>> Okay.  So I'm (?) I'll just run down some of my theories and give another perspective (?) Which is one thing that we are discussing today.  The question was asked on (?) In other words, how we (?) Our own partners.  From a technology perspective, I think one question that can be asked is what is our mission?  The mission is to look at problems and provide a solution not (?) Actual solutions in our region or country.  Now, the technologies to be used (?) I wouldn't wait for the block chain and AI elsewhere (?) And we have the data which pretty much gets us back.  With the use of technology, we have an opportunity to be able to jump into it, make solutions that are made for our own region, to be able to control (?) Establish the different answers that we can further build on.  And then, again, as a region, we are going to look at (?) A strategy that includes other areas out of the ITC strategy.  (?) The connection, the Internet and the technical software (?) The economy.  And.

And then from a technological perspective, one of the downfalls is the fact that we do not have a lot of mobile content (?) Context here.  This problem of not having the content and the products that we use.  (?) New systems with context and content which we could use ourselves to be able to free ourselves from the amount of data that we have.  (?) Pretty much not have any data.  So with that, then, a few other problems right now (?) For example we do not have (?) There's no (?).  So a problem like that cannot be involved by a tech giant.  (?) So at this point, solve that problem and the opportunity to take over the whole country and the data used in the future as something as a country.  (?) A lot of online systems that we have (?) Why don't we go ahead and work on block chain solutions that could be used locally.  Open discussion.  Thank you. 

>> LIANNA GALSTYAN: Thank you very much for your participation and your intervention.  Now I will give the floor back to you, Ali, to continue.  We have finished with our participants.  Thank you. 

>> ALI ALMESHAL: Thank you, Lianna.  Thanks for all the participants, remote and here.  I would like to open the floor for question and answers.  And please, we would like to go ahead. 

>> Thank you very much.  And thank you for this panel.  I think this IGF, there is a lot of sessions where the issue of data is addressed.  I think that we are a little bit late to address this issue because it is important.  It is our life.  It is our future.  I agree with you, Ali, that we are not generating a lot of interesting data, but we are raising a lot of data that are not interesting for us.  They are interesting for the others.  And this is very dangerous for us. 

The most important thing in this issue is the use of this data in my point of view.  Because most of the cases, those data are used against our will.  We don't even know that they are used.  And yet they are.  Unfortunately, they are not for the public interest always.  Sometimes they are for researchers, medical researchers, for social and economic researchers and et cetera.  But for other cases and most of the cases, they are used for interest, for political interest or for commercial interests.  This is a pity in my point of view.  I think there is a chance that the European community decided to adopt this new regulation because this will give the European people more protection for their data. 

I think if this regulation will impact every user of Internet because as you know, there is an extension of the scope of the application out of European countries, not European companies that are serving the European people have to comply in this regard.  I think that there is another kind of data that we didn't speak about, which is the data related to the domain name system.  (?) These data also are a problem.  And the problem wasn't solved since the inception of the Internet.  And I hope we will find a quick solution because we don't have choices, not to have these solutions.  Thank you. 

>> ALI ALMESHAL: Thanks.  And I would like also to add in, Walid said that we are generating data but we are using it locally.  They said we are a bit late to this.  The report from McKinsey shows there is a good potential of growth in the Middle East.  So what actions do we need to take if I maybe throw this question to the panelists, like whoever wants to take that one, please, comment on it.  So Walid, if I would like to.  Please. 

>> WALID AL‑SAQAF: Yeah.  I think ‑‑ I don't want to repeat myself, but I think there are several areas that, you know, need some work and, you know, whether on the infrastructure part, there's a lot of work to be done there on applications, on services.  There's also much to be done developing digital skills.  And again, those skills are not only about, you know, professional programs and, you know, training.  It needs to start at the very early stages from the basic education to include and to embed technology into education.  And then the fourth area is, you know, the policy and regulatory framework.  Now this is not new.  We've been saying the same thing more and more again. 

I think what is needed is to take a holistic approach towards all these areas to include all stakeholders and the private sector and so forth to have the right set of actions in each and every area of those. 

>> If I may also add, I'd like to note that education is not necessarily targeted to those who are seen to be, for example, the general public.  Education can also be for officials, for government policymakers.  Because they sometimes, I don't know, it's not maybe arrogance, but they are not used to be told that you do not know how technology works.  So instead of openly saying I don't know how it works, they often ignore or brush it off, leading to policies that are incompatible that do not actually work.  They are not possible to implement.  And not only in the MENA region but other countries as well. 

Additionally, there is lack of political will and understanding that data can sometimes be powerful if it's open, if it's transparent.  So many organizations, including, for example, development agencies and ministries, do not have their data open for public scrutiny.  So transparency, lack of it, leads to corruption and leads to lack of accountability later on.  And so as referred to, multistakeholder approach requires that not only does government think of its own interests, also think of what the public ‑‑ what public's interest is.  And that would include openness.  Openness to having this data available not only in, let's say, images or PDF files but in a machine‑extractible ways so that different tools can be used to extract this data and analyze it instead of manually leading to understanding of the implications of this data that would reveal many findings that would help fine‑tune economies, fine‑tune processes and enable savings and budgets. 

>> I think transparency and awareness is everything.  And if we want to actually push for the data economy, these are two very important principles that need to be in place.  And saying that, I know in Estonia, they have a system where you actually can see who are pulling out your data from the public side.  And that, for me, is a strong tool.  So by having the government being a good example itself would actually be, for me, an enabler of how to deal with this. 

And that being said, I think going back to the regulation which I also think is important here, the horizontal regulation is key because we have services that are converging.  If you go into being more sector specific, you might target someone, and you kill their innovation part.  So I think if you're looking at regulation, make it horizontal and lead by example from governments.  They can do a lot.  And create ‑‑ I really like the idea of embed this into also the educational systems because this is where you create the spurs of innovation and the users will be educated and made aware.

     >> Thank you.  I have a gentleman there with a question.  Please go ahead.  

>> Thank you.  My name is Nick Power I'm from the Internet Freedom Association.  I'm from a country that's looking at collecting and generating large amounts of data on citizens as a means of offering services.  But we also face the problem of consent being forced on us when it comes to data collection.  So I would oppose the characterization of data as oil because my data is not your resource.  And I think we need to look at it from a rights perspective as much as we look at it from a markets perspective because there is a significant failure and a global market failure where it comes to data protection.  And when we talk about corporations like Google, Facebook collecting data and about ‑‑ we're also talking about a situation where there's not been enough control over this entire collection of data.  Because quite often data is collected without context or control.  Once consent is given, it's given forever.  And consent is broken.  So I'm from a country where consent is being forced at this point in time and we're fighting a battle to ensure that people have the right for consent. 

So when we talk about governments and people using data, we need to look at it from a rights perspective very, very importantly.  We need to give users more control.  And treat privacy as a right and not as a property for trading.  We need to make sure that our data is not weaponized and used against us, which is a challenge that governments are also facing.  So I would look at data protection from the perspective of having standards from a rights perspective when it comes to data generation or which often many of us users don't have control.  Data collection, storage, transmission, processing and sharing because I think we have to move toward a market that addresses market failure and go back to rights.  Thank you. 

>> ALI ALMESHAL: Thank you.  Hanna, do you want to comment? 

>> Yeah, I 100% agree.  You know, the direction we should take shouldn't really be products oriented.  We should look at the human rights approach.  And I think the solution to that is to have very strong data protection mechanisms.  I mean, it's true, lagging behind, catching up with what's going on.  Before your government decides to collect data to improve services, the excuse, I think companies did that before, you know, governments.  So it's like you already have an example that proved to be very useful to know more about people.  So governments, I think, are just following what companies already did.  So for citizens to, you know, to have rights, you need to push for data protection laws and legal mechanisms which actually, you know, protect your right as an end consumer. 

Now, we all understand that advocating for rights at the local level for a topic like, you know, the Internet or anything tech based might not be like a strategic approach.  You need to build coalition at the regional level like in your region as well to have, you know, the necessary mechanisms ‑‑ the legal mechanisms in place so you can, you know, lead the conversation forward with your government.  I think the European Union presents a very good example of how they actually approach ‑‑ I mean, it's true, we were all lagging behind catching up with what companies did.  But I'm sure you heard of the newly kind of launched GDPR.  So general data protection regulation, which will be reinforced next year.  I think May 2018.  And everybody in Europe is fretting about that, including companies.  I'm sure you saw on Facebook on Twitter that everybody is organizing a training on GDPR because these people at the European Commission are very serious about their job.  And if they prepare a text, everybody's going to be bound by this legal text which means the data of people should be protected and all companies should comply with that.  This is the only way out, you know, I think you're from India.  And I think Tunisia is having the same issues as well with your ID system and so on.  So it's very important to advocate for rights at the local level, but it's also crucial, in my opinion, to carve the road towards having a legal mechanism that protects end consumers. 

>> ALI ALMESHAL: Thanks.  Do you have a question?  Please. 

>> Yes.  It's a comment and a question.  Janice Richardson with my colleague Elizabeth Melfitos.  We are working with the council of Europe hand in hand with the Moroccan government.  Over the past year we have developed an extensive five‑pillar plan for the integration of technology but also data collection, data protection, et cetera.  And there are a couple of points that we have picked up here. 

One very important area was to bring all of the ministry, Civil Society, education, et cetera, into a task force to take ownership of moving forward.  The reason for this, we think that we often countries in the MENA region are picking up as we've had so much discussion about the GDPR, and there are many mixed feelings about this.  But why pick up on what's happening in Europe? 

So one of the important pillars is an innovation pillar with new university courses so that innovation can happen from within the country.  Why use the tools that exist already and the content which is not necessarily adapted to the way of life in the MENA region.  Another area that we have noticed, yes, awareness raising is good, but this really doesn't count for anything unless there is a joint approach with citizens become aware of the legal framework, but there are also places where they can report, and it's a value chain where their reports can go right through to the end to prosecution, if necessary.  What we've picked up and what we are hoping to improve also is the societal element.  The whole society needs to be involved in this transformation from parents and from the very remotest regions.  And I think that the force of Europe is this collaboration, this cooperation, and we would really love to see this and even see other countries looking at what's been developed in Morocco for the past year, which is a very, very extensive program which will be implemented over the coming three years. 

Not so many questions, but I think it's food for thought.  Thank you. 

>> ALI ALMESHAL: Sorry.  Thanks a lot.  It is very much food for thought to know about such information.  I'm running out of time.  We have almost four minutes.  Please, go ahead. 

>> This is (?) Yes.  My comment really is about the ‑‑ what we have been discussing so far.  And the very first thing I wanted to talk about is about the people talking about Facebook, Twitter, Google.  Yes, that is all we wanted, we wanted innovation.  We got it.  So we need to just play by the rules and follow what we have.  It's not left for individuals.  So what can we take?  So what is our take‑home from these innovations? 

Then that comes to the point where developing a strategy.  What kind of strategic plan do we have to put in place as an individual, as a government.  We need to take ‑‑ we are talking about data.  We are living in the moderate he were world now.  That is one point we feed to understand.  It is not going to get better.  (?) That is one point from a strategic point of view. 

The second ‑‑ I mean, thing we need to look at is about innovations.  We need to democratize innovations in terms of adopting (?).  We need to really practicalize this from the end users, manufacturers, to the producers.  We need to have these in place where everybody would benefit.  And also, it happens at the same place.  So what would that ‑‑ I mean, the innovations.  This is the other thing we need to do.  So we need to look at these key elements in terms of addressing what, why and how the data is going to be implemented and used continuously.  Thank you. 

>> ALI ALMESHAL: Thank you very much.  Half a minute, then I will give you the floor. 

>> Yes.  Thank you very much.  Everyone's speaking about the legal data protection.  Yes, we need it.  It is absolutely needed.  But it is not the only way to protect our data.  First of all, there is no absolute immediate data protection.  But we can have the best data protection if we use all the tools.  And one of the tools is technical tools, encryption, et cetera.  Second, bigger tools and the third and most important in my point of view is the behavior of the user because users are behaving as if they want to put their life on the Internet.  Without any kind of awareness that everything is used.  Thank you. 

>> ALI ALMESHAL: Thank you very much.  I think we are on time.  I would like to thank my speakers here.  I would like to thank the remote participation and remote speakers and attendees and the help from the technical team from the IGF.  Thank you very much.  And that's it. 

(Applause)

(The session ended at 5:10 a.m. CET.)

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