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IGF 2018 - Day 1 - Salle I - OPENING CEREMONY

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Paris, France, from 12 to 14 November 2018. 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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>> Ladies and gentlemen, please, can you be seated, because the ceremony is about to start.  Would you please be seated.  The different officials are about to arrive and the ceremony will begin then.

>> Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  Can we please be seated?  Ladies and gentlemen, can we please be seated?  We are about to start.  Thank you very much.

Thank you.

>> For the French speakers, what he just said is, thank you for being seated, as the ceremony is about to commence.

  (applause).

>> Secretary‑General of the United Nations, President of the French Republic, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, it is a great pleasure for me and I think very meaningful for me as well to welcome you today, at UNESCO, for this international Internet Governance Forum.  I would like to thank the secretary general and the President of the French Republic for being here today, which attests to their commitment to questions that are vital to our present and to our future as well as a strong commitment to multilateralism, which is the very meaning of the recent events organized in France, in particular the Forum for Peace that opened yesterday, because the challenges of the world in the making which has been greatly upset by the revolution, the digital revolution, revolution of data and artificial intelligence, cannot wait.

These are challenges that involve the entire international community, because no state can face them alone, and no state can face them without the support of the Civil Society, of the private sector, of researchers and of scientists.  Immense benefits can be reaped from the digital revolution for our common agenda, the agenda 2030.  We can see that in many fields and in UNESCO's fields, education, protection of heritage, or management of oceans.  Those benefits are already tangible, but there are also challenges, challenges that we must work on together, in particular, challenges that concern UNESCO's very mandate and the universal values that we must uphold, that we must defend in the digital world, which is not another world.  It is our world.

The challenge of universal Internet, because connectivity is still very unequal throughout the world, four out of five people have Internet access in the developed countries but only two out of five in the other countries.  Social inequality as well, gender inequality between men and women which is intensified in the digital world, rather than attenuated.  Language inequalities too, with the importance of thought, thought as manifested by language, also challenges to expression in the digital space, for example, online harassment, which affects school children in particular, and that is also an international phenomenon, the dissemination of deadly ideologies, messages of hate which reverberate, which are amplified on the Web, on all these subjects, it's urgent for us to reflect, to act, to train, and to educate.  Expression in the digital space is also that of the world of creation, authors, artists, all those whose creativity can be manifest online but who should also be remunerated for the work they perform, if we want creation to continue to thrive.

The challenge to think of humanism, in its technological appeals, upheaval, sorry, the whole question is to the heart of UNESCO's mandate, particularly the ethics of artificial intelligence, questions which we have to face which raise the questions of humanistic principles we have to keep in tomorrow's world which require international conversation and which UNESCO will obviously participate which UNESCO will support along with the entire United Nations family, and with all of those who are willing to participate, the member states, but also anthropologists, researchers, philosophers, artists who have a lot to tell us, in the context of this common conversation.

Thank you all.  Thank you for being present.  Thank you for your confidence.  This house was created to shelter and to nourish the dialogue we want to create.  I'm sure this will be the case thanks to this Forum, and thanks to the many opportunities we will have to meet in the future.  Thank you for your kind attention.  Let me call up the Secretary‑General of the United Nations.

>> ANTONIO GUTERRES:  Mr. President, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, we are meeting today in Paris, France, where human creativity and genius have always thrived.  It is here in Paris in 1805 that the mechanical telegraph was used for the first time, and in the 1970s mini tele French invention heralded the early days of the Internet.

Thanks to his data gram, Louis Pusan made a packet switching and subsequently the Internet possible.  It is here in France that the foundations were laid or many of the foundations for the digital era.  President Macron has followed this rich tradition and set out new paths.  I would like to thank him for hosting us today and in particular for bringing together in a unprecedented way history, technology, and philosophy.  It is only if we know history that we can project ourselves into the future.  The time has come to think over the ways and means of putting technologies and their fantastic immense power to the service to the fundamental values of humanity.  The national dialogue opening in France will take up questions for the digital future, in the Parisian cafes and lecture halls, philosophers and writers have been thinking of the impacts of technology on the human condition for centuries.  This quest for wisdom and innovation brought us to UNESCO today, which has been kind and generous enough to invite us, and whose walls resound every day with the debates on ethics, artificial intelligence and digital knowledge.  We would like to thank you for your initiative on ethics and artificial intelligence.  It is here that the junction between the past and future, that the 13th Forum on Internet Governance is opening.  Thank you.  The IGF has made a long journey, since the World Summit on the Information Society in 2005 in Tunisia.  At the time, Facebook had its first followers and first tweets had not been sent.  In 13 short years the digital world has changed profoundly.  New paths of opportunities have opened.  Digital solutions charge our work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  But alongside the tremendous benefits that it can bring, new issues have emerged on Cybersecurity, data and artificial intelligence.  We see the Internet being used as a platform for hate speech, for repression, censorship and control.

We need look no further than the headlines to see how the Internet and social media can be used to divide and even radicalize people, fueling mistrust, reinforcing tribalism and breeding hatred.

Over time, new fora have established, were established to discuss these and other issues and the IGF must consider how it will adapt.

Today, one of our most important questions is how do we keep the IGF relevant.  The good news is that France and Germany, next year's host are investing time, energy and planning into the IGF.  And I'm particularly pleased to learn that the UN High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, which I launched in July, is working closely with the IGF.

These discussions will reflect on the ways that digital cooperation can be improved.  As you discuss how to enhance the relevance of the IGF, I'd like to make a few suggestions that I've also proposed to the high level panel.

First, we must be more than multistakeholders, we must also be multidisciplinary.  Cooperation among actors in the digital space has not kept pace with new technologies.  Digital technologies are transversal, yet discussions are still siloed.  For example, data is addressed across policy spaces from technology, economic, human rights, and jurisdiction viewpoints.  The more silos there are, the higher is the risk for conflicting and suboptimal policies for industries, for governments and for users.

When you discuss data, and artificial intelligence, you might want to invite philosophers to consider ethics, you might want to bring in anthropologists and other specialists who are not typically included in technological gatherings.  When you discuss social media, you need to include political and social scientists, we need a wide range of expertise, experience and ideas to strike the right policy balances, for example, to find the right interplay between protection of privacy and security.

Second, we need to create shared language and references.  I ask you as I asked the panel to inspire new thinking and language on digital cooperation, create shared references, propose new approaches, and look for possible ways to reframe existing problems, be them in trade, security or human rights.

We need to make sure that the most competent fora are dealing with the most consequential questions and that they can benefit from cost cutting resources.  The answers to these questions should bring stories of digital cooperation around the world into a global narrative.

You will need a dedicated effort to include and amplify the weak and the missing voices.  A great strength of the IGF is its multistakeholder approach, but I urge your digital discussions to move beyond the so‑called usual suspects.  Digital growth affects everyone, and traditionally marginalized and unheard voices should be more visibly involved in the IGF's work.

Reach out to local communities, that have many fascinating stories and insights on leveraging digital technology for business and inclusion.  Get stories from people with disabilities who are among the most creative users of digital technology and spare no efforts to bring in the voices of women, who have been underrepresented both at the design and end use level and subject to deep gender gaps in access to digital technologies.

Actively seek out networks, where active users of digital and robotics technology, for youth, the digital economy is transforming the labor markets, creating new jobs, while simultaneously destroying old ones.  How do we support a culture and education system that encourages lifelong learning.  Do not forget that more than half the world's population still does not have meaningful access to the Internet.  How can the IGF help to bridge this digital divide both between and within countries.

I encourage you to reach out to governments, in particular from developing countries.  Let us listen to their concerns and their ideas on how the IGF can be more important and productive for them.  Do they suggest a more discussion on Internet public policy issues, or can the IGF provide help to governments and the private sector in dealing with pressing issues on data, security, and infrastructure.

Lastly and most importantly, we need to make sure that these discussions in this Forum, fora, have greater impact.  New technologies are transforming every aspects of our lives.  Our understanding of the transformations and disruption they cause is inadequate.  Technology should empower, not overpower us, and as with past transformative inventions we need to set policies that contain unintended consequences or malicious use.

Discussions on Internet Governance cannot just remain discussions.  Policy and where relevant, normative frameworks, must be developed to ensure impact.  We cannot leave our fate in the digital era to the invisible end of market forces.

But classical forms of regulation do not apply to many of this new generation of challenges.  Nontraditional, multilateral and multistakeholder cooperation will be crucial, including governments, the private sector, research centers and Civil Society.

The IGF needs to reflect on how it can have greater impact in Internet Governance.  Over the next three days, I encourage you to focus especially on solutions that increase trust on the Internet.

There are many digital risks, but some of them could be turned into digital opportunities.  You have the support of United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and from a wide community of regional and national IGFs.  You also have support from your Multistakeholder Advisory Group.  I want to congratulate you on having full gender parity this year and for the diverse geographic representation you have been able to achieve.

The World Summit on the Information Society provisions that established the IGF provide us with enough space to improve current mechanisms.  It is important together and consider the proposals that have been advanced about strengthening the IGF.

In addition, discussions with High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation can generate new ideas.  Make the most of this unique opportunity.  When it comes to governance, we must be as creative as bold as those who first built the Internet.

You can count on my support in this journey towards the prosperous, safe and fair digital future.  And most of all, know that you are making a difference.  I wish you a very successful Internet Governance Forum.  Thank you very much.

  (applause).

>> EMMANUEL MACRON:  Thank you very much, Secretary‑General, Antonio, thank you for your speech and also thank you very much for this welcome.  Also thank you for the remarks you made yesterday at the Paris Peace Forum.  And in fact, the topic today was at the heart of intervention yesterday.

Director general of UNESCO, thank you also for being here today.  Ministers, Ambassadors, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, I think it's the first time that I'm here in my official capacity as President of the French Republic.  I have the honor to speak here at the United Nations and also the very heart of Paris.

So if I may, I should like to say that I'm delighted to be here with you at UNESCO.  UNESCO being a singular component of our multilateral work on the protection of cultural heritage, the global agency for education and science, international platform for promoting multilingualism, you reminded us of that and also a center for digital innovation and digital knowledge.  The times we live in require us to be aware of the values that UNESCO promotes.  I think what we need is for UNESCO to convince an increasing number of countries to become a part of this initiative or to remain within this initiative, and this is why it is more delightful for me to be here today.

Today UNESCO is hosting this event, the Internet Governance Forum, which is very fitting.  For 30 years now, 30 years that the Internet was invented, and 50 years since two computers exchanged messages via the Internet.  Today, in 2018, half humanity is online.  However, it must also be said that the pace of change is accelerating, and over the last few years, we have seen this transformation picking up pace.

Of course, the printing press which was invented in 15th century can be seen as a steppingstone on the way to the invention of the Internet, and the pioneers way back then and you are the pioneers of today, were disseminating knowledge thanks to the printing press.  However, access means dissemination of information is much swifter, much more broad‑based.  90 percent of data that's been created since the dawn of humanity has been created over the last few years.

Over the last few decades, we have also seen a transformation in the way in which people get information, exchange ideas, create content.  These upheavals in the way we consume, produce, govern and act, of course, it goes without saying that we get the impression that each and every one of us can live 1,000 lives over the course of our own.  So this technological transformation is also a cultural, philosophical transformation which is manifesting itself in all aspects of our lives, and this revolution is still ongoing.

The list of innovations gets longer by the day.  For instance, AI, which you have both mentioned, the Internet of Things, to name but a few.  All of this means that we are likely to see security, culture, healthcare and education transformed by these innovations.  A new constellation has appeared on the horizon.  It brings with it enormous opportunities and acceleration of the humanity's progress and gives rise to new challenges which we will be confronting in our every day lives, and also when it comes to sharing the public space.

As we open this third edition of the Internet Governance Forum which is part of the Paris Peace Forum and Gov Tech Forum, I think it's worth reminding ourselves of the fact that we stand at a critical juncture.  On behalf of France and the presence of the Secretary‑General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, that the community which you are building which is allowing the Internet to function and for all of the reasons I've just listed which I'll go into a little later, all of this is of utmost importance.  Today, here in Paris, we are holding the Paris digital week.

Today, this week we have the Paris Peace Forum taking place in Paris, Gov Tech Forum and also the Internet Governance Forum.  Over 80 heads of state and Government will be attending the armistice celebrations, as well as many other dignitaries, it's worth highlighting the fact that these two events, Paris digital week and armistice commemorations, are linked.  From my vantage point, today, the Internet is in a way at risk.  Some might say that the Internet, it's there, it works, and very often in the media we have cyber attacks hitting the headlines.  Nonetheless, we have blind trust in the digital devices we use on a daily basis.  And for youngsters, Internet is part and parcel of their lives.

They sometimes have trouble imagining that some time ago we lived without the Internet.  And most of us use the Internet on a daily basis.  Our companies, our governments, have all but started taking the Internet for granted.  However, the Internet might come under threat, and I have a few words to say about that.

It seems that the Internet is here to stay.  However, it is under threat, first of all from a structural standpoint, because cyberspace cannot be boiled down to a platform for conflict, if it is fragmented along national lines, along other lines, then it will simply cease to exist.  That is why we need the right kind of regulation, because the shortcomings, the fault lines in the system are being held together by the efforts of states, substantial efforts, after all, there are cyber attacks being wielded quite frequently, whether by governments or criminal elements.

Unless we shore up trust and credibility, trust in the system, credibility of the system, we might see new cracks, which could undermine our collective security, and undermine something that came out of Civil Society, private sector initiative.  However, it's had such substantial consequences for governance, so that this is something we need to think very long and hard about.

In fact, strategic security can be undermined, healthcare can be hard hit, for instance, the hospitals all over the countries, in the room, they could also be under threat.  Unless we have confidence in the system, the system will itself have a profound impact on the trust that binds us which can have serious ramifications.

You see the list of net pathologies is growing increasingly longer, for instance, the Arab Spring, the Me Too Movement, it's not just the positive side of the ledger which is getting longer but also terrorist elements are using the Internet too.  So we need to be clear sighted.  We see certain threats hanging over the Internet, although the Internet is being used to spread Democratic ideas, for instance, ten years ago there was a upsurge in enthusiasm for democracy, thanks to the Internet.  Other squares, other fora where people stood up for freedom.  Today if we look hard at our democracies, the Internet is increasingly deployed by those on the fringes of society, the extremes, to spread hate speech and the like.  This is a stark reality which we must stand up to.

In other words, authoritarian regimes are using the weaknesses which exist now, democracies, and they are using that by means of the Internet.  This is the reality.  As a result, we have all sorts of hate speech and other speech on the Internet.  This is something we need to remain cognizant of.  We can't just say that we stand in favor of universal liberty, because it's no longer true to say that we can simply defend that and it will be the case across the board.

The hate speech that anonymous sources spread over the Internet can no longer be stymied.  2018 came as a turning point, not only is the Internet under threat, but some are describing the Internet itself as a threat to Democratic societies.  And this might result in authoritarian regimes, who have always seen the Internet as a threat and anti‑Democratic forces which are also rising up, because the regulation of the Internet is insufficient, they could link up with authoritarian regimes to destabilize the Internet, all the more so considering that, and this is something in fact the Secretary‑General spoke about very eloquently, all of these upheavals that are currently hitting our societies meaning that we should think about the opportunities that the Internet gives rise to, new kinds of jobs, new opportunities for greater inclusion, ways of erecting defenses against the Internet, networks of knowledge of wisdom, ways of including those on margins of society, it's all about defending our values, our ideals, because there is a temptation which we might fall into, a temptation to restrict user accessibility, because platforms might start serving as pathways or rather gateways which direct the flow of data to certain users for their own venal interests.

And as a result, we have all sorts of risks.  For instance, net neutrality might bring all independent thinking to an end.  Net neutrality is a very important idea, you should keep that in mind, because it assures us that a given group of vested interests can't capture portions of the Internet.

Nonetheless, neutrality does not equal universality.  We need to tread very carefully here to distinguish between the two, to reflect on this jointly.  State and governments for 100 years now have been protecting the very values espoused by the United Nations.  We have values, hierarchy of values.  Nonetheless, there are some universal overarching, overriding values.  Neutrality is not one of those values.  It is wrong to say that it is, because net neutrality allows certain actors who don't share any of our other values to propagate their ideas in the name of neutrality.

We don't want to close off access to the Internet in the name of neutrality, and thereby undermine some of the fundamental values.  We want a free, open and safe or secure Internet.  That is something I believe in strongly.  We want everyone to have access, but we also want our values to be upheld on the Internet.  We want to be able to defend our ideals.  I think there are mistakes which we might commit in the name of neutrality.  That is, treating all content as equal.  Discarding values of universalism which we have been promoting for so long now, in the name of net neutrality would be erroneous.  This is something we have not taken on board in our collective thinking on this topic.  In the name of liberty, we have allowed the enemies of liberty to gain prominence, casting away everything that we have fought long and hard for and which allowed us to develop the Internet.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to regulate the Internet and regulate its actors.  This is a major threat, ladies and gentlemen, and it's one of the reasons why I'm here speaking to you today, because I'm convinced that there is a pressing need, pressing need for us Internet stakeholders to take charge and to shoulder our share of responsibility.

This is why I wanted your annual session to take place under the theme of the Internet of Trust, because we do need to foster trust in the Internet, trust in private life, in privacy of content and trust in the network, the Internet as a whole.  France and Europe for a number of years now have been promoting greater regulation of online behavior and by regulate, when I say regulate, I already hear murmurs of pushback spread across the room.

However, we believe it is important to regulate, in the name of the public good, and in fact, I think this distrust is uncalled‑for, not all governments are born equal.  There are Democratic governments and undemocratic governments.  There are some liberal Democratic governments which are flourishing, there are also liberal democracies and there are regimes which are undemocratic.  We need to distinguish between them.  Also for the reasons listed above, I am convinced that we do need to regulate in order to have an open, free and secure Internet, as its forefathers intended.  This is what we need to do, to regulate, to safeguard that nascent vision.  That is why democratically elected governments which respect the role of law need to regulate to protect their citizens.  Unless we regulate the Internet, we run the risk of undermining democracy, unless we regulate access to data, that is unless we give citizens the rights to say what happens with their data, the Democratic legitimacy of governments might be called into question.  After all, implicitly, we would accept that in a economically dominant actors have more rights than governments to decide what happens to the data of these citizens.

In other words, the idea of responsibility which we must shoulder, responsibility before our citizens, could be ‑‑ we face a false alternative, according to this false alternative theory, there are just two options.  Total self regulation, no governance.  On the other hand, a Internet full of silos with strong authoritarian states exerting surveillance.  Now, if I may, I'll be politically incorrect, there are two kinds of Internet emerging, Californian cyberspace and Chinese cyberspace.

In other words, one model we have globally dominant private sector actors, which of course have a lot going for them, many qualities, but these people were not democratically elected.  I personally would not give up all decisions concerning my life up to these actors.  That's the self‑management, self regulation model, which is not Democratic.

On the other hand, we have a strong state model, the Chinese model, the Government is in control, major AI players are Government controlled.  I do of course have the utmost respect for that model where cooperating closely with our Chinese counterparts.  However, our Democratic preferences vary.  We have different cultural stances on different issues, such as personal freedoms.  That is a fact.

So in that model, the state is present, and in fact it's the hegemony, but what we need is a new way forward, whereby states work hand in hand with Civil Society actors and the private sector to introduce regulation, and you have a objective interest to work on this topic, because I think going forward, there is going to be more regulation, and we will be the first to pay the price if we don't regulate properly.

Last year, we launched the tech for good initiative, the objective being to craft this kind of cooperative regulation.  What is important is that we are all in lock step, so that all stakeholders, Civil Society, private actors, NGOs, intellectuals, journalists, the Government, to ensure that they are all moving ahead in lock step, and it's no coincidence that joint efforts have been so successful.

The Internet provides access to collective services, these are collective treasures which we need to safeguard in order to be able to equip them to future generations.  That is why we need to come up with a new multilateralism, tailor it to digital realities, all the while remaining effective.

This is why I've come here today, to propose a new collective way of proceeding, the Internet Governance Forum was established twelve years ago, the high caliber of deliberations that have taken place within the framework of the Forum have been recognized.  But the Forum should not just be a place to debate and deliberate.  Actors should come up with concrete proposals.  I will personally support all the initiatives you come up with.  For that reason, France, with the host of the previous Forum, Switzerland, and the incoming hosts, Berlin, 2019, we are going to promote this reform movement.  Starting this year, and in the spirit of the experiments held last year in Geneva, we are going to table a list of the outcomes of our debates.

Then it's going to be up to you to define the modalities for implementing all of this in public policy.  This was the mandate the Forum was granted back in 2005.  I'm very much in favor of this.  In fact, I suggest that the Internet Governance Forum become part of the UN Secretary‑General's office.  I think we need an Under‑Secretary‑General tasked with dealing with these issues.  Of course, I defer to the Secretary‑General of the United Nations, who I'm very grateful to.

What I think we need to do is to draft a common roadmap.  I'm going to listen very closely to any recommendations you issue, and I hope that that roadmap will serve for deliberations going forward.  For us we believe there are priorities we need to reflect on, and in fact deliberations are already under way.  This is unprecedented.

Let me give you examples.  First and foremost protecting citizens, especially as regards first and foremost data protection, and next regulating content.  In Europe we have already begun working hand in hand, the EU Commissioner is here in the room.  We have the GDPR directive, and in fact instead of stifling innovation, it's helped foster additional trust in the Internet.

Furthermore, we have seen scandals erupt across the Atlantic, which only goes to attest to the importance of this issue.  However, the challenges stand tall, including in Europe.  Therefore, we need to press ahead and do more.  For instance, the idea of a common European framework for class action lawsuits against violations of a personal data privacy would be worth elaborating.

I also think we need to come up with new solutions to ensure that data portability is not just an idea, a theory, but a practical reality, a practical option.

Companies, NGOs, coding enthusiasts, you are the ones who are going to come up with the solutions.  We need international standards that you will come up with here at this Forum, especially when it comes to regulating undesirable or legal content which is the next frontier in fact.

Of course, this is a very complex group of ideas, which can be divided into two categories, for instance, the child pornography, terrorism, serious offenses.  We need bold action.  Second there is content which is illicit, according to the interpretation that's given to it.  This varies across countries.  For instance, libel, harassment and the like, the decisions that apply in this case will be different, first and foremost because artificial intelligence which can now recognize child pornography images or terrorism content, terrorist content, is not in fact right for recognizing some of these other kinds of undesirable content.

This is something we need to do.  Otherwise, the major platforms will themselves set the doctrine, will define what is hate crime and what is something that should be defended in the name of freedom of expression.  Civil Society should be in the vanguard of these efforts, sending, alarm bells ringing if necessary.  If companies stray, Civil Society needs to act.  We have already made substantial headway.  We need to continue down this track, substantial progress has been made, as regards very serious legal content, especially as regards terrorism.

Last year together with our EU partners, we kickstarted direct discussions with Internet operators as part of the global summit for the Internet combating terrorism and we discussed this at the UN General Assembly.  Substantial investment has been pooled to help ensure the automatic detection of content and improve content moderation.

However, this approach underpinned by the good will of everyone involved is limited.  There are many disparate fragmented efforts, not all platforms are included.  I think we need to legislate in this sphere.  Europe and I'm addressing you, Commissioner, must play a major role.  A European regulatory framework was posited last year, and I do hope that we will come to fruition before the next European elections.  It's up to you to propose clear rules, beyond the European continent too.  Anonymity offered by the Internet, this should continual, allowing us to freely express ourselves on the Internet, as from time to time these expressions are stifled.  However, this should not give free rein to terrorists and the like.  We need effective cooperation to combat anonymity, in instances of terrorist activity.  Europe and the United States need to sign a legal cooperation agreement, as per the cloud act which would respect the rights, respective rights to their data, over their data of EU and U.S. citizens alike.

As for contents, the illicit content that is open to interpretation, there is a pressing need to find a way to effectively combat this scourge.  First of all, hatred, this is more necessary concerning the abject incitement the to hatred we saw in the United States recently which resulted in the loss of life.  We need to ensure that we uphold our values, after all, we never wanted this.  Online harassment, the next issue, especially online harassment of young people and of course we can't address this issue like we address terrorism.  When it comes to terrorism we need pan‑European international terrorism, as for hate speech, as for online bullying, online harassment, we need more interstate cooperation and greater collaboration with private sectors.

However, we can already see the dire consequences, cyber bullying is having on our young people.  Cyber bullying is having terrible consequences for our young people.  We see growing numbers of suicides.  In Europe, we have a legislative framework for putting a end to the differentiation between Internet content providers and those hosting the content.  We cannot exonerate those who host information of all responsibility.  As I've already said, platforms hosting hate speech should have the part of the responsibility to shoulder.  After all, they accelerate the dissemination of some content.  For instance, when it comes to racist anti‑Semitic speech that is being disseminated, we do need to legislate on that.

Although yet again, European national legislation which we have currently committed ourselves to taking further in 2019, requires us all to participate, in order to be fair and effective.  This is why France in conjunction with Facebook will be in Q1, 2019 kickstarting a new initiative.  Facebook will host a delegation of French regulators who will have as their objective to work hand in hand with platform experts to come up with concrete tailored proposals on how we can fight hate speech and other offensive content online.

This is unprecedented.  I think it's a shining example of the kind of collaboration we want to see, which I've already mentioned.  And I'm delighted that we are going to take part in this innovative experiment which will allow us to think in concrete terms about what is the best thing to do to prompt these platforms to set the highest possible standards to set the bar as high as possible when they host data and I hope that we can disseminate the best practices that come out of this pilot project which is vital, I think.

Last but not least, protecting, citizens protecting democracy, all of this requires quality information.  The Internet is a excellent vector for us to access knowledge but paradoxically the Internet has become a beehive, buzzing with disinformation, and in fact, it's impossible for us to tell whether certain content we see online has been carefully crafted, or whether it's the real deal.

In fact, content can be forged, even videos, videos of speeches.  Therefore, we need to somehow rebuild trust.  We need to set certain standards for establishing the truth, the facts.  We need to consolidate trust, in particular trust in journalism, one of the bed rocks of democracy, in order to be able to restore trust we need to take much bolder decisions than the ones we have taken to date.  Journalists without borders can operate with international declaration on Internet and democracy.  Treaty countries worked on the declaration.  It sets forth principles, we should confront the threat to human rights and democracy in public space.  The initiative was presented yesterday at the Paris Peace Forum and a number of heads of state and Government expressed their support for it.

I support it unswervingly.  I think it's absolutely necessary.  France has begun taking steps to fight against fake news, specifically during the campaigning period, and I invite all of you, each and every one of you to support these initiatives in concrete terms.  But let us not be mistaken.  The fight for the integrity of Democratic elections, unless we take part in that fight, we are on the side of the authoritarians who are in favor of fake news and election rigging.

We want to defend journalists, the ethical provisional standards espoused by journalists.  Unless we do that we will fall into the trap of relativist thinking, which is of course trendy but it is a Trojan horse, concealing those who want to undermine democracy.  There is information that is true, and also information that is false, of course, you might say that all comments are created equal.  That is true, if they are grounded in fact.  That is the definition of democracy.  You talked about your initiative yesterday.  There is a kind of modern day totalitarianism that is rearing its ugly head again, religious thought, hard line nationalism, it has many forms.

But it's making the most of our weaknesses, exploiting our weaknesses.  Most of all, relativist thinking, and in fact, there seems to be a case of us genuflecting, bowing down before the ideals we had upheld, ideals of truth.  Therefore, we need to stand absolutely firm, and I invite all of you, members of this community, who are in favor of freedom of expression on the Internet, to take an active part in this project, sketching out the broad brush strokes of quality information, leading to greater trust in the system.

The second priority which we have set ourselves is trust, stability and security online.  This is the best way we have of preventing its fragmentation which I alluded to earlier.  The Internet is now riven with conflict.  This is because malevolent actors, public and private, are clashing online, using digital services as weapons.  We must not just focus on defending ourselves.  We also need to uphold our rights and cooperate.  We need to work hand in hand to deepen the rules governing the rules between state and nonstate actors online.

With this in mind, France decided to express its support for the Paris call for trust and security in cyberspace.  This was a initiative that was kickstarted within the framework of the Paris Peace Forum and the Internet Governance Forum.  The text we drafted is in fact the first declaration which calls on states, international organizations, NGOs and companies, local authorities, other local actors, to work all together to ensure that international cyberspace legislation is implemented, that our rights online are protected, to ensure that digital products do not undermine security.  And today, over 370 states, companies and Civil Society organizations have signed up to this initiative.  The numbers keep growing.

After a decade of work in multilateral fora with the involvement of many stakeholders we have finally come up with this initiative.  I stand convinced that most of you will want to become part of the movement.  I encourage you to do so and to spread the word.  But the tallest challenge we face is implementing this document.

I suggest in conjunction with the Secretary‑General to entrust the Internet Governance Forum with the mandate to monitor the implementation of this initiative, to express support for it and to pinpoint the measures and means of cooperating, which are necessary for us to achieve those goals we have set ourselves.  It is now time to implement the initiative.  This is absolutely crucial.

Last but not least, it must be said that we need to preserve the Internet's ability to create economic value.  I believe this is encoded not only in the Internet's DNA but also in the DNA of UNESCO, the Internet, the single network has the potential to allow each and every one of us, regardless of our language, regardless of our background, to take part in this universal movement.  It's transformative.  For that reason, and speaking at UNESCO, this is all the more vital, we need to take action online to preserve cultural diversity.  Currently, we are adopting a European directive which is key.

This will allow us to fairly share cultural goods.  France will be leading the charge in all the relevant fora, because you see, our collective ideology is undergoing a change.  For many years now, we have loved the Internet, especially for its openness, and we continue to advocate in favor of the Internet and openness.

However, this has also meant a certain indifference, we have said what matters is fighting the fight regardless of what the fight is.  But we shouldn't lose sight of what is important here.  We do want to break down the barriers, for instance, the barriers between the 28 EU member states, soon to be the 27 perhaps, but unless we have common regulations, we won't be able to create and recognize intellectual property rights online.  And the same applies at the international level, beyond and above the EU.  I know that many of you have fought intellectual property rights, this idea of recognizing value, but unless we actually fight to defend those rights, we will be acknowledging that it is only those disseminating content that have rights, not those creating content.

So we have a choice to make.  We need to ascribe the value that is created to someone, whether those who disseminate, whether it be those who disseminate values, content, or those who create it.

We have major platforms, start‑ups, freelance workers, companies, Internet service providers, content creators.  Unless we stand up for those creating content, first of all, we won't be able to distinguish between all these different categories of actors, and also we won't be able to protect cultural diversity.

Therefore, I hope that here, we recognize that the work of journalists creates value and therefore has a price.  If someone does something in a far‑flung corner of the world, if it garners support, then we should also ascribe value and remuneration to the person who created that content, not just the platform that is disseminating it.

I think standing up for copyright and for content creators doesn't mean strangling the Internet.  Quite the opposite, it means that we have new talented people, men and women rising up, instead of giving up in the face of hegemony which we are currently seeing on the Internet.

It is this which will allow us to ensure the ongoing vibrancy of these creative energies.  This is why I've established, proposed establishing a platform observatory at the European level as well as regulation.  This is called the platform to business, which will uphold competition law in cyberspace.  It will need to change as time goes on, to take into account changes under way in our economy.  This will help us also to renew European institutions, standing up for cultural diversity and all of the Internet creative potential, also requires us to defend education.  This is perhaps the most important front we have to fight on.

Educating young people first and foremost, providing them with basic education, but also knowledge of the digital space, knowledge of coding, of different ways in which we can use the Internet, emerging ways, investing in education, defending education, governments, international organizations, all state and nonstate actors must be a part of the process.  That is absolutely crucial, crucial for education and for development.  This is the only way in which we will be able to create the kind of Internet that we want, avoiding the Internet falling prey to obscure forces.  Preserving the capacity of the network to innovate also requires us to strike a balance when it comes to tax policy, so that newcomers are not penalized vis‑a‑vis the incumbents.

This is another fight which we are leading at the European level, but which also needs to be fought at the international level.  Digital taxes, as things stand, are not fair.  Currently all of the work that was done, especially thanks to the OECD, which ensured a fair distribution of the tax burden, to avoid a scenario under which middle classes across the world would be the only ones shouldering the burden.  This is absolutely necessary online as well.  Otherwise, taxation, taxes levied on the major players will increasingly shrink, and we will have unfair competition on the part of the big players who will optimize their tax bill vis‑a‑vis the newcomers.  That is why we are calling for a digital tax at the European level.

I hope we will be able to speed up these efforts within the framework of the OECD.  On the same topic, what we also need is to collectively imagine how to set fair taxes, a fair level of taxation in our societies, but also avoiding certain actors enjoying hegemony, certain advantages. 

This is what the internet is all about, ongoing innovation, the emergence of new players, competition.  Fair competition and fair taxation will allow us to do this.  Lastly, I think we need to continue investing in cooperation, especially as regards artificial intelligence.  This is something we have done at the national level, and we have also bolstered these efforts at the level of French‑German cooperation, at the European level, with a view to promoting creativity and also ensuring greater consistency. 

France will play its part in this process.

During France's chairmanship of G7 in 2019, we will be focusing on AI.  And I will pick up where our Canadian partners left off recently, in line with the commitment I made to the Canadian Prime Minister, Mr. Justin Trudeau, so as to consider the nexus between the conclusions of the IPCC and AI.  A few more words about AI. 

I think we need to invest more in artificial intelligence in Europe.  We currently make up, account for 10 percent of global investment, far too little.  We are going to continue investment in France, Germany and also at the international level, we need to kickstart an initiative on this together with Canada and other actors. 

Now, this initiative needs to be very broad based, needs to bring together civil society, the best scientists, all innovators in the room today.  It should be underpinned by the OECD, so that we can monitor and follow up to the work and also UNESCO.  UNESCO will address the ethical dimensions, because AI can only develop, we can only have this initiative flourish if we take into account ethical considerations.  This will allow us to reflect on the technical, ethical and scientific dimensions of this initiative, which will of course be supported by states, international organizations, first and foremost OECD and UNESCO. 

When France is chairman of the G7, we will have AI specialists and leading lights.  They are going to meet in 2019 at the start of the year to lay the groundwork for this initiative.  They will take part in deliberations which we hope will lead to solutions, so hopefully when we meet at the Paris Peace Forum in 2018 and the IGF in Berlin in 2019, we will be able to take stock of the situation. 

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, Kofi Annan, one of the predecessors, the late Kofi Annan who we were all very sad to see go, said these visionary words.  To manage the presence of the Internet in our lives, we should be, we need to be at least as creative as the people who came up with the Internet.  And this is my parting message to you today.  We need to promote technological creativity.  But we also need to be creative in ethical, diplomatic terms.

It is no coincidence we are meeting in Paris on the 12th of November, a day after the 100th anniversary of the 1918 armistice.  In 1918, a peace conference was held, it lasted several years, it was unprecedented.  Our forefathers were very innovative in fact.  They came up with new ways of collaborating at the Internet level, as they had just seen for themselves the fruit of the absence of cooperation of the international level, the first world war.  Of course, they came up with a international initiative, which collapsed because of economic crisis, other upheavals but it was the predecessor to United Nations.  What we need today in light of recent developments, innovate to come up with a new multilateralism involving not just states but all the actors you are here representing.  This is my sincere wish.  I hope we can realize this dream together.  The challenges surrounding the Internet mean that there are major responsibilities incumbent on all of us.

This is why I hope that as our forefathers would have wished, we will be able to shoulder those responsibilities.  Thank you very much.

  (applause).

>> Thank you.

>> Good luck with your work.

Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Villa Le Bocage
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland

igf [at] un [dot] org
+41 (0) 229 173 678