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IGF 2018 - Day 2 - Salle X - WS414 Tackling Internet Disruptions via Multi-stakeholder Advocacy - RAW

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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>> Welcome, everyone. This is tackling Internet disruptions via multi-stakeholder advocacy.

My name is Daniel, and I'm here representing the open Internet for democracy initiative, which has co-sponsored this panel along with the global network initiative who is being represented by my co-moderator David Sullivan, who is all the way at the end of the platform there.

You know, given that the open Internet for democracy initiative is actually a joint project of my organization, the center for international media assistance, the national Democratic institute, and the center for international private enterprise and given that GNI is actually a multi-stakeholder organization that has representation from tech companies and from civil society, we can genuinely say that this is truly a multi-stakeholder panel and really lives up to the IF ideal.

I want to start off talking about, you know, some of the numbers. According to access now, in 2017 there were a total of 108 Internet shutdowns. That is in the entire year. Now, in just the first six months of 2018 there were 81, so we're seeing an increase. The problem appears to be getting worse. Not better.

One of the worst examples was in the regions in Cameroon where between January 2017 and March 2018 the Internet was shut down for a total of 230 days, so that's almost 60% of a year.

This is very, very dire situation for the people who live in that region. What we're talking about here today is about more than just shutdowns.

While a shutdown is the most severe form of an Internet disruption, we're seeing that governments are increasingly using other more subtle techniques to disrupt the flow of information on the Internet.

That can be anything from a very specific shutdown in a localized specific neighborhood even, but it can also be blocking traffic, Internet traffic, to certain web sites or platforms. It can be throttling traffic so that you're slowing traffic so that you can't share images and video, for example. These types of disruptions, which we're also going to be talking about, are oftentimes more subtle and, therefore, even more pernicious because the people suffering them don't necessarily know that they're happening.

There have been 124 shutdowns and disruptions in 2018 already in India, the world's largest democracy. I want to put that out there that what we're talking about really is a global issue that's affecting countries everywhere.

One of the issues with Internet disruptions is that they have negative -- obviously, negative impacts on society because they block the flow of free news and information. This is what we're seeing especially around election times when these types of disruptions are occurring.

They disrupt the ability of citizens to express themselves, to assemble online.

They hinder the ability of companies to conduct business and so they affect the GDP. This is especially true with small and medium enterprises that sometimes -- oftentimes they rely on social messaging APPs or social messaging platforms to conduct business, and that's impossible when you have these types of disruptions.

Also, really challenge strategic infrastructure, education, health care systems.

They have a wide variety of impacts across society, and this is really why these types of Internet shutdowns violate some of the principles that organizations like the GNI and the open Internet for democracy support. You know, we have the Democratic principles for open Internet, which is the guiding document of the open Internet for democracy initiative, and the GNI has its own principles, which the companies that sign on to the initiative must live up to. These are very much in opposition to those, where on this panel we're not going to be talking about numbers and tracking their great organizations that are doing that. Like access now, net blocks, UNI, the software freedom law center in India.

Instead, we're going to be talking about this is a challenge that's getting worse.

What can we do for a multi-stakeholder perspective to do something about it? We know that it's happening. What can we do? Really digital rights organizations have been doing a lot in this area, but they can't do it alone, so we need to broaden the conversation. How do we get social media technology platforms and telecommunications companies who are the primary way that people are accessing the Internet. How do they help inoculate users from these types of disruptions? What mechanisms possibly for enforcement or sanctions would -- international bodies or Internet governance processes have to pressure governments to keep the Internet open and accessible, so these are some of the questions that we want to talk about on the panel today. We have an excellent panel. The format this is going to be each participant is going to briefly introduce themselves, their organization, and their work. Then we are going to have a quick roundtable discussion among the panelists that I'll moderate with David, and then we'll throw the session open to the public, and we'll have questions from you. Be prepared with the questions that you want to ask.

Now, the -- I would like to -- first of all, we have a special speaker, actually, from -- who is going to be participating remotely from Cameroon. She's from one of the regions where the Internet shutdown has taken place.

Cathleen Dongmo, who is an entrepreneur from Cameroon. I am going to see if participation is working and hand it over to Cathleen.

She was online just before we started, so ...I hope this isn't a disruption. We may be facing one at this moment. What we're going to do while we're waiting to see if we can get her back. While we wait, I'm going to ask USAMA to introduce yourself, and hopefully she'll be back online when you are done>> USAMA:hello, I'm -- I think she's back.

>> MODERATOR: Can you hear us, Kathleen? You're on mute. We can't hear you. We still can't hear you. Okay. So we're going to have to go on and move to USAMA while we try to get the audio to play from Cathleen, but we'll try to come back to you, okay?

>> USAMA:  Thank you. I'm USAMA HILGI, thank you for organizing this very important session because I represent BOLIVI, which is an organization based in Pakistan. We focus on policy and advocacy and research around digital rights, Internet policy and freedom of expression. I just wanted to talk about network shutdowns in a sense that it's largely been normalized in a lot of societies. For example, each time there is, say, a public holiday or any political rally or protest, it's very normal for, you know, the minister of information or the minister of interior to announce that, oh, okay, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. tomorrow there will be a network shutdown in these cities, in this area. You will not have mobile phone signals or data connectivity. I think it's just with discomfort with technology and viewing technology as something that is new, but also something that is easy to control and censor in the old school ways of dictatorships or, say, Monarchys.

Despite that, the youth post-9/11 use of security in order to justify, you know, trampling of rights and this whole, like, global trend of what I would call making rights the collateral damage of security has really been normalized. I think in that sense of obviously just civil society and groups are just government group -- sorry.

Companies cannot really make a difference, but what's really important is to, like, work on advocacy that changes this thinking and approach to its technology. For example, I would like to just break this down in three different points. First of all, just the principal. In a second I'll talk about the economic impact. Thirdly, whether it's effective or not.

I think just pure research and evidence-based advocacy is what we really need. For example, when we talk about the principle of it is whether -- is it okay or is it proportional --

really proportionate to violate the fundamental rights of, say, access to information and freedom of expression when we shut down networks?

For example, the Pakistani constitution guarantees freedom of speech and the right to information. Right? But when we have a network shutdown, all of that is blocked. Then secondly, when we talk about the economic impact of this is just, again, going back to the new use of technology and it's how so many businesses and so many start-ups rely on technology.

For example, Pakistani students and people that are struggling with work in the middle and unemployment.

Ride-hailing apps like uber are a huge source of income and convenience to both citizens and those that are looking for employment. When you have a network shutdown, you have a shutdown of all uber services.

You have a shutdown of all services. People are not able to earn and people are not able to move around. Especially those who can't afford owning a car.

Lastly, whether or not this is really effective or not.

First of all, I think there's very little evidence as to whether using network shutdowns for security purposes during sensitive times, what is the evidence that this is really an effective way of securing citizens, because that's the excuse that's used. Secondly, also how this is so counter productive because if you are trying to quell a small protest and you are shutting down networks, you are bringing in more attention to it. What you are doing is creating a sense of panic amongst the public when they can communicate easily or they cannot get in touch with family or friends, et cetera, that may be out.

What you really end up doing is causing more discomfort and maybe the people that you are trying to silence, in effect, you are amplifying their voice and amplifying the nuisance that they're trying to create through the protest that they're organizing, right? By government-sanctioned network shutdown due to that protest being called in that area.

Just talking about principles, economic impact can, and & practicality, I think, this sort of conversation and nuance intervention from civil society and companies is very important to communicate to the government in order to deal with network shutdowns.

>> MODERATOR: Great. Thank you. Patrick>> PATRICK:  I'm a lawyer at a teleco in the Nordic and the Baltics. I'm also a board member of the global network initiatives.

I work a lot with principles within my company and also tools. A tool for our stake holders to see what type of request we get. I work with human rights impact assessments and I work within the GNI, and I KR contributed to the work of a one-pager and it's against network shutdowns. I will talk more about that. I'll start talking about a form, a form to fill in for my colleagues in local companies when they receive what we call unconventional requests. Then the company needs to decide and assess what this not only if the request from government is legal or not, but if there is a freedom of expression implication how to interpret the request more narrowly, if they're a business implication, if there is risks to personnel to health and safety, and then how to do leverage. One way of doing leverage, again, is to be a member of the global network initiative where we have joint interests with other companies, with NGO's, academics, and investors to push back when there are such unconventional requests as to network shutdowns. What we have done is to publish this forum for assessmentses of requests and then escalation within our company. That form is available on our home page.

Going back to one of the other tools is this one pager published by the GNI on the GNI home page.

Companies as well as governments consist of people, and people are lazy. We need checklists, right? Tools. At the GNI session at another IGF in GAUT la HARa in Mexico there was a brainstorming. What can we do to provide in very simple words all of these good arguments against network shutdowns? So maybe there's someone in the vicinity of the person who takes the decision to shut down the network who has these good arguments available? And can hand it over or has studied them and can explain them to the decision maker?

In addition, of course, we all have these long reports from the -- we have the U.N. guiding principles, of course. We have reports from shift and from BSR and from the council of Europe.

We have the SPLENDID report from David Kay. These reports will not be read at the moment of truth when someone is to take a decision within an hour or less to shut down or not.

That's why we published this one-pager, and it's available in, I think, nine languages. The idea is that this one pager should be available at arm's length. If all of us go away from this IGF can think about where to make this one-pager available at arm length, where an Internet shutdown decision could be made.

That might be a way forward to use this tool. Thanks.

>> MODERATOR: Great. Thank you, Patrick. Ashna?

>> ASHNA:  Thank you, Daniel. My name is Ashan Kanaere. I work on the collaboration with the ICT policy for east and southern Africa.

We're based out of Uganda. With regards to Internet disruptions and multi-stakeholder approach to push back against them, it's important to understand what African ICT or Internet ecosystem is like. Approximately slightly less than a quarter of the population has access to the Internet. There are more and more accounts than bank accounts, which is extremely significant when we -- it comes to a financial inclusion. For mobile, telecom ISP's, about 20 are from data revenue. The sector is contributing significantly to GDP, to taxes and employment, for SMA's, it's sufficiently and reduced transaction costs. For the sector, it's supporting jobs again, like Daniel said, and from a human rights perspective, it's significant for democracy, good governance, and social accountability as well as transparency. Of the numerous statistics that Daniel has shared, I'm sure Africa is leading in terms of being the one that is disrupting or shutting down the Internet as it's doing traditionally in terms of clamping down on CSOs and critical voices, shutting them down.

The disruptions we've seen in the continent are varied. I think the only common denominator is that they are around LEKDZ elections, protests, and exams. There is a approach and scope and style that's different. Some have been complete social media shutdowns.

Not access to Facebook or Twitter, what's app. There's been shutdowns of the entire Internet in its entirety. SMA shutdowns and mobile shutdowns.

These have been country-wide, affecting entire populations in the case of Cameroon, it was regional, as was mentioned earlier on. In -- the disruptions were curfew based, and Internet was available during certain times of the day, and shut down later on.

For us as part of a wider walk for ICT policy and practice that's progressive and conclusive, we recognize that beyond the human rights impact of these disruptions, there are social and economic impacts, and these are not demonstrated or documented as much as they should given the significance of the sector I mentioned earlier on. Last year we worked on a framework for calculating the disruptions from a subSaharan perspectives. There were previous reports, but they didn't necessarily take into account the sector of much of the ICT system on the continent.

Also, on the nature of the disruptions that I mentioned.

Some were up-based. Our study tracks feel that gap. Since its launch, that framework has been vital in performing campaigns and advocacy against disruptions. It's demonstrated both actual loss for countries like European Cameroon that have for Ethiopia and forms that have been legendary in terms of disruptions, but also potential shutdowns for countries like Kenya that are leading in terms of ICT on the continent. That demonstrated lots or potential loss we hope has helped to rethink decisions of disruptions. I think in den E Kenya and Ghana, we saw official proclamations of shutting down the Internet during the elections that were held last year and before that, but ultimately, the Internet wasn't shut down, which is a great thing. The automation of our framework by net blocks has also been significant in terms of supporting litigation and collaboration and research, but also insuring for the not necessarily mathematically adept activists or pushback stake holders. They're able to get data -- support coverage and reporting automatically. Again, like Daniel mentioned, only in TEMZ of demonstrating the impact of these disruptions has been instrumental in working with civil society, so ultimately the framework on the work that we've done for disruptions has helped strengthen pushback beyond activists and CSO's or think tanks like ourselves to include private sector and technologies.

Multistakeholder.

>> MODERATOR: Great. Thank you.

>> SHIHANG:  Thank you so much, Daniel. It's a pleasure to be here. I'm impressed by our panel as well because I learned a lot from our viewers, from different angle, different original angle and also statistics as well as practice now. Actually, you know, UNESCO has done a report this year. We actually observed a trend, worrying trend that essentially is a significant increase of all forms of blocking Internet shutdowns, and, yeah, at the global level. It can be really worrying because it has so many multiple implications. Certainly it has massive economic and social consequences, and if you look at this through a UNESCO position as we have just presented half an hour ago in the same room, we are advocating Internet universality worldwide.

We are advocating Internet to be human rights-based, to be open, tobacco is feasible by all, to be driven by all the stake holders.

You see, it's just impacting every dimension.

Certainly, first of all, it's a huge access barrier to everybody. Secondly, on the human rights certainly it's violating, undermining freedom of expression, undermining privacy and data protection.

It's undermining freedom association and undermining the weakening of the civil society.

They are also very sensitive with this because imagine how Internet is being so essential for journalism to have a source and verify news and protect their data work.

And proportional impact shut down activities. Imagine that even shut down takes place in one single country and the rest of the world wouldn't be able to access any information to this country and to know about its people from our side.

Literally it's fragmenting the Internet as a global public resource. It really has such a profound impact not only to the country but also really to the global digital community. All stake holders have a responsibility for this and modest stakeholder approach in the Internet governance as a one force of the Internet and universality of framework.

Imagine the role of Internet IGOs, international organization like UNESCO. We have a role here to play. We need to hold our member states accountable, and also to add international standards which has already been established to be necessary and proportional and human rights standards as set up in the universe of human rights, and also U.N. human rights council has issued resolutions reports on this issue. The governments should be engaged and certainly on this, and the private sector and technical communities, we are also here to find out a technical solution. Again, I think the civil societies and academia, should never be present in this process.

When you talk about a multi-stakeholder approach, it tends to be generalized at some point, but we have also done a very insightful research to good practice and multistakeholderism at the national level to see how the help advances the human rights at national level and, for example, in the past years we have seen increasing adoption of multi-stakeholder approach at different continents. It's not limited here in Europe, but it's really gone beyond the border of the continent, like in Kenya many years ago.

We have seen the institutionalized the multi-stakeholder and INTIRNT policy making process. It's a network of all stakeholder to formulate the policy for the country, and in Asia we knew that some years ago in South Korea when there was constitutional issue related a real name registration, and eventually it would replace the privacy and data protection policy thanks to the multi-stakeholder participation.

I do feel very optimistic in terms of using strengthening multi-stakeholder approach and the disruption issues at this moment.

>> MODERATOR: Great. Thank you. I believe that we're going to try again to connect with Cathleen. We'll see if her audio is working now. We'll give it just a moment.

>> Is there any other way that we could -- yeah. Just walk through what's app and we'll hold it up to a microphone.

Yeah. Okay. We're going to try that. You know, I'm going to just start posing a question that we're going to -- I'm going to throw to the whole group after Cathleen talks, but just to give our speakers a chance to think about it, because one of the things that you mentioned was the need for more evidence to counter this, and when you first said that I was thinking, well, you know, we have some really great initiatives that we mentioned in UNI, access now, et cetera. Really the type of evidence that you were talking about was a different type of evidence, right? In some ways we're really making strides in trying to track this and seeing where it's happening, but it's on the narrative side in terms of evidence of why it doesn't work and trying to convince the people who are doing this that they shouldn't do it, you know?

That their intent isn't being --

it's not succeeding with these attempts. I want to -- the question is essentially what types of evidence, what would we look for, where do we need to go, what do we need to add to the base of evidence that we have that could facilitate more of the kind of multi-stakeholder, different parties coming together? That's going to be the question that I'm going to pose to you. I'm hoping that we can get Cathleen on the phone.

Can you unmute yourself?

Cathleen, we think that you might be muted.

>> She's not muted.

>> MODERATOR: Okay.

>> She has a microphone on her side. Just need simply to put your microphone level higher, Cathleen. If you go to the audio menu, you can -- in the audio connection, you can just put your microphone higher. If you could do that, we could hear you. You are well connected to audio.

>> MODERATOR: And we are calling you right now on your cell phone. We can hear very low sound from her side.

>> Cathleen:  Hello? Hello?

Hello?

>> MODERATOR: Go ahead>> Cathleen:  Hello. Okay.

Hello, everybody. Goodness me.

This is how we have to defend, you know, our ability to use resources, but thank you for your patience.

My name is Cathleen. I am a defender. I am also a businesswoman, so I own two consultant businesses. That actually leads me into really --

it's how we are affected by Internet shutdown and especially in Cameroon. I'm sure that, you know, we're running out of time, but I really want to touch on the legislative and the economic part of how multi-stake holders financially play in insuring that we keep the Internet open.

If you -- they have a policy that essentially made to defend and to hurt freedom, especially freedom of speech online. For a government and for government that are keen as being seen as legitimate, I believe that one of the most essential things that multi-stake holders as OURTSZ must begin to do is to attack the creation of such legislation or act, create and fight for our own, like Nigeria where there's currently a digital rights and freedom bill that has been passed by the house of rights and the Senate and is currently waiting for the president's ascent.

>> The anti-terrorism to 2014 which are just broad legislation to capture their own ability to -- I think that one of the most important things that stake holders need to start to look at is legislation.

If we are working against governments that are keen on being seen as legitimate and give you another example, what we call in Cameroon the transparency and transparency gate where even though transparency international kept saying we did not send observers to your election, government and spokes people and especially the state media -- from transparency international.

We need the voices and the tools and resources from every single actor to attack legislation. That's one.

The second one for us is especially the economic impact.

Like my fellow activist from Uganda has said before, it's a wonderful report that really delve into the dynamic of the impact in Africa and our own context. It goes beyond job GDP.

It goes right into health services. It goes right into small businesses, and the impact that they have on a daily basis.

For example, in Cameroon, costs according to -- it costs about $1.6 million a day if you shut down the Internet. Think about, it's important for us to look at how we can make the case to our government to tell them, you know what, you're creating policy to encourage a vibrant Internet digital economy, but you are also hurting yourself in the process by shutting down the Internet.

I think, you know, if we're able to form coalitions, and naturally it's a part of --

I'm a member of something called net rights, which is a south African-based coalition, defenders of the Internet, digital freedoms. I think it's important for us to begin to work towards creating not just the tools, but getting our partners to bring forth the solution. The last one I wanted to mention was original aspects.

We're very -- we have a tendency of going further than we should.

I think regional organizations have to be brought on board as well in order to get their own impact. Nigeria has an impact.

Cameroon has a crisis. Yes.

>> MODERATOR: Great. Thank you, Cathleen. It was worth the technical trouble that we did to get you speaking. Those are really great interventions. I'm going to now ask USAMA and anyone else afterwards can jump in to respond to the question that I asked, but I also think we can add to that. Some of the solutions that Cathleen talked about in terms of legislation and if we need to work on kind of regional multi-stake holders efforts in order to prompt norms that will prevent governments from taking these actions

>> Thank you, Daniel. So, yes, first we have evidence of the impact (USAMA) of network shutdowns and how that makes obviously life, the economy, and generally just, you know, rights scenario very difficult. At the same time there also needs to be some sense -- form of accountability of the governments that are ordering these shutdowns. For example, are they really achieving the objective that they claim, you know, for the sake of security or shutting down networks in this area? What is the evidence that this network shutdown is what makes us more secure? Is it like other practice steps that the government needs to take or, like, difficult decisions that the government needs to make in order to mitigate the impact that they're trying to, you know, really achieve?

Then, secondly, there needs to be greater transparency. For example, has there been incidents in the past where because of the availability of the Internet networks, there is a security incident that makes it more, you know, say proportional for the government to go ahead with that work shutdowns in sensitive times. I think it's evidence that civil society and companies should demand of the government that really uses as, like, some sort of, like, divine intervention that they're bringing to us in order to make us secure.

>> I would like to think about it in another way as well.

By looking at how we operationalize multi-stakeholder approach and as you have just said you need evidence and need transparency. That's exactly why we need this sort of inclusive multi-stakeholder participation.

Without inclusive actors in the process, you wouldn't be able to really find the evidence to give a comprehensive assessment implication. It wouldn't have a transparent process. That's why we are really promoting this approach. In terms of how really we can get it, I mean, it's not a cosmetic discussion. It's not just to show social correctness, but having shown the good practice and the challenges we have observed, the national state to adopt a approach here.

I mean, in our work we have certainly identified some values, norms. We should have this mainstream to the approach.

It's inclusive. Like it to be diverse. Collaborative and transparent and from different actors and also to be relevant, et cetera.

The other thing I would like to share our recent work about how you can measure the state call of the multistakeholder presentation, because, again, we need an evidence-based approach to approach the multi-stakeholder approach. It means that, first of all, we should look at and assess what kind of regulatory framework in the country to encourage and allow for the multi-stakeholder approach to with stand this principle that has been integrated and institutionalized by the government at national level.

If it's like in Kenya and they already have it in their national framework to -- you have to have this process setting up before you make a policy.

And, secondly, at national level, I mean, in the indicators to measure this law and to measure the national level, the extent of participation. There can be many, many dimensions to look at it, to examine.

For example, is there active associations of the professionals in the country?

Imagine if those technical people, engineers, and the different -- they should, first of all, have shown up into association. They have avoice among themselves before they can really have impact to the policy process.

Imagine if the governments actively involve, encouraging the different professional and association to be in the process. There are also many dimensions we have taken from past experience. Not only at national level. I mean, again, I want to stress the global impact of any national laws, actions in the Internet to an extent, the national stake holders actively participated in the global SDUGS discussion. For example, the Internet IGF here, it can be a very interesting indicator for -- if you look at the data to what it's done to every DWIKly in this forum, and to the extent they are representative from different stakeholder revenue from private sector to evolve here to contribute to the global discussion, to share in their national experiences.

I think we have a very scientific and evidence-based approach to really the multi-station holder approach at the national level.

>> MODERATOR: Great. Thank you. Another thing that I'm really pleased that we have a representative from a telecommunications company, and I think it really shows how this kind of movement against Internet shutdowns is broadening to other stake holders, and I was just wondering what the perspective of a telecommunications company is in terms of trying to built these connections with other stake holders, because, obviously, it affects the bottom line of the telecommunications company when you have to deal with these special requests from companies, but what do you think the role of a telecommunications company would ideally be in this type of process?

>> Well, what multi-stake holders process within and context within the GNI provides to a company is, first, leverage where it's difficult for a single operator in a country to say, hey, don't force us to shut down our subscribers and our business. We can build leverage within the GNI.

In the arguments and also within the specific issue that is happening.

The other one, of course, is shared learning where operators and Internet companies are present in various geographies around the world but meet the very same problems. How did you deal with that there?

Then we learned from each other.

Thanks.

>> MODERATOR: I'm going to briefly open this up to questions. If people have -- I'm sure you have questions, so if we could go ahead and just take -- we'll take three questions, and then pass it over to the panel. We will thenville them respond. Someone have any questions? I see two hands over here. One hand right here. Okay.

Please introduce yourself and your organization and your country>> I'm INEZ, and I'm from the initiative fellows. I want to say that sometimes not having your Internet shut down can be a problem itself.

like we did, for example, a series of interviews with activists in several countries, and activists in Mexico, they did mention that they have rallies and didn't have Internet shutdowns, and it was seen as a problem.

Because, like during rallies and protests, for activists to show their document, who are they talking to and what are they saying and messages is more dangerous than not having Internet at all. I'm not saying by any means we should have INTBT shut down so Internet is bad, but I think the way we tackle the Internet shutdowns we should not from our mind that we need to tackle it with protection of privacy and how to tackle the process through the surveillance.

>> Hello. I'm – (inaudible)

I've seen some countries have gone into litigation of the shutdowns, and I was interested to know if there's any network shut down or any litigation going on in Africa, and I do know that there's litigation going on in Pakistan, and how effective is it? Do you think it has been effective, and do you think that the litigation against those network shutdowns have been effective because I do know that -- how do you look at it?

>> Hello. My name is Hannah Maclan, and I'm here with the net blocks group that was mentioned as an organization helping measure Internet disruptions and online censorship. First, it's great to see such a diverse panel with organizations that we've worked with all over the world. Net blocks firmly believes in order to have this type of conversation and create these type of solutions, we really need to have diverse set of voices approaching it. I was wondering if some of the panelists could share some of the successes of having a multi-stakeholder approach to tackling Internet shutdowns regionally, and net blocks, what we've tried to do, is also have more of a creative approach to try to create some impact in TEMZ of tackling these shutdowns. We're working, for example, on our tool called cost which looks at the economic impact of these shutdowns, which, I believe, was ENKS manied the by a couple of the panelists. We're trying to create our multistakeholder approach that way, and it will be interesting to see how the other panelists and organizations are also doing that as well. Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Great. Thank you. We have three questions here. The first is the relationship between mass surveillance and how we deal with that in terms of Internet.

We are thinking about shutdowns.

What happens in the case when it's safer for activists to not be SUR veiled. Then we have the second question about litigation. Specifically, is there any litigation in Africa or is there any litigation perhaps dealing with the telecommunications companies or in other places that has that been effective, or is that not a venue for this type of action, and then the third is thinking about some successes, and maybe, you know, whatever kind of level of success you would group that as.

>> Very tough questions. All of them. I just share a few thoughts from me. First on the -- it's -- it has been an issue for so many years. It's a matter of privacy. That's why UNESCO has taken the new task to use to defend free expression as our core mandate, but with the privacy became so crucial, and the issue comes up in 2013. We realize that you have to defend all the human rights in an inDIFizible way and a comprehensive framework because all the rights are converged.

Basically if you don't have privacy and security from -- I mean, nobody can really freely express perhaps any expression on the Internet. That's why from this angle we are really taking the stand to protect both free expression and privacy, and I think they are already talking today, and that's a -- to hear as well. Then the surveillance in many cases you are -- for the council of national security, and, I mean, with many other reasons whether legitimate or maybe less, and so we need to really have a broader framework to look at other rights and the trade-offs, and also, beyond the rights and how they are really impacting Internet. The INTBT as a whole. You don't want to kill the Internet by GENTD E defending certain rights rather than you are losing this Internet platform for human society. That's all we are looking at with a broader framework. Also, that's why because we think modest -- is really a direction we are going to. Also, the practice, we have seen practices in the past to handle the human rights issues, but in terms of Internet shutdown, I'm not aware of the recent development, but I heard that in maybe our premoat participation in Cameroon, I heard that there they were trying to get multiple participation from different actors to work towards that direction, but I think it has to be a direction, but on the other hand, my observation of personal observation that the discussion and very often you'll find it's missing from certain actors, some key actors can be completely missing from the discussion. Sometimes it's a government. I saw a report about the ITF. That's a big interest of the government saying this forum sometimes you see the private sector is not included.

Again, in my working context, I find international organizations events. I saw there are not so many from participation of civil society. I see more challenges and gaps. That is why the process is still not perfect.

Far from that. We need to strengthen it so that we can have our good practice maybe in the near future to tackle this same measure down on the issue.

>> To respond to the effectiveness. Around challenging government policies and practices, that freedom of expression and privacy and other rights on the continent.

Litigation has proved to be a useful tool in challenging those practices. There have been cases initiated in Uganda, Cameroon, and, I believe, cabbon as well against shutdowns.

Unfortunately, like many legal processes, it's frustrating.

It's long. I believe in the case for Cameroon, there's been deliberate efforts to stall or frustrate the process. Court papers going missing and dates constantly being adjoined. I think the case for Uganda that was had yesterday, I think, from two years ago when it was filed, it's been adjourned until February of next year. It's proving really frustrating, and there hasn't been any successes specific to disruptions, but for other rights online, there's been successes report recorded in cabbon and in Barundi where there's been challenges against provisions and freedom of expression online, defamation.

Those are at least set precedent and there are opportunities for stake holders to work together during some of the cases where Amicus has been filed jointly with private sector, and those being backed up by wider advocacy efforts. There is potential, and specifically to disruptions, there hasn't been any successes yet.

>> MODERATOR: First of all, thanks, everybody, for joining us late in the day today. I know we're close to out of time. I just want to mention a few things responding to the questions that have been posed.

I think as Patrick mentioned, we first started talking about this issue at the IGF in a workshop in 2016 Guadalajaraa, and at that time I think there was --

there were gaps in the understanding between how NGOs and civil society perceived network shutdowns and how companies perceived, how NGOs and other stake holders were thinking about shutdowns. We've been able to sort of raise the level of understanding amongst stake holders that are really committed to this issue and to foster collaboration. We created this one page and now we have it in many different translations.

There was initial economic research that was done in other organizations, like they've taken that and improved upon it and given us more detailed regional specific research that's out there. We -- as GNI co-organized with UNESTCO on elections and ICT and looked at the issue of disruptions and shutdowns in February of this past year. Colleagues from Internet working together with colleagues in Cameroon and were able to adapt that kind of colloquiem and organize it in Cameroon earlier this year.

 

There's been real successes and examples of, you know, concrete collaboration between stake holders on this issue within the Internet policy and Internet governance and digital rights space that is very encouraging, and I think gives us a good base to build from, but I think when we think about how else do we get this issue in front of policy makers in governments who the ones making decisions to order a disruption or a shutdown, we need to go beyond just the ICT sector, and there I think we have a lot more work to do just to share one rather sobering anecdote. So GNI together with the business and the human rights resource center recognized this need to try to reach out to stake holders in other industries, for example, who are affected by Internet shutdowns and disruptions. We wrote to, I think, 20 multi-national companies from sectors like the extracted industry and banking and agriculture that are operating in Cameroon last year to seek their assistance working with us on this issue. And to try to get the types of companies involved.

We didn't get a single report.

We have a lot of work to do, but I think that the type of collaboration that we've been able to engender within the digital rights community is something that we can expand across because this kind of disruption is so disproportionate in its impact.

It affects all of society. You know, the impacts go well beyond what we have in our one-pager, and I think that collectively there's a lot more that we can do to bring in other groups. I'm excited to work with organizations who work, for example, with local chambers of commerce. We have local media development organizations and others, including many of the groups active in the open Internet coalition to try to take this forward. I know we're close to time or maybe we've been over time, but be great to hear our panelists have any last ideas in terms of solutions.

>> Multi-stakeholderism.

>> Yes. Thank you. Just I think a lot of the questions have been dubbed, but I think your point about mass surveillance and important and it's something that we see a lot during protests. It's because, A, media is heavily sensored in a lot of countries, including in Pakistan, so social media is the only avenue that people have for disent and political speech.

Either that is disrupted or if it's not disrupted, then there's heavy surveillance, so that does become a huge issue. It's something that we as an organization work on with human rights defenders as we do detailed digital security trainings with them in order to try for equip them with tools so they can protect their digital presence as much as possible.

Obviously, there's no fool proof way. Just about litigation. Like you mentioned in Pakistan, there's been cases where the government gets a stay order, and two weeks ago we've had that work shutdowns even though the high court had ordered a suspension of that, and just hitting back at multi-stakeholder successes, so, yes, I think net blocks does amazing work, and I think we collaborated also on a few projects, so I don't have a particular example on network shutdowns, but in Pakistan in the past, for example, a multi-stakeholder campaign, we wrote to companies that were selling surveillance technology to the Pakistani government. We got around five companies to commit to not sell that ebbing technology to the government. I think they played a very helpful role in that campaign, so there is some sort of success.

Secondly, in Pakistan when you know, you are trying to campaign against the cyber crime bill, what we saw was that we were able to get through to policy makers a lot better when we went as what we called a joint action committee so that included the I.T. business community, which is pretty huge in Pakistan, as well aas telecome operators, civil society, and academia and media. I think all of us working together were able all of us were able to get a seat in, say, the national assembly committees and I.T. and in other -- in the Senate as well. I think that way you have a better chance of being heard rather than acting alone. I think even for network disruptions, that certainly is the way to go forward. Thank you

>> The issue that you raised here on safety of people, locally, of course, also very much applies to colleagues, employees of the teleco locally.

Therefore, it has proven to be very important to have policy within the group, which says that if there is an unconventional request, for example, for shutdowns locally, that the local company is required to escalate that within the group. That way you take away the pressure from the people, employees, that are just like other people locally and might be harassed or under pressure or in a very difficult position

>> In terms of how to move forward, let's follow-up with solutions. I think maintaining the multistakeholder approach is important, but we need to get innovative. Inasmuch as shutdowns in Africa, the governments have also become innovative. We're seeing more economic bases up front and use of the Internet, social media taxes. It costs 5 cents a day to use what's app, Facebook, and Twitter in Uganda. There are mobile transaction taxes imposed on send and receiving money.

Those scenarios in addition to disruptions are a huge barrier to access and affordability and human rights, but also have significant economic implications and potential of ICT on the continent. Avenues and approaches that capture economic impact as well as human rights aspects and encourage corporation in terms of extremely vital. I think one of the ones that we are increasingly exploring and want to push more to activists is the use of the UPR mechanism to push more on Internet freedom issues.

By a sense it's more focused on traditional human rights>> Great. Thank you. Thank you, all the panelists.

Unfortunately for technical reasons, we're not going done able to hear from Cathleen, although we very much appreciated her comments. They were very useful.

I just want to -- I want to (Moderator) echo what David said, and I think that the GNI can take pride in a lot of the work that they're doing to get different groups on the same page and trying to develop greater leverage, and I wanted to mention that the open Internet for democracy project were building an advocacy playbook that some of the fellows have been working on, and one of the scenarios that we want to empower democracy activists to be able to do is to respond to Internet disruptions and Internet shutdowns.

This is deemed -- it's in the kind of iteration process, and we would invite anyone who is interested to contact me or contact someone else on the project because we would like to kind of collect some of this knowledge and get it in the hands of people who aren't in these kind of digital rights spaces who may not know the best practices when a shutdown happens in their country.

I think that summing up, you know, we've come a long way.

We have great measurement tools.

There's a greater understanding of some of the impacts of these disruptions, but there's a long way to go. Especially about increasing this to get beyond the digital rights and beyond the ICT sector. Without further ado, thank you, everyone, for staying this late and we really appreciate it. Thank you to the IGF staff and the transcribers.

Thank you.

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