IGF 2018 WS #180 Net neutrality and beyond: ensuring freedom of choice online

Format: 

Birds of a Feather - 90 Min

Subtheme: 

Organizer 1: Sunil Bajpai, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
Organizer 2: Anaïs Le Gouguec, Arcep
Organizer 3: Hélène Bout, Arcep
Organizer 4: Vincent TOUBIANA, ARCEP

Speaker 1: Sunil Bajpai, Government, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Philippe Tousignant, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Anaïs Le Gouguec, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Amba Kak, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 5: Thomas Lohninger, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Additional Speakers: 

Sunil Bajpai is currently working as Principal Advisor at Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, looking after IT, Quality of Service and Consumer Affairs.

Besides working on policy recommendations for protecting net neutrality in India, he has recently helped develop regulations to control spam and fraud communications that leverage distributed ledger technologies.

He has over 30 years of experience in operations, maintenance, policy, research and leadership roles. In the field of IT, he has successfully handled major projects for Indian Railways over a period of 6 years.

He has a Masters in Design Engineering and an M Phil in Social Sciences and has published papers in a diverse set of areas ranging from mechanical engineering to development of new database tools.

Relevance: 

The purpose of the workshop is to identify and qualify the elements that restrain the use of the Open Internet. TRAI, CRTC and Arcep are responsible for ensuring the implementation of Net neutrality Regulations respectively in India, Canada and France. Through the protection of an open Internet, these three authorities ensure the preservation of Internet as a common good and a resource for innovation. This workshop will be the first time ever they will share together with the public their common experience as enforcers of net neutrality regulations. While the work done with Internet service providers has moved forward in Canada, France and India, some issues such as zero rating remain highly debated over the world. Besides, going beyond net neutrality, other undertakings than ISPs appear to be impeding a non-discriminatory access to the Internet. Smartphones for instance have become our daily companions thanks to the enormous amount of innovation and services they provide. They have become the main devices by which we access the Internet and their characteristic influence greatly end-users online experience. Nevertheless, by getting into our pockets, access to Internet has become intrusive and restrictive. While some discriminating behaviors are legitimate due for instance to security reasons, other behaviors tend to impose unfair and illegitimate conditions to end users. The result is that end-users are quite often deprived of their freedom of choice and this trend may become bigger with voice assistants. Discussing these issues openly is a way to ensure that authorities move forward, and in the right direction.

Session Content: 

On Net Neutrality, regulators from different countries have taken different positions and focused on number of aspects of neutrality. TRAI has focused on aspects of neutrality from perspective of access to internet and dealt with other aspects only to the extent that they are central to net neutrality. The CRTC’s frameworks were established to ensure that net neutrality principles are upheld in the vast majority of cases; this supports the CRTC’s view that investment in networks should be the primary tool to deal with network congestion, as opposed to favouring certain types of traffic or applications. As such, the CRTC will present its frameworks and discuss the ways in which they have removed barriers for all internet users. While enforcement of net neutrality can be assessed positively in France, ARCEP has focused on other aspects of neutrality as well like role of device, Operating Systems, Browsers, App providers, App store in restricting the choices of user to access Internet. Thomas Lohninger, as a representative of civil society and Amba Kak, as a researcher will both enrich the debate with their extensive analysis of the assessment of zero rating by authorities. Amba Kak has also conducted the analysis of Arcep proposals on device neutrality. She will provide her evaluation of those. The intent is to rope in speakers from regulatory bodies and civil society who can present various restrictions that can technically or artificially hamper users’ freedom to choose their content and applications and result in less internet openness. A grid of analysis can therefore be submitted for discussion. The speakers will introduce a series of proposals for guaranteeing an open internet, and giving users back their freedom of choice.

Interventions: 

The workshop could start with a brief description of the concept behind the Open Internet and what it implies in terms of consumer protection and innovation without permission. The moderator would then open the discussion and ask participants if they identify other barriers set by intermediaries (ISPs, Devices, OSs, Services providers,…). Then, confirmed participants could present, for 5 minutes each, the barriers they have identified, moving from the network to the services: • TRAI and CRTC for the core Net Neutrality issues and the treatment of zero rating, • ARCEP for the devices neutrality proposals, • Amba Kak (Mozilla Foundation) and Thomas Lhoninger will provide their analysis of the actions conducted on the three continents and the proposals brought forward to ensure freedom of choice for end users. During the remaining hour, participants and the audience could then identify additional issues and discuss the remedies that they see as appropriate to address the identified challenges.

Diversity: 

Gender parity will be ensured. Confirmed participants represent academia, NGOs and public authorities all from three different continents: Ms. Amba Kak, Technology Policy Fellow, Mozilla, India Mr Thomas Lohninger, Executive Director of the digital rights NGO epicenter.works. The Center of Internet and Society of the Stanford Law School holds him as a non-residential Fellow. He worked in Brussels on the European Net Neutrality regulation as Policy Advisor for European Digital Rights . His background is in IT and Cultural- and Social Anthropology. Mr Sunil Bajpai is Principal Advisor at TRAI, the Indian Regulator for telecommunications Ms Anaïs Le Gouguec, is head of the Unit in charge of "Economic analysis and digital intelligence" at Arcep, the French Regulator for telecommunications. Her unit has conducted Arcep work on device neutrality. She has graduated from LSE and her past experiences include the French Treasury and Ministry of Labour. Ms. Véronique Lehoux is Director General in charge of Consumer Affairs and Strategic Policy at CRTC (the Canadian Authority in charge of broadcasting and telecommunications). TRAI is a first-time IGF session speaker and organizer.

Online Participation: 

An online pad will host the comments received (online or not). The public and the audience could vote regarding the relevancy of the proposals on a plateform such as Discuto (www.discuto.io) or on Twitter. A hashtag will be created on Twitter several days before so to collect opinions ahead.

Discussion Facilitation: 

Participants will animate the debate by presenting their point of views, and encouraging participants to challenge them. Online participation will be opened several days ahead of the session to facilitate exchanges.

Onsite Moderator: 

Anaïs Le Gouguec

Online Moderator: 

Hélène Bout

Rapporteur: 

Vincent Toubiana

Agenda: 

-Brief Introduction of the WS moderator (1')

Part 1: Current approaches on net Neutrality (45') Quick introduction by the moderator (2') Interventions by the 5 speakers (4' each) Discussion with the room (20') Conclusion & transition (2')

Part 2: Beyond Net Neutrality - The way ahead (45') Quick introduction by the moderator (2') Interventions by the 5 speakers (4' each) Discussion with the room (20') Conclusion and wrap-up (2')

Report: 

Pre-Session Synthesis Due: 2 November 2018

Short Report Due: Within 12 hours of when session is held

- Session Type (Workshop, Open Forum, etc.):  Birds of a Feather (90 minutes)

- Title: NN and beyond: ensuring freedom of choice online

- Date & Time: November the 13th, 2018/ 10:10am – 11:40 am

- Organizer(s):

Joseph Manoharan, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India

Anaïs Le Gouguec, Arcep

- Chair/Moderator:

Vincent Toubiana (in-site moderator)

Helene Bout (online moderator)

- Rapporteur/Notetaker:

Boris Gartner

- List of speakers and their institutional affiliations (Indicate male/female/ transgender male/ transgender female/gender variant/prefer not to answer):

Sunil Bajpai, male, Government, Asia-Pacific Group

Philippe Tousignant, male, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Anaïs Le Gouguec, female, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Amba Kak, female, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Thomas Lohninger, male, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

- Theme (as listed here): Technical and Operational Topics

- Subtheme (as listed here): NET Neutrality

- Please state no more than three (3) key messages of the discussion. [150 words or less]

  • A principle-based approach is not sufficient when it comes to preserving an open internet. Monitoring, measuring, collecting data, enforcing rules and coordinating at regional or global scale is required.
  • National frameworks on net neutrality (notably on traffic management practices and differential pricing practices) may differ, but all reinforce the idea that network should be conceived and deployed as open and as a common good.
  • Beyond net neutrality and rules imposed to ISPs, many restrictions to an open internet have been identified. Some measures may for instance bring more fluidity and provide freedom of choice to users when it comes to app stores and devices.
Session Time: 
Tuesday, 13 November, 2018 - 10:10 to 11:40
Room: 
Salle II

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