IGF 2018 WS #229 Measurement & specs to support net neutrality enforcement

Format: 

Panel - 90 Min

Subtheme: 

Organizer 1: Hartmut Glaser, Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br)
Organizer 2: Nathalia Patrício, NIC.br
Organizer 3: Vinicius W. O. Santos, NIC.br / CGI.br
Organizer 4: Lisandro Granville, SBC - Sociedade Brasileira da Computação

Speaker 1: Chris Marsden, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Klaus Nieminen , Government, Eastern European Group
Speaker 3: Lisandro Granville, Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 4: Sunil Abraham, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Additional Speakers: 

Mr Christopher Lewis, Public Knowledge, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Mr Sunil Bajpai, TRAI, Government, Asia-Pacific Group

Ms Alissa Cooper, IETF, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Relevance: 

Within the broad landscape of Internet Governance subjects, there is the issue of Network Neutrality, a principle which covers several levels in Internet Governance discussions, ranging from physical infrastructure, the protocols governance and the impacts for the applications layer. Net Neutrality means that the network treats all contents in a non discriminatory way, enacting and maintaining a pro-innovation environment. It is a principle that supports the equal treatment of data by the network, with no discrimination of any data packets by content, origin and destination, device, service or application. In the background, there is the policy evolution aimed at the Internet and its development, shaping the overall future of the global Internet. Several net neutrality regulation frameworks have been adopted since 2010, when Chile became the first country to enact a net neutrality law. After that, other initiatives have been developed and consolidated in other countries like the Netherlands, Norway, Slovene, Brazil and United States of America, including common rules for the European Union countries. The subject is again in the center of the policy debates, for example with the reversal of the previous measures adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States, which has triggered a broad discussion along the country, with the approval of local rules by the states and also a strong confrontation inside the US Congress. In the European Union, in August 2016, new rules were enacted by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC), starting a new stage in the local debate. Previously, in February 2016, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had already adopted measures to prohibit zero rating and other types of content based discrimination, which were considered harmful to the network neutrality principle. Academia, technical community, the industry, and the diverse Internet standardization arenas (IEEE, IETF, Sandvine, Nokia, Cisco, IBM etc.) have been discussing standards and specifications which could help to improve the measures and practices of the diverse players in the Internet Ecosystem. In addition to the challenges inherent to bureaucracy in identifying those responsible for enforcement activities, there are previous challenges linked to these difficulties of prospecting the right and clear technical standards for network activities, so as enforcement procedures and decisions have better support.

Session Content: 

This workshop aims at discussing measurement issues and techniques, as well as the challenges inherent to standardization and the consolidation of technical specifications for discriminatory practices and throttling actions in network management and operation regarding network neutrality, as well as supporting enforcement activities. The session intends to identify the types of demanded specifications, and discuss possibilities for their acceptance throughout the Internet ecosystem, as well as the role played by entities responsible for establishing technical guidelines to support enforcement procedures. The net neutrality debate has been evolving around the world and new rules have been enacted in different countries. However, the so-called standards, specifications and best practices for a better balance in management and operation practices are still considerable bottlenecks in the system. The session will be organized in a panel format and will last 90 minutes. There will be five experts from different sectors, analyzing the issue of standardization and technical specifications to net neutrality conformity. The aim is to map research and initiatives throughout communities enrolled in this subject and put them in perspective together with the audience. Each of the speakers will handle a presentation scrutinizing the context and the debate state of the art, the representation sector perspectives, along with an explanation of some initiative she/he and/or her/his organization are involved with. The main questions to be answered by participants will be: (a) what are the main challenges for the consolidation of network neutrality in network operation and management all over the Internet ecosystem?; (b) how law enforcement have been dealing with network neutrality issues worldwide?; (c) what are the current and ongoing initiatives to establish common standards, technical specifications and measurement tools that could support efforts of harmonizing practices for network neutrality conformity? After the presentations there will be time available for a conversation with the audience to contrast different views. Each of the five speakers will have 10 minutes to present, totalizing 50 minutes of presentations. Afterwards, the moderator will handle a debate with the audience for 40 minutes.

Interventions: 

The session is structured around a 90 minutes panel format. The moderator will make a brief 5 minutes presentation on the topic, and then there will be five different 10 minutes presentations, followed by a debate together with the audience for 30 minutes. After that the moderator will use the last 5 minutes to close the debate, recalling key issues raised as well as important statements by stakeholders. The policy questions to guide this session are: (a) what are the main challenges for the consolidation of network neutrality in network operation and management all over the Internet ecosystem?; (b) how law enforcement have been dealing with network neutrality issues worldwide?; (c) what are the current and ongoing initiatives to establish common standards, technical specifications and measurement tools that could support efforts of harmonizing practices for network neutrality conformity? Speakers: Ms. Alissa Cooper (Cisco/IETF, Private Sector, US) [TBC] Ms. Michela Meo (POLITO, Technical Community, Italy) [TBC] Mr. Klaus Nieminen (Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA, Government, Finland) [CONFIRMED] Mr. Sunil Abraham (CIS India, Civil Society, India) [TBC] Mr Chris Marsden (University of Sussex, Technical Community, UK) [CONFIRMED] Moderator: Mr. Lisandro Granville (SBC, Technical Community, Brazil) [CONFIRMED]

Diversity: 

The list of confirmed and prospective speakers comprises people from all stakeholder groups and individuals who have convergent and divergent economic, political and social perspectives on the policy question proposed. It also follows a roughly 50/50 gender balance at the time of this submission. Moderator and speakers come from six different countries and most of them being newcomers to the IGF space.

Online Participation: 

Online participation and interaction will rely on the WebEx platform. Those joining the session using WebEx (either invited members of the round-table or the general audience) will be granted the floor in the Q&A segment of the workshop. People in charge of the moderation will strive to entertain onsite and remote participation indiscriminately. Social media (twitter and facebook) will also be employed by the online moderator who will be in charge of browsing social media using some hashtags (to be defined).

Discussion Facilitation: 

The discussion will be facilitated by the onsite moderator who will guide the panel in each of the proposed intervertions for the workshop as well as during the Q&A and comments session. The online moderator will make sure the remote participants are represented in the debate.

Onsite Moderator: 

Mr Lisandro Granville (SBC, Technical Community, Brazil) [CONFIRMED]

Online Moderator: 

Ms Nathalia Sautchuk Patrício (NIC.br, Technical Community, Brazil)

Rapporteur: 

Mr Vinicius Santos (NIC.br)

Report: 

- Session Type (Workshop, Open Forum, etc.): Panel - 90 Min

- Title: Measurement & specs to support net neutrality enforcement

- Date & Time: 13 November 2018, 16:40 - 18:10

- Organizer(s): SBC (Brazilian Computer Society) and CGI.br

- Chair/Moderator: Ms Tanara Lauschner (SBC and CGI.br)

- Rapporteur/Notetaker: Ms Nathalia Patrício (NIC.br / CGI.br) and Mr Vinicius W. O. Santos (NIC.br / CGI.br)

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

  • Ms Alissa Cooper, IETF, Technical Community, female
  • Mr Christopher Lewis, Public Knowledge, Civil Society, male
  • Mr Christopher Marsden, University of Sussex, Technical Community, male
  • Mr Klaus Nieminen, FICORA, Government, male
  • Mr Sunil Bajpai, TRAI, Government, male

 

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

- Subtheme (as listed here): NET NEUTRALITY

- Please state no more than three (3) key messages of the discussion.

(1) A first key message would be the fact that appropriate measurement is strongly recommended  to enable the work of law enforcement agents, because not being able to measure the network means that the possibly damaging practices are not traceable, and therefore no oversight is possible at the end;

(2) A second key message would be that in fact there are already diverse tools and standards that could be recalled so as to support oversight and enforcement, ranging from hot topics and field studies in Academia to proper deployment by some authorities worldwide;

(3) The third key message is at last the call for debate on that subject, as there is little systematic debate over the issue involving different stakeholders. It’s been demonstrated that the subject discussed is still quite hermetic and people from different areas and fields of actions are yet sticking to the surface of the debate, not reaching crucial stratus like the one approached by this workshop.

 

- Please elaborate on the discussion held, specifically on areas of agreement and divergence.

There was broad support for the view that measurement tools are more than necessary and can help to monitor net neutrality and to enforce laws worldwide. Some of the speakers indicated that measurement for net neutrality is a challenging issue, especially due to further new technologies that could complicate the scenario. One of the speakers brought a different point of view stating that the technical measurements are not the only way of doing the monitoring of net neutrality, given that regulators can also work in collaboration with the industry so as to have access to the proper data in the case of specific complaints by users. Other speaker presented a different point of view talking about IETF standards that could help to develop tools for Internet measurement. The complexity that new technologies like 5G and mobile edge computing bring to the measurement issue was also a well debated topic.

The discussions started with an explanation about the work of the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) on related topics, where they follow an approach of creating building blocks, and anything like a top to bottom measurement system has not been created; they design pieces that permit others to deploy complete systems and architectures on that. Some of the key building blocks for Internet measurement are created on the scope of the Large Scale Measurement of Broadband Performance (LMAP) working group, which has specifications composed by a set of standards to allow for the measurement of broadband devices, including the RFCs 7594, 8193, 8194, and 7398. There was also a brief explanation of a new transport protocol that IETF is working on, called QUIC (Quick UDP Internet Connections), which was designed to improve performance of certain types of applications and also to avoid congestion by implementing some different network parameters, among other tools and modes of operation.

The speakers recognised that measurement is a concern, since it is necessary to see whether companies are compliant to the regulations. In terms of deployment, it is difficult to know what was exactly measured because it is not possible to control all parameters at the same time. A speaker said that another difficulty is to interpret the collected data and know why they are meaningful, to whom they are meaningful, and for what purpose they are meaningful. The participants also argued that it is not possible to know the real landscape of net neutrality and if network operators have been compliant to the laws if network neutrality cannot be properly measured. Regulators worldwide have not gotten together to measure traffic speed increases, and it is necessary to use measures from different companies to understand what it is happening on this issue. Participants recalled the importance of mobilising people to demand not only strong net neutrality protections, but accurate measurement and oversight. It is necessary to build a reliable environment where people can trust broadband companies and regulatory agencies, and the provision of those sorts of measurements are a way for this. Participants also talked about the European Open Internet Regulation, which has enabled a legal background for decisions and law enforcement. Cooperation with industry, end users, ISP and manufacturers was also a topic covered by discussions, putting on the argument that technical measurements are not the only way of doing the monitoring, without prejudice of having net neutrality measurement tools, like BEREC’s net neutrality regulatory assessment methodology that describes a way for taking some of these measurements and a tool that is under development.

 

- Please describe any policy recommendations or suggestions regarding the way forward/potential next steps.

Despites the session presented in depth discussions on the topic, there were only a few explicit policy recommendations for the issue. One of the speakers suggested that a good cooperation with the industry, end users, ISP and manufacturers can help to monitor net neutrality violations and one possible solution is to request information from industry stakeholders whenever it is needed or when some users specific complaints. A much broader recommendation that could be inferred from the set of discussions and statements would be the indication for regulators to start looking more deeply to what have been done under the standardization tracks and studied by Academia and Technical Community in general, so as to be able to build on those experiences and foster collaboration with relevant stakeholders.

 

- What ideas surfaced in the discussion with respect to how the IGF ecosystem might make progress on this issue?

This topic was not directly and explicitly covered by discussions that took place during the session. However, drawing upon the discussions held, it is possible to infer that the IGF ecosystem could help and set the way forward for the discussions by fostering multistakeholder collaboration within the IGF community, and especially within the intersessional work held under IGF main tracks. For example, the Dynamic Coalition on Net Neutrality held a session discussing the subject of measuring network discriminatory practices.

 

- Please estimate the total number of participants: 70 on site participants + 2 remote participants

- Please estimate the total number of women and gender-variant individuals present: 23 women on site

- To what extent did the session discuss gender issues, and if to any extent, what was the discussion?

Gender issues were not covered by the discussions held.

- Session outputs and other relevant links (URLs):

Session Time: 
Tuesday, 13 November, 2018 - 16:40 to 18:10
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