IGF 2018 WS #414 Tackling Internet Disruptions via Multi-stakeholder Advocacy

Format: 

Round Table - 60 Min

Subtheme: 

Organizer 1: David Sullivan, Global Network Initiative
Organizer 2: Usama Khilji, Bolo Bhi
Organizer 3: Morgan Frost, Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)
Organizer 4: Sarah Moulton, National Democratic Institute

Speaker 1: Usama Khilji, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific
Speaker 2: Patrik Hiselius, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Kathleen Ndongmo, Civil Society, Africa 
Speaker 4: Xianhong Hu, Intergovernmental Organization, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Ashnah Kalemera, Civil Society, Africa 

Additional Speakers: 

While there are no additional speakers, the updated speaker list is as follows:

Session Organizers

1. David Sullivan

2. Usama Khilji

3. Morgan Frost 

4. Sarah Moulton

Moderators and Rapporteur

1. Moderator - Daniel O'Maley

2. Online Moderator - Morgan Frost

3. Rapporteur - Sarah Moulton 

Speakers

1. Usama Khilji, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific

2. Patrik Hiselius, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

3. Kathleen Ndongmo, Civil Society, Africa 

4. Xianhong Hu, Intergovernmental Organization, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

5. Ashnah Kalemera, Civil Society, Africa 

Relevance: 

As the growth of the online global population has led to increased opportunities for democratic participation, there has also been an increasing trend by governments around the world to restrict access to services and disrupt networks. These incidents take a form of blunt orders to internet service providers and often occur in politically charged contexts, such as protests or elections, making non-compliance challenging. While the duration and types of these disruptions may vary, their human rights and economic impact can be particularly acute in the Global South, including: loss of access to critical online services, shuttering of independent and alternative media sources, and the removal of dissenting voices from political commentary or participation. With government ordered disruptions on the rise, the need for coordinated multistakeholder dialogue and engagement in response to these threats to a democratic and open internet is more vital than ever. Civil society, technology companies, the local private sector, media outlets, and internet governance bodies often play a key role in alerting the global community to internet disruptions. How can they better align and combine their efforts to not only mitigate the negative impacts of internet shutdowns but also prevent them from happening in the first place? This roundtable will build upon previous workshops organized by the Global Network Initiative (GNI), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), and the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) at the IGF and other international fora.

Session Content: 

This moderated roundtable discussion will incorporate diverse perspectives from civil society, media, the private sector, intergovernmental organizations, and the IT community. It aims to spark a broader conversation among participants about effective multistakeholder responses to network disruptions. The conversation will seek to elicit specific recommendations around three core topic areas: What steps can technology companies take, consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and the GNI Principles, to examine and limit the potential human rights impact of government demands to disrupt networks; how to strengthen existing mechanisms for connecting local private sector and internet governance stakeholders to grassroots digital rights advocacy initiatives around internet disruptions, and identify new channels for cooperation; and how can multistakeholder communities, such as those at IGF, help set, promote, and enforce norms around preventing internet disruptions?

Interventions: 

While the roundtable discussion will not have formal presentations, the speakers will further guide conversation around key discussion questions posed to the session participants, based on their diverse expertise. The direct impact of internet shutdowns by civil society will be discussed by Kathleen Ndongmo, a business leader and contributor to the #BringBackOurInternet campaign from Cameroon, Ashnah Kalemera will discuss CIPESA's research on network disruptions and policy engagement across eastern and southern Africa, and Usama Khilji, Director of Bolo Bhi will discuss their work to counter internet disruptions in Pakistan. Patrik Hiselius will discuss how Telia company approaches government requests/demands, in line with the GNI Principles and the UNGPs. UNESCO’s Xianhong Hu will focus on multistakeholder engagement and its fundamental role in the future of internet governance.

Diversity: 

To promote a global and diverse discussion, each of the confirmed speakers for this roundtable discussion have been selected based on gender diversity, as well as their differing areas of subject matter expertise and geographic focus. The speakers represent a diverse set of geographic backgrounds and stakeholder groups. Furthermore, we intend to use both the in-person and online discussion to further diversify the types of participants.

Online Participation: 

The organizers will heavily promote online participation via social media and through their significant networks. GNI has nearly 60 members based around the world, including companies, civil society, academics, and investors. The Global Community of Open Internet Supporters is facilitated by NDI, CIPE, and CIMA, and includes representatives from over 50 countries including Pakistan, Nigeria, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, India, Mexico, Tunisia, Jordan, Kenya, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Cote D’Ivoire, Venezuela, and Hungary. The online moderator will filter questions and comments from these participants up to the panel in real time in order to develop a robust global discussion and ensure that the voices of the remote participants receive the same amount of time to contribute to the conversation as the participants attending in-person.

Discussion Facilitation: 

The onsite moderator and the five featured speakers will help facilitate a roundtable discussion. The participants in the room, as well as those online, will be encouraged to share their experiences and opinions on how to leverage a multistakeholder approach to address challenges of internet and mobile service disruptions. In order to encourage a fruitful and inclusive discussion, ample time will also be allotted for questions and comments from the in-person audience at IGF and through online participation.

Onsite Moderator: 

Daniel O’Maley, Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA)

Online Moderator: 

Maiko Nakagaki, Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)

Rapporteur: 

Sarah Moulton, National Democratic Institute (NDI)

Agenda: 

1. Welcoming Remarks by Moderator, 5 min

2. Opening Statements by all speakers, 25 minutes

3. Open discussion and Q&A (Q&A will be available for participants attending the session online and in person). 

Report: 

IGF 2018 Synthesis Report

Workshop # 414 “Tackling Internet Disruptions via Multi-stakeholder Advocacy”

- Session Type (Workshop, Open Forum, etc.): Roundtable, 60 Minutes

- Title: Tackling Internet Disruptions via Multi-stakeholder Advocacy

- Date & Time: Tuesday, 13 November 2018 - 17:20 to 18:20

- Organizer(s):

Morgan Frost, Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), Civil Society

David Sullivan, Global Network Initiative (GNI), Civil Society

Usama Khilji, Bolo Bhi, Civil Society

Sarah Moulton, National Democratic Institute (NDI), Civil Society

- Chair/Moderator:

Daniel O’Maley, Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA), Onsite Moderator

Morgan Frost, Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), Online Moderator

- Rapporteur/Notetaker:

Sarah Moulton, National Democratic Institute (NDI)

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

1.  Usama Khilji, Bolo Bhi, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific, Male  

2. Patrik Hiselius, Telia Company, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG), Male

3. Kathleen Ndongmo, Entrepreneur, Civil Society, Africa, Female

4.  Xianhong Hu, UNESCO, Intergovernmental Organization, Western European and Others Group (WEOG), Female

5. Ashnah Kalemera, The Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), Civil Society, Africa, Female  

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

- Subtheme (as listed here): Internet Shutdowns

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

As there has been an increasing trend by governments around the world to restrict access to services and disrupt networks, this roundtable discussion will seek to address the following questions:

  • What steps can technology companies take, consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and the Global Network Initiative (GNI) Principles, to examine and limit the potential human rights impact of government demands to disrupt networks?
  • How can existing mechanisms be strengthened for connecting local private sector and internet governance stakeholders to grassroots digital rights advocacy initiatives around internet disruptions, and identify new channels for cooperation?
  • How can multistakeholder communities, such as those at IGF, help set, promote, and enforce norms around preventing internet disruptions?

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

  • Overall, the speakers broadly agreed that internet disruptions undermine human rights, and pushback against them is most effective when a wide network of stakeholders collaborate together to conduct advocacy (e.g. private sector, technology companies, civil society, media groups, academia). Multi-stakeholder collaboration brings increased participation and enhanced understanding among different actors, and can provide more leverage when disruptions occur.
  • There was some discussion around whether litigation was a useful approach when disruptions occur. Some felt that there hadn’t been any results from undertaking litigation, citing an example where a government ignored high-court decisions. However, another speaker noted that despite the length of the legal process, there had been some success from filing amicus briefs, as well as from other litigation efforts in specific country contexts (i.e. Ghana and Kenya).  

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

  • Identify ways in which UN members can be held accountable to international standards that have already been established
  • In a national context, form joint action committees that include a wide variety of actors, i.e. academia, media, civil society, IT, private sector, telecom operators. These efforts may be more likely to gain visibility in front of lawmakers. Seek to create legislation instead of simply responding to it.
  • Prioritize the integration of multiple stakeholders in designing a specific advocacy tool or approach. For example, developing  a tool to calculate costs of internet shutdowns in sub-Saharan Africa (collaboration between CIPESA and NetBlocks) has helped to strengthen partnerships with private sector and technology companies.

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

  • Increase the diversity of private sector companies engaged in advocacy efforts (expand beyond telecom and IT sectors).
  • Look for forms of leverage when internet disruptions occur. For example, GNI has developed a mechanism for local companies to report when they receive unconventional requests from the government, not just regarding the legality, but whether there are risks to personnel, potential violations to freedom of expression, etc.
  • Find opportunities for shared learning, e.g. convene group of geographically diverse telecom operators and internet companies to learn from each other.

- Please estimate the total number of participants. 46

- Please estimate the total number of women and gender-variant individuals present. 26

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

While internet disruptions have a negative impact on all members of a population, gender was not specifically discussed during the session. Rather the session ensured that a diversity of gender viewpoints were included among panelists (three women, two men).

Session Time: 
Tuesday, 13 November, 2018 - 17:20 to 18:20
Room: 
Salle X

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