IGF 2019 WS #325 Corporate Statecraft/the role of private sector actors in IG

Organizer 1: Daniela Blaschke, Volkswagen AG
Organizer 2: Max Senges, Google
Organizer 3: Elisabeth Schauermann, Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V.

Speaker 1: Chinmayi Arun, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Olufunmilayo Arewa, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 3: Avri Doria, ,

Policy Question(s): 

Policy questions include:
What are the political roles (rights and responsibilities) of corporations in governing the digital ecosystem?
In this context, what stakeholder groups should be involved in the dialogue about the positions corporations take? [e.g. employees, co-creators, users, trolls…]
What policy innovations might (or already do) foster progressive political participation of corporations in (digital) public spaces?
What policy elements might (or already do) foster inclusive political participation of corporations in (digital) public spaces?

Relevance to Theme: “Corporate Statecraft” addresses the roles that corporations can play within a community, e.g. from defining who has access to what can be said or the provision of public goods. The session will provide an input paper that maps the various roles and associate them with rights and responsibilities. On this basis, we will work with the workshop participants to define policy elements that incentivize and model corporate statecraft as a progressive and inclusive concept that addresses the specifics of digital ecosystems.

Relevance to Internet Governance: Internet Governance is of course defined as “the development and application by Governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet" (WGIG). “Corporate Statecraft” assumes that the role of the private sector regarding the evolution and use of the Internet goes beyond technology-based responsibilities and aims to identify existing and innovative policy elements that will guide corporation’s political activities towards responsible participation.

We are building on Reeves/Kell/Hassan “The Case for Corporate Statesmanship” (2018) (https://www.bcg.com/de-de/publications/2018/case-corporate-statesmanship...), linking it to the debate on Internet Governance and questions of agency (regarding organizational forms and speakers).


Birds of a Feather - Classroom - 90 Min

Description: 1.
Presentation of Input Paper on “Corporate Statecraft in the Digital Ecosystem”, incl.
a. Definition of roles and responsibilities
b. Accountability mechanisms
c. Measurability
d. Scenarios for different governance approaches (e.g. driven by politics, academia, private actors, public, …)

Speakers and participants critically review and give feedback to the various aspects laid out in the paper while organizers collect input and cluster it.

Review of challenges raised and deliberation about options to address them - framed as policy elements for progressive/inclusive outcomes.

Synthesis and bootstrapping of next steps and follow up committments.

Expected Outcomes: Collection of use case examples
Map of the political roles of corporations in digital spaces
Map of stakeholders
Spectrum of policy elements for ideal outcomes/different scenarios

Onsite Moderator: 

Daniela Blaschke, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator: 

Elisabeth Schauermann, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Max Senges, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Discussion Facilitation: 

The proposal puts a critical review and feedback to the input paper presented at the center of the session. Speakers will start the conversation, offering comments and challenge the concept presented to encourage interaction and participation of everyone present. Online and onsite moderation will ensure that issues raised are documented to be reviewed in step 3.

Online Participation: 

See step 2 in session description.

Proposed Additional Tools: We are planning to use platforms like Twitter to collect reactions (e.g. to speakers), comments and new input (see step 2) during the session.


GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals