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IGF 2020 - Day 5 - DC Net Neutrality at times of COVID-19

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the virtual Fifteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), from 2 to 17 November 2020. 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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   >> LUCA BELLI:  It looks like we can get started.  Good morning, to everyone and welcome to the 2020 session of the IGF Coalition on Net Neutrality.  We have today a quite wide and diverse set of panelists, and we are also presenting our annual outcome that has been developed in partnership with the Coalition of Community Connectivity, and the book, "The Value of Internet Openness at Times of Crisis."  That is the main issue that we will discuss today.  Of Course, from a Net Neutrality perspective, and highlighting the various faces of this and I think we have -- we have all understood very harshly over the past months the value of Internet governance, the value of Internet access.  We have been obliged since the beginning of the year when COVID-19 started to spread to digitize everything in our life, health, leisure, public services, our essentials, everything migrates to online work. 

What we still have to understand is at first, a huge part of the world's population still doesn't have Internet access.  And on the other hand, a great part of the Internet population that is connected is partially connected, and it is one of the key points that we want to explore today.  So not only the essential value of Internet openness, meaning open access for those who have access, but how this is essential every human being in this specific moment not to be kept out of any basic social or work interaction and keep enjoying his or her fundamental rights.  What we're collecting in the book today is a set of opinions that really describes the different faces of Internet and also describes that even if you have, if it you have the luck of having Internet access, there is still a huge variety of, a huge number of restrictions that can either be politically or economically motivated, and that affect how we enjoy connectivity, and this can enormously restrict how we enjoy Internet access. 

What's very important to understand is that statistically, someone that has a charter or limited blocked Internet access is as someone that who doesn't have Internet access.  So we don't really have an idea of phenomenon of how people concretely enjoy Internet access because, statistically speaking, the current definition we utilize to identify someone that has Internet access a person that accesses the Internet at least once over the past three months, and this fails to consider a huge chunk of nuances of how we could enjoy Internet access.  Someone that enjoys, that can access Internet, but only can access the websites that are approved by his national government is considered as an individual that is connected and someone that only receives zero-rated applications is considered someone that is a connected individual, but of course it is not their reality.  Someone that only has access to a part of the Internet is not a true Internet user that can contribute to the evolution of the Internet through the connectivity that can content and services that will contribute to the Internet. 

That is precisely the Internet openness and that is precisely what we'll discuss today with an excellent set of panelists.  I'm not going to introduce them all now but one by one in the interest of time management, and actually I would also like to say that together with me to give introductory remarks, it was also supposed to be here with us, Nikhil Pawha, a Co-Editor of the book; importantly, for some quite serious health issue, he's not here with us today so we wish him to be if good health as soon as possible. 

And we start with introductory remarks of another star of Internet Governance who is, Anriette Esterhuysen, the Chair of the Multistakeholder Group of the IGF, and also, one of the Co-Authors of the book, having penned the post-phase of the booklet that gives us a lot of interesting thoughts and elements on why Internet openness is also very important for an open Internet governance.  Anriette, without further ado, I would like to ask you to start the dance with your introductory remarks.

   >> ANRIETTE ESTERHUYSEN:  Thanks, very much, Luca.  And, thanks, everyone.  Don't call me a co-author.  That really doesn't do any justice to my contribution.  I'm an admirer, and I'm a supporter of this initiative.  It's really extremely important, and I think that thinking about what it really means to have openness and neutrality on the Internet is a continuous task.  And I think that's what is so powerful about this collection, is that it's taking principles that we've cared about for a long time, but it's putting them in a contemporary context and thinking about how they need to be applied now, so that's all I have really to say, Luca.  I just want to express my admiration and support for the endurance of the work that you've all done and the fact that it's been continuous and evolves and that it responds to the question that you address, but that it responds to it in a fresh way every year taking on new challenges.  So, that's all from me, and I really look forward to hearing the authors.  I do have to leave for a while, but I'll come back.  Back to you, Luca.

   >> LUCA BELLI:  Thank you very much, Anriette, for these encouraging points; and actually, it is also very important to have you as a part of the discussion, in not only this discussion, but several discussions we have had over the week about Internet openness about digital comments, interoperability and many of the dots that we are trying to connect.  So, thank you very much for these opening elements, Anriette. 

Now, let's start to dig into the details of our session today.  The first speaker that I want to introduce is Frode Sorenson.  He's a good friend and also a Senior Advisor at Norwegian Telecoms Regulator, NKOM, and has been chairing the Expert Group for almost a decade and he is one of the Authors of the book and exploring how net neutrality and COVID-19 met over the past months in Europe and what sort of emerged with the increased traffic growth in Europe and how this has affected or has been effected by the relationship in Europe.  So, Frode, without further ado, please go ahead.  The floor is yours.

   >> FRODE SORENSON:  Many thanks for this kind introduction, Luca.  I've been looking forward to this presentation.  Acknowledging the different situations in the different places of the world, this is a European experience, which I will give you now in three main points.  The first one is about the relevance of net neutrality.  The second one is about the impact of the Internet technology, and the third one is about the impact of the open Internet regulation.  Looking first at the relevance of net neutrality.  When the pandemic reached Europe in March, we were faced with lockdowns in many countries and people had to go back to their homes in teleworking, online teaching, and also social interaction was done from their homes, and there was thereby a significant increase of Internet traffic allowed, and in particular because of video conferences that were used extensively in schools and in working area, and this really showed the importance of the open Internet because without an open Internet, we would not be able to do these kind of activities from homes.

Then the problem arose, would net neutrality regulation cause any problems, for example, for operators regarding limitations for how they could manage their networks, and that leads to my second point, the impact of the Internet technology itself.  When looking into the technology, it's important to distinguish between the network layer and the application layer when we discuss net neutrality.  The regulation of net neutrality applies to the network layer, but measures can be taken in the network layer but also in the application layer, so the network layer measurement, measures are typically referred to as traffic management.  The application layer measures are typically done in the endpoint, referring to the end-to-end paradigm which is well known on the Internet.

If you look at the application layer first, we have several functions that really came into play in this situation, the transport protocols, TCP, and now much used Quick Protocol executes congest I don't know control which means that the endpoints are actually slowing down when there is congestion situation in the network so the endpoints are cooperating with the network to manage the situation.

This is also done for some of the applications, video streaming typically applies dynamic adaptive streaming, which increases mechanisms that are doing the coding or the video whereby the traffic load is lower when there is congestion in the network.  Large could be tent providers are also using extensively CDNs, content distribution networks, which are locating content closer to the end users whereby the traffic load on the network is decreasing.

So, all of these measures applied in the application layer and they're automatically conducted when the congestion situation arises.  So, what about traffic management on the network layer?  That leads me to the third point.  The European Open Internet Regulation is applicable also in this situation, so shortly after the pandemic came to Europe, Baric and the European Commission had a joint statement presenting the views of the situation, and they committed to preserve the open Internet in the understanding that the open Internet is really important for us when we are not able to meet physically.

In addition to that, it was also emphasized that the ISPs, the Internet service providers, also have tools that they can do reasonable traffic management, of course, and in the European law there are also measures called exceptional traffic management that are allowed if necessary, and such measures could also be application specific, actually.

And finally, the regulators typically also went into a close dialogue with the different stakeholders of the network to follow the closely and cooperate with the stakeholders in case problems arise where the governments and regulators might facilitate the development.

After this first announcement from the Commission and BRICS, they regularly reported on the traffic situation on the European Internet, and the results from that showed that there was an overall traffic increase, a significant increase, typically around 30, 40, 50 percent in many countries, so there was an increase in pressure on the network.  But the overall situation, there were no major network congestion issues reported in this period.  There were actually minor situations that occurred, but ISPs were working with maintenance and operations in the networks to mitigate these problems.

In conclusion, what are the takeaways from the European experience?  First of all, the network neutrality rules are designed for such exceptional circumstances.

Resilience of Internet technology does a good job and ISPs may also use exceptional traffic management measures when needed.  At the same time, end users’ rights are safeguarded by this regulation.

In conclusion, overall, the European Internet infrastructure has coped well despite the increased load in Internet traffic.  Thank you for your attention.

   >> LUCA BELLI:  Thank you very much for this.  A very good technical points and policy points to start the debate, and we have also the chance of having with us today, who leads the net neutrality unit, the French Telecoms Regulator and it's very important to have their perspective today but only because the President of today could not with be with us and is one of the co-authors of this book, but also because has very well implemented what is the impact of the pandemic of Internet traffic in the annual report, and has a very interesting conceptualization of the Internet as a common good that has to be fostered by public authorities, so without giving too much of a spoiler of your presentation, Aurore, please, the floor is yours and thank you very much for being with us today.

   >> AURORE TUAL:  Thanks.  Thanks for the invitation.  So, a French regulatory authority for electronic communication and contribution in France, as a consequence the architect and guardian of the countries fixed on mobile telecoms.  As in many countries, the COVID-19 crisis illustrated the degree to which people in France weren't only to stay connected to their working, personal, and cultural environments when at home.  The fact that a number of users were modified during the lockdown resorted in increase in Internet traffic as much as 30% according to estimate in France.  Also led to significant change in traffic profile with the usual evening spikes spread out across the day.  The situation raises a number of questions about Internet operation.  Were the networks properly scaled for certain traffic related to the crisis.  How can we ground compliance with net neutrality rules during this exceptional situation?  Regarding net neutrality took place both at European and national levels from the beginning of the public health crisis, and indeed to meet this unprecedented and increased demand for connectivity, one of the questions that was raised was whether it would be possible legally and technically for ISPs to prioritize the networks for certain content that was deemed essential, working, distance learning, and internal medicine.  The nondiscrimination rules imposed by Europe's Net Neutrality Regulation it is not set in practice particularly when having to distinguish between similar streams, for instance, video conferencing and video streaming, or when services are being used for something other than their original proposal.  For example, using video game platforms for home schooling.

As explained by my colleague from NKOM Europe's Net Neutrality Framework allow ISPs to take specific measures in case of risk of congestion on the networks provided these measures satisfy certain conditions; notably, preventing having as little impact as possible on network traffic and giving equivalent treatment or equivalent traffic categories and not being applied any longer than strictly necessary.  This opens a permanent dialogue with ISPs.

In the end, the best way to tackle the issue was estimate a joint effort from all players, of course through for instance mentioning the interconnections when necessary.  Government and regulators through close monitoring of the situation, the issue of best practices and constant contact with the players and users modifies to lessen the load on the network and provider through modification of the practices and direct with ISPs.

Indeed, major content and service provider challenges impact on the networks warrants attention.  Today between this player of improving network management to place under the crisis, for instance, when rolling out new services, introducing certain options or posting updates to popular games online.  The benefits to establish a dialogue mechanism that would enable operators to anticipate and plan for these events even if permissionless innovation needs to remain the rule.  So far for the subject under asset purview, the development of contact tracing solutions to fight the spread of the epidemic also how important it is to ensure an open Internet being just telecom operators, and as for the role played by the two main mobile operating system providers, it seems increasingly vital to challenge the partners under technological choices what they place on app developers, extending the principle to an open Internet to include an operating system which is a step since 2018 seems more present than ever before.

To conclude, networks in France did not experience issues during the COVID-19 lockdown that lasted from March to May and thanks to the telecommunication network capacity and performance and on the other to the mobilization of the ecosystem.  The net neutrality regulation has once again had had relevance and capacity to adapt.  More importantly, it's showing that when it comes to common assets, the law under the law of the strongest.  Baric and European Commission already reiterated this principle through the crisis, and ensure that this principle continue to be fully enforced despite the very singular circumstances and we'll continue net neutrality.  This ongoing crisis already has several lessons that will be useful to cope with lockdown in France, but also to ensure that Internet remains a common good.  Thank you.

   >> LUCA BELLI:  Thank you very much, Aurore, for this illustration of the work that has been done by Baric also to cope with the current exceptional situation.  Also for raising a very important point that many of us also -- maybe of the members of this coalition have been voicing over the past couple of years, which is also the importance to look at Internet openness and not only exclusively for the classic net neutrality perspective, but also from other perspectives like the device neutrality perspective has been champions over the past couple of years and also thinking about the openness in terms of interoperability of operating systems or even maybe of applications, and that is something that has been raised along the week, but in several debates I have been participating in, and I have been receiving several feedback from friends and other members of this coalition with regard to the interest of orientating a little bit much -- or a little bit more, I'm sorry, the work of this group also on these other key issues which are indeed key for Internet openness besides, of course, looking at net neutrality.  Now to move a little bit it of our perspective from Europe and then to other parts of the world, let me invite KS Park, another good friend that is championing Internet openness and net neutrality since probably of this concept in South Korea, and he has been founding, he founded Openness Korea several years ago and professor for at Korea University Law School, and we have pleasure to have him here today speaking about latest evolutions in South Korean regulation and some concerning provisions that have been adopted in many, if I'm not mistaken, regarding the service utilization measures and other regulations that may contradict Internet neutrality in South Korea.  So please, KS, the floor is yours.

   >> KS PARK:  Thank you, Luca.  I think that COVID-19 is forcing us to focus on the economic aspect of network neutrality, essentially the issue of termination fee.  Pre-internet, formal free of speech granted us freedom to speak whatever we want, but never provided resources for actually delivering our messages to many people.  Post-internet, network neutrality made sure that we are equipped with substantive freedom of speech which means delivering messages to millions and millions of people without ever having to worry about the cost of actually delivering that data.

Pre-internet, sending your message to 1 million people would have costed 1 million dollars in phone bills or postage, but post-internet as long as you pay access fees to your local ISP, it is basically free, regardless of how many people are actually access your message.

But in Korea, there is an attempt by the government and the IS Ps that have formed an oligopoly to charge termination fee or equivalently charge for delivery of data packets, so it already back in 2016, they have implemented SPPR, sending network pays rule among ISPs where ISPs receiving more data or ISPs sending more data than they are receiving have to pay the other ISP that they are sending more data to, and that has already put a lot of pressure on the ISPs to be reimbursed, to be reimbursed for this SPNP fee exchange between ISPs from the users of the Internet, especially the content providers that are putting a lot of content online.

I think that COVID-19 has increased the time that people spend online and essentially increasing the amount of data packets coming from those content providers through the network, and that increase in the volume of data has given excuses, given or opened the windows of opportunities for ISPs to make an argument that, oh, we got to be paid for delivery of all of these data packets, and to oppose that Mozilla epic early access now that have written letters to Korea's, to the country's science and ICT Ministry to stop trying to charge the termination fee or charge for delivery of data.

And but you know back in May as Luca said, the Congress, the legislature has passed a law that put the obligations on the content providers to make sure that the data is delivered to the users, which will again, work -- which will again break network -- which will go against the network neutrality because then whoever pays more for delivery will reach more users and more audience, and substantive freedom of speech that was guaranteed to everyone, even without much economic resources will be broken.

And I think at this point it's very important to notice that in California's Network Neutrality Law, there is a provision that specifically bans charging termination fee or charging for delivery of data to the telecos or ISP users, and because the California law has been locked in litigation battle in the U.S. because of a conflict with the Trump Administration, people have not paid much attention to it.  I think it's time to pay a lot of attention to it to make sure that the same thing doesn't happen outside Korea.  Thank you.

   >> LUCA BELLI:  Thank you very much, KS.  Very interesting points that you are raising that have maybe learned from Korea's experience are but also from others -- from other countries or states experience and applied further context.  Very good points.

Now, to keep on continuing our world tour let's move to India where we have Smriti Parsheera, Fellow of CyberBricks Project and of public policy of New Delhi.  And, Smriti, who penned two chapters of the book and you have explored net neutrality and other issues from the Indian perspective.  We know that government has mandates on Internet shutdowns and some restrictions in two states of India, so we have very concrete examples of restrictions ongoing in India in this moment, but we also know at the same time, the regulator is also designing a framework body to monitor net neutrality in India.  So, please, Smriti, the floor is yours, so tell us a little more about what is happening in India.

>> SMRITI PARSHEERA:  Thanks, Luca.  A pleasure to join everyone in the session and to have contributed to the e-book.  I have a couple of slides which I'll just put up.  There we go.  So, as you know all of us who are following this space would know that India is one of the countries which could be said to have one of the most robust net neutrality frameworks in the world, and this is something which has come about between 2016 to 2018 through two instruments mainly.  One is regulation TRAI telecom regulatory authority came out with to ban any discriminatory tariffs based on the kind of content that one accesses, so all zero-rating like services were barred.  Then later in 2018 we had more holistic net neutrality framework come about through license and telecom agreements.  The interesting thing at that point was one of the recommendations made by TRAI to the government was that in addition to having these rules, we should have a monitoring framework where you have a multistakeholder body which takes an active role in ensuring that these rules are being implemented.  And this is something which hasn't put in place yet, but just about two months back we had a new set of recommendations from the regulatory authority, which went into some details about how this body should be rolled out. 

So, first on the question of who is going to be a part of it, what they recommend is that it will automatically be all of the telecom and Internet service providers, but also other stakeholders like content providers, researchers, Civil Society, people from government agencies, et cetera, who will be invited or nominated, so unlike the automatic members, these people are supposed to be nominated, but unfortunately the regulations are silent on how the nomination or invitation process is going to work.

The next part is what this body is expected to do, so there is some more clarity from the regulator and the recommendation is that it's not going to be something which does the enforcement on its own, but it's supposed to assist and advise the government in that enforcement function so advisory role on doing things like receiving complaints from people from their own members or from consumers investigating those complaints, making recommendations based on that.  And the other interesting thing, they role they want to ascribe to the body is they say they'll help in the monitoring and transparency of traffic management practices, so they say that basically every TSP and ISP will have to report what kind of traffic manage they plan to do or are doing and this will help with a public repository and putting it on the website so there is information and knowledge to consumers. 

So, while these are, of course, great initiatives and we're moving in the right direction, where we're lacking in the recommendations is, of course, the question of how all of this is to happen, right.  So, if we say all the ISPs will automatically become members, we're talking about, you know, 400 odd entities which are going to be members of this body, will we have 400 non-ISP representatives also is the question that remains unanswered.  You know, will there be a balance between broad stakeholder groups, and of course among the ISPs there will be differences between large and small content players, whether Civil Society and consumer groups will genuinely represent the interest of these groups or is there a conflict of interest.  So those kinds of issues are something, you know, which yet need to be looked at.  And also, will there be transparency in the functioning of the body, will have to announce what investigations it's doing, why it's doing one versus the other investigation, and so those are questions that are remaining unanswered, but it's an interesting initiative which is being recommended.

The other, you know, issue that I wanted to touch upon is now that we've had these rules in place for about two years, the question that arises is that what has happened in the interim, like you know have we had any unauthorized actions being taken from the TSPs and on regulatory we have nothing known publicly at least about any kind of enforcement action, but there is some interesting work that has come up, and I think Apar will take more about it in a moment which is around researchers and crowd source data from consumers talking about differential practices where they're not able to access particular websites using particular ISPs, right.

Now, one of the exemptions in the law as in most net neutrality frameworks is that if there is a government authorized or lawful order from the government or from the Court then that would be an exception to the net neutrality restrictions, but there is a painful tension between the government blocking rules and the rules of net neutrality.  So, the government's blocking rules through which these authorizations for lawful orders are to be made, they have a requirement that you have to be in strict confidentiality of any request that comes in for blocking, and any action that is taken on that.  Whereas the net neutrality rules say that any exception that is applied has to be transparent, has to be transient, has to be proportionate.  So clearly from a TSP perspective, we are in a position where either they can leverage this disconnect between the two regulations and you know get away with certain practices, or they're torn between two different ministries and two different regulatory authorities trying to implement two absolutely divergent rules on them, and that's something that we need clarity on in the times to come.

Finally, one of the, you know, interesting developments that came up in the last few months in the early days of the lockdown, we saw this proposal come up from the COAI, the Cellular Operators Association of India, a powerful telecom industry body and they proposed to the government that you know, given the load on the websites, given the fact that people are not able to reach us, the data, and maintain connectivity in terms of having active plans, there should be a proposal to have a free access to certain critical websites, so you know as you would recollect the zero-rating regulation that India adopted does not allow any kind of differential rating including free services, but there is an exception in that which allows for any kind of access which is for public emergencies, which clearly COVID would satisfy or things which are emergency service like contacting an ambulance or contacting, you know a hospital would qualify as emergency services, so those would be exceptions where a service provider can go ahead and do that with within 7 days they have to inform the regulator and then the regulator will take a call on whether that's something valid and they want to authorize.

So in this particular incident, the proposal didn't actually go anywhere because, you know, data prices in India already over the last few years the way it has evolved are very low, so really I'm not sure there is no disclosure on what the regulator thought about it, but probably this was on their mind that, you know, cutting -- it's more about access to devices which is the blockage for Internet access at this point and it wasn't so much about data price, although that's one of the factors, but one thing to think about is going forward if this exception is to be invoked, what are the principles that we would expect to be deployed in that case, and unlike the scenario of the net neutrality the broader regulations, these regulations don't give out guiding principles, but clearly we can draw from the license agreement about certain            plans, so one should clearly be that it's proportionate, transparent, and transient and cannot be long-term measures that exceed the purpose being sought.  And there should be no commercial arrangements possible at the back end when you're dealing with this kind of emergency situation.  And finally, so as to ensure that there is no undue burden even on the telecom providers for providing this sort of a service, there should be at the back end an arrangement where the government has the capacity to compensate the providers for such a service out of the universal service obligation fund.  So, these are questions which will probably come up again if we're again in a status where the zero-rating question comes up and it was not something considered and decided upon in the present circumstances.

Finally, with that, you know, clearly what we achieved in India in terms of net neutrality framework is a great policy achievement.  No doubt.  It's been a political battle with strong stakeholders on every side, but the job is not done.  And I think Apar will add to that in a few moments and the job is not done because questions about enforcement remain open, questions about monitoring the role of this multistakeholder body and will it genuinely be multistakeholder and participatory, are things which remain to be seen.  Thank you.

   >> LUCA BELLI:  Thank you very much, Smriti, and now it's time as we already have a lot of good elements from many very different jurisdictions, it's a very good moment to open to a bit of debate.  I'm sure there will be questions comments from the audience.  Let me just remind the participants or attendees that if you want to raise your happened, to ask a question or comment, you have these Zoom functions that allow to you raise your hand and then you will be given privileges to speak.

We are going to have a little bit of a very short debate now for 5-10 minutes and then we'll start and go back with the second slot of panelists.

Now, there was some -- we can also, of course, add questions on the chat.  I saw that there was a comment by Chris Marsden on the fact that Zoom views increase 1,000% in March according to the measurement which is indeed pretty interesting.

But, do we have any comments from the attendees?  Again, let me remind you that if you want to say anything, don't be shy, and just raise your hand and you'll be given privileges to speak, or if you have any questions, please also of course use the chat.

As I'm seeing that we have a pretty shy audience.  I will take advantage of my moderators capacities and I will ask -- I will put forward a point that I think has been mentioned, and it is quite essential for not only for today's debate but also for the future work of this group, I think, which is amongst this set of distinguished experts that we have here today, do you think that there are other elements of Internet openness besides the simple net neutrality debate that should be addressed, that we should start to look at?  Because let me provide a little bit more on this point.  We have been having many discussions over the past week at the IGF; although we were not all together, there were many occasions, many webinars to interact and speak in custom networks, and really I have a feeling that there is a lot of appetite for expanding the debate on Internet openness besides the net neutrality, the simple traffic management or zero-rating, so price discrimination debate. 

So, do you think there is some specific topic we have heard or stressing the device neutrality perspective, do you think there are other perspectives that should be included in the work of this coalition, and then I see that there is also a hand raised.  So, first, the general question if anyone wants to provide an answer amongst the panelists, and then I see Ian Brown has a question or raised a hand.

>> Hi, Luca, am I connected now?  I'm sorry.  It's not working.

>> We can hear you.

>> Okay.  I can hear.  Luca was muted.  I'm sorry.

   >> LUCA BELLI:  I will just say that now you are connected.  I was expecting the panelists to reply before you were speaking but let's do the other way around.  Make your point and then we will reply.

>> IAN BROWN:  Okay.  Briefly you mentioned interoperability and that does seem like something good for this group to can go not least because it's something that several major jurisdictions seem to be moving forward with the EU in the proposed digital markets act and the U.S. House Antitrust Committee suggested in their report that the Biden Administration might take toward and significant reviews in Japan, Australia, and other countries and so it would be great working together in this group to bring a really international perspective on what's happening and ways that the jurisdictions might work together.  It would be terrible if all of these different jurisdictions regulated interoperability in different ways.  It would be very anti-interoperable.

   >> LUCA BELLI:  Yes.  It would not be legally interoperable.  Let's say.  So, do we have any -- thank you very much Ian for this point.  That is one of the key issues or dimensions of the broader Internet openness debate that we may also think to introduce to the work of this coalition.  Do we have any other perspectives on this?  Any panelists willing to venture?  KS, please, go ahead.

   >> KS PARK:  I didn't raise my hand, actually.

   >> LUCA BELLI:  I'm sorry.  I thought you were raising.  So, Smriti.

>> SMRITI PARSHEERA:  You mentioned questions about web censorship, shutting down the Internet, blocking a website, and processes around that both because these are important questions of openness and there is this interaction with net neutrality essential in the blocking debate and these would be interesting perspectives to bring in.

   >> LUCA BELLI:  Do we have any other reply or comment from the panelists?  Otherwise we'll move to the next slot of presentations.

Okay, so we'll move to the next slot of presentations and we stay in India, but with some different points we have the pleasure of having Apar Gupta who is the director of the Internet Freedom Foundation and they have been working a lot and they have played a very prominent role in the consultation of TRAIs recommendations and traffic management, and they have also tabled a very interesting and progressive proposal to have Internet access as a civil right in India, so that is a very interesting perspective that really deserves to be heard, so please, Apar, welcome to the debate and the floor is yours.

   >> APAR GUPTA:  Thank you so much, Luca.  A warm welcome to the panelists and people attending.  I would like to thank Smirti for setting the foundation and a solid understanding around network neutrality, and also, I would like to go back to Luca's framing of how net neutrality and openness squares with the larger political questions around continuing Internet shutdown.

It just seems paradoxical because it is.  Firstly, just some core demographic data from India also will be useful in terms of people understanding how far we have reached in terms of Internet access by itself, where there are close to 600 million active Internet connections, this is not reflective of the number of users because a single user may have more than one connection.  However, it speaks to a very large number of Internet users.  The second is in terms of the usage by itself, across the top social media platforms, Indians essentially constitute the largest number of Facebook users, WhatsApp users, and this essential concentration in terms of usage does have consequences both for openness as well as network neutrality and is factored into the larger political decision-making both around how restrictions on access to the wider Internet operate as well as how the regulators and policymakers view them.

So, firstly, just talking about Internet shutdowns and the recognition of the Internet as a political and civil right.  It flows from very constitutional understandings, legalistic understandings where it's linked to the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression which is recently litigated in the Supreme Court and the decision came actually in January of this year, and the Supreme Court linked it to the fundamental right of freedom of speech and express as well as to carry on trade and business.  And in times of COVID, we've realized that both are essential facilities, and this understanding is also reflected in how telegraphs have been actually and spectrum usage has been considered by both the courts, the constitutional understanding, and then carried forward actually in explanatory memorandum by the telecom regulators, the TRAI when it first prohibited differential pricing of Internet -- of the application layer, in a way that any website could be charged under commercial arrangement and discounted or be overpriced by Internet service provider.  So, this understanding is reflected also in the Network Neutrality Regulation to a certain extent, if not expressly, then through explanatory memorandum by the TRAI.

Now, the ongoing Internet shutdowns, while they do recognize the political and civil rights, there are large exceptions that are carved out which I think need to square much more closely with network neutrality because it's not only about Internet shutdowns but also encouraging other practices and proposals, for instance, the white listing of websites which essentially means that a mandated list of about 400 to 500 websites may be permitted in a territorial region or geographical region which may be classified as a government to be a bit sensitive.

And secondly now it's coming to much more of an understanding of just purely in terms of network neutrality.  I think Smriti's comments were excellent when it comes to looking at the actual enforcement of the network neutrality protocol when you step beyond the Internet shutdowns to the maximal larger part of how it's governed, despite having recognition in law that even that technical measures for discrimination are not permissible unless those exceptional practices, which are provided within the regulation are satisfied, industry does not have an implementation framework and that's the question that essentially concerns a lot of us, and we have looked at through crowd source data that the same website is sometimes blocked on four ISPs but available on six different ISPs, and one presumes that if there is a lawful order, which is the basis of the restriction on the access of that website, it should be blocked for all ISPs rather than just four. 

So, I just end this by saying that a good basis to proceed with the conversation around Internet openness and network neutrality is to go back to these constitutional principles at least in our domestic law, and I think that recognition is also already, which is very strong and fairly positive and that the access to the Internet actually fulfills a fundamental right, and that kind of understanding also goes beyond the traditional understanding of regulation and it's much richer, it's a human rights perspective.  Secondly, it gives opportunity in regions which are outside Europe and America, which may implement practices which may be restricted such as just permitting small websites in certain zones and finally a lot of this depends on the actual implementation framework and ensuring that it should be multistakeholder, and I know that's a word which will actually depend on the enforcement, but this is what we're looking towards when we look at enforcement.  So, I think we do have some road to actually charter in the future and our work is not yet done possibly for the next IGF we have more learnings to share.

   >> LUCA BELLI:  Excellent.  Thank you very much, Apar for this and raises the very important issue of enforcement.  I remember I think it was four or maybe five years ago we actually seven years ago we crafted the model framework of net neutrality and we already suggested the importance of enforcement and also to involve a wider range of stakeholders in the enforcement and also users in the enforcement and in the monitoring of the enforcement is a key point, and I really hope that India will develop a very, not only efficient, but also inclusive and sustainable framework to allow the most -- or the best possible, or the highest quality possible monitoring of Internet traffic practices that are regulated under net neutrality.

Now, speaking about restrictions that are not really clear in how they are framed, it really -- it's a really good segue to then move to another country by coincidence is one of the BRICS countries, Russia, that has implemented some really interesting, to some extent, measures to cope with COVID-19, and we have two Russian speakers today.  I would like to start with Anna Orlova and they have authored one of the chapters of the book dealing with restrictions and limitations that have been introduced by Russia over the past months, and it's very interesting to understand how they have been perceived also by Russian Administration.  So, Anna, go ahead the floor is yours.

   >> ANNA ORLOVA:  Thank you very much for this opportunity to participate.  We have prepared some slides that I will share with you in just a minute.  Please let me know if you can see the slides?

>> Yes, we can see them well.

   >> ANNA ORLOVA:  Okay.  Great.  So, the title of our chapter was on net neutrality times of COVID, and the case of the Russia.  So, we did a study together with Andrey and he will talk after I present, and our research period was from April to May 2020.  The main focus of our research was on Moscow, the capital of Russia because it was and still is the epicenter of the pandemic, and also due to the fact that Moscow has the most advanced combination of e-government systems in the country that were used at some point and implemented and used to introduce counter measures against the increase of infections.

So, to reflect on dynamic of new cases in Russia.  Russia is still the fourth highest country among the top five, and the cases continue to rise.  We could say that Russia had two waves, and now it's in the second wave of the pandemic.  As of yesterday, the numbering of new cases was 20, 582.  Here we can see that Moscow, if I --

   >> LUCA BELLI:  If I may interrupt, I think there is a problem with the transmission of the slides.  I don't know if other panelists can see the slides properly?  For me it is blocked on Slide number 8.

   >> ANNA ORLOVA:  Let me check.  Just a second.

>> You may need to go full screen.  Maybe that is the issue.

   >> ANNA ORLOVA:  Okay.  I cannot actually share the entire screen.  The application doesn't allow me.

   >> LUCA BELLI:  Can the tech support please give Anna co-host privileges so that she can share.

   >> ANDREY SHCHERBOVISH:  Excuse me, Luca, maybe I will demonstrate those slides.  Maybe that would be better.

   >> ANNA ORLOVA:  We can try.  Maybe it will be faster this way.

   >> ANDREY SHCHERBOVISH:  Just browse down without going full screen.

   >> LUCA BELLI:  I think it's better, Anna, could you try to do it again or otherwise we will --

   >> ANNA ORLOVA:  What was the advice?  I didn't quite catch it?  I can browse --

   >> ANDREY SHCHERBOVISH:  Browse down to the next slide without going full screen.

   >> LUCA BELLI:  Let's try to.  I'm sorry for the technical problem.  Let's try to do the slides again.

   >> ANDREY SHCHERBOVISH:  I could share the screen, Luca.

   >> ANNA ORLOVA:  Let me go back to Slide 1.  Is it working now?

   >> LUCA BELLI:  Perfectly.  Perfectly.

   >> ANNA ORLOVA:  It's working, right?  So, as I've already said.  I said about the period.  And this is just to reflect on the dynamic of the new cases of coronavirus in Russia.  And here you can see the map of the cases all over the country, and Moscow stays the epicenter of the pandemic and within the last two days, on Wednesday and Thursday, Russia was breaking its record with new cases of on Wednesday it was more than 19 and yesterday more than 20,000 cases.

So, basically, what we wanted to show here is that although there are various measures that Russia has been implementing, the situation hasn't really changed much.  So regarding the restrictions that are taking place in Russia since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been various observations, also by international NGOs, and there is a project that is called Pandemic Big Brother which is basically a monitoring of various restrictions regarding civil rights or regarding digital rights, or around the world and here we can see that the case of Russia.  So for example, if we look into two waves, during the first wave we had the following restrictions implemented by the state, the cell phone surveillance, video monitoring, and domain facial recognition, violation of freedom of speech, which here we specifically referred to fake news law and although Andrey will talk about this in more detail, although there were some other examples of violation of freedom of speech.  And also, surveillance using governmental apps that continues until today.  Then there is also restriction in the form of legal prosecution.  Here we will specifically talk about the emergency law.  And then there are examples of drone control to control people doing the isolation properly, et cetera.

And then there are examples of access to official information or limitations in this regard.  If we look in the second wave, we haven't really covered in our study, we can still say that there are still is continuous surveillance by means of governmental apps.  There are continuous violations of freedom of speech, and there are also examples of legal prosecution.  So, we will talk today mostly about the study and the data we have, and we will talk about four main points.  I will talk about digital tools that were used in Russia to survey online and offline, and about automated face recognition system.  And then Andrey will continue to talking about legislation, in particular about emergency and fake news laws, and also about the incidental process that took place in Russia during the pandemic.

So, the first point we wanted to talk about is the digital tools that were used at some point in Russia during the coronavirus pandemic.  As Russia was continuously the epicenter of the pandemic, and the government didn't manage to restrict the movement within the capital and to impose rules of people staying inside, there was a decision taken to implement a system called Digital Pass Entry System and starting from April 15, the system was implemented in the City of Moscow in the Moscow Region and some other parts of Russia a bit later in some regions of Russia.

And this system presuppose that every citizen has to either by going online on the governmental website, by calling, or by sending SMS messages to request a digital pass, and there were introduced many different forms of digital passes for people who had to go to work, for people who had to go to the hospital, for people -- for various needs, basically.  And the problem was that the system was not working very well, especially in the beginning of its introduction, and there were many problems.  Also, on the point of control, so for example, in the Moscow Subway, everyone had to show their pass.  It's a digital number, and reading this information was taking a lot of time and creating people in jams and people were being stuck in one place trying to just enter into the subway.

And the similar situation happened with the drivers because at the entrances of Moscow, the drivers had tools to demonstrate the passes and that created a lot of traffic jams, especially in the first days of the system.

There were also a lot of complaints regarding protection of personal data.  The system had certain some flows, and also there were difficulties for using the system for certain vulnerable groups of citizens, for example like elderly people, there were a lot of complaints because if you don't -- if you don't have already -- if you didn't have a proper smart phone with a proper version of smart phone, it was pretty much impossible to receive the digital pass over the phone, for example.  And people who didn't have electronic devices like computers or smart phones, specifically like elderly groups of people, they had a lot of difficulties receiving these passes.

And then the second point that I will talk about is the automated face recognition system that was also introduced during the pandemic.  It was first implemented in February of 2020 this year to control the movement of people who were coming back from China and especially people prescribed to follow the 14 days self-isolation regime or those who had to self-isolate themselves.  This system later was used for other purposes to monitor the movement of people, specifically those with suspicion of infection, and it combined various technical, online, or digital and also technical infrastructures of the Moscow e-government systems, for example, Moscow's CTV system, artificial intelligence, and smart phone geodata that was provided by the telecom operators, and also face recognition solutions.

And in the end the system was developed to the point it was capable to track almost every citizen of Moscow; however, it was not used in this capacity.  There were certain groups of citizens that were targeted, and there were -- the lists of those people who will be tracked were provided by the Russian authority institutions or bodies, so there was a system of how this monitoring process was created, so it was not used for monitoring the whole city.

However, both of these measures that I talked about, the surveillance and the control measures of the digital pass system, they are based on the Moscow's electronic government framework which is embodied in the Moscow smart city project that has been taking place for the last, more or less last decade in Moscow, and the combination of the online and the offline surveillance allowed the government to control people's access to information and to freedom of movement, and although the point that we wanted to make here is that online surveillance is not authorized by the Russian law, and it doesn't fall under the legislation that justifies as the users of such technology and also specifically in the case of coronavirus pandemic.  And now I would like to pass the floor to Andrey that will talk in more detail about the Russian law passed as countermeasure for the coronavirus pandemic.  Thank you.

   >> LUCA BELLI:  Thank you very much, Anna, and yes, it was very good to also have this picture of how things have been evolving in Russia and now not only with this debate that we're having today on net neutrality and COVID-19, but it's very good to contextualize also how the measures that the Russian Government has been taking and which contexts have been taken.  Andrey, you are a professor in Moscow, and actually you have been I think one of the first in the world to analyze the fake news bill at the time proposed by Russia that then became the fake news law and how this has been amended during the COVID-19 crisis, so please, Andrey, go.

   >> ANDREY SHCHERBOVISH:    I would like to talk a bit about the state censorship part that is increased during this COVID-19 pandemic when, first of all, in early 2019, even prior to the pandemic, Russia passed a federal law amendment on the law and information.  According to this law, the distribution of deliberately unreliably socially important information on the media shall entail the position of the administrative fine for citizens in about $400 to $1,500. 

So, in response to the COVID-19, this law was a bit amended.  For example, regarding the spread of fake information that threatened people's life and safety, and this law was actually used in April 2020 when the Russian newspaper published information about the situation with pandemics spread in the region of Russia, and this is well-known region of Russia in North caucuses actually and part of Russian Federation and these journalists in the situation with COVID-19 pandemic is a bit dangerous there actually.  And there is investigation on violation of this fake news law, and also there was an order from the prosecutor general's office to remove this article, and this article is now unavailable and available now only in I think in memory and in, for example, but this article is currently unavailable on the Internet.

This is the first point of how the censorship is used.  But also, I'd like to provide you with a bit of background of the state of emergency in are Russia which was not introduced during the first stage of pandemic, it's not introduced now during the second stage of pandemic of the COVID-19.  Instead of that, they used so-called high readiness regime, high-readiness regime is not state of emergency, but it allows for the subjects of the federation because Russia is actually a federation like United States, for example, and Moscow is one of the subjects of the federal subjects.  And this law allows to, for example, for the heads of subjects of federation to introduce decrees, special decrees of the, for example, Moscow mayor had a federal subject for this high-readiness regime, and because of that, because of the limitations of human rights, for example, digital passes, surveillance, restriction for free walk around the street is not introduced by the law and it's actually introduced by decree of the federal subjects.  We should not have these opportunities according to the constitution and legislation.  It's only entitled by decree, and this is the problem here because when the state of emergency actually is introduced, people are able to claim compensation from the state, for example, when their businesses are in trouble, when in other issues related to the pandemic, but according to the high-readiness regime, nothing is actually introduced, and there is no social protection of the citizens, according to this.

And this actually refers to the incidental, the so-called digital protests of the citizens.  Could Anna please share these slides, actually about the online protests?  You can see -- you can see here like the interactive map.  An interactive map is marked with different comments because there is no actual crowding of the people.  This is crowding of the people gathering on this interactive map, and this is here we can see political slogans actually, acts of resistance putting against the Presidents, against actually the authorities of subjects of federation, against authorities of Moscow, for example, in because authorities are not able to address if you see a state of emergency to keep people's rights safe and people's rights and people's security and Social Security because businesses are in danger when they're closed during this lockdown and first wave of coronavirus.  And now, actually it's also no state of emergency in Russia instead of cases of coronavirus are raising, higher and higher and higher at the moment.

And this interactive process, online process is actually a reaction for people and I think it's the voice of the people that should be heard, and this is very interesting interactive of digital protest this year.

   >> LUCA BELLI:  I'm sorry to interrupt you but I'm mindful of time and we still have.

   >> ANDREY SHCHERBOVISH:  Yes, I think I just finished actually with this.  All has been said and I'm able to answer all the questions that you have, I would be glad to answer all the questions.

   >> LUCA BELLI:  Thanks very much, Andrey.  And now last but of course not least, Alejandro Pisanty, is not only a very good friend but one of the true leaders of the Internet governance ecosystem since decades, and he is professor of autonomous University of Mexico and the author of one, I think of the most intriguing chapters of the book this year, precisely because it has us to think about openness, adopting a broader vision, and he offers an architecture of how this broader vision can be structured with his six-factor framework for Internet openness.  So please, Alejandro, the floor is yours.

   >> ALEJANDRO PISANTY:  Thank you very much, Luca.  I'm also publicly congratulating Anriette because she's been able as Chair of the MAG to pull this meeting completely online without face-to-face meetings of the MAG and that's is a great challenge and an honor that she's also participating in the session, and took part in the book, and thanks Luca and the other co-editors of the book because I think it's an extremely relevant collection and it was already so earlier in the year, but now that it's in book form, it really looks very, very good and I hope it will be a great asset.

To be very concrete, as some of you may know, and as Luca has mentioned I have been working for a time on trying to have a larger picture and understanding of the effects that the Internet brings to different types of conduct, or adversely to analyze things that appear to be completely original to the Internet -- you can see the slide, a framework and I have it in full screen so you should be able to read it, so it should be quite readable.

The purpose then is mapping conduct between online and offs can line and the way we were doing this before, before I came to this framework, which I have this partially with all the participants and I'm very glad everyone is in the meeting as well, and next time we'll find a way to be on a panel.  So what happens very often is that we see people saying that the Internet is the end of the world because there is so much cybercrime, there is so much abuse, there is so much disinformation and they remove the Internet from that analysis and see that we actually have, I mean, phishing is happening people come to you with paper and this happened last December, last year to people I know, a guy comes with a paper, a piece of paper and ask them to sign off, and they do.

So, on the other hand we have things like positive actions that are also rooted for example on generosity the will to share knowledge that suddenly changed in the way they have their effects because of the Internet.  So these six factors that seem to be able to allow us to map all of these types are the mass scaling, including within it the network effects, identity and anonymity management, transjurisdictional effects, barrier lowering, friction reduction, and memory and forgetting and all of these come with the way the Internet is built as best effort, interoperable, open network with intelligence at the edge and with principles of purpose and designed purpose of scalability which has no borders in its IP address and also identity layer of its own, the IPI a volatile type of identity and the only type of identity that you get from the Internet layer itself.  If you speak of the MAG address that's below and the IP management of facts or email accounts, that's an upper layer and that's an application or even a use of the application.

So, what happens when we come to the COVID crisis?  We have an immediate use of the mass scaling of the Internet, we see everybody who can go online and many activities like education, many types of work, purchasing food for your home, or creating a new business in order to be able to be a supplier of these things, even just going on a store like Amazon to sell your goods instead of having Amazon compete against you and drive you out of business.  That's the kind of usage of mass scale that we see.  We also see mass scaling in other positive effects like the spread of positive information of health information like wearing masks, non-pharmaceutical intervention, or the massive collaboration we saw between laboratories that were able to share huge datasets that were able to the structure of the virus and immune system and so forth and also like the spread of this information and forms of cybercrime specific to COVID and so forth.

I'll skip the other factors in order to focus on what I think will be most important because I mean all of these have an effect as I mention and being able to go online, being able to perform social life, and of course we have limitation that's very serious.  This mass scaling worked well, for example, with the traffic in the core but it hasn't scaled well in expanding access to the Internet during the crisis.  Here we see what's commonly jokingly said when the water recedes, when the tied goes out, you see who went without a bathing suit.  You see the lack of preparedness of society, you see governments that didn't have a national digital strategy for access or for forcing lower prices or anything like that, and you have 40% of the population offline.  But for the ones online, this has been working.  Concentrate on factor 6 of memory and forgetting, we need to keep memory and we will use the openness of the Internet to keep our memory even when some people will not want to have this memory. 

All of the decisions that we have heard taken in Europe, for example, in Russia, or in India, the ones in my country, Mexico, everyone who took part in deciding a policy, whether it was using masks or not using masks or social isolation or it was relaxing social isolation, we will need a memory of that.  A co-editor of the book on the symposium made me realize that we have to be very careful also about protecting personal data and privacy in this new huge memory that is being built up explosively around the crisis, but we will need the memory and we will use the memory that the Internet gives us in order to hold officials accountable for their decisions which are maybe saving hundreds of thousands of lives or in some cases are costing hundreds of thousands of lives.  I don't want to use much more time.  I hope this gives a glimpse on how this thing can be used to analyze every Internet event that has a mapping tool previous or non-internet.  Thank you.

   >> LUCA BELLI:  Thank you very much, Alejandro.  Really, an excellent way of then leading us to our final debate.  Obliging us to think in a systemic fashion about Internet openness and not only to about the usual topics that we follow.  This is a group that is dedicated to specific issues, but first, it doesn't mean that we have to think only in the silos in the country, we never have to do so, and on the other hand that doesn't mean that we then have to expand the range of issues that we can also associate to do work that we have been doing so far, so thank you very much, Alejandro, for bringing this perspective into the debate.

And now I think it's time again to open the floor for intervention and from any of the attendees if they want to chip in and provide a comment or a question, please go ahead.  Just raise your hand and you will be given privileges to be a panelist, to be a speaker.  I see there are a couple of questions also in the chat.  There is a comment from Chris Marsden saying that the disinformation regulation that is now rampant in various jurisdictions has similarities to the debate.  It has a lot, and indeed we see similarities in technologies and stakeholders and other points that have been raised.  And then there is also a comment on the work in Moscow, some enforcement also integrating police databases with (audio breaking up) -- personal data must be important in this case of course.

Do we have any remarks from the floor?  From attendees?  I'm going to remind you that if you do have any comment, you can share them either on the chat or raise your hand and you will have the possibility to speak.  I see the crowd today is still quite shy, so I think that is the moment for the panelists to provide clarifications or additional points that you would like to raise.  You had -- you were very good in respecting timing, so if you have any other point that you think is essential to raise to contribute to this debate, please this is the moment for you to speak, so just unmute yourself and go ahead.

   >> ANDREY SHCHERBOVISH:  Well, actually, let me have a little clarification or question maybe on the presentation by Apar Gupta actually.  This is a really important issue of what he told about, but he felt that the issue is actually constitutional, but prior to placed into the national constitutions, this right actually, the Internet access, the net neutrality, it should be recognized in international law actually, and then this right should be recognized by the national governments because I think no national government should regulate Internet on their own will.  They should also cooperate with others and that's why these human rights should be universal.  And then in the national legislation or national constitution.  That's actually my position to just share according to this wonderful report.  Thank you very much.

   >> LUCA BELLI:  I think the common theme was more about the need for also the discussion of this proposal put forward by the Internet Freedom Foundation about defining Internet access as a citizen right, but also to discuss this at an international level, and there have been discussions about this at levels, but I see Apar has clarifications.

   >> APAR GUPTA:  This context, I would envision my personal person experience has been rights and understanding sometimes develop co- extensively with international and domestic frameworks, constitutional, regulatory, and even in public law separate from constitutional law sometimes at the level and sometimes the international level, and there is a logic that sometimes doesn't make sense and one proceeding the other sometimes does promote a level of uniformity that flows top down from the international level, but practical experience being it quite often happens at a point in time where people are ready for it and that level of consensus in terms of what is a core governance agenda is reached, and I think we are proceeding to it if COVID has accelerated that understanding, and some elements of this are already present in the chat.  And I'm really that I think this is a significant issue once we integrate net neutrality, openness, and access to the Internet within the human right framework, it becomes strong ultimate beneficiaries.

   >> LUCA BELLI:  Yes, and there was also, and I just in the chat there was also part of a question for directed to Andrey or Anna about the fact that Russia also has an initiative on Internet access -- on free Internet access for socially significant websites and services and so what is your opinion about this initiative created by the Russian Government to provide free access to socially significant websites and services?

   >> ANDREY SHCHERBOVISH:  Well, my answer, actually, I suppose that this initiative is really important and this initiative could be even better, but it should not be within the framework of the national, only the national web resources.  For example, I just answered this question, Zoom the platform where we are here now is also crucially important here in the time of COVID-19 pandemic, but it's not a platform of Russian origin, but this is actually of net neutrality actually.  This is 100% the issue of net neutrality.  Resources from all over the countries should be -- being really important, being crucial during the pandemic should be declared free without regarding of the origin, without regarding -- that's my opinion.  In this initiative, it's my best understanding, in this initiative, this is only about the resources of Russian origin like something like that.

   >> LUCA BELLI:  Anna has also taken to this and then I would like to continue as we're already running out of time.

   >> ANNA ORLOVA:  Yes, Luca.  Well, I don't really as Andrey already noted or mentioned that this is their access to only Russian resources and only to the vital resources where you can receive information about the pandemic or what to do, how to request help, and I agree that with Andrey that, I mean, it's a question of net neutrality and there are many other resources that could be also made available to Russian citizens, specifically due to the financial or economic limitations that people suffered during the pandemic, a and that this initiative could be extended but again this is also a debated on net neutrality aspects and it's not an easy issue to decide on.  Yeah.  I cannot hear.

   >> LUCA BELLI:  I was muted.  So I was just saying that there was also a comment by Anriette stating that in South Africa there was also massive zero-rating of educational platforms during the pandemic and this is indeed a very good example of good uses of zero-rating and I think those who are -- who have been taking a part of this debate over the past year, as in any kind of a restriction of discriminatory technique or practice, there is always a context to be provided and there is never a black and white solution, really.  It's doing something always good or always bad, but I think many of us have also been advocating for the fact that what is important is the context and maybe kind of exception to the nondiscriminatory treatment of Internet traffic, be it for technical or for commercial reasons may be allowed in specific conditions, of course, the zero-rating case in South Africa is a very good example also of how zero-rating could be beneficial to people that are obliged to access resources when they do not have a means to access them.  Another choice would also be to give them access to everything, and not hopefully only to a selection of resources, but probably would be an even better and more interesting option, of course this will be the debate for an entirely new section.

And as we are really running out of time, I would like to see if there is any final remark from panelists?  If you have any remark, please raise your hand.  Either with your real hand or with Zoom one.  IP question, I see KS has a final remark and then this will be our final remark in the panel.  Please, KS, go ahead.

   >> KS PARK:  Oh, I'm very apprehensive of making final remark for the whole group but I just give my two cents.  There have been different aspects of openness of the Internet, but I think the issue of Internet access -- the issue of building the infrastructure for the Internet and the observance of the basic foundational rule of using that Internet, which is net neutrality, and Internet shutdown, which is happening all around the world, and in this group we talked about India, and sensors in the Internet are related and sometimes one is over the other, but I think it would be practical to discuss them separately and analyze them separately and try to come up with the responses separately.  Oh, but you know with -- with the of course, thought that they are connected politically.  That's my comment.

   >> LUCA BELLI:  Thank you very much for this, and thank you very much, everyone, for all these very interesting points you have shared with the panel.  If you want to take a group picture that was here with the IGF secretary has requested us, you can switch on your camera and smile.  This is the moment.  And it is done.  So, we are done for today.  Thank you very much for your participation.  I will share the -- I'm going now to copy the chat because we have some very interesting points also raised in the chat and share it in the mailing list of the coalition so that everyone can also access to the chat and links that were raised and shared, and thank you very much again for your participation and please let's keep interacting on the mailing list and let's organize another fantastic session next year.  Bye-bye.

 

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