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IGF 2020 Second Open Consultations and MAG Meeting - ISOC

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. 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, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

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>>Konstantinos Karamanlis:      hello, my name is Konstantinos Karamanlis, and I would like to thank you for the opportunity to say a few words today about the need to have a global conversation on how frameworks for the Internet can help us address emerging issues.
 By frameworks, I mainly refer to structural narratives that allow us to have an informed and focused conversation about the Internet.
 The MAG has a critical role in shaping Internet-related discussions, especially on emerging issues, as stated in the Tunis Agenda.  This is why we're happy to report on this work.
 Our hope is that such conversations can help us understand better the complex Internet ecosystem, and they might lead potentially to a main session or a Best Practice Forum.
 While we have all accepted that the Internet is an essential part of our societies, it is hard to provide a single definition of what it is.  In fact, trying to define the Internet is somewhat a fool's errand because the Internet is not one thing, and it is not a monolith.
 At the same time, in the absence of a definition, it is often hard to analyze evolution, explain which developments are healthy and which are not, and analyze how some approaches could be problematic.
 On top of that, there is also the tangible danger that the Internet with a capital "I" might simply disappear from the discourse, subsumed by higher-level concepts such as digital economy, digital transformation, et cetera.
 One promising way to address these issues is to look at some of the properties that characterize the Internet.  These properties should not be seen in isolation but in conjunction with the benefits and consequences they generate.  This will allow us to better understand the relationship to the Internet's successful evolution.
 There are several efforts that follow this approach.  For instance, the Internet Society's Internet Way of Networking Project is one of them.  The Internet Way of Networking is more than just a framework.  It's the perspective of the Internet Society and its constituency, the lens that allow us to look at the Internet development and help articulate our position.  It consists of a set of properties, the necessary characteristics, if you may, that make the Internet the promising tool we all believe it is.
 This approach not only creates a powerful narrative, highlighting the foundational nature of the Internet.  It also allows us to use it as a tool to understand whether existing and future policies or technological developments adhere to the properties of the Internet.  What I mean here is that our vision for our framework is that it becomes a toolkit that can be continuously used by policymakers and those spearheading technical developments to ensure that as they carry out their work, they do not unintentionally harm the fundamental aspects of the Internet that have made it so great.
 For this reason, we are concurrently working on a set of use cases and case studies that use the framework to challenge or affirm a variety of emerging policies.  The current topics we are working on include intermediary liability, forced data localization, content filtering, interconnection and routing, as well as the new IP proposal that has been submitted to the ITU.
 We have been discussing with Anriette Esterhuysen and Chengetai Masango about bringing such discussion to the IGF and would like to make the following proposal.  As I mentioned, there are several efforts using a singular approach but providing different perspectives.  Some examples include the framework developed by a team at MIT led by David Clark or the idealized Internet versus Internet Realities Framework developed by New America.
 ISOC would be happy to facilitate the organization of a light track of work in collaboration with the MAG, coordinate all these efforts, and collaborate with any interested volunteers.  The goal would be twofold.  A), discuss and solicit feedback on the properties that are identified by these frameworks and their relevance in the work we are all doing, communicating a powerful narrative of the Internet with a capital "I," and, b), work with you all to identify use cases and case studies that could use the framework as a guide.
 How should we take this forward?  A few ideas come to mind such as having a main session on frameworks and emerging issues or other tracks under the leadership of the chair of the MAG.  We'd be happy to adjust what fits best the vision of the MAG.
 We thank you again for the opportunity to collaborate and stand at your disposal should you have any questions.
 Thank you.

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) 229 173 411