IGF 2017 – Internet & jurisdiction policy network

21 Dec 2017 09:00h - 10:00h

Event report

[Read more session reports and live updates from the 12th Internet Governance Forum]

Moderator Mr Bertrand de la Chapelle, Executive Director, Internet and Jurisdiction Policy Network (I&J), gave a brief introduction of previous I&J conferences and of planned future ones. He spoke of the Policy Network’s objectives and how the field is plagued by ongoing uncertainty on how national laws apply in cyberspace, as most of the world is hanging on the results of a few court cases and there is an absence of a regulatory framework. The result is, then, high costs, unilateral acts and a legal arms race. The environment calls for cooperation.

La Chapelle explained that three main tracks and problems have been identified: access to data and evidence held by private companies during criminal investigations; the applicable law to removing of content; and the legitimacy of taking down a domain name because of the activity of the website underneath. He stated that developing policy coherence between governments, civil society and the private sector is the biggest challenge. The I&J role has been to bring these different actors and stakeholders together.

La Chapelle explained the project’s methodology and how it spent a lot of time and effort in the early stages to find common ground: goals, methods, formulations. He described in detail the format and outcomes of the first I&J Conference in Paris.

Next, Mr Paul Fehlinger, Deputy Director, Internet & Jurisdiction, invited participants of the previous I&J Conferences to give their insight on the importance of the next conferences, such as the one to be held in Ottawa in 2018. Ms Pam Miller, Director General, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Department of the Government of Canada, stated how the government of Canada hopes to turn the event into an opportunity to mobilise stakeholders and other G7 countries to pursue collaboration in innovation and clean growth. Internet and Jurisdiction matters are an integral part of this.

Mr Tarek Kamel, Senior Advisor to the Vice President, Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), explained the importance of debating jurisdiction and the domain name system (DNS) outside of ICANN as it gives more flexibility and opportunity for brainstorming. He considers that the exchanging of DNS data across borders is going to be a challenge that requires collective wisdom.

Mr Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist, Google, discussed the relevance of the I&J debates as an important means of protecting the Internet and its enabling capacity. Also stressing the importance of I&J meetings in sharing information and agreeing on common values in a multistakeholder fashion, Mr Paul Mitchell, Senior Director, Microsoft, said that this contrasted with the unilateral process some state administrations have been following through case law or lawmaking.

Mr Daniel Abate considered the Conference in Ottawa to be an opportunity to build a framework if necessary, as well as an opportunity for developing and developed countries to consider Internet and jurisdiction matters in the context of a new economic model in the globalised world.

Mr Byron Holland, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), explained the difficulties of country code top level domain (ccTLD) operators regarding higher level conceptual issues such as those involving Internet and jurisdiction. He reaffirmed the support of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority to the I&J Conference in Ottawa. Mr Guilherme Canela, Advisor in Communication and Information, United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), described how UNESCO has conducted training initiatives on issues such as freedom of expression and how the most frequent question was regarding Internet and Jurisdiction.

Ms Anna Capello, Political Advice Representative, Council of Europe, stated the importance of the conferences to the protection of issues such as human rights, democracy and rule of law, while Mr Benedicto Fonseca, Director of Scientific and Technological Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, stressed the support of the government of Brazil to the I&J Project since the beginning, and the importance of such debates in the complex landscape of transnational interactions. Mr Jonah Force Hill, Internet Policy Specialist, United States Department of Commerce, considered the I&J Project as the only place where all the interconnected issues are brought together in one place.

by Pedro Vilela