EuroDIG 2017

6 Jun 2017 to 7 Jun 2017
Tallinn, Estonia


Event report/s:
Clement Perarnaud

Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg first congratulated the Estonian government for organising EuroDIG and expressed support for the forthcoming Estonian presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU).

Prime Minister Solberg then presented the opportunities and challenges that the Internet represents for Norway and the world, stating that it had become ‘the most important infrastructure in the world today’. The Internet offers immense opportunities, including in the way people across the world can access education. Some challenges remain, however, in particular in terms of global security and economic stability.

In light of these challenges, how and by whom the Internet is governed is therefore of major importance. It is in the long-term interest of all to have a robust, open, and free Internet. But to do so requires the active engagement of citizens, businesses, and governments. In this context, the Norwegian government attaches great importance to avoiding unnecessary regulation and rules that would be cumbersome for digital activities, while ensuring the safety of citizens against growing cyber-threats.

Prime Minister Solberg then dealt with the role of Internet governance in dealing with current challenges, pointing out that there is no one single global institution governing the Internet. She insisted that the right balance has to be found between what we can do and what we should do. Cyberspace is largely a domain without regulation and it is in the public interest to establish general principles to ensure its sustainability. At international level, Norway actively promotes such principles which consist of supporting the multistakeholder approach, maintaining an Internet with as few regulations as possible, and engaging directly with the business community.

Prime Minister Solberg presented Norway’s efforts to cooperate with other countries to further the digitalisation of both Norwegian and European societies. Digitalisation calls for cooperation at a broader level, given that isolated policy choices could lead to more inequality, less development, and new monopolies. Norway has a progressive agenda aimed at shaping inclusive societies and avoiding the widening of the digital divide. This is why at the political level, Norway has teamed up with Nordic and Baltic countries on these issues. Norway is currently chairing the Nordic-Baltic cooperation and has given to digitalisation a high level of priority. In April 2017, in Oslo, Norway hosted a Nordic-Baltic ministerial conference on digitalisation, during which ministers agreed on a number of common objectives for the coming years. These objectives include supporting digital transformations, establishing a common arena for digital services in the public sector, developing a unique identifying system across borders, and promoting the re-use and free movement of data to support advanced public services.

Digital cooperation between Norway and Estonia also includes projects for the development of 5G networks and the promotion of competitiveness in the digital sector. The strong Estonian-Norwegian cooperation can also be illustrated by the perfect overlap that exists between Norway’s priorities in its chairmanship of the Nordic-Baltic cooperation and Estonia’s priorities as part of its forthcoming Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Nonetheless, the Nordic-Baltic cooperation is not to be meant exclusive. On the contrary, it aims at building a more connected digital Europe. Indeed, Norway is an active participant in the development of the digital single market and intends to learn from other countries’ experiences. Estonia being one of the most advanced e-society in the world, Prime Minister Solberg finally announced she had become from this day an e-resident of Estonia in order to further learn from Estonia’s innovative projects.

Clement Perarnaud

This session presented the European Commission and the Internet Society’s respective perspectives on the Internet of tomorrow.

The first keynote speech was given by Mr Pearse O'Donohue (Acting Director for the Future Networks Directorate of DG CONNECT, European Commission) on the vision and projects of the European Commission with regard to the Next Generation Internet. O'Donohue started by acknowledging that the future of the Internet has become central to international discussions on Internet governance and requires the inclusion of all stakeholders.

He introduced the work of the European Commission on the future of the Internet. The European Commission recently conducted a public consultation on the Next Generation Internet to engage with all stakeholders on this issue. The results of this consultation highlight the widely shared concerns among stakeholders regarding the online world. Users increasingly limit their online activities due to challenges in terms of security, inclusiveness, and overall trust. O'Donohue argued that there needs to be an acknowledgment of these issues in order to prevent the digital divide further widening and becoming a permanent reality.

At the level of the European Union (EU), several initiatives and legislative proposals have been recently launched to strengthen the digital single market. In May, the European Commission conducted a mid-term review and its results show that more needs to be done. With regard to privacy for instance, many non-regulatory steps still need to be taken, so that the regulation of privacy becomes systematically embedded in the way businesses operate. More generally, the EU, when addressing the future of the Internet, needs to build more on its core values, such as inclusiveness and solidarity.

To do so, the European Commission recently launched its Next Generation Internet Initiative to rebuild trust in the Internet by identifying key areas of future developments. This initiative adopts a human-centric approach to address the growing disconnect between individuals and technology. At the same time, this initiative acknowledges that European Commission cannot act alone in the Internet ecosystem and strongly relies on the multistakeholder model. This is why this new initiative also aims to engage with more stakeholders, including start-ups and groups that are usually less represented in Internet governance debates.

Ms Sally Shipman Wentworth (Vice President of Global Policy Development, Internet Society) then presented the recent work conducted by the Internet Society on the future of the Internet. If it is impossible to predict the future, she argued that studying several patterns and trends at the community level could allow us to better imagine the Internet of tomorrow. Therefore, the main goals of this research are to understand the current forces of change in order to make recommendations on how to shape the future of the Internet.

Though this research project is still ongoing,Wentworth presented its preliminary findings. They build on 2500 survey responses from over 160 countries, 130 expert interviews conducted across the world, as well as 15 roundtable discussions. The final outcome of this research will be presented as part of the 2017 Internet Society Global Internet Report in September 2017.

Overall, the Internet Society’s community identified six areas as driving forces for the future of the Internet: the interaction of the Internet and the physical role, the evolution of the Internet economy, the role of governments in the online world, cyber-threats, artificial intelligence, networks standards and operability. The community also looked at the interactions between these drivers by focusing on three topics: personal rights and freedoms; the digital divide; and issues related to media, culture, and society. In terms of recommendations, interviews from the community indicated the strong need for amplifying civil society and end-user voices as part of the multistakeholder model.

Clement Perarnaud

This session, moderated by Ms Karmen Turk (Attorney-at-Law, TRINITI) featured discussions on the role of intermediaries in enforcing human rights in the online world. As an introduction, Turk emphasised that current debates on Internet governance often address the issue of human rights, but usually fail to define what the necessary framework would be to effectively enforce them.

Mr Wolfgang Kleinwächter (Professor Emeritus, University of Aarhus) argued that today ‘human rights are in the centre of the Internet governance debate’, but emphasised that discussions have evolved since the beginning of the year 2000. Indeed, there used to be a debate on whether we would need to rewrite human rights in the digital age or instead address emerging challenges within the existing legal instruments. The choice that was finally made and which is reflected by the outcome of the 2015 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis is that existing rights are sufficient. Instead of reinventing new rights, current debates have thus shifted towards the question of the implementation of human rights in cyberspace. Kleinwächter emphasised the recent extension of the Human Rights Council’s mandate to address these issues, in particular through reports, fact-finding missions, and the appointment of new special rapporteurs on freedom of expression and privacy. They each constitute important instruments for ensuring that governments and companies alike protect and respect human rights online.

Mr Markus Kummer (Board Member, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)) dealt with the question of the implementation of human rights online from the perspective of ICANN. Given its contribution to the good functioning of the Internet, ICANN promotes human rights, and in particular freedom of expression. But in the past, human rights were rarely addressed within ICANN’s internal discussions. This situation progressively changed after non-commercial stakeholders and certain ICANN Board members attempted to progressively introduce human rights to the agenda. This process had led ICANN to work on a framework for the implementation of human rights, currently under discussion. This framework for human rights intends to reaffirm ICANN's existing obligations within its core values.

Ms Charlotte Altenhoener-Dion (Administrator, Council of Europe) addressed the enforcement of human rights online based on recent developments at the level of the Council of Europe (CoE). From a legal perspective, the doctrine of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is characterised by its dynamic interpretation of human rights, and thus follows the evolutions of society by taking into account ongoing technological developments. In addition to the ECHR’s jurisprudence, the CoE is also active at policy level to ensure the enforcement of human rights online.  It formulates non-binding soft-law standards in order to help governments and other stakeholders to apply human rights online. These standards offer guidelines on specific issues, such as media pluralism and the service value of the Internet. In this context, standards set by the CoE usually differentiate obligations for states in terms of human rights with the responsibilities of intermediaries to respect human rights in the online space.

Mr Matthias C. Kettemann (Researcher, University of Frankfurt) then presented more specifically the work of the CoE with regard to human rights enforcement online by presenting its recommendation on Internet intermediaries. Still in its draft version, this recommendation aims to help intermediaries realise human rights online on the basis of existing law. For Kettemann, there is no need to reinvent the law to ensure that intermediaries adequately deal with human rights challenges. Intermediaries need to increase transparency and accountability, and conduct due diligence assessment with regard to human rights. For instance, terms of service must be in line with human rights standards, as is not systematically the case. Respecting the rights of users requires avoiding general untargeted filtering systems of users’ content and adopting the least restrictive means possible to control content. Finally, effective remedies need to be accessible for users and intermediaries should engage in age and gender-sensitive efforts to promote the awareness of users of their rights and freedom online. At the level of states, it is of great importance that states apply the principle of legality, meaning that demands addressed to intermediaries must be prescribed by law.

Amrita Choudhury

The objective of the session was to discuss the meaning of digital citizenship; define the level of e-accessibility, obstacles, and risks; and explore issues such as the creation of secure digital identity and of a borderless digital society.

The moderator of the session, Ms Birgy Lorenz (PhD, Scientist at Tallinn University of Technology Centre for Digital Forensics and Cyber Security (project Cyber Olympic)), presented the Estonian digital society model.

Mr Alex Wellman (Head of Marketing, Estonia Investment Agency), elaborated on Estonia’s e-residency programme, the advantages for business, the benefits from digitalization, and the difference of the initiative from countries providing tax benefits. 

Ms Clara Sommier (Analyst, Public Policy & Government Relations, Google) emphasised the importance of accessibility for all in a digital society, along with the openness of the Internet, finding your voice online, and the ability to empower the disadvantaged and get them in the mainstream.

Ms Sandra Särav (PhD candidate at University of Lausanne, Switzerland) stressed that trust  is the key to digital citizenship. She also emphasized the need for global citizenship.

Ms Marianne Franklin (PhD, Professor of Global Media and Politics, Goldsmiths University of London, UK and the Co-Chair of the Internet Rights and Principles Coalition at the IGF) noted that migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers need to be considered when discussing citizenship. It is important to define the digital citizen  and to understand the issues holistically. She questioned whether digitisation or citizenship comes first. Franklin believes that the design of any digital framework for citizenship is critical and should not be restrictive. She emphasised the importance of design of the systems and the importance of having alternatives in order to avoid overreliance on one system. On the question of cross-border digital citizenship, it is important, she said, for countries to agree on some underlining principles.

To address the issue of digital skills of older people,  Mr Haris Kyritsis (Greek Safer Internet Centre youth panel) shared the example of youngsters having digital skills, teaching older generations how to use this platform. Sommier suggested using a blend of online and offline options. Sarav emphasised showing and teaching elders how to use the Internet.

Mr Raed Yakoub (Research Associate at Goldsmiths, University of London) added that there may be different ways in which a group of people may be discriminated against owing to requirements for different identification and authentication documents than the ones they have. He proposed creating e-societies and e-residents as ways to encourage inclusion.

There was also a discussion between Sarav and Wellman on the advantages and disadvantages of having a single identity to stop digital threats.

On the question of the possibility of setting up a scrutinising  body to ensure citizen data is not abused by any government, Sarav suggested the need to recognise cross-border interoperable services while  Sommier suggested sharing  only legitimate data with governments on a case-by-case basis.

Responding to the question of youth participation and their lack of trust in government, Sommier noted that e-participation is important, but that a suitable space needs to be created so that the voice of the youth can be heard. Such an initiative she believes needs to be taken at the political level. Kyritsis believes that digital citizenship can be an option to engage the youth. Franklin added that participation needs to be encouraged in many ways and on many levels. Having youth role models was also a suggestion.

Responding to the question as to what would be the perfect digital society, Sarav suggested the existing one, as there cannot be anything which is perfect; for Kyritsis, it is one where privacy and security issues are addressed; for Sommier it is when the Internet is open and everybody can access it safely. Wellman suggested looking at things from a higher level, while Franklin will be satisfied when citizenship is defined as inclusive participation and success is measured in terms of inclusion of disadvantaged in the society.

Ms Oliana Sula (Lecturer at Faculty of Business, Universiteti "Aleksander Moisiu" Durres) summarised the discussion, stating that the Estonian model can be termed as a best practice. She noted that models need to be customised and there is a need to make different systems more interoperable. Models should define  digital citizenship and distinguish  it from digital residency as well as define digital inclusion and how to address the disadvantaged to improve digital participation and regulating competition.

Clement Perarnaud

This session, moderated by Ms Maud Sacquet (Public Policy Manager, Computer and Communications Industry Association), featured discussions on the ongoing copyright reform at the level of the European Union (EU). Sacquet described the current negotiation process as feeding into EU actions for establishing a new digital single market. In this context, the European Commission published in September 2016 its proposal for a Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, which is currently being reviewed by the European Parliament and EU member states.

Mr Samuel Laurinkari (Head of EU Affairs, eBay) presented the position of eBay with regard to the current discussion on EU copyright reform. Laurinkari first emphasised the essential role the Internet plays in bringing businesses and customers across the world closer, allowing even small platforms to benefit from a global reach and supporting economic development worldwide. He argued that the current direction being taken by the European copyright reform could threaten the way most online market places do business in the online world. The European Commission’s proposal would increase the liability of platforms for the content generated by their users. From hosts, platforms would become content publishers. This would raise legal and practical challenges for a company like eBay, whose website contains billions of listings of items.

Ms Eva Lepik (Board member, Wikimedia) also emphasised the potential detrimental effect of the European Commission’s proposal on collaborative platforms such as Wikipedia. The proposal would require every intermediary to adopt automated filtering systems for controlling user-generated content. Such filtering systems appear inefficient, costly, and potentially harmful for human rights. The current proposal of the European Commission does not include provisions with regard to freedom of panorama (i.e., taking photographs and video footage of buildings and such, permanently located in a public place and publishing without infringing on any copyright). The right to disseminate images of public places or art works is not harmonised at the European level, and often it is not allowed to post such images on social media despite the pervasiveness of digital technologies in our everyday lives.

Mr Jake Beaumont-Nesbitt (Policy Advisor, International Music Managers Forum) addressed the potential effect of EU copyright reform on artists and the music industry. He expressed his fears that copyright reform would negatively impact online marketplaces. Article 13 of the proposal indicates that platforms hosting content uploaded by users would have to filter the content directly. This provision would therefore give a more prominent role to already filtered platforms (such as Spotify) and disadvantage smaller intermediaries and artists more generally in engaging with the public. Concerning geo-blocking, Beaumont-Nesbitt argued in favour of geographical limitations to the access of content, but only for the limited time of promotional campaigns. Finally, he insisted on the need for artists to engage more with EU policymakers to see their interests better represented and ensure the protection of cultural diversity.

Jana Mišić

Mr Göran Marby, CEO and President, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), delivered the final keynote speech of the tenth edition of EuroDIG. Marby reflected back on the time he lived and worked in Tallinn, and said that Estonia has made noteworthy progress since then. According to him, it was the power of the Internet that made the fast positive change over the last twenty years possible.

EuroDIG 2017 brought up the timely discussion on how we use the Internet, reminding us that it is not a natural resource, but one that the whole community has to take care of.  In 2016, ICANN and the Internet Society celebrated the twenty-fifth birthday of the Internet and the progress end-users experience today. Marby focused on several points correlated with the discussion during the event.

First, he emphasised that partnerships and the multistakeholder model are at the centre of ICANN’s work and provide for the interobjectivity of the Internet. The Internet needs of one end-user differ from those of another, and only interobjectivity can provide co-operation.

Second, in order to protect this interoperability, Marby stressed the importance of technology and the underlying functionality that enables the operation of the Internet. ‘We are not the Internet, but we are what controls it’, Marby said. In regards to technical operability, he mentioned the importance of the Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC), and reminded the audience about 11 October 2017 as a milestone for ICANN, when the new Key Signing Key (KSK) rollover will take place.

Third, Marby addressed the negativity surrounding the current discussion on the Internet, and reminded us of its positive sides. ‘The Internet is not done’, Marby noted, and expressed ICANN's goal of connecting an additional 1.5 billion users worldwide with the current 4 billion connected users. In his view, the key for the future of the Internet is recognising the users' local needs. The future Internet will be both local and global, Marby concluded. Lastly, he reminded us once again that the Internet is not a natural resource, and has to be updated, mended, and fixed all the time by the whole community.

Jana Mišić

Ms Maarit Palovirta, Internet Society, moderator of the workshop, referred to the latest EU Digital Progress Report. According to the report, an unsatisfactory quality of connectivity, both in urban and rural areas, is still a problem felt across Europe.

Mr Jan Droege, Director of the European Commission Broadband Competence Offices Support Facility (BCO-SF), showed a short video on the work of BCO-SF. He talked about the community's interest in the co-operative model and the creation of BCO-SF to address related issues. In the model, the community takes the matter in its own hands, funds the project as a co-operative, and builds the needed infrastructure itself. The emphasis is on the communal overcoming of problems with the broadband connection. The European Union has investment schemes for underserviced regions, but not all funds get used. A lack of skills is one of the reasons for this, so the BCO-SF was created to provide training to member states in need, Droege stated.

Ms Lise Fuhr, Director General of European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO), gave the business stakeholder group point of view. Fuhr said that discussing new investment models is important for the industry. ETNO members currently finance 70% of investment capital in broadband in Europe and more is needed for new technologies. The European Commission is also now allocating funds for 5G networks. She acknowledged that there is no model appropriate for all areas, so ETNO welcomes models such as community investment, industry-driven, or mixed. Fuhr also addressed the issues of unallocated spectrum, saying that it is a limited resource in which many have an interest.

To explain why the community model exists and how it operates, Mr Luca Belli, Head of Internet governance, FGV Direito Rio, recommended the guide called Commotion Construction Kit. According to Belli, this model is a bottom-up crowd-funding initiative. The focal point is that the community designed it to fit its particular needs. It was created because of market failure in areas where companies are not interested, and because of the unused subsidies. Belli stressed the benefits of the model, such as new jobs and the development of systems along with new infrastructure. Building the network together also reconnects community members. Sharing best practices is crucial for spreading the model, Belli said. The traditional operators will remain the backbone of connectivity, and less regulation could help gain greater interest in the model from the community.

Mr Giorgi Cherkezishvili, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, explained how his country implemented the model and brought connectivity to the unconnected. The government wanted to provide high speed Internet, but the broadband providers did not reach all communities, especially in the mountains. The initiative came from non-governmental organisations to lead the project. The government provided support and funds because, according to Cherkezishvili, connectivity brings with it entrepreneurship and governments need to help its development. He recognised the importance of a favourable regulatory environment for the model.

Mr Ucha Seturi, Executive Director, Small and Medium Telecom Operators' Association of Georgia, noted that the Tusheti project is a successful initiative because of its co-operative nature. The idea of the Internet Society, implemented by its Georgian chapter, is an example of co-operation between the local community and stakeholders. Seturi pointed out that local members funded the project, and it allowed the region to be connected online for the first time. The whole new network is based on solar energy, and represents the social responsibility that the local community members feel, according to Seturi. 

Jana Mišić

Mr Lee Hibbard, Council of Europe (CoE), moderated the workshop that focused on the digital transformation of critical skills needed for future jobs in European societies. The debate was divided into three blocks. The first block defined critical Internet literacy as a term. In the second block, participants gave examples of best practices. The third block reflected on the possible recommendations for improving critical literacy.

In defining the term 'critical Internet literacy', participants agreed that it makes a more inclusive term for the set of skills that was once labelled media literacy. Mr Kimmo Aulake, Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, pointed out the importance of big data. In his opinion, critical media literacy should enable users to understand what type of data is collected on them and how it is used for commercial gains. Digital literacy is more than just users being online, it is about understanding the content and services offered to them. Mr Vincent Bonnet, European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA), added that critical media literacy should be free from manipulation. Understanding their rights online and technological tools is crucial for users. Bonnet advocated for the learning-by-doing principle, already applied in new models for developing libraries. Mr Indrek Ibrus, Tallinn University (Estonia), revealed that in his experience, the crucial part of teaching these skills is explaining the industry. 'Users should be able to say yes or no to the algorithm', Ibrus said, and added that citizens should know how media is designed. In Estonia, for example, users know how to use online services, but lack the critical media literacy to distinguish between fake news and the truth.

The second block showcased examples of good practices in  Internet literacy, and Ms Rachel Pollack Ichou, UNESCO, talked about the organisation’s work in this area, which she described as preparing 'critical minds for critical times', because of the focus on fake news and radicalisation. Besides the multistakeholder approach and partnerships, she mentioned innovative good practice examples such as a series of online courses or the MILCLICKS movement. Ms Pascale Raulin-Serrier, Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (CNIL), introduced inter-generational dialogue as a complement to learning-by-doing principle. She mentioned projects where peers teach each other, and also trainings where teachers improve their digital and privacy skills. Ms Corina Călugăru, Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to the Council of Europe, said that in Romania, civil society created a platform for educating young people. In her opinion, the Internet service provides need to be better included in developing guidelines for online services. Mr Stephen Wyber, International Federation of Library Associations, said that learning-by-doing is the key and that users need to be educated as soon as possible.

Several recommendations came out of the discussion. Mr Yves Mathieu, Missions Publiques, proposed including citizens (non-experts) in the decision-making process, as way to increase democratic literacy. Ms Cristina Monti, European Commission, remarked that different sectors have different needs. Three critical sectors are education, the labour market, and cybersecurity, according to the European Commission. Ms Siobhan Montgomery, CoE, spoke of CoE's new policy guidelines for member states, on the impact and management of big data, and also on understanding algorithms. In her opinion, new online platforms with specific focus on digitalisation and culture are helpful in teaching digital media literacy to specific communities. 

Noha Fathy

The session, moderated by Ms Tatiana Tropina, Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, and Mr Vladimir Radunović, DiploFoundation, focused on how security threats change the cybersecurity landscape and influence the perceptions and actions of different stakeholders. Tropina instigated the discussion by asking the panellists to pinpoint the cybersecurity challenges in their respective fields.

Ms Sally Wentworth, Vice President of Global Policy Development, Internet Society, provided a global perspective noting that in an increasingly compelled security environment, security could hinder interoperability and lead to potential fragmentation. The importance of laws and norms was emphasised by Ms Marina Kaljurand, Former Foreign Minister of Estonia, Chair of the Global Commission for the Stability of Cyberspace, who explained that governments should lead through a multistakeholder approach. In the same vein, Mr George Jokhadze, Cybercrime Programme Office, Council of Europe, identified key challenges: first, regulations, in terms of drafting new rules and laws but also applying old laws, such as the Convention on Cybercrime; second, awareness of law enforcement agencies and citizens; and third, international co-operation and collaboration with technology companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft. On the other hand, Ms Kaja Ciglic, Director, Government Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy, Microsoft, pointed out that the challenges are not specific to Europe, but they are global. On top of them is the security-centred approach, adopted by many governments. Additionally, basic security measures and awareness can help avoid some challenges and create tech-savvy citizens.

Radunović then put forward another question: who should protect cyberspace? The government, industry, technical community, and/or users? Mr Chris Buckridge, RIPE Network Coordination Centre, explained that there is no single answer. The government clearly has a role but they do not have the required technical expertise. This led Tropina to further ask: who should lead the multistakeholder model? She noted that during the CyCon 2017, it was said the governments are mastering cyberspace but not the protection of cyberspace. In response, Kaljurand underscored that cybersecurity is part of national security and hence citizens expect the state to handle that. However, it is a responsibility shared between governments (which have the biggest share), the technical community, industry, and civil society. But governments have to lead since it is the duty of governments to ensure security, the integrity of data, and authentication of people. Wentworth further asserted that leadership depends on the issue at hand. For example, the industry should lead on issues related to innovation and scaling networks to meet future demands.

When the floor was opened for discussion, the audience spoke about the role of government, but also the industry that should provide reliable products, and end-users who should be educated. Some explained that governments have a duty to provide protection and raise awareness. However, it was mentioned that some governments are not trustworthy, as they could represent a threat rather than provide protection. 

To address the question of whether technology, regulation, or social contracts/norms can protect cyberspace, Ciglic pointed out that, on the one hand, the fast pace of technology challenges the capacity of governments to provide the necessary protection. On the other hand, security attacks harm businesses and hence more investment in security is important.  Building trust in the online environment is therefore important for businesses to operate. Jokhadze added that cybersecurity is not only about protecting citizens, but equally about punishing wrongdoers.

Radunović asked: Do we need more regulations? In reply to this, Wentworth alluded to the possible tools to deal with security. Technology is constantly evolving and policy should also be evolving to address issues as they come up. In addition, consumers should demand security and privacy as their entitled rights. Tropina, however, argued that consumers do not demand security as they look for what is cheapest. Consumers thus need more security raising awareness. Finally, Kaljurand highlighted that experts have provided interpretations of international laws to cyberspace and hence governments have to decide how to take them forward. Ciglic noted that Microsoft has been active in international cybersecurity norms for five years; not focusing on content regulations but on limiting specific sets of government behavior.

Noha Fathy

The President of Estonia, Ms Kertsi Kaljulaid, started the conference with welcoming remarks.She noted that we are all connected – by optical cables and computers – but mostly by our faith in human development and freedom. We believe in free and fair elections, the rule of law, an independent judiciary, and human rights and freedoms. In modern society, free Internet is fundamental as it affects culture, the economy, communications, governance systems, and international relations.

Nonetheless, security should not be used to restrict the freedom of expression since security and freedom are not mutually exclusive, she emphasised. Securing online interactions is a precondition for enjoying Internet freedom. She gave the example of Estonia which balances between security and freedom through providing a network of public and private e-services based on a secure online identity. The country is also proud to be, as per Freedom House, the first in the world in Internet freedom.

Kaljulaid highlighted that today, much of the world’s commerce and communications pass through the Internet and hence the benefits of e-services outweigh the investment costs to create and maintain them. Estonia provides effective e-services that save 2% of the GDP. In this regard, she further referred to the World Bank 2016 report, which underscored that connectivity does not inevitably result in digital dividends. Digital technology transforms societies if supplemented by policies that support digital adoption.

Finally, she mentioned that Estonia will take EU presidency soon. Their presidency has a strong digital agenda that focuses on strengthening the single digital market, increasing solutions for cross-border e-services, and facilitating strategic discussion among member states as a cybersecurity strategy is expected in 2017.

The President of Lithuania, Ms Dalia Grybauskaite, commenced by noting that digital society is more competitive and democratic because it allows citizens to express their opinions. However, it remains a tool for European integration, and competitiveness depends on the political will to integrate. ‘A lot of people look to us because we should not only lead, but also help other countries. We have many events in this area and we hope that they do not only demonstrate our knowledge but also our willingness to introduce all areas of our life including digitisation and Internet’, she alluded. Europe is used to living in this environment, but it is also realistic about the threats entailed. Such risks should be challenged, not only through military exercises and deterrence, but through developing capacities and being innovative, competitive, integrated and knowledgeable. She finally said that she hoped that the Estonian presidency will take the lead on that.

The final remark was made by Ms Sandra Hoferichter, Secretary General, EuroDIG Association, who provided an overview of the history of the Internet policy dialogue in Europe. In 2008, EuroDIG was one of the first initiatives to discuss Internet governance after the establishment of the global IGF. What started as the idea of ten enthusiastic individuals in a café in Paris, four months later led to a meeting hosted by the Council of Europe, to discuss the potential of this dialogue. Now, there are more than twenty national and regional Internet governance initiatives across Europe, committed to the multistakeholder model.

In her talk, she noted that although many governments in Europe and around the world are committed to multistakeholderism, it is not considered to be the model of the future and forums like this are sometimes questioned vis-à-vis the impact they make. In many parts of the world, legislation is made without consultations with the relevant stakeholders. The digitisation in our life sometimes happens without an option to opt out. Yet, most users do not really see the need to be engaged in Internet governance. It is thus the aim of EuroDIG to raise awareness of the challenges ahead and to facilitate discussions, but not to finalise them. Over the past years, the discussions at EuroDIG focused on the European digital single market and industry 4.0. However, recent developments have shown that some people fear the digital revolution that goes along with the loss of their workplace and privacy. Therefore, ‘we are here looking at the digital future from a different angle, to discuss the promises and pitfalls’, Hoferichter concluded. 

Noha Fathy

The open mic session at EuroDIG 2017 was moderated by Mr Gert Auväärt, Cyber Coordinator at the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and touched upon different topics.

The engagement of youth at EuroDIG was one of the highlights of the session; youth participants are engaged in two programmes: YouhDIG and CopyFighters. Their work was complimented and participants were encouraged to support them since they will carry on the Internet governance discussions and the multistakeholder model in the future.

Mr Michael Oghia, YouthDIG participant, called attention to how sustainability is intertwined with the future of the Internet. He noted that access and sustainability are intrinsically connected, as much as hunger and food waste are. He called upon participants to adopt a transcending attitude that considers the impact of current policies and regulations on youth and future generations.

The role of EuroDIG was yet another point of interest. Mr Nigel Hickson, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), praised EuroDIG for the engagement of youth. EuroDIG has a real sense of anticipation and urgency that he hopes will install freedom and innovation to make sure there is a global Internet in the future, and that national strategies do not break down the Internet. Mr Chris Buckridge, RIPE Network Coordination Centre, added that EuroDIG and the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) are places where these ideas start but they are not necessarily the place where decisions are going to be made about Internet governance. This is the place to start to get involved and learn how the process works.

Mr Wolfgang Kleinwatcher, Aarhus University, referred to CyCon 2017, where delicate cyberspace discussions were held a week ago. ‘We have moved on from a cold war to a cold war of codes’, one of the CyCon participants noted. Kleinwatcher explained that there is a need to avoid a cold war and move to a digital détente, and to have more co-operation and more trust on the Internet. This was further affirmed by Ms Lousewies van der Laan, ICANN Board of Directors, who accentuated the importance of the multistakeholder model as the only way forward on the Internet. Unless relevant stakeholders co-operate to make this model work and solve relevant Internet problems, governments will push to take over the Internet, and the governance model will be under threat.

Liability as the big elephant in the room was another challenge pinpointed by a representative from the commercial sector. He elucidated that rule of law and dispute resolution are important to ensure the process is right. The Internet is global in its reach and hence it is important to have a governance structure, liability model, and input from commercial managers who are good at managing such risks. Another participant representing the business sector accentuated that business is keen to take up different responsibilities and EuroDIG is the best place to do that.

Sustainable development was addressed by Ms Louise Bennett, BCS, who expressed her disappointment that the IGF and EuroDIG did not take part in producing the World Bank moderated document: Principles on identification on sustainable development: towards the digital age. The document, which outlines ten fundamental principles on inclusion, design and governance in line with the EU General Data Protection Regulation, was developed by developing countries. This was further asserted by Mr Walid Al-Saqaf, Internet Society, who explained that the Internet affects everyone; whatever happens in Europe affects people in the Middle East. Policies, thus, cannot be confined to the region but have to be global. Al-Saqaf urged participants to speak to people from other regions who might be facing challenges but do not have a voice.

Ms Xianhong Hu, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) noted the gender balance among the audience and praised EuroDIG's contribution  to global Internet governance. She also promoted the Internet universality indicators developed by UNESCO, and called for the adoption of principles that preserve the openness of the Internet and multistakeholderism in order to reap the benefits of the Internet. 

Sorina Teleanu

Mr William J Drake, International Fellow & Lecturer, Media Change & Innovation Division, IPMZ University of Zurich, introduced the session by explaining that the discussions will revolve around the pros and cons of digital policy issues in trade negotiations from a European standpoint, while trying to answer questions such as: Which digital policy issues should be dealt with under an international trade framework and which should not? Are negotiations on international trade agreements inclusive enough? What roles should European stakeholders play in such negotiations?

Mr Pearse O'Donohue, Acting Director for Future Networks DG CONNECT, European Commission, focused on the issue of the free flow of data. He started by saying that in the EU, there have been restrictions on data flows, but without meaningful discussions on why such restrictions are in place. There are also legal uncertainties at both the national and EU levels when it comes to cross-border data flows. The EU needs to address such issues internally first, and then move on to discussing the principles of data flows beyond EU borders. O'Donohue pointed out that, while there is a clear need to ensure data protection and data security, localisation and restrictions on data flows are not necessarily the answer. It is important for economic and social development worldwide that data can circulate freely across borders.

Ms Marilia Maciel, Digital Policy Senior Researcher, DiploFoundation, spoke about the importance of data flows in discussions on international trade agreements, but underlined that there are also other digital policy issues being increasingly raised in such discussions, such as intermediary liability, cryptography, and spam. She said that there is increasing pressure for the World Trade Organization (WTO) to make progress on e-commerce related issues, and that the topic will be addressed at the WTO Ministerial Conference, to be held in December 2017. WTO member states have elaborated non-papers tackling digital issues that could be included in future trade negotiations: taxation (whether the moratorium on the non-taxation of electronic transmissions should be made permanent), data flows, trade facilitation (paperless trade harmonisation), technology transfers, privacy, consumer protection, etc.

Mr Robert Kroplewski, Minister of Digital Affairs for Information Society, Poland, said that when it comes to digital trade and e-commerce, EU stakeholders should look not only at the digital single market within the EU, but also at the global economy. He noted that data is key to innovation, and, in order to explore this potential, states should create an environment of mutual trust when it comes to data flows.

Mr Konstantinos Komaitis, Director Policy Development, Internet Society, started by asking whether the Internet governance (IG) community is ready to contribute to the international discussions on trade. He said that IG issues such as intellectual property rights, data protection, and security come up more and more in trade agreements, and that the IG community needs to make sure it becomes part of the trade discussions. At a minimum, this would mean demanding transparency from international negotiation processeses, and finding a way to provide input into the discussions before decisions are made. Komaitis also pointed to the complexities of the on-going debate on the challenges of globalisation, and the emergence of protectionist policies, which bring challenges for the Internet and the digital ecosystem, as, by definition, the Internet is supportive of globalisation.

Ms Erika Mann, Senior European Policy Advisor, Covington & Burling LLP, addressed the question of whether the IG multistakeholder model can be infused into the trade environment. In her view, the model is flexible enough to deal with a complex environment such as international trade, and its applicability can and should be tested on specific trade-related issues, such as data flows. IG stakeholders should become partners in international trade discussions, but not try to cover or capture all topics.

Mr Wolfgang Kleinwachter, Professor Emeritus, University of Aarhus, pointed out that, although digital policy issues are interconnected and decisions taken in one field affect another (security issues for example, also affect human rights and trade), they are still addressed and negotiated in silos. Better communication needs to be created among the various communities to allow issues to be more transversally addressed. Kleinwachter also mentioned that the multilateral treaty system will never disappear, but it is embedded in an environment where all stakeholders have a say.

Discussions on the multistakeholder model continued during the interactive part of the session. It was said that multistakeholderism is seen as a helpful instrument to address certain issues, but the model is still in its early days. As there are not many concrete outcomes of the process, it remains to be seen how it will develop in the future. The one size fits all approach does not work, and each issue needs special, tailored solutions built around it. When it comes to trade agreements, governments probably still need a place to ‘sit alone’, but they also need to make sure that they consult other stakeholders and understand their views before entering the decision-making phase.

Amrita Choudhury

The objective of the workshop was to discuss digital literacy in the current Internet environment, ways to upgrade the existing skill sets corresponding to the new reality, and successful examples of digital literacy initiatives and digital skills strategies for the community.

The moderator of the workshop, Ms Narine Khachatryan, Safer Internet, Armenia, stressed that digital skills have become a prerequisite and are constantly evolving. She said that it is important to deliberate on the type of skill development policy needed for reducing unemployment and to ensure that everyone can be skilled.

Ms Signe Balina, Counsellor to the Latvian Minister for Environmental Protection and Regional Development, President of Latvian Information and Communication Technology Association (LIKTA), stated that digital skills are important both for digital natives and digital immigrants. Latvia, she said, follows a multistakeholder approach and has developed a digital skills policy. By 2018, Latvia plans to introduce a competence-based curriculum. To ensure the trainings are being updated continuously, Balina suggested better co-operation between public and private organisations, with the latter taking care of the content.

Ms Kristel Rillo, Digital Skills and Lifelong Learning, Estonian Ministry of Education and Research, highlighted that although digital natives are good consumers, they face more risks which need to be addressed. The role of schools is significant. Estonia, she said, introduced digital competence in education in 2014. There are efforts to introduce digital skills in the future, which would follow a flexible curriculum. Responding to a question on the disconnect in the education systems, Rillo commented that there needs to be a shift in the way education, including digital skills, is imparted in higher education. There is a need to provide blended learning, taking into consideration how students learn and how teachers teach.

Ms Clara Sommier, Public Policy, Google, mentioned the concepts supported by Google, which include developing digital skills, digital literacy, and digital citizenship, as instruments empowering people to commit, engage, and react. She further shared five areas that Google is involved in: digital education, skills training, empowerment, providing a voice to people, as well as acknowledgement/recognition.

Mr Vitor Tome, Educational Policy Division, Council of Europe (CoE), shared the experience of CoE's working group on digital literacy and digital competency. He reiterated the importance of building a digital competency that is teachable, learnable, and measurable. He added that policies need to move from safety and protection to positive empowerment, and that the responsibility of the education system needs to be reshaped.

Mr Stephen Wyber, Policy & Advocacy, International Federation of Library Associations, elaborated with examples of how libraries use the Internet to engage with communities, to provide meaningful access and skill people. He emphasised five areas of competency, which include information and data literacy, communication and collaboration, digital content creation, safety and problem solving.

Responding to a comment about involving students in the process of designing programmes, Sommier highlighted the role of young people as influencers, Tome suggested identifying resident peers and empowering them, and Rillo suggested making education more practical.

Suggestions from the audience include: the necessity for all actors to work together, the significant role of families, the importance of parents and teachers to work together, the role of role models and the need for countries to have a common strategy on digital skills and job scholarships.

Khachatryan concluded by saying that digital literacy today has a greater meaning, integrating social, technical and cultural aspects. She further added that digital savy citizens should know their rights, how to protect themselves online, how to use and create content in a responsible manner, and that efforts are needed from all stakeholders.

Amrita Choudhury

The objective of the session  was to understand the scope and nature of the challenges posed by the digital revolution on employment, and to explore the role of the different stakeholder and models to address the issues. 

The session was initiated by the moderator, Ms Rinalia Abdul Rahim, Board of Directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), who shared an overview of the impact of technology on the world of work, and the current polarisation of jobs.

Mr Peter Eriksson, Swedish Minister for Housing and Digital Development, commented that while new technology and digitisation will lead to the loss of certain jobs, it will simultaneously create new jobs. Analysing the speed of change and changing the way we look at social security is important. Eriksson believes that basic income is not the right approach to addressing these issues, as it may exclude more people.

Mr Marco Pancini, Director of EU Public Policy, Google, emphasised the need to look at the benefits of the digital revolution and stressed the importance of knowledge and skills. He also shared Google’s initiative to equip small and medium business owners with digital skills.

Ms Karoli Hindriks, Jobbatical Small and Medium Enterprise, Estonia, spoke about the role that technologies play in providing mobility and opportunities for people to live and work anywhere.

Ms Ville-Veikko Pulkka, Doctoral researcher, Helsinki University, noted the need to assess the issue of unemployment due to technology, in both the short term and the medium term, as well as the necessity to provide more job opportunities for the unemployed.

Ms Annette Mühlberg, Head of e-government, ver.di, highlighted the challenges for workers today, including a greater workload, surveillance at the workplace, challenges of jurisdiction, new job models, and the loss of democratic procedures for freelancers (especially online).

Regarding which jobs will be in demand in the future, Hindriks commented on the difficulty of making such a prediction, especially since education is changing. It is important for people to adapt to new jobs. Eriksson pointed out the gap between skills and the types of jobs available, citing the example of Sweden, which has 60 000 job vacancies. Educating people for the available jobs is critical.

At the end of the session, Rahim posed the panellists several questions:

  • What is most important for skilling and making people employable? Pancini responded saying that it is important to ensure that those who are not online get the same opportunities offline, so that both can evolve. The individual rights of workers, both employed and self-employed, need to be respected and protected. Hindriks suggested that human mobility can help bridge the job gap, while Eriksson suggested a better social system to meet job needs, and that the adaptation of education and social security laws in work systems are important.
  • What needs to be adapted when it comes to social protection systems? Pulkka replied that there is a need to combine different labour markets and adopt either basic income or some other solution. Mühlberg shared the need to adopt a different approach based on the type of employment, clarity of the laws to be implemented, and their jurisdiction and online platforms contributing to social security funding.
  • Regarding how new social security systems need to be funded, Eriksson elaborated that job creation will increase the tax base, resulting in a better social system, and that along with that, a system needs to be developed to ensure that companies pay their taxes. Pancini added that there is a need to enlarge the basis of contribution. Mühlberg suggested that when organisations make a profit by rationalisation and use of technology, then a certain amount can be contributed to education for example. 

There were comments from the audience on the need for further research on the basic income model and its applicability in different states, including how technology can address this, as well as on the importance of developing new skills.

Rahim wrapped-up the session by pointing out that the discussion did not touch on the ageing population and the effect of climate change and migration.

Sorina Teleanu

Opening the session, co-moderators Mr Dirk Krischenowski, dotBERLIN GmbH & Co. KG, and Ms Maarja Kirtsi, Estonian Internet Foundation/.ee, explained that the discussion will focus on issues related to innovation and competition on the domain name market, especially in the context of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs), launched by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in 2014.

To kick-start the debates, Krischenowski gave an overview of a study conducted by ICANN on competition, consumer trust, and consumer choice in the domain name market. Some of the main findings of the study: new gTLDs contributed to the growth of the market; the sales channel integrated the new gTLDs quickly and lead to much greater consumer choice; many new registrar operators entered the market, especially in former under-developed markets; the number of registry operators increased by a factor of 60; typical TLDs are niche, targeted, and geographic TLDs. Overall, the New gTLD Program has lead to a dramatic increase in consumer choice, a modest increase in competition, and minimal impact on consumer trust.

Ms Elena Plexida, European Commission (EC), talked about the evaluation and revision process that the EC has launched with regard to the regulations for the .eu TLD. She explained that the .eu TLD was formally established by Regulation 733/2002, while EC Regulation 874/2004 set the rules for the registry and the .eu. The .eu TLD was delegated by ICANN in 2005. As the market has continuously changed, these regulations have become outdated, have generated administrative challenges and need a revision. Issues to be analysed during the evaluation process include: whether the .eu objectives have been achieved (to boost e-commerce and empower end-users to create a European digital identity), the legal separation between registry and registrars, whether the registry should be more active in other Internet governance areas (and how).

Mr Jörg Schweiger, DENIC e.G./.de outlined one issue of concern for the domain name industry: How to make sure that domains do not subsurface, in the sense that they exist from a technical point of view, but users are not really aware of them? The industry has been constantly looking for the ‘killer application’ to address this issue. He pointed out that one way to make domain names more attractive could be to build on the discussions about self-determination, sovereignty, and identity. The main objective of .de now is to retain as many domain names as possible, and that the direction the registry is growing in is not necessarily related to innovation per se, but rather to having a secure domain name space.

Ms Lianna Galstyan, Internet Society Armenia, said that the .am registry never had an objective to have a high number of domain name registrations, but rather, to give the community the possibility to register domain names under .am. The same rationale was also behind the launch of the Armenian Internationalised Domain Name (IDN).

Mr Ardi Jürgens, Zone Media OÜ, pointed out that domain names do not exist in a bubble; they are part of a system which includes resources and applications. A healthy growth in the demand for domain names could result in applications and people using domain names for creating value, either for them or society. In the search for a ‘killer application’, the industry should look at young people and try to find a way to create value for them within the domain name space. Compared to social media platforms, domain names have the main advantage of being under the control of the registrant, and this is something that the industry should try to communicate better.

Mr Andrea Beccalli, ICANN, discussed examples of innovation in the DNS, such as the new gTLDs, the introduction of IDN TLDs, and the DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC). Even the community work on developing the rules and processes for the New gTLD Program can be seen as a form of innovation. Schweiger, however, argued that the new round of gTLDs does not necessarily means innovation, as it was simply presenting what was on the market already – TLDs. Moreover, most business models surrounding new gTLDs are similar to what had been on the market before their introduction, with only a few exceptions.

Security in the domain name space was mentioned during the discussions as an area that deserves more attention. There are troubling correlations between new gTLDs and ‘innovation in crime’, and there are service providers who have blocked all new gTLDs from their servers due to security concerns. Innovation on the security front should be a priority for new gTLDs. Privacy is also an issue that requires increased attention, as users are more and more demanding in this regard. 

The risk of cybersquatting was also raised as an issue of concern for new gTLDs, with regard to the protection of trademarks. It was said that the current protection mechanisms (such as the sunrise period allowing trademark holders to register relevant domain names, and mechanisms for rights enforcement post domain name registration) are helpful, but not sufficient. Such issues are currently analysed within the ICANN framework.

At the end of the session, a point was raised – that it is not actually clear what is innovative in the domain name space, as TLDs have been in place for many years and they are basically the same ‘technology’ or ‘tool’ that they have been since the creation of the DNS.

Arvin Kamberi

The session was moderated by Mr Walid A Saqaf, Internet Society, and was part of EuroDIG’s educational track. At the beginning, Mr Ken Hansen, Blockchain Roadshow, offered a simplified explanation on blockchain technology. He explained that blockchain is a distributed open ledger network with no single centralised point. It operates on the P2P (peer-to-peer) distributed application architecture. Hanson clarified that bitcoin is not synonymous with blockchain, it is just one of the applications that runs on a blockchain, such as ‘Ripple’ (financial transfers solution) or ‘FlightDelay’ (instant payout in case of a delayed flight).

After Hansen’s presentation, the interactive part of the session started. It was organised as a game in which the audience learned how blocks are created inside a blockchain. ‘Miners’ (volunteers from the audience),were working as block creators and were awarded with Yummi coins (chocolate bars). Miners serve as protectors of this distributed ledger, monitoring the transactions which take place in a blockchain. The audience learned why blockchain ensures the immutability of transactions by referring to everything that happens in a network.

Continuing the discussion, Mr Anton Zurenko, Stratum, addressed the question of trust on the Internet, and the question was raised: is blockchain a technology that can help? He pointed out that blockchain is a system that requires no trust, since everything is regulated by algorithms and mathematics. It is a system that makes sure that there is a shared protocol, but that each participant still retains independence.

Ms Hannahe Boujemi, blockchain researcher, added that there is no clear picture on what should be regulated. This technology is not yet mainstream and it would be good to wait a while longer with the regulations. The EU is taking this specific approach regarding regulation. Generally speaking, regulators do not have a lot of options at the money, and they need to leave it to the market to bring more clarity.

Mr Arvin Kamberi, DiploFoundation, pointed out that blockchain was developed as an answer to the loss of trust after the 2008 financial downfall. It was created as a response to the need for a decentralised trust system. He added that is important to distinguish that, aside from open blockchains (such as the bitcoin blockchain), other blockchain applications can include permissions, and adding additional layers of security and scalability. These blockchains would be managed in a centralised way, but would significantly help in reducing cost and increasing efficiency. On the other hand, open blockchains offer a new way of system governance by emerged consensus. Since the story of developing blockchains resembles the early days of the Internet and the discussions of standardisation, Kamberi added that we might need a similar solution (for example the multistakeholder model within the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – ICANN).

Mr Michael Oghia, Internet governance consultant, added that one important aspect of governance is the sustainability of blockchains. When it comes to blockchains, many applications will be developed, and this might lead to significant levels of energy consumption. He added that as we move forward, this issue should be incorporated as much as possible into the Internet governance discussions.

Questions from the audience addressed the issue of regulation. Regulation needs to be done in the context of specific sectors. If it has impact on the financial sector, it should be regulated there, but not as a technology in itself. It was concluded that the Internet, as we know it today, emerged as a platform that provides services. One can anticipate that blockchains will have a similar range of applications to build on top. Some of the most prominent players are involved in harnessing this new technology for their products. That has been recognised as the main challenge for future regulation.

Amrita Choudhury

The objective of the session was to discuss the basic technical concepts which are the building blocks for cybersecurity discussions.

The session was initiated my the moderator, Mr Chris Buckridge, External Relations Manager, RIPE Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC), who stressed the need to understand the technical concepts at work in order to understand the building blocks for contributing to the cybersecurity discussions. In addition to the technical community, other stakeholders also need to understand what happens on the Internet and how it happens.

Mr Patrik Fältström, Manager Engineering, Research and Development at Netnod, Stockholm University, elaborated on the meaning of time, noting that the measurement of time is dependent on accuracy and precision. Based on requirement, organisations need to choose between accuracy and precision. He added that time stamps need to be accurate, especially for events happening in distributed systems. While new technologies such as 5G clocks need to be more accurate, there are challenges owing to the differences in time scales, even within the same time-zone.

Answering a question about Galileo, the global navigation satellite system, vis à vis the Global Positioning System (GPS), he clarified that the former is more modern, however it is very similar to the GPS system.

Responding to a question on the Netnod system, Fältström explained that the Netnod system does not allow access from outside, as redundancy is important for resilience when it comes to security issues.

Fältström explained the importance of replaceability, redundancy, and having multi-vendors that are informed on the way the system works. Moreover, consumers should have the option to choose which service or vendor they want to use.

Mr Marco Hogewoning, External Relations Officer – Technical Advisor, RIPE NCC, pointed out that while most people treat cybersecurity as a technical problem, it is much more than that. He added that although technology can secure the systems, there is a cost associated with building the systems and a need for willingness to apply the solutions. He further added that as cybersecurity is a broad subject, it needs the involvement of all stakeholders, even when the solutions are being designed. He further stressed the importance of looking outside the cause and complexity of cybersecurity, for a more simplistic solution.

Hogewoning indicated that laws today are mostly reactive, and it is important to invest in preventive security, educate people, build quality products and pay the price of the product. He went on to say that it is important for people to report cybersecurity breaches, in order for Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) across the world to provide reports which are meaningful and functional and can help in the discussions.

Ms Marjolijn Bonthuis Krijger, ECP, reiterated that while technical skills are important, it is equally important to have knowledge about cybersecurity and teach self, employees, community Members, and young children about it.

Mr Peter Koch, Policy Advisor at DENIC, emphasised the need for standards. While the complexity in standards today leads to challenges in deployment and their misinterpretation, it is important to learn from mistakes and not repeat them.

He further stressed the fact that no software is bug-free today, especially as software has dependencies on the building blocks, which may have bugs that are harder to fix. Even operating system software has an option to review codes, and security software operating systems have been reported to have bugs. It is therefore important for organisations to invest money and manpower to review software in order to fix the bugs. Moreover, there should be an incentive among users to upgrade the existing versions. He also added that security is like an organisation and demands attention, and that the human factor should not be ignored.

Jana Mišić

The session addressed the impact of hate speech and fake news on the Internet and in European societies.

Mr Menno Ettema, European Coordinator of the No Hate Speech Movement at the Council of Europe (CoE), introduced the participants and the structure of the debate. He explained three phases of the panel: first, the descriptive phase to explore the manifestation of fake news in Europe; second, the normative phase focused on defining ‘fake news’ and responsibility; and third, the prescriptive phase to present solutions for combating fake news.

Mr Sven Mikser, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, began with the importance of defining fake news and the fashion of labelling threats. It used to be fashionable to label threats as being asymmetrical and hybrid, now it is to call them 'post-truth'. Mikser sees intentionality to create confusion in societies and impact political processes as the main characteristics of fake news. In his opinion, fake news is not news, but false information put out to manipulate certain audiences by undermining their trust in democratic structures. Customised information and media designed to be acceptable for the recipient, instead of being objective, is neither new nor unique to the Internet. According to him, what is unique to the Internet is the amount of information available in short periods of time that recipients cannot fully process. Mikser stressed the difficulty for people to critically analyse information and validate objective sources, which led to the 'post-truth era' on the Internet. His main recommendation was to improve the critical capacity of audiences to recognise false information.

The normative phase was started by Ms Corina Călugăru, Ambassador of the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Moldova to the CoE, who emphasised the issue of responsibility and implementation. In her opinion, governments and organisations have the responsibility to implement concrete forward actions. As an example of a simple, focused action to raise awareness, she mentioned the 'No Hate Speech Movement'. Although it is difficult, people need to be able to differentiate between wrong and right information. Călugăru stressed that governments, organisations, businesses and citizens have to balance their responsibilities in regulating hate speech and fake news. 'We don't need more norms nor more models', she said. Existing norms, rules, and regulations are functional, but should be better implemented.

Ms Divina Frau-Meigs, President and Professor at Université Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III), focused on the types of fake news, consequences, accountability, and recommendations. She listed three types of fake news: propaganda, plot theory, and gossip. States create propaganda, plot theory seeks to debunk the propaganda, and gossip arises among the people in the middle trying to find the truth. The consequences of this are disrupted truth and personal authenticity being more important to people than objectivity. Frau-Meigs also said that public opinion is not created top-down anymore, but horizontally and via multi-layers. According to her, 'we have to be clear on who enacts fake news and who is accountable for it'. Accountability also improves self-regulation, which is important. Frau-Meigs made several recommendations: educating people, re-training journalists, applying the public trustee model for big online media platforms such as Facebook, and creating more ethical algorithms.

Ms Jessikka Aro, investigative reporter at Yle, shared a personal example of the dangers of fake news. It began with her investigative work on Internet trolls, extremism and information warfare in Russia. Because of it she was falsely reported on, harassed, and threatened by violence. Aro explained how fake news was used to manipulate and propagate not only ideas, but also personal actions that further led to political pressure to arrest her. The trolls' goal was to intimidate journalists that oppose and uncover fake news. Her main point was the lack of research on how this propaganda influences behavior once applied. As positive consequences of the experience, Aro mentioned improvements in the police investigations in Finland, as well as the creation of trainings for civil servants and civil society on how to recognise fake news.

Sorina Teleanu

The session brought together national and regional Internet Governance Forum (IGF) initiatives (NRIs) from Europe, to discuss how to best present themselves at the upcoming IGF meeting, which will take place in December 2017, in Geneva. Opening the session, Ms Sandra Hoferichter, EuroDIG Association, mentioned that having the global IGF in Europe offers an opportunity to European NRIs to showcase their work. As Europe is the continent with the largest number of NRIs, this brings it to the forefront of Internet governance discussions.

Ms Lousewies van der Laan, Board of Directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), noted that, since the multistakeholder model of Internet governance seems to be working well in Europe, this is something that NRIs in Europe can showcase at the IGF. She further elaborated on the need to make IGF iniatives more result-oriented, by moving from a simple identification of Internet-related challenges, to trying to come up with solutions to address such challenges. By not taking the multistakeholder model to this next level, we risk giving an excuse to those who argue that this model does not work. Mr Yrjö Länsipuro, Internet Society Finland, commented that there is, indeed, a need to advance from dialogue to concrete actions, but this is a dilemma that the IGF community has been trying to address over the past 10 years – how to create a bridge between the mandate of the IGF and the reality of today.

During the discussion, it was said that many IGF initiatives face a difficulty in bringing in more actors from the private sector, and, to some extent, governments into their processes. Mr Jorge Cancio, Federal Office of Communications of Switzerland, mentioned that in order to address this challenge, the initiatives need to address those issues that are really relevant and pressing for these stakeholder groups. Having a programme focused on concrete and challenging issues (e.g. hate speeches and fake news) will help attract more stakeholders. Ms Sorina Teleanu, DiploFoundation and South Eastern European on Dialogue on Internet Governance (SEEDIG), mentioned that a positive development was noticed at the SEEDIG 2017 meeting, which had increased participation from both the private sector and governments. Ms Marianne Sakalova,, commented that when it comes to national IGF initiatives, the involvement of various stakeholder groups is largely dependent on the national context. In some cases, governments are driving the processes, while in others, it is the civil society or the private sector.

Mr Chengetai Masango, IGF Secretariat, mentioned that the IGF 2017 meeting will give space to NRIs to show what they are doing at the national and regional level. When planning their presence at the global IGF, NRIs should have a multi-year approach in mind, and how the activities they plan for IGF 2017 could lead to other activities in the following IGF meetings.

After this initial round of discussions, Hoferichter asked participants to try to come up with concrete suggestions on how European NRIs can present themselves at the IGF 2017 meeting, possibly in the context of a European forum. One idea was to allow NRIs to talk about the most important Internet governance issues and challenges tackled at their meetings. Taking one step forward, NRIs could try to identify whether there are common positions among themselves on any of the addressed issues. At the same time, challenges, good practices, and success stories in running IGF initiatives could be another topic for discussion at a possible European forum. Finally, it was suggested that European NRIs should also showcase the connections that exist at the European level between national IGFs, SEEDIG, and EuroDIG.

Building on these suggestions, it was agreed that the EuroDIG Secretariat would invite European NRIs to map three ‘hot topics’ discussed at their meetings, three challenges they face in their work, and three aspects that work well at NRIs and can be seen as success stories. Once this ‘map’ is created, discussions will continue on how to best plan a European NRIs session at the IGF, and both existing and under formation NRIs in Europe would be invited to contribute.

Participants were also reminded that EuroDIG traditionally has a booth during the IGF meeting, and that there is a joint booth for NRIs from around the world; these could also be used to better promote the work of European NRIs. A suggestion was made to try to prepare a brochure of European NRIs, with basic information about IGF initiatives across the continent, which would then be presented at the IGF meeting in Geneva.

Finally, it was noted that the idea of having European NRIs showcasing their work in a dedicated session or via booths during the IGF 2017 meeting should be complemented with ensuring that there is a strong European voice in the main sessions and workshops, from all stakeholder groups. NRIs should encourage their communities to be active both during the planning process for the IGF, and during the meeting itself, by contributing their views and experiences to the discussions.

Sorina Teleanu

The workshop, held as a pre-event to the EuroDIG meeting, was organised by members of the MAPPING project – Association for Technology and Internet (ApTI), DiploFoundation, and European Projects & Management (EPM) – as part of their work with the MAPPING Policy Observatory

Ms Valentina Pellizzer, One World Platform, opened by explaining that the aim of the session is to discuss the questions and challenges that come up in the various digital policy observatory initiatives and other similar information gathering projects, and to identify best practices in the work of these initiatives. Mr Bogdan Manolea, ApTI, continued the introduction noting that the session builds upon an existing dialogue among observatories, which was formally launched at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meeting in 2014.

The session continued with an overview of various digital policy projects and initiatives, including:

  • COMMUNIA’s copyright exceptions mapping, which documents the implementation status of copyright exceptions and limitations to copyright in EU member states.
  • Geneva Internet Platform (GIP) Digital Watch initiative, which includes the GIP Digital Watch observatory (providing information on 43 Internet governance (IG) and digital policy issues: issues overview, policy updates, relevant actors, processes, events, instruments, and resources), the Geneva Digital Watch newsletter (which includes a round-up of developments and articles on various digital policy issues), and monthly GIP briefings on Internet governance.
  • Global Information Society Watch, which has been mapping various digital policy issues over the years (e.g. access to infrastructure in 2008, access to online information and knowledge in 2009, communications surveillance in 2014, sexual rights in 2015, economic, social and cultural rights and the Internet in 2016. It is expected that the 2017 report will focus on community networks.
  • Internet Legislation Atlas, acting as a map of Internet policies and a human rights watch in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
  • Global Internet Policy Observatory (GIPO), an initiative launched by the European Commission in 2015 with the aim to monitor Internet-related policy, and regulatory and technological developments across the world.
  • Internet governance developments in South Eastern Europe initiative, run by the South Eastern European Dialogue on Internet Governance (SEEDIG), in collaboration with DiploFoundation and the GIP. It includes monthly summaries of Internet governance and digital policy developments in SEE, as well a SEE hub for monthly Internet governance briefings.

The rest of the session was focused on exploring good practices in the work of these and other similar initiatives. Participants were divided into several working groups, each group exploring specific issues, and trying to map existing good practices. Groups then reported on their findings:

  • Sharing and collaboration. The use of a common taxonomy of digital policy issues was identified as an example of a good practice in the work of policy observatories. It was also mentioned that, as observatories and other initiatives have different target groups, it might be difficult to talk about common approaches. However, a need was identified for a strengthened interoperability and collaboration among initiatives.
  • Community building. Examples of good practices in building communities included: courses on digital policy issues, followed by activities aimed at keeping the network of alumni closely involved with the organisation providing the courses; fellowships for individuals to attend IG events and processes; involving community members in the work of the initiatives. A question that was raised and remained open was whether a community could be built behind an automated tool. One challenge in the work of observatories is related to the fact that experts might know more on a particular topic than the observatory itself.
  • Interoperability. One area where observatories can share knowledge is the use of a common taxonomy (what is done, for example, by the GIP Digital Watch and the GIPO), which then allows a certain level of interoperability. The issue of a joint and regularly updated taxonomy should be further explored, for example, in the context of annual or bi-annual meetings.
  • Data visualisation and interactivity. While it is acknowledged that there is a need for data visualisation, the main challenge is how to visualise data in a user-friendly, easy and inexpensive way. In order to be most effective, visualisations need to show interrelations and correlations among the issues they cover. Any such visualisation tools should be built not in silos, but through engaging the community and incorporating feedback from them.

At the end of the session, it was said that the dialogue among digital policy observatories and other initiatives should continue, with the aim of exploring more in depth both the challenges and success stories, and to avoid doing the same work twice. 

The 10th annual meeting of the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) will be held on 6-7 June 2017, in Tallinn, Estonia, and it will be hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia.

Under the overarching theme 'DIGital futures: promises and pitfalls', the meeting will feature plenary sessions, workshops, and flash sessions focused on various digital policy issues such as access and literacy, development of the Internet governance ecosystem, human rights, innovation and economic issues, media and content, security and crime, and technical and operational issues.

The meeting will bring together representatives of governments, intergovernmental organisations, the private sector, the technical community, and civil society, for discussions on public policy issues related to Internet governance. The main aim of EuroDIG is to promote the engagement of Europeans in multistakeholder dialogue in order to share their expertise and best practice and, where possible, identify common ground. This enables EuroDIG to pull together national perspectives and to apply and shape European values and views regarding the Internet.

For more information, visit the initiative website.



The GIP Digital Watch observatory is provided by



and members of the GIP Steering Committee


GIP Digital Watch is operated by

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