[Read more session reports and live updates from the 11th Internet Governance Forum]
The session was chaired by Mr Markus Kummer, ICANN Board Member, who introduced the role of the Dynamic Coalitions (DC) at the IGF. Mr Victor Lagunes, CIO, Office of the President of Mexico, provided welcome remarks and commended the richness of this year’s IGF. The DC Survey initiative was presented by Jeremy Malcolm, Senior Global Policy Analyst, Electronic Frontier Foundation, who invited the audience to contribute to the survey in order to improve the output work of thee coalitions.
Using an interview format, the moderator, Ms Tatiana Tropina, Senior Researcher, Max Planck Institute, gave the floor to each of the DCs:
Ms A Saks, representing the DC on Accessibility and Disability, discussed the two-track approach they adopted: work on standardisation (together with the ITU), but also on guidelines for implementation (at the IGF and beyond). They are currently discussing the possibility of introducing IGF training on how to deal with persons with disabilities.
Ms B Datta, representing the DC on Gender and Internet Governance (IG), stated its mission: all genders must shape, define and participate in IG. She called attention to thinking of users as embodied, to better understand some of the fundamental issues. The DC is currently working on a draft of an anti-sexual harassment policy at the IGF, gender report cards, and infusing a gender perspective into IG discussions.
Mr J Carr, from the DC on Child Online Safety, brought forward their recent focus on age verification systems for accessing commercial pornography sites, which would ensure that the laws are complied with and that children do not get exposed to pornographic material by accident.
Mr L Belli, leading the work of the DC on Community Connectivity, explained that idea for creating this coalition came after a workshop last year at the IGF in João Pessoa. Community connectivity is an issue that deserves more visibility when it comes to connecting the next billion, primarily to show that there is an alternative: it is not only about how connectivity can be brought to the next billion, but also about letting them build their own solutions. So far, the DC provided an analysis of infrastructure and governance arrangements, also looking at the related effects, such as digital literacy and local entrepreneurship.
Mr C Yoo announced that the DC-Connecting the Unconnected was approved yesterday, with the plan to work on the multitude of innovative ways to connect to the Internet. Their focus is on implementation and developing common metrics to allow comparison across countries.
Mr S Hamilton, from the DC on Public Access in Libraries, highlighted the need to bring the Internet to the community level in an accessible way. This is where libraries play a key role. Of the 320 000 public libraries worldwide, more than 230 000 are located in developing countries. They provide hubs for people to stay in touch, act as ‘digital memory’, help with governmental services online, as well as safe spaces for women and girls and persons with disabilities. When discussing the next billion getting online, libraries are a scalable solution. The DC produced a set of principles on public access in libraries, bringing other actors in to run a number of pilot projects.
Ms H Boujemi, from the DC on Internet Rights and Principles, spoke of the work they have been doing since 2009 in creating and sharing a set of principles and a charter, used as a base document for many policy-making processes around the world (New Zealand and Italy). The charter addresses people who want to understand IG from a human rights perspective. They currently work on increasing the capacity of communities to engage in discussions with a human rights approach, for example in the MENA region.
Introducing the work of the DC on Core Internet Values, Mr O Crepin-Leblon explained that from the set of core technical values that were adopted when the Internet was born, some are still in place (like interoperability, openness, decentralisation), while others withered. The questions the work of the DC is focused on are: Do we need new values (e.g. to protect people from technical harm)? Do we need to amend the existing values? On these issues, they work together with the DC on Internet of Things. The latter is newly established and highlights the need to make IoT devices more secure, while fostering a multistakeholder dialogue around relevant developments. Device manufacturers, network providers, as well as users all need to be involved in discussion and become more aware of the risks.
On the four-year long work of the DC on Net Neutrality, Mr L Belli stressed the agreement within the coalition on what could be the rationale for net neutrality. Their annual report for 2016 focuses on zero-rating and the implementation on net neutrality principles.
Ms C Reyes, of the DC on Blockchain Technologies showed that, beyond the hype, the aim of decentralisation should be questioned: as a means or as an end in itself? The need for a multistakeholder discussion around it was also highlighted.
On behalf of the DC on Internet and Climate Change, Mr Preetam Maloor introduced their recent report, which focuses on ICTs and climate change, creating dialogue channels, as well as ICT-driven innovation. Their work focuses on capacity building and the development of standards, recommendations, tools for sustainable growth. As there is a limited audience for this topic at the IGF, DC members agreed to meet annually at the WSIS Forum in Geneva.
A Q&A discussion followed, primarily oriented towards child online safety.
by Dr Roxana Radu