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Ms Cristina Monti, European Commission (EC), introduced a recently launched Next Generation Internet initiative (NGI). She explained the context and why it is relevant for Internet governance. She promised that the EC will continue in defending the multistakeholder approach. She pointed out that the IG debate has shifted from technical issues to social and economic challenges in last two years This shift pressed the EC to reorient research activities so that the Internet will have users and citizens at the core.
Ms Valentina Scialpi, European Commission, provided more details about the NGI initiative and its work. NGI has conducted a series of consultations since 2016 and has come up with three basic topics: privacy, decentralised data governance, and inclusiveness.
Ms Clementine Valayer, Gartner, reported on a study Next Generation Internet 2025 based on the NGI’s consultation process. In this study the authors defined a vision of an Internet of human values respecting resilience, trustworthiness and sustainability. The reason for the study was to find a new approach for the EC to funding research. The study developed a research program that cultivates research in a different way by proposing a new model of EC funded research. This model replaces the consortia model (doing basic research) with competition and organisation of individuals that will have to combine continuous stakeholder consultation, long-term research, and applied research. Ms Catherine Peyrable, also from Gartner, provided more details on the new model proposal and future funding schemes for EU’s Framework Programme 9 (FP9) which are in preparation.
The last speaker Mr Frédéric Donck, Internet Society (ISOC), added details about ISOC’s global internet report Paths to Our Digital Future since there are many commonalities between NGI’s study and ISOC’s report. The ISOC report identifies six drivers of change: the Internet and the physical world; artificial intelligence; cyber threats; the Internet economy; networks, standards and interoperability; and the role of government. In conclusion, Donck talked about cyber trust, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), encryption, and the application of human rights online.
The questions from the audience tackled the position of youth in the NGI initiative, the lagging economic position of the information technology (IT) industry in Europe compared to that in the United States, and the seemingly isolated approach of the European Commission to the Internet that is otherwise seen as a global good.
by Radek Bejdak