Between November 12th and 14h, 2018, researchers from the Internet and Society Reference Institute (IRIS) attended the 13th Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The event, which brings together actors from different sectors around the world, had the workshop “CLOUD Act & e-Evidence: implications for the Global South”, proposed by IRIS in partnership with the Internet Steering Committee in Brazil, the CGI.br. In addition, our researcher Davi Teófilo joined the Youth @ IGF Brasil program, which seeks to encourage the engagement of young people in the global scenario of Internet governance. Check our participation!
The IGF is a multisectoral forum created in 2006 by the United Nations Secretary-General. The aim is to enable people and groups of different interests to exchange information and share good policies and practices related to the Internet and to technologies, as equals. The format of the event, its discussions and the results of the first meetings were gathered in reports available here.
The theme this year was “The Internet of Trust”. The 71 sessions were organized in the following thematic groups:
- Cybersecurity, Trust and Privacy
- Development, Innovation & Economic Issues
- Digital Inclusion & Accessibility
- Emerging Technologies
- Evolution of Internet Governance
- Human Rights, Gender & Youth
- Media & Content
- Technical & Operational Topics
Many of these subjects are part of IRIS’s action, motivating the active partition of our team in the event!
Cloud Act and E-evidence: implications for the Global South
Recently, the world has witnessed normative proposes on the internet and its transnational phenomena. The collection of evidence in other territories, the way in which criminal investigations and prosecutions have been challenged by the Internet, arouses great discussions not only in Brazil, where the subject is discussed by STF in the Direct Action of Constitutionality nº 51 (of which IRIS is amicus curiae, having submitted the content available here), but all over the world.
Considering the IRIS’s projects on Internet, Jurisdiction and International Cooperation, the Institute was co-proponent among with the Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br) of the workshop “Cloud Act and E-evidence: implications for the Global South”, available here. It was intended to discuss, from the point of view of the multistakeholder of Internet governance in the global South, the institutional arrangements proposed in Europe, as well as the recent US law approved for evidence in the digital environment. IRIS directress Luiza Brandão joined panelists Monica Rosina (Facebook), Lani Crossette (Microsoft) and Fernanda Domingos (MPF) to discuss the subject, following a keynote by Bertrand de la Chapelle (Internet Jurisdiction), under the moderation of the CGI.br’s counselor, Thiago Tavares.
Global Internet governance and data access
It is undeniable that there is a power struggle between developed and developing countries and a project coming from just one perspective can be seen as a way to diminish the relevance of the multilateral scenario that has been built in the last years, or even decades. The bilateral approach, such as the Coud Act, includes, among others, the possibility of marginalizing political parties, especially from the global south, where civil society or academia are not easily considered, for instance.
The workshop discussions involved the development of new global solutions, taking into account the the preservation of the global nature of the Internet, thus avoiding fragmentation, and advocating a multistakeholder approach built for Internet governance.
A civil society perspective
IRIS represented at the workshop the civil society and how it could engage in discussions on access to data in extraterritorial criminal investigations. In this sense, we emphasized the importance of carefully checking models that do not consider multilateralism or multistakeholderism in which global internet governance is based.
In addition, in the context of the internet and jurisdiction, it is clear that there is no easy or unilateral solution to address the balance between the exercise of state power. It is crucial, therefore, to consider regional and local legal traditions, their complex systems and their diversity. This is because we must keep in mind that complete submission from one jurisdiction to another is no longer applicable. The international community should develop a cooperative approach, including with regard to the digital environment. Finally, we call attention to a growing need to rephrase how we understand the concept of sovereignty in the digital age in the 21st century. These and other formulations, considering the phenomena of the Internet, have already been addressed in IRIS publications, such as the book “Global Internet Governance, Conflicts of Law and Jurisdiction”, available here.
Jurisdictions should be shared, taking into account global Internet governance standards, users’ fundamental rights, and achievements already made.
Cybersecurity and Freedom of Expression
The exponential increase in cyberattacks and data breaches, coupled with states’ difficulties in dealing with the effects of the proliferation of false and malicious information, have raised questions about the effectiveness of current information security models (excluding those concerns for national security countries).
At the “Cybersecurity, Trust & Privacy” session, some of the actors suggested that only new regulatory frameworks or enhancements to existing ones would ensure more effective cyberspace security. This was the position of the French government when it called for a “Code for establish”. Similar was the position of the Chinese government government representative who stressed the need for new ideas, while noting the importance of rules to ensure stability and security.
For others, the best should be on security policies that put the risk to the people in the center. They affirm that the rules already exist and are many, and proposes that, instead of a generalized securitization, more debates on cyber security be promoted for and with society. They also alert to the constant abuses and violations of privacy and freedom of expression in the name of these practices aimed at ensuring information security.
The response to new phenomena must always be accompanied by consideration of risks, the guarantee of human rights and multisectoral cooperation.
E-Gov, Transparency and Inclusion
The integration of digital tools in local or regional governments as a way to improve service delivery to the community has been a very welcome practice for a wide range of nations. However, adherence to new tools alone can not be enough. In a democratic government, it is important that the new solutions represent an efficiency gain for governments and are accessible and transparent to their citizens.
The perceived common challenge is to ensure the coexistence of the guarantee of citizens’ privacy in a reality in which the mass collection and processing of their data constitutes a rich source of information for public policy guidelines, whether immediate or long-term.
The proposals identified were, among others, the stimulus of solutions that ensure the privacy of individuals from their conception (such as the use of blockchain technology) and the sharing by governments of information that is always very clear as to the reason and model of the collection and use of data, in an active stance of transparency.
If for the Global North reality is the aggregation of 5G technology, empowering the possibility of access and the creation of new solutions, Global South already faces challenges inherent in structural limitations and non-ideal indexes of digital inclusion. Since the implementation of public services by digital platforms or applications with high responsiveness, the reality is faced with the difficulty of maintaining connectivity with quality beyond the urban centers and with the ability of user-citizen to do an conscientious and active virtual communication.
Building “The Internet of Trust”
Following the “Internet of Trust” theme, the IGF provided discussions, challenges and, dilemmas encountered by stakeholders to reconcile the creation of Internet-oriented policies and regulations with the encouragement of transparency, auditing and social participation. The challenges of hate speech, fake news, democracy and the exercise of online rights were highlights of the discussions.
The importance of the IGF to the structure and functioning of the internet in the world is immeasurable. Only with the collaboration and action of all sectors of society – such as governments, academia, the third sector, civil society and private initiative – can we think of the elaboration and structuring of public policies, technical standards and guidelines for the construction of a trust, and at the same time, consistent with the diversity of actors and multiplicity of users that make the internet worldwide. Spaces of multisectorial debates and with multiple nationalities are fundamental for the preservation of the diverse and democratic internet.
In continuity with the Forum, it is already known that the next edition of the event will take place in Berlin from November 25 – 29, 2019. Until then, we will continue to follow the internet governance guidelines and share the debates here. IRIS will keep following the international and local agenda on the main topics of internet governance! Keep an eye on our publications and subscribe to the newsletter!
If you want to know more about the content of the IGF 2018, just click here. The official website provides all the transcripts and videos of the discussions.