Open mic: COVID-19 in retrospective – Pre 10 2021

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28 June 2021 | 15:15-16:15 CEST | Studio Bruges | Video recording | Transcript
Consolidated programme 2021 overview / Day 0

Proposals: #15 #17 #18 #19 #39 #41 #42 #43 #60 #70 #73 #75 #82 #88 #95

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Session teaser

The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most drastic events of recent years, affecting almost all countries and social groups in Europe and confronting them with incredible challenges. Alongside the evident challenges in the public health system, as well as some serious societal developments, the pandemic also brings numerous internet governance issues to the forefront. Due to the strong involvement of the entire society with the dialogue around this topic, we would like to facilitate an exchange that is as encompassing as possible. Our major goal is to provide a platform and voice for every demographic and stakeholder group to share their experience. These experiences will then be discussed in a panel “COVID-19 – THE Gamechanger?!” by a group of experts.

Session description

Until .

Always use your own words to describe your session. If you decide to quote the words of an external source, give them the due respect and acknowledgement by specifying the source.


The session will be held in an open mic format. Each live participant will be given the opportunity to briefly and succinctly share their experience of the past year in relation to COVID-19.

In addition, video messages (no longer than 90 seconds) are also welcome. These can be shared in advance via email to

All inputs will be incorporated into the subsequent panel discussion “COVID-19 – THE Gamechanger?!”.

Further reading

Links to relevant websites, declarations, books, documents. Please note we cannot offer web space, so only links to external resources are possible. Example for an external link: Main page of EuroDIG


Until .

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Focal Point

  • Marcel Krummenauer

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Organising Team (Org Team) List Org Team members here as they sign up.

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  • Marcel Krummenauer, Youth IGF Germany
  • Minda Moreira, Internet Rights and Principles Coalition
  • Roberto Gaetano, EURALO
  • André Melancia
  • Daniil Golubew
  • Alex Culliere
  • Desara Dushi, Vrije University Brussels
  • Fotjon Kosta, Coordinator of Albania IGF

Key Participants

Key Participants are experts willing to provide their knowledge during a session – not necessarily on stage. Key Participants should contribute to the session planning process and keep statements short and punchy during the session. They will be selected and assigned by the Org Team, ensuring a stakeholder balanced dialogue also considering gender and geographical balance. Please provide short CV’s of the Key Participants involved in your session at the Wiki or link to another source.


  • Marcel Krummenauer

The moderator is the facilitator of the session at the event. Moderators are responsible for including the audience and encouraging a lively interaction among all session attendants. Please make sure the moderator takes a neutral role and can balance between all speakers. Please provide short CV of the moderator of your session at the Wiki or link to another source.

Remote Moderator

Trained remote moderators will be assigned on the spot by the EuroDIG secretariat to each session.


  • Marcel Krummenauer


  • The main question remains: Is COVID-19 ushering in a fundamental digital paradigm shift?
  • The digital divide in society and the economy is becoming increasingly clear. Only through fairly allocated investments and efforts in both applied and academic education, (inter)national cooperation as well as governmental regulations it might be possible to stop or even to invert the current trend.
  • Many pupils and students have lost both their social and educational connection due to the Corona pandemic. This is, among other things, due to digital didactic concepts that came into focus during the pandemic but are currently not yet fully mature. Consequently, these must be pursued further after the pandemic.
  • The efforts towards a sustainable society, as well as the sustainable use of digital resources, are becoming increasingly important. The concrete quantification of the influence of individual actors on the environment is necessary – however, this is becoming increasingly difficult due to the increasing centralisation of capacities.

Video record


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This text, document, or file is based on live transcription. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), captioning, and/or live transcription are provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings. This text, document, or file is not to be distributed or used in any way that may violate copyright law.

>> NADIA TJAHJA: While we are waiting to have a – we have some technical delays, the – I would like to welcome you to Studio Bruges. The next session will be the open mic session on COVID-19 moderated by Marcel Krummenauer. Before we hand over I would like to ask my cohost to go over the session rules.

>> REMOTE MODERATOR: Hello, everybody. I’m Juuso. I’m our Remote Moderator today. We believe in open dialogue and that’s why we are likely to follow the session rules. The main principles are these; firstly if your display name on Zoom is not your full name, we ask you to rename yourselves. So I want you to raise your hand, using the reactions tool on Zoom to ask for the floor. Or alternatively you can write your thoughts on the chat. You can use Q if you want to ask a question or C if you want to make a comment. Start your message with Q or C. This video is Livestreamed on Youtube but the chat messages are not visible outside of the call. If you write a message on the chat the participants are able to see it. And with that I’m going to give the floor to the Moderator, Marcel.

>> MARCEL KRUMMENAUER: Thank you for the very kind instruction while the technical team is still working on getting everything going. I would like to welcome everyone warmly to this year’s session.

Unfortunately, this EuroDIG is virtual again and we are not seeing each other in present. And so what we did at the last EuroDIG last year we had a session on the European Digital Economy and the COVID-19 pandemic. And we discussed what influences the pandemic might have on our economy as well as our society in the upcoming year. Now we are here, we went through two or three waves depending on where you are already. And we want to check whether the assumptions we did last year are true or how we handled the pandemic at all.

And therefore, we would like to give you all the opportunity to speak up and to express how you feel about the pandemic and what influenced the pandemic on you as well as your business or engagement had.

And on – to kick this off we got two video messages from two small Italian enterprises who kindly submitted their messages. And would like Nadia to start off with the first one.


>> (Off microphone). It is a hotel from 1956. Me and my family we work all together and we decide in the first lockdown to stop the activity because we were very, very afraid from the COVID. Then we decide to organize all the safe for the guest. And we decide to open again. In the second lockdown we never stopped the activity and we decide to start to work with the people from this area. We wait the tourism – moment for the economy of activity like my activity.

The family, it’s one of the secrets for the home because with the union, with the sacrifice we decide to save their work. Thank you.

>> MARCEL KRUMMENAUER: This was a kind submission of a small family business in Italy. And we see that not just Digital Economy is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic but especially the small and medium enterprises which are underrepresented at such conferences. Therefore we are very hopeful that we have another statement of another type of business from Italy, too.

So Nadia, if you could be so kind to play the second video.


>> (Off microphone). Which gives everyone the opportunity to – our main clients are bars and restaurants and the collectors of sugar, single, dose pack. Experienced gained over the year is to deliver high quality service. However, the spread of COVID-19 disease and the consequent lockdown in Italy in 2020 at this time paralyzed our business. Bars and restaurants, our main clients had to face an unexpected shutdown and consequently the company recorded a drop. The lack of liquidity caused by lower sales we needed to borrow money from the bank. We got a loan provided by the credit digital. Very important, it was the funding provided for us by chambers of commerce, which granted nonrepayable contributions to repay interest on loans giving some – for our financial point of view and beyond.

The company responded, hearing the continuity to the connections with the employees, clients and partners by entering a high sense of community.

>> MARCEL KRUMMENAUER: Thanks a lot, Nadia, for playing the video. Luckily we have the President of the Chamber of Commerce here who will give us an overview of the area. Before Klaus will start, we are going to do a short introduction to the audience as the President will speak in Italian.

>> This session is bilingual. Once you are on Zoom, on the lower panel you will see a button called interpretation where you can choose your language preferences. You can either click off in which case you will hear the original audio. You can pick English in which case you will hear interpretation in to English. And if you choose Italian, you will hear Italian spoken. If somebody is speaking another language you will hear the interpreter. So I hope that everyone has a chance to pick the right language. And you can go back to the Moderator.

>> MARCEL KRUMMENAUER: Thanks a lot. Mr. Klaus Algieri, you have the floor.

>> KLAUS ALGIERI: (Speaking in non-English language). During this COVID period everyone was facing this horrible catastrophe and we – the Chamber of Commerce was also involved and now I – we were trying to get involved in helping all the small businesses.

And next to me there is a director of the Chamber of Commerce in Costanza. We haven’t stopped for any single day. We tried to make sure that we provide security and health to all our small businesses. And now we are absolutely sure that we can start once again. So the main problem that we were facing here that we didn’t have enough liquidity, enough resource to help our small businesses.

We are here on this territory. So we were able to provide immediate help to our small businesses. So we’ve played a role of intermediate body that put together small businesses in the area and the Government, and all the other (inaudible). So this is very important for us because we managed to help these small businesses to survive. So we have provided and distributed 40 million – 40 million dollars and we distributed through our channels.

So we have also learned how to deal in this situation in a different – in a different way. So how we can – how we can help them in a realistic way. We started to understand. So how we can work in a different way. So this is the third generation of the businesses. And we have heard a message from Ana. And it was very damaging for the small businesses because they had to close the business.

So it’s not always possible to just send their financial help. We also tried to help them not only from the financial point of view, but also from other ways. For example, to organize and plan the activities in a different new way. And this is a pilot project for our Chamber of Commerce. So we had to digitalize these new businesses. How can we help them? How we can help them to reorganize the activity?

So we managed to help them by going to the actual businesses and tried to assess how they are and what they are doing. And digitalization is very important. It’s not only about providing with information but also moving them to different ways, different ways of operation.

That was a dark period in our economy. And at the moment we are coming out of this situation but we have already changed a lot. It’s not only that we realized new ways of dealing with these situations, but also it’s also a way to show that the way and the reason why you are paying this contributions to the Chamber of Commerce. It also means that you get something in return. So it’s interesting to note that compared to the previous years, we were – we have even seen our increase in the payments to the Chamber of Commerce.

This way we can tell you that our businesses, they have showed and proved they have a lot of trust to the Chamber of Commerce. So for us it’s very interesting. So for us to understand what is actually that is missing with the businesses, and how can we as the Chamber of Commerce help them. We manage to understand exactly what kind of services they need. And how we can provide these services to them.

From the smallest businesses, from the smallest village or smallest town, how can we provide these digitalization? We have to help each and every business no matter how small it is. We not only will do it from the political point of view, and we have made ourselves available for all these small businesses. In this case we can liaise with them. We have made a special agreement with them, a pact. And this pact includes ten different points that actually describe how we can help them and how we can help them in a way that is useful and how we can actually participate in the lives of these small businesses.

And I wanted to remind you what the President said, the most important thing is that we have to communicate with the businesses and we’re – that is what makes our Government really a Democratic Government. So there should be a participation of the businesses in the real lives of the society.

In the end, to conclude, this is a new way to work and to stay next to these businesses. This way we have understood how we can actually stay close to them and understand exactly what they need and what they want. So I hope that I will be able to say – to say hello to you in – okay. Okay. So with this way we are going to stay in touch with you. And we will again say hello to you on Friday.

>> MARCEL KRUMMENAUER: Thanks a lot for the very detailed description on this situation and your area. And you mentioned a very – a lot of very interesting points in your statement. And I would like to use that opportunity to ask everyone on the floor if they have any questions to ask them. Otherwise I would kindly ask Mr. President to give a few more examples or dig a bit deeper in the situation in Costanza. One thing he mentioned is change of business. In last year’s session we discussed digital divide as one of the most critical manners, especially in the small to medium enterprises. Some of the businesses are very keen in getting their business digitized, but there are some business if you go to hotel or restaurants where other classical businesses they struggle a lot with getting in to the new way of business. And if you have any statement I would kindly like you to share how to onboard these small to medium enterprises in Italy to the next generation of digital business.

>> KLAUS ALGIERI: Can I answer? Internet is for everybody. It is not the only way to work. And in such a way we have this great necessity to involve everyone, including restaurants. There is a team, there is a digital team. They would go from – they would go from one small business to another. And you also see on the social media what are the ways, how can we help them. In this way some of the small towns they have been already assisted. Sometimes we are talking about very small businesses where we only have one or two employees.

We are also giving assistance to those very small businesses of one or two employees. And we just go there and consult them. And help them. We do it step by step.

>> MARCEL KRUMMENAUER: Thanks a lot. That’s a very, very important way that you are undergoing in Italy. Helping with money is a very crucial part, but providing knowledge is another very important piece to survive the pandemic. I would like to provide Adam Peake with the floor. He raised a hand and –

>> Yes.

>> ADAM PEAKE: Hello. Adam Peake. Hello to Costanza, lovely to see you. I work for ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and you might have met my colleague, Andrea Balcali. One of the things that we’ve been hearing over the course of the last year is that the – a group of companies that we as ICANN are involved in almost as a regulator, we help facilitate their business called registrars. Registrars are the companies that you go to to get your domain name, register your domain name. Those companies away from the ICANN related businesses very often provide other services essential to businesses. They will provide things like certification to ensure that websites and so on are secure.

They provide many of them web hosting opportunities which would be how to develop a website. So as well as being the name on the Internet which we often think of the virtual address instead of the physical building, these companies do provide services that enable businesses to get online. And they have seen quite a number of small businesses being able to move their business online.

Of course, it’s very difficult for a business like a hotel or something that’s involved in human contact and so on, to move online because we just can’t do that. But many businesses have. So I wondered if the Chamber of Commerce generally had been looking at encouraging this type of business and if not, then Andrea can provide some advice, but it is not really our – our job as ICANN to encourage, to promote businesses in that way. But there are others involved in EuroDIG that can certainly provide that advice as well, Roberto and others. Just a thought. I’m interested to know if you have seen that kind of growth, small businesses getting their website and getting help online. It doesn’t have to be too difficult. It takes a lot of thought. Thank you very much for listening.

>> MARCEL KRUMMENAUER: Thanks a lot for the very important question. Mr. Algieri, do you want to share your experience in the area of Costanza?

>> KLAUS ALGIERI: I would do that but the Secretary-General will answer this question. That’s what exactly what we want really very much.

>> SECRETARY-GENERAL: With pleasure I will answer this question. And I also would like to express my gratitude to the partners. With regards to the question, definitely we are facilitators of – for businesses who want to go online. We have digital promoter, we have feed. Nevertheless, we are trying to keep in touch with local – with the local businesses. We are promoting this business because it helps businesses to grow. And obviously because this is a digitalization is one of the targets, that’s why we are trying to push our small businesses in this direction.

This is one of our important aims.

>> MARCEL KRUMMENAUER: Thanks a lot for your detailed statement. And especially a big thank you that you answered the questions in terms of the dialogue so extensively. And we heard a lot from this situation in Italy already. And I see that there are a lot of other participants from other countries, too.

And I would really appreciate if someone would like to speak up and express the situation in their locality, and share with us especially their experiences around digital divide, the experiences in small to medium enterprises or even work experiences the youth had to face throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in case any parents or younger people should be in the room.

Could you please provide the floor to Andre Melancia?

>> ANDRE MELANCIA: Thank you. Sadly to be here virtually. This was possibly going to be in-person. And I think that’s one of the biggest focuses that I want to bring to this discussion which is the fact that every single decision that we have made in the last year regarding COVID should we have events online in- person, should we work online, should we work in person. You decide something. And in six months everything will be normal and today it isn’t. So let me mention and to follow up on Marcel’s suggestion, what’s happening in my country and what’s happening in Europe. About two weeks ago, maybe three weeks ago my country in UK pretty much zero numbers or very close to zero. And all of Europe was completely red in the map. We are very red south of Spain, all of entire Europe is green. If you consider this in two weeks or three weeks will be the exact opposite. There is some uncertainty until everyone is vaccinated. This affects everything in terms of business and person relationships.

I have decided to compile a small list. This doesn’t have any valid statistics. It was a number that I felt appropriate with the people that I interact with. In the last year something like 10% of the people that I know were married, not divorced. It was too much for people to be in the same room together. People need to go physically to work and actually get away from their respective partners, to actually be able to psychologically, you know, be okay.

In terms of reproduction for the people that didn’t get divorced, I got something like 10% of people that I know got reproduced themselves or started to anyway. But then we will – then in terms of actual business we considered that a lot of people, both people who work in IT and not work in IT. Obviously some people lost their jobs because of a lot of things that changed. But I have seen also a lot of people that actually changed their jobs as if nothing happened in terms of the pandemic.

So things actually go on. People do these things remotely which is also slightly interesting. I want to mention a few things that actually happened in terms of digital. So one of the things is that I feel that cybercrime has increased quite a lot. We see a lot of scams online for a lot of people trying to attack, trying to come up with phishing schemes and things like that. That increased maybe 200, 300%. I don’t have an exact number but this is high compared to last year. We had a few other situations. I want to bring up students. Since January we had every student work from home in terms of remotely using Zoom, using Teams, et cetera.

In this way – slightly normal but then suddenly we started to have people going in-person, maybe March, April which is quite okay. But then we are actually seeing now a lot of people have started to work from home. There is some uncertainty. I fear in maybe two, three months when everyone is properly vaccinated things will be back to normal. Even though as things are almost at zero people have no factors, they celebrate too soon and things in economical terms things go back to the drawing board. And we have bad numbers again.

So anyway, I wanted to mention the trends even for students. Psychological problems do occur in students when they work from remote locations. One of them is students and I have some – and they stop wanting to, you know, play around with kids their age, et cetera. So there are so many limitations here. Not just for such young kids but also university, et cetera. The interaction between the people and all the advantages, all the synergies that you get from something like that are actually reduced. In the last year and this year as well we are going to see a lot of – for learning, younger students, maybe up to age 10. Something like that. So that can be a problem there.

Anyway, because Mr. Klaus also mentioned about tourism, I also wanted to mention how tourism is here in Portugal just to finish up. Last year in the summer we had much less foreign tourists but that increased a lot in terms of local tourists. This year it is up and down. Our expectation maybe in three months, something like that, basically when the summer will be over, we will get back to normal which might not be a good thing economically but at least we would be happy if things were back to normal in any case. Thank you very much for listening and thank you.

>> MARCEL KRUMMENAUER: Thanks a lot for your statement, Andre. And I wanted to check with the Studio Bruges whether they are able to have the audio in place again since we had both Italian and English audio in the same channel.

>> Indeed. We had a look in to that issue. We are reassigning with the interpreter status. So we are looking in to this. But at the same time if there are other interventions in English perhaps we can take these in parallel.

>> MARCEL KRUMMENAUER: Okay. So is there anyone who would like to comment on this statement that Klaus as well as Andre have already told and shared with us?

>> So just to give out –

>> We have a hand from Adam. You should be able to speak.

>> ADAM PEAKE: Thank you. Sorry. Yes, it’s me again. I’m sorry. But I wanted to just say that you might be able to tell that I am British, although I haven’t lived in the United Kingdom for 30 years. I live in the Netherlands now. I watch the UK and it’s causing an enormous amount of harm, even amongst a highly vaccinated population. While it is nice to remove your mask in shops and closed spaces, I wouldn’t do so for the moment. And let’s hope that the Netherlands and other countries which are still enjoying low levels of virus are okay. Because we can try and keep it there.

On the point about younger people, I think it must be incredibly hard for anybody who is a University age and younger and well, anybody who is probably not single to be quite frank about it, I think the impact has been incredibly hard on the disadvantaged. We see that. People who are poorer perhaps they can’t isolate because they don’t have the economic means to do. If they are told to isolate they probably can’t tell their friends and contacts. If they are in a similar situation you don’t want to take ten days off work if your pay is day by day.

Thinking about education, in and out of school, again if you are poorer and don’t have a laptop or access to connectivity because it’s expensive, if you don’t have space to do your studies with the laptop and all the rest of it, I feel it has been incredibly hard. A little bit like the SME situation, the question is really what can we learn from this to build better after the experience of the last 16 months that’s still ongoing. What can we do whether it is for SMEs? Whether it’s for education? Whether it’s providing services that people need? I think it’s accentuated, all the problems that exist in the society. And it has really shone a spotlight on them. I do feel sorry for younger people. Good luck. And I hope you get some summer holidays. Thank you.

>> MARCEL KRUMMENAUER: Thanks a lot, Adam, for your second statement. This is really helpful. And Andre wants to comment on that.

>> ANDRE MELANCIA: Okay. Yes. I completely agree with you. I was actually wishing that last week I was in the UK but obviously this is all complicated. I think that today, the previous days Portugal also put UK in the red list. This is very confusing. Also I think Germany also put Portugal in the red list. So it goes like ping pong, one way or the other. It just becomes complicated. To answer your first part, I completely agree, we still need to be careful. If people are using masks and guaranteeing physical distancing, things would be better. We have some requirement, the municipality of Lisbon is locked down – not lockdown but we have a lot of limitations. But they need to minimize parties and things like that. But we don’t go to the extreme, no one in Europe went to the extreme of finding one or two cases like in Australia and having a lockdown of the entire area.

I wanted to reach out to the comment you made about anyone who was poorer in terms of not having any kind of things like computers, et cetera. And I know that we are very privileged here in Europe because everyone in Europe is actually doing much better than the countries around the world and that includes the United States. We have Governments that provide for us to guarantee some needs. In our case most of the jobs we were able to keep because the Government invested many millions. So maybe nine zeros. So thousands of millions to guarantee that we have help for everyone who was not able to work. The Government would pay one-third of the money. People would receive one-third of the money less and companies would pay one-third. That would guarantee that this would solve the problem. And people would not lose their jobs. And so far this has worked pretty well here.

Let me mention that the internet access for younger kids, that seems to be a problem. When you have one kid at home – I’m single, so I don’t have that scenario, just a cat. For people who have one kid it’s usually okay and you give them a computer and you work. If you have two kids you might not have a room as you mentioned to put them in or even have two computers to actually help them out with that.

I know that governments and local municipalities are working to give all the student computers. And if they are not allowed to do, they will take them to school with some help. So they can experience the remote, the remote scenario like we are having one here. But physically the school where they have the equipment necessary for that.

Additionally just to mention some things that I have noticed which I never even considered the problem, some people that work from home, not necessarily young, they have some problems. I don’t have a table to work from home. So this brings up a lot of logistical issues that you never expect to have. I’m working from my kitchen, my kitchen counter which I like but that’s me.

One last comment which is we have decided here in Portugal to reinstitute a social rate for telecommunications. I’m not sure when this will be active but at the very least people will have a cheaper access to the Internet for the same purpose. It will not be very vast but it will guarantee the very minimum to access all these services. Thanks again.

>> MARCEL KRUMMENAUER: Thanks for your statement. And I would like to invite Vlad to comment on that.

>> VLAD IVANETS: Greetings from Russia. And I also represent the youth movement, the youth who worked on messages to EuroDIG. And I want to share a bit, an image of the situation that we have now.

And I would love to start with saying sorry to Dalia who was the first to meet the disastrous situation with the COVID-19 and everything. And sorry for your loss and everything. And we have a similar situation here in Russia after a year of the pandemic.

A number of excess deaths in our country is enormous and it makes our country No. 1 in terms of the death among the population. And we also are the first country who created a vaccine. But not so many people are getting vaccinated and lots of rumors. And moreover, the anti-vaccine movement is really high here.

And me as the young person and representative of YouthDIG who created messages on providing this information, I would like to ask what actions do you take to fight against these rumors and lies about vaccination, COVID-19 itself and everything? Because from our part, from our Government we do not take any actions. And sometimes it seems that the government even encourages people not to get vaccinated.

>> MARCEL KRUMMENAUER: This is a very interesting statement to be discussed. There has been a lot of discussion about the experiences, the youth face especially in terms of education in schools as well as in Universities. We would be all very keen to learn about that situation. If you would like to comment on that, Vlad.

>> VLAD IVANETS: Sorry. You want me to share a bit on the educational process here?


>> VLAD IVANETS: Yes. Everyone is on distance education. The whole world had this somehow a global project on e-learning and everything. But yes, the situation still remains unclear and, you know, I had my cousin and she studies at school. And she said they do not have an educational process at all. They connect with the teachers online. And the teacher says I will send you the materials and you will send me the homework back. That’s the distance education they have here. And students still suffering, of course, because, you know, they do not have any connection with their peers at school and everything.

Yeah. So the paranoia also rises amongst youngsters, and sometimes they don’t believe they should wear masks because they spend the whole time in their apartments. And then they come to the streets when everything is open and huge events are happening. So, you know, you have this feeling that nothing is happening but yeah. Doctors and medical structures are still trying to convince them to be more aware of the problem of COVID.

>> MARCEL KRUMMENAUER: Thanks a lot for sharing your view. And I would highly or lovely would like to invite the rest of the audience to comment on that because Vlad made three very important statements. On the one hand there is a lot of misinformation going on in the Internet. And we would like to find a way to prevent and provide real facts and provide digital literacy and do not know how to get around with this information. And regarding digital education, we don’t have digitalized schools or universities. And we somehow need to deal with the education.

And we can definitely link that to the economy aspect of the discussion at the moment as well. Since students from Universities or schools who do not receive proper education will not be able to get a job or the job that they like so that they – that they would like to have or vice versa, the employers will not find the appropriate employees for their businesses.

Is there anyone in the audience who would like to comment on one of these three statements?

>> ANDRE MELANCIA: Thank you again. Just to mention that basically the root cause of most of these problems with anti-vaccers is something called Fake News. We have seen a rise of Fake News for obvious American reasons, but in the last year with COVID we’ve seen COVID deniers, all possible kinds of conspiracy theories. And now the United States Government is admitting there is UFOs and nobody believes it. We see this strange aversion of what should be the truth and what should be a lie. People don’t understand what it is.

I agree with what you said, if there is a lack of education from people not just now but for the future, for the next 5, 10, 20 years this will affect how people view news and treat the news. They will take whatever they are told at face value and that can be very dangerous. To give an idea for places like Brazil and others, even around Europe, things like vaccination, people are scared of being vaccinated basically because the media is actually boosting about a lot of stories that one person out of a million had some problems while vaccinated. And they boost that in to a situation where that seems like it is the only truth. That’s an isolated situation. They boost to get ratings and that will affect us in the end.

Fake News, no matter if related to economics or political motivations they are still one of the biggest problems. And in EuroDIG there are other places to discuss this. It is one of the biggest boosts we had this year. And last year was the rise of Fake News.

So thank you.

>> MARCEL KRUMMENAUER: That’s a lot for your statement. I would like to invite Chris Buckridge for the next statement.

>> CHRIS BUCKRIDGE: Hi everyone. Chris Buckridge from RIPE NCC. I apologize, I was only able to join in the last few minutes. I mean obviously the Fake News aspect is very significant. I’m coming from RIPE NCC which is an international organization. We are a regional Internet registry and we have staff from all over a service region that includes Europe, Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. And we work with the community which is also covering that entire region.

I mean I think the big challenge we’ve seen is dealing with well, you can say legitimate response of Governments which has been closing down borders and shutting down travel and preventing the kind of sort of interaction that we’ve come to see and come to sort of place at the center of a lot of what we do. We need to have that interaction between people from all different parts of the service region. It is also for the sort of discussions and venues and Forums that we have here.

There was an interesting comment at an ICANN meeting a couple of weeks ago where they were talking about whether to go back to face-to-face meetings. Someone made the point that we have had a long period of face-to-face meetings. There is a lot of people who know each other and had that social interaction through Zoom and remote engagement can talk and sort of engage. And they have that basis there to do that. But the longer we go without having face to face, the longer we go remote, you don’t build that new social capital, those kinds of relationships. So there’s a sort of downward trend of diminishing returns here.

I think one of the important things for the Internet Governance community to think about how we address that. Maybe for the next five years, maybe longer, who knows, we might see a disruption to travel. We might not find international travel and international exchange as straightforward as it was in the past.

How do we address that? How do we deal with that? And make sure we are building the social capital, the sort of relationships that are so important to actually, you know, running a global Internet, finding solutions to challenges in that global Internet. Thanks.

>> MARCEL KRUMMENAUER: Thanks a lot for your statement, Chris. And you brought a complete new perspective and a complete new argument to the table. And that is that the direct social interaction is crucial for a day-to-day social life, for having social conversations and businesses or even in politics, too.

And the question we need to ask ourselves is how are we dealing with exactly that issue among others. And since our time unfortunately is running up, we only have two minutes left, I would like to provide one of the audience with kind of the last or summarizing words if desired to place one last statement prior to us wrapping up.

All right. In that case thanks a lot for your participation in the open mic session. We talked about a lot of interesting topics starting with the small. And how chambers of commerce in that example, the Chamber of Commerce helped the small to medium enterprises with financial liquidity as well as consulting services to help them getting out of the pandemic or getting through the pandemic. And among other things, provided crucial networks so that the companies could connect to each other.

Furthermore, we had the kind intervention from Vlad who shared the youth perspectives, mostly concerned about the misinformation aspect of the pandemic, especially in the vaccination area and difficulties and challenges in the area of education, especially affecting the young people and as well as employers who want to onboard new young employees. And over other areas we still face a strong digital divide, depends on where you come from and what your situation is like and what your actual chances are.

And we will do a 50-minute break. And after the 50-minute break we will get all your input in to a short panel discussion having three speakers in place from the German Informatics Society as well as the Chamber of Commerce or the Albanian Manufacturing Union as well as another speaker, especially focusing on sustainability. I’m looking forward to seeing you soon. Take care and stay healthy. Bye.

>> NADIA TJAHJA: Thank you very much. We hope you will stay in the room, but if you would like to go back to Gather Town, feel free to roam around our conference center. We do hope that you will come back for the follow-up session. We will see you soon. Bye for now.