How to serve the public interest? – PL 01 2013
20 June 2013 | 9:30-11:00
Programme overview 2013
- Nigel Hickson, ICANN
- Francisco Pinto Balsemão, European Publishers Council and former Prime Minister of Portugal
- Markus Kummer, ISOC
- Ross LaJeunesse, Google
- Alberto Da Ponte, Rádio e Televisão de Portugal
- Jimmy Schulz, German Parliamentarian for the liberal Free Democratic Party
- Ayesha Hassan, International Chamber of Commerce
- Luis T. Magalhães, Lisbon Technical University
- Yrjö Länsipuro, ISOC Finland
- Understanding that the global public interest is in the nature of the Internet itself as being a commons, managed collectively and inclusively through participatory democracy.
- Preserving the value of distributed Internet architecture.
- Balancing stakeholder interests in order to bring benefits of free and open Internet to all.
- Warning about regulatory approaches (done in silos) including their unintended consequences.
- Understanding the real danger of the NSA ‘Prism’ revelations may lie in the various reactions to them; we must work together to prevent damage to the freedom and trust on the Internet.
Predictably, the session didn’t come up with a clear and generally applicable answer to the question, and rather raised more questions. Who defines public interest, and what is the framework: national or global? Governments claim the right to define public interest within their borders, but the Internet does not care about borders and the Westphalian system. Global actors have to deal with different national conceptions of public interest ranging over a wide spectrum. (During the dictature, censorship was motivated in Portugal by public interest!) There is no ready-made international and certainly no intergovernmental solution either.
Instead, participants suggested looking for global public interest in the nature of the Internet itself as commons, managed collectively and inclusively by participatory democracy; in the definition of Internet Governance of the Tunis Agenda about principles, rules etc. shared by all stakeholders; and using variable geometry on different issues. The IGF was held up as a model for defining public interest related to the Internet, better suited for that purpose than intergovernmental fora, such as UN or ITU.
Drawing on the experience of their own organizations, speakers suggested different approaches to serving public interest. ISOC works to preserve values of distributed Internet architecture. ICANN balances stakeholder interests both internally and externally. Council of Europe wants to turn the question around: instead of telling people what public interest is, they are asking them to define it. Even parliaments could use a multistakeholder process to find out what public interest is. Google works to bring the benefits of free and open Internet to all. (Stressing the importance of the adjectives, Ross LaJeunesse – with 3 years experience from working in China - pointed out that even if China is doing well, none of its successes is attributable to the Internet)
Regulatory approaches were discussed and warnings about unintended consequences and silo mentality were heard. It is not useful to discuss whether the Internet can or cannot be regulated. Instead, public interest has to be defined differently in different contexts. On the other hand, need for equal regulatory treatment for old and new media came up.
Inevitably, recent revelations of the extent of global surveillance activities of the NSA and allegations about the collusion of major global actors were reflected in the debate. The Google representative stressed that surveillance was not just a U.S. issue. He denied that any government had been given direct or blanket access to data on their servers. Google has to comply with the laws of dozens of countries, but does it willynilly, trying to push back. Markus Kummer quoted Benjamin Franklin: those who are willing to give up a little bit of their liberty for their safety reserve neither. Jimmy Schulz pondered the limits of the acceptable as far as surveillance is concerned. He called for transparency and clear rules: is something happens with our data, at least we should know about it. Nigel Hickson stated that the real danger of the revelations may be in the reactions to them; we must work together to prevent damage.
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This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings.
>> LUIS MAGALHAES: Good morning to all. What I’d like to do now is to introduce the co-moderator, Ayesha Hassan, which most of you know, because she has been in on all discussions related to Internet Governance in many organisations. But anyway, for the new people who are here with us, let me say that she is a Senior Policy Manager on Digital Economy, in charge of ICT policy of the International Chamber of Commerce. And she, in fact, coordinated the participation of business in the World Summit for Information Society back in 2003, 2005, and that will make some introductory remarks explaining the scope of the session and how it will work. Please.
>> AYESHA HASSAN: It’s a pleasure to be here to open this session with Luis and all of our panelists. The Internet, as many speakers said, touches many aspects of our lives and is an integral part of our economic and social life today. So we’re here to talk about what is the public interest? What are the new challenges that are being raised? And how might we address them? We’re also here to think about how do you promote the public interest?
So what we have done today is set up two themes through this to look at serving the public interest. The first is, you know, what are the issues regarding a safe, secure and free Internet and what are the public interest issues regarding those matters?
The second is how do we best serve the public interest in content provision, privacy concerns, big data, and mobile applications? So the way that we will take this session is with our limited time we will start out with a first set of questions with some of the panelists, have a speaker discussion, and then we will turn to the audience and what we ask all of you to do is give us your question or comment in one minute each. We will try to take this hour and be as interactive as possible, so we appreciate you trying to be concise and keeping things punchy and dynamic for this session.
And we also have a remote moderator that we will be bringing in our remote participants so we ask the same.
And we turn over to the co-moderator Luis Magalhaes, a professor at the Technical University here in Lisbon. Luis has been a Government representative for the Government of Portugal in many of the Internet processes over the past year, particularly the OECD and the GAC at the ICANN. And so we are pleased to be teaming up today.
>> LUIS MAGALHAES: Thank you very much. So let me introduce the speakers at this session. We are extremely grateful for them to make the time to be here. So, Francisco Pedro Balsemao at my right is the Chairman of the European Publishers Council and the former Prime Minister of Portugal, following positions as Minister in previous governments, and was a Member of Parliament for a long period. He is the Founder and Chairman of the largest Portuguese media group, including one of the three main generalist channels and the main news channel, and is Chairman of the first private TV station in Portugal, SIC. He is also a member of the Daily Mail and General Trust PLC. He was Professor at the University of Lisbon for about 15 years, and awarded doctor of various degrees by two Portuguese Universities. His former roles in the European Publishers Council and journalists scenes, as a matter of fact he started as a journalist soon after law school, includes besides the Chairmanship of the European Publishers Council, he started in 1999 and still continues being Chairman of the European Television and Film Forum, Chairman of the European Institute for The Media, and he is also a member of the Global Business Dialogue on e-Commerce Steering Committee.
Nigel Hickson, sitting in the second place from your right, is ICANN Vice President of Stakeholder Engagement with Europe. He worked out of the Brussels office for the global stakeholder engagement team, and he joined ICANN after working for the United Kingdom Government, where he served in a number of capacities for about 30 years. And in the more recent years, he has been responsible for a team dealing precisely with Internet ICT issues, including Internet Governance.
Markus Kummer, sitting next to him, is Vice President of Public Policy for the Internet Society. He also is Chair of the preparatory process of the Internet Governance Forum of the United Nations, and formerly was the Executive Director of this forum, Secretariat, and he also headed the Secretariat of the Working Group on Internet Governance back when this process was being started in the United Nations. And before 2004, he held positions at the Swiss Foreign Ministry in Berne and before served as a career diplomat.
Ross LaJeunesse leads the global team responsible for advancing Google work on free expression and open Internet issues, as well as the company relationships with International organisations. He previously served as Google’s Head of Public Policy and Government Affairs for Asia Pacific. And before joining Google, Ross was Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Adviser to the California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. And before that, he was Chief of Staff to the California controller Steve Westly, the State’s chief financial officer. And he worked with George J. Mitchell, US Senate Majority Leader.
Jimmy Schulz is a spokesperson for his party, the German Parliament for the Liberal Free Democratic Party. He is a full member of the Interior Committee and substitute member of the Cultural and Media Committee. Additionally, he is a spokesperson for the FDP in the subcommittee on new media. Jimmy focuses in particular on topics such as IT security, data protection, democracy 2.0, net neutrality, and intellectual property rights. He founded the company CyberSolutions.
Let me also mention that we benefit from the contribution for Rapporteur Yrjo Lansipuro, of the Internet Society, former member of the United Nations Commission on Science Technology for Development, dealing with these issues, and the stakeholder advisory group and the IGF, and a journalist by profession.
And, also, we count with the support of remote moderator for the participation at a distance. Farzaneh Badii, and a former member of the Internet Governance Forum Secretariat.
So let’s start the first round of impressions. So please.
>> AYESHA HASSAN: Thank you very much. So we will start off with Markus, and can you tell us a bit about the Internet Society’s perspective on public interest and some of the ways in which you’re looking to address a safe, free and open Internet?
>> MARKUS KUMMER: Yes. Thank you.
What we believe in has already been said in the opening ceremony by many of the speakers. Our efforts are aimed at preserving the global, open, and interoperable Internet, based on the resilient architecture. And the public interests, we don’t have a common definition on what we mean by that, we have a vague notion, presumably. We see it as a value that supports the community that the Internet has formed.
We like to think of the Internet as a commons, or a common pool. Without going into economic theories on how best to manage commons, I think there is a general understanding that they are managed by the people collectively, and that is the stakeholder approach. And we think also the stakeholder approach has served the Internet well. The Internet is a distributed open architecture and the Internet Governance arrangements are equally distributed and are equally open. The inclusiveness has been mentioned by many speakers already and that is also a key factor.
The public Internet interests quite often I hear Government representatives say we, the Governments, are here to serve the public interest. Of course, they are. But there you can argue there are different forms of Democracy. But when you look back at the Greek roots of the word, what does Democracy mean? It’s the rule of the people. So we can have a lengthy discourse whether a representative Democracy is actually based – best suited to serve the public interest of the Internet.
In a representative Democracy people go to the polls every four years and give a check to some politicians who serve their interests, but they don’t consult them on a daily basis whether it goes this way or that way. We had a bit of that debate last year in Stockholm, actually, and Thomas Schneider argued that we do things like that in Switzerland. We vote four times a year on concrete issues, ranging from abortion to genetically modified organisms, usually quite complex issues. But in the Swiss form of Democracy, people are trusted, they collectively, to find the right decision. And the stakeholder approach is a participatory approach of Democratic decision shaping and decision-making. All the standards and policy developing processes are open and inclusive. Everyone who has an interest can take part in these processes.
Now, Governments’ chilling affect, the recent revelations on the PRISM has already been mentioned. And Governments, when they say “trust us, we know what is good for you,” that makes me highly skeptical. I think global common interests, global public interests, is best defined by the people who discuss together in an open dialogue what is actually good for them and what is good for the Internet. That’s what we are doing here.
So I think I can leave it at that. But maybe in the discussion on security – and there I agree with the representative of the Council of Europe, we don’t see that as an either/or. We see that as mutually giving security. The Internet is based on trust. And if you destroy that trust, you undermine security. And in the discussions on PRISM, I came across a nice quote by Benjamin Franklin that I cannot resist using that quote, “They who can give up essential liberty to attain a little bit of safety deserve neither liberty or safety.”
>> AYESHA HASSAN: Thank you. Well, you hit on a lot of key words that will resonate with a lot of people in the room and help move the discussion forward.
Nigel Hickson, from an ICANN perspective, how do you see the public interest issues and perhaps in particular the new gTLD programme, how is that highlighted in the public interest issues?
>> NIGEL HICKSON: Thanks very much. Good morning. I’m delighted to be here. Thank you for involving ICANN in this discussion, and it’s great to be on such a distinguished panel.
The IGF process, to start off with, I think is absolutely essential for all the reasons that Markus has highlighted in his introductory remarks. We greatly appreciate being part of this process, part of this multi-stakeholder dialogue or process that is leading up to Bali. And I think the organizers of this event here in Lisbon deserve our wholehearted congratulations for assembling such a wide cast of delegates and speakers.
The public interest, of course, we all serve in the public interest. I think any organisation, any nonprofit organisation, any company, any Government would like to say they serve in the public interest. But I think it’s difficult to define exactly what that means. And as Markus has eloquently put it, perhaps not all institutions or Governments sometimes uphold those values as they should.
For ICANN there are two aspects for public interest. There is what we do externally and what we do internally. First of all, on the internal public interest, it’s so important that any organisation, especially an organisation involved in the Internet, an organisation that has a multi-stakeholder base, an organisation that is driven by community values, has the public interest at its very heart. And I’d like to think that ICANN tries to do that. I’m not saying that we always get it right and the organisation always gets it right, but I think the gTLD programme, for all of the criticisms of it, is an example of how the public interest is embedded into the policy making processes, in terms of what the community wants out of new generic Top Level Domain, the debates of whether the name should be open or closed, the introduction of various safeguards for intellectual property rights, the community driven process, which means that names that resonate in the community, geographical names have certain status above commercial names. I think the public interest is served through some of those mechanisms.
But it’s more than that, I think, because in terms of the policy development process in ICANN, everyone is truly involved in that process. And as Markus said, the users, the voters, the citizens, call them what you would like, are the ultimate guarantees of the public interest, and clearly that’s very important in the way we operate.
But, of course, it’s more than just internally. It’s externally. It’s what we do externally on the wider stage which has an impact in terms of the public interest. The Internet Society, of course, has a wide agreement and has exemplified, if you’d like, this public interest in terms of what they pronounce, what they say, what they stand for, their bold statements recently in terms of the surveillance revelations last week and the week before.
ICANN has a remit for the Domain Name System and, therefore, you know, what status. You might say, what does security have got to do with this? What does privacy got to do with this? What does Net Neutrality got to do with this? These are issues that we have to think about in the context of the operations that we have in ICANN.
But in our mission, in our basic mission to have an open, to have a single, to have an interoperable, to have a secure Internet, these issues come into play. Because unless we get these Public Policy issues right, involving all the actors, as has been talked about, then that has an impact on the Internet. As many people probably more qualified than I have said in recent days, the real threat or one of the real threats that now we face in terms of Governments’ reaction, the reaction of many to some of the revelations in the US and elsewhere is the so-called Balkanization of the Internet and that’s something that we must work together to prevent. The single Internet is what guarantees the Internet. The single Internet is what guarantees the innovation, the economic growth that many of us here in Europe, perhaps, take for granted, but where we see elsewhere the real economic and progress that it’s making for developmental purposes.
So I think that’s what we have to strive for, the single Internet, in our deliberations in terms of serving the public interest.
>> AYESHA HASSAN: Thank you very much, Nigel. There certainly has been a theme of the multi-stakeholder approach to help to serve the public interests. So, Ross, can I turn to you and ask you to bring in Google’s view on these issues and serving the public interest?
>> ROSS LaJEUNESSE: I’m very happy to be here and I’m happy to participate in what I think will be a lively dialogue on Google’s approach of advancing the public good primarily from the perspective of continuing to advance a free and open Internet. And that ranges from everything from basic access issues, where we support various projects around the world, to build out the infrastructure and provide access to people who currently don’t enjoy the Internet in the same way that we do. It also goes to the level of engaging with Civil Society, supporting EuroDIG, supporting a number of other events and organisations around the world who are part of this multi-stakeholder model that people are talking about. Because we agree that that is absolutely essential to the future of the Internet.
And it also involves things like the work that my team does specifically on free expression and a free and open Internet. There is this misconception among many Governments and people around the world that “just give me the Internet and everything is going to be fine.” And that’s false. It’s the free and open Internet that fields the economic development and the social advancement that people equate with the Internet. Because it’s only the free and open Internet that allows for the innovation, the creativity, the entrepreneurship and the dialogue, and that is what leads to the economic development and social advancement and cultural understanding. It’s not any Internet.
And we increasingly see studies done in parts of the world by China, where I spent three years of my career at Google, that find that while China’s GDP is doing pretty well, none of that is attributable to the Internet. It’s not about innovation, it’s about old world manufacturing. And let me tell you I would not want to be a Chinese economic official because that manufacturing is moving quickly to other parts of the world. So I hope in that environment we will see a greater embrace of innovation and openness. That is yet to be seen.
Our work on advancing the public good also comes to our work with Governments specifically in advocating for a free and open Internet. And it also addresses our view on transparency. And I know that many people have the US surveillance programme on their minds right now, so let me address that in particular. I want to clarify a few things. I’m hoping there will be questions that I will answer as best I can.
I want to say that this is not just about US surveillance. It’s a European issue. It’s an issue around the world. We do not provide any direct access for any Government to our infrastructure, our data, our user data, our servers, anything like that. I don’t care what you call it. Drop back, back door, side door, whatever you want to call it. It doesn’t exist.
We also don’t entertain any blanket requests from Governments for user data. Now, we are a company subject to the law. That is just the reality of this situation. We’re not a nation state, although the accusation has been made a couple times. We are subject to the law. So when Governments come to us with a valid legal request for user data, we have to comply. But we don’t do that willy-nilly. We look at each and every request. We have teams of lawyers, and we devote the time, the energy, the money to look at each and every request and to ensure that it meets the spirit and the process of the law. And we often push back. And that’s something I’m very proud of. I don’t know many companies that would actually say to Government, “I know you want this, but we don’t think that you met valid process so you’re not going to get it.” That’s not a comfortable situation for many companies to be in. But we do it because we think it’s the right thing and we do it because our users expect it from us.
We’re very aware that we rely on our users’ faith in us, and that we always say at the company, competition is one click away. There is nothing holding our users to using our products and our services over anyone else, and we keep that in mind all the time.
The final piece of this is transparency. I’m very proud of the role that Google has taken on the issue of transparency. 2010 we were the first company to produce a transparency report. And every issue of that transparency report since, every six months we update it. We made it more granular and better and more revealing of what’s going on.
For example, we spent the past two years, again – and think of the energy and resources we have devoted to this – we spent the last two years negotiating with the Department of Justice to try and allow us to reveal the information about the national security letters and the FISA requests. By law, we were not able to acknowledge FISA requests until the Government admitted that they do give them to us. So we have been pushing the Government for the past two years to be as transparent and granular as possible. In the last report, we – they only would let us release a range of the national security letters. We have been negotiating on the FISA requests, and a couple days ago we realized that was not going anywhere. So now we are taking the Government to court on the first amendment basis, free expression basis, to allow us to produce the FISA numbers. I wanted to put that out there.
I’m happy to answer any questions that people have, but I’d like to start from that basis and that understanding so that we can have a productive dialogue.
Thank you very much.
>> AYESHA HASSAN: Thank you very much, Ross.
So with that we want to turn to the audience, both here and remotely, and is there a microphone for the room? Okay. I see the microphone coming.
While we’re waiting for that, Luis or Jimmy or Francisco, do you have anything that you want to add at this point?
>> I’d like to add, but I have other things to say. So I don’t know how you want to manage your time.
>> AYESHA HASSAN: In that case, let’s take questions from the audience and then you can come in as well.
So who do we have from the audience? I think I saw somebody here. If you could please state your name and affiliation, so we all know who you are.
>> ALEXANDER BORISOV: Professor Borisov. I’m a member of the Committee of Experts on the Council of Europe.
>> ALEXANDER BORISOV: I’m a member of the Committee of the Council of Europe on Internet users.
So my question is very simple. To the representative of Google, in view of your very critical position taken as regards to the Government of the country, are you going to change the jurisdiction of Google? Because a lot of people believe that when a company is, so to say, chained to a particular country, whether it likes it or not, it has to take into considerations the national security interests and many, many other things, which are interpreted differently, as you know, from country to country.
Thank you very much. And I recall that you were present in Stockholm.
>> ROSS LaJEUNESSE: Yes.
>> ALEXANDER BORISOV: And we had a very lovely discussion there, if you remember.
>> ROSS LaJEUNESSE: Very interesting discussion. Thank you.
>> AYESHA HASSAN: Thank you. What we will do is gather a couple of questions and then give the panelists a chance to come in. Do we have anyone else ready to come into the discussion?
>> BERTRAND de LA CHAPELLE: Good morning. My name is Bertrand de La Chapelle. I’m the director of the Internet and jurisdiction project.
When we talk about the public interest, I want to make two distinctions. One is the distinction between the national public interest and the global public interest. The national public interest is something that is supposed to be determined by the Constitutional framework of each country. Those Constitutional frameworks are more or less developed, but that’s the procedure during which the Constitutional public interest is being determined. We don’t have an agreement on how to determine the global public interests, because the traditional assumption was that the collection of national public interests represented by a collection of diplomats at international conference was the global public interest and in fact it’s not.
I have represented France for four years, between 2006 and 2010. And I can say forcefully that the principles that the global public interest is just a collection of national public interests doesn’t work.
The second thing, quickly, we are in a situation when we would talk about the public interest, and I’m on the board of ICANN at the moment, wanting to serve the public interest is not enough. The key question is defining public interest is making arbitration between different competing interests. And so when we’re talking about serving the global public interest, we need to talk about the decision-making mechanisms, and I want to remind people and maybe ask people on the panel that the definition of Internet Governance is developing principles, norms, decision-making rules, and programmes, and that we are lacking decision-making processes in a multi-stakeholder model outside of the space that is covered by ICANN and the other structures.
>> AYESHA HASSAN: Thank you.
>> Who has the power and the – (Audio fading in and out)
In several ways.
(Audio fading in and out)
We had Censorship –
(Audio fading in and out)
And the political power was –
(Audio fading in and out)
The now we are seeing –
>> AUDIENCE: The microphone is not working well.
>> AUDIENCE: No? I can yell if you want.
You see? The censorship is here.
I was saying that who defines what in the time where, as we all agree, the representative Democracy, the representative Democracy that we have created since the industrial revolution, with lots of trouble in between, it’s becoming weaker, less credible. People don’t accept that their decisions aren’t taken by their elected members. And we have here an elected member who probably can tell us more about that.
So who defines and who creates this? And why should it be a special body, like ICANN, or why should it be a Government or an International organisation, the Council of Europe or whatever? I mean, who has the legitimacy and how can that be done? And how can the Internet function as a sort of world General Assembly where people could vote and decide? I think that’s very pretty, very beautiful, but on practical terms is not possible.
What – your interventions, and those from the floor, provoked this not really solutions, but questions that I think should be debated in this session about the public interest.
>> AYESHA HASSAN: Absolutely. Thank you.
Please, Jimmy, come in and then we will go back to the audience.
>> JIMMY SCHULZ: You said, yes, well, the question with what is public interest is quite old. And especially the question who is the public and what is their interest? You mentioned the Greek, old Greek Republic. Of course the question is more than a couple of thousand years old, and I don’t think it’s – well, we do have a perfect answer right now, and we don’t have any mechanisms, Internationally, which is a lack we have because the global – the global Internet has to be – well, not controlled, but there is a need that we define something like the global public interest.
And on a national basis, you’re completely right. We have mechanisms which seem to work, or what I say – we have a good guess what the public interest is, and having a representative Democracy. And we don’t have that on an International basis.
I don’t know how to – well, how we can address that. How we can have a solution on that right now. It won’t work very quickly. But on the other hand, the Internet is one of – well, the most free and open media ever in the history of mankind. And it may be that because politicians, Governments, and regulators didn’t have any, well, mechanism to rule the Internet. Maybe that is one of the answers.
>> AYESHA HASSAN: Thank you very much, Jimmy.
Farzaneh, do we have anybody on the remote par advertisetation come in?
>> FARZANEH BADII: No.
>> AYESHA HASSAN: Okay. We will take Sebastian – sorry.
>> AUDIENCE: Good morning to all of us. It was very interesting all the things that I’m seeing, through sign language. I’m deaf, and I’m the first – both of us, we have this company, with Internet, TV, and all this stuff. More than 20 ways to help deaf people around the world, to support the deaf people, that sometimes need to have some supports in their lives.
But I have this kind of problem. Even to deaf, even to blind people, that’s why I want to ask Francisco Pedro Balsemao one question. Because, as always, we know you are the owner of this television, SIC, and I want to know if it would be possible through Internet add a sign language interpreter to the television programme as the news. Because, as you know, deaf is all the time behind. And we are human beings. We have a right to have access to the news, to the information, and I would like to know if it will be possible to have sign language interpreters or other kinds of specific support for us on the Internet.
Because as you know, we are in Portugal now, but the Portuguese sign language interpreters now are doing through English. So if we are in Portugal, if we are talking about inclusion, please can you tell us if you – if we can do some kind of work, teamwork, because I have all please kind of – I’m very concerned about the deaf children and deaf seniors. They have to have access to the information. We are equals, deaf and hearing people.
>> AYESHA HASSAN: Thank you. I think what I’d like to do is come back to this side of the panel. Do you have any comments or responses to some of the questions? Ross?
>> ROSS LaJEUNESSE: I wanted to address the question of jurisdiction. I believe it’s one of the fascinating things that we face, as Mr. Bertrand de La Chapelle will be happy to talk about. We have a had a Westphalian view of jurisdiction, and it’s running in conflict with the reality of how the Internet is structured and run.
As a global company, we face this on a daily basis. Sometimes it doesn’t address the issue of the law itself. It could be social norms within a country. As an American company, we are subject to US law but we are subject to the laws of the places in which we have localized and we operate. And it comes up in speeches such as hate speech in France.
What is the right approach to that issue, where under French law hate speech is outlawed; under American law, the idea of hate speech is protected, really, by the first amendment until you get to the point of action?
Now, you know, free expression is never an absolute in any country. The issue of child abuse images is illegal pretty much everywhere in the world. But once you get beyond that, it’s all a spectrum. And it’s a very difficult issue. I don’t pretend that we have figured it all out completely or have all the right answers. And that’s why we look at the Internet and Jurisdiction Project to help guide us, but it’s an issue that we deal with every day.
I will say that the answer to that I firmly believe is not the UT or the ITU coming in to do a Treaty on this issue. And there are many reasons why I think that is a bad approach. The ITU has no Internet expertise or experience. It’s incredibly untransparent. It’s Governments only, and many other issues. It’s a highly political organisation. So I don’t think the ITU is the answer.
But I do think we increasingly look to bilateral agreements and other forms of reaching agreement to address the issue.
>> AYESHA HASSAN: Thank you very much, Ross.
We have Markus and then I think what I will have us do is there were very important questions asked and there are other comments out there. But we will move to the second topic. So maybe Luis we can integrate in.
First we will give Markus the floor and then we will move
>> MARKUS KUMMER: Very quickly. A key of the problem is the fact that the Internet does not recognize national boundaries and borders, and it goes against the system of the Westphalian peace treaty. So we are struggling with it. And if the UN system as such, the form of traditional intergovernmental conference, is not the answer, then I think the IGF approach – it’s not a definitive, but it’s the answer of bringing people together to discuss the issues.
And what I tried to say in the initial remarks is that our approach is to define the global public interest in relation to the Internet, based on the key fundamentals that make the Internet the Internet. That is, the global open interoperable resilient architecture. And anything that goes against that, and that destroys the trust of this global open interoperable resilient architecture goes against the public interest.
>> AYESHA HASSAN: Thank you very much, Markus.
So I’ll turn to you, now, Luis.
>> LUIS MAGALHAES: For the second part –
>> ROSS LaJEUNESSE: Will we address the issue that was raised?
>> LUIS MAGALHAES: We will. So let’s tackle a bit these questions that, like how to best serve the public in the content provision, how to deal with privacy concerns in relation to data and mobile applications. So this will be the proposed concentration of this part.
Of course, what we can do here is just introductory, because the session that will follow this one will provide opportunity to deal in that, with part of these questions.
So let me start by asking Francisco Pedro Balsemao along these lines, and also actually to complement to include in his answer a response to the question that came from the floor regarding supportive means to access to content.
In a context where Internet media services call for more flexibility and the Regulation, because precisely the Internet, how should the public interest be postured and how can we approve, actually, the access and the provision of content with fairness? Please.
>> FRANCISCO PEDRO BALSEMAO: Well, today, as we all know, it is up to the viewers when, where, and on what device they want to consume audiovisual content. And so that means the consumer owns the screen. This also means or should mean that the content must be easily accessible and findable. Viewers must be enabled to access any application or should be able to answer the specific question about the specific Portuguese case of which we can talk later on.
Of course, we are interested and we are making all the efforts in using the possibilities given by the Internet to improve the conditions of television, reaching people with hearing difficulties or seeing difficulties. But, of course, what we all feel is that the consumer expectations for something simple may differ to the expectations of the regulators. Consumers want one simple, convenient, aggregated service, and as you know consumers technically speaking are well served. They continue to have an increasing choice.
I have a figure here. Did you know that there were 3087 on demand audiovisual services identified in Europe last month? May 2013? 3087 on demand audiovisual services. But most of the current regulatory obligations, which apply to linear broadcasters, do not apply to Internet content providers. So the regulators must ask themselves, are all types of media services more or less compatible? Is the compatible media framework for all media services necessary? And what are the future needs and expectations of consumers about this subject?
We have updated media Regulation in Europe. The present directive is of 2007, and many of the regulatory provisions date from 1989. The regulators are trying to get to groups with market developments, consumer behavior, consumer expectations, and working how to proceed.
So I think the most logical step is to deregulate, but I wish it would not be at the cost of the free press. The temptation for regulators to create media services directives in compressing all media content, regardless of its origin and purpose or Regulation, the temptation is obvious. But better to reduce the burden on TV broadcasters, for instance, in the limitations to ads, rather than increase the burden on the free press just because it shares the consumer’s screens and devices.
If we are discussing how to serve public interest, and we are, I believe that free, professional quality journalism is becoming increasingly important.
If as the executive Chairman of Google said a few years ago, Eric Schmidt, he said the Internet is becoming a cess pool where false information thrives, I believe more and more that independent media should be able to play their role on behalf of Democracy and on behalf of citizenship. That means that media companies should be able to focus rigorously on excellence, to what they do best, focus on the production of financing – I’m sorry. Focusing on the production and financing of content programmes which viewers like to watch on TV. And increasingly on other devices at any time where it’s being used, opinion, sports, entertainment, or drama. This point, when we are discussing public interest, is very important.
I think qualified independent media are very, very fundamental to the credibility of the Internet as a whole.
>> LUIS MAGALHAES: Thank you very much. Interesting points. And in particular the challenges regarding deregulation and more flexibility, and how the Internet is challenging the present framework is certainly a very important issue and a very difficult one to be tackled.
Now I ask Jimmy Schulz if he could address these questions of public interest from a point of view of privacy concern, and in particular this picture that comes together with the spread and ubiquity of mobility and big data.
>> JIMMY SCHULZ: I just want to add to what was just said. But for having the content provisioning, we need a free and open Internet. And free it is if we don’t have censorship, and open it is if we have open access from everyone and open Protocols.
But to use these open protocols, we need a Web network to transport these protocols, and thus we need Net Neutrality. And in Germany we have a heavy discussion about Net Neutrality right at the moment, because Deutsche telecom announced tariffs which will not be net neutral. Because they prefer their own services prior to competitor services. We have a discussion in the political area where if they want that, if this is the free and open Internet we want. And the answer is no. So we were thinking about, and discussing about, do we have to regulate as national Parliament this, or we don’t have to do it? And there are three or four countries in the world who have Net Neutrality laws and is that the right way to address this issue?
We decided that we will have a definition of what net neutrality is and we have a definition of what we want. And we are going to have a Regulation on that in the next couple of months.
But is that the right way? I think yes, in this case, we have to say the open and free Internet. But in normal, normally I do think – well, most Internet laws didn’t make the Internet better. But in this case I think we’re going the right way to save the free and open Internet and Net Neutrality.
Now I’m coming to the second point. What is the public interest concerning mobile application and big data? Well, we had that discussion – well, I’d like to go more on the PRISM debate on that, what is privacy on the Internet.
We were all shocked, but most of us here in that room were in surprise. Because if you have read the last couple of years, if you have read the Patriot Act and other laws and other laws in other countries, I don’t want to concentrate that on the U.S., we all knew that we were spied on. And there is legal interception, which we want, of course. We need that. We need to have – well, the Internet is nothing like – there is no – well, it’s a lawful room. It’s not a room at all. But we have laws and they apply also on the Internet.
And so we have to think about how we can deal with that. But what we don’t want is that every one of us is spied on every day and every night and every communication. So this is something we have to talk about on an International level. And what is our public interest on the global basis on what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.
And I think there is – there is a wide spread between, for example, there is like China, Russia, America, Germany and the rest of the world, what is acceptable and what not. On the stateside of the view and, well, what the public says, we don’t know yet. We haven’t asked them. So we should maybe do that and see what is Health, Social Policy and Equality acceptable for us and what is not acceptable.
The first thing that we should do is transparency. So everyone knows what is happening, and we should have clear rules, what is going to happen.
We have to accept that something is happening with our data, but we should know about it and there should be rules that we understand and we can ask for if these rules are broken.
On the other hand, we can protect ourselves. If we don’t want to be spied on, you can encrypt your data, you can use encryption for communication, and I think to protect yourself immediately you should do that in the first place.
>> LUIS MAGALHAES: Well, thank you very much. And that raises the question of awareness, how to use the sophisticated technical means of protection.
Now, we are going to the floor. Now, for a round of questions. I see here Sebastian.
>> SEBASTIAN BACHOLLET: Sebastian Bachollet. One voice in this arena. I’m a Board Member of ICANN and also for two weeks another manager.
I hope that the public interest will be defined by this part of the room and not this part of the room. The discussion on Twitter was interesting. It’s a stakeholder that will define it. You are not a stakeholder. Sorry, that is missing in this round table. The users are here and they must be the voice of the definition of the public interest. It will be the first thing we need to change.
And just to terminate on the positive side, I wanted to send the organizer and the participant from the deaf community to be here. It’s very, very good. I like this and I hope that we will be able to have that in all the fora with the Internet Governance.
Thank you very much for your participation.
>> LUIS MAGALHAES: Thank you very much. There was somebody here. Please, your name, first.
>> JAN MILANOWSKI: Yes, thank you very much. Jan Milanowski from the Council of Europe. Is this working? Yes, it is working.
Yes, I think that it has been made very clear that the public interest will be defined differently by different constituents. And business will have their own and the secret service will have their own definition of what the public interest is.
I’m Jan Milanowski, head of the Information Society for the Council of Europe. For us, I think the public interest can be encapsulated or brought together in one piece that the ministers of the 47 States adopted in 2007, which is a recommendation on the public service value of the Internet.
It has several headings. I won’t go into detail, but you can have a look at it. It talks about the link between the Internet and human rights and Democracy. It talks about access for everyone in an affordable cost. It talks about openness. It talks about diversity. It talks about security, about cybercrime and data protection and so on.
I think that the key thing there is we are telling you what the public interest is. Now we can turn it around. We can tell you to assert the public interest. We have the tools there.
The declaration on tracking and surveillance was mentioned earlier. You can take the text of the Council of Europe and say that is my interest, that is the public interest, and we want to assert it in a particular way.
Can I make another comment? A throw away comment in respect of Google’s jurisdiction. I think it was very interesting, the question, why doesn’t Google move to another jurisdiction? My question is, is there a better jurisdiction for Google? And if there were, would that take Google away from the operation of national laws whether it’s in the US or the other country? I suspect that the answer is no. And, consequently, I think we have to work on the substance rather than say, well, move out and go to another jurisdiction.
>> LUIS MAGALHAES: Thank you very much.
This question of toolkits to look at issue is important. If you don’t know how to identify or measure or in fact assess if the public interest is being served, that will be a problem. So it’s very important that we contribute to this sort of situation.
So somebody else in the back of the room asking for the floor?
>> AUDIENCE: Hello. My name is Amelia, I’m a member of the Europe Parliament. And I regulate the Internet. But I think that’s not really that much of a controversial deal because I would argue that copyright law has regulated the Internet for the past 100 years years or so. And I believe that the private party in Sweden was a way of regulating the Internet in a way that we found wholly inappropriate.
So for the past nine months or so, in the Europe Parliament, actually, more like one and a half years, we have been discussing the data protection regulation, which touches acutely on some of the issues addressed in relation to PRISM and the NSA and what is the public interest. We are trying to make a regulatory framework that targets both private and public organisations inside of the European Union that upholds a fundamental right of European citizens.
So it’s not like a right in the way that we feel it would be kind of good, like a consumer right. It’s actually a fundamental right, which is at the same level as the right to freedom of speech and the right to property, for instance.
And so I can give everyone kind of happy news, because one of our largest voting blocks in the European Parliament announced that they will introduce an article into the data protection – or that they want to back such an article that it would make us possible to fine companies which collaborate with foreign Governments in a way that is counter intuitive to the interests of the European Union and the fundamental rights of its citizens.
And I think that we need to remember this when we talk about Internet Governance or Internet Regulation that we have – we have different public interests in different places of the world. This is true. So we need to identify that.
My German colleague brings up net neutrality, which is one such public interest. How do we create the neutral platform where everyone will take part as a contributor and as a receiver of information?
And I think that the vast majority of actors that provide us with connectivity service are private actors, and we can regulate them, actually, on the jurisdictional basis. And we already do in the vast majority of cases, providers which give us the fray in which we communicate, they are regulated in the European Union and that is why we have the telecommunications networks that we have and that’s why we can make a Net Neutrality law and we should. There is another good piece of good news from today.
I don’t think that it’s useful to talk about the Internet as something that can’t be regulated and something that shouldn’t be regulated. It is clear that we need to decide better what values that we want to uphold, and I think it’s not useful to disconnect the political institutions that ultimately define the values of our society from these discussions, as is so often done.
One of the foremost arguments that I hear in my work in Brussels when we work with legislation is that we shouldn’t worry our pretty little legislator heads with a problem that is of concern to a lot of people, because it’s so technical and too complex. And that’s tiresome, because the technology is also political. The architectures define what we can and cannot do. And so I just want to make that point that I think we need – we need to have actually ultimately also legislators thinking about how do we have this architecture in a way that we can all exercise the values that we want. And that has to be done on a regional, in the European Union or national level, because where else would we do it?
And so I think we should be banning lawful interception devices in communications equipment, because that would be an effective way of not making communications very interceptable by oppressive Governments.
>> LUIS MAGALHAES: Thank you very much.
We are running out of time. There was a survey done through the Internet regarding two questions. How would you define the public interest? What do you think could be done to serve the public interest? And, well, I’m not going to mention all the answers received, but just to provide with you a flavor of what people tackled.
We find a certain concentration of answers to these questions from the point of view of the interests of the community. So this is something that is really identifiable.
And another point is the importance of free information and free knowledge. So we received inputs like public interest means common good. Basis of Democracy and freedom. Public interest is not the interest of the state, but the community. Public interest should prevail over private interests always under the law.
Another point. All that regards to welfare and functioning of a politically embodied community, considering the persons and diversity that such community is made of, public interest is what helps society cohesion and improvement. Well, and prevention of – the right to information above anything else, society alignment with culture and learning aspects of population, avoiding the criteria majorities as the decision maker point.
And in the question of what do you think could be done to serve the public interest? Again, the same sort of lines of concentration appear. Just to cite one, make sure that the freedom of access to information will always be guaranteed and not even under convenient excuses, like supposedly security. Worse security, which was already a point dealt with in this debate.
Knowledge and culture as a central focus for growth in Europe is also appointed by another contributor. Whatever brings well-being facilities to the community, life should be available to everyone.
And to finalize, the contribution that says that the global level, the creation of governance mechanisms that are on an issue by issue basis, transparent, accountable, involve all the relevant stakeholders. So the contributions are rather interesting from the point of view of this survey.
Now, to finalize debate, giving the opportunity to our invited panelists for a very brief, short comment, so that we can pass to the next stage of this process.
So who would like to take the floor first?
>> NIGEL HICKSON: Yes, thank you very much. It’s a shame we couldn’t have a longer debate, because I think we were just getting into the meat of some of the issues.
Just two very brief points. A first, Sebastian’s point, this side of the stage is not representing the user, but your side of the rostrum is. I think it’s very difficult. The user, the citizen, who is the ultimate consumer in this and it has to come down to the citizen. I’m not saying that anyone can say they represent all citizens’ voices, but at least we can have it go through a community-based approach that involves users in decision-making processes.
And at that point I’d like to pick up the data protection legislation in the EU. The data protection regulation is a very important, a very important legislative step in the EU. It’s updating a data protection directive introduced 20 odd years ago, which was fundamental in upholding values in terms of the privacy of data. But I think we have to be very careful in how it’s applied in an extra jurisdictional way. Because it can also have the effect, as we were talking about earlier, of creating silos and boundaries and creating divisions in terms of how data is transferred. And that can be very important in some respects. But it also can be very damaging to the innovation and the openness of the Internet. And I think we have to take care of that.
>> LUIS MAGALHAES: Thank you very much.
>> JIMMY SCHULZ: I’d like to answer my colleague from the European Parliament. I think we do agree that we need regulation on the Internet. That’s not the question. The question is how much regulation do we need? And how it should be done. And I’d like to quote Neelie Kroes who said a year ago on the EuroDIG conference, “The less loss we have, the better it is.” And of course we need boundaries in which the Internet can develop freely. And to find out how we should do that, we need to know what the public interest is. And one of the best ways to find out what the public interest is, I think, is the IGF and stakeholder process.
>> LUIS MAGALHAES: Thank you very much.
>> MARKUS KUMMER: Yes, very much the same, on the same line. I mean, I’m not against regulation per se. But we are always warning against unintended consequences of knee jerk legislation. Policy regulators see a problem, they jump to solve the problem with quick legislation. Like I think in the UK at one point when there were riots, they discussed banning Facebook. They said that that would not be the solution. But often we find a solution without thinking of unintended consequences.
So along with Jimmy, think we have to sit and have a dialogue about it as we are doing here.
>> LUIS MAGALHAES: Thank you very much.
>> FRANCISCO PEDRO BALSEMAO: First I consider copyright very important for cultural and creativity reasons, and also in the case of general reasons for the survival and existence of journalism.
Second, because I am sitting here, I don’t consider myself better than you, sir. But because you are sitting there, I don’t consider you better than me.
Third, that this competition between – this difficulty of conciliating freedom and security is – security is winning, and this is very worrying. And we have more and more and more excuses or reasons to give away our freedoms, to accept that video cameras and finding everything that we’re doing, except that our emails and messages are eventually read by people who we don’t know who they are and what they will do with it. And the risks of cyberwar. What we just learned of how the national security agencies working in the United States, I consider that in an organisation like this one, this should be a major worry.
And thank you so much for the invitation and thank you so much for coming to my country. I hope you enjoy it. And stay for the weekend.
>> LUIS MAGALHAES: Thank you very much. Well, just to end, let me say and apologize to everybody, there were several people raised their hand and we couldn’t provide the opportunity for them to interfere in several parts of the room. Our sincere apology, but it is the problem of this setting.
This is the first session. There will be many other sessions, workshop, and plenary sessions. So please take the opportunity to participate there, and it’s obvious that we cannot take care of everything in the first session and even recover part of the delay with which we start. So thank you very much. And let’s proceed with the meeting.