Internet fragmentation: what’s next? – TOPIC 02 Sub 01-02 2023
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The Resilience session will move beyond the risks presented in the previous session, discussing what is being done and how policymakers can help to avoid Internet fragmentation, particularly in the European context.
New to the topic or in need to refresh your mind? Watch this brief video that introduces Internet Fragmentation and some of the speakers who will take part in the conversation at EuroDIG.
The session dedicated to the Resilience to Internet Fragmentation will allow an interactive discussion about the measures necessary to avoid the negative impacts of fragmentation discussed in the previous session, with a particular focus on the European context and its regional Internet regulations. The choice of combining the organisation of the risks and resilience sessions was done to allow a more effective transition between these two closely tied perspectives. This second part of the conversation on Internet fragmentation will be shaped by the three knowledgeable panellists, who will be able to bring different perspectives to the table.
To allow a high level of interaction before and during the event, the session will be structured in the following way:
- Initial 3 minutes of “punchy statements” by each panellist (10-15 minutes);
- Panellists briefly answer questions provided before the session in max 3 minutes per speaker (10-15 minutes). Follow this link to submit your questions to the panellists. The Org Team will then choose a few questions to pose to the speakers during the session;
- Questions from the public (Interactive 15-20 minutes).
- Internet Fragmentation: What’s at Stake?, by Dr. T. Tropina
- Internet Fragmentation: An Overview, by Drake, William J; Vinton, Cerf G; Kleinwächter, W.
- Internet Fragmentation Exists, But Not In the Way That You Think, by Dr. M. Mueller
- Internet Governance Doublespeak: Western Governments and the Open Internet, by Zoe Hawkins
- The Unintended Consequences of Internet Regulation, by Mike Masnick
- Addis Ababa IGF 2022 Messages, p. 5-6
- Misguided policies the world over are slowly killing the open internet, by Andrew Sullivan
- EU Dimensions of the ‘Splinternet’ Question, by Elena Plexida
Please provide name and institution for all people you list here.
- Tatiana Tropina
- Yrjö Länsipuro
The Subject Matter Experts (SME) support the programme planning process throughout the year and work closely with the Secretariat. They give advice on the topics that correspond to their expertise, cluster the proposals and assist session organisers in their work. They also ensure that session principles are followed and monitor the complete programme to avoid repetition.
- Claudia Leopardi
Focal Points take over the responsibility and lead of the session organisation. They work in close cooperation with the respective Subject Matter Expert (SME) and the EuroDIG Secretariat and are kindly requested to follow EuroDIG’s session principles
Organising Team (Org Team) List Org Team members here as they sign up.
- Amali De Silva-Mitchell
- Chris Buckridge
- David Frautschy
The Org Team is a group of people shaping the session. Org Teams are open and every interested individual can become a member by subscribing to the mailing list.
- Esteve Sanz, Head of Sector, Internet Governance and Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue (remote participant)
- Izaan Khan, Representative of YOUthDIG
- Alexandra Dirksen, PhD candidate at the Institute of Application Security (TU Braunschweig, Germany) (remote participant)
- Vittorio Bertola, Head of Policy & Innovation at Open-Xchange
- David Frautschy, Senior Director for European Government and Regulatory Affairs at Internet Society
Trained remote moderators will be assigned on the spot by the EuroDIG secretariat to each session.
Reporters will be assigned by the EuroDIG secretariat in cooperation with the Geneva Internet Platform. The Reporter takes notes during the session and formulates 3 (max. 5) bullet points at the end of each session that:
- are summarised on a slide and presented to the audience at the end of each session
- relate to the particular session and to European Internet governance policy
- are forward looking and propose goals and activities that can be initiated after EuroDIG (recommendations)
- are in (rough) consensus with the audience
Current discussion, conference calls, schedules and minutes
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- dates for virtual meetings or coordination calls
- short summary of calls or email exchange
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Rapporteur: Bojana Kovač, Geneva Internet Platform
- The Global Digital Compact (GDC) has encouraged states to address fragmentation. Taking into account the views of stakeholders, developing Internet protocols, promoting global discussions, and fostering open and competitive digital markets are vital to addressing Internet fragmentation and the digital divide. Content policies must align with international human rights principles to maintain a unified and rights-focused approach.
- There is a need for harmonisation and cooperation among stakeholders to understand the causes of Internet fragmentation. We should rethink the Internet fragmentation discussion to not conflate it with business interests and ensure that the technical aspect is addressed carefully. There is a need to raise awareness of the risks of Internet fragmentation and also an opportunity to build on the capacities of the technical community and other stakeholders who are interested in addressing these challenges. Proven solutions, like the Internet Impact Assessment toolkit, can be a way forward.
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>> NADIA TJAHJA: Welcome back, everyone. I encourage you to take a seat, do not stand, the seats are comfortable, the company is good. We’re happy to have you join us in this subtopic 2, second session. Of the main topic, Internet fragmentation.
I would like to introduce the topic to Internet fragmentation, what’s next and invite the moderator of this session, David Frautschy, Senior Director for European Government and Regulatory Affairs at the Internet Society to take the stage.
>> DAVID FRAUTSCHY: Thank you for joining this session. The previous one, explained what are the different views on fragmentation, and this one intends to identify how to deal with it.
When I was proposed to do the moderation of this panel, I took it with a selfish interest, I’m running a project at the Internet Society, corunning a project with a colleague, we call it Protecting the Internet From Fragmentation. I really wanted to understand the views of others to incorporate this discussions of today in the project.
I’m going to call the speakers. We have two speakers on stage and two speakers online.
Sorry, I see – it is Izaan Khan, a representative of YOUthDIG is here.
Vittorio Bertola, who was here before – when I see him oh, you’re here. Sorry. Please take a seat.
Then online, we have Esteve Sanz, Head of Sector from the Internet Governance and Multistakeholder Dialogue and Alexandra Dirksen, a Ph.D. candidate at the Institute of Application Cybersecurity. Thank you for joining us today.
I will give the floor first to Esteve Sanz, I guess he was first on the row. Before that, I just want to make a reflection, building on what was said before from ICANN, we’re getting the Internet for granted, that it will be there all the time just like electricity or water supply – just like – we live in a privileged world here in the Western countries where most of us can enjoy the benefits of accessing the Internet and using it in our everyday lives.
Perhaps because we take it for granted, we’re not aware of the consequences of the risks of losing it.
As it was said before, the Internet is at risk, we may lose it as we know it today and we need to make all the efforts to raise awareness of the situation and combat it. Is the objective of this discussion.
I’ll give you the floor to have the three minutes to trigger discussions today.
>> ESTEVE SANZ: Thank you for inviting us. I’m not sure if I will be able to do an opening statement, being a very serious in this is not the first time we’ll talk about fragmentation and it won’t be the last one. The good thing about this moment in time, the Global Digital Compact, it has encouraged Member States and the Commission to get into kind of official thinking of Internet fragmentation. This is what you all can find in the contribution that the E.U. has provided to the Global Digital Compact in the chapter Internet fragmentation and this is the product of intense discussions with Member States, Commission, et cetera, about what do we think about Internet fragmentation. The first thing about this statement, it is that we see the Internet as a network of networks. So an element of diversity within the Internet, it is intrinsic in the Internet itself, we should think of the Internet as portraying, facilitating the diversity and that’s very important for us.
As David has said, there are elements that put the Internet aside, so networks are at risk, here the E.U. vision has several points, that refer to different dimensions of the fragmentation, and a bit of a proposal a on how to handle them. There is an element of the evolution of the current model around the development, creation, deployment of Internet protocols. This is the basic technology of Internet. And we need to avoid Internet fragmentation by basically respecting the multistakeholder organizations that create and manage the organizations as core elements of the technical governance. The second element that relates to it, it is more political, more policy, it is really the discussions, the global discussions around Internet policy and how we set that agenda. This is the Internet Governance Forum. This is what we all decided has to be, we are all actors and we come together and discuss these things. This is very important, if we respect that model, we will avoid the Internet Governance fragmentation. There is an element of digital markets, digital markets need to remain open, but also contestable, and we have put forward legislation that avoids that certain companies take advantage of network affects and really fragment the landscape of local players that have similar ideas.
We have to keep the open markets open and also contestable.
In this way, we would avoid economic fragmentation of the Internet.
There is another part of fragmentation which is the means, the means to access the Internet, this is the digital divide, the Internet is not global, there are millions of people who are not yet online. We need to work on that. That is economic fragmentation we need to work on.
Perhaps the most important, finally, at the level of content, but also sometimes effecting the architecture of the Internet we have fragmentation because we have many sort of different policies and regulation put on top of it, we think that the common denominator that will avoid fragmentation at that level is Human Rights. We need, the world needs to commit to design regulations that empower fundamental, Human Rights rather than the opposite.
In this way, we will avoid probably the most important thing for us, and for any policymaker, which is the experience of the Internet.
Today experiencing the Internet in the E.U. is very different than experiencing the Internet in an authoritarian country.
This is a very important image of fragmentation we should not forget.
>> DAVID FRAUTSCHY: Thank you for those views.
You are right, the evolution of the current model, we talked about the previous session about the power of large corporations and how they grab it or try to grab the Internet experience.
Now I give the floor as a representative of the YOUthDIG, Izaan Khan, please.
>> IZAAN KHAN: Perfect. Thank you.
I would firstly like to thank Claudia for inviting me to this, because this is a topic that is very close to my heart.
Given that in this part of the session we will be talking about the resilience side of things, the EuroDIG Wiki asked two important questions, namely what’s being done currently to avoid fragmentation and number two, policymakers, how they can help to avoid fragmentation both in the European context as well as broader than that.
I think there was overlap with what was said in the previous session. I won’t really repeat what was going on. One thing I wanted to emphasize, it is that in the previous panel, what was being discussed, it was understanding Internet fragmentation and there was a good point by Tatiana not getting too caught up in the deaf initial side of things and instead of trying to argue about whether something is or isn’t Internet fragmentation. For example, some people may say a lack of meaningful access is Internet fragmentation, and others would say no, it is purely something to do with the technical protocols that underlying that. I feel that’s sort of missing the point of the discussion, which is that all of these things, irrespective of whether they are classified as fragmentation have solutions to these sort of problems that involve the degree of global coordination.
An important part of that, it is understanding that there are certain things that will be inevitably very fragmented. I think everyone, or most people I have spoken to at the very least have this sort of view that the Internet is sort of like this neutral conduit of information whereas it is very clear that the Internet has core values, we have a Dynamic Coalition on Core Internet values, and one of those things, it is to connect people together without much hinderance, any intermediaries in the process should be mutual carrier, the fact that that core value may be opposed to authoritarian regime core values, I won’t mention names but there was a mention of this level of plurality in in a previous session talking about bridging or building I guess mutual trust between China and Europe on those kinds of things. It is important to recognize that the Internet is very inherently political and therefore the question of fragmentation is very political. Not only at the technical area, where it seems that everyone believes that this fragmentation is bad, but at every other level of the stack as well. There is a need for harmonization and cooperation. The reason I mention all of this, really, I understand I’m running out of time. The main aspect of what’s being done right now is to really solidly understand what is causing the fragmentation in the first place that we can address it. There is a flame work, we have impact assessments as well and really at every single layer of the stack there is a reason why somethings are happening and it is up to us to be able to identify those reasons, really, really navigate and engage in discussions with the stakeholders as to why they’re committing the actions that they’re doing, potentially recognizing or maybe inadvertently causing that fragmentation. For example, at the technical level, some countries are already isolated, therefore, they separate themselves from the network. In other cases, it is that they want to control information flow, so on, so therefore it is important for us to basically understand the reasons why it is happening and there is a lot of work being done in the IGF intersessional activities and outside of organizations like the Internet Society and so on to dig deep so that we can try to understand it.
>> DAVID FRAUTSCHY: Thank you.
Now let’s go back online and let’s give the floor to Alexandra Dirksen so she can give her initial contribution. Please.
>> ALEXANDRA DIRKSEN: I hope you can see the screen. I have shared some slides.
I want to give you a direct example to all of this fragmentation that everybody is talking about. We have a critical playground we call the Internet, actually as we know, the main purpose is digital exchange, nowadays mostly using secure communication. Now we have this threat by a specific country which most of you know, the government, let’s call it Russia, due to this threat, a lot of Western sanctions stop the Western certification authorities to offer the services to the Russian companies. Well, this leads to, of course, Russia to create their own domestic certificate authority, however, it remains untrusted by Western browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and what problem because Russia has its own browser, it is trusted by the government and trusting the new domestic certificate authority, which is a really, really critical issue for the technical perspective.
And besides that, if you don’t want to use this browse, there are a lot of Western certificate authorities and we will remain neutral in these regards and do not stop offering our services.
Also same applies to other really critical actors of the Internet like RIPE and ICANN, as we have heard, they announced to maintain critical in this regard because they’re a part of the Internet and should remain working.
Also other companies, important companies like cloud flare, they also are remaining – also, the Russian user, you see that there, cannot avoid all of these issues because if they’re sitting inside of Russian Internet, they’re automatically most of the time using the Russian DNS or Russian ISPs which are controlled by the malicious government. So they cannot avoid all of this technical issues.
So we have this colorful playground here, and the user, which is in the middle of all of this playground don’t have the certainty whether the website, which it addresses with the browser is still trustworthy or maybe controlled by the government or civilians or whatever, same applies to the communication partners which, let’s say that they’re using a social network which they try to talk to, they don’t have the certainty that this is really the communication partner they wanted to talk to.
So there are a lot of technical issues in this regard.
So what I wanted to say with this colorful picture, it is there is a big inner discord within the Internet itself.
We should talk about what exactly is open techniques, what is public good, how much might are we giving to property reservices which are part of this really, really critical infrastructure that you call the Internet.
>> DAVID FRAUTSCHY: Thank you for the views, of this example of fragmentation.
Lastly, we go back to Vittorio Bertola, I give you the floor, from previous conversations, I know you have different views and you can explain it.
>> VITTORIO BERTOLA: Yeah. I think sometimes it seems like I’m a hair tick, but what do we do to avoid Internet fragmentation, we have to stop merging together too many conversations and too many problems that are really separate. I think that in terms of fragmentation started as a political concept, keeping the Internet unique at the technical, transport level, at the system of IP address, domain names and the government structures like ICANN and the IGF which are currently managing it. This is really, really important and we see that there are times to substitute some of these organizations with the UN multilateral things and these are negative for the Internet.
So I think that on this, we can all agree. Then if we start throwing other things into this concept of Internet fragmentation, then things become harder to agree with and more and more people will have doubts.
I mean, there are – when we move to the user experience level, to the application level, there are two with big families of issues that have been at least proposed as part of the Internet fragmentation debate and one is fragmentation by the private sector and I thank you for mentioning it.
This is actually in Europe, the things that we’re most familiar with, I don’t know how many people here have experience like political censorship of websites by the government in Europe, depending on the country, I think that there are – maybe you found websites blocked for the copyright but not the political blocking position views. It is similar to being stuck in ten different instant messages applications because they refuse to interact with others like email does e-mail, you have the address, you exchange with everyone, with the text message, you have to install every application, they refuse to cooperate even if technically it is simple. Mobile phones, which you experienced, you have the phone, you download it with a computer, it almost doesn’t work because Apple would like you to get an iPhone.
On the other hand, the governmental fragmentation of the Internet, and here there are claims that many different types of those are fragmenting the Internet, GDPR, Internet law, debate on content, we have talked about that, and then – no offense, maybe still online, maybe following – the two examples given in the keynote on fragmentation, it is really about two very democratic countries like Canada and South Korea, having to have the process in parliament to decide to impose taxation and regulation of Google and Meta and these companies say no, we don’t want to abide to your regulation and pay taxes, we’ll block the content and services. Despite from the fact that in the scenario, the people that are fragmenting the Internet are Google, Meta, not the governments. This is not fragmentation, it is a struggle between two entities, one that wants to get money, one that doesn’t want to pay the money. If we continue with this business interest and discussions within the Internet fragmentation discussion, then it will be harder to get alliances and support for the real important path, the technical one and the support for the government structure.
I think we really have to rethink of the way we frame this discussion to make sure that we at least focus on the really important things.
>> DAVID FRAUTSCHY: So we have different views, we have different perspectives, and we need to identify solutions and apparently – we’ll try to have a little bit of a discussion here.
You mention it is the issue of understanding what is the cost of fragmentation, you mentioned to some extent the idea of governments wanting to control – perhaps control the societies, control what they access. At some point, the previous panel, we talked about the end of globalization, and I don’t know if what can we make the analogy that Internet and globalization, which one comes first and one is the result of the other, but without the intention to get connected on trade matter, geopolitical alliances, it seems that the Internet would lose its purpose.
Today we are witnessing countries getting out of this globalization trend that we experienced for the last two decades. How did you see the Internet surviving and what do people need to know in order to change this path?
>> IZAAN KHAN: I think that’s an interesting question. There was a Council on foreign relations report that came out recently proclaiming the end of the open Internet and that we had to basically engage in these sorts of alliances that we see today. I’m not entirely sure that’s the case. I may be optimistic about it. There is a bit of sort of like a great power struggle happening over here. We see on the one hand the declaration for the future of the Internet being signed by all of these different so-called Western nations and then on the other side you have China with its Shanghai cooperation organization proclaiming cyber sovereignty to be the main sort of mow disoperandi for how the Internet should be focused and not focused on the multistakeholder and the influence of multistakeholders. But notwithstanding this sort of viewpoint that’s consistently being projected in the news, there is a large number of countries that are basically known as the digital deciders that haven’t really taken a particular decision as to what kind of approach that they would take.
It is sort of like a digital Non-Aligned Movement if you will.
I think that it is very, very important to have very strong, very tactical cyber diplomacy, China is, for example, already engaging in this sort of activity through thing digital development initiative, so on, the United States is consequently doing the same thing, expanding the number of countries signing up to the DFI. So I think cyber diplomacy is one very important way that this would happen. I have reason to believe why if there are countries like China for example benefiting from the current version of the open Internet that they would do something radical enough to change the underlying structure of it.
Most of the discussions that take place are the user experience side of things and how that translates to issues of Human Rights which is something that as mentioned earlier, about how that should be underpinning principle for how we regulate, for example, online activities of the application layer as opposed to the infrastructural layer.
A point I want to make, it is that we should really, really focus on the communication of those principles and policies because the very same things that are used in so-called democratic countries and this is something that Zoe mentioned earlier, are exactly the same kinds of things that can be used by authoritarian regimes. A good example of this, it is not to be crude or anything, but pornography, it is the canary in the coal mine for how we treat content, many countries would want to ban that kind of content, other countries would have other potentially fragmentary things like ID verification because it is all about the incentives that it creates for how content is accessed and where content is accessed from.
So I think that those are a couple of important things that we may never really be able to harmonize and as long as the underlying technical layer is still present, that holds some hope for the future and perhaps we can also learn to cooperate a bit more on how we regulate the content or the application there as well.
>> DAVID FRAUTSCHY: Correct. You mentioned diplomacy and I’m going to give the floor to Esteve Sanz, this is the field where he works., if you have any questions, audience, stand up so we can put you in the queue. What about cyber diplomacy and what are your views here?
>> ESTEVE SANZ: Thank you so much.
First let me say a word on the lack of consensus on the definition of what Internet fragmentation means, what layers we should look at, this is – of course, a valid point, maybe in the future when we organize the sessions on this we should refer to one particular dimension so everybody is on the same page, because otherwise the overall conversation goes very broad.
There is value into having this broad perspective, as Alexandra Dirksen has shown, very prominently, we have from our own expertise ways of seeing Internet fragmentation that are not there and it is specific, and it is worth protecting them, putting them on the table, in the end, what matters, it is the end point, I think nobody is in love – maybe someone – nobody is in love with the Internet technology in itself, the Internet technology, the architecture, it is something that – it has meaning. People use it somehow. It is how people use it, or are able to use it that then becomes significant.
A little bit of this is good, focus is good. I think it is good that we are here discussing this issue.
On diplomacy, the future of the Internet, first, two important things to remind, this is not a Western project, there are many non-western countries that signed the declaration, there are over 70 countries that have signed the declaration. We hope more people will sign, the particular thing, it is not a U.S.A. thing, this is really a core – there was a core number of countries that, you know, started in the first draft, the E.U. was part of the core, we think that the declaration for the future of the Internet is really underpinning many values that we have.
It is something that we think is extremely important, a diplomatic instrument. We really think that we need such declaration to expand, to really stop Internet fragmentation.
These are basic principles, including the respecting the rules of the game of the global multistakeholder system where protocols are created. If you break the rules, then you can have a massive skill that’s not only technological but also the governments.
So at the level of diplomacy, I think that the declaration, and also the Global Digital Compact will provide the grounds for very interesting discussions, that they really need to take into account the multistakeholder community. This is not classic diplomacy, not states talking to states. This is the multistakeholder community engaging into these conversations and have to be very focused this time, very practical, and we will be launching a multistakeholder engagement programme under DFI in the IGF in Japan and I hope we’ll be able to explain more about the next steps of the digital diplomacy.
>> DAVID FRAUTSCHY: Thank you for the direct support to the multistakeholder model, it is always appreciated.
There was a question here in the room. Go ahead.
>> Thank you. I’m from YOUthDIG Spain, and I have two questions: My first question is, whether Internet fragmentation is an irreversible process, where we reach a point in time where we say, okay, Internet is fragmented, we cannot go back to the original Internet that was created.
My second question is related to what was said in the first intervention, it is whether having different Internets that are tailored to a specific culture, a country, tailored to specific social groups is actually harmful fragmentation.
>> DAVID FRAUTSCHY: Who wants to take that one.
>> VITTORIO BERTOLA: The Internet has been fragmented since the beginning. We have had laws and countries making laws of the Internet and that’s not anything new. Maybe the newest thing is having this very big, immense companies all based in the same part of the world and that was new, not there 0 years ago. At the same time, fragmentation is here to stay, the world is fragmented, divided in 200 countries and especially from the ’90s, those that discovered the Internet, we thought then and still think that this will unify the world possibly in peace in, a single entity in the long-term. For exactly this reason we have to keep it running and it will take a long time, several generations I think.
So we have to accept that at this point in time, the world is fragmented in countries and there are reasons why the countries have different culture, views, government systems and as long as we come together but we have to have an architecture that doesn’t break but maybe bends a little.
We have ton careful to preserve the basic level and especially if we can keep the principle of free innovation at the edges, end users able to deploy new technologies, then the users will find a way, they will invent things like build to build system, currency, they’ll route around the centralized points of control. That’s the most important thing in my view about fragmentation. Diversity, there is a value in providing different views of different couldn’t net neutralities as long as you keep the basic technical level together. Going beyond that, it could be a problem.
>> ALEXANDRA DIRKSEN: May I also say something too.
>> DAVID FRAUTSCHY: Go ahead.
>> ALEXANDRA DIRKSEN: Thank you for the question. I’m coming from the technical perspective working with Internet protocols. From a technical perspective, I completely agree with ICANN, technically, the Internet is not fragmented, it is global, there are different protocols, whatever, but technically, it is completely global, there are no countries, no borders, nothing. So the fragmentation that we face right now, especially these times are completely from politics, completely from economy, and this is nothing different than just like opening and closing a door. Let’s talk about censorship, censorship is technically a list with domains and the SP provider in your country gets the list, every time you try to reach the website let’s say Facebook from your notebook, the Internet provider will see it and just block the connection. He can just stop blocking these connections and this leads to a little bit less fragmentation or control on the Internet.
To your question, whether this fragmentation can be stopped from a technical perspective, completely because this has nothing to do with our protocols, this is completely political.
To the other side, what the speaker had just said about of course there will be always techniques but we should never rely on that because using these techniques needs a lot of technical knowledge, it needs people to even know that they’re in danger because if you don’t know that you’re in danger in privacy, you would not think about the idea oh, I need some special browser like this, whatever, so not focus on finding alternative technologies to protect the privacy, but we should more speak about how much might to give to companies on this really, really critical playground like the Internet. It is nothing different than with traffic so yes, this is mostly what we should focus on, this beginner discussion and the definitions, what exactly it means from the fragmentation, who are the important parties, and how are we free to which critical infrastructures like Internet.
>> DAVID FRAUTSCHY: I wanted to answer to the issue of different cultural expressions on the Internet. I think this is healthy. It is more diversity rather than fragmentation. It is good that there is content that is understandable by the people, the Internet was built for the people to access, to content to access to education, access to opportunities and if everything were in English or in Spanish, French, it would not be useful for most of the people out there. It is very healthy that the Internet reflects the diversity, and that is not an expression of fragmentation.
It is a different view.
You mentioned if there is an event that would book mark the fragmentation.
We don’t see it this way, on the work that we’re doing, we see that it would be a process. It is a process, it is already ongoing with some of the policies that we’re seeing being put on the table by some governments.
We have this analogy that we explained once and again, it is like getting bald, no hair on the head, you look at yourself in the mirror, every day, you see no change, but one day you realize that you’re bald. With this, it is just very similar situation. There is no – it is not just an event, it is a process. It is getting wrote down and if we don’t stop it, it will be unfit for purpose. It would not be the Internet as we want it to be global. As a global tool we want to use.
Please, the next question.
>> My name is Andrew. A couple of comments, if I may.
Firstly, I disagree that the Internet is or ever was homogenized. Even technically, if you refer back to the open net, it was a network of networks running different protocols, all connected with a single protocol. So depends how you define things as to whether you can sustain an argument that’s never been fragmented, in my view, it only was at the start. It is now if I go to join, I wouldn’t have access to 1.3, it is blocked in the great firewall, going to China, I don’t have access to going further up the stack things like private relay because apple chooses not to deploy it in authoritarian states. Interestingly, it is happy to deploy it in democracies and even if arguing in some cases it is against the legislation in democracies, but it is happy to abide with the legislation in autocratic states as are plenty of other constituent parts of the tech sector to be fair, not just picking on Apple. Thinking about the free, open Internet, by some definition of the cyber libertarians, malware blocking is censorship, completely justified that most of the CSAM we find is hosted in Europe rain it shouldn’t be acted upon because that again would be censorship, and it is not an issue, there is less resilience now because of things like CDMs and mask and so on.
In reality, we talk about the Internet as though it is static thing, it is not, even the underlying technologies are changing and continue to change. Interestingly, most of the technical changes take place without any consideration of the policy impacts or indeed the involvement of policymakers.
That may be an issue, technology is not – doesn’t operate in a vacuum. That’s a problem that needs to be addressed.
The so finally, if the price of stopping fragmentation of the Internet is that we’re touted by industrial scale misinformation, we have zero privacy because as there is no privacy in other countries and it is ignored by a lot of countries and companies, enabling the free flow of malware and CSAM, I argue that’s not a price worth paying. I think that we have to be really careful what we wish for and very careful about definitions. If it is just about IP, fantastic, if it is about anything else, then I think we need to be really careful.
>> DAVID FRAUTSCHY: That’s a statement, not a question. Okay.
>> ALEXANDRA DIRKSEN: Thank you for confirming what I said before about it, as you said it was China who decided that this or this protocol, whatever is blocked or it was Apple who decided that this is not possible and just Russia who decided to send to specific website. All of the statements that you just gave, it was all political or economic decisions because the protocols itself, CTL itself, is ready to work. The decisions were not made on technical perspective from the protocol perspective, but from economy and politics.
Thank you for that.
>> DAVID FRAUTSCHY: All right. We have only a few minutes left.
Nobody has explained what can we do to stop fragmentation. So if there is nobody in the audience wanting to take the floor, I will explain very briefly what we’re doing at the Internet Society.
I would argue that the most valuable thing we have in Internet Society is our community of volunteers, chapters, and what we are going to do is help our volunteers to identify threats to the Internet, and we’re going to empower them to raise their voice with the right arguments using our impact assessment toolkit to go to the policymakers in the jurisdictions and convince them of their wrongdoing when this is happening, and what is the right direction and the policies so that this wrong doing could be put in the right track.
This is something that we’re going to launch in the next month’s publicly on the website.
We are going to publish a metrics of threats, and we’re creating a coalition, an informal coalition of partners that want to join us in this effort.
I invite you to come to our website, join this open Internet advocacy network that we’re already active and asking organizations to join in.
This is what we’re working on, on this issue of protecting the Internet from fragmentation and I think that the purpose is a very important one. Despite some of the messages asking to look elsewhere, the reality is as we have seen on the previous panel, it is that in fact, there are governments and there are corporations out there that are modifying the Internet that are not fit for people to have it as a tool for good, as a tool for education, as a tool for opportunity.
We need to change this path out of a global Internet.
If there are no more comments, I think – yeah.
>> I’m from the international Federation of Library associations. I should have asked it in the last session and I think it builds on what you were saying, politics has had a very bad rap in this session and as a driver of poor decisions about the Internet, but in terms of trying to mobilize people, in terms of trying to make people, a helpful lobster to understand that it is being Cooked due to the drip, drip, drip of bad decisions, what does that tipping point look like, what do you think it will take, what sort of incident will it take to get the broader Internet using public to realize that something is wrong and that it could be politically attractive to stop it, to politically attractive to actually take action. Thank you.
>> DAVID FRAUTSCHY: Anybody wants to take that?
>> ESTEVE SANZ: I was raising my hand to celebrate the project of the Internet Society that you just presented. I think that really it gets into the core of some of the things that we have discussed here, which there are many macro fragmentation tendencies where there are micro tendencies that are very difficult to detect. Having this centralized detection system, where you can have different analysis of processes that you can raise the flag, it will bring it to policymakers and bring to people, you need the community to work on this really.
I really like the approach that you proposed. I wanted to say this, I’m happy to answer all of the questions or maybe my copanelist can take the other questions.
>> DAVID FRAUTSCHY: We have ran out of time. With that statement, we’ll close this workshop and give the floor to the presenters so that we can make the next one.
Thank you to the people who have joined online and in person.
>> NADIA TJAHJA: Of course, a big thank you very much to the moderate, David Frautschy from the Internet Society. Before we wrap up this particular session, I would like to invite sanders from the global energy it compliance for a small announcement, he was a speaker in the main topic session impact on war, and specifically in subtopic, navigating challenges and strengthening Ukraine’s and European Internet infrastructure. Please, you have the floor.
>> SANDER STEFFANN:I won’t take much of your break, I wanted to make a small announcement, that after the session this morning, we took a look at all of the donations that came in over the last couple of months and we decided we collected enough to send another shipment to Ukraine in the coming weeks, so we just today decided that we’re sending 45,000 euros worth of fiber splicers to Ukraine very soon.