Lise Fuhr – Keynote 05 2023
20 June 2023 | 14:30 EEST | Main auditorium | |
Consolidated programme 2023 overview / Lise Fuhr, Keynote
About Lise Fuhr
Lise Fuhr is the Director General of ETNO, the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association, which has been an Institutional Partner of EuroDIG for many years. She was elected to the newly established IGF Leadership Panel and EuroDIG asked her how this panel is progressing. You can read the full interview on the EuroDIG website.
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>> NADIA TJAHJA: ... we have to go on to the second keynote, we have Lise Fuhr joining us and I would first like to thank Mr. Andrew Sullivan for joining us today. I ask you to give him a warm applause.
Thank you for joining us, I give the floor to you.
>> LISE FUHR: Thank you. Good afternoon. I’m in Denmark, I wanted to be with you in person but unfortunately I got COVID so I send you all greetings instead and join online.
Since I last spoke to the EuroDIG in 2019 many things have happened. You all know we saw a global pandemic put our societies and also our economies to the test. We’re also right now witnessing a global war, a global address on European soil actually putting political structures and democracies to the test and causing untold human anguish in Ukraine and beyond. As we watch AI LEAP forward on a daily basis, is it a smarter society or is it a threat? Throughout these defining events, technology of the Internet are present. I’m delighted to be back here with you and I’m also tried to be here as a member of the IGF leadership panel and a new body established by the UN Secretary-General.
Following this session, there will be a dedicated workshop looking at some of the effects of Internet fragmentation, but as representing 70% of the investment in the Telecom networks in Europe, we’re extremely taking the open Internet very seriously since many years now. We are publicly supporting the E.U. open Internet principles in the E.U., their law since 2015 and they provide certainty to all sided you of the industry and Civil Society on what the rules of engagement are and when it comes to access to content.
It goes without saying that a fragmented Internet is a weaker, less secure Internet, and can result in lower cybersecurity standards. At a time where cyber threats are increasing in number, and in scale and in sophistication combined with the ever present use of the Internet and all aspects of daily life, cybersecurity and open Internet are fundamental.
As we discuss this topic today at EuroDIG, it is very important that we know what we’re referring to and we took a part of opening this discussion, Internet fragmentation, it is not one single issue, it is a description of numerous instances where access to the Internet is somehow limited.
This can happen he accidentally or on person, it can happen at the infrastructure layer or at the application layer. I think that was exactly also the words of Andrew.
As a member of IGF leadership panel, I’m also pleased to be part of the team that provides high-level input to Internet Governance and to be a strong voice of the IGF Messages around the world and IGF has exactly discussed Internet fragmentation because it is a fundamental issue, and we believe it is key in Internet Governance. While we see regulatory policy and commercial approaches will differ around the world, active coordination across international boundaries is vital to ensure that a fragmented approach does not threaten the global reach and interoperability of the Internet, so we need the integrity of global networks that require International Policy dialogue as we have today and continue discussion on basic principles.
We do connectivity at Etno business, for us, it is important connectivity is there, and to be connected is not only to be connected in order to have your businesses or public services, but it is also to be connected as a citizen and also to have the best infrastructure you have there today.
Connectivity in Europe, we see it as part of the basis of the twin digital and also green transition. If we look at it, connectivity doesn’t happen overnight, it needs the cooperation of governments, public funds, private sector, deployers of connectivity, all is essential to make sure of funding and infrastructural is going exactly to those places and communities that need it.
So if we look at Europe, it is important to have investors, and this is also important globally. Investors need to have certainty that they’re making a good investment and connectivity needs meaningful, that needs to be meaningful, cannot bring risks such as undue government interference, the risk of network shutdowns or top-down mandating of standards and protocols, and that’s also why we as etno support an open Internet and reject attempts to fragment the Internet, including using top-down protocols. This is bad for investment, but it is also bad for achieving universal connectivity.
I see times running very fast. I’m going to do a few shortcuts here I want to say that in IGF there was one important outcome, Internet fragmentation is not just something a happens in the physical layers of the Internet, it happens also in other layers, and I think network plays a crucial role and we need to protect and defend The Rights and user experience of the end users. We need to look into also what the content providers put in the Internet, and the -- for example, the video-based advertising and also how to have a proper functioning of the Internet.
We look at data volumes that keep grow, we need to make sure that this capacity increases is covered and we need to make sure that it is as efficient as possible. It is good for network economies, it has a positive impact on sustainability footprints, but also we need to remember that the Internet exists to create value for users, and it should be done in a responsible way so that anything on Internet openness, avoiding Internet fragmentation is not a simple question with a simple answer, and it is not one single party responsible for ensuring it. It is our collective responsibility to all of us.
I want to finish this by saying I think there is another very important aspect of keeping the Internet open and accessible and unfragmented and that’s why you’re here today. I think we need to avoid ton-down protocols, we need to maintain the strong multistakeholder model of Internet Governance. We need more than ever to collaborate and cooperate among the vary stakeholders involved, and we need the private sector, public, civil, and the governments and we have to avoid the level of Internet Governance – at the level of Internet Governance, that decisions are limited, for example, to intergovernmental processes alone.
I know I’m preaching to the choir here. I know you’re all convinced. It is important to stand up, defend this model, and I would like to call to action because Internet fragmentation, it is not new, it has been a threat for some time and indeed it is not a simple issue to define.
We need to continue to advocate for the trainings formative power of the Internet, the global cooperation for the education, societal, economic benefits which digital technologies brings.
We need to make sure to speak up against attempts to fragment the Internet wherever they may be. And let’s remember, that it is in the power of the many Internet players to take up their role in protecting the open Internet.
Fragmentation, just doesn’t happen overnight, it doesn’t happen as one part of the Internet, as one of the layers.
I do have faith that today’s multistakeholder bodies are the key to defending the Internet as we know it. The Internet as we develop it, as we preserve it, and as we use it more and more each day to the benefit of all.
Sorry for being a bit long. Thank you.
>> Nadia TJAHJA: Absolutely, it is important to have the keynote here today. Please do not apologize.