Next Generation Internet – The future of the Internet – Key 03 2017

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7 June 2017 | 09:00 - 09:30 | Grand Ballroom, Swissotel, Tallinn, Estonia
Programme overview 2017

Keynote: Next Generation Internet – The future of the Internet

9:00 - 9:20 – Next Generation Internet | video record
by Pearse O'Donohue, Acting Director for Future Networks, DG CONNECT, European Commission.

What the Internet of the future will look like? How to foster innovation and increase opportunities, while taking into account users' concerns? The European Commission has recently launched a new initiative "Next Generation Internet", aimed at addressing these crucial issues. Main outcomes of the ongoing initiative will be shortly presented in the key-note.

About the speaker: Pearse O’Donohue is the Acting Director for Future Networks and Head of Unit for Software and Services in Cloud Computing, European Commission (DG CONNECT). Until the end of October 2014, Pearse was Deputy Head of Cabinet of Vice-President Neelie Kroes. He was responsible for advising the Vice-President on the development and implementation of policy on electronic communications, networks and services, as well as broadband, spectrum and other related policies.

9:20 - 9:30 – The future of the Internet | video record
by Sally Shipman Wentworth, ISOC, Vice President of Global Policy Development


Provided by: Caption First, Inc., P.O. Box 3066, Monument, CO 80132, Phone: 1-877-825-5234, +001-719-481-9835,

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.

>> GERT AUVAART: So good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I'm glad to see you all back here at the Swissotel at the EuroDIG. I do hope that you enjoyed a pleasant day and an even more pleasant evening in the wonderful Tallinn, with weather from somewhere southern, not normal here. But I see from the somewhat empty seats, that the party must have been good at the 10th anniversary of EuroDIG. I hope that people will wake up shortly and come back as promised last night. Every one seemed to have a lot of energy last night. So let's see where that delivers us today.

But it's a real pleasure to continue. And while yesterday we had a lot of interesting discussions on very relevant topics going on right now, now we turn our eyes somewhat more to the future.

And without any further ado, it is my distinct pleasure to present you our first keynote speaker of the morning, Pearse O'Donohue from the European Commission from DG Connect to talk to you about the future of the Internet. Pearse, you have the floor.

>> PEARSE O'DONOHUE: Thank you very much. Good morning ladies and gentlemen. So, yes, the party must have been very good. I'm jealous I wasn't there. And I apologize for that. My loss. There was a very unfortunate clash of timing yesterday. In Brussels we had something called the Next Generation Internet Summit, which was an very important event. But it didn't really have to be yesterday. It certainly shouldn't have been the first day of EuroDIG. So I had to fly late last evening. But the fact that we have competing events going on shows just how important the future of the Internet governance and the future of the Internet are. And next-generation Internet, whick we are calling this activity, the future of the Internet, has become central to many organisations, but also to many of the policy lines that we are pursuing.

I think it's crucial that here in EuroDIG you recognize the role that you have and that the multistakeholder model has with regards to the issues which we're going to discuss hopefully today and beyond today. Because it is a clear sign, even from what was a supposedly high level event yesterday, that the most important and interesting thing from the next-generation Internet summit, where we had Vice Presidents and Presidents and ministers and ex-ministers is that they were all reliant the Internet stakeholders.

So the people who organised and launched that event yesterday launched an online consultation. We at the European Commission have already launched a consultation, which is an activity that we will be continuing. And we want to engage with numerous stakeholders in the Internet area in order to make sure that we get this right. Because already the indications from the consultations, they are actually quite worrying. It is easy to put the emphasis on the negative. But we do have to recognize the concerns that are expressed about certain issues surrounding the Internet today, so that we can actually address those. But more importantly, so that we can address those in a way that will not hamper the development of the Internet. That will not in any way stifle all the very positive socioeconomic good benefits that we know the Internet brings, but also is destined to bring in the future.

We have already indications that users, many, many users, one in two in Europe, limit their online activities because of concerns about trust or security. People limit their profiles. They limit their exposure to the various platforms, social and economic platforms, that exist. People have fears about inclusiveness, and there are also indications that those with a lower education profile are to a significant extent excluded from many of the benefits of the Internet, which can in itself become a vicious circle about social empowerment, education, and development.

So all of those issues, we can't blame the Internet and we're not going to allow others to do so. But we have to recognize that these issues exist and make sure that addressing them is a key central part to what we do in the future. Because otherwise, the digital divide will become a permanent reality, and will actually prevent the harnessing of the benefits of the Internet.

Already we have issues concerning digital skills, which of course also has implications for the jobs of the future. And, again, the way in which Europe's economies and societies can embrace the Internet and use it to its maximum effect.

Closer to my home, closer to the work that I do, that has a significant negative impact on trying to accomplish a number of policy goals that the European Commission has set for itself. Central to the work that we are doing at the moment is the digital single market. We launched a strategy two years ago, and just recently, in May, the Commission issued a midterm review. It looked at its own homework and said: How well are we doing? And of course we exposed ourselves to comment and suggestions from others. And while we are achieved it, the Commission has made a number of proposals. Nevertheless, it's clear that there is a lot to do. If we are actually to take some of the steps, some of the regulatory steps, but also some of the many non-regulatory steps that are required to ensure that, for example, the regulation of privacy, the protection of personal data, is embedded in the way that we do business, in the way that we regulate the Internet, in the way that we encourage Internet activity, but also so that online activities, e-commerce and others can flourish to the benefit of economy, while at the same time protecting the individual and ensuring that European values are preserved.

And it is really about that, something which was discussed yesterday, people were not afraid to say that we must talk about European values. We must differentiate. We must take a high level approach in order then to look in very practical terms what does that mean in the way that we engineer the Internet, in the way that we design regulation insofar as there is regulation. But we design a policy framework. But also the incentives that we give to people for inclusiveness, for education, et cetera.

But that inclusiveness, the distribution of power, solidarity, are all issues which could differentiate the way that we approach the Internet here in Europe, compared to other regions of the world. And, of course, we can engage with those other regions on the strength of that approach in order to help develop intel square.

For all of those reasons, and in line also with a lot of work that we have done in the past with regard to research into technology and innovation, the Commission has launched our Next-generation Internet initiative. That seeks to identify the areas of development, what work we need to do, but also to rebuild trust in the Internet in order, as I said, for it -- for us to be able to harness the positive elements for society and for economic development.

A key element to this next-generation Internet initiative -- and by the way we will give prizes to somebody who can come up with a better name, but let's not get focused on titles -- is that we want too make it human centric. We want to put the human, the individual, at the centre of the Internet. What does that mean? And again some questions were asked yesterday, but I think EuroDIG is really a place where we need to have that discussion.

Putting the human at the centre means that we already address what was one of the key findings from our consultations, from the consultations of REI search and from other surveys such as the Euro barometer in 2015, which showed us that people feel disconnected. We're certain that they feel out of control: Not in control of the technology, the services. They are serving some other purpose, they are serving some other process rather than Internet or these technologies serving them. I think a lot of you in your own way have come across the same findings in different ways.

So how do we put the human at the centre? When we associate that with a very strong data protection law that now exists in Europe, we can see already that if we put a safe barrier around an individual's data, give the individual the right to control and say who has or has not their data, who can process or cannot process the data, how much data do I wish to make available, and we make it easier for a unique electronic identity, controlled by the individual, to be that person's gateway, their way of entering into or interacting with different platforms, different services, different manifestations of the Internet.

So that is something with our general protection data protection regulation that we can now aspire to. This is one of the reasons why the Commission persisted with the e-Privacy Regulation, in order to make sure that the communications element of electronic communications was also protected, was also ensuring safety of individuals' data.

Now, I could emphasize more and more and speak for a long time about personal data protection, but there are other elements, such as, for example, the values which we espouse, which are clearly rooted in the European treaties, with regards to respect for others, with regards to development, using this tool for articulating and actually implementing development policy to help lesser developed societies and individuals.

And to do all of that, of course the bureaucrats in Brussels can do all of that on their own. Not. You know this. We know this. You have to have a very modest and realistic understanding of what are the limits to our ability to act, the role, the leverage which the multistakeholder organisations rooted in these values, but operating and relating to others across the world in the Internet ecosystem, the role that must be played by the multistakeholder model in order to actually give effect to this.

Whether it is at the engineering level and DNS SEC, something tangible and real, or whether it is in the way in which discussions about Internet governance take place at the International level, all of those things can only be done in the multistakeholder environment that has already been created, and where Governments or regulatory organisations like the Commission have some role, but actually relatively minor role to play.

Having said that, we must of course recognize the role of the Government in a positive sense. We must also anticipate the risks that some of the current challenges to the Internet, to the use of the Internet, actually, pose for the multistakeholder model. And actually also incorporate that into our thinking of the next-generation Internet.

If I take into idea the most recent scares about cybersecurity, nothing new but actually also, perhaps, more frequent certainly in the public eye. And, therefore, we must anticipate the reaction to that. Allies to the identification of the use of various Internet tools and platforms by terrorists, you have the perfect storm. You have a legitimate state in Government interest, which unless it's counterbalanced by different views might, in seeking to address those problems, those very serious issues which legitimately must be addressed, you have to have a counterbalance with regard to the freedoms and the different ways that one can, for example, address cybersecurity, whether it's the issue of encryption or whether it's the issue of maintaining the ability to maintain one's privacy while engaging online.

So we have to ensure that the technological evolution but also regulatory developments, particularly at the national level, at the level of Governments and the Governments together, reflect and are appropriately guided by the governance models that we wanted to put in place, but of course many of which are already in place.

The European Commission has engaged with you, the stakeholders. EuroDIG is our key partner in this. But I must ask and stress that we need you to move out of the comfort zone that perhaps we were all in for a few years with regard to certain issues, like IANAN and other issues, which are still important, which still have a reason, but where we must now move on to the more current challenges, and which may require an adaptation in the way that we work and discuss. But also that you engage fully and you seek to engage the partners that you work with at the local, at the regional, at the sector level, at different interest groups, so that they, too, are all engaged in this process. To make sure that the vision that we put forward for the next-generation Internet is indeed something that reflects our values, that does take account of different views, but also has a realistic and therefore good chance of actually working and so that the technology doesn't come to dominate us, and those who would seek to impose a state-only solution do not win out, either.

So there you are. That is the vision of the Commission with regard to next-generation Internet. We have a lot of work to do on the details. Again, we need your input. There will be consultations ongoing. We are starting off with work to do research and technology, but also to federate groups, to identify start ups, new groups that we have not previously had dialogues with. Again, your help is essential. So that over the next 18 months, in parallel with our work on research, we will actually have by 2019 an up and running next-generation initiative in the sense of an ongoing programme.

I want you to be part of that.

Thank you very much for listening to me.


>> GERT AUVAART: We will continue with the second speaker of the morning, Sally Wentworth from ISOC. You have the floor, Madam.


>> SALLY WENTWORTH: Good morning, everyone. Thanks for coming out for this conversation and thanks to Pearse. I think the presentations that you'll see from the Commission and from the Internet Society have a lot in common, and also I think a lot that we can learn and share from one another. So I appreciate that.

I know Internet Society, Kathy Brown was in Brussels yesterday for the event, so there is a lot of talk going on about the future. So this is I think a good moment. I think a number of us have reached the conclusion that, as you said, this is the time to look up, to look out, look into the future and think carefully about the kind of Internet that we want over the next five to ten years.

I was asked here to walk you through a project that the Internet Society has taken on, beginning last year in 2016, to think through many of the issues that Pearse raised as well about what are the things that are driving the future of the Internet? What are the values that we hold dear? And what are the things that we all collectively need to do to bring about the kind of future that we want?

And so we are reaching a point in this project where we're approaching some conclusions or at least a report that we can give to the community. And so I wanted to give you a bit of a preview in terms of some of the things that we're finding.

And so I have slides, which I suppose is unfortunate, but there we go. I think it's important, when we look at the future of the Internet, this is not about saying that we have a crystal ball, that we can predict the future. Particularly at the Internet Society, this is our 25th anniversary, I supposed to do the shameless plug, so there we go. We have some history as a community to draw on. We have some background in how the Internet developed. We have some ideas about what has made it successful. And I think as a community we can draw on that basis of information and look to the future and project into the future some of the things that we think are either concerning to us or the opportunities that we want to preserve.

So as I said, in 2016 we launched this effort, the Internet futures project at the Internet Society. And many organisations do things like scenario planning. It's a tool that is often used to get people in a room, to think big, to think differently, to think creatively about what the future might hold. And then make some decisions about how their organisation or company or Government might act in light of that.

We decided to turn that on its head a little bit at the Internet Society and do this effort as a global community. For those of you who are familiar with the Internet Society, we have chapters and members all over the world. We interact with people like yourselves in communities everywhere. And so we thought we would really take advantage of that to get input from our community over the course of the last 18 months on where -- what they believe are the things that are driving the future of the Internet. We did this with a number of roundtables, with interviews, with surveys. The surveys keeps going, so I think some of the numbers might be out of date. But the idea is that through all of this we have gotten a lot of interesting information from our community in terms of the things that, from where they sit in the ecosystem, whether it's a business person in Africa, or a Civil Society person in the United States, or an academic in India, what are the things that they believe are driving the future?

This will culminate in September in our Global Internet Report. And it will then be the basis of our annual meeting at the Internet Society, which will take place largely online as a meeting that goes around the globe in mid September.

So, as I said, the goal here is to understand the forces of change. What do we think will drive the future of the Internet? Get a global perspective on what that trajectory looks like. And then importantly, I think, try to be -- try to make some recommendations with a dose of humility. But make some recommendations on what we think different stakeholders, including the Internet Society, might do to shape that future that we want.

So this is what our community has come forward with. And I'll just walk you through this a little bit. Rather than doing just four scenarios about the future, which is often how this works. You get in a little quadrant and you plan about the future.

What we found in our community is that people are focused on about six different areas that they think are driving the future. And I'll just walk through these briefly. This notion -- and this is not going to be a surprise to many of you in this room -- how the Internet interacts with the physical world. The deployment of IoT that is ongoing now, that is only going to accelerate, that will have an impact on how the Internet rolls out.

Obviously the Internet economy. Consolidation or competition, can somebody start the next new big thing or will the big players kind of close out future opportunities for entrepreneurship?

The role of Government. I think it's clear that Government is playing a bigger and bigger role in the Internet. How that role takes shape, the kinds of interventions that Governments make in the marketplace, the reactions to security, the reactions to rights and freedoms, these are the sorts of things that are going to change the future of the Internet in the minds of our community.

Obviously things related to cyberthreats, we know that cyber crime, cyber attacks, cyber terrorism, cyber war, these are all things that are on the minds of many of us. We see it often. We know it's only going to accelerate. How these kinds of cyber attacks take hold, the ability of the community to address them is going to shape the future of the Internet.

Interestingly, issues related to artificial intelligence came up across the board. This was an area that people are really thinking about. They are not really sure how it's going to affect them. But they are very focused on this issue of artificial intelligence, and what it means for the future.

And then, finally, network standards and interoperability. Can the network itself and the standards organisations that support it evolve and change to meet the demands of the future? There is a real question about open standards will be accepted or whether we will see a move to proprietary networks. Whether there will be the right incentives to do things at the network layer that many of us don't look at every day, but that will allow the network to grow to scale.

So those six areas are interesting, I think. But what we found that was even more interesting is that the community was looking at the interactions between these drivers. They are not just saying that IoT is going to shape the future and that's it. But, rather, they're looking at what are the interactions between things like the deployment of IoT and how the marketplace unfolds. Or the role of Government in reaction to cyber threats.

But even more important than that, I think to us, is this group of issues that we call impact areas. The community is very focused on three main areas in terms of the future of the Internet. The first being the future of personal rights and freedoms. What is the implication of marketplace consolidation, or competition, on my ability to speak freely going forward? My ability to create the next big thing?

The evolution of the digital divide. We hear a lot that it's not going to be -- in the future, it's not going to be about who has access to technology and who doesn't. But I think this is something similar to what you said, is what will my ability be to do something with that access? Will I be able to benefit from the opportunities of the Internet? So it's not just about being online or offline, but do I have access to the benefits itself?

There is also something that we're starting to see in terms of the digital divide shaping around security. People who have the capacity or access to security technologies, or the ability to protect themselves, versus people who don't, and the divides that that might bring about.

And then finally the implications of all of this for media, culture and society. So again going back to these drivers, what does it mean? And I think this is a conversation that will happen in the next panel. But what is does the deployment of artificial intelligence mean for society? We hear a lot about the loss of human agency, the ability of people to make decisions for themselves. And what does that mean for society at large as you have the displacement of industries and disruption in the marketplace?

So these are things that people are interested in, but as I said, the thing I would emphasize that we are taking away from this is that none of these things act in isolation, but that there are interactions between them.

And I'll go quickly through the rest of this. The way we will shape the report is to try to take some quotes from the community, from the interviews, as well as some of the data from the surveys. And I think one here that we found that was particularly interesting was the idea that the economy is changing far faster than the rules that are governing it. The system that we have in place to regulate business is stuck in the 20th century notion of how the economy works.

So this idea that we -- do we have the policy tools to actually deal with the technology that is coming before us? And what do we have to do today to make that possible?

We do hear a lot of worry from our community about the role that regulation will play and whether regulation and the regulatory tools we have today are up to the task.

On artificial intelligence, this is a quote that I love. This is from one of the Internet hall of fame experts. "You have the uncertainty of what the inputs are, the magic of what the process is doing, and driving at that conclusions which are for our good, and that is a terrifying prospect, in my mind, because we have no idea of what is going on." This is from somebody who helped create the Internet from the earliest days, who is still thinking about the deployment of artificial intelligence and really wondering what does this mean for humanity?

So on the one hand, people see artificial intelligence as a huge opportunity space, a huge new direction, or some people would say we have been heading in this direction for many years. On the other hand, people don't understand how that is going to affect them as individual human beings.

And I won't go too much -- I'll stop here. As I said, we're going to be making some recommendations as a result of this. I think one of the conclusions that's interesting is in all of these drivers and in all of these impact areas, the thing that comes out over and over again is people are thinking about what is the role of Civil Society going forward? And they are not sure if Civil Society will still have a seat at the table. So I think we as a community have to be thinking very carefully to make sure that end-user voices, the voices of Civil Society, are still part of the model. And I know everybody is reticent to talk about the multistakeholder model, but people draw on that to ensure that they have a seat at the table, that they have a part in the discussion. So I think we need to be really focused on that.

So I will stop there. We hope that you will participate in all of this. I think there is a lot in common with what the Commission is doing. And I think Rinalia I'll hand it over to your group to continue the discussion.

Thank you.


>> GERT AUVAART: Thank you, Sally. Thank you.

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.