Internet fragmentation and digital sovereignty: implications for Europe – PL 04 2016

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10 June 2016 | 16:30-18:00
Programme overview 2016

Session teaser

This plenary session will discuss Internet Fragmentation from both a technical and jurisdictional point of view, and highlight implications for Europe.

Session description

This plenary will discuss what we mean by ‘Internet fragmentation’ and ‘digital sovereignty;’ what the social, political and economic costs of unintended fragmentation are; and what Europe should do to address this challenge.

Our traditional international system is based upon the notion of territorial sovereignty. Can we apply national jurisdiction on the Internet without re-aligning the cross-border network along geographic boundaries or extending jurisdiction extraterritoriality? Do we have the necessary legal tools and frameworks in place that a transnational Internet demands? In the European context, debates around Internet fragmentation and digital sovereignty increase in the context of the enforcement of the right to be de-indexed, privacy protection and data localization, as well as the Digital Single Market.


Internet Fragmentation, Digital Sovereignty, Technical Fragmentation, Jurisdiction, Standards, Unintended Consequences


Interactive panel discussion

Further reading

Jurisdiction on the Internet: From Legal Arms Race to Transnational Cooperation by Bertrand de La Chapelle and Paul Fehlinger

Internet Fragmentation: An Overview by William J. Drake, Vinton G. Cerf, and Wolfgang Kleinwächter. Geneva: The World Economic Forum, January 2016.


  • Focal Point: Paul Fehlinger, Internet & Jurisdiction Project, France
  • Key participants
  • Göran Marby, President and CEO, ICANN
  • John Frank, Vice President, EU Government Affairs, Microsoft
  • Roberto Viola, Director, DG Connect, European Commission
  • Elfa Ýr Gylfadóttir, Director, Icelandic Media Commission and Chair of the Council of Europe CDMSI
  • Marietje Schaake, Dutch Member of the European Parliament for D66/ALDE
  • Moderators: Paul Fehlinger, Co-Founder and Manager, Internet & Jurisdiction and Wolfgang Kleinwächter, Professor emeritus, Aarhus University
  • Remote moderator: The remote moderator is in charge of facilitating participation via digital channels such as WebEx and social medial (Twitter, facebook). Remote moderators monitor and moderate the social media channels and the participants via WebEX and forward questions to the session moderator.
  • Org team
  • Dennis Broeders
  • Bill Drake
  • Anja Gengo
  • Thomas Grob
  • Konstantinos Komaitis
  • Jovan Kurbalija
  • Milton Mueller
  • Louis Pouzin
  • Sorina Teleanu
  • Wolfgang Kleinwächter
  • Andrea Beccalli
  • Reporter: Anja Gengo, Fellow, Internet Governance Forum

Current discussion

See the discussion tab on the upper left side of this page.

Conference call. Schedules and minutes

  • dates for virtual meetings or coordination calls
  • short summary of calls or email exchange
  • be as open and transparent as possible in order to allow others to get involved and contact you
  • use the wiki not only as the place to publish results but also to summarize and publish the discussion process

Mailing list



  • All stakeholders have the responsibility toward the Internet and it is essential to work together, for the purposes of sustaining the future.
  • The mechanisms on how to apply the rule of law online in a more horizontal manner should be developed in line with the principles of openness and universality of human rights.
  • The stakeholders should aim for creating the digital single market without borders in order to overcome the fragmentation. More visions and ideas are needed.
  • There is a need for good regulations. Within European institutions, there are recognised good practices that are in line with the most important human rights principles.
  • Variations in laws, legal traditions, political systems and languages should not be perceived as fragmentation. The fragmentation should be discussed in a context of inability to connect end points.
  • The need to negotiate needs to be developed on all levels. Cooperative sovereignty is needed so that we meet important social values, in a democratic process.
  • We should work on models on how to extend trade to protect open Internet in line with connecting economic interests of nation states to an open Internet.

Video record

see the video record in our youtube channel


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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.

>> PAUL FEHLINGER: Hello, everybody, and welcome to our last Plenary Session of the EuroDIG. I hope you’re still full of energy. We’re going to have we’re going to have very interesting discussions about the big questions. Over the last two days I heard already the key words popping up several times: Fragmentation, digital sovereignty, jurisdiction, and all those questions we will discuss today in the session that is called: Internet fragmentation and digital sovereignty: Implications for Europe.

With me is my co moderator, Wolfgang Kleinwächter, who most of you know. He was a former Director of the Board of ICANN. He’s Professor Emeritus of the University of Aarhus and one of the authors of the report for the world economic Forum on Internet fragmentation.

>> WOLFGANG KLEINWÄCHTER: Okay, thank you, and welcome. This is Paul Fehlinger, my co moderator. He is with Internet & Jurisdiction, where they discuss and in detail the legal dimension of all the issues.

And we have decided to share our responsibilities here. We have divided the discussion into two blocks. In the first block, we want to figure out what is the understanding of fragmentation? And in the second block, what we can do to manage the, or minimize, the negative effects of fragmentation.

So the second part will be moderated by Paul. He is my co moderator in the first section. And he also want to organise the input from the floor, because we want to invite you already from the very early minute to go to the microphone and to make some intervention and comments if you think this is needed.

>> PAUL FEHLINGER: And I also have the microphone in the hand in order to take the D in EuroDIG very serious.

>> WOLFGANG KLEINWÄCHTER: Because after two days, we are not prepared for long speeches and long interventions so we want to do it as interactive as possible.

>> PAUL FEHLINGER: And before I introduce our very, very distinguished panelists, I want to very quickly thank the organisation team. We had amazing discussions over the past month about this issue and I hope we can have similar discussions and better discussions today here and I also want to thank Anja Gengo, who’s going to be the Reporter of the session, and the Remote Moderator, and welcome everybody who’s joining remotely.

With us today on the panel is Göran Marby, who’s the President and CEO of ICANN. We have Elfa Ýr Gylfadóttir, who’s the Director of the Icelandic Media Commission, and Chair of the Council of Europe Steering Committee on Media and Information Society. We have John Frank, who’s Vice President of EU Governmental Affairs at Microsoft.

Marietje Schaake, a member of the European Parliament for the liberals

>> And Roberto Viola.

>> PAUL FEHLINGER: And someone filling in for the reporter of DG CONNECT who will come in 10 minutes or so.

>> That’s why I’m sitting here, but he’s coming. Wolfgang, please.

>> WOLFGANG KLEINWÄCHTER: Thank you. By the way, Paul mentioned that three people, Bill Drake, Vint Cerf, and myself study for the World Economic Forum this January about Internet Fragmentation, the subtitle is “An Overview,” because it was when we started it was totally unclear what Internet fragmentation means. If you listen to many statements, this comes back again and again and again.

And what we have discovered in the process of preparing the study is there is really a broad range of different understands of fragmentation. This is different today from what it was 20 years ago. 20 years ago, fragmentation was also labeled Balkanization of the Internet because in the early 90s we had this war on the Balkans between different states and the fare 20 years ago that different networks will emerge and then fight each other.

I think this is water under the bridge. This has gone. This is not a problem anymore. Fragmentation today is different, and we discovered in our study that as a natural process, if you get a network with now 3 or nearly 4 billion users, that subsystems emerge which create a life of their own, and the question is: Is this good or is this bad? Is this very natural?

So we set and concluded that the intention is important in this process. If new subsystems emerge so we said it’s not good or bad. It depends from the concrete circumstances, and furthermore, we discovered also that there are three layers on fragmentation. We have a technical dimension. We have a business dimension. And we have a policy dimension. On the technical layer the question is ultimate roots, new root service or something like that. On the business dimension is walls, is this fragmentation on the political layer is National Internet segments. Is this fragmentation. So let me start with the first question to Göran. ICANN has the slogan: “One world. One Internet.” Is this in danger now so it means we’ll have two or three Internets in the future? That’s probably not two words but one world, how many Internets?

>> GÖRAN MARBY: Thank you very much for that simple question.

[ Laughter ]

How long time do I have to answer it? I think that the first question is really how many Internets do we actually have? Because the fantastic thing with the Internet is that it’s almost perfectly designed for human interaction, and the fantastic thing also is that we’re all a part of Internet. If we were all, God forbid, were for a second to close down all our computers and mobile phones, Internet would actually be smaller.

And for the first time ever, a technology which has been evolving so fast and I think one of the reasons why it has evolved so fast is because it is the only technology ever that human beings, people, not corporations, not organisations has created by using it.

Every minute, every second, every day there’s someone who sits at home and posts an ID and does something and posts the Internet and does something independently of Governments, corporations, anything and it’s really, it’s a fantastic technology with human interaction so maybe we’re all Internet.

And this capability, this enormous capability of human interaction, creating this thing together that we call Internet is something I think that’s extremely important to behold.

Looking at it going of course, now, people will start talking about how do we evolve this thing? How do we make it different? And there’s a balance between because we need to make it better. I’ve said a couple of times in the last couple of days that now when we enter the final phase of the transition, hopefully, we can have written the first chapter of book of Internet and now we’re going to write the rest of the book together and of course we have to develop, we have to change.

But we will we should make sure that we don’t miss this thing that people can get online, and by that creating Internet. And I think that that’s what we talk about really when we talk about in ICANN doing our part together with our partners, together with everybody else, who creates this thing called Internet, that is an essential thing to make sure that we can sustain in the future, as well.

So it’s more it’s not a technical we are in the technical part of it. We supply a service to the technical community but and together with all our partners I think that’s one of the most important things we can have.

>> WOLFGANG KLEINWÄCHTER: Thank you. Let me add one question. In 20 years ago, there was a debate about alternate routes, and we had different options and then say okay, this can be then connected or whatever. So more or less, the root as we have it today, the so called legacy root, is accepted as the root. Now some new proposals come up with the AT project to add additional roots. Do you see a risk that we will move again into a situation where we have competitive roots? Or is this because you are host of the root server Advisory Committee, and they have to deal with this, what is ICANN’s position with this new emerging discussion about YETI and friends?

>> GÖRAN MARBY: I don’t think I’d be surprised if I say it’s the system we have today with the essence that it’s not a bad system. Humbly enough, we know we need to talk about the evolvement of the Internet. We have a system now used by 3 billion users, and I think we’re going to go into this later, but these 3 billion users should be able to connect to each other, and if someone comes up another model, they have to copy the 3 billion users already there. And we have to think about this from a human perspective rather than a technical one. With that said, we have to figure out new ways to improve ourselves, and to have ICANN is really about supporting this.

>> WOLFGANG KLEINWÄCHTER: Thank you very much. Let’s move from the technical dimension to the economic dimension. John, what we see not only in big companies like Facebook, Google, Apple or whatever, that, say, build their own small kingdoms, they want to connect their customers in the best way, to serve their customers in the best way, and the result is so called walled gardens, and sometimes it’s very small doors and gates, though it’s difficult to go from one garden to another one.

So that means how do you see from a corporation like Microsoft this development, not only from your personal perspective as a Microsoft person but in a general way we have to debate on Facebook zero rating and on Apple and all this, just to give you your general evaluation of this.

>> JOHN FRANK: I think it’s an interesting question to think about the consequences. I don’t think any of the companies set out from a commercial point of view to fragment the Internet. And yet the question and the framing of fragmenting the Internet is I think quite useful to ask ourselves: Are there consequences from different commercial activities?

And from a purely commercial point of view we have customers and we want to serve them with the best things we can, and when you have a customer you’d like to think that you can choose the services that you’re best at providing them and in the end, the economic models in the Internet are varied but we all try to figure out how to do it profitably, as well.

And so you’re going to have different approaches and some people make their money on hardware. Others on advertising. Some people have a listen sing model and so there’s different competing platforms that serve people in different ways, and ultimately consumers do have a choice to which platform they want to spend their time on, and here in Brussels where we’ve been having a debate the last year about platform regulation, and should platforms how should platforms be regulated? Is there a need?

And I think there’s an intuitive sense that platforms do require some regulatory principles. Whether or not you can have a general regulation on platforms is another matter. Competition law principles clearly apply. And so I think it’s a good discussion about are there problems that aren’t met by competition rules? But as we refine the discussion we can get closer to that. Just to give one example of a topic is data portability so if I use Office 365 or XBOX, how do I take my data with me? It’s a perfectly legitimate question. We wouldn’t want to say well, everything you wrote on Office 365 in using Word, you don’t get that back, right? Clearly, you need to be able to get that information and yet there’s some other questions about it at a more detailed level at metadata and things that are just more difficult to work through.

But as a general principle, I think people want it, and I think it’s a perfectly fair thing, and just need to sort of work through whether it’s commercially or if the commercial process fails, you have to do it through regulation.

>> WOLFGANG KLEINWÄCHTER: Okay, let me also add here one question. This is related partly also to the question of standards, of open standards.

So that means we know from the past that standard wars are wars for market domination. Interoperability is a key issue so that means any comment on the question of standards, open standards, and interoperability among, you know, clouds for instance? This is a good issue here?

>> JOHN FRANK: It’s important to, you know it is important to have open standards, and I think generally, it’s defining where is there market failure where a standard isn’t working or they’re not being adopted. But in the abstract, I think everybody in the industry at this point, there’s broad consensus on open standards.

>> WOLFGANG KLEINWÄCHTER: Okay, so let’s move to the policy dimension. So that means we have the concept of some countries which are not here in the room like China which says okay, we have to have cybersovereignty as key principle, National Internet segments is another language which is used in certain intergovernmental regulations. That means we have global Internet and National segments because jurisdiction is still based on National law.

In the second part we will go deep into this but in this first round I want just to ask Elfa, because she is member in a Committee in Iceland, which deals also with the media, and National culture is an important element so that while this is not basically the Internet but now culture is distributed to a high degree by the Internet and do you see any conflict here between protection of National culture and then the globalized Internet?

>> ELFA ÝR GYLFADÓTTIR: , yes, absolutely. I think I want to start a little bit because the Steering Committee on media and information society and the Council of Europe we used to be just dealing with traditional media but now it’s impossible to talk about media without talking about the Internet, obviously.

So I think the reason why the Council of Europe and the Steering Committee get into this business if you can say that like is we started to see trends, commercial, technical and Governmental fragmentation. I mean, we had countries who were cut off, Member States who were cut off, literally from the Internet, you know, all sorts of things started to come up, and that is also the reason why the Council of Europe is now exercising these standard setting on information society, setting out these rules that we all agree on, looking at different aspects from a human rights perspective.

But having said that, we are also still dealing with traditional media, which is the other part that we are doing. And traditional media is a very linked to the jurisdictions of these 47 Member States. So the globalization that we want to see, we don’t want to have a fragmented Internet and so forth, but still, the Internet and the globalization is impacting the individual jurisdiction.

Just to name an example of this dilemma that we are in, is that in the Nordic states for example, about 20% of the advertising revenues of the media, total advertising revenues, are going to the big companies in the U.S., so we also have a positive obligations, as nation states within the Council of Europe, to provide for pluralism, for diversity, and so forth, but how are we then going to do that when we don’t have business models for the media anymore?

So this is kind of the conflict that we are seeing. So I think that there was an Article in “The New York Times” just a week ago discussing cultural issues and whether linguistic and cultural issues, you know, is fragmentation. And I think for in a certain degree, it can be fragmentation. But you have to apply, of course, the fundamental principles in this aspect, not fragmenting the Internet, but then at the same time, you have maybe to find some schemes or funds or something like that to provide for this cultural diversity and language and so forth that we all want to have in the different European states.

>> WOLFGANG KLEINWÄCHTER: So you said, how to do it and you just made the proposal which is a good mixture. So is the risk that we move out protectionism? In Europe we discuss also now quota for Netflix and things like that so is how to settle this dilemma. You called it a dilemma.

>> ELFA ÝR GYLFADÓTTIR: Yeah, well, it’s always there’s so much easier to just talk about the problems and not the solutions. I think that’s what we’re handling here.

But, yes, I think there are I think if we just look at for example, we were just earlier this year, there was a recommendation on the freedom of the Internet that was in the Council of Europe, and there are some indicators there talking about freedom of expression, legality, and proportionality of restrictions, personal Data Protection, surveillance and so forth and we’re asking the Member States, or they are actually telling themselves that they want to ask themselves to look into this regularly to see, are we actually doing this?

So when we dealing with these National issues, with language and culture and so forth, I mean, we also have to take these parameters that we have set in our standard setting and see, are we actually doing it? Or are we going too far in a certain direction?

>> WOLFGANG KLEINWÄCHTER: Okay, thank you. By the way, if you want to comment from the floor, please, this is an open invitation. Go to the microphone or give a signal and you can make a comment.

In the meantime

>> PAUL FEHLINGER: I think there’s a first intervention already.

Let me come to you.

Please present yourself.

>> I’m from the Computer & Communications Industry Association. What we’re seeing globally is a worrisome trend towards forced in states and this is on the rise globally. What we heard yesterday was Commissioner Oettinger was announcing that there will be a proposal to ban unjustified data by new Member States. I have a question for the panel whether you think this is a chance for Europe to show leadership.

>> WOLFGANG KLEINWÄCHTER: I think this is a got question to pose to Marietje and Megan. Marietje, Iceland is not a member of the European Union but but more or less, you are in the same position in the European Parliament with the same questions although you know the mixture between National culture and the global Internet. What would be your

>> MARIETJE SCHAAKE: Definitely, so thank you, first of all, for including me. Thank you for the excellent paper that you wrote, which I think sets out the framework for this discussion very well. And I think the interaction between the different layers of fragmentation, territorial, commercial, and technical are actually most interesting.

So if we come back to this notion of Balkanized Internet that I think is still used sometimes, or maybe I’m getting old, but I don’t think it was only used 20 years ago, I think it is clear that the territorial fragmentation is most known, or most analyzed, at least, in policy circles.

And this also relates to forced data localization and questions of territorial based application of the law, which is on itself a normal starting point for states, but the question is what it leads to.

So when we look at forced data localization, I think indeed ending it or banning it would be a great opportunity for Europe to show global leadership but it’s a bit surprising that on the one hand, we are quite disturbed about forced data localization while forced content localization is still something we have to change because frankly the portability of content is not yet guaranteed, so the whole promise of the digital single market as such, a space where you can travel with the free flow of goods online is not yet delivered.

But I also think there’s a lot of interesting questions if we look more at sort of horizontal fragmentation, if we can call it that, whereas you can look at vertical fragmentation of countries next to each other trying to apply the law very strictly to their citizens, to their territory even if it pertains to the Internet for example the Islamic Republic of Iran which has isolated its Internet which is now de facto an intranet. You cannot speak of the Internet anymore. It’s probably the most rigid form of control.

But another development of applying the rule of law online which I think is really related to this discussion of fragmentation, is that where there are no laws, not in countries, not internationally, we see companies de facto setting new norms across borders, and so this, in my analysis of the complexity of this problem, creates another kind of fragmentation where beyond and above nation states, certain norms apply.

And so it’s important I think to look at this as a layered challenge, where the question mate not be so much about nation state versus hyperconnectivity, but more about models of being open or closed, because the same goes for commercial players. The same goes for companies.

And the question of sovereignty as such doesn’t I think only apply to nation states, which is the traditional way in which sovereignty is often used but I would like to think of sovereignty is applying to the individual, and his or her universal human rights.

And so the way in which we look at this discussion I think risks becoming a bit self serving, because in fora like this, we may easily assume that we agree on the values that we would like to see spread globally, the values underpinning the norms or the laws or the models on which the open Internet is built. But I don’t think that’s the case. I think the question is really: From what point of view do we look at it, whether it’s territoriality or extraterritoriality?

So it’s a much more political discussion I believe than we sometimes acknowledge, because, for example, if you look at territoriality from our European point of view right now, we may think it’s hindering the open Internet. We would be happy if there would be much more Global Connectivity, no need to see territorial borders hinder the Internet use, even for people in countries that do have very centralized authoritarian even dictatorial Governments. We see it from our point of view as an opportunity to allow through VPNs or other ways citizens in other countries, Internet users in other places in the world to get on the open Internet. Despite the law. Victory, we can go around these restrictive laws. People can use the open Internet. A lot of people see this as an opportunity. But the reverse could lead to a different deliberation.

So let’s say the majority of forces, whether it’s states or companies, would actually seek a closed system and would want, through extraterritorial application, want to impact European Internet users, want to restrict the openness of the Internet, of our values, of our societies, et cetera, then we suddenly may think: Oh, well, we have to protect our people from this kind of extraterritorial influence.

So what I’m trying to say is beyond the sort of traditional vertical territorial question of sovereignty, of Internet Governance, the horizontal application of laws is becoming much more interesting, and I think the question is, what direction do we move when there is a new development? Is it towards more openness? Or towards more closedness? And how do we apply the rule of law online and in a more horizontal manner? He’s are new questions to a large extent, not entirely new because in the form of trade or the law of armed conflict, or universality of human rights, we have some experience with seeking more horizontal application of agreements across territories, but more than anything, the Internet has highlighted the need for applying the rule of law and if you ask me hopefully on the basis of universality of human rights horizontally and that’s probably the main challenge.

>> WOLFGANG KLEINWÄCHTER: By the way, I want to welcome Roberto now. He’s on the panel. But Marietje, a concrete second question: What is your personal golden balance between the vertical and horizontal approach? Is the answer on a case by case basis? Or do we have a general rule how to balance these conflicting values between territoriality, sovereignty and universal values which are borderless?

>> MARIETJE SCHAAKE: Well, I think in an ideal world, there would be agreement between commercial actors, individual states, about the importance of the universality of human rights and everybody would see the open interns, access to information, new ways to express oneself, new ways to connect only as an opportunity. But we don’t live in the ideal world.

So the question is, of course, case by case. I mean, I think we should aspire to keep the Internet open, and its users free and safe. And that is a big enough challenge as it is. But of course, questions about net neutrality are different from questions about fighting crime, or questions about copyright reform are different from questions about norms of armed conflict related to digital arms. Right?

So I think we have to look at it case by case, but it helps if you have a view of a broad set of values within which you would like to see the open Internet evolve. And my starting point, I’ve tried to make clear. I believe in openness. I believe in universality of human rights, but the challenges are quite significant, and I just wanted to point out that we should not take our starting point for granted, because we are not the majority at the moment globally.

And this awareness might help us strategize vis a vis those who we have to influence, or the way in which we approach this, because if we think that extraterritorial application of our laws is normal then we may be faced with others who will do the same to us one day. And I think that therefore, the rule of law and having a rules based approach that is clear, that is transparent, that is accountable, and that is applicable also in a predictable manner would be very important. But we are far from that but those are the questions that we have to answer.

>> WOLFGANG KLEINWÄCHTER: Okay, thank you very much. Just a very brief comment. When you said okay, in an ideal world, we could have agreement between corporations and Government, I would at also: The Civil Society or the user community.

>> MARIETJE SCHAAKE: Absolutely, I’m so sorry.

>> WOLFGANG KLEINWÄCHTER: That’s a flash session from the Economic Forum. He wants to change the terminology from public private partnership into public private civic collaboration, and I think this is really important for the Internet. It’s really my personal view, and I think we touch this also in the study that this stakeholder model has to be broken down case by case to all the various issues we have questioned now.

>> MARIETJE SCHAAKE: So also very brief response. I’m so sorry, I may have taken that for granted too much, but explicitly now absolutely should be inclusive and should serve the public interest, which is sort of my 24/7 occupation so I sometimes forget to make that explicit but let’s also be a little more critical about this multistakeholder model. Let’s define a little more what we mean. I think it’s fair to say that people whether they’re in Government, whether they are states, whether they are companies, with bigger power, whether it’s market power, governance power, authority, should also take bigger responsibility.

If somebody’s at the table, but they have absolutely no influence over outcomes, then you have the multistakeholder process but it leads to a top down results, so I think we have of course be inclusive to start with but also be a bit critical and be careful that this multistakeholder process doesn’t become a meaningless word that can also be abused by those who think, oh, great, we had everybody at the table but we know we’re still making the decisions anyway.

>> WOLFGANG KLEINWÄCHTER: Thank you for this critical intervention. The audience is on your side.

[ Applause ]

Before we go to the audience, Roberto, as a latecomer to finish the first round, the discussion we have here is now about the political dimension of fragmentation. And some people have argued that the decisions by the European courts now, we have a number of decisions, which create specific obligations for the Member States of the European Union, can be seen also as a contribution to a more fragmented Internet. Do you have any comment on this argument?

>> ROBERTO VIOLA: Thank you. First of all, my really deep apologies to you, the Fellow panelists and to you for the delay. I have some influence on the electronic regulation media, but not on the traffic. So I’m very sorry. I mean, I was completely blocked in Brussels traffic.

I think Internet is one of the most important gifts that mankind has recently had, and I think that in a sort of rational behavior by the nation states, by the stakeholders, but us, the only way to keep this Gift a real one is to keep it open.

So in a sort of game theory type of approach, you would easily conclude that there’s no other alternative game for everyone in the world, but just to keep it open. So I remain optimistic about the future of the Internet, because at the end of the day, it’s a little bit like the international rules for things like creation or other parts of the human life, that change our life. At the end of the day for everyone the incentive is to cooperate so my impression is that still we are in the right direction, the positive direction, and in spite of all the problems, the general view remains very concentrated and this is what we’re discussing is the proof of this, that we are all very committed to this.

But of course, the incentives not to cooperate by certain forces, by certain states, by certain private corporations, are also very high. This is again the mankind so we have to remain vigilant, and we have to set examples. And so I’m slowly coming to the answer, don’t worry.

So in this respect, I believe that Europe is contributed to set an example in terms of subscribing to the open and well preserved concept of Internet functions. First of all of course we are a varied group of citizens with different ideas, but I mean, some of the fundamental values in Europe are in place which I think are the DNA of the open Internet.

To start with, the, everyone in Europe subscribes to freedom of expression, freedom of speech. Of course, we do have our Internet problems but these are fundamental values of the Union.

Secondly, with a lot of struggle, with a lot of pain, still in its implementation, it’s the only large area of the world which has a legislation on net neutrality. In other cases, there could be a Court decision overthrowing the work that’s been done or maybe another administration. In Europe, it will not change so easily. It’s rooted now in the DNA of Europe.

Third, we know a concept which is called universal service. This again another DNA of Europe, so having the possibility for every citizen to have access to Internet, so the concept of accessibility is part of our DNA.

Fourth, the fact that basically we are now fighting everyone in Europe is fighting for a digital single market so all the European institutions, the Parliament, the Council, the Commission, is committed to create this single market without borders, is again exactly the opposite of fragmentation.

And after the summer, we will present our proposal for free flow of data, so again, in the area of open exchange, of course, we do have our concern about competitions of industry, different stakeholders having different ideas, copyright was mentioned, but this is in with a very solid vision of openness of the Internet. The court, it’s important, it’s the scrutiny of the laws in Europe, and have said very important things about freedom of speech, about freedom of providers on the net. For instance the Court has intervened on the safe harbor principle, one or the other very important principle to have a well functioning Internet ecosystem.

So I normally let’s say it’s like the result in a football game. You might be not happy or whatever so it’s the result so I tend not to comment what the Court is saying, because it’s basically judging on what is existing. Of course, our task, as European Commission, proposing European legislation have the task of the European institutions deciding on legislation is to make sure that these founding values of openness, of going in the right direction which I believe as I’ve said is the only direction, are kept.

And I think in this Europe responds well. The point is how to make sure that this is the sort of the DNA when we discuss of Internet about the rest of the world. Of course, this is no different from any other human activities where the like minded have to do something, and we hope to be many to have the same values and in this, that’s the relevance of the multistakeholder community. That’s very important.

So to me, all the good intentions, also all of the right ingredients to keep the Internet open are in place. But, of course, at the same time, I mean, all the tendencies to do the reverse are also in place, so we should fight for maintaining the Internet open, which also denounced every time we see tendencies going in another direction, and that’s again and again also the value of the multistakeholder community, being also the wisdom and being supporting the public authorities, I hope to go in the right direction.

>> WOLFGANG KLEINWÄCHTER: Thank you very much. I think we got now a good overview about the understanding of fragmentation. Second part is now what to do.

So I hand over to Paul and in the meantime, it’s up to Marco to ask a very good provocative question.

>> PAUL FEHLINGER: If we think about what we do for fragmentation, I want you for just one second to close your eyes and I will just mention a few things, events, that happened since the last EuroDIG. The right to be the index clash between the French data protection authority and Google. The case with Microsoft involving the U.S. Government and Irish servers, privacy issue. The hate speech Code of Conduct.

I think what all those cases, if you think about them, have in common is that they’re sort of a symptom of a much bigger systemic challenge and you all already pointed towards this. If we talk about digital sovereignty on the Internet it’s basically digital sovereignty in action is how do our National jurisdictions apply in cyberspace?

And our traditional international system is based upon the notion of territoriality and borders. And this we struggled basically to adapt this to the digital realities of the 21st century. Most online interactions nowadays involve simultaneously multiple jurisdictions at once and they can conflict or overlap. We have the location of users. We have the location of Internet companies, their local offices. We have locations of the servers, the registrars, the registries, and they can all be in different jurisdictions.

So the challenge, I think, that we are facing is how we apply National jurisdictions without and this is I think when we discuss about fragmentation and what I got from your comments is, yes, we want, and there’s one comment that we’re still waiting for we don’t want to realign the cross border Internet along our boundaries just to so that our traditional truths can cope with it but at the same time, what can we do about it?

And I want to give the floor to Marco because he had a comment and then I would like to go back to the panel. Please, Marco.

>> MARCO: Thank you. Hello, Marco. I’m bridging two worlds. Wolfgang’s opening where he said there’s multiple meanings of fragmentation. I’m a very technical guy so taking a really technical perspective, the Internet is a network of networks it’s fragmented by default. It’s a loose conglomeration of 60,000 odd networks. It’s hundreds of thousands of different applications. It’s millions of companies. Yes, as Göran rightly said, we talk about one Internet, and that’s because the whole system is designed to circumvent fragmentation.

From the bottom up at the network level, if you fragment it, if you cut the cable, the system will route around it. The only purpose designed for is to get the message to the destination no matter what.

Jumping all the way up the stack into applications, why do these things work together in jumping through the economic level? Interoperability brings mutual benefit. That’s where your added value is, even from a walled garden perspective. The value of a walled garden is that I can charge people access for that walled garden so yet the added value of my walled garden comes from the connection to the outside.

Coming to that then if you have this system that is so built against fragmentation, then could you have a viable model, that’s what I would love to hear from the panelists, is do you really believe there is a viable model based on fragmentation? Because from a political perspective and from a high level yes, you can choose to exist in a vacuum but remember in space, no one will hear you scream. Thank you.

>> PAUL FEHLINGER: I think interoperability is a very, very important word and I would like to go to Göran. Göran, can you tell us more about the sort of technical interoperability that makes the Internet be actually a global network? If I might add a second question.

>> GÖRAN MARBY: You want a technical description?

>> PAUL FEHLINGER: From a technical point of view and what do you think we have or is there a chance for us to have the legal equivalent to this sort of interoperability?

>> GÖRAN MARBY: Actually I’d like to jump on what the previous speaker said. Maybe there’s a fourth alternative when it comes to fragmentation. When you combine the technical and the commercial part. I don’t know if anyone heard about things like 5G which is a marketing discussion very much but if you have seen some of the proposed specs it’s a combination of technical and business, where the intention from some people some organisations is to reverse termination of traffic so this is technical where today there is no termination. Flows around.

In some of the specifications with 5G it’s built for that you terminate all the traffic into the mobile network, and that takes away a part of interoperability because if you have low competition in the mobile space, and there’s only one supplier, for instance, and they control through 5G technology the access for the mobile for end users and that traffic is kind of contained in the mobile space, in the 5G space, and that’s where you’re going to be and then you can actually end up having if you want to be on that network, if you want to supply a service, if you’re Facebook or Microsoft or anyone else you have to pay to get into that network so that is kind of an alternative to the free ones where you combine business and technical.

Interoperability, the way we do things, when we kind of talk about open Internet it’s about open between routers and I think that we have to think about that and the answer to this is very much in the standardization. And the problem is that we come from two separate worlds. We come from the Internet worlds and you have the operators who come from the kind of ITU world and I think we have to be careful so we don’t end up building silos for standardization. The standardization will be important. Coming back to what I originally said this is about technology where people get online and can do what they want to do, as long as it’s legal.

It’s very important we keep that notion of it so we don’t being naive think this new technology could provide us something because we can actually if we don’t have competition, if we have standards that locks people in then we’re really fragmented, it’s a combination of technical and business.

>> PAUL FEHLINGER: Very interesting. You mentioned the notion of silos that can be produced by standards. Can you elaborate a tiny bit on this?

>> GÖRAN MARBY: There is, I can give an example which I think is kind of interesting. We all use telephones, and then we use something else like voiceover IP. The difference is the telephone number. There are more and more service providers now, there’s a couple in Europe where you can use your telephone number to call for your wi fi network so you take your telephone call from the ordinary Telecom network into the IP world but you’re still using the telephone number and that is possible because of interoperability. It’s because of the easiness to connect to those networks and that I think is very positive for the end user. It takes down the price of the call. Takes down the transport costs and you can improve the quality and you can be reached. You don’t have to have, one of the beauties with the telephone number is you can actually have that and be connected wherever you are.

If you now kind of contain that traffic in a special network and if you say, for instance, voice over LTE, which is basically IP technology yes I’m nerdy will just be contained in one layer, that’s just one service, so you kind of produced a service through standardization if it only goes through one type of network and you don’t provide the end users the opportunity to have that kind of technology from someone else because there is no competition there, then I think there is a real threat for us not having the ability to do what we want. So access as Roberto talked about is very, very important.

>> PAUL FEHLINGER: Very interesting. I want to ask one question to Elfa because you’re wearing multiple hats. At the one hand you’re the Chair of the CDMSI and there are important recommendations with regards to the cross border data flow and Internet freedom and currently you’re working on new recommendations for online intermediaries. But you’re also a representative and a regulator and a small country. From the perspective of Iceland, how do you perceive the challenge of jurisdiction on the Internet? And the challenge of fragmentation basically?

>> ELFA ÝR GYLFADÓTTIR: Yes, this is a challenging question, as well. First of all, I think that we need to keep in mind that if you are living in a small country, there is just no way that all the platforms that the people who are living in this country want to use are going to get into that jurisdiction.

So for example I don’t see a future of being able to buy anything from iStore without having an American address put on my Visa card, and a VPN connection. And this is the reality of very many Icelanders. So from that perspective, a digital single market for example, since we are in the EEA, we would then hope to be connected into the single market, that will be a very big step forward because then probably we would have a model where all the jurisdictions would be included. However, having said that, having the other hat which is the traditional media regulator, also which is my day to day job, I would have also several questions with that when it comes to for example audio visual services. So for example, how can an audio visual service provider in a very small country buy content for a big market? Are we going to sell this content on a language basis if we don’t have any territory anymore?

I mean, how are we going to deal with these questions?

So I mean, so we can have a solution maybe to one problem, but then I think we will also be creating maybe others.

>> PAUL FEHLINGER: Tatiana, there was a question for you. Do you want to

>> I wouldn’t call it a question, rather a comment because I have difficulties with considering these two sides of the debate, when we’re talking about fragmentation of the Internet, political fragmentation, technical fragmentation, we are talking about something that used to be one, and then it gets fragmented. When we are talking about legal fragmentation, let’s be honest, I’m a lawyer, I have been dealing with this for 15 years already.

The law is fragmented, especially in the cases which you are talking about like criminal law. This is the highest degree of Governmental intervention. Governments are not easily giving these away. And when they’re talking about legal fragmentation, I see rather different trend of trying to bring these regimes together and make them cooperate and transborder and so on so yes fragmentation exists. I’m sorry, it will exist. Let’s leave it at this. And the question is not how to solve the fragmentation in terms of law, because sometimes we do have law look at the European Treaty on mutual legal assistance. There is a provision on direct transmission, it exists for 16 years but it never works.

So sometimes it’s not the question of law legal provision. It’s a question of how the law operates and the operational side of all this but my comments was basically that we’re trying to bring together these two different issues and square the circle, while I rather see that in technical and political domain we see fragmentation, in jurisdictional domain we see rather movement from fragmentation towards some cooperation.

>> I would like to take a few more questions. You were waiting over there. Please introduce yourself.

>> Yeah. My name is Farzaneh Badii. I have a comment and assertion that Iran has complete sovereignty over the Internet and has actually blocked its user to the global Internet which is not true. We have been saying talking about Halal Internet for the past 5, 6 years and it has never happened and no one discusses with the Iranian Government to see what the plan is. These are just kind of I would call it paranoia at the moment at this stage. And I think this assertion is dangerous for the good actors in the Government who are actually trying not to assert complete sovereignty over the Iranian Internet and make it open and also ignoring the kind of Civil Society that exist in Iran and the activists. Thank you.

>> PAUL FEHLINGER: Thank you very much. I want to take two more questions and then go back to the panel. How many people are currently following remotely and what is happening on Twitter? If we could get an update from our remote participants, please.

>> We have a question from remote participant affiliated with the University of Amsterdam, the question is for Marietje Schaake, rob earth and John Frank. To what extend should data laws be regulated by trade agreements? What do you think, would this be a way to avoid fragmentation of the Internet?

And the second question from the same person, for Robert Viola especially: Will the free flow of data initiative have an international dimension?

And on Twitter, we mostly have comments. If you’re interested I may summarize some of them.

>> PAUL FEHLINGER: Yes, please.

>> So first of all, why is fragmentation is equated to Balkanization? And some discussion related the usage of the tern Balkanization. Don’t you think that this term is too soft? And shouldn’t we generate some new term and some comments are related to like the Internet does not belong to big companies and if powerful groups decide, then having consensus at table doesn’t mean, this doesn’t mean you have inclusive Internet, if powerful groups are the are those who decide. These are the comments.

>> PAUL FEHLINGER: Thank you for the summary. Keep those questions in mind. We’ll come back to you after the last comment. Bill, please introduce yourself.

>> BILL DRAKE: Hi. I’m Bill Drake from the University of Zurich, and was one of the authors of the fragmentation paper that was referred to previously.

I just wanted to say something about the concept of fragmentation, because I think the ways in which we’ve been discussing it here have been sometimes a little bit expansive, at least from my standpoint. I tend to think of fragmentation as something that basically leads to the inability to transfer bits successfully between two end points. So things that break the ability of people to access, disseminate and distribute information on an end to end basis between the end points that want to communicate, whether it’s commercial, political, or other factors that are doing this, that to me is fragmentation.

What I don’t think of as fragmentation and this goes to something Paul was alluding to and I think also Tatiana’s comment is simply the existence of variation in the world, variation in political systems, variation in laws, variation in languages.

I’ve often heard people talk about Internationalized Domain Names as representing fragmentation of the Internet. I don’t think it represents fragmentation. I think it represents the fact that the world’s a big place, and lots of people speak lots of different languages and that’s okay.

So I’m not that concerned there may well be problems that come from issues where countries have different types of legal traditions and there’s questions of jurisdiction, and those have to be resolved, but let’s not call things fragmentation that are not fragmentation. If we start to do that, then the term stops being useful. It becomes a very expansive kind of Rorschach test on which anybody can project their hopes, dreams and visions and strategically deploy the language to serve their local interests.

The reason we tried in this paper that Wolfgang was involved in as well to lay out some baseline for talking about this was, in fact, to try to treat a lot of these different discussions of fragmentation equally and say, okay, look, these are things people are talking about. Which of these do people think are merit further conversation? So it’s a table setting but it was not an effort to say all the problems of the world, everything in the Internet that we don’t like should be labeled fragmentation.

Fragmentation is a specific sort of thing, I would think. It’s reduced interoperability, it’s reduced ability to connect to end points. It’s the creation of spaces on the Internet where people that are blocked off, segmented, broken, don’t allow people to move back and forth, and it’s certainly not Balkanization. We specifically reject that term for all kinds of reasons.

>> PAUL FEHLINGER: Thank you very much. There are two more people who are waiting, but I want to give the panelists a bit of the possibility to direct to this.

And John, there was a question that was directed to you. As a big corporation like Microsoft you operate in many, many markets all around the world. First of all, how do you perceive the challenge of jurisdiction on a daily basis?

And, second, there was also the direct question addressed to you: Do you think the trade agreements are a solution in order to avoid unwanted fragmentation?

>> JOHN FRANK: Being present in so many countries is, you get a unique perspective, and this conference is people focused on the Internet. I get invited to other conferences, sometimes a courtroom, by people focused on law enforcement. And that’s their starting point.

And I don’t there’s any more important function for Government than keeping its people safe and secure, and the people in this dedicating their careers to this are, I have the highest respect for them, but we don’t always agree, and National sovereignty is often asserted saying: You need to give me this because it’s my National sovereignty. And nations just an observation they’re better at expressing their wants and needs about their sovereignty as opposed to recognizing when they’re perhaps infringing on another country’s sovereignty.

And we do have to get to a place where we can have a cooperative sovereignty around these issues to meet important social values but also to do it in ways I think we can all feel good about.

An example I want to bring is in the Federal court in New York issued a search warrant and we went back to the Department of Justice and said it’s for an email account that’s stored in our Dublin data center and they said, we don’t care. And we said, but the statute you’re operating under doesn’t give you extraterritorial powers so we ended up in a litigation and we’re now waiting for the Court of Appeals and then this case will probably go to the Supreme Court.

But there’s an important distinction about, where does territoriality sort of begin and end? And the case isn’t going to solve that. It needs to be a cooperative sovereignty, and the Member States of the European Union all cooperate in their sovereignty in certain areas.

And for law enforcement to work, they have legitimate needs but they can’t do it unilaterally. They need to negotiate whether it’s treaties or something, so that, you know, we can work some of these out. But it’s important that it not just be Government to Government, and not just companies involved. It is really important to have Civil Society there, because we get pulled into these discussions and say we want greater cooperation from industry. It’s like to us, that’s not open, and it’s not a clear standard. We want a law. We want something that users can know what we’re doing.

And so it’s important that Civil Society and we can to some extent be surrogates for our customers but we can’t do it adequately and ultimately the Democratic process. As people are elected who will make these trade offs. That’s why we have a Democratic process.

We’re happy to participate in the discussion on these issues and work them out, but people have to understand not only their needs but also understand their sovereignty needs may infringe on others and ultimately a cooperative sovereignty on these issues is important.

>> PAUL FEHLINGER: This is a very interesting notion, cooperative sovereignty. And Roberto Viola was mentioning the term prisoners dilemma and zero sum game in the beginning, and it makes me think of if we observe what’s currently happening on the Internet and with the assertion of National laws, there’s almost something going on like a legal arms race that Governments try to install, enforce their National jurisdiction in cyberspace and this can have unintended consequences. Solutions might look very well and very legitimate in the short term but if we talk about the Internet as one Internet and fragmentation, solutions that might look very good in the short term might have unintended long term effects.

Cooperative sovereignty, Marietje, how could this look like how can we achieve cooperative sovereignty? And the under title of this session is implications for Europe, so what can Europe do to help achieve this?

>> MARIETJE SCHAAKE: Maybe if I can come back to your notion that states are involved in a legal arms race, I think I question that assumption. I think more than a legal arms race, we see that the speed of technological developments is so much faster than the speed of at least Democratic decision making that there’s actually an increasing vacuum between the reality of the hyperconnected online space and laws, whether in a territory or multilateral space. So I think the vacuum is something we’re trying to address in our discussions, and as a result you see companies being the de facto sovereigns, I think, to a large extent. You see courts stepping in and making decisions on the basis of existing laws.

And so on the one hand of course Europe is in a unique position to transcend the National level because that is what the whole European cooperation is based on. But I think we need more leadership even though the digital single market is not the worst of the policy areas in how it’s faring but we need much more ambition, much more vision and much more pace because we’ve been talking about the digital single market for 5, 10 years and we’re not near completing it so we’re running behind.

I wanted to address the question of the lady about Iran and the Islamic Republic. Let me tell you an anecdote. One of the three visits I paid to that country and I never take a phone or computer, the first advice somebody gave me was, if I needed to go on the Internet, they could tell me how to use a VPN. So of course, there are people who are able to circumvent the measures of the State, and I’m highly impressed sorry, I think are you responding to me?

[ Inaudible Comment ]

I know

[ Off Microphone ]

So I’m not 100% finished with answering, but if you have another question, I’d be happy to continue this conversation.

So the policy and the law of the State are to centralize and monitor the Internet so to monitor what’s happening on it and to sensor a number of websites, including mine but almost all of Western media, and others and a lot of it I can’t read because I don’t read Farsi.

Similarly, speech and media are restricted. People are not even allowed to have satellites on their roofs for receiving television. Does it mean they don’t do it? No. You see satellites everywhere. Does it mean the State has a legal basis to prosecute people very, very easily? Yes, and that is I think a big problem.

So I am not criticizing Civil Society or the population of Iran for their inventiveness, for their aspirations to access the open Internet and for their ability to do so sometimes. I mean, there’s quite a lot of double standards even in the leadership because you see the supreme leader going on social media, the same social media banned in the country itself.

But what I think is important is not only to look at those who are able to survive an attack or limitation of access, same goes for the comment about a network of networks. The network may recover but the question is whether all the people trying to connect to the open Internet will.

So that was related to Iran, so I don’t know if this woman has who asked the question has another response, but should I answer some of the other questions that were asked?

>> PAUL FEHLINGER: Maybe we take two more questions

>> MARIETJE SCHAAKE: Maybe on trade policy because I work on trade, maybe that’s relevant as a solution? I don’t know.

>> PAUL FEHLINGER: I think this is a very interesting question because a lot of people talk about this actually and they say, is this the solution? Are trade agreements the solution?

>> MARIETJE SCHAAKE: Again I think the reason why people look to trade is in the absence of other multilateral or international agreements because trade is an area where for a bit longer than related to the Internet technology laws and rules have been agreed between states and also pertaining to commercial actors, so it makes sense that people are looking there but I don’t think it’s the Holy Grail. I think there’s an opportunity because we can see how we can extend trade to protect the open Internet, and sometimes there’s an overlap. For example mass censorship or blocking certain services from a country can also be seen as protectionism, and free trade or rules based trade is intended to strengthen fair trade, which should not allow this kind of protectionism or blocking certain companies from certain countries.

So I think it’s an opportunity to build on existing law. I think that there’s generally an opportunity to build on existing law, instead of trying to invent all kinds of new agreements. And I think there’s also an opportunity to connect the economic interests that states may have to keep the Internet open to the benefits it would bring to users more broadly. I think oftentimes states that in principle seek to have more top down governance or seek to restrict the Internet access for example in their country, could be persuaded to be careful with doing that not necessarily on the basis of human rights or open Internet arguments but more on the basis of economic arguments.

And of course, on the technical layer, there’s a lot of mutual dependence. Of course, there are different aspects about the services running over it. And I think the opportunity lies in connecting the notion of mutual dependence between states who may seek to carve themselves out of the global system.

>> PAUL FEHLINGER: I want to give the mic to this very patient gentleman on the right. Sir? Or, yes, please go ahead and introduce yourself.

>> I would like just to highlight the fragmentation bias that exists, not only about the Balkans, the Romans had divided and it’s considered power and a good strategy from the powerful. And also about this cooperative sovereignty, I thought that sovereignty was given by the citizens to the Government, one person, one vote. And we talk about trade, there are a lot of secret trade so we can in the public we talk about something and we have the TTIP which is regulating Internet too which happen behind the closing door.

So this is just a good word or are we really talking about actual things? Thank you.

>> PAUL FEHLINGER: Thank you. Thomas, please introduce yourself.

>> Thank you, my name is Thomas, I work for the Swiss Government and I’m busy with ICANN and a few other institutions. My name is Thomas Schneider from Switzerland Government.

I wanted to quickly react on what Elfa had said but also, Bill, thank you for your intervention with regard to the agreement I think that the opposite of fragmentation is not necessarily harmonization but rather interoperability of to some extent different regimes because we have different cultures that have different ways of doing things or different preferences. I come from a small country with four cultures where we have quite different ways of doing things even within very small regions and you should allow for this and I’m not a technology expert but from what I know actually the Internet allows for different regimes, different technical systems to use the same infrastructure to co exist on the same infrastructure, so also technically this is not impossible.

Not everything needs to be the same that uses the same ways of communications. And also, like the digital single market or harmonization, has challenges in particular if you take the audio visual Sector for small countries like Iceland or even Switzerland, which is linked to some issues of the geoblocking, we cannot pay, if you have to compete with bigger areas or bigger countries or cultural spheres, we cannot compete in buying for television rights for a football game of the UA for whatever with the others, so this is why for instance if I want to watch my team playing in Switzerland and I can watch it on my public service broadcast. If I happen to be on holiday in Spain because the Swiss TV broadcaster doesn’t have the right to make this accessible in Spain, I cannot watch my team playing because I’m in Spain? Fortunately I have a VPN of my Government computer so I get an IP address from Bern, and then I can watch it on my computer. Not everybody has this privilege.

There are some issues that we need to think about when you talk about harmonization and so and normally the small ones in these games, and that goes also for the trade agreements, if the big ones make the trade agreements, the small ones sometimes they are not included so there’s no transparency, they’re not heard and then so there are some challenges with this.

And so I think we should really think of this diversity and foster this diversity which is also one of the reasons for innovation because if everybody does things in the same way, there will be no new ideas coming up or less new ideas so I’d rather go for interoperability and portability also. So if I’m a Swiss citizen, may public service broadcast I’d like to use their services if I’m somewhere else in the world because I’m still paying their services which is actually not feasible at the moment. Thank you.

>> PAUL FEHLINGER: Thank you very much for this question, for highlighting the need to have a discussion on what is the legal interoperability that’s made the Internet possible in the way that we have it today.

Please, I want to take one more question and then go back to the panel.

>> Thank you very much. Theo Wels, European Council. One ward on Iran. I have a friend who has access to the world wide Web but he has worldwide feet. He’s currently walking the world and in Russia. Updating every day. He last week walked through Moscow and is continuing but what struck me was his remark about Iran.

He was on the Web a couple of years ago running around the world, 50,000 kilometers over a period of four years, and he said that the best and greatest hospitality he had found and the most help getting access to the Internet was in Iran, so that’s a little positive comment so that we don’t stereotype.

The gentleman from Switzerland raises an issue, and that keeps coming back to me, is that when we talk about human rights and rule of law here, fortunately it was specified a little bit by Marietje Schaake and by Mr. Viola and extended a little bit. I keep have the notion that we’re talking about consumer rights, the way you discuss users.

So what I’m afraid of is that rather than the technical fragmentation, which was correctly defined by Bill, we’re also looking at a fragmentation of human beings, with progress of the Internet, which was supposed to be, coming back to Mr. Viola’s statement, a gift to mankind. If it’s supposed to be a gift to mankind, we shouldn’t look at it at an issue that in my feeling is being defined by dollar democracy or pound democracy or Euro democracy, if we want to just refer to the currency.

Because all of this multistakeholder discussion, when you’re looking at it, and it is what the panelist last night said, it’s about power. The bigger you are, the more money you have, the more power you have and the more access you have to policymakers so I think that when you’re talking about governance, it’s about service delivery but it is also about public service delivery.

If you want to maximize that value, public and Civil Service value of the Internet, then I would like to see it included in governance discussions, because otherwise, what we will have is consumer choice. But when I studied psychology in the U.S. in 1978, or my daughter studies psychology now, one of the big elements is how do you apply psychology to consumers and how do you influence consumers? So while the consumer has a choice, big platforms, big providers, big intermediaries, are doing everything they can to limit that choice 100%, and what concerns me in that is that they think in market share and not in terms of public service and Civil Service which is the Democratic good, and choices, freedom of speech but also freedom to access the information you need to create an informed opinion so that you can make the right choices.

And that concerns me.

>> PAUL FEHLINGER: Thank you very much. Would you like to react to this?

>> ROBERTO VIOLA: Thank you very much. There are many points I’d like to touch on, but of course, I cannot keep you all night. But first, a comment. When the essential feature of the Internet was evolved, that the Internet access to everything, but some of you might remember why. It was designed as a military tool to resist a nuclear attack, so it’s a paradox that such a beautiful tool for openness and free speech actually comes from a military project. But that’s really positive that it evolved this way.

And now I think the one thing I want to say is that: Are we happy with the Internet as it is? No, of course it can be much better. So one of the reasons why I decided to reorganize the DGConnect is this one, because I want to invest capital in contributing to the Internet in 10 years from now, and we will start the project of the Internet of the future.

Of course, we will not say, we will not say what’s needed in the future but we’ll be open to ideas so we will start to cover the platform and of course invest also some funds for this, to really attract all the best ideas on how the Internet is going to be.

What is my instinct, I would like to have an Internet of the humans in the future, so an Internet that recognizes me and I can decide what to say or not to say or what to pass as my private information about my connected watch, may connected jacket, or my connected tie so I want to decide whether Mr. X, Y, Z being a private company, being a Government, will have access to my information. Today this is not possible, because all what we do on the Internet is application dependent, is silo dependent so that particular social media, that particular engine, recognizes only dissecting for their particular ecosystem. Most people don’t know so basically they give away theirself very quickly, very easily.

The Internet of future I dream is recognizes a human being, what they want to say, what they don’t want to say, what they do and don’t want to do. So join the project and we’ll be really open to all possible ideas but that’s of course part of what we have to do in the future.

What we have to do in the present indeed, I mean, is improve it technically in the short term, interoperability Göran has commented on this and then there’s the political dimension so the question is: Is this cooperation model, this new way of doing things, going to work? Maybe it’s not that new. I mean, it’s called the society or nation doing something for living better together.

Now, what is notable is, and Marietje said it, sometimes there are people using the multistakeholder model to their interest. Saying, wow, we should not decide. We should, there’s a multistakeholder community, but that’s the responsibility of people having a public function.

So for instance, I would say why the like minded nations of the world do not subscribe a common Charter? And this will be basis of a commitment to avoid the fragmentation of the Internet to keep it open. Of course it has to be implemented by the multistakeholder society, but they commit, and this is important, because being a little bit more specific, when you look at the international law, Europe is present. It’s there. But not every G7 country is there.

So I think to cooperate we have to be more than one to cooperate and to be like minded and I think also it’s interesting to see that it’s a process that can start even when there are tensions. The Treaty, the UN Treaty, on the peaceful use of the outer space was signed in a moment very complicated for the war, during the cold war, and it was signed. So I think it’s possible, it’s possible, to actually propose a model of cooperation, to which the nation states should show commitment.

And this is not in contradiction with the multistakeholder community. We should remain at the center of being the governance of the Internet ecosystem but then there should be a commitment by the nation states. Trade agreements, they are an important tool. They’re a tool for progress. They are a tool if they are well used, I mean, this is the recent economic history of the world so we should not really rush to say this is all bad.

We have to be critical. We have to work to have good agreements. What we cannot trade are fundamental rights and we will never do that so we are not ready to sign a trade agreement trading out fundamental these are not for trade agreements. These are again for the states to guarantee as part of their DNAs.

The free flow of data indeed is a concept that can be extended but to countries that subscribe to a really free and open Internet.

>> PAUL FEHLINGER: Thank you.

>> ROBERTO VIOLA: A little point on the portability: It’s a joke. Switzerland and Iceland can join the EU. We will have it interoperable.

[ Laughter ]

[ Applause ]

>> Need more members if somebody leave.

>> PAUL FEHLINGER: Thank you very much. I think this was a very interesting panel. We touched upon a lot of different questions, and we reached the end in terms of time. But I think one thing that is very important in those discussions is to remember why we discussed this. If we talk about fragmentation, the underlying question is not what is positive fragmentation? Because we all sort of agree that elements of fragmentation can be very good, as well.

But the question is: What does unwanted fragmentation, what does the sort of fragmentation we do not want to have, and what unwanted fragmentation is triggered intentionally and even worse, what unwanted fragmentation is triggered with the best of intentions, but might end up on a more global systemic level of producing exactly a zero sum game?

And I think we also need to keep in mind that we’re discussing about what kind of Internet we want to have for the next generations of Internet users to come, the people who are born today, the digital natives, what kind of Internet will they have in 20 years? This should be one of the guiding questions if we talk about fragmentation or unwanted or negative fragmentation, the sort of Internet that was created by mankind that we need to preserve because without action, without policy action, without multistakeholder operation, we will not be able to preserve the global nature of the Internet because so far we have

[ Transmission stopped ]

venue and meeting for everybody so that’s just a personal thanks for me. I have to run to get my train.

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