Andrea Glorioso, European Union information and communications technologies attaché to the United States, Jeferson Nacif, head of international affairs at the Brazilian Agency of Telecommunications, and Eric Osiakwan, executive secretary of the Ghana Internet Service Providers Association, join Aparna Sridhar, counsel at Google, Inc., to discuss internet governance issues and the role of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Noting the success of consensus reached at the plenipotentiary meeting in Busan, South Korea, the panelists share their perspectives on the symposium from Africa, the European Union, and Brazil, and elaborate on the ITU’s scope, the importance of regional organizations, and multistakeholder and multilateral processes in internet governance.
Please be advised that due to technical difficulties, there is a gap in the video at 1:21:19; the full audio and transcript are below.
This meeting is part of the Internet Governance After Busan Symposium, made possible by Google, Inc., with additional support from Intel.
LINDSAY: Hello, everyone. On behalf of Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, let me welcome you here today. I am Jim Lindsay, senior vice president and director of the David Rockefeller Studies Program, which is CFR's in-house think tank. It is our great pleasure to convene this Symposium on Internet Governance after Busan.
I want to thank all of you for taking the time to be here today. I also want to give a special thanks to the people who traveled here from out of town. All I had to do was get on the Metro and come in from Northern Virginia. I know some of you flew a very, very long way. Having recently just completed a long trip, I have much sympathy for you, jetlag and the rest. We're very glad to have you here participating in the conversation.
Today's symposium was organized by CFR's Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program. We started the program last year to address one of the most challenging issues we face today, how to keep the global Internet open, secure, and resilient in the face of new threats.
My good friend and colleague Adam Segal directs the program. He is the Maurice R. Greenberg senior fellow for China studies here at CFR, in addition to directing the digital and cyberspace program. And I'd like to thank Adam for putting together today's symposium.
You can find out more about what the Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program is doing by going to our website, CFR.org. One of the requirements of my position is that I have to mention CFR.org at least three times in every speech I give. I've now done it twice. One more is coming.
I would also urge you to check out the Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program's new blog, Net Politics. The most recent post, which I think went up yesterday, discusses the role that disclosures about national policies on zero-day vulnerabilities could play in building confidence among countries worried that their rivals and their enemies will use such vulnerabilities against them.
Now, today's symposium comes on the heels of the plenipotentiary conference of the International Telecommunications Union, which I believe wrapped up just short of three weeks ago in Busan, South Korea. One of our goals with today's symposium is to explore the outcomes of the Busan meeting. The conference featured — excuse me — fairly robust discussion, what we may describe as competing visions of what the Internet should look like in the future and who should have say over it. If some of those views triumph, the Internet will look very different in the future than it does today. Excuse me.
We also hope to discuss the current Internet governance landscape and suggest some possible ways of moving forward. I have no doubt that our terrific line-up of speakers will generate some great ideas for us. I should point out that today's conference is generously supported by Google and Intel. I'd like to thank Ben Blink at Google and Audrey Plonk at Intel for making this symposium possible, so thank you.
I'd also like to thank some people here at CFR for working so hard on today's event. The CFR meetings team, led by Emily McLeod and Leila Mahnad, were instrumental in planning this symposium, so thank you, Emily. Thank you, Leila.
The CFR — thank you for trying to bail me out — my throat's shot, so I apologize — the CFR events team, led by Rachel Peterson, will be doing everything in their power to keep everything running smoothly, so my thanks to Rachel and her team.
With that, I would like to turn the platform over to Aparna Sridhar, who will be presiding over our first session on the global debate on the ITU and Internet governance. So, Aparna, it's all yours. I think everybody gets to go up with you, so you don't have to speak alone.
SRIDHAR: All ready? Good morning, everyone. I'm Aparna Sridhar. I'm counsel at Google. And it's a pleasure to moderate this session. As a quick reminder, the session is on-the-record, so all of you be forewarned.
And I want to start by just briefly introducing the panelists. I know you have their biographies, so I won't spend a ton of time on that, and then do a little bit of stage-setting and then turn to my questions and then your questions.
So to my immediate right is Andrea Glorioso, European Union attache for information and communication technologies here in the United States; Jeferson Nacif, head of international affairs for ANATEL, which is the Brazilian Agency of Telecommunications; and Eric Osiakwan, who is the former executive secretary of the African Internet Service Providers Association and the executive secretary of the Ghana ISP Association. So we have a good mix of government and industry, and hopefully a lively discussion.
I was in Busan about three weeks ago, but I see a few people here who were there and many people who were not. So for those of you who didn't have the pleasure of three weeks in a number of windowless conference rooms, I thought I would just give you a little bit of background and flavor for what happened.
So the International Telecommunications Union is an agency within the U.N. system. And it is chartered to facilitate coordination and collaboration between nation-states in matters related to telecommunications. As a creature of the U.N. system, its remit is set by its member states, so the ITU is actually — includes most member states — over 190 countries, are members.
Every four years, the ITU convenes its plenipotentiary conference, at which ITU member states decide on the future role of the organization via a treaty-making process. The plenipotentiary conference adopts general policies for the union. It adopts a scope of work, a strategic and financial plan, and establishes sort of the senior management team for the next four years.
During this year's meeting, we saw a lot of discussion about kind of, what are the appropriate areas of work for the ITU? This is a conversation that goes back, I would say, tens of years, but is continually evolving. And one of the sort of underpinning questions is, how much do we want a government or intergovernmental organization to sort of lead policy or technology development with respect to not only the underlying sort of telecommunications technology, but also the Internet? Here in the U.S., we've embraced what we call a multi-stakeholder model, where all parties participate. A government-led model would be a bit different.
So I thought we'd kick off the dialogue with the following. In the leadup to the plenipotentiary meeting, we saw a lot of news coverage that suggested that this meeting could end with nations fundamentally divided, that there were going to be — there was not going to be a meeting of the minds about what the ITU should do for the next four years.
And at the end of the day, we managed to reach a consensus in Busan. And so I think what I would love to just kind of get perspectives on from each of the three of you is, what were the key enablers or drivers of that consensus? I don't know if you want to start, Andrea, and we'll just go down the line.
GLORIOSO: Sure. Absolutely. Well, I would like, first of all, to thank the Council on Foreign Relations for organizing this and for having me here, and I would like to thank all of you for being here, especially at this time of the day. I come from Italy, and I can tell you that at this time of the day, Italians do not have these sort of discussions normally.
It's particularly striking to me that we can all sit here and discuss about these important issues. On your question, on your point, Aparna, I have — I've been working on Internet governance issues for quite a long time, probably more than I should have. And it's my impression that there is always an underlying tone in many of these discussions, a kind of Armageddon kind of approach to any discussion. It's always the end of the world. It's always the end of the Internet. It's always somebody taking over the Internet.
But at the end of the day, if you look at most of the discussion that we've been having so far, we have reached consensus more often than we haven't. And I think the reason why people had perhaps negative expectations about the plenipotentiary was mostly because of WCIT, the World Conference on International Telecommunications of the ITU, which took place in 2012, which indeed ended up with a split situation between countries.
Now, there are different reasons why that happened in 2012, and I personally think that part of the reason why that particular situation did not happen again at the plenipotentiary was mostly because people understood that at the end of the day, we — you can disagree in an agreeable way or you can agree to disagree, and there will always be points or issues on which you cannot reach total consensus.
But also that the Internet is important enough for all of us that it's really not worth it to lock yourself into endless discussions. At a certain point, you just have to agree to disagree and to move on. Also, let us not forget that when you look, unlike the World Conference on International Telecommunications, which was a very focused conference, the plenipotentiary itself covered a lot of grounds of which Internet governance issues or Internet issues were — I wouldn't say a minor issue, but they were only part of the discussion.
And I think that kind of colored the approach, in the sense that people had a lot of work to do and they didn't want those particular discussions of the Internet to necessarily derail the process in other parts of the — in other parts of the discussion that took place at the plenipotentiary.
SRIDHAR: Great. Jeferson?
NACIF: Well, first, thank you. Thanks, CFR, for being here. It's a great opportunity for us to express the views of the Brazilian government in some points.
Well, regarding the positive results that we had in Busan this time, I can point maybe five or six positive results. The first is that it's good — it's very good to see that the consensus-building is back to the process of IT. As Andrea said, after the misses of WCIT and plenipotentiary in 2010, it's very good to know that — and to notice that now, finally, governments really enter in a very good, positive way to find consensus.
And I think that was actually a process. After WCIT, we had WTPF, the World Telecommunications Policy Forum, that established a multi-stakeholder process to find consensus in six or almost seven opinions. That was very important for us to break some perceptions that ITU wanted to take over the Internet in Dubai in 2012.
Then the other process that was very, very important for setting the stage for this plenipotentiary conference was the WSIS+10 process. This, again, was a multi-stakeholder process in which...
SRIDHAR: Could you just explain for folks what that WSIS+10 means? What was the WSIS? Because I'm not sure everybody has that context.
NACIF: Yes, sure. So WSIS, the World Summit of Information Society. It was phased in, in two process. The first phase was in 2003, and the second one in 2005. And then it was decided by the United Nations and actually the process that established the WSIS established also the review process. So we are in this phase of reviewing process.
And all the organizations that was involved with it in the WSIS is now promoting its evaluation process. So ITU established it in — for one year, and the results were very good for countries, for civil society, and ITU could create (inaudible) process a mechanism in which all could sit together and put their concerns in this — in two documents, the vision and the overall review. So that was very important to set a very good scenario for Busan.
Another thing that I would like to mention is the thing that I — it was quite clear for us in Busan that the mood was different. The mood was different because of this process that I mentioned, and also because now we had actors with potential and really the — the flexibility to negotiate. You know, we are not — we are not stuck in positions during this plenipotentiary. It was quite difficult for Dubai in WCIT, because we noticed that countries could not go too far, but it was very different now in Busan.
SRIDHAR: And why do you think there was increased flexibility in 2014 that countries didn't have in 2012? What changed in that sort of two-year period?
NACIF: Well, I think that, first, all those processes that I mentioned created a scenario in which we could at least notice that we can trust more in each other and that is not the intention of the majority of countries that — that ITU or that are — there are some aspects in Internet governance that ITU will not definitely take over.
So now it's — it would be easier for countries during — in plenipotentiary — to negotiate, because we know that ITU, for instance, in technical terms wouldn't be — wouldn't have a consensus about taking over technical aspects of Internet governance. So it was easier for countries understanding that to negotiate even more difficult things, like the consumer working group on Internet, on cybersecurity issues.
SRIDHAR: We're going to come back to both of those, but, Eric, based on your understanding, do you think — did you — well, first, I think it would be interesting to see, did you hear the same things in Ghana about sort of the potential for this meeting to really fracture along a set of lines that sort of didn't end in an agreed-upon result? Was that the — was there discussion of the meeting at all? And was that discussion sort of a narrative of maybe there are going to be two sides? And then, you know, to the extent that you have a view, kind of what do you attribute that consensus to?
OSIAKWAN: Right. Thanks very much. And also, I want to thank CFR for inviting me. It's a pleasure to be on the panel and to join in this conversation.
So from an African perspective or from sort of sitting back in Ghana — and, unfortunately, I was not in Busan, but I was following the process before and during the session — and I think that, yes, tempers were high. You know, there was a bit of sort of media, you know, hype as well. And, you know, given the history of what happened in 2012 there was sort of some indication that probably this is going to be the make-or-break.
But for me, as somebody who has been involved in the ICANN process for a fair amount of time, I think the ITU...
SRIDHAR: Eric, just explain for people what ICANN is and what the ICANN process is. This is like a no good deed goes unpunished...
OSIAKWAN: So ICANN is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which is sort of the global body that oversees the Internet's unique identifiers. It's predominantly sort of looking at the technical functions, and it's a multi-stakeholder bottom-up process that involves all the stakeholders, so it has government from the — on the government advisory committee, has some private sector, civil society, the numbers organizations, and et cetera. So it's a very inclusive body that has (inaudible) meetings that goes around the world, and ICANN tries to operate as much as possible in a consensus base.
And it's been an institution that has been governing the Internet for a very long time. I guess if you've looked at some of the materials, you see that. So from where I sit, I think that the ITU trying to get into the whole Internet governance process must show that it can build consensus, right? And I think the secretary general did good work in moderating the conversation in Busan to that consensus.
And I think that one of the reasons why the Internet community have thrived, the Internet has thrived very well over the years is ICANN's, you know, bottom-up consensus-building process that tries to involve all the actors. But most importantly tries to make an effort and reach out to the communities that are not as actively involved, especially in the developing world, Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America. And I think that that is very important that all the voices are heard.
But I also think that going to any meeting like there is always interests, right? People will come with their own proposals, but also that these inherent interests in trying to understand and have a conversation and reach some understanding.
Thirdly, I think also that it is not the end of the world. You know, there's always more forums to come. And I think the fact that the multiple forums and opportunities to discuss these proposals and to have these conversations is also very important beyond ICANN and ITU. I think the other bodies that do — including this, I think this will also have an impact on the conversation.
So I think that having multiple opportunities for people to have a conversation beyond just the ITU is also part of why we got where we were.
SRIDHAR: That's a great transition to my sort of more general question. One of the themes that really animated the conference were different — was different visions of what the ITU's role should be in Internet governance or Internet policy matters, if any, right? And how does that role differ from the role that national governments have? How does that role differ from the role of ICANN, for example? How does that role differ from the role of the Internet engineering task force, which sets technical standards for the Internet?
So I wonder if each of you could just offer a quick perspective on that question. What — if it were up to you and you were single-handedly writing the treaty or writing the resolutions that accompany the treaty, what should be the role of the ITU in Internet governance, if any?
GLORIOSO: Well, I will start — and I must say that, as a European Commission official, it's very rare that I get asked "if it were up to you." That's normally not the way we work.
I will try to give a personal perspective, but also based on what is our actual position on this matter, which is that, first of all, it is incumbent on us to remember that the ITU is a member based on a member-driven organization. So the mission of the ITU is ultimately defined by its members. We can have a discussion, and we should have a discussion about the membership of the ITU, who is member, who is not, who is a (inaudible) member, who is not, who has voting rights, et cetera. That's an interesting discussion to have.
But ultimately, it's not like the as frankly some — especially in the community that perhaps is not that into foreign relations or the U.N. system. It's important to keep in mind that the ITU does not decide autonomously as an organization what to do or what not to do. And that was also one of the topics of discussion in Busan.
Now, I think that it's not correct and it would be both naive and, frankly, incorrect from a political point of view to claim that the ITU has no role in Internet matters. The question is, of course, what are the borders? And there are disagreements. That's quite clear. There are different positions.
Ultimately, it's important to see the ITU from my perspective, because you asked my perspective, but also from a European perspective, it's important to see the ITU as part of the broader ecosystem, of broader network of different organizations, each of which has its own strength and weaknesses, and each of which should play a role.
What is very important from our perspective is that whatever is the role that each specific organization has — be it the ITU, be it ICANN, the ITF — let's not forget also that in the U.N. system itself, many other agencies are quite active on Internet-related matters. UNESCO is now working a report on ethics on the Internet. The Human Rights Council has been working on these issues for quite some time.
What is really important is that there is respect between these different organizations and good communication. Because what happens sometimes — I was going to say often, but I'm trying to be optimistic — what happens sometimes is that there is, frankly, a duplication on work. This different organization are doing — are working on the same issues from slightly different angles, which is good, but if these organizations do not talk to one another, then we are bound to have problems, and especially at a moment in which, quite frankly, in the Internet's environment, we do have a meeting fatigue, because we have meetings every other month and we have — each organization, apparently we also have new initiatives with new meetings.
That is not conducive at the end of the day towards true inclusiveness, because we also have to remember that there are a lot of countries out there and a lot of citizens, a lot of organizations who should be involved into this discussion, but simply do not have the resources to go to thirty-five meetings per year. So it is important to — each organization should focus on what it knows how to do best, and I do believe that the ITU has a certain comparative advantage in certain areas compared to other organizations.
SRIDHAR: What are those areas, in twenty seconds or less?
GLORIOSO: I can't go into substance in twenty seconds, but I will say that the ITU is seen by many countries as an organization which respects their priorities more than others. Whether that is correct or not, it's not the issue, but the perception in a number of countries that the ITU listens to their concerns.
Again, I want to stress this, even I go beyond the twenty seconds, it is not the opinion of the European Commission that the ITU is necessarily better than other organizations. What I'm trying to say is that there are countries out there who think that the ITU is more — is listening more to their concerns, and that is something that we should keep in mind.
NACIF: Great work. Great question, because it will allow me to explain many things, and beginning by the Brazilian position on multi-stakeholderism and multilateralism.
In the Brazil perspective, we think that both concepts can and must live together. We think that — and President Dilma expressed it very well in the words that she stated during the NetMundial speech, that multi — we think that the process must be multi-stakeholder, but there are some aspects of the decision of the Internet that decision-making process must be multilateral. So there are some aspects in these important issues, such as taxation, security, jurisdiction. There are many extraterritorial issues dealing with the Internet, that those issues must be dealt in multilateral organizations. It doesn't mean...
SRIDHAR: Well, let me just press that point...
NACIF: ... that it's not multi-stakeholder process, but it's multi-stakeholder process is important. But at the end, the decision-making must be dealt in multilateral organizations.
SRIDHAR: So let me just follow up on the point a little bit further. And I understand sort of there's this distinction between multi-stakeholders and just — I'll throw out a rough definition, because we talk about that term a lot, but generally a multi-stakeholder process I think in the way that we're all describing it, is one where the government representatives and members of the technical community who sort of develop standards or understand sort of the technical aspects of the Internet and private industry, so companies like Google and civil society and also end users, the Internet, all kind of collaborate on developing policy. Obviously, a multilateral solution is a state-based solution.
But, Jeferson, to just probe a little bit further, you said that there are some topics that are appropriate for multilateral discussion. And I guess what I would ask you is, do you think — and, you know, we can take security, for example, or taxation, for example — I have two questions. One is, is it the case that these are subjects that are only appropriate for multilateral discussion and they shouldn't be discussed in a multi-stakeholder way? Or is it that they should be discussed in both kinds of forums — so fora, excuse me? So that's the first question.
And the second question is, there are more multilateral fora than the ITU, so are all of these topics ones that ought to be discussed at least as they relate to communications within the ITU? Obviously, taxation for, you know, wheat or whatever is probably not the ITU's remit. But if something is multilateral and is roughly in this space, do you view the ITU as the right multilateral agency?
NACIF: Of course, ITU is not the right multilateral organization to deal with all different aspects of Internet governance. Internet governance is so huge a discussion that it's not ITU to deal with that. We think that ITU is basically on telecommunications aspects and the technical aspects of, for instance, radio frequency, which is — since Internet is going more and more wireless, so it's very important for ITU to cope with it and it's been coping with it very well.
But, of course, it's not ITU to deal with taxation or all the aspects of security, where we think that ITU must be involved in all of them. We think that just like Andrea said, that all organizations must be together to discuss all the issues.
And the same for technical. It's not correct that we are saying that the discussions must be in the multilateral. Discussions must be multi-stakeholder, but the decision-making process, at the end — if, for instance, a treaty can be or may be better to find a solution for some aspect, of course, it's going to be in a multilateral.
And this is because of difficulties that we find in multi-stakeholder process in Internet. And the first is representation. The other thing's accountability, and the other thing is legitimacy. So to find — to find answers for those three aspects of Internet governance — multi-stakeholder is the thing that we must try to find and it's quite difficult.
SRIDHAR: Eric, if it were up to you?
OSIAKWAN: Well, so I think that — so two views. One is, I was involved in the WSIS process back in 2005, and I went to the Tunis summit. One of the things that came out of that conversation, which I think didn't sort of do well for ITU — the other stakeholders saw that we were not on the same level in participating in that conversation. And I think the ITU has subsequently tried to be more inclusive in bringing everybody to the table.
And the second point I want to make is, which I think is a good thing that ITU took on is this whole broadband — making broadband available and accessible and getting more people in the developing world online. Again, I think this is important coming from Africa, where most people (inaudible) activity is a big challenge.
So we can say all that we want to say here, but if the majority of the people out there are not online and are not involved in the process, are not getting the experience, then we are lacking a certain constituency. So I'm one of those people who really like the idea of actually focusing on this whole broadband-building — global coalition and trying to push it.
And I think that those are want some of the things that the ITU has the clout and the ability to convene and do. And I will agree with my other colleagues that I think there are different aspects of Internet governance. And there are different forums for sort of convening those conversations. And I think that we shouldn't aim to get everything into one platform, because I think that will be defeatist in itself, right?
SRIDHAR: Uh-huh. So I want to turn a little bit to the role of sort of regional organizations or regional coordination. Brazil and the CITEL, which is the part of the Organization of American States that is — deals with telecommunications matters, Brazil is obviously an important player within CITEL, an important player within the American region. The European Commission has often played an important role in organizing European values with respect to — or views with respect to Internet governance.
You often see within the ITU the African countries caucusing and discussing together. To what extent do you think that sort of regional discussions or regional decision-making is going to continue to play an important role in determining national views with respect to Internet governance as we go forward?
GLORIOSO: First of all, when it comes to Europe, just for people to know, that participation to the ITU is organized via the CEPT, the Conference of European Postal and Telegraphs, I think because it dates back to the times when we still had telegraphs, and the chairmanship of the CEPT is not of the European Commission. If I remember correctly, the current chairmanship is of Poland. So I cannot — I would not comment on that particular process.
The European Commission has, indeed, tried to play the best possible role in helping coordination and communication within the European Union, which is our job, but also reaching out to some of our neighbors — neighboring countries and discussing with other regions.
Now, on your specific question, I think that there are — there is an interesting tension when you look at the Internet world, Internet governance discussion, because on the one hand, you have this wish for universality. The Internet is global. Our position is that it should remain global and that is an official position of Europe, by the way, that it should remain global and not fragmented. And that is a very noble goal that we're working for.
On the other hand, you also have to recognize that there are different — in different parts of the world, you have different histories, you have different cultures, you have different — also you have a different understanding. For example, to use the term that is being used quite a lot in this panel — unsurprisingly — you have a different understanding of what multi-stakeholder actually means, because much like democracy, everybody will tell you that they are multi-stakeholder, everybody, including countries which, quite frankly, I would personally have difficulties defining as multi-stakeholder.
So there are different understandings. There are different cultures. And I think there is value in discussing within a region, to create positions within a region. What we have to avoid and what perhaps did not happen in 2012 at the World Conference on International Telecommunications, arguably one of the reasons why we had a split vote there, and what on the other hand I think did happen here at the ITU plenipotentiary is very important that we do not forget about this global nature of the Internet, because at the end of the day, yes, we have different histories, we have different cultures.
We have — let's be very frank about it — we also have different interests. Our industries have different interests. Strategically we matter different objectives at any point in time. But I do strongly believe and the commission strongly believes that a global, unified, not fragmented Internet is for the benefit of all of us. And that is the project we have always taken and we continue to take in this specific discussion.
Again, keeping in mind — and I will just say — I will just say this. Once you realize that there are different culture and histories and approaches and what have you, I think it's extremely important and I think that most countries, including big countries, have done so in the run-up to the plenipotentiary, which is one of the reasons why the plenipotentiary went quite well from our perspective at least, it's very important to learn respect, respect towards the difference.
You have to try and understand what motivates your counterparts, where your counterpart is coming from, and that is the first step always to try to find common ground. If you go to your counterpart and you tell them you have to do this because, either because I say so or because it's the right thing to do, because I'm good and you're evil, which happens, believe me, in the Internet environment that kind of line of argumentation is quite common — that doesn't bring you anywhere at the end of the day, especially in a world which is becoming a lot more multilateral than it used to be, which unilateral activities are more difficult than they used to be.
NACIF: OK. Well, the regional organizations are important for us because in this — this is a moment where we can actually test some of your contributions, some of your positions before the realization of the conference. For plenipotentiary, it happened, and it happened for two or three times in our region and for other regions, for organizations. We can find even more meetings.
So it's very important for us to test positions and not to come up with a very strong or some contributions that you know that it's not going to pass, it's not going to have approval of others there in the conference. So Brazil — in Brazil, we use CITEL a lot to actually — to test some of our contributions beforehand. It's very important for the conference, for the plenipotentiary.
And maybe if we could have this preparatory process during the WCIT process, we could have different results during that conference. But we must notice that regions are quite different. Even here in Americas, we have three — basically three very different realities, in the north and the middle, with Caribbean countries, and then Latin American countries.
So it's a very good exercise to put the contributions, the visions and test it in the international — in this organization. It was a surprise for Brazil, for instance, that we could have a common proposal on the constant working group of Internet. I mean, we had many countries — Brazil, United States, and Canada together on one contribution that was very important for the conference and it was very good for the region to have a common proposal on this issue.
SRIDHAR: Just explain for people what that means, that there was a common proposal on the council working group on the Internet. You know, what is the council working group on the Internet? What was the proposal? Just briefly, so folks have a bit of context.
NACIF: Yes, OK, I try. Well, this common proposal, the common proposals are established in CITEL. You have a common proposal, and you have more than eight countries voting for that proposal, and you don't have more than half opposing to it. So it's called an inter-American proposal.
This inter-American proposal was to establish a kind of opening more the process of the council working group of Internet public policy issues in ITU. So on the remaining countries that wanted this council working group, totally opened, and open to all stakeholders, to all interested parties to take part of this council working group.
But the council working group was established closed just for countries, just for member states, as governments. So in the other side, there were many countries that wanted — many delegations that wanted this council working group closed.
So our intent was just putting some visions together, establishing a middle ground between those two different fields. Then we established — we're trying there in the conference, through this inter-American proposal, a way in which the consumer group could be open to all members — to all membership of ITU. And the membership is — are the governments and the private companies, the associates, and the academia, everyone that wanted to — that want to make part of ITU can be a member of ITU. So our intention was to open it to all membership.
But at the end, the proposal didn't get it. Actually, we presume — in some other countries, we sit together and we decided to establish — we decided to have two different moments of this council working group. One moment would be closed to governments, but there would be another moment where all interested parties can participate and then provide inputs to the closed session. That was the solution that we founded.
OSIAKWAN: Well, on the Africa side, I think that it was very interesting developments going into the whole Internet governance thing. So, for example, you saw regional Internet governance forums, so there was West African Internet governance forums that — I think there were two of them — there were three of them. There was one held in Nigeria. There was one in Ghana. There was one in Ivory Coast. Well, and then there was — the Internet governance forum that was held in East Africa, plus one in Kenya, I think it was Tanzania, and then southern Africa.
I happened to be involved in this. And what this did also was (inaudible) into the national psyche. So in Ghana, for example, we had an Internet governance day where the idea was to bring the stakeholders in the country together, sit down, discuss the issues, come to some consensus, or at least lay out a couple of issues that were priority that then goes into the regional conversation. And then we tried to get that into an African Union sort of consensus, but it didn't really work out.
So you see that in some of the Internet governance conversations, there were some countries that — you know, African countries that had been of a different view from others. But for me, what was most interesting I said was the fact that there was a process from the national level to the regional level and try to get a continent-wide consensus on the issue.
And for me, it also gave an opportunity to, I mean, the grassroots organization that cannot participate in this global conversations, but at least at a national or regional level make their views known, right? So I think this participatory democracy or participatory way of getting views across for me I think was very enriching and also led to a lot of other things.
For example, a lot of countries concluded that, you know, we think that we are really behind on access, and so some countries made access a priority and started developing national broadband strategies, how to make it more affordable, how do we get more people involved in the profit. So from an African perspective, I think that in my view was very interesting.
SRIDHAR: Great. Well, I'm going to take the prerogative to ask one more question before turning it all over to you. Next year, as you mentioned, Jeferson, the U.N. will complete its ten-year review of the World Summit on Information Society process, so it will have been ten years from the 2005 World Summit on Information Society meeting. At the same time, earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Commerce began the process or kicked off the process of transitioning its stewardship of ICANN to a more multi-stakeholder community.
And I want to — and it seems to me that those are sort of the two signal events among many to watch out for in 2015. I'm curious, for all three of you, whether and how you're engaged in each of these processes and what you see as, you know, if we were to have the same meeting next year at the same time, and we were able to say this is the positive outcome from last year, what would — what would a positive outcome look like for each of you?
And I'm going to start with Eric this time, since Andrea's gotten the first word a few times.
OSIAKWAN: OK. So one more trigger to answer that is — it's also sort of 2015 is when we look at the Millennium Development Goals, right, that we set for ourselves. Right, and it's very important time. And from where I sit, I think that this whole Internet governance conversation, transition of ICANN, Internet, et cetera, has to eventually sort of answer the question, "and so what?" Right?
And I think the MDGs are very important indicators that we need to really pay attention to, alleviating poverty, getting people from — you know, onto the radar, et cetera. So I would like to see a connection between the two, in a way that we can then set for ourselves globally another objective. OK? The next twenty years, we want to set — maybe not call them Millennium Development Goals, but something else, right, that we then strive towards, so that these conversations and these processes are not just, you know, talk, but we can actually be able to point ourselves in a direction that we're making sudden process as the global common good.
NACIF: Yes. Well, you mentioned very important issues that we have to do next year. And actually, I think that the positive results that we had in Busan right now, it's because we are going to face very important issues next year. So I think that countries and some governments are sparing their energies to put in 2015.
The CSTD process, the Commission on Science and Technology in the United Nations, the ECOSOC, and the United Nations General Assembly, that we'll have to decide on the reveal process of WSIS. There we have more difficult discussions and more tough negotiations.
And in terms of transition of ICANN and the...
SRIDHAR: Before we go onto ICANN, say a little bit more about why or what will be the difficult discussions that you predict will happen next year.
NACIF: Oh, actually, what we want of WSIS, if we want WSIS to be more effective, if we want WSIS to touch the real important things that couldn't be touched in the last ten years, for instance, what are we going to do with IGF? What will be the role of IGF in the Internet Governance Forum in this ecosystem? And the transitioning process of ICANN is extremely important. Those are the issues that will be dealt in next year.
GLORIOSO: I find it sometimes ironically funny that every year is the year in Internet governance discussions, and every year there is a major decision to be taken, which is probably just a testament to the importance of to how people feel strongly about these topics.
Now, very briefly, on the review process, on the World Summit on Information Society, what Jeferson recalled as the WS+10 review, if I remember correctly the name, Europe has a very — the European Union has a very clear position. We want that review process to be open, multi-stakeholder, inclusive. My colleagues in New York, the General Assembly, are right now negotiating with other countries to achieve that kind of consensus.
On the transition of the — I mean, the technical term, I think, and there are colleagues in the room who can correct me is that the transition of the IANA contract or the IANA functions and as you define it, the change in the role of the U.S. government so far and the stewardship of an important element, but not, frankly, the totality of the Internet. ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which is a contract with the U.S. government, is an important entity, but is not in control of the Internet, no matter what some politicians seem to think.
That is a very important process. And I would say that it is very important more from a symbolic and political point of view than from a practical point of view, because at the end of the day, right now, they're all — the U.S. government is — we might disagree how clerical it is, whether there are political decisions taken, and what the U.S. government does in its relationship with ICANN, but it is seen as symbolic and very important. So that — it's processing which the European Commission and many E.U. member states are very much involved in a constructive fashion.
We do hope that we will get to September 2015 when the current contract expires with a new solution in our hands. But we completely agree that it is very important also to make things right rather than make things quick.
On what — if we — if we meet again one year from now, which I certainly hope so in such a wonderful environment, perhaps a bit later in the morning, but that — we can decide this next year. I will express a personal opinion here.
I hope — I really do hope, after I think slightly more than ten years working on these issues, I hope that we will talk a little bit less about the next meeting, about the next General Assembly discussion, about the next new acronym that certainly will have come up in the meantime. These are important discussions. Don't misunderstand me. But I hope that next year we can talk a little bit less about these things and a little bit more about the substance. How do we ensure broadband access for everybody? How do we ensure (inaudible) because let's not forget that — and I completely agree with the way Jeferson, with Eric, broadband access is extremely important. That's the basis.
But people will not use the Internet whether it's for the personal purposes, for commerce, for any other reason, unless they have trust in the Internet. And that means cybersecurity. That means privacy. That means child protection, et cetera. So I hope that we will be able to get one year from now, look in each other's eyes and say, yes, we have made progress in these fields.
Whatever is the forum in which this progress are made, whether it's a private, public forum, whether it's in United Nations, somewhere else, personally speaking, at the end of the day, I don't really care. I just think that there are substantive issues that we need to work on collectively, and that is where I hope one year from now, when we will meet again, we can tell each other, yes, we have done good work there, in addition to all the various acronym-based discussion which continue to be important and will — whether I believe they're important or not, they will continue in any case.
SRIDHAR: Right. So I think now we'll turn it over to you in the audience. There are some — a couple of folks with mics on both sides. For each question, please wait for the mic and speak into it, and please also stand and state your name and affiliation. And I think the first question is the gentleman in the back.
QUESTION: Pei Xu from Voice of America. And because of our limited time, allow me to ask a question in an apparently oversimplified way. It's obvious that there are two competing visions about the future of the Internet. One is American one, that is, to keep the Internet as free, as open as possible. The other is the Chinese one, that is, to keep the Internet as domesticated, as controlled as possible.
I'm wondering what's the take by our distinguished panelists on this competition — competing visions? And also since we have Google counsel here, I may add that perhaps Google was caught in the crossfire between the two competing visions. Thank you very much.
SRIDHAR: Well, I'll turn it over to all of you first, and then I'm happy to take the Google question at the end. You know, are there two competing visions? And if there are, how do we sort of go forward?
OSIAKWAN: So I'll answer the question in an indirect way. I think one of the reasons why the Internet's really thrived is its decentralized nature, the fact that the intelligence of the network is at the edges and everyone can connect and participate and use the Internet, right, or build if further, and I think that is a very unique characteristics compared to the old telephone system where the switch intelligence is in the middle and you have to be connected to the middle in order to be able to get the benefits of using the telecom system.
And I think that that unique characteristic defines how the Internet should be looked at. In other words, by its nature, it's difficult to control, because there's no one point where you can put your hand and say, "Because I hold this side and I hold — you know, I'm controlling the whole Internet."
And so from where I sit, I think that the way the Internet is going to be better is if we continue in that way, where it is more decentralized and people can participate from the edges. I'll tell you, for example, if you — if you look at Africa today, what we're seeing is there is a new emerging industry of software developers starting companies, creating technology, empowering themselves. These are youths that before, they come out of college and don't have a job and they'll be looking for a job.
But today, because they're exposed to the Internet, they build these skills of developing code, they're beginning to start their own company. So it's self-empowering.
And recently— I was on a radio conversation — I was saying, I think there's a multibillion industry that is being created out of the youth that were going to be a problem, but now they're becoming the solution. If I was a company, I personally invested in 2007 — these were three guys from college, and when they got out of college, because they were exposed to the Internet and very empowered, they started this company. Seven years down the line, the company's turned over $12 million U.S., and it's employing forty-five people in Ghana.
I think that's very powerful. And it's because the Internet reduces the barriers to, for example, entrepreneurship, to build in new companies, to expressing yourself. I think those are very unique and powerful ways of empowering the youth.
Today the biggest problem in the world today is jobs. We are all asking, how do we create jobs? How do we empower the youth? Africa is a very youthful population. And I think that indirectly, the way the Internet's structured, is solving this problem, is giving people the ability to bring out the creative abilities.
So I'm a very big fan of that, and I'm sort of obviously biased towards that, and I would like to see more of that. So I don't know if I've indirectly sort of tried to sort of respond to your question.
NACIF: Well, it's a very good question. And sometimes when we are there in ITU, we are anxious to — we are eager to listen more to China's delegation, so then we can try to understand what are their concepts regarding their views of — on Internet. But I think that in terms of control and security, yes, they are much more centralized than other countries. But in terms of innovation and the capacity of putting Internet in the hands of everyone and trying to foster business, I think they're increasing a lot.
We have — just two examples— two great companies from China, it's Alibaba and Huawei. They're in different — one is commerce and e-commerce and the other one is infrastructure. They are huge companies and they are gaining more and more market around the world, so they have a different feel from the U.S., of course, in terms of control and security, but in terms of innovation and using Internet as a way to increase development and innovation, I think they are — U.S. and China are in the same line.
GLORIOSO: I think that there are, indeed, different visions about the future of the Internet and the way in which the Internet should be managed and governed in the sense of governance. By the way, I think it's important to underline that this — you mentioned U.S. on the one side and China on the other side. I think we should say it's U.S. and Europe on one side. Europe, from that point of view, Europe and the U.S. are fully aligned, in the sense that we — both regions believe very strongly that we have to have an open Internet and unfragmented Internet as a support to not only economic growth, but also the kind of democratic political discussion that we have in both regions. So I wanted to say that right from the start.
Having said that, I think it's always very important — you can disagree with the positions of the country or in the organization of people within a country. I think that it's important we continue to have the right to disagree. But it's always very important to try to understand where that particular country is coming from.
Let me mention another country — not China, but Russia. Just a few weeks ago, I read about a survey made on Russian citizens. I checked with some very expert colleagues on Russia. They told me that that was actually a survey that I could trust, unlike some — as much as you can trust surveys, by the way — but unlike some other information coming out of that country.
But this survey was interesting, because following the approval by the Duma, the Russian parliament, of a certain number of measures to control the Internet, admittedly to curb child pornography, I think, or offensive content online, 48 percent of Russian citizens out of the survey agreed with that particular law. The survey was interesting, because the same survey was done one year ago, and at the time, 52 percent of citizens agreed, so there was a downward trend.
But still 48 percent of citizens agreed that the Internet should be controlled, should be regulated in a rather aggressive way, is quite striking from our point of view. So I think it's very important from Europe and from the U.S., from all of us, industry, government, civil society, to understand why is that and engage with where these countries are coming from.
And the second point I would like to make — and I purposefully did not use the term competing, but different — not because I don't believe there is competition. There is competition. And sometimes it's fierce competition between these two different or multiple different worldviews.
But what is really — in my view, what is really important in this moment is, you know, we know that certain countries have a particular view, worldview, and others have a particular worldview. That should not be surprising, because it comes from a long history of these different parts of the world.
What is really important to focus on in this moment is actually that rather large number of regions, countries, organizations within countries that are actually quite undecided which way they should go. They have not yet taken a decision. And those are the ones that we should focus all our energies on. Those are the ones that we should go to and convince them in a respectful way, not telling them you have to do this because we say so, but it's in your interest to go towards a more open, more universal, less fragmented Internet. And that is perhaps the most difficult side, because it's much easier — let's be frank, it's much easier to tell somebody you're wrong and I'm right, rather than trying to understand, why do you have that position which is different from mine and what can I do to try to convince you to get closer to my position? And maybe in the process, we might even understand better each other, which in my personal view is always a good result.
SRIDHAR: Just to quickly answer your question, I think from our perspective, you know, a free and open Internet is not necessarily an American value. It's a value that's shared by Google users across the world. And it's a value that is shared by us within the company, regardless of whether we're Americans or not. So I don't think we think of it in regional or national terms. We think of it much more in terms of, what are the core values of the company and what are the core values that will best serve our end users?
So I see another question in the back. Again, please stand up and state your name and affiliation.
QUESTION: Hi, my name is Liz Dahan. I work at Macro Advisory Partners. Thank you to the panelists. This is actually an interesting follow-on question to the last one, which is, the head of the ITU, the next head of the ITU, will be from China. I would be really interested to hear from your government — and interaction with the ITU — from a government perspective, what do you think his priorities are going to be? Do you think there's going to be any change? And any comments on him as an individual? Thank you.
SRIDHAR: Andrea? Or, Jeferson, go ahead.
NACIF: Yes, well, first, just because I'm in ITU for many years, I think that I'm — I have to answer this question first. Well, I've been working with the next secretary general of ITU, Mr. Zhao, for many years. He's in the organization for many years now. He was the director for standardization sector. And he's spent eight years there, two mandates, and then two mandates as deputy secretary general. And now he'll have at least four more years as secretary general.
And, well, it is interesting to have a Chinese as the secretary general of ITU. You have many other Chinese — and, actually, China is obtaining many victories in international organizations, heading important organizations, and the other one (inaudible) organization.
So for us, actually, as we know him, I don't think that having a Chinese there would — we would be more influenced by Chinese delegation views in the administration or in the decision — the decisions of ITU. Actually, I think it will be totally in the other way around. Because of his nationality, I think that the Chinese delegation wouldn't be so vocal as they were before. As a precautionary issue, it would be much more difficult as an image of ITU and also for the other countries to keep, for instance, the contributory units to ITU if the visions of a more — of more China's deterring in his position. So I don't think we have more about it.
SRIDHAR: Explain quickly for people what the contributory units are, because it's not an intuitive notion.
NACIF: Well, contributory units is how much countries pay and the membership pay for ITU, so that ITU can survive. It's money.
NACIF: Yes. Some countries pay a lot, and the United States is one of it, fortunately, and so the ITU can survive. It's money.
SRIDHAR: Go ahead.
GLORIOSO: I would not comment on the person himself, as you seem to ask. I don't think that's appropriate, because that person is now performing a function. What is important to focus on is that function.
As I said at the beginning of this panel, the ITU is a member-driven organization, and the secretary general is the head of the secretariat, which is at the service of the member states. So I see no reason why the nationality — and I don't want to be naive, but I deeply believe that the nationality of the secretary general is at the end less relevant than people might seem to think, right now, in the overall functioning and operations of the ITU.
Also, the new secretary general has been elected as a result of a democratic procedure within the ITU procedures that all member states of the ITU have agreed to. By the way, just for precision, the European Commission is a sector member of the ITU, so we did not vote. And I'm saying this without any implication, simply to state the facts.
So I would simply add that we are quite happy that two Europeans have actually been elected also in leadership position within the ITU, including the deputy. So I just wanted to share this. It's — and, again, I see no reason why — I'm happy being European. A part of me — a little bit of nationality is here, but I see no reason why their nationality will have necessarily a major impact on the performance of the role. Frankly, people who work in this organization, international organization who have been doing so for a long time, as Jeferson mentioned, you know, you tend to think about the work that you're doing, more in the sense of how can I serve the membership, rather than how can I serve my home country.
If anybody thought — and I'm not talking about the ITU here, but more generally — nobody is going to get elected in leadership position in international organization if people think that he's going to serve the interests of these particular countries. That's the way it works.
OSIAKWAN: I associate myself with the comments. I think that it's in the interest of the ITU that it's a — deliberation and outcomes are not as influenced by one person who's the head, but it's more membership (inaudible) which is what the institution should stand for.
SRIDHAR: More questions? In the middle.
QUESTION: My name is Eugenia Kemble. I'm with the Foundation for Democratic Education. It seems to me that this last set of questions really get to the heart of the matter. I was troubled by the beginning of the conversation in terms of all the discussion about groups and committees and regional bodies and so on.
Our colleague from the Voice of America, it seems to me, has raised the critical political question — an open vision versus a controlled vision. And I find myself wondering, if there isn't, within all of these regional bodies and other kinds of committees, probably a division along lines that have to do with who lines up behind the open and who lines up behind the controlled vision of the Internet.
And certainly, in this particular case, the United States and China are on opposite sides. And I think we haven't been clarified — or it hasn't been clarified as to where Google stands on this.
So to get to the heart of the matter, if ITU now has — as it was said at the beginning — a much broader set of agenda goals — and this is the reason fights are being avoided and that there is a sense of consensus and a culture of cooperation, what is really going on in terms of this debate about open versus closed?
SRIDHAR: So I can take the Google piece, which if there was any doubt we're on the side of open, not closed, but for the rest of you, is the debate — is the debate within the ITU really about open versus closed? And if it is, is the consensus merely paper — the consensus that was achieved at Busan merely a papering over of those competing visions, like an agreement to disagree, I think is what you said, Jeferson.
NACIF: Yes, it's not actually about ITU. ITU is just a platform where countries establish their views and visions on what they want about the telecommunication platforms and their Internet system. And of course, they are different. No one can disagree about it.
But actually, they will continue to get it open, to have it open, or to have it closed with ITU, within ITU, or without ITU in any way. So this is more a question of their visions and what they want today and platforms and networks, and just have an ITU as a platform to express their views. It's not ITU that's going to say that countries will have to open or to close their networks.
GLORIOSO: Just to clarify, I welcome the question. And I apologize by the way if I have been unwillingly part of that bunch of people who talk more about meetings and committee than about the substance. I completely share your views.
Having said that, you know, meetings and committees are where discussions are held and decisions are taken, so it is also important to understand where the action is. They're not the end of the story, but they're part of it.
Having said that, what I referred to — I think it was me — who referred to the broad agenda at the plenipotentiary. Just to be clear, some of the topics that were discussed there and on which there was consensus, including things such as the allocation of electromagnetic or avoidance of interference for medical devices and issues related to the transmission between airplanes. And this was a direct consequence of the problems we had with the Malaysian airline and so on and so forth.
So many of the issues that were discussed at the plenipotentiary did not have necessarily to do with the open or closed Internet, and this was what I was referring to when I was talking about the broader agenda at the plenipotentiary meeting.
Now, whether the ITU — I think that Jeferson hits the nail on its head. You know, the ITU is a place where countries discuss. It's a member-driven organization. At the end of the day, it is not the ITU, nor any other U.N. agency, nor, to be absolutely honest, not even the U.N. General Assembly that is going to oblige countries if they don't want to, to go in one direction rather than another, because you can have as many resolutions as you want. That will not change the trajectory of any particular country.
And that is where, if I may — and I'm not sure that answers your point — and I'm happy to continue this offline after the panel, if you so wish, but it is very important to engage — besides engaging at the ITU, but engaging bilaterally, plurilaterally, and not only by governments, by civil society, by industry, with all our counterparts to understand, what are the — including China, by the way, Chinese industry — to understand why they are going the direction that they're going to, what are their priorities, where they're coming from, and what is their interests?
Because, again, you do not change people or countries' minds telling them that they have to do something because we said so. You do that if you convince them that it is their interest to go in a particular direction. And that is where I think that we should focus. I think we have been doing — both Europe and the U.S. have been doing good work from this point of view — again, not only governments — we can certainly do more, and we should.
OSIAKWAN: Well, I think that generally — looking at the developing world, I think most people align where it's of their best interests. If it helps you — and I like to connect this to real issues. Forgive me, but I think that ultimately I was happy that in Busan — I wasn't there — but the conversation was around like — you know, this Malaysian aircraft, how come that we're in such an advanced world and that (inaudible) took us so long that we don't have the systems to track. Ebola is here. How can we use technology to address it? That sort of stuff.
So I think that those are the larger, bigger issues that will get people to align. If you go to (inaudible) a lot of Internet governance issues in different countries, ultimately when you get people in a room, they want to understand how they can use technology to make their business better, to make their lives better, et cetera, and if an open Internet will achieve that, they will go for it. So that's the way I see it.
SRIDHAR: I thought I saw Adam, and then Audrey.
QUESTION: I'm Adam Segal from the Council on Foreign Relations. While I agree the open-and-closed framing is useful, I wonder if one way to complicate it or unpack it or whatever word you want to use, and to draw out some of the other points I think that Andrea was making and Jeferson was making about how people look to the ITU as a legitimate partner for some issues, is the issue of cybersecurity, right, which is — at the WCIT was a major break, but really fell down to the — there were some legitimate concerns from developing countries about spam and other things that the U.S. also had legitimate concerns about control of free speech and the free flow of information.
So it seems to me that when you look at a specific issue, as Eric was suggesting, that cybersecurity becomes one of these issues where people fall on different sides of it — some of them do it because they have a vision of a closed Internet. And others do it because they have legitimate security concerns that they don't know how to address in any other way than through the ITU.
So maybe we can speak a little bit about what the cybersecurity discussions were at this meeting and what the future might look like.
GLORIOSO: Want to go first?
QUESTION: Since Jeferson's spent a lot of time on that, I think he probably should go first.
NACIF: Yes, I had the opportunity to be the chairman of that on the WCIT article on cybersecurity, and then again now in Busan, and being chairman of Resolution 130. And it was very challenging (inaudible) and we could at the end find common ground on the text in 2012, as well. That text was quite simple. It was just one paragraph in the ITRs (ph). But now it's a huge resolution, 130, and with different visions.
Some countries want — use that ITU could be a platform in which countries could actually implement more and more in terms of cooperation and having ITU to be as an intermediary among different organizations and have an ITU as a support to implement CIRTs, to implement national cybersecurity strategies.
So ITU is doing a lot about that. And it's important for developing countries to have ITU doing that, because actually they don't have capacity-building to do so, and they want ITU to help them to implement those capacity-buildings and to further these thirty issues that would be quite difficult for them to entrust all the organizations, if not in international organizations to do so. So there is a kind of trust in the scenario that some developing countries really bear on ITU to do that.
So — but there is actually a huge difference on what ITU and what an international organization can do in terms of cybersecurity. You know that with this action line number five, C-5 action line, put ITU as a leading facilitator of this issue, the cybersecurity issue, and some countries think that on ITU, in conjunction with all the organizations, ITU has to implement more and do more, and, of course, my opinion, Brazil opinion, is that we — ITU was entrusted within those lines to do that, and so ITU should perform with all the organizations, such as UNODC and Human Rights Commissions, and so on, so that we can cope with a broader scope of cybersecurity.
But there are many differences. And the lines are quite difficult to find in terms of cybersecurity.
SRIDHAR: Explain for people quickly, before we turn to Eric and Andrea, in your mind, what is the practical impact of the update? So just to give people an idea of the framework of the treaty, there's the main treaty, and then attached to the treaty are resolutions on a variety of topics, including one which is on cybersecurity. That's Resolution 130. And Jeferson chaired the group that developed updates to that resolution.
So explain to people sort of what you think are the practical impacts. What's going to be different over the next four years as a result of the updates that were agreed, if anything?
NACIF: Yes, actually, countries started the discussion with high demands. And because of the negotiation and because there we had a good mood at the end, countries just gave up their positions or they exchanged those positions or exchanged or changed those lines and those phrases, so that we could have at least the resolution approved and amended. But actually, we don't see the resolution now as two different resolution as we had.
In 2010, we had a huge debate in this resolution again, and there were many modifications, but now modifications were more subtle. And I don't see differences — huge differences on what ITU is going to do for the next cycle that it's not been done in the previous cycle.
SRIDHAR: Any comments on cybersecurity?
GLORIOSO: I would simply say that — on the one hand, and Jeferson mentioned it, we have to realize that the ITU has been doing activities in the field of cybersecurity in terms of capacity-building, so not operational cybersecurity, which it hasn't been doing and shouldn't be doing, in our view, but it has been doing capacity-building activities for a long time.
And among the reasons why, because it was entrusted with this task by the WSIS, at the World Summit on Information Society, which was, by the way, for those who are not familiar, it was a decision taken at the level of heads of state and government, so the highest possible political decision that can be taken.
Having said that, I think that just like the Resolution 130 on cybersecurity, in many other resolution, the changes, the minor changes that were introduced were, as I'm saying, minor, so the situation at the IT level has not changed very much.
What I think is more interesting, and I suspect what Adam was trying to get at in order to complicate everybody's lives, is there are different understandings of what cybersecurity means. That is a reality that we had to face, because there are parts of the world and there are certain countries which interpret the notion of cybersecurity or information security as they call it, as touching upon questions of content and control of content, which, for example, is not the position of the European Union at all.
As you might be aware, the European Union has adopted a few months back its European cybersecurity strategy, and in there, we state very, very clearly that whatever — I mean, we have our ideas on how cybersecurity should be conducted, but whatever idea other people and other countries might have, from our point of view, the respect for human rights, including freedom of expression in that context, is paramount.
Perhaps one step that might be taken, and it is being taken, not necessarily at the ITU, but in this particular moment at the OSCE, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, is to work together to better understand the terminology. What do we mean when we use the term cybersecurity? What do we mean when we use the term cyber attack, and so on and so forth? This is a word that is being conducted, if I remember correctly, I think it was sponsored by the Swiss government and I think it was conducted by the New America Foundation here in D.C., but I would have to double check that.
I'm mentioning that, because when there are disagreements on such core issues such as cybersecurity — and let's be clear, cybersecurity is a core issue for everybody, not only for governments, not only for countries, but for citizens, for the private sector, for everybody.
So when there are disagreements, and core disagreements, perhaps a good first step — and perhaps something which the ITU could also contribute to — is to understand each other and the terminology so that we don't find ourselves two years down the road and realize — as sometimes happens between people — that we have actually been talking about completely different things, so we have absolutely no agreement on how to move forward.
OSIAKWAN: Yeah, I think that — so the issue of cybersecurity is very broad. As my colleagues have said, I think there are things that fall within the remit of the ITU and there are things that the ITU is doing, capacity-building and helping some member countries creating an awareness et cetera which is important.
But I think that — you know, I (inaudible) — that there needs to be some understanding of what this big monster is and who is tackling what part of it, and how do we connect the dots, because they fall in different jurisdictions, but they must in some way work together eventually, so I think the future of this is going to look a little bit more complicated, but eventually there will be some clarity, there will be some understanding and some common understanding on elements and who is doing what.
SRIDHAR: So Audrey, I think, had her hand up, and then there was a gentleman in the front.
QUESTION: Thanks. Audrey Plonk with Intel Corporation. I just want to go back to the question before Adam's about open versus controlled, because there was a disconnect between the question asked and the interpretation of the question by the panel. So I believe you asked the question about countries lining up behind openness or behind control and then the responses were to openness versus being closed. And it seems to me there's a difference between closed and controlled. And I'm wondering if you might talk about that a little bit.
GLORIOSO: I would love to do that, but I would like to know what you think is the difference between closed and controlled.
QUESTION: I'm not on the panel.
No, that's not fair. So I think that the risk — it seems like — is that we oversimplify the sort of very black-and-white picture of things that people are either — everything is either open or everything is either closed. And I — and the reality of how both technology and the Internet works is there's — there's some amount of control everywhere. It just depends on what you mean by control. And there's some amount of openness. And so I think we do ourselves a bit of a disservice if we talk about everything in very stark terms.
And so the concept of control is very different than the concept of something being closed. Closed means perhaps you don't have access to it, certain people don't have access to it, perhaps it's not connected to the broader Internet. And I think that's what people worry about when they talk about balkanization.
Control is a very different thing. It's a very different thing that saying one can't have access. It might be something more about what kind of access you have, under what conditions, those sorts of things. So I just — I wanted to note the seeming disconnect between how the question was, I think, posed and how the panel interpreted it.
GLORIOSO: Can I take this? So thank you very much for providing your interpretation. That's good, because we actually agree that, yes, indeed, there is a difference between a closed system and a controlled system. And I also agree that, at the end of the day, there is no phenomenon in human life, no society that is completely uncontrolled and completely open, no society, and the Internet is part of society, can function in that manner.
The question there is, who applies the control? Under which conditions? With which transparency and which accountability? And there you might argue that there are — at least in my view — there are the vision, if you want to call it that way, between different parts of the world and between societies that see control as something that is necessary at the end of the day, but should be done in a transparent and accountable way, and societies which see control or government which is control in a much more un-transparent way, mirrors quite closely the division between societies that see openness as a value or society that sees openness as (inaudible).
So from that point of view, even though I recognize that you give a very good contribution to unpack the concept, and it is true that closed and controlled are not the same thing, but in practical terms, I'm not entirely sure that I see a huge difference. If I look at the map of the world, I'm not sure that I see a huge difference in terms of this division between open and closed or open and controlled societies.
To clarify, I think that the societies that are closed also tend to be more controlled in a way which is not transparent and not accountable, while societies that are open and that want an open Internet, they still have control, because that is necessary, but they do it in a way that is more accountable and more transparent at the end of the day, with all limits of the case, and that doesn't mean that we should rest on our laurels, we should just trust our governments. You know, God save us from that. But the division is there, and we should recognize it.
SRIDHAR: Either of you? OK, over to you.
QUESTION: Thank you. Fred Tipson. I'm with the U.S. Institute of Peace. Let me push back even harder, because I think this discussion becomes very unreal in talking about open and closed. We don't even agree in the United States what open means. I wouldn't necessarily accept my own government's definition of what the open Internet — with respect to privacy issues and counterterrorism and criminal prosecutions and so forth.
Google, I'm not sure I want to rely on Google to determine what stays up on YouTube. I mean, there are all sorts of issues about openness that we really need to get into, because they're the essence and there are life-and-death consequences for some of our choices.
We can't agree with Australia on database and clouds. And, you know, there are all kinds of important issues we need to confront. And calling it a debate between open and closed to me just avoids those very important choices that governments are making and the kinds of conversations that need to go on among governments in these various forms. Thank heaven the ITU isn't going to take on all of them, but we need a stronger multilateral process of debate, because we have serious disagreements among Europe and the United States and various other countries, not to mention with China, Russia and others.
So let's go there, rather than this grand discussion between whether we're open people or closed people.
SRIDHAR: Responses or thoughts?
GLORIOSO: Yes, I do have a response to that, and I apologize for taking the floor immediately again, but I do actually agree. And I said it during the panel, that I want one year from now to come back here and say we have done discussion and action of substance. So I completely agree with you.
I am not sure that this panel — but it's — I'm not the moderator — I am a panelist, as one of our colleagues there reminded me — but I'm not the moderator, so it's not up to me to decide the specific constraints of the topic of discussion here, and that discussion will take us also long time, and I'm happy to have a beer with you or any other kind of beverage to discuss that.
But I will say one thing, that — two things, actually. The first is that I do not believe that there are such major differences when we talk about what is — what are our values between Europe and the U.S. There are differences, but I do not think that they're that major, and we would do well to keep that in mind, especially when we go to the global stage and we're faced with countries which have way more differences from Europe and the U.S. than between Europe and the U.S.
And a second thing that I would say that ultimately I think that you can apply very easily a litmus test to understand whether a country or a government or a society is open or not, which is if you can ask that question, because there are countries in which simply asking the kind of question, as you know very well, considering the organization that you work for, there are countries in which simply asking that sort of question will make you end up in jail. And that is not the case of the U.S. or Europe, not for the countries or the panelists that I am sitting with.
SRIDHAR: Either of you? OK. I think we have one more question and then we'll probably have to wrap up.
QUESTION: Good morning. My name is Peter Dengate-Thrush. I'm the former chairman of InternetNZ. Just to declare my credentials, the motto of InternetNZ is "an open and uncapturable Internet." So I'm on that side of the camp.
I'm also the immediate past chairman of ICANN, where I led most of my time at ICANN in the effort to improve transparency and accountability, including the ATRT1 exercise, which led eventually to the affirmation of commitments. So, again, that's where I come from.
I think the answer to some of this is actually just to come back to a point that Andrea made, which is why there was greater flexibility and cooperation at the ITU was because of the success that most of us had at Busan of keeping the ITU out of most of the Internet-related material. And I think that's something that we started with, but have moved away from.
Most of the resolutions where the Internet activity of the ITU was going to be increased were rejected. So what's going to happen as a result of that is not — the discussions are going to move somewhere else. In fact, they're going to move — I hope — to places where open and accountable processes and democratic, legitimate representation issues are openly discussed.
So I think that's been the consequence. That's why there was openness at the ITU. And that's perhaps in answer to your question. It's not a sign that the ITU is going to take these issues on in a more open and accountable way. The ITU is going to move out of these issues. Where they're going to move to, I think, is the exciting topic. Thanks.
SRIDHAR: Any of you have views on where these conversations might also take place or might move or other reactions to Peter's thoughts?
NACIF: I think that is — as Eric said, the more conversations that we can have about Internet governance, the more conversations we have about privacy and openness, and now net neutrality is the issue that is in the headlines, the better.
So for a country like Brazil, the more questions that we had, the better process, the better regulation we have, the better proposals we have in terms of law, that's what happened when we approved the Internet civil framework. We had many, many discussions before having it approved by the Congress.
So it's important for us to talk and to find commonalities so that we can have better process and better results of these discussions, no matter it's ITU or IGF. What we really need is — is an open debate, fruitful results at the end.
GLORIOSO: Just briefly in response to Peter Dengate-Thrush's remark, first of all, what the ITU will or will not do, as was mentioned repeatedly, is a decision of its membership. And to understand what the ITU will or will not do, you just have to look at (inaudible) 400 pages — I think it's more or less the final act of the plenipotentiary, and there you get all the — all the — everything the ITU is supposed to do or not to do.
But I stress this, because sometimes there is this concept that the ITU as an organization decides autonomously what to do or what not to do, and that is simply not the case.
And, secondly, I do think that many of the conversations that some countries wanted and still want to have at the ITU are better placed elsewhere in other organizations, which are — which have been resources or better understanding of how the Internet works. That is fine, but with two caveats.
The first is that those are the organizations which include, to be absolutely clear, ICANN, but it's not limited to ICANN, also have to understand that they have to communicate with U.N. agencies, such as the ITU, that they have to keep in mind that they are not the central of the world, either. If you're in an ecosystem, if you're in a pluralistic system, everybody has a role to play and there has to be communication between the various organizations.
And, secondly — and I think I did mention this during our conversation, we also had to keep in mind that we had to be a bit cautious, I think, in multiplying the fora of conversation, because it's very easy to say that — and I'll just make one example — privacy or cybersecurity should be discussed, is being discussed, as a matter of fact, in at least three, four or five different regional or international public or private organization.
But if you really want to engage the citizens at the end of the day, if you really want to engage governments which are supposed to represent their citizens, but also the end users, you cannot expect these people to participate in twenty-five meetings in five different parts of the world across the year. So what we believe that should also be one of our priorities is also to come up with better technological systems to allow people to participate more effectively to these discussions, to understand what is being debated where, what is important for me.
I mean, this is a debate that we're having with participatory democracy and open government around the world. And we — at the commission, we see no reason why we cannot have the same discussion and we cannot develop the same or similar tools also when it comes to international discussion.
If the purpose is to be really inclusive and to involve as many people as possible, which I know is certainly a joint objective of the U.S. and of Europe, and I'm sure also the countries where my partner comes from, my co-panelists come from.
SRIDHAR: Eric, last word?
OSIAKWAN: Well, I agree with Peter. And I think that on that front, for example, if you take the ICANN process, my view is that I think we need to make the process better. How do we get more people — get more inclusion? How do we get it more broad-based? How do we — as Andrea said, you know, the kind of people who can afford five meetings a year and all over the world, but how can we make sure that we can get these people involved?
And I think it's about improving the processes of engagement. And it's not just for ICANN, but for the other organizations that have different issues that they're discussing. You need to be self-evaluating and saying, how better can we do this? And I think by doing that, we'll create a better world and we'll be able to deal with the issues.
SRIDHAR: Great. Well, thank you all for joining me in this discussion. I really appreciated it. Thank you all for the wonderful questions. And I think with that, we'll wrap.