Dynamic Coalition on Core Internet Values

Meeting type: 
Dynamic Coalition
Meeting Description: 

The objective of the dynamic coalition on Core Internet Values is to debate and find answers to fundamental questions such as “What is the Internet? What makes it what it is? What are its architectural principles? What are the core principles and values? And what is happening to the core values in the process of its evolution? What is it that needs to be preserved and what changes are inevitable? The coalition would seek answers and define the Core Internet Principles and Values.

Reported by: 
Sivasubramanian M
A brief substantive summary and the main events that were raised: 

The third meeting of the Dynamic Coalition on Core Internet Values at IGF Baku was chaired by the Internet Society President and included on its panel Nick Ashton-Hart, Sebastien Bachollet, Vint Cerf, Sivasubramanian Muthusamy, Alejandro Pisanty and Paul Wilson. The Dynamic Coalition on Core Internet Values is organised to debate on questions such as “What makes the Internet what it is?  What are its architectural principles?  What are some of its core principles and values and what's happening to them in the process of Internet's evolution?” The discussion on Core Values is about openness, transparency, collaborative processes, bottom up, local processes that is embodied in the RIR processes and the distributed nature which is central to how work gets done across the Internet ecosystem. Over time, some of those principles and values have been threatened, with or without intent. Changes happening all around us - regulations that are proposed, legislation underway - threaten to alter the core values considerably.  Internet is new to us and Internet is new to governments so there are several departments handle different policy aspects of Internet, often without sufficient coordination between the departments. For example, in Germany,  six different ministries, in France, three ministries. Core Internet values are harmed when policy changes / proposals [for example India's proposal] are made with insufficient coordination, with inadequate understanding of how the Internet works.  Also, different countries, democratic or not democratic, come up with a decision to make a law every time there is some trouble on the Internet, adding one law on top of another. Internet as a single global accessible network that links every point of the Internet to every other point. It is a neutral network, where the Internet - the actual infrastructure of the Internet - is separate from and can be separated from the applications and the content that run across it.  These and other values are enabled both by the original design of the Internet and the way that it has been maintained. The only reason why the Internet has been  absolutely the only reason that the Internet has been so successful is because of the values that are either implicit or explicit in the way it's been envisioned and the way it's run, so the Internet is thriving. The growth of applications, of content, of usage and the user base of the internet is phenomenal. Today we are doing well. Over time, we might see a sort of fragmentatation of the Internet with more complex interconnections between them than exist today.  That could happen due to policy regulations that start to break the Internet up.  Network neutrality is also under threat. The threats are very concrete.  They are pervasive, they are of a permanent nature, and they are of a recurring nature.  The visible threats interfere with the end to end principle and network neutrality. The values are continuously both being built up and being threatened.  Internet is a general purpose technology that affects everything, not just some things.  It is completely transforming everything about it, and not everyone wants to be transformed. The challenge is to recognize that we need to a have common understanding of the architecture of the Internet and the core characteristics which must be respected in order for it to be used for any purpose everywhere. Social norms for what people use the Internet for will vary widely and there are societies which are not willing to accept a globalized concept of the individual at the same pace as others.  Different cultures are going to define their norms slightly differently even if we don't agree with them, otherwise we will see the Internet balcanized, and see private Internets like in Iran.  How are they able to be able to feel comfortable with the globalized parts of the Internet that do work for them and for everyone else? This is going to be a key policy challenge.  The world has agreed on a common time and there is no sovereignty over time. Why are we conceiving of the Internet based on sovereign nation state boundaries?  Can we get beyond the idea of the nation state? Online, we have the potential to have something different. The notion of sovereignty in a highly connected environment may have to change because actions taken on the sovereign grounds may have impact on others outside of the territory of that sovereign domain. The Minister for Communications and Information Technology of India has felt that the concept of sovereignty is no longer appropriate in the Internet environment.  However, if we want to adopt a non-national kind of environment in the Internet, we have to emulate at least some of the protections that are given to us under the notion of sovereign social contract.  There are a variety of other social order elements that show up in this social contract.  The Internet is created out of real things.  It's made out of abstractions but it arises from a real, physical system and the real physical system does lie inside of nation state boundaries, in the near term, they have the ability to do a certain amount of control. You are not your Avatar. You are you. It's inescapable that the Internet is routed in a physical world.  So if we are going to move away through purely national boundaries to legal jurisdictions, there will have to be some amount of multilateral or global agreement about social norms and at least legal norms that will allow abuses to be dealt with in this cyber environment. There has to be some changes in how laws work on the Internet. Technically the Internet is the transport layer of the Internet.  It is the single global mutual network that allows any point to connect to any other point and actually that thing is what we are working to preserve.  It's one network. Internet has been an enabler.  It's been a facilitator and it's meant different things to different people. Internet is a layered architecture, as you work your way up, you abstract from the behavior of the lower layers.  There are emerging properties that come out of those abstractions. When you get up to the point where you are in the application space, you are in a universe that's nearly unbounded because it's an artifact of software.  The consequence of this notion of emergent property is that, on the jurisdictional aspects, how you go about enforcing some practice may vary from one layer to another, which is why, for example, we might tolerate an ITR that's focused on the layers of physical interconnectedness, and then we might not tolerate something that says something about what we can or can not do or say. Order arising out of this abstraction and emergent properties will vary from one layer to another. The Internet has evolved successfully over the last 30 years of its operation primarily because it's a regulation-free environment.  Most of the decisions that it made are freely made among parties.  The protocols invented and adopted are a consequence of consensus in the IETF and the decisions are entirely open. 

Conclusions and further comments: 

If we are going to move away from the mechanisms that sovereignty gave us, we will have to find a way to reincarnate something like that in the cyberspace environment, if we don't we have no recourse against harms occurring against us in that space.  Something has to be introduced into the cyberspace environment that provides protections and assurances of safety for people who are using that space.  If we had a uniform Internet, we will expect a social contract in that environment. Maybe this is a group that can begin examining what's possible and what is not.  It's pretty clear, though, if you are going to have international agreements that create a kind of homologized legal framework, you will have to go to parts of the UN or a collection of multilateral treaties in order to establish agreement.  I think we will start with the lowest common denominator, simple things.  What does a notarization mean and what does a digital signature mean and if fwe treat content as digital objects, imagine them as bags full of bits-If we thought that it was possible to build mechanisms for access control to those bags of bits, then we might come to a general purpose solution to the problem of copyright. IGFs should have continuous activity. Any policy that affects Internet, has to be taken by consensus in a multi-stakeholder setting because it will affect our future. We could look at this as an Internet Governance movement and not merely a forum.  We could somehow facilitate this process of engagement, disseminate and institutionalize learnings from the IGF.  This coalition could articulate a vision for the fundamentals of the Internet, bring together some of the most brilliant minds.  We could invite them on this exercise, and not only think about Internet as the Transport layer, as it means to technical people, but to think of Internet as what it means to the common man.  It is much bigger than the layer, because Internet is everything for the common man, and come up with a vision and share that vision to governments and other stakeholders. The Core Internet Values Coalition and the Internet Institutions could take efforts to make every corner of the policy making sphere develops sufficient understanding of how the Internet works and how it has to evolve, then most of the policies will be in the proper direction. The coalition could perform an objective risk assessment of strengths and weaknesses, threats classified by their impact and probability and to try to make a rational, assessment. The coalition could have activity between IGFs, happening in different parts of world, expand the participation in our mailing list. In the Internet engineering task force, a design works through the problem and make concrete propositions.  [This Coalition] might pick particular problems and have a design team approach to proposals to solve them. The work could progress on the notion of an Internet Governance movement, to preserve the values that have made the Internet what it has been and should be in the future.  http://coreinternetvalues.org/

Gender Report Card
Please estimate the overall number of women participants present at the session: 
There were very few women participants
To what extent did the session discuss gender equality and/or women's empowerment?: 
It was mentioned briefly in the presentations and discussions
Please include any comments or recommendations you have on how to improve the inclusion of issues related to gender equality and: 

This meeting was chaired by Lynn St.Amour and included two other woman panelists, Desiree Miloshevic who could not attend the session and Fatima Cambronero, who chose not to be seated on stage. The next meetings would include an equal number of panelists from either gender.

Provide the name of the speakers and their affiliation to various stakeholder groups: 

The theme of Core Internet Values was first discussed at the IGF "Workshop on Fundamentals: Core Internet Values" at IGF Egypt. The Dynamic Coaltion was formed following the workshop for continued work on the theme. The first meeting of the Dynamic Coaltion was chaired by Alejandro Pisanty, the second meeting was Co-Chaired by Vint Cerf.  On this theme, there were other events organized by coalition members outside the IGF, including a workshop on Core Internet Values in Business at Chennai, India, led by Dr Olivier Crepin LeBlond.

The third meeting of this Dynamic Coalition,  held at Baku, Azerbaizan,  was chaired by the President of the Internet Society, Lynn St Amour. The meeting exmined the challenges to the Open and Global Internet, define present issues and arrived at recommendations for fair policies for the further evolution of the Internet as a free and open eco-system

Lead participants included Nick Ashton-Hart (Computer and Communications Industry Association), Sebastien Bachollet (At-Large Nominee to the ICANN Board), Fatima Cambroner (Youth Participant),  Vint Cerf (Chief Internet Evangelist of Google),  Sivasubramanian M (Internet Society India Chennai), Alejandro Pisanty (ICANN) and Paul Wilson (Director General, APNIC) with apologies from Desiree Miloshevic (Open Rights Group).


Provide the name of the organiser(s) of the Meeting and their affiliation to various stakeholder groups: 

Sivasubramanian Muthusamy, India, President, Internet Society India Chennai Chapter, affiliated to Civil Society as a participant of the Internet Governance Caucus and ICANN At Large with ample help from the members of the Dynamic Coaltion and from the Internet Society. 

Have you organised a Meeting (Dynamic Coalition, Open Forum, Side Session) before? If yes, please provide links to report(s): 

Report was sent by email

Name of Remote Moderator(s): 

Joly MacFie, New York;