By Kladjola Spahiu, alumna of SEEDIG Youth School – Class of 2020
SEEDIG is an environment where students can meet and interact with professionals in the Internet and digital policy sphere. The reason behind the success of a programme such as the Youth School lies in the fact that Internet governance can be included in a wide range of subject areas. The discussion topics are endless and with the latest developments in the today’s world there is much to discuss not only through the course but also through forums. My journey with the SEEDIG Youth School brought me into the complex world of the Internet governance and made me further research into the topic.
The online course and debates were an entertaining form of getting a better picture of what Internet governance is. Each stakeholder group holds a certain role in the development of the Internet, in its policies and its standards, giving us the Internet that we know today. As the divisions and subdivisions of the Internet governance are never-ending, the course was a start point on the possibilities for further development, studies and researches. It untangled the role of each autonomous groups starting from civil society, the private sector, governments, the academic and research communities (technical communities) and national and international organisations. Furthermore, it guided me into getting a perception of the classification of Internet governance issues and how I can further analyse such matters. A unique part of the experience was the possibility of having a meeting with representative of organisations such as ICANN, Internet Society and RIPE NCC.
For me as a lawyer it was pleasant to be part of discussions on the legal aspect of Internet Issues. The protection of users or else consumers is quite important even in the cyber world. There are quite a lot of issues to analyse in the area of Privacy and Data Protection, Human Rights, Cybercrime, Copyright, Trademark and much more. Taking in consideration that the Internet is not run by any one stakeholder, most disputes in these topics can be difficult to solve as the rules are different on a certain territory or state.
With the new challenges right now, the issue of privacy seems to spark more debates. A recent event which has significant implications for the consumers was the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/67 implemented in the European Union. The Regulation raised a standard regarding the protection of privacy and personal data of EU citizens, but also indicated the way tech companies operate in the territory of the Union. Shortly after the EU implemented the regulation, it became a model for many national laws outside the EU, such as Brazil, Chile, Japan, South Korea, Kenya and Argentina. Even the state of California drafted the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which had similarities with the GDPR.
In the context of human rights on the Internet, privacy continues to be in focus. Extrapolating, once can think of the right to be left alone; the right to be left in peace; or the right to determine when, how and to what extent personal data can be shared with others. The state has the duty to ensure the protection of human rights. Certain waivers from such rights can only be provided by the state in cases where it is written in the law, it is proportional and necessary to achieve the aim.
As seen, Internet governance is a wide sphere that intersects with different other disciplines relevant for the users. Furthering the knowledge on Internet governance allows users to be more aware of what Internet is but also to create an opinion and maybe be active through Internet Governance Forums and further discuss Internet issues.
For the upcoming participants of such experience, the SEEDIG summer school would not only be a place to advance their knowledge on Internet governance, but also as a space to exchange opinions, get in touch with new colleges, and explore opportunities.
Kladjola is currently a master student at University of Tirana, Faculty of Law, but she also had the chance to be an exchange student at Masaryk University and Sapienza Università di Roma. Through her study years she has taken part in various non-formal education programmes, training and researches. These experiences combined with her professional journey have boosted her passion for International Law, European Union Law and Human Rights Law.