SEEDIG 2015 programme

3 June 2015 | Sofia

Multistakeholder Internet governance: From global debates to
South Eastern European realities

09:00 – 09:30

Welcoming address
  • Valery Borissov, Deputy Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications, Bulgaria
  • Sandra Hoferichter, EuroDIG Secretariat
  • Iliya Bazlyankov, UNICART, Bulgaria
  • Sorina Teleanu, SEEDIG organising committee / Chamber of Deputies, Parliament of Romania

09:30 – 11:00

Internet governance SEEduction
Introduction to Internet governance (“What is Internet governance and why should I care?”)

Internet governance (IG) has been defined as “the development and application by governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet” (Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, WSIS 2005). This definition dates back to 2005, and, since then, the number of regional and international entities and processes that focus on or deal with Internet governance issues has continuously increased. And so has the number of issues that fit under the general term of “Internet governance”. But there are still various stakeholders who are not currently involved in Internet governance processes, and this is in many instances due to a limited awareness and understanding of Internet governance. This is also the case in South Eastern Europe and the neighbouring area. While there is an increasing interest and participation of stakeholders from this region in European and global Internet governance debates and processes, this is still at a relatively low level compared to the participation of stakeholders from Western Europe, for example. And more efforts need to be made in order to reach out to these stakeholders, raise their interest and help them build the capacity to meaningfully participate in Internet governance.

In this context, the introductory session of the SEEDIG is aimed at promoting a better understanding of Internet governance among participants, through: explaining the term “Internet governance” (definition of the term, why and how the term appeared, etc.); explaining the key principles of Internet governance: multistakeholderism, openness, inclusiveness, transparency, accountability, etc; giving brief overviews of several organisations and processes in the Internet governance ecosystem, such as: the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Internet Society (ISOC), the Council of Europe.

Ample time will then be allocated to a dialogue among all participants in the session, around questions such as:

  • What does Internet governance mean for stakeholders in the region? How is the term perceived? How to ensure that, when translating the term into regional languages, the translation does not erroneously give the impression that Internet governance means “control of the Internet”, or that it is something concerning only governments or where only governments have a say?
  • Why is/is not Internet governance relevant for stakeholders in the region?
  • Why is it important for stakeholders in the region to get involved in regional and global IG processes and organisations? What are the main challenges and reasons preventing stakeholders in SEE to participate in regional and global IG processes and organisations? How to deal with these challenges? What motivates those who do get involved?

Keynote speaker (introduction to Internet governance and the Internet Governance Forum): Markus Kummer, Board of Directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN); Advisor to the Chair of the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG)

Key participants:
  • Frédéric Donck, Regional Bureau for Europe, Internet Society (ISOC)
  • Lee Hibbard, Council of Europe
  • Jean-Jacques Sahel, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names an Numbers (ICANN)
  • Tanel Tang, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Estonia

Moderator: Sorina Teleanu, Chamber of Deputies, Parliament of Romania

Remote moderator: Panagiotis Papaspiliopoulos, Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport & Networks, Greece

Rapporteur: Oksana Prykhodko, European Media Platform, Ukraine

11:00 – 11:30

Break

11:30 - 13:00

Multi-SEE model
Multistakeholder Internet governance mechanisms/approaches at national level

Multistakeholderism is a term widely used in connection with “Internet governance”. While it does not have a widely agreed definition, a multistakeholder mechanism is generally seen as an “iterative, open, known, accessible, transparent process, balanced among stakeholders who are seeking rough consensus”. In the realm of Internet governance, a “multistakeholder mechanism is one where all the relevant stakeholders are engaged in making the decisions that affect them” (IGF 2014 Best Practice Forum on Developing Meaningful Multistakeholder Mechanisms).

At global level, multistakeholder mechanisms exist within organisations and process such as the IGF and ICANN. Such mechanisms are also implemented at national level, in various instances: in some countries, relevant country-code top level domains (ccTLDs) are managed and administered by multistakeholder registries, where the various stakeholder groups are represented; in other instances, multistakeholder entities are formed with the aim of guiding the Internet development at the national level; in yet other cases, national IGF initiatives are annually held as open spaces for discussions on key Internet governance issues relevant at a national level.

Multistakeholderism in the context of Internet governance starts to be understood and implemented in countries in South Eastern Europe and the neighbouring area as well. This is despite the fact that, similar to the term “governance”, the term “multistakeholder” also tends to lose some of its meaning when translated into local languages (for example, in some instances, the term is simply narrowed down to mean “multilateralism”). There are ccTLD registries that are based on a multistakeholder model; IGF initiatives have been formed or are in the process of being formed in some countries; and multistakeholder bodies are also being created in order to deal with Internet governance issues at a national level.

In this context, the first part of this session is aimed at:

  • explaining multistakeholder mechanisms, from a theoretical perspective: What are they? How do/should they function?
  • sharing best practices and experiences from the region in terms of developing and implementing multistakeholder mechanisms. Questions to be raised: What motivated the creation of such multistakeholder mechanisms in the region? Have regional and international organisations and processes (such as the IGF, ICANN, European Commission, Council of Europe) played a role here? If so, what role? What were the challenges in building national multistakeholder mechanisms? How were they addressed? How do these mechanisms function nowadays? Are there more challenges?

In the second part, all participants will be invited to discuss about multistakeholder Internet governance (IG) mechanisms at national level, trying to answer questions such as: Do we want multistakeholder IG mechanisms in our countries? Why? Why have some countries succeeded in implementing multistakeholder mechanisms and others have not? Can the few examples shared during the session be replicated in other countries in the region? If yes, how? If not, why?

Keynote speaker (introduction to multistakeholder mechanisms in the Internet governance ecosystem): Thomas Schneider, Federal Office of Communication (OFCOM), Switzerland.

Key participants:

  • Hristo Hristov, Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications, Bulgaria
  • Megan Richards, Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content & Technology, European Commission
  • Grigori Saghyan, Internet Society Armenia
  • Dušan Stojičević, Serbian National Register of Internet Domain Names (RNIDS), Serbia

Moderator: Vladimir Radunović, DiploFoundation, Serbia

Remote moderator: Matei-Eugen Vasile, Association for Technology and Internet, Romania

Rapporteur: Ana Kakalashvili, Tbilisi State University, Georgia

13:00 - 14:00

Lunch

09:30 – 11:00

SEErights
Human rights for Internet users: theoretical approaches vs realities in the region

There is a more and more widely affirmed principle according to which the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online. For example, this principle was affirmed in the United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution on “The promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet” (adopted in July 2012). The European Parliament, in its recent “Resolution on the renewal of the mandate of the Internet Governance Forum” (adopted in February 2015), stressed that “fundamental freedoms and human rights are not negotiable and must be protected both online and offline”. The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers stressed, in its “Recommendation to member States on a Guide to human rights for Internet users”, that “Council of Europe member States have the obligation to secure for everyone within their jurisdiction the human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights. This obligation is also valid in the context of Internet use.”

All these affirmations are laudable, but what happens in reality? Is the Internet really a concern from a human rights perspective? Are human rights equally respected in the offline and the online world? What is the reality in South Eastern Europe and the neighbouring area when it comes to upholding, respecting and implementing human rights for Internet users? How are the legally guaranteed human rights (such as the right to privacy and personal data protection – especially in the context of big data – , freedom of expression and freedom of the media, freedom of assembly, free access to information) respected and promoted in the online space by governments, private companies and regular Internet users? Are there violations of such human rights? Are there remedies available when human rights are violated online? Is there a need for new commitments, mechanisms and tools? What are the most pressing challenges stakeholders in this region face with regard to human rights for Internet users? How can they be addressed, in a multistakeholder, bottom-up approach, where the different interests and rights at stake are given equal consideration? How can countries in the region move from theoretical approaches to actual implementation when it comes to human rights for Internet users? Are there similar challenges faced in these countries? If yes, what are those challenges and what makes them common to the region? And could they be addressed in a coordinated manner? If so, how? Can the Council of Europe Guide respond to such a need for a coordinated/similar approach in the region and can it be used to help the domestic implementation of human rights online? If so, what actions can/should be put in place by governmental entities, the private sector and the civil society to actively support this? Moreover, can the Guide become a tool for online service providers in the exercise of their social corporate responsibility?

These are some examples of questions that will be raised during this session. As a starting point, an introduction would be given to the Council of Europe “Guide to Human rights for Internet users”. Participants will then engage into an interactive discussion that would be aimed at highlighting the realities in the region and at trying to identify possible approaches for a way forward.

Keynote speaker (introduction to the Council of Europe Guide to human rights for Internet users): Elvana Thaçi, Council of Europe

Key participants:

  • George Dimitrov, Internet&Law Foundation, Bulgaria
  • Rade Dragović, Directorate for eGovernment, Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, Serbia
  • Bogdan Manolea, Association for Technology and Internet, Romania, member of the MAPPING project
  • Chris Sherwood, Allegro Group, Belgium

Moderator: Valentina Pellizzer, Oneworld – Platform for Southeast Europe (OWPSEE) Foundation, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Remote moderator: Naser Bislimi, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Rapporteurs:

  • Valentina Pavel, Association for Technology and Internet, Romania
  • Plamena Popova, University of Library Studies and IT, Bulgaria
  •  

15:30 - 16:00

Break

16:00 - 17:30

IDN SEEssion
The domain name space in South Eastern Europe – the case of IDNs

“What is the difference between a registry, a registrar and a registrant?” This is a question that would put many Internet stakeholders in difficulty. We use the Internet, we type urls, we sometimes register domain names, but often we do not know too much about how the domain name system (DNS) really works. We sometimes don’t even quite understand what the DNS acronym stands for. The first part of this session is therefore aimed at explaining, in simple terms, the key concepts behind the DNS, as well as the roles and responsibilities of the various actors involved in the management and administration of domain names. Some of the issues that will be touched upon include: a brief history of the DNS; explanations of what domain names, gTLDs and ccTLDs are and how they function; the roles and responsibilities of ICANN, regional Internet registries, domain name registries, registrars and registrants.

The second part of the session will be focused on a domain name-related issue particularly relevant for many countries in South Eastern Europe and the neighbouring area – the Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs). Through the introduction of IDNs, ICANN has created the possibility of having top level domains (both ccTLDs and gTLDs) in different scripts (e.g.Chinese, Arabic, Cyrillic), compared to the previous limitation of having such top level domains only in the Latin alphabet. IDNs thus contribute to making the Internet more inclusive, as the possibility of accessing and registering domain names in more languages and scripts empower more people to use the Internet. This opportunity is extremely relevant for users in South Eastern Europe and the neighbouring area, given the diversity of scripts (for example Latin, Cyrillic, Georgian, Armenian), as well as the fact that some languages, although based on the Latin alphabet, also include characters with diacritical marks (such as in Turkish, Romanian, Croatian, Slovenian, etc.). In some countries, IDN ccTLDs have been implemented (Belarus, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovenia, Ukraine, etc.) or are in the process of being implemented (Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, etc.), while other countries have announced their intention to implement IDNs in the future (such as Montenegro). In addition, there are also several IDN gTLDs registered from within the region (.сайт “.website”, .онлайн “.online”, .москва “.moskva”, etc.). But there is a need to raise more awareness and promote a better understanding of IDN-related issues in the region.

In this context, the aim of this second part of the session is to explain the concept of IDNs, as well as the motivations behind its introduction, and to allow for an exchange of experience and best practices from IDNs already implemented and in the course of being implemented. Ample space will be allocated for discussions among all participations on such issues and on others that are related to the implementation, use and acceptance of IDNs (opportunities, challenges, ways forward, etc.).

Keynote speakers:

  • Introduction to domain names: Yuriy Kargopolov, Ukrainian Network Information Center
  • Introduction to IDNs: Vojislav Rodić, Serbian National Register of Internet Domain Names (RNIDS), Serbia

Key participants:

  • Iliya Bazlyankov, Unicart, Bulgaria
  • Lianna Galstyan, Internet Society Armenia
  • Moderator: Dušan Stojičević, Serbian National Register of Internet Domain Names (RNIDS), Serbia
  • Remote moderator: Hovhannes Aghajanyan, Internet Society Armenia
  • Rapporteur: Aleksandar Ichokjaev, Popovski Law Office, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

17:30 – 18:00

Conclusions & Final remarks
  • Session summaries, presented by the rapporteurs
  • Final remarks, led by Aida Mahmutović, Oneworld – Platform for Southeast Europe Foundation, Bosnia and Herzegovina