Internet Governance

Can mobile ‘Apps’ create a new golden age of Accessibility?

Summary and Discussion of workshop 182, Room 5, 11.30 – 13.30: Tuesday.

This workshop was titled “Can mobile ‘Apps’ create a new golden age of Accessibility?” which was held to discuss the nature of provisions being made to aid access for the disabled to coincide with the development of today’s modern media, with special regard to mobile Apps.

While several workshops dealt with the issue of providing access to the disabled, I felt this particular workshop was one-of-a-kind as it actually discussed the aid’s in existence right now and attempted to seek to explore how these modifications had been made to every day web pages or mobile phone apps that provided tremendous help. I also felt this workshop did aim to truly call the internet to recognize that as the internet’s capabilities and achievement’s of development improve, we need to recognise that the aid’s to enable access to these capabilities and also to utilize the abilities of the web are required to improve to maintain harmonization.

The Workshop was panelled by Charles Jonathan (Mr.)Mehta Arun (Mr.)

Mister Patrick Foster from CISCO, Arun Mehta, Shadi Abou-Zahra from the W3C and Garrett Ford Williams from the BBC.

Each panellist gave a very informative speech focusing on each aspect of aid’s to access for the disabled that could and are available. Mister Williams from the BBC explained the BBC’s point on how they strive to achieve the most suitable provisions while Mister Abou-Zahra also called on a development of standardization of library’s to provide a uniform interface for all, be it even competitors, of development of interfaces for disabled. Mister Arnoud Aart Theodurus provided a live demonstration and explanation of the possibilities and helpfulness of Real Time Text ( where text is immediately send and displayed to the fellow member of the conversation. The foundation Read-Time Text Taskforce mission was to ensure we have a source of harmonized text communication solutions, just as available as voice, especially to those who need it most.  Arnoud Aart Theodurus also called for all mobile apps to be tested personally by those people who use it, not just those who understand it, as clearly they will have a much better judgment of its good and bad points.  This was later also reinforced by Arun Mehta from India who works with a focus on helping Disabled Children. Arun also pushed for the people with the particular disability that the App/aid is being developed for to actually work on the team developing it, clearly much more beneficial. Arun also brought the case of  a woman in India (where Autism isn’t deemed a s a disability) wrote to the government as her daughter was so very effected by the Autism Condition pleading for it to be recognized. Arun then informed us that this woman was denied help/funds with the reason being “it would take away funds and services for disabilities that required it”.

Andrea (the chair) also followed up on Arnoud to justify and explain the absolute necessity of interoperability between real time text to efficiency allow real time conversations with immediately delivered messages Andrea similarly called for the desperate need for proprietary standards for real time text to be introduced to the Internet and VOIP, etc. Andrea also made a plug for the great advantages and suitability of Gunners outreach 112 which allows conversations in 20 separate countries.

A question I posed to the panel, specifically the employee of the BBC Mister Williams who’s pain responsibility is to ensure and help provide access for those in need of aid to view or access the BBC’s product (TV shows, internet pages, etc) caused a slight commotion; “When developing aid’s for the disables, which disability do you prioritize?” Though I appreciate the complexity of the issue, especially regarding the panel’s reaction to what I had just asked, my aim of the question was to draw attention to the issue of certain disabilities routinely being prioritized over others, especially regarding learning from Arnoud that people with hearing impairments were routinely ignored when seeking aid. In spite of the difficulty of the issue I had mentioned, I must commend Mister Williams who genuinely attempted to explain that though they attempt to provide access to all, there must be several considerations made. I expected these considerations to be explained as a “the needs of the many out weight the needs of the few” comparison however I was happily surprised to be wrong. Mister Williams explained the rationale that we will always be limited by technical restrictions regarding the creation of “Aid apps” or providing ease of access. If providing subtitles is easier, faster and will be successfully accomplished faster than for example providing access for a child with severe learning disabilities, then these technical aspects must be considered. Mister Williams did however reassure myself and the rest of the work shop that there are always seeking to provide 100% access, including the hypothetical child with learning disabilities. I’m glad to mention that the Mister Williams also mentioned that the BBC reached 100% subtitle coverage of all their programs recently, so I hope to see many more wonderful achievements to come.

During the workshop, it was quite unfortunate while simultaneously quite an irony that the captioning of the speakers was interrupted several times with the malfunctioning of the captioning being provided, once for several minutes, forcing the Workshop to be halted until captioning could be continued. This was especially necessary as one of the Panellist’s is deaf, (Arnaud Aart Theodurus). In reflection of last year where no workshops had captioning available,  I understand and appreciate the monumental achievement of inclusion that the IGF has taken with ensuring the provision of Captioning this year. I myself used captioning several times during this workshop and the IGF conference overall in spite of no disability however especially during this workshop, my own wireless connection was also repeatedly disrupted and I was not able to utilize the benefit of being of able to review what had been previously said by the panel which I found especially helpful when I had trouble understanding accents. Luckily, being able to access captioning wasn’t an absolute necessity for me, but for others, especially Arnaud Aart Theodurus,  this could potentially have been a huge problem.

I felt this workshop was an excellent success and it was wonderful that it took place at the 5th IGF meeting and hopefully will return in the IGF meetings to come in the future. A point made which I believe is very suitable to conclude with is that quality rather than box ticking, main stream application and can enhance the web for everybody.

Internet Governance

Remote participation and some other stuff

On September 16 I experienced the remote participation moderation for the first time. Earlier I had the experience of organizing a remote hub for EuroDIG in Madrid, but to do moderation from the IGF itself – this was for the first time. The remote participation for the workshop # 26 was as active, as the offline discussions in the full room.

The session was about Teaching IG – Experience of Schools on IG and panelists gave the coverage of schools, organized during last three years in the world. Being the Alumnus of the First Summer School on IG in Miessen (Germany) back in 2007, I found out that  lot of development took place since that time. We were the first and so called the experimental group, and since that many young people joined schools’ alumni team.   

During the session 3 remote hubs joined the discussions: HUB from Albania, Pakistan and Cote D’Ivoire. It seems that there is a lot of interest of organizing such schools both in West Africa and Pakistan. The remote participation made possible to connect with those people who really are key in supporting those countries to organize such schools. This shows that IGF provides opportunity not only to people who are phisycally present here in Vilnius, but also provide the floor for future development to people, who can join online and take the advantage of being “present” at the IGF discussions.

The last day of IGF was interesting since the beginning. Early in the morning I participated in the session “German IGF”. The most interesting part of the session was the participation of two German Parliamentarians directly from Berlin (through German remote hub), who answered the questions raised from the auditorium (and was nice to see one of the ISOC Ambassadors to ask a question from Vilnius to them) and also ask questions to people, sitting here. This is a good example of how big is the country’s Government’s involvement and how important it is for developing countries’ Governments to see and to use the example.

IGF provides a lot of learning ground to be used in future in our local communities and great appreciations to ISOC for providing me such opportunity to learn.

Internet Governance

Workshop #66 – The Future of Privacy: ISOC takes the lead in IGF 2010 with statement on the Future of Privacy


Internet Governance

More on Cloud Computing…

Perhaps it was the fact that cloud computing is a big issue or that there was a Kenyan speaker on the panel or simply that the invitation to this workshop had the Kenyan coat of arms on top. Whatever the reason, Workshop No58 on Implications of Cloud Computing in the IGF today seemed to attract a lot of Kenyan participation, both in situ and remotely.

The idea of the workshop was to focus on developing country perspectives and true to that, there were pointed questions on the same. A remote participant from Kenya asked, “Can Kenya Support a cloud infrastructure and how soon? What will be the relationship between government and corporations in implmentation of the cloud?” Others were interested to know whether it is better to have data centres locally or abroad and the progress that had been made in making the prerequisite legal and security mechanisms.

The panellists made a good attempt to give pointed responses but it emerged that this is one of the areas where not all is clear. For instance, while many agreed that the legal and security challenges associated with data storage which is integral in cloud computing are complex, there was a general agreement that this was the direction of the future. Solutions therefore have to be worked out. On the other hand business practitioners were of the view that cloud computing is mostly associated with big corporations because of the trust they have built through their brands and small enterprises will consequently face a harder time getting into the cloud.

Apparently, developing countries face many challenges in this field: cloud computing (CC) requires bandwidth and network resources- many developing countries do not have adequate access let alone the speeds required for comfortable uploads and downloads. Again, data centres call for skilled personnel, capacity which these countries lack. The issue of infringement of civil liberties is also very key as privacy, among other rights, can be easily infringed. So why would a developing country want to adopt cloud computing?

The panellists presented as case for cloud computing as the future. This is because business is moving to models that treat Internet services as products presented as a package to customers. Governments, businesses and individuals do not need to be concerned about softwares and hardware but rather about products or solutions for their business problems. It was also noted that cloud computing presents an opportunity for use of cheaper open source softwares that are good for developing countries. Additionally, CC can use open standards that prevent vendor locking, affording more choice for the consumer.

Was a balance found between the merits and demerits? Many attempts were made at this. One speaker even suggested that we should adopt a model of an orbit where every counrty is allocated a cloud and operators would approach countries for a share of space in the cloud!

However, in the end Kenyans left without getting an answer to the age old question of fair division of Internet revenues- Cloud computing directs traffic outside of Kenya, (as opposed to Internet Exchange Points) thereby losing revenue, and in fact costing the country. Be that as it may, the interest in this topic will continue beyond the IGF as more ideas come to the fore….private versus public clouds and their interrelation being just one among them.

Internet Governance

Captions oh Captions

I have been to many conferences the last 10 years. For a deaf person like me that is not the easiest activity to do. The biggest challenge for me has always been to get the sessions and presentations I like to attend captioned. I am able to lip-read and understand most people when the conversation is 1 on 1. But a speaker who is presenting his/her speech, or where the audience gives feedback or asks questions, for me that is simply impossible as a lip-reader. I only have 2 eyes and a limited amount of energy. My eyes would simply explode.

I joined the Dynamic Coalition on “Accessibility and Disability” (DCAD) of the IGF. This Dynamic Coalition has its focus on equal access to Internet and ICT services and as additional task advising the IGF on how to be more accessible for people with Disabilities. So I ended up in Hyderabad, India and Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

The biggest issue was to find enough sponsors to pay for the remote captioning for our 2 workshops (ISOC contributed significantly to the remote captioning, thanks!). The IGF had only the main session captioned. So I could only participate in our own 2 workshops and the main sessions. I felt like having my wings clipped.

Now for the IGF in Vilnius, Lithuania something like a miracle happened…The DCAD was informed that all workshops will be captioned! Mr. Markus Kummer explained to us that the IGF considers accessibility very important and that he believes in the benefit of captioning for all attendees.

He is right. If you are a non-native English speaker, the captions do help you to understand the presentations. Same goes when a non-native English presenter is speaking. The accented English can be harder to understand. The captions will help here.

And for me?

For the first time in my life I can just join any workshop anytime I like and be ABLE to follow the presentations! I do not feel like a clipped duck anymore! My deafness does not limit my participation in the IGF anymore.

Thank you IGF and I hope that this is the beginning of an all inclusive IGF where all people with Disabilities can fully participate and work on an all inclusive and accessible Internet!

Internet Governance

Cloud Computing – Challenges Ahead?

Cloud computing is one of the issues that the IGF has committed to understanding during this week’s meetings. As I am from a telecommunications background, I certainly find it a very interesting topic. The increasing use of cloud based products creates some interesting challenges for telecommunications network operators, who will be increasinly relied upon to provide ubiquitous, reliable and quality connections to users of cloud based services. I believe that cloud computing represents a great opportunity to increase access to internet services, by simultaneously increasingly the availability of software products and platforms, whilst also minimising the hardware requirements to make use of these.

At today’s workshop on Cloud Computing, the panelists really opened my eyes to some other significant aspects of the nature of this product. Of significance for me was conversations about the need for a rethinking of nations’ approach to regulating privacy, software and data transferral to accomodate the cloud based world that is beginning to emerge. Are our current approaches sufficient to deal with the changes that may be coming, in terms of ever more sensitive personal and corporate data being held in data centres, which may well be in other jurisdictions? What concerns may Governments have about the “sovereignty” of their nation’s information when it is increasingly held in databases that may well be off shore. Will consumers accept what can be perceived as a threat to civil liberties, in having so much information stored and centralised in the hands of what could easily be a small number of multi-national companies? And will our Governments see these stores of information as valuable sources of intelligence in our increasingly paranoid times?

I remain positive about the prospect of cloud computing, but can certainly see many further debates that need to occur as business models develop, and as uptake of services continues to increase. And, I am very glad that I have been able to see and participate in these conversations, in the lovely city of Vilnius!

Internet Governance

Cybercrime Convention

I attended yesterday afternoon the Workshop 23 – Cybercrime – common standards and joint action and I didn`t feel very comfortable about the fact that all panelists shared the same views and the same ideas regarding the Convention of Cybercrime. I don`t mean that they aren’t right (the speakers were really great and they are indeed experts in this field), but I have a feeling that IGF should be the place that we dialogue and If all the speakers share the same idea, there are little space to divergence and the dialogue about different people, countries, continents, ideas, roles and backgrounds is what IGF is all about.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the theme, The Cybercrime Convention is a 2001 treaty from the Council of Europe that was signed and ratified by its countries (not all signed and 13 of the ones that signed didn’t ratified), but also signed or other 4 observers members: US, Canada, Japan and South Africa (ratified only by US) that is available to accession by non-member states.

This is the only biding legal international framework to address cybercrime. It is a great initiative, but the problem is that very few non-members participated in the negotiation and now it is promoted, in my opinion, as the only instrument. So now the states that didn’t discussed are strongly advice to sign and ratify it.

I asked in the workshop if it was the time to all states to negotiate a new instrument and the answers were mainly two: the long amount of time that it can take and the risk that it will stop national process to develop cybercrime legislation. I still think is a valid discussion.

Internet Governance

These are interesting rights…

Why is private data of businesses or bodies corporate held as property yet the private communications of an individual do not get this treatment? By the end of the future of privacy workshop, this was one of the questions that occurred to me.

Enlightening? Certainly. There were generally two views, that either we need the laws to adopt to changing times or that we need need new laws to adopt to these times as far as privacy is concerned. Whatever the case, I heard of rights some of which have never before occurred to me before as rights. These are the rights that are likely to comprise the future of privacy….Here are some:


the right not to be stalked

the right of in large excess

the right not to be bound by a decision taken by a machine

the right to have data erased

the right to oblivion or

the right to be forgotten

the right to be left alone.


How will these rights be achieved and implemented?

Some panelists said there is need to review existing laws, such as the European Convention to incorporate these emerging needs. Others thought that there was need to implement privacy by design technologies. Overall, there was an emphasis on incorporating social aspects in privacy, for example by ensuring transparency and usability in user interfaces.  I thought that as a Kenyan, seeing as we do not yet have adequate privacy and data protection laws, we still have the benefit of experience – we can learn from those who have tried and tested these laws. But fundamentally, we have to let people know that privacy is a right that exists to protect their wellbeing!

While I enjoyed and was enlightened by this forum, I still felt that for the privacy discussion to find a place in my community in Kenya, it would have to be in the context of mobile communications. Mostly because this is a big area as far as personal communications are concerned and also because most of the complaints I have had to do with privacy were related to unwanted text messages . But I realise that the world is growing faster than I, and I should not be surprised to meet people looking to enact the “right not to bound by a decision taken by a machine”

Internet Governance

Some Highlights

Since this is my first blog entry, I would like to sum up the highlights of the first two days of the IGF. This is my second IGF experience after the Hyderabad IGF in 2008 and like I did there, I am trying to follow sessions that are outside the scope of my usual areas of interest (cyberlaw issues) as well, which I find truly eye opening.

On the first day I have attended the workshop on “Use of ICTs by people with immigrant background” and got first hand information on some really interesting practices and experiences that set perfect examples to the fact that the internet can be used perfectly on both ends of the good-evil spectrum. On one hand there were great online initiatives for integrating immigrants to the social system of the host country in a practical and informative manner, whereas on the other some people were using the very same technology to facilitate human trafficking.

Another workshop that I was really impressed with was “Can mobile ‘Apps’ create a new golden age of Accessibility?” with a focus on users with disabilties, in which fellow ISOC Ambassador Arnoud was a panelist and he made a really successful and informative presentation on realtext. The panel showed me how effective mobile applications were not only to simplify everyday life&communication of people wıth disabilities but also integrate them into both the real and the online world. The discussion was so real and it was nice for a change to see people not with egos bigger than themselves coming together to make positive contributions to the society, which is a rare quality in legal discussions…

And back to legal issues, I believe the ISOC workshop on the future of privacy was a success and the discussion was vibrant. Balancing interests and rights in the online world, particularly in the field of privacy is really hard as free speech and privacy, two equally important and fundamental rights are at stake. Participants from multiple stakeholders, which is another fascinating aspect of the IGF as these people are really hard to be brought together in any other place, shared their own views and experiences while looking at the future.

Yesterday afternoon I was a panelist on the UNESCO workshop on “Privacy and Social Networking” and it went fine, apart from the rather unfortunate room selection (maybe it’s a habit of being an academic but I prefer classroom settings) and the distracting noises coming from the open ceilings, which is actually a problem I observed in several other workshops.

I thought it would be a good idea to share my presentation with you so that maybe we can exchange views over coffee…Warning particularly for non-lawyers: it’s kind of long so feel free to stop reading at this point;)


The right to privacy was defined as “the right to be let alone” by Warren and Brandeis in 1890. Although this definition remains valid, it is definitely challenged by social networking. How to protect such a right in an online environment in which the main idea is putting yourself out there, sharing personal information, interacting with others is really tricky. Some even argue that the terms privacy and social networking are absolutely incompatible with each other. I wouldn’t go that far but it is true that social networking presents some unique problems which are rather hard to resolve through existing legal provisions on privacy and data protection.

In the last couple of years, there have been some initiatives to address these problems that resulted in soft law documents, serving as guidelines in setting privacy principles specific to social networking services; such as Safer Social Networking Principles for the EU, the Position Paper on Security Issues and Recommendations for Online Social Networks issued by the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) and Article 29 Data  Protection Working Party’s Opinion on Online Social Netwoking. All of these instruments define the possible privacy risks and threaths in social networking services, establish the roles of the stakeholders involved  and set substantial principles to prevent privacy violations. I will try to follow the same path while adding my humble suggestions and sharing my local experience with you.

Users of social networking services can find themselves in privacy threathening situations mainly in two ways; through content, contacts or conducts coming from others or the very conducts of the users themselves might be self threathening as well. Content that constitutes a privacy violation can be illegal in itself such as hate speech, racist and xenophobic remarks and child pornography or it can be age-inappropriate for young users and children, like sexual or pornographic material. Since under age users consist the majority of the users of social networking services, prevention of such age inappropriate content is crucial. Contacts by others threathening privacy vary from abusive friend requests or sexually explicit messages to unsolicited commercial communications for behavioral targeting. Cyberbullying, cyberstalking and other forms of cyber targeting are examples that first comes to our minds as privacy violating online conducts. Cyberbullying is another issue of particular importance for young users which might result in some serious real life consequences, even suicide, as it happened in the MySpace teen suicide case in the US, in which a 13 year old teenage girl took her own life…

Apart from threaths coming from the outside world, unfortunately, on social networks the users are also perfectly capable of putting themselves at risk by mainly uncautiously disclosing too much personal information- sometimes even sensitive data, although I have to add that this might happen partly due to the complicated privacy settings of some social networking platforms as well…

In order to prevent these threaths there are duties to assign for all of the stakeholders involved. Social networking service providers, the industry in general, governments, regulators, lawmakers, law enforcement officials, as well as the users themselves; not to forget parents, educators and other caretakers of under age users, they all have a role in providing the essential technical, social and legal environment for effective privacy protection. The governments and lawmakers need to provide effective regulation and make sure that they don’t over regulate or hinder the free flow of information and free speech; at this point I should add that I am a firm believer of industry self regulation especially when it comes to privacy protection. Self regulation of technical standards in a manner complementing legislation that sets general standards will provide the best solution and enable flexibility and updates, based on technical developments in a way much faster and more appropriate than imposing detailed state regulation. As perfectly put by the Art. 29 Working Party, such self regulation should also be disciplinary in nature and equipped with effective enforcement measures. Law enforcement officials need to implement these standards to prevent and combat privacy violations through appropriate training and along with other public bodies, they need to work for international cooperation, which is a key element for combatting any kind of illegal online activity as a whole…

Users also need to act responsibly (I keep remembering the bumper sticker saying don’t drink&tweet) and cautiously while deciding whether or not to make their personal information available online. After all, under the right to informational self determination, which is the underlying principle for data protection provisions, users are the only ones to decide what to do with their personal data or who to share it with for whatever purpose, for how long ect. Of course this is only possible when the social networking service providers are meeting the requirements at their end, by providing appropriate terms of use, practical solutions to possible threaths and ensuring technical safety in their networks. For minors, parents and educators also carry an important burden to make sure that all online activities are age approppriate.

And then we have the substantial legal requirements:

First of all, consent, a freely given, specific, unambigous and informend consent of the data subject, in our case being the user of social networking services, is the most important requirement for fair and lawful processing of personal data is even more significant in social networks, since it is much more difficult to make sure that consent given by the user is really an “informed” one…To achieve such consent, clear, practical, easily accessible terms of use and policies that include updated warnings on privacy risks, not only at the beginning but during the whole term of subscription is essential, particularly with regard to applications provided by third parties. Restricting access to self-selected contacts by users should be practically available and making changes in privacy settings and unsubscription must not be burdensome, as sometimes we all experience…

 The principles of privacy by design, which basically means privacy and data protection being integrated into the design of ICTs by default, along with transparency and accountability should be incorporated in regulation…In fact EU data protection directive is currently in review in this line.

With regard to the protection of minors, appropriate age verification tools should be made available by social network service providers. Privacy protection on mobile social networks should also be enhanced. I believe European Commission’s Framework for Safer Mobile Use by Younger Teenagers and Children would be a good guideline to follow on that.

Effective and practical mechanisms of reporting abuse should also be made available to the user. This can be done both by the service providers themselves and public regulators, through legal provisions on notice and take down procedures. This is particularly important for social networking service providers since receiving such notice is likely to be considered as having or at least ought to be having actual knowledge of the violation, which is the first step towards their liability for 3rd party content. Upon receiving the notice, the service provider would acknowledge and assess the notice and if required, remove the content in violation of privacy.

While regulating notice and take down procedures, it should be taken into consideration that such provisions would be ineffective if blocking access to web content as an alternative sanction for privacy violations is simple. This is actually what happened in my home country, Turkey. You may probably have heard that, as of 2007 we have a new law which really simplified the procedure for blocking access to web content on specific criminal grounds, which unfortunately resulted in the infamous Youtube ban of two years. Although privacy violations are not provided as one of these grounds per se, grounds such as obscenity and sexual abuse are likely to be considered privacy violations and therefore may be subject to this simplified procedure. Even if they are not, the courts have a tendency to issue blocking orders either as provisional measures or actual sanctions. Thus, a provision in this law, which I may say is one of the very few positive provisions, providing for a general framework for notice and take down procedure for privacy violatons is left ineffective and hardly ever resorted to.

Of course such national provisions will be much more meaningful when the service provider is also located in that country, which is hardly the case most of the time. So that brings us back to the importance of international cooperation and harmonisation.

Last but definitely not least, I would like to emphasise the principles that should be followed at all times while trying to protect privacy on social networks:

            Free flow of data and free speech should not be compromised, nor should the unique characteristics of social networking, such as personalised profiles, user generated content and interaction between users, all of which enables social networking platforms with enermous potential to promote democracy, participation and diversity…

            Preventive measures should be favoured rather than punitive sanctions and such measures need to be designed in a practical and user-friendly (or let’s rephrase it as being actually useable for an average person)…

            Sanctions should be proportionate and in line with the needs of a democratic society, so hopefully no more banning websites as a whole for a single video file!


 those who have read until the end definitely deserve some strong coffee, so please come find me and claim yours:)))

Internet Governance

The words of IGF

A lot of discussions are taking place at the IGF and I am very much interested in the discourse developing here.  Conveniently, the IGF makes verbatim transcripts available, so I thought I’d play a little bit with words used at the Forum.

Under the assumption that people spent a lot of time carefully preparing their opening statements to reflect their most up-to date stand on the issues, I started with looking at the transcript of the opening ceremony.  Of course this just an exercise and not a systematic analysis, but nevertheless, I think it is interesting and illustrative.

Below, you can see a word cloud of the transcript (thank you Wordle), where the size of the word represents the frequency of its appearance (the colors do not have meaning). The most common word was of course “internet,” but it was so disproportionally common that it made the rest of the visualization unreadable and I had to take it out.  Other then the internet, IGF was clearly a pivotal term, which also is not surprising.

Other than “internet” and “IGF” the word “like” was very common, but not very meaningful for the overall picture.  It was usually used to express an intention (e.g. “I would like to say X” or “I would like to thank Y,” which also explains the prominence of “thank”).  There are a number of other words that are common, but not especially informative in describing the substance of the statements beyond the formalities.

Of course, the word cloud gives just an overview and leaves a lot of room for speculation as to whether there were common threads across the speeches.  For example, an interesting word that was fairly common is “also.”  In itself, it does not say much, but if you explore this visualization, you will see that it is actually an indicator of the inclusive  and all-encompassing character of the IGF.  In other words, the speakers asked to bring numerous issues under the roof of IGF.

We can also see there was a lot of talk about governance, world, access, and development; some of those are topics being discussed in the IGF workshop.  There were also numerous references to people, togetherness, and multistakehoderism.  The statements were somewhat future oriented and focused more on the user and less on the community.  In terms of substantive topics, we can spot references to freedom, access, security. diversity, principles, openness, and growth.  Many of these topics are in fact also the focus of the numerous workshops at the meeting.

Of course this is only scratching the surface, but i find it interesting, especially if you try comparing it to the last year speeches (see below).


Internet Governance

Some Thoughts on Cybercrime within the IGF in Vilnius

Yesterday, there were two relevant workshops, one on “Legal Aspects of Internet Governance: International Cooperation on Cybersecurity” and “Cybercrime Common Standards and Joint actions”. Some of the relevant points that were subject of discussion were:

There is no need to create additional legal frameworks but to use the existing ones like the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime (Budpaest Convention)

There is terminology confusion when using the terms “Cyberwarfare”, “Cybersecurity” and “Cybercrime”. Vint Cerf warned the audience that we should be very careful when using term “war” because that involves a very sensitive decision among governments.

The frameworks on Cybersecurity vary significantly in different regions of the world. A speaker mentioned that issue is not entirely dealt with in the European Union and there are a number of issues that need to be addressed like for instance creating a cybersecurity coordinator and develop a strategy on fighting cybercrime.

A number of speakers referred to the Budapest Convention as the only existing treaty to fight cybercrime in different fronts (substantial and procedural law, international cooperation, technical measures and 24x& points of contacts). And although many countries have signed and ratified this treaty, there are yet a number of countries in different parts of the world that have not fully implemented legal frameworks on cybercrime.

Other aspect that was constantly mentioned in both workshops is that there in no actual need to create another international treaty on cybercrime taking into account the intense discussions that took place during the Twelfth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Salvador, Brazil, last April

Instead, international organization and government countries in conjuction with the private sector should launch a global capacity building program in order to provide least developed countries with the adequate tools, training and cooperation to counter cybercrime in a more efficient fashion.

Early detection and prevention are important elements to combat cybercrime and to avoid possible liability issues arising from criminal investigations.

There is the need for more partnerships between industry, governments, the technical community and civil society to fight cybercrime effectively.

Human rights should not be ignored, there is the need to protect privacy and the confidentiality of information in criminal investigation carried out by law enforcement authorities and avoiding ISP surveillance on the data that is subject to investigations.

There is consensus that the Budapest Convention provides in general a good legal framework for countries to follow, however there is the urgent need to revise some of the provisions of the convention like Articles 32 (a) (b) particularly with regards to criminal investigations and the obtaining of digital evidence of data that resides in third countries in the cloud computing environment; the protection of privacy and the information exchanged between ISP’s and law enforcement authorities taking into account existing privacy international standards like the Council of Europe Convention 108 for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data ; jurisdictional conflicts arising from the application of criminal laws to cybercrime having effects in more than two countries.

Finally, there is the need to use the Budapest Convention in combination with other instruments to implement laws, policies and strategies and providing capacity building to combat cybercrime at the international and national level and asses progress on a regular basis instead of spending the next 10 years in discussing whether a new international treaty or international oversight body is needed.

Internet Governance

Summary of two interesting workshops (Day 2)