Internet Governance Forum Summary 2020

In early November, the 15th edition of the United Nations Internet Governance Forum (IGF), took place entirely online, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The IGF agenda was structured  around four main themes: data, environment, inclusion and trust.

The CyberBRICS team members participated to the development of two outcome documents of the IGF 2020 and spoke at several IGF sessions described below.

DAY 1 – 11/02/2020

Session # 1: Interoperability: Openness in the Age of Platforms

Organized by OpenForum Europe

Time: 10:15 am to 11:15 am (UTC)

Speakers: Vittorio Bertola (Open-Xchange), Astor Nummelin Carlberg (OpenForum Europe), Smriti Parsheera (National Institute of Public Finance and Policy), Ian Brown (Independent Researcher), Wei Wang (Creative Commons Hong Kong), Prof. Luca Belli (Getúlio Vargas Foundation Law School), Rob Nicholls (University of New South Wales Business School)

About the session:

The session brought  together experts from across the world to discuss how increased interoperability could be a way to solve some of the most intractable issues of the internet platform market.  Participants discussed the potential of policies aimed at interoperability hol to open up the platform market to competition and the challenges of interoperability.

Relevant quotes:

“Interoperability is instrumental to achieve free communication, innovation, and competition. Interoperability is  the fundamental premise of data portability, which is essential tool to avoid user lock-in.” – Luca Belli

“Art 18 of the LGPD establishes the individual right to data portability, in accordance with the regulations of the BR Data Protection Authority. The ANPD has just been announced. Not clear when it will establish #interoperability standards for purposes of portability.” – Luca Belli

Full session:


DAY 3 – 11/04/2020

Session # 1: “Trust building in Cyberspace on Public Health Emergencies”

Organized by Bureau of International Cooperation, Cyberspace Administration of China and Chinese Academy of Cyberspace Studies

Time: 9:20 to 10:20 (UTC)

Speakers: Ms. Qi Xiaoxia (Cyberspace Administration of China), Prof. Werner Zorn (Inductee of the Internet Hall of Fame), Mr. Paul Wilson (Asia Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC)), Prof. Zhou Xiaohua (Peking University Chair Professor), Prof. David Robertson (University of Edinburgh), Prof. Dr. Ayad Al-Ani (Einstein Center Digital Future), Prof. Kilnam Chon (Inductee of the Internet Hall of Fame), Ms. Li Qian (Alibaba Group), Mr. Koh King Kee (President of Center for New Inclusive Asia), Dr. Jiang Yang (Chinese Academy of Cyberspace Studies), Prof. Luca Belli (Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV)), Mr. Karim Alwadi (Renmin University of China), Mr. Oleg Abdurashitov (Kaspersky)

About the session:

Corresponding to the thematic track of “Trust” of IGF 2020, this Open Forum, under the theme of Trust Building in Cyberspace on Public Health Emergencies, invited representatives of governments, international organizations, enterprises, technical communities, and think tanks across the world to discuss the trust building in cyberspace against the backdrop of international public health emergencies.

Relevant quotes:

“To elaborate converging digital policies on data protection and cybersecurity, it is essential to know what policy frameworks already exist. This is why we have mapped and analysed cybersecurity regulations in the BRICS countries.” Luca Belli, talking about the relevance of the new CyberBRICS book

“Authenticity and reliability of the data is essential. Without trust in the data, we cannot use them. Sound analyses of the data, as well as trustworthy assumptions when building datasets, is also of the essence.”Prof. Zhou Xiaohua

“Solid data protection and cybersecurity frameworks are essential to build trust in technology and how it is used. Not only for BRICS countries but for all countries.”Luca Belli 

Full session:


Session #2: Internet Commons Forum

Organized by FGV, ISOC, APC, Centrum Cyfrowe and Free2Air

Time: 16:00 to 17:40 (UTC)

Speakers: Prof. Luca Belli (FGV/CyberBRICS), Mélanie Dulong de Rosnay (CIS-CNRS), Renata Avila (Creative Commons/Stanford), Jean-Philbert Nsengimana (Director for Africa at The Commons Project), Jane Coffin (ISOC), Alek Tarkowski (Centrum Cyfrowe), Benjamin Pajot, (French Ministry of Foreign Affairs ), Parminder Jeet Singh (IT for Change), Leandro Navarro (Guifi.net), Adam Burns (Fee2Air), Anriette Esterhuysen (Chair of IGF MAG)

About the Session:

The Internet Commons Forum (ICF) brought together thinkers, doers and policymakers who work for a less concentrated and fairer Internet. Participants explored the facets of digital common goods and discussed strategies for their implementation.

Relevant quotes:

“Data is not practical information, and some data can be harmful because it can be converted into intelligence about me in somebody else’s hands.”Parminder Jeet Singh, from IT for Change 

“Reality is getting very very complex, and interoperability is becoming a very important to understand how fix problems, but we should be doing a lot more about it.”Alek Tarkowski, Centrum Cyfrowe

“Digital Commons are neutral from a sovereignty point, making them essential in the digital autonomy. They’re a way to promote alternative conceptions and should not be reduced to protectionism or monopolist acts” –  Benjamin Pajot, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

Full session:


Session #3: Community Networks at Times of Crises and Pandemics

Dynamic Coalition on Community Connectivity (DC3)

Organized by Prof. Luca Belli

Time: 18:20 to 19:50 (UTC)

Speakers: Sonia Jorge (Alliance for Affordable Internet A4AI), Osama Manzar (DEF), Jane Coffin (ISOC) Rolf H. Weber (University of Zurich), Cynthia El Khoury (APC) Senka Hadzic (CyberBRICS/Research ICT Africa), Nicholas Echaniz (AlterMundi)

About the session:

This session discussed the importance of Internet access and the relevance of community networks as a credible strategy to expand access empowering people, at times of crises. As the recent Covid19 pandemic is tellingly demonstrating, connectivity is becoming increasingly essential for our social, economic, and political lives. Panellists explored a variety of standpoints discussed in the DC3 annual outcome (developed in partnership with DCNN): the report on “The Value of Internet Openness at Times of Crisis”.

Relevant quotes:

“Internet Access means having the possibility to use the internet in ways that define themselves and add to the environment, in creative and innovative ways.” Sonia Jorge

“The pandemic showed us where the gaps are. The internet is a lifeline. It’s not acceptable that people don’t have connectivity at all anymore.” Jane Coffin

Full session:


DAY 4 – 11/05/2020

Session  #1: Platform Regulations: Towards A Common Vocabulary

Dynamic Coalition on Platform Responsibility

Organized by Nicolo Zingales and Prof. Luca Belli

Time: 16:20 to 17:50 (UTC)

About the session:

This session discussed the most relevant and contentious platforms governance issues such as AI, content moderation, effective remedies that need a convergent approach to be addressed effectively. Participants presented the first consolidated draft of the Glossary on Platform Law and Policy Terms, a guide on key terms related to platform governance for policymakers, researchers and other stakeholders alike.

Speakers: Julie Owono (Oversight Board, Facebook), Lofred Madzou (World Economic Forum), Richard Wingfield (Global Partners Digital); Rossana Ducato (University of Aberdeen and UC Louvain), Catalina Goanta (Maastricht University), Rolf H. Weber (University of Zurich), Chris Marsden (University of Sussex), Giovanni De Gregorio (Milano Bicocca University), Paddy Leerseen (University of Amsterdam), Enguerrand Marique (UC Louvain & University of Radboud-Nijmegen), Yasmin Curzi (FGV), Ivar Hartmann (FGV)

Relevant quotes:

“How do we make sure that AI is trustworthy? How do we make it comply with our expectations and requirements, and in a scalable manner?”Lofred Mazou

“There will be a possibility for policy recommendations from the Oversight Board, to which Facebook won’t be bound, but that it will have to consider and report back on” Julie Owono


Full session:


DIA 5 – 11/06/2020

Session #1: Net Neutrality at times of Covid19

Dynamic Coalition on Net Neutrality (DCNN)

Organized by Prof. Luca Belli

Time: 14:20 às 15:50 (UTC)

Speakers: Luca Belli (FGV/CyberBRICS), Anriette Esterhuysen (MAG Chair), Nikhil Pawha (Medianama), Frode Sorensen (Norwegian Telecoms Regulator (Nkom)), Aurore Tual (French Telecoms Regulator (ARCEP)), KS Park (Korea University Law School/Open Net), Smriti Parsheera (National Institute of Public Finance and Policy in New Delhi), Apar Gupta (Internet Freedom Foundation), Anya Orlova (CyberBRICS), Andrey Shcherbovich (Higher School of Economics, Moscow), Alejandro Pisanty (Autonomous University Mexico)

About the session:

The Covid19 pandemic has demonstrated that free and non-discriminatory Internet access is essential. This session discussed the importance of the various facets of Internet openness at times of crisis. Panellists discussed case studies, strategies and net neutrality regulations explored in the DCNN annual report (developed in partnership with DC3) on “The Value of Internet Openness at Times of Crisis

Relevant quotes:

“During COVID19, the importance of net neutrality became crystal-clear: from schools to the IGF2020 itself, communication technologies are essential for the continuity of many activities.” Frode Sorensen

Full session:

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