Online Freedoms and Access to Information Online
05 September 2014 - A Workshop on in Istanbul,Turkey
This is the output of the real‑time captioning taken during the IGF 2014 Istanbul, Turkey, meetings. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> BURCU BAKIOGLU: Okay. Hi. I'd like to first welcome you to our panel on Internet freedoms online coordinated by Freedom House. And we are very happy that all you guys can make it at 9 a.m. on the last day of the conference. This is a really good turnout, but we have a spectacular lineup for you guys. So I don't think it will be disappointing at all.
First I would like to do a shameless promotion if I may. We just had our charter of Internet rights and principles translated in to Turkish. It is right off the press. If you are interested, grab one copy. We'd love to have you guys distribute. Freedom House just released a fantastic report, too. So ask us about that, too.
Now a couple of ground rules, if I may, since we have a lot of great panelists, I'd like to mention some of the ground rules. I am the timekeeper by the way. I am the evil person. This is going to be an interactive dialogue instead of a panel. For the sake of time management we are going to address certain questions to certain people. It doesn't mean that other panelists don't have an opinion on it, but we kind of handpicked a couple of people with ‑‑ I don't know. We just kind of handpicked people. All speakers will get three minutes. We don't want audience dialogue. The audience will speak in the middle. Audience will get two minutes and a maximum two comments. So we ask that ‑‑ and I know this is a very heated topic. And we are all passionately involved in this otherwise we wouldn't be here at 9 a.m. in the morning. But we do ask you to keep things on topic and we do ask that maybe not get in to the political back stories too much. The political context most of us are already familiar with them. So just to kind of keep things very focused. And one of our personal requests from you guys from the audience if you can live Tweet the event as best as you can that would be awesome because of the sensitive nature of the topic, we want all the information to get out there and not get nixed, if you know what I mean.
In this vain, internetrightsandprinciples.org will be live blogging it and Robert Bono, my fantastic colleague will be live Tweeting it because I Tweeted his panels. You guys do it, too. So our hashtag is @IGF2014 but also at net rights. Nate will kick off the questions and then we rotate one after the other. And so I guess with that I'll turn it over to Nate.
>> NATE SCHENKKAN: So I am going to be framing out what we are talking about. What we want to focus on in the workshop are cases where online freedom, access to information online are restricted. They are restricted by one of the stakeholders in the multi‑stakeholder equation. We are talking about this not so that we can single out individual Governments, individual corporations, individual entities, but because this is a big part of what is happening in Internet Governance. We have a situation where in a multi‑stakeholder environment sometimes one of the stakeholders is not acting in good faith and this poses a lot of questions for how to preserve an open Internet. So that's what we want to focus on.
I think after we've moved through some discussion of some very specific cases, very specific responses, what we want to do is hopefully widen it out to talk about some of the implications of multi‑stakeholderism itself and what does that mean for the multi‑stakeholder, the global multi‑stakeholder model when at the national level, at the national multi‑stakeholder level there is a lack of good faith or a lack of trust due to this dynamic.
So in particular to get us kicked off what we want to start with some real short capsule descriptions from a few of our participants, in particular some of the newer and more subtle forms of restriction of speech or restriction of access to information online. We are focusing on newer and more subtle because I think we talk a lot about some of the bigger picture stuff, the real flagrant censorship, blocking. The picture is evolving very rapidly and we are seeing more sophisticated technical approaches that are harder to track, DNS highjacking, throttling, filtering and seeing attack on certain ventures itself. And we are also seeing growing surveillance without court orders, without transparent mechanisms that we can then monitor.
And we are also seeing rhetorical political attacks on the net and social media to delegitimatize the space where information is legitimately shared. This is a big picture. We are covering a lot of ground. We are doing these because this is what comes together to create a chilled environment of speech and an environment where self‑censorship becomes widespread. I want to start off with a few statements. I want to go to Shazad first.
>> SHAZAD AHMAD: Thank you. My name is Shazad. I am from Bytes for All, Pakistan. We are based in Islamabad. But we work for the country. And our work mainly is in Pakistan. I would mention three issues just to start with this discussion. We have recently published Pakistan's first ever hate speech study. It was launched on 7th June. And we wanted to understand, I mean exactly when new forms of, you know, censorship are in place and what are the issues around it.
So it actually gave really alarming results and it outlines how many groups and how different people are being targeted in cyberspace. And the study is online at bytesforall.pk. You can look at it when you get time. That was one. Other than that we have seen that Pakistan Government is investing a lot in to filtering softwares. So it is all coming from defense budget. It is not really ‑‑ I mean we hardly get to know about it, how and what is being spent because defense budget is not audited. So it is something ‑‑ I mean they can do ‑‑ they can spend as much money as they want. That is one thing. For example, there are other filtering softwares as well which are being invited right now. Only was discovered through research and field research by citizen lab and Bytes for All because we have a network of field monitors and we so assess it.
Other than that the Impunity is being strengthened using different laws. Impunity around the censorship actions that Government is employing, deploying. So new laws are being made to legitimatize and strengthen this culture of Impunity. And for that I mean we know that there's a couple of laws which are extremely predatory not only to larger Human Rights but to online Freedom of Expression as well. And then the newest step is a NGO law that essentially has the potential to literally kill independent Human Rights movement or independent ‑‑ any Civil Rights movement in the country. So I mean these are the new developments that we are seeing.
>> NATE SCHENKKAN: Great. That's perfect. I want to go to next Gonenc Gurkaynak from Turkey.
>> GONENC GURKAYNAK: I am an Attorney at law. I am from Istanbul. My main concern about the new sophisticated techniques of expressing expression over the Internet as Nate has given some examples, for example, throttling or DNS highjacking is that there is no transparency about this. So the words transparency, accountability are becoming more and more important for the Internet world. And Internet law is less technical and legal discipline and becoming more of a fundamental rights and freedoms that we are used to. Like transparent is needed in all of these. And the same is happening with the Internet. The DNS highjacking has happened in this country. And it also signals that sometimes the enforcers take it too far. They no longer think in jurisdictional parameters but they go after particular stakeholders and want to make sure that it hurts and that's obviously a questionable public policy preference. And more importantly the more there are going to be sophisticated technologies involve taking down certain contents the less there will be data in the hands of people.
Today people are at least able to say that about 51,000 websites are brought down in Turkey. About every year 15,000 websites are being access band and this number has been increasing over time. And we also know that Turkey is highly likely the world champion in removing content because all ‑‑ some transparent reports like the Google transparency report or the Twitter transparency report which are publicly available and everyone knows about it. The more the technology gets sophisticated and certain stakeholders in the Internet world are being targeted without their involvement the less these transparency reports are going to reflect the actual situation, the severity of the situation because they are going to be placed as the subject matter of enforcement rather than a counterpart in the enforcement. They won't know what type of a volume is hitting them or at least they won't always know about this.
So wrapping up I would say that there shouldn't be an underground enforcement that is available to states, and all methods of enforcement should be out there and some of them should be tagged through these kinds of efforts, like IGF and other ways of better governance. They should be tagged as a no no for Governments much as you wouldn't in some countries condone for castration as a remedy or you wouldn't allow for capital punishment or torture as a means of punishment. Some of these sophisticated technology for enforcement may be over time in the future may be tagged as a no no. Throttling, for example ‑‑
>> NATE SCHENKKAN: Thank you. Great. Then Ben from Google.
>> BEN BLINK: I am Ben. I focus on issues of Freedom of Expression. I would like to call one specific legal trend that is impacting millions of our users and that's blogger media laws that are being proposed and passed around the world. These are laws that Governments are enacting that state that any blog that is a certain number of users, many times just a few thousand register in their country just like any major media outlet. This is incredibly problematic because these laws often carry with them criminalization of certain types of speech in very broad categories. Things like divulging privileged data, things where Governments have an excuse to prosecute someone regardless whether there is a major case for it. Essentially mandating that blogs list the name and contact information of their owners and in some instances it is actually trading a registry of bloggers in their country.
So in addition just to being generally against the international principles of Freedom of Expression and national Human Rights norms this has a major chilling effect in these specific countries inhibiting people from blogging from a commercial standpoint from using our services but more important getting more information out to citizens. It certainly also has a cascading effect. Once these laws pass in one place it is very ‑‑ they are very quickly picked up and we start hearing conversations that this is being passed in other places. Criminalizing speech online is certainly not a new thing, but in the last few years, even the last six months it has been very surprising to see such restrictions on speech, not even under the auspices of child and national security but just news. All of us need to be watching this incredibly closely. Governments and specifically individuals in Governments who are engaging at multi‑stakeholder fora like this are often not the ones proposing and passing these laws and it is important to monitor their own internal processes and make sure these ‑‑
>> NATE SCHENKKAN: That's perfect. Ben mentioned the Russian law and there is also a proposed law in Turkey that was proposed in Government. We are seeing trends that mirror each other and emerge across multiple countries.
>> BURCU BAKIOGLU: I guess the logical question we ask at this point how do we respond. How do citizens and activists respond to these threats where governments are opposed to an open Internet and that's the big multi‑million dollar question. I want us to first focus on the technical solutions that our activists and citizens have come up with on their own. First I would like to hand it over to Serhat and maybe he can talk to us about the mesh hat project that has been launched over the summer.
>> SERHAT KOC: Thank you. As a result of the violence and recent change in Turkish 5651 we, of course, apply it for our legal rights to the high court. And then as a technical solution we thought that we need ‑‑ Internet is not bound with private sector or the Government and we researched on it. In fact, I am a lawyer. I am a specialized lawyer but we have a group, we have great people who ‑‑ lots of them ‑‑ we don't know them. And they helped us to build some ‑‑ somehow build a mesh net in Turkey and we are trying to spread it. A mesh net is, in fact, like you say it is a secure communication which is interconnected, wireless routers that allow users to communicate free. And besides that, in fact, we meet blogging platform in Turkey because when we say that there is an Internet censorship and we are in an era of digital surveillance, so this going platform for journalists that in other projects of us because currently this law barely ever leaked to journalists in Turkey and understanding of anonymity is not widely used in Turkey. Would like to add another thing about the risk going on. As my colleague Gonenc said maybe in this country, maybe the first time in the world the Government highjacked DNS, free DNS. It is a big thing I think in its report, several reports and the Government tried to trick communications as well as to prevent users to circumvent the blocking.
And there was two constitutional court orders that saying these are infringement of all of the people's rights on Internet. And our officials said that it is only 15 days to band. It was nothing. And however despite these strong positions saying that blocking are unconstitutional and infringed Freedom of Expression protected by Turkish constitution, started to block as less digital Tweets according to content policy recently changed I think and it is reported that Twitter complied with almost every Government request or court decision coming from Turkey since they show authorities two times. They present in August and they constitute authorities to censor really political content from Turkey. So as someone said educate Twitter to show the international community the power of the Turkish Republic, but we thought that meet mainly to intimidate social media users. Understood they made an agreement with Turkish authority to protect on Twitters, authority can super tag to it. So ‑‑
>> BURCU BAKIOGLU: If you can wrap it up.
>> SERHAT KOC: Turkish Government or Turkish people that's what I don't understand.
>> BURCU BAKIOGLU: Thank you. I want to introduce Karl. He has this fantastic initiative called Psiphon.
>> KARL KATHURIA: Hi I am Karl and I am from Psiphon based in Toronto, Canada. Psiphon is a circumvention software. It started ten years ago in 2004. A few years later spun in to its own company. We have multi platform open source software. We have a native Windows version for desktops and laptops. And we have a native Android version for mobile devices. To announce on other platforms we also have a web version. So we are actually available on every platform.
Some of the features of the software are No. 1, that it is open source. So it is available for peer review. It has been reviewed. Every time we commit a change it is available for people to look at and see what is it that we are doing. We also spend a lot of resource in building up an incredibly resilient network. So rather than just being a few direct servers that people can use as proxies we have a very femorale network. To make sure that people can need to get access to content. The software itself is very easy to use. It is simple one software because of this it is actually meant that physically in times when sites and services are suddenly blocked people are starting to flock to software since something happens. Our distribution model is that we go through a number of different places. So we have arrangements with some major broadcasters, international broadcasters like Radio Free Europe and so on. They distribute our software. And we also have versions available in the app stores. And we just recently launched an API which was people can build on top to launch their own services.
So all this has meant that we have several million people in lots of different little countries around the world and as different sites and services are blocked we are finding people that are quick to Psiphon and also talking about it over social media and that means as well as providing the software itself, it also help in telling the story. So when services are being blocked such as Twitter in Turkey and social media in Iraq, then we have helped media organisations and research organisations tell the story by showing spikes in these software compared to the unavailability of services in general.
>> BURCU BAKIOGLU: Thank you. So when ‑‑ I guess how do we support activists, journalists and vulnerable political actors these solutions could also be political, legal or even educational resources that we'd like to talk about at this ‑‑ in the section. First I'd like to ask Asli Tunc, she is a professor at University and she has written fantastic pieces. Her book is great. Thank you.
>> ASLI TUNC: Thank you. Yeah, I mean there are a lot of problems in other countries but maybe I would like to focus on Turkey where we are suffering about in terms of journalism. Actually, you know, for the whole week we haven't talked about journalism and journalist problems much. We talked about content, technical, size of issue, governance but journalists are the most suffering parties, especially in Turkey and in a lot of countries. So social media and Internet creates an incredible platform for citizen journalists to join in and to create the freedom of democracy for Turkey especially. So, of course, the Government and especially Turkish Government is very aware of this power, social media. So I mean there are a lot of, of course, short‑term and long‑term plans that can be done. Short‑term plans, of course, can be to master of tools in terms of citizen journalists.
So we have talked about applications, you know, a lot of softwares that can be told to a lot of young people because Turkey is a very vibrant society and a lot of young people are very digital native in terms of social media. But in the long run, of course, we have to create such an environment that, you know, the Internet is indispensable for using journalistic purposes. With training, you know, of course, with education, of course, I am a University professor. So I believe in long‑term training sessions to spread the news to a lot of underprivileged groups. But, of course, news content is important, you know. And we have to create a solid, you know, journalistic spear because mass media, I mean traditional media is so dysfunctional in this country. So we are relying so much on social media's power to, you know, spread the news and to get the citizens informed.
So that's, you know, what we should fight for for the future I guess.
>> BURCU BAKIOGLU: Thank you. From here I'd like to maybe inquire how this has been handled in other places like Pakistan. I want to here return to Shazad. His organisation Bytes for All has just released a really fantastic report on hate speech.
>> SHAZAD AHMAD: Thank you. So we are doing in Pakistan we are doing two, three different things. So for most important is research. So we do conduct research to build evidence. So evidence is extremely important for our advocacy campaigns. So we realise that public interest litigation and then taking these violations to the court of law is one way that we can try to deal with it. So we have three cases against the Government of Pakistan in different courts in the country. Our first case is published about international media. It is a net freedom case, Youtube case you may say. The issues are much more wider than Youtube. Youtube was banded about few years now in the country. But I mean it also is about, you know, other censorship issues and privacy issues. So this case is going on.
We have had 20 hearings in the high court and the case has been referred to Supreme Court. And we are going to start proceedings on that in about two weeks' time. So this is one case. The other case is about digital surveillance and where we are trying to understand and find out what kind of digital surveillance mechanisms Government is deploying in Pakistan and how it is targeting Human Rights or citizens. And this public interest litigation was the result of research by citizen lab that published in 2013, May 2013, April 2013 when the discovered share in Pakistani cyberspace.
The third case that we have is ‑‑ that we have challenged one of the laws which is extremely ‑‑ it is called Fair Trial Act 2013. So we have challenged that law as well in Pakistani courts. These are the three main cases we are fighting and taking this forward. And then we have a public campaign. It is called Access is My Right campaign. And this is the campaign, you can look at it at accessismyright.org and bring them in to the discussion as well and Human Rights movement, also. But other aspects of it is UN advocacy. Very important and very successful intervention at the UN Human Rights Council was ‑‑ are UPR that we get with Freedom House and APC for the Pakistan UPR and in 2012.
So I am taking from that I mean we have been actively trying to follow up on Pakistan's UPR process because it is now part of the report for the ‑‑ for Pakistan. And then we are actively following up with Human Rights mechanisms as well. So we are trying to bring in all possible different avenues to fight this. Some are successful. Some we still need to ‑‑ we need to see how it will work, but I think a good research and then possibly, you know, good public interest litigation and particularly I would mention that there are specialized organisations out there who are out there to help activists and Human Rights movement on all these different aspects. And I will name media legal defense, they can help you develop such kind of litigation. So I mean all these different aspects are important and useful and we are trying to apply them in our campaigns.
>> BURCU BAKIOGLU: Thank you. Actually he ended up in a really good segway now about raising awareness. I'd like to develop that further because IRPCoalition has been active about raising awareness. For the last five years we have drafted the charter on Internet Rights and Principles. Now I would like to return to Selin Kaledelen who worked really hard to make this happen.
>> SELIN KALEDELN: Yeah. Thanks. Hello. Good morning, everyone. I am Selin and I am a lawyer in Turkey. And I took part of translation of this charter in to Turkish and I thank Marian on my left side, Robert and Freedom House for collaboration. It was a really nice work and I was a member and final, but I mean it was a tough work and we managed well I guess.
So I mean, first of all, I'd like to share my experience regarding this process, the translation process, not as a translator but as a law practitioner. So I think this charter will fill a gap for Human Rights on the Internet. And it is some kind of sort of a translation of Human Rights in to Internet environment and I think it is really important.
But I mean I'm going to keep it short actually my speech, and I would like to share some questions in the end. But I mean, for instance, talked about raising awareness. And I think it is an important issue because, for example, after issuance and introduction of this charter there's a big burden, I mean there will be a big burden on the Government, on the civil communities in respect of raising awareness and education.
So ‑‑ and Serhat talked about ‑‑ I skip to a Turkey case. We have a law, maybe you are aware of, like 5651 which has a really long name. If you let me I will read its name, which is called Code of Publications on the Internet and Suppression of Crimes. Censorship law. And this law aims to fight against the serious crimes which we don't know what those are. And there are some examples in the charter such as pornography and drug trafficking and harmful content. And we don't know what the harmful content is. But based on harmful content instead of taking down they are just blocking and censoring the websites.
So I think it is a big violation. It is obvious. It is a big violation of freedom of speech and freedom of information. So I just give this example to show how much the EU is ready for this charter. I mean there is a legal background in EU in accordance with this charter. For instance, is UK or France ready to implement and harmonize this charter in the existence of Digital Economy Act or law, or is this charter or similar legislation, business friendly? Because I think there will be a lot of problems in the business sector in order to understand and apply in to practice.
>> BURCU BAKIOGLU: Thank you, Selin. I would like now to ask Serdar Paktin sitting over there what would Turkish activists need to make the Internet a democratic environment.
>> SERDAR PAKTIN: I am going to talk about Turkey but this applies to many different countries as well. So Internet, new media technology has turned out to be a very important tool for Civil Society and NGOs. And they are mutualizing everything available in order to organise, campaign and fundraise. And this turned out to be all for Civil Society and citizens in general a clear demand for participation in decision making processes.
And this demand is one of the main reasons why many Governments are trying to control censors of press Internet communications. In that regard I can answer this question in three levels. On a national level Governments I think should acknowledge this demand. This is not going away and try to find ways and means in order to respond to this demand for participation.
On an international level we can work on a global Consensus of this participation how to deal with this and how to convene it. And on a third level Internet and technology, Civil Society and NGOs need better tools to use data, raise issues and to make demands. And like Shazad said the most important thing for campaigning is evidence and reports. And if we ‑‑ if there are better tools to pull that data and implement it in to reports and evidence for improving demands and a need for them this will be very good for Civil Society communications and demands.
>> BURCU BAKIOGLU: Thank you. At this point I think we'd like to open up the session for a brief series of questions from the audience because we've talked about a lot of issues at this point. I think it is a good breaking ‑‑ taking a break.
>> NATE SCHENKKAN: I am going to take the privilege of asking the first one. So think about your question for one minute. There's been this discussion, this is part of the thing that's running an undercurrent through this whole week about the role the technical issue ‑‑ technical fixes, technological fixes play, especially regarding censorship. And there is certainly a line of thinking about circumvention and about censorship and the problem of censorship and surveillance that we are seeing so widespread that what we are going to do is find technical fixes and if we can get enough technical fixes we will solve it. And Karl, we were talking about this a little yesterday. You had some interesting things to say and I want to turn it to you and then we will go to the audience.
>> KARL KATHURIA: Yeah. Thanks. I think it is different in many different places because it is pretty clear that there are resources being put in to blocking content. Simple DNS block or whether some authorities in some places have deeper controls in place. One of the things that we were talking about yesterday is this just a ‑‑ do we have to build something up and then see what happens to it. And realistically in a way that's right. So, you know, as an organisation it provides circumvention. We need to try and keep ahead of what's happening, try and keep ahead of what people are doing. The big issue is that, of course, they have the upper hand to a large degree because they know what they are going to do next and we don't. So we develop ‑‑ we develop software and we devote a lot of resources to trying to keep ahead, trying to in a way guess what's coming next and sometimes we can fix things pretty much immediately when the game changes. Other times it takes a lot of effort to do.
And I guess, you know, the big problem for us is we can really only do what we have to fund and what we have the resources to do. We have got the ability to react when something happens but what we ‑‑ what's become increasingly obvious is we need to be more than that one step ahead. We need to try and develop solutions that we can in some ways predict what is the next level of blocking, what is the next ‑‑ and that I guess is where the difficulty comes in. We have got a great team that can run a circumvention, circumvention software and can be ready for what happens next. What I would really like to do be in a position and take a studied look at what is going to happen next. What are the capabilities that we can have for blocking content and look for ways that we can be prepared for the next generation of blocking and censorship.
>> NATE SCHENKKAN: Great. Thank you. We will take a couple of questions from the audience. Anyone have things to say? Yep, all the way in the back. If you would identify yourself just by name and location or affiliation. Just step up to one of the table mics.
>> AUDIENCE: Follow‑up on statement, one of the things that we have found out ‑‑ we are facing was that there was overreliance to ‑‑ we found in Malaysia when we were facing online sites and also the accounts, what we say authority, Human Rights organisations was an open reliance on Internet technologies. And the previous speaker was saying that we were not prepared for the next steps and measures. So what I would like to ask is that if we are not prepared for this should we also consider other alternative communications technologies such as radio or should the Government take the Internet down?
>> NATE SCHENKKAN: Great.
>> AUDIENCE: So one of the things that we found obviously in the software is that we can deal with a lot of things, but as we like to point out not when the whole Internet has come down. I think that circumvention is part of ‑‑ there are other ways of getting information between people, talking. Play there as traditional forms of communication. And we work very closely with broadcasters and Government organisations to try and provide a part of the service.
>> NATE SCHENKKAN: Great. Thank you. Is there another comment? Another question? Yeah.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you. I'd like ‑‑ I listened to what has been told ‑‑ talking myself and trying to understand what I learned from IGF including ‑‑ and I figured out that it is a shame for me to be in need of anonymity to express myself online. I am repeating the sentence every time because I work for anonymity and I work for anonymity to be accepted as a constitutional right in Turkey, but I don't want to be in need of anonymity to express myself. It is a shame. And about these VPNs, proxies and other software fighting for censorship and privacy tools we cannot trust them because there are lots of tools and new ones coming, and everyone is asking us about them. For example, Lantern. They always ask us is it trustable. Should we install it or not. So nobody trusts those tools anymore. Because we know or suspect that the Governments are spreading them or something like this. So the people don't know the things going on in the background also. There doesn't want to use those tools or they use any tool and they can use the wrong ones and the things can go really wrong. Not the Governments and the other organisations can trick their information.
>> NATE SCHENKKAN: Thank you. I think that Karl wanted to say ‑‑
>> KARL KATHURIA: You have some good points. Not just for myself but for any software that you use in this area is that it is open source and that's really a very, very key thing. We have made sure throughout the history of Psiphon it has been open source from the beginning. I think I mentioned earlier every time we make a change and deploy the source code is there for people to look at and to study and to make sure. And while, of course, we are in to software that is available to the massive audiences and I realise not everyone's going to be using code and checking it. But I think you can be assured when it is open source that there is enough people that will have looked and made sure it is secure to do what it is doing. When you are looking for these tools and I say the same to anyone, make sure it is open source and therefore you are at least one step from trust verifying.
>> NATE SCHENKKAN: Yeah, on this topic briefly.
>> SHAZAD AHMAD: In my opinion digital surveillance is very important. Going to be sure when it comes to Freedom of Expression. So in our opinion censorship, you can circumvent but lots of privacy in permanent. That is why it is important we use these tools to protect ourselves. So that is why it is important VPNs and importance. These tools.
>> NATE SCHENKKAN: We had a question there in the back I saw. Please identify yourself. Thanks.
>> AUDIENCE: I'm Walid. I happen to be a victim of censorship. I happen to have been a victim of censorship and was contemplating the same ideas of trust when I started in 2008. But what I realise is that the Internet is so wonderful and so open that you no longer need to rely on others to begin circumventing censorship. So the idea behind it if you are really eager to build or develop your own methods of censorship it is not that difficult. It is a matter of know‑hows and understanding how the protocols work. I would imagine if you are interested in how to be vague you can simply install a VPN on your server and it wouldn't take an hour to finish. It is understanding the know‑hows and trainings and you develop your own team to build your own tools. In Middle East where I come we have the same issue. And I decided to build my own tool and it became successful. It is not the matter of trusting others and making sure that there is something that fits you. You can develop something that fits you and only you.
>> NATE SCHENKKAN: That's an excellent point. Sorry, here.
>> AUDIENCE: My name is Franon. I wanted to come back to the question of technological issues. Make the point that you look super hard in the world, worldwide content but that hasn't stopped the wars. So in terms of technology the states had always have more resources than Civil Society because all the companies fighting it over. And if we rely on these technological solutions as important as they we will never get ahead, and it will be a way when we are struggling to get up. We have to see these technological solutions as a tool to buy time and where the blocking of the content censorship and Freedom of Expression are illegal and the states can be held accountable for that. Just finding ways to get around.
>> NATE SCHENKKAN: That's a fantastic point.
>> GONENC GURKAYNAK: I would like to thank the previous speaker, actually she has taken half of my speech and done it in a more succinct and a graceful manner. I would definitely second what has been said. I'm not saying technical fixes are nothing. But they cannot be the end game. They cannot be the solution. They can just buy you some time until states get to that point of maturity where freedom of speech is the first virtue that they are running after. So ‑‑ and it is not an awful thing when conflicts get deeper by the way and when social media accelerates that procedure. Because when conflicts get deeper people will have to find a solution within the legal meanings and while say ‑‑ take Turkish example, while the people in Turkey have agonized over severe bands, ultimately as a teacher of freedom of speech for ten years now I have two court decisions that actually say something on freedom of speech. So that's not a bad thing. And also I would like to underline the point that was made that we didn't elaborate on it, education issue. She said even education and I understand because it is very bottom‑up kind of approach, but again teaching at two Universities and knowing how things are taught I would say that especially on concepts like freedom of speech we should let people think outside the box. We should show them the red flags instead of teaching people what freedom of speech is. As a definition we should start showing them the red flags. Like the contributor from Google said certain categories of speech are being attacked under certain legislations. And I would say that there are a lot of lawyers in emerging markets who wouldn't see the big troubling problem with certain categories, speech being addressed and they would look in to what the categories are. They would do a minute analysis of whether that category is awful or not.
They wouldn't say the minute you categorize you're already hindering speech. Red flags, vagueness and overbroadness and all of these need to be flagged and shown. Private companies they are consistently objecting in a jurisdiction people should back them up. Meanwhile, of course, technical fixes should allow people to still stay connected but that cannot be ‑‑
>> BURCU BAKIOGLU: I completely agree and second what you just said and I think what we are getting at right now is not one solution is the be all end all but a multi‑prong solution that takes legal progresses and educational and political and whatnot. So I'm completely in agreement with what Gonenc just said.
>> NATE SCHENKKAN: I wanted to take one more question.
>> AUDIENCE: I am Tonya from Technical Solutions. I want to go back to what you said forming the journalism public sphere and a lot of this has to do with the academia and the academics here. And I think that also really an important component is how much freedom do you have to both teach and research on net freedom and freedom of speech in Turkey and in other countries around the world. And so, you know, both about teaching students to use the tools and to understand how Internet can be a tool for independent journalism, but also the freedom to do research and if you can talk a little bit more about that.
>> ASLI TUNC: That's a great question actually. I am the lucky one because, you know, my University is pretty progressive. So I have academic freedom personally, but if you look at the overall picture in the country, of course, intimidation goes to academia as well. A lot of investigation is being held, you know, for the academics. So they don't have freedom to teach. Freedoms in classroom and speaking to the media as well. They are mostly silenced. They are self‑censoring themselves. So as I said we are the lucky ones. So, you know, we have a bunch of people who are trying to raise the issue on an international level by writing and speaking to the international media. But, of course, we are laughed at as well which we don't mind but we don't know what will happen to you. Everything is vague in this country. But, of course, there is a blanket of intimidation throughout this, especially state Universities. They are not allowed to speak or to, you know, be an activist online and offline. So it is a pretty tough, you know, environment for academics as well sadly.
>> BURCU BAKIOGLU: Okay. At this point I'd like to widen the lens a little bit and ask, you know, how should other stakeholders adapt and modify their support to address some of the threats and challenges that we have been discussing so far. When I'm saying that I'd like to focus on what's coming up next and next frontier. What we should be thinking about for the future, not what's going on right now. In a sense how should the stakeholders collaborate to this end. I'd like to first ask Anna to speak to this. Thank you.
>> ANNA KAREFELT: My name is Anna Karefelt. So as others also a strong believer in the multi‑dimensional approach of both supporting on the ground but also working on a global level. As many know Sweden was a driver in the work of pushing for the two UN Resolutions that confirm that Human Rights online should be treated equally and Human Rights offline and that's ‑‑ those Resolutions were both accepted with Consensus. And we see that this is an important base to have these kind of discussions.
Within the Swedish Development Corporation we are prioritizing increased access and use of the kind of open and free communication channels that we are talking about now. But also as was mentioned by previous speakers this backlog technology is like you said it buys time. But we need the other things in place as well. I think we are at the very formative stage at this point. The African Union went through with the Convention on cybersecurity as well weaving very vague or using vague phrasings that leaves a lot up to interpretation at a country level. I think or as a strategy we encourage self‑actors and local actors and regional collaborations to counter these trends that they are seeing. I think the African declaration on Internet rights and freedoms which we heard about this week is a wonderful example of regional initiatives, initiatives coming together and working on these issues.
Also the dimension of offline Human Rights violation, interacting with online Human Rights violations I think it is also very important to address and specifics about Hugh ‑‑ women Human Rights defenders and the challenges they face. We have also seen a lot of parallel I think also speaking about technology but overall a lot of parallel initiatives. I think what we are trying to encourage is more collaboration and working together instead of sort of competing against each other. And I think as donors sometimes we are encouraging a structure and we need to be self‑critical about that and see how we can remove those barriers that we may have helped to create and helped ‑‑ help you to collaborate with each other.
I also think that in this sort of tech frenzy we are sometimes looking at quick solutions. And just because technology is fast we think that change is fast as well. And we see a lot of short‑term initiatives, but I think we need to really be patient and see that also change online rights takes time and we need to invest in that time, commit to that time.
>> BURCU BAKIOGLU: Thank you. I'd like to turn to Ben our corporate representative from Google to ‑‑ to hear his thoughts on this matter.
>> BEN BLINK: So I think the most dangerous and troublesome forms of new censorship are well‑intentioned laws. It is a child safety, meeting for broad censorship but when the public is behind these efforts, those ‑‑ so I think the stakeholders, we have to work really carefully and meet specific concerns, legitimately has Internet rose and runs. And develop solutions that are alternatives to this censorship. Specifically extremism is one I think about a lot in my work and even in the U.S. people are certainly concerned about this. The burden is on us is a more effective solution. And things like more and more societies by companies developing things like reporting videos can help people stay safe and develop alternative solutions, to get the public on our side as we try to deal with this censorship.
>> NATE SCHENKKAN: Can I push you a little on that Ben? Awesome. What is Google going to do about that? I mean you are talking about stakeholders. You are talking about everyone in the room. Specifically Google as the 10 billion pound gorilla on the Internet, how do you approach that? How are you going to support that?
>> BEN BLINK: I mean the burden is on us. So from our perspective we work with individual stakeholder groups in specific countries to help them build their capacity to speak out against certain things. So, for example, Muslim extremism in Great Britain is something that has led to many MPs there demanding certain content be moved or certain categories of content being removed. We using our UK creator space helping individuals who are very well positioned to speak to communities about extremism, to help them build a ‑‑ so they can make videos to counteract these things. If something is posted you can speak out to it. Legal demand is cutting it off entirely. With child safety it is a matter of educating parents and students of how they can stay safe online. We do a number of initiatives both in person and online that there are ways to stay safe beyond demanding certain categories of speech. Things can banned online. So we are always looking for new partnerships along those lines and for new ideas. We are being big. We are well positioned but we are ‑‑
>> BURCU BAKIOGLU: I just want to kind of maybe a second what you said in the first part of the statement that you made, you know, some of these laws, legislations are passed to protect public good and the public always get behind it. The same thing when you talked about censorship, but the same thing is especially true about surveillance especially after 9/11. So the most outrageous surveillance legislation has passed in the state and that resulted from the latest NSA leaks and what it revealed. With that I am going to hand it over to Nate.
>> NATE SCHENKKAN: Okay. At this time we wanted to step up one more level to talk a bit about this whole week since we are here on Friday morning. We are here at the end of the IGF in Turkey with a lot of Turkish folks, with a lot of people who are in Turkey for the first time and in particular we wanted to talk about what this ‑‑ what these new threats, what this kind of environment means for the multi‑stakeholder model, what I hinted at at the beginning and what I talked about at the beginning. What does multi‑stakeholderism mean if you have stakeholders that are not acting in good faith? And how do we see the IGF process, perhaps other multi‑stakeholder processes moving forward out of this? I wanted to actually ask Anna if she could say a few words. I know I put it in a very controversial way. But I would like to hear some perspective about the multi‑stakeholder process, about the IGF and how it is going to continue to work as we see this solidifying, these trends solidifying in a very large number of countries representing a very large number of Internet users.
>> ANNA KAREFELT: Thank you for that question. I think I will ‑‑ being within the ‑‑ the way ‑‑ but I mean multi‑stakeholderism is what we do. That's what we are supporting. We are supporting stakeholders to be able to have a voice in this kind of process. We are supporting participants coming to events, first supporting the preparatory evidence‑based reports that are being produced. I think that by strengthening actors involved in a dialogue that's multi‑stakeholderism.
>> NATE SCHENKKAN: Okay. Thank you. I also wanted to direct this question to Shazad if I could.
>> SHAZAD AHMAD: Thank you. In my opinion, okay, you mention IGF process as well. And you mention different stakeholders. Though I mean our situation looks very brief and it looks like it is ‑‑ it is really dark. No, it is not. I think the IGF process itself is important to continue to strengthen this whole purpose idea of multi‑stakeholderism. And we have been calling for confirmation and it is important for Civil Society ‑‑ the situation is bleak on several sides of several Governments when they can't make commitments for the Tunis Agenda. And not many Governments are interested and they don't pretend and they don't really, you know, work with Civil Society at the national level or regional and global level. But still I think we need to do a bit more effort and need to bring ‑‑ continue to interact with them and continue to make them accountable, continue to talk to them as well as, you know, accountability. I mean different layers that we can do. And hopefully at some point in time we will get there. So hopes are high and the IGF process is extremely important. It should continue. And this is where we can voice our concern and voice our ‑‑ so this is my opinion.
>> NATE SCHENKKAN: Thank you. Serhat, can I go to you ‑‑ I wanted to get a Turkish voice on this. Could I go to you ‑‑ yeah. Thank you.
>> SERHAT KOC: I feel that we are in an oxymoron situation. The Government seems democratic and advanced democracy and ex‑dictatorship. So as for the social media platforms, please do not forget they are companies. They are not fighters who are freedom of speech. Maybe they say they are but they are not. They want to profit from our online activity. So we didn't establish those companies platforms, softwares as a stakeholder, as people. I am a stakeholder. I think I am a user but this is not taken stakeholder in Turkey in terms of the Government and the national assembly. So it is a stakeholder. We build this country and the Government is established on people I think. We can change it. The laws are being prepared, assembled in the nation of Turkey. Education is important. Software is important. Law is important. But going in assembly and fighting for Internet freedom in assembly is important, too. So we should work for it, too, as a proponent. I want to add that there is ‑‑ to act as a stakeholder on this issue.
>> BURCU BAKIOGLU: At this point Selin wants to add something. This is a very popular question by the way.
>> SELIN KALEDELN: I want to point out when you talk to people they are not lawyers or law practitioners. When I talk about surveillance and data protection they just tell okay, I just want Government. So it collects my data. It is good, right? And I say I mean do ‑‑ are you aware of the danger and what's going on? I can't fully understand this trust of this to the Government and they don't think about what this data is, where this data goes. For example, maybe Serhat can help me out about this. You know, they locked up all the information, the data. I don't ‑‑ I don't remember where they are, but I mean they had the code. The password was 1234. And it ‑‑ yeah. It was nice actually. But I mean when we talk about the education, I was thinking about why should we start. For example, when I just take this kind of comments, like okay, I trust my Government. So I don't care where this data goes. So I mean I just want to in to my daily life and I don't care about the surveillance but, for example, where we are talking about Google and I think that ‑‑ I mean right now the biggest surveillance tool in the work is the Google. So I think the Internet that we are using right now is fully censored because it is dominated by Google. So are we using the real Internet? So that will be the question. Thank you.
>> BURCU BAKIOGLU: Thank you. I guess we could say just corporations in general instead of just pinpointing Google although ‑‑ oh. Actual ‑‑ Ben, would you like to defend your turf? I didn't want you to get, you know, trampled upon but, you know, he is your friend. So he wants you to.
>> BEN BLINK: I don't quite see the connection of how Google's role is leading to censorship directly. Happy to talk more about it later. It is healthy to be aware of the Internet space and who is playing in that space and those types of things. And I think it is every company should be looked at and making sure that they are following standards that are respecting Human Rights. And I think that's completely reasonable and legitimate for everyone to be doing as well. For us I don't think we need to get in to defending personally here or other corporations generally. I am pretty comfortable with where ‑‑ the steps that we are taking to mitigate their risks of surveillance and Government intrusion and the legal review process that we have in place and to mitigate the threats to our users as much as possible. Companies are generally based on trust. And if we are not protecting that trust of our users, then our business is going to fail. So it is certainly from the interest of forward thinking companies to be thinking about the surveillance implications and security and privacy.
>> BURCU BAKIOGLU: In the spirit of true interactive dialogue Gonenc wants to say a few words about this issue.
>> GONENC GURKAYNAK: Not about this issue. I agree that that last exchange is not what Nate was asking about and Nate's question I think is an important question. What is it that is so special about multi‑stakeholderism and what is it really? To my perception is that multi‑stakeholderism is trying to penetrate a bottom‑up approach rather than a topdown type of attitude toward the issues of Internet. So who is the true owner of the Internet? It is the people. How do we get the people to say what they want to say about its governance? Multi‑stakeholderism is a concept of that in my mind. And with that I think the IGF being held in Turkey was a wonderful thing. Because if you are going to study poverty or inequality in income distribution you should do that in Mozambique or Haiti or Congo. And if you are going to look in to severe issues of Internet Governance, I think it is wise to do it in Turkey right now because we have severe issues of Internet Governance. And it is a wonderful thing that for five days people discussed it in the core of these. And I do agree with part of what has been said, that you don't smell it in the air either. It doesn't occur to you like a country where there is these severe problems. These severe problems they spring at you when it is crunch time. So you need freedom of speech when you are annoying someone. But that's when freedom of speech kicks in anyway.
So to make a long story short what I am trying to say is I think it was a blessing to have the IGF in Istanbul and I think the multi‑stakeholderism is wonderful to the extent that at 9 a.m. in the morning this room was so crowded and people get to know each other and it is a great network. I know, come to reach out to and people know how to place each other and IGF is serving the true owners of Internet more than it serves the ideas of censorship or profit making.
>> BURCU BAKIOGLU: Thank you for this insight. Marianne from IRPCoalition, she was the co‑Chair until yesterday. But she'd like to say a few words.
>> MARIANNE FRANKLIN: I'm just wanting to return to the idea about that even talking about basic Human Rights online and offline in a University classroom puts you in danger. And I think this is something that we need to take account of that even down to the primary school and high school there must be a way in which you can actually socialize and sensitize young people to understanding what a right is without necessarily incurring the wrath of your watches. Even those spaces are being invaded by forces that would wish conversations about rights to be curtailed I am concerned and I want to emphasize the little stuff, the tiny everyday stuff that isn't something you can hang up as an output. Things like handing the chart of Human Rights and principles for the Internet in Turkish to the hotel boys at the front desk and to have them arguing with each other about who gets the copies, these little things. We can't tell funders about this. Multi‑stakeholderism is what you make of it. So as we at a high level, middle level I think we need to find ‑‑ I'd like to find ways how we can help people in schools and Universities in Turkey and other places to bring forth these values and ideas in ways to get people to think differently. We are changing mindsets, that does not happen overnight but in this case do sweat the small stuff. Do sweat the small stuff if you know the reference that I am making to the American book.
>> NATE SCHENKKAN: That's great. We do have time for more questions before we get to the wrap‑up. I wanted to open up to the audience. I had seen a couple of hands passing through and haven't always gotten to them. So if you still have those inquiries, if you are still here, still have something that has sparked your thoughts. If people from Turkey that want to talk about what this has been like in perspectives that you have about what's been happening this week we'd love to hear it. Don't be shy. Serhat?
>> SERHAT KOC: I could say a few words about IGF being in Turkey, but why not being able to talk about Turkey and that was something that we spend these five days and that was about mostly a global issue, but since as you said Turkey is the case study and could not really focus on the everyday examples that are actually in place.
>> NATE SCHENKKAN: I will go ahead and dive in on that. I think it ‑‑ you have a Forum, this is maybe to sharpen the point, you have a Forum that is a multi‑stakeholder Forum where individual Governments are allowed to promote themselves, produce promotional materials and distribute them. But NGOs are not allowed to distribute reports and materials that present an alternative view on those Governments or corporations. And I think that really calls in to question what multi‑stakeholderism is and how equal the stakeholders are. I do think that the current stage of it from my impression of this week there are some stakeholders that are definitely more equal than others right now. And that's something that I'd like to see as the IGF goes forward how are we going to make it so that it is more of a balanced approach.
>> AUDIENCE: Great point. I come from Azerbaijan where IGF was hosted two years ago. Things haven't improved there. It is pretty backwards. One thing I would like to see within IGF this year is we have been using the word "accountability" quite a few times at IGFs and I think we really need to start taking this word seriously, because one thing is saying the word accountability and the other is doing something about it. And I would really like to see the multi‑stakeholders at the IGF to do something about accountability, especially holding Governments like Turkey, like Azerbaijan accountable to all the violations that are happening in those countries against the journalism, against activists who are using online platforms for their work.
>> NATE SCHENKKAN: Great. Questions? Comments? Yeah. Anywhere you see a mic just squeeze in.
>> BURCU BAKIOGLU: Please speak to the mic very close.