Inclusive responses to intentional internet disruptions
07 December 2016 - A Workshop on in Guadalajara,Mexico
>> Can you hear me? Hello, everyone. We'll start in about two minutes.
>> MODERATOR: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us this morning. So this is in case you're in the wrong spotted, this is a panel, a work shot about intentional disruptions to the Internet. And it's a workshop format. So we'll begin with quick remarks from the plenary from our panelists here and we'll break up into two workshops. After that we'll reconvene and talk about the lessons we've learned.
So we've been access now, the organisation I work for, we've recorded more than 50 intentional disruptions to the Internet by governments around the world. We expect ‑‑ we actually believe that the number is far higher than that. That's an extremely conservative estimate. And we've seen that Human Rights violations and Internet shutdowns go hand‑in‑hand, meaning that when governments order and disrupt the Internet, which can include social media applications, people live in ‑‑ are shrouded in darkness, they're unable to communicate with their friends, they can't talk to family, emergency services are disrupted, and as you'll hear there's also severe economic impact.
Several of the panelists here we're very lucky to have people from various stakeholders, we have people from government, from countries, from civil society, we have people in the room who have been directly impacted by Internet shutdowns. So we hope that that will make for fertile conversation during our workshops.
Just want to start out by explaining a few great things that have happened this year. One is there was a human lights council resolution that unequivocally condemned Internet shutdowns. We had a straight statement by the global initiative that you'll hear from shortly. And there was an important statement by the GSM association. We've also had progress in other areas.
At Access Now, we are involved and spearhead the Keep It On campaign which has 150 organizations from many countries, many impacted by shutdowns. And this year we've also joined with creative partnership with the partner called lush, a cosmetics company to raise awareness about shutdowns. And we launched a campaign with a very special bath product that launched in 40 countries, six languages and nearly 1,000 stores around the world to tell people about Internet shutdowns.
We also invited people to take action to show that this is a practice that needs to stop. And you're looking at it right here. This is the action. This is a thousand pages of signatures of people who are committed around the world to keeping the Internet on. So we're going to deliver this message later today.
So I'll turn now to ‑‑ and after this, after we have these brief introductory remarks, we'll have another discussion. So we'll open it up for questions before going to the breakout group just in case you have any burning questions. So we'll turn now to Judith Lichtenberg from the global initiative to talk about their societies.
>> It's great to talk about your coordinated efforts with lush. My New Year's Eve bought the bath bombs. I didn't know what it was until they happy to know they are like it. And I am happy to give it to them and relate it to network shutdowns.
The network shutdowns have been named as one of the issues. We have been concerned with government shutdowns already for a long time since the complete shutdown of the Internet in Egypt in 2011. But what was then almost an unprecedented step has now become ultra frequent.
We know that national laws allow governments to take control of communications during a national emergency. And we also acknowledge that the protection of national security and public safety are legitimate government concerns, but having said that, network shutdowns and disruptions are very drastic measures. And they often risk to be disproportionate in their impact. So they cannot only have serious consequences for the Freedom of Expression but also for a whole range of other economic and social rights and economic development. And DJ gave already a couple of examples of about.
The good news is that awareness has grown. Diverse voices have spoken up against network shutdowns. But I think an important question now is what are the next steps to prevent and mitigate network shutdowns? It's a question for all of us.
And in any case, it is a problem that cannot be solved by companies, governments or civil society alone; it really requires a sustained multistakeholder collaboration.
And I want to conclude with two comments. First of all, we believe that it is critical that all stakeholders, including governments, are not seeing network shutdowns only through security lens but also through a Human Rights and economic development lens. And that requires education of and also engagement with governments and their agencies.
And, secondly, in terms of engagement, it's very good to keep in mind that the window for engagement is before network shutdowns are issued. Telecommunication companies operating on the ground in challenging jurisdictions and in the middle of a crisis will have very limited options to respond at the moment their local staff is confronted with a government order.
So this discussion is very timely indeed, and we look forward to the results of the breakdown sessions. Thank you. And I now give the floor to Gigi.
>> GIGI ALFORD: My name is Gigi Alford. I work at the United States Department of State at the Bureau of Technology, Human Rights & Media. Thank you for the remarks before. I think this is obviously very important panel and great panelists to talk about this.
As many of you know, the United States has been speaking out increasingly about our concerns and taking steps to condemn measures by state actors to intentionally prevent or disrupt access to or dissemination of information online in violation of international Human Rights law. So essentially this is what government‑backed disruption of mobile and Internet networks does.
This is something is articulated in the U.S. strategy for cyberspace that was issued in 2011, which speaks in support of an Internet that's global, open, secure and reliable.
And living in fear that the Internet will be shut down or that mobile services will be blocked disrupts that trust in the Internet.
So I think I've been asked to speak specifically, along with a colleague here, about the increasing trend of disruptions of Internet mobile services around elections. And this is, I think, one sort of case study that needs to be analyzed because it locks at the motivations of governments behind doing this.
And so when we speak about the economic argument for keeping the Internet on when we talk about the Human Rights argument for keeping it on, analyzing how to work with governments ahead of potentially planned shutdown along these issues requires a little bit of getting into the psychology of wanting to stay in power, wanting to make sure an election is peaceful because these are concerns that we know are often behind some of these sensitive times. And so something that just can't be treated in the abstract. It's important to understand these tendencies.
Elections and protests are times that we've seen it. We know that this violates international Human Rights obligations and can run counter to Human Rights commitments. So reminding governments of those commitments is definitely a first step.
Making sure that they understand that these types of restrictions are not provided for by law, and that they're not the least restrictive measure for achieving what in some cases might be legitimate government interests such as the protection of national security. So making sure that you're coming to the table with alternative viewpoints of what can be done to try to address these times of transition and political sensitivity because unless there are other options on the table, that extreme measure tends to be what governments will go to.
So to give a little sense of where the U.S. has been engaging on these issues over the past six months to a year, we were really pleased to join consensus on the Human Rights Council resolution in June of 2016, which unequivocally condemned these intentional measures to disrupt free flow of information. This is also something we're engaging with the Freedom Online Coalition to speak jointly with other governments on these issues. The more and more the trend grows, the more it becomes normalised. That's something that the Human Rights Council resolution statement tried to do, was to push the norm back towards the assumption that once the Internet is turned on in a country, that it will stay on. And making the Human Rights legal case for that and kind of adding to the voices that are making the economic argument, which is important, but kind of this bigger picture.
In addition to co‑sponsoring that, this was something that in October the Freedom Online Coalition conference spoke to quite frequently. There were panels to discuss this and a decision by all 30 members of the F. O. C. to issue a joint statement speaking on network shutdowns. Now, what will the join statement say in addition to what's already been said in the Human Rights Council resolution? This is something that we're hoping to work closely with private industry, with civil society, with academia to understand what can be said beyond that normative statement, how to take it to a new level of political commitments and operationalization.
So there's been support from our Assistant Secretary for Technology, Human Rights & Media, Tom Malinowski. He wrote a blog post speaking to some of the concerns the U.S. has about the trend and calling on governments to make commitments not to engage in these measures. And I'm happy to say that there were examples of good news to report. So at the end of the blog post, our secretary did mention the example of Ghana. And so I'm happy to turn the microphone over to Kenneth Adu‑Amanfoh, who is the Deputy Director for ICT and the Ghanaian National Communications Agency to speak a little bit the experience there. Thank you.
>> KENNETH ADU‑AMANFOH: Yes, thank you, Elizabeth. Yes. I think in this era where almost everything that we do ‑‑ hello. I'm sure you can hear me now. In this area, almost everything that we do is generally migrating to the Internet. I mean, we cannot afford to have the Internet shutdown. Heat me just speak about the experience in Ghana. A couple of months ago, the police chief issued an order that the Internet was going to ‑‑ or the network was going to be shut down during the elections because of incidences that has happened in other countries. And the whole public came up, the media, everybody came up. So the government, the President, they had the option ‑‑ not an option, but the President came up to issue a communique that the network was not going to be shut down during the elections.
Fortunately for us in Ghana, the President happens to be a former Minister of communications. He also happened to be the first board Chairman of the telecom regulator, so he understands technology and he appreciates it. So he came up and issued a communique just to assure the citizens of Ghana that the network was not going to be shut down during the elections. After that, still the civil society groups that are coming out, people were still not ‑‑ even though the President has issued that statement, people were still in a little bit of doubt.
But last week, about two weeks ago, we organised our cyber week, which was part of our the U.S. government, security programme that is being implemented and as part of creation, we organised a security week where the whole society was there. And the ministry of communication really assured the general public at the form um that the Internet was not going to be shut down before, during and after. And the Director General or the head of the telecom regulator also did same. Reassured the general public that the Internet was not going to be shut down. Subsequent to that, organised a press Forum with the media to reassure them that, hey, the Internet is not going to be shut down during the elections and afterwards. And then we also organised another workshop with the telecom operators and ISB, to also assure them that it wasn't going to be shut down and all that. So fortunately for us, today is election day, and my time is almost going to about 4 o'clock p.m., and the network has not been shut down. So far the elections have been peaceful.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
People are going around voting and everything. And it's not been shut down. So I think ‑‑ having said that, I think when it comes to Internet shutdown, it is not only about during elections. When we look at the social, I'm sure we break down to those discussions are going to take place, looking about people over the top, the O. T. T. services where by the operators is kind of disincentive to the operators because I work with the regulator. I know also the time that the mobile operators made a proposal, gave a proposal to the regulator that, hey, people are now making all calls using the wassup and it's affecting our revenue because the voice calls are dropping down and our revenue is dropping down. And if that is happening, that means government taxes also dropping down. So it's something that has been proposed, that has been forwarded to the regulator that a discussion is currently going on.
So it's not about just the elections but also looking at the social and the economic aspect. But I'm sure that during the breakout, we are going to have a lot of discussions. I don't want to jump to conclusions right now. Thank you.
>> ANDY O'CONNELL: I'm Andy O'Connell from Facebook. Thank you for organising this. This is obviously an incredibly important issue for a lot of people, standing room only. It's certainly an incredibly important issue for Facebook. I'm not going to repeat any of the condition tent that's been discussed already, but I would agree with everything that's been said. From our perspective this is an incredibly troubling issue. And trend is in the wrong direction. In 2015, we ‑‑ it's sometimes hard to access, we will talk about that. We think we were blocked by government 15 times. 2016 it's been more than 40 times. So the trajectory is in the wrong direction. And governments do appear to be getting more sophisticated about blocking the Internet for a number of things including elections.
The thing I've been told to focus on is one the economic piece and two the measurement piece. I'll be very brief.
I think that echoing Judy's statement about multistakeholderism, there's an important role for the private sector, civil society, academics, governments in establishing mechanisms to monitor and track when blocks happen. It's not ‑‑ there is not such a resource right now that's publicly available where it's easy for a large number of people to understand exactly what's going on if realtime. And we think that's an important thing that the multistakeholder community needs to step up on. And I think that will be an you that we dig into in the workshops.
The second piece I'll talk about is the economic piece. Our company's mission is to make the world more open and connected, and it's really anchored in letting people share or connect with friends and family. And so for us, the Human Rights arguments, the social arguments are very persuasive, but we have found that there are certain stakeholders who are much more likely to be persuaded by economic arguments. And so we do think again the multistakeholder community needs the spend more time on that.
We've seen good progress on that front this fall. There have been two I think pretty important studies on the consequences of blocking that came out in the last couple months that I'll just mention very briefly, and I suggest all of you take a look at them.
The first one is a Brookings Institution study that came out in October. And the headline of that is essentially that between ‑‑ in the year that they looked at, which was part of 2015 and part of 2016, there were 8 is blocks that they tracked globally pursuant to government orders ‑‑ 81. And the estimated economic damage was 2.$4 billion. So a huge amount of economic impact. And they were very clear that they were only able to look at pieces of this and that the estimate, the actual impact is probably much higher.
The second study is a study that we supported and worked with GNI to release I guess last month, I think. That was a study that was conducted by Deloitte. And, again, I'm not going to get into all the details, but the headline was they structured a number of scenarios for government‑ordered blocks. And under the most extreme scenario, a block cost 1.9 percent of global GDP if it's government‑initiated. And then there's a lot of other scenarios and they tracked the mechanism by which the economic damage happens.
Again, I commend both of those studies to you. And I sort of call on the community and I'm excited that we're going to have the workshop to really dig into these two issues because both on measurements of when blocks happen, when, why, how, and understanding the consequences, the economic and social consequences, there's a lot more work that needs to be done. We've got a decent foundation. But I'm counting on all of us to work together over the next half hour, 45 minutes to figure out what the next stage of that work should be. So thank you.
>> NICK DAGOSTINO: Thank you, Andy. We're going to open it up to questions. Just want to mention, first of all, those studies are fantastic and really important contribution to this challenge.
The other thing is there are three victories within the past week. One of them is that Chad, which had a long term disruption lifted those restrictions. Ethiopia has also lifted many, if not all, of its restrictions on social media. And Gambia did shut down the Internet last week, but before the order was supposed to carry out from Thursday election day or the night before election day through Saturday, international pressure, groups, members of Keep It On and various stakeholders really pressured those governments to stop their disruptions. And Gambia, if you look at it, it was a small country of 2 million, I do think that the shutdown brought a lot of attention. Most of the headlines around that election involved ‑‑ said something about an Internet shutdown.
So our feedback from local partners in Chad Ethiopia and Gambia is that international pressure makes a difference. And it can come from other stakeholders. So these were not just random events. They weren't arbitrary decisions. Your contributions from whatever community you're a part of make a huge difference in protecting lives and economies.
So with that, I don't see a place to receive the Web ex questions. So Andreas is from international media support is moderating those and maybe we can coordinate there. But we'd like to open it up to 2 to 3 questions. Then we'll go to the breakout groups.
Please let us know which panelist you're addressing.
>> I just have a question about the scope of the term international, just see turning off the switch, "the" switch, that connects to all types of, all URLs where obviously Internet shutdown, but is blocking of certain social media sites; is that also considered part of the ‑‑ within the scope? I am asking this because the Korean government, through Korean communications standard commission routinely blocks various platform sites, for instance forsale.com, which is a peer to peer file sharing web site that has been blocked, although it has faithfully abided by notice and takedown under DMCA for Copyright violation., I mean for assisting Copyright violation, of course.
And also North Korea technology.com, which is a media site that provides information on user of technology North Korea also has been shut down by south Korean government for national security reasons. I don't know why. You know that all north Korean government sites are inaccessible, are inaccessible from within Korea. So access to those sites are also blocked.
Is that also within the scope of the term international tolerance?
>> NICK DAGOSTINO: I can answer that question. We kicked off the keep it on campaign by creating a definition. I can read it now because there's a transcript. In Internet shutdown is an intentional disruption of Internet or electronic communications rendering them inaccessible or effectively unusable so that takes into account throttling for a specific population or within a location often to exert control over the flow of information.
That's a very technical definition. Duration is missing from the definition. Also two‑way communications tools, because we think that's an important part of it.
So we're looking to refine that definition at our coming conference Access Now's conference called write come. We welcome your input and feel it could be better and more effective. The case examples that you gave, the longer‑term per, persistent disruptions to the Internet at the moment wouldn't quite fit the definition. But we can re‑examine that together and we invite anyone to participate in that.
>> Good morning. Thank you for your presentations. I have a question in terms of scope. So when talking about full shutdowns, I mean the control of the elements of the TCP/IP protocol and stopping the connection between the sender and the receiver, a personal account of mine is that since 2005, there were at least 21 shutdowns. I mean I know for the applications this is a lot higher.
But I believe there is a mistake believing that this is a type of policy considered only for ‑‑ to silence the political rivals in times of disruption, in times of elections. This is a policy that has been in the eyes of the well‑established democracies for a while.
Now, they have different reasons for WHO participants they say they do it. The most classical reason is always on the basis of the national security, the attack on the critical infrastructure, or the attack on the vital elements that preserve the nation's data life.
Do you have any insights into these? Like I heard sometimes, too, some representatives talking about a cyber Pearl Harbor. They talk about this, but they don't know exactly how they are going to implement it and when they are going to do it. Okay, thank you.
>> NICK DAGOSTINO: Sorry, did you say cyber Pearl Harbor? Someone want to speak to this?
Well, I can speak to the ‑‑ we do know that there are many causes for shutdowns. So the 2 number that you mentioned ‑‑ 21 number. Governments are disrupting the Internet for school exams when sixth graders sit down to take exams because they believe they are cheating and sharing answers. University students, there are all kinds of reasons. And the public order around elections, national security they're cited frequently. But we do know that there are several different causes.
About the cyber Pearl Harbor, that's something that I think we're going to be exploring. It does seem that disruption by one government of another government's Internet can impact this discussion. But at the moment, that's not the focus of ‑‑ we're talking about internal disruptions within state borders rather than cross‑border attacks. So I think that's a slightly different discussion but one that will impact this community soon.
>> GIGI: I think one thing we've noticed since 2011 when there was a very high profile Internet shutdown in Egypt that grabbed headlines across the world, that a number of governments are looking for ways to do this in practice without detection. And it looks like that there are a range of attempts to figure out how to achieve the purpose of this disruption without inflaming public outrage and pushback or international pushback.
So I think this is something that is important in the definitional conversation. We do need to know what we're talking about when we talk about it so that the conversation can be productive and move forward. But that's why I think it was wise for the Human Rights Council resolution to use the phrase "measures by state actors to intentionally prevent or disrupt access to or dissemination of information online." For that context, that made sense. You're invoking a right and trying to make sure that there is an awareness and application because this same resolution establishes that the same rights that apply offline apply online. And this is clarifying what that means when it comes to access to Internet information online.
Likewise, for the cyberspace strategy that I spoke about earlier, the descriptions are that people must have confidence that data will travel to its destination without disruption, assuring the free flow of information, the security and privacy of data, and the integrity of interconnected networks themselves are all essential to American and global economic prosperity, security and the promotion of universal rights.
So again this was passed in 2011. And there is an increasing number of tools in the toolbox of controlling information online. If you look at the Freedom on the Net Report for 2016, they document 9 types of Internet controls that governments use to censor and control information flows and commerce. One of those is localised or national shutdowns of communication technologies and it's happening in 15 of 65 countries around the world, the same countries that are using this one of the 9 types of Internet controls. It's sort of a grab bag. And they're going to use the ones that fit their purpose and often avoid the most ‑‑ avoid the negative backlashes that we know are there. And I think that's part of the reason why the multistakeholder approach is so important and I really echo what Andy and Judith said to that effect.
>> NICK DAGOSTINO: Thank you, Gigi. I think we'll break. We'll go to the breakout groups. So we'll have ‑‑ no exercise. We will not force exercise on you.
So on my right, your left, we'll have the economic impact. And we invite everyone along this table to just turn your Chair around. And on this side will be the elections.
Because of change, unfortunately, the technical measurements one, which is an important part of the conversation, our panelist was unable to participate today. So we'll focus on economic impacts and elections.
So everyone on this row, please just turn you were Chair around. Everyone on this row turn your Chair around. And for 40 minutes, we're going to discuss these questions.
We do have a goal within each group. So just to shape the conversation a little bit, we'll have a moderator. So Andy will moderate the economic impact, I will moderate the elections conversation.
So just to ground the discussion, so we're not starting ‑‑ we're going to start by looking for one point of progress. So something that has been accomplished within either the economic impact or the elections. One to two challenges that need to be addressed. And then one or two next steps or solutions just to ground things a little bit.
So we'll reconvene at about 12. We'll aim for 12 to 12:05. Thanks.
>> Just Martin. You mentioned that you were missing an expert on measurements. I just want to say that there are a few people in the room that have that expertise. And if people want to find us, we should put our hands up now. Higher, Colin.
>> NICK DAGOSTINO: Yeah. We can create one more breakout group.
>> No, I don't want to break your breakout groups. I'm saying if you want to find us individually to chat.
>> We do have folks in the room that wouldn't want to miss the opportunity.
>> NICK DAGOSTINO: Would you, Colin, be willing to moderate that? Okay. So why don't you come to this back corner here? Anyone who wants to talk about technical considerations can come to this cornerback here. Sure, yep, thank you.
(breakout groups will have no.
>> NICK DAGOSTINO: Hey, all, before we lose everyone, let's reconvene and get started with the wrapup.
If we can please sit down and get started, we have just a few minutes to do the wrapup and I know we've already lost quite a few people to some competing events that are going on right now.
>> I'm David Sullivan from the ‑‑ global network initiative.
So we will have a wrapup. Is that better? No. Okay. So thanks, everyone, for also helping us to pioneer the breakout group format here at the IGF. Very curious to get feedback on how that went. I know our space was not optimal. But I think at least from the economic group that I participated in, I think we had some really useful discussions, some useful chances for people to get to meet one another and start to strategize on how we can adopt a multistakeholder approach to these issues.
So I believe that Gigi had to run to deliver these petition. So just based on some very helpful notes provided summarize the discussion in the elections group and then perhaps turn it over to others who were part of that group who can elaborate.
So for the victory in elections, we can clearly point to Ghana. And we were very delighted to have the representative from the Ghanaian government here today, a person with influence in the country and region. And that's something that we hope will play out in a positive direction in the coming months as other countries go through their electoral cycles.
Challenges. I see that decisionmakers may not yet understand ICT issues and that the laws in some countries allow for shutdowns or allow national security laws to enable shutdowns.
And then, finally, we have technical failures that governments can take advantage of for political purposes.
Finally, in terms of solutions, I see push for better laws, including laws on Human Rights. We need to be able to marshal the economic impacts arguments and joint statements in order to engage with governments and to develop best practices that we can share with each other.
So I'm going to stop. There are I see a lot more victories, challenges and solutions that this group has developed, but I'm going to first perhaps check and see whether Judith or Katie has anything from that group that they would want to add to or subtract from my attempts to summarize it.
>> JUDY LICHTENBERG: I think that is a good summary. We had one victory to point to with Ghana today. But we had lot of small victories that pointed to more attention coming to this you very formally. And there was a lot of talk about kind of taking those and looking at other ways to push, like I don't know if you mentioned the Australia example, but Australia developed a set of principles for blocking. And the thought was that that could be taken and applied in other contexts. It could also be a potential model on shutouts and that the FOC to look to it when they are e developing their joint statement. So there was a lot of creative statement on how we can take something that's happening now in some of the smaller victories and turn those into larger victories. So it was a good discussion, thanks.
>> MODERATOR: Great. Should we move, then, to the economic group? Andy? Pass the mic.
>> Andy: We had a really good discussion. I'll try to go quickly because I know we're losing people's attention. But I think on the challenges side, I think the biggest challenge with the lack of a comprehensive, reliable dataset to get more robust economic analysis is going to require more robust data, time series data, lots of of details, lots of coding. I think another big challenge we identified was the diversity of the ways that governments disrupt access to data, information. You have everything from the DPI blocking to throttling, but you also have sort of policy measures hike extremely executive taxation on mobile data, which some people in our group might be seen as a type of blocking.
There's also a tension between having a very conservative, defensible methodology for an economic study that excludes a lot of things that you know are important but are harder to definitively measure.
There's a tension between that desire and the desire to have a practical impact on the behavior of stakeholders.
There's also a challenge of needing to localise a lot of this information. Sort of the studies that exist are sort of at a global level. Typically done in the global North. We feel, a lot of people in our group felt there was a need to do this with local anecdotes, local data, local cultural context.
In terms of solutions, we're really looking forward to what the measurement you group has to say. Our number is solution was: Getting a of better dataset. And we thought that that would require sort of a multistakeholder measurement apparatus. And so I'm excited to turn it over to them in one moment.
The second thing was getting studies that look at the longer‑term economic issues, sort of the existing studies are more about the like abrupt impact of a shutdown. But a lot of people in our group felt like there were longer‑term potentially of more damaging consequences in terms of consumer confidence, investor confidence, the education decisions that people make, the business decisions, deciding whether or not to start a startup in an environment where shutdowns happen. But none of the existing studies seemed to capture that because it's hard. But we think there's a lot of room for that.
And then the last two things are we think we need to do more to put this issue on the agenda in regional and local and national fora, opposed to it's mostly at the global level these conversations happen. We think we can all do a better job submitting proposals for local events.
And then the other thing was doing more to get international financial institutions to look at this issue, like the World Bank, the IMF. A lot of people in our group thought that that could potentially be impactful in terms of generating interest.
Actually, sorry, I skipped one have the last one is moving this conversation out of just sort of the Internet Governance rights space and into more traditional economists conversations. So figuring out how to get this on the agenda at, I don't know if these organises exist like the international association of economists, making this not about Internet issues directly but a broader issue of interest to economists so they can do more serious work in addition to the great work that's already been done.
I think that captures it. I don't know if anybody else in the group wanted to throw something. Okay. I'll stop there.
>> I think ours can be succinct as well. As far as successful case studies, I would look forward to look to the blog posts that were put up and ‑‑ has also published on certain incidents. I think these are really good examples of characterizing the political and economic impacts and also demonstrating that there's a potential for accountability that these things can be monitored. Are as far as difficulties, I thought there was really good counter example that showed how many of these technical measures are informed by our political biases or our expectations, which is, for example, when tellster goes down and takes down the entirety of Australia, do we think that that is a politically motivated or economically motivated shutdown? Why do we think that that's the case? And also demonstrated how crucial in certain respects external assistance, whether it be active measurements from other data sources or whether it be sort of country expertise, whether you find through personal relationships or based off of social media, how much that sort of demonstrates this. This is kind of goes back to a classic joke RFC that there's no evil bit on the Internet. There's no like real political intent shutdown indicator.
And then getting back to the moving forward, what was unique, at least for me, about this panel was that a lot of the data sources were sort of passive measurements from service providers. Those are entities that aren't often in the room in the academic settings where we talk about active measurement from purposeful tools. And I think that this highlights that there's an opportunity for commercial providers with respect to confidentiality to inform the process and inform our understanding complimented by the public data sources, the public tools, whether it be measurement lab, which I work with, or ripe atlas or other, Uni, for example. So it's not just that we ‑‑ this is truly a multistakeholder process in order to gather really rigorous and comprehensive data.
Oh, I also missed that it's often difficult to determine shutdowns in smaller countries where there are regional shutdowns or whether there's an inconsistent methodology in the shutdown across different service providers.
But I think that that also speaks to the value of making sure there's ‑‑ between civil society who might have a better understanding based off of having people on the ground and the people who are responding to it from a service provider perspective or whether it be like accountability in public interest movement.
I think that's all I have.
>> MODERATOR: That is terrific. Thank you, Colin, and all of your colleagues for taking that technical conversation forward.
We're going to take this conversation forward in a number of respects. Particularly there is another workshop on this topic I believe on Friday morning. So I encourage everyone to go to that and to keep the conversation going. We'll be doing that, looking ahead to things like rights con and other international gatherings in the future.
So on behalf of GNI, Access Now and International Media Support, thank you, everyone. I think this was really valuable. And we look forward to continuing the conversation.
(end of session)