Parliamentarian Challenge: A Round Table between Parliamentarians and Other Stakeholders Nominet
30 September 2011 - A Main Session on in Nairobi,Kenya
September 30, 2011
The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during the Sixth Meeting of the IGF, in Nairobi, Kenya. 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.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We will start in two minutes. Thank you very much. Two minutes.
>>JAMES REGE: Good morning, everybody.
I would like to call the meeting to order.
We will be having six languages in this session.
Vice President of the European Commission, Your Excellencies, Ministers, Ambassadors, Members of Parliament, Permanent Secretaries, U.N. agencies, I believe those are not really here but just in case they are at the back, it's just good to address them.
Industries representatives, civil society representatives, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
Before I give my speech, I would like us to introduce ourselves, members of parliament who are here.
Please just raise your card or your hand, we'll see it, and then we introduce ourselves.
We start with the front row.
Okay. We'll introduce ourselves. We'll start from our end here.
My name is James Rege, Member of Parliament from Kenya.
I will chair this session.
>>ALUN MICHAEL: Alun Michael, Member of Parliament from the U.K. I chair the Parliamentary Internet and ICT Forum in the U.K. Parliament and I have involved in this process since attending the World Summit in 2005 as a minister at that time.
>>ROBERT SHLEGEL: Robert Shlegel, member of Russian Parliament.
>>ARDA GERKENS: I am a former Member of Parliament from the Netherlands and now advisor to my party. I used to chair the working committee on copyright infringement and on waste of I.T. money at the government.
>>SABINE VERHEYEN: My name is Sabine Verheyen. I am a member of the European Parliament. I am a member of the Committee of Culture, Education and Media and also responsible for some reports and copyright questions,
(indiscernible) protection, and broadband and spectrum policies.
>>JAMES REGE: If there's nobody in the front row, next row, please. Members of parliament, introduce yourselves.
>> Just randomly, my name is Eric Joyce. I am from the U.K. Parliament. Hi.
>>JAMES REGE: Any other members of parliament?
I would like to also indicate that we will have remote participation from various countries, and possibly we will be having members of parliament interjecting or sending questions.
So I believe we should just proceed.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I am delighted to welcome you all to the sixth United Nations Internet Governance Forum held in Nairobi, Kenya, especially the ministerial roundtable. This international Internet Governance Forum is important as it provides an opportunity for open and inclusive dialogue and exchange of ideas to create an opportunity to share good practices and experience and provide an opportunity for Internet stakeholders to discuss pertinent issues pertaining to the Internet issues, as well as increasing the level of understanding on Internet governance.
I'm very happy to note that sustained level of interest from policymakers in this forum since its inception five years ago.
As policymakers, policy implementers and movers of our economies, they would not have a better opportunity to bring together our ideas and to draw a common agenda.
The main theme for the 20 level Nairobi IGF is Internet as a catalyst for change: Access, development, freedoms, and innovation. I believe the themes are appropriate and key to the changes we are currently facing, especially in the security theme. We need to link human rights and the right to privacy and other freedoms to security so that we can create a less secure environment rather than a more secure environment.
In the theme of openness, we think there are issues, freedoms, freedom of expression, the removal of barriers to people being able to use the Internet in any way they want to and, on the other hand, standards.
As policymakers, we need to make policies in countries that make Internet available to all citizens, and IGF needs to address this.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am deeply encouraged by the multistakeholder approach of the Internet Governance Forums at national, regional and even international levels. This ability to work together as public institutions, private sector, civil society and academia towards a common goal is the only way through which decisions taken at all IGF meetings can be brought to bear on the greater good of our society.
The onus, therefore, is on us as individual countries to be clear on issues that we want to give prominence and articulate them during these conferences.
The Internet today has become an integral part of our daily lives. Many organizations have regarded it as a critical infrastructure for the success of their businesses, and many individuals rely heavily on it for their personal communication, for information, news, making purchases, and making friends.
The Internet has brought together the traditional separate worlds of information communication, broadcast and media, and has brought about a new era of convergence.
Broadcast and media has brought about a new era -- excuse me.
The success of the Internet is in large part due to its unique model of shared global ownership, open standard development, and easily accessible processes for technology and policy development.
The Internet has enormous potential for contributing to all aspects of human development. As government, we believe Internet is a public good and, therefore, it should be governed as a public good based on public interest principles. And also, this governance should take place in the public domain. We need all institutions and all processes that are involved in governance of the Internet to be transparent to facilitate participation. And participation from all stakeholders, and participation in decision-making and process -- and to provide access to information.
Ladies and gentlemen, the government recognizes the benefits of a partnership approach where governments, industry, and civil society work together to shape the government that -- the development of the internet. Broadly speaking, the government's role would be to implement policies that would ensure citizens' access to a safe and secure Internet and to create conducive environment for service providers and operators to provide innovative services and enhance the infrastructure.
The private sector would be best place to deal with technical -- technology and the commercial aspects of the Internet architecture. While civil society organizations and individual communities would have a role in creating relevant content and community services that cater to the needs and situations of different societies while promoting responsible use of Internet.
Internet is an important access to content, and access to content is becoming increasingly important.
Since the last Internet Governance Forum, access has been one of the main issues, and it is still one of the major challenges in moving the Internet society forward. How to ensure access to the rest of the world.
While shaping our views on how IGF should evolve, we need to ensure that the Internet will continue to be a tool for development that positively affects and assists people in all aspects of life. We need to enable societies to rely on the innovation offered by this powerful medium to develop its potentials.
Ladies and gentlemen, Kenyan government has taken an active role in the groundwork for providing Internet availability and access. With the landing of three undersea fiberoptic cables along the coast of East Africa, Internet use has exploded and will continue to grow.
Internet social networking, tools such as blog sites, Facebook and Twitter, have also gained ubiquitous popularity throughout the world.
This coupled with ease of access to such services has led to the proliferation of communities of interest with global membership thus presenting convenient channels through which cyber criminals can reach unsuspecting users.
As a result, the influence of ICTs on society now grows far beyond establishing basic information infrastructure.
The availability of ICTs is a foundation for development in the creation, availability and use of network-based services. For example, e-mails have displaced traditional letters online where the representation is nowadays more important for businesses than printed publicity materials. And Internet-based communication and phone services are growing faster than land-line communications.
It is my hope that the deliberations of this meeting shall play an important role in setting the pace for the implementation of issues vetted during the IGF meeting here in Nairobi.
Ladies and gentlemen, growth of telephone networks has greatly improved accessibility to voice communications around the world. Whether through personal subscription of mobile phone, household and community sharing or public access, most people are now able to use telephones. This accessibility is radically -- has radically improved the chances of telephony making a difference as a business tool in poor economies.
The rapid diffusion of mobile phones continues to transform the ICT landscape. The use of mobiles have more than one voice, offers the possibility of range of mobile applications from text messaging to financial transactions. The fact that people in poor regions are getting access to mobile communications cannot be disputed. In rural areas, increased access to mobile phones and associated applications and services may have greater impact on poverty, since rural populations typically did not have access to fixed telephony before.
As new uses of the Internet emerge, it is our responsibility to cultivate the trust through cybersecurity measures and on the other hand, encourage upcoming entrepreneurs.
Ladies and gentlemen, it remains a challenge for us leaders to think and think again about importance of our decisions and how they can create tremendous value at a national, regional, and even global scale.
In conclusion, policies should place greater demands on governments and development partners to be well informed before launching new policy and interventions, and to work in partnership with stakeholders who can contribute valuable knowledge and experience in relevant areas.
Let us work together to seize the opportunities ICTs present for improvement of our economies.
I want to thank you.
I can see some more members have arrived. Is there any Member of Parliament who has not introduced himself or herself?
If you are there, please just raise your hands, raise your hand and introduce yourself. Thank you.
As we proceed, first of all, we do not really have an agenda, and, therefore, I would like to ask, first of all, the members up here to air some views with regard to this before we proceed. Anyone?
>>ALUN MICHAEL: Thank you very much, indeed.
Can I first of all thank Kenya and that can the Honorable James Rege in particular who has been a great friend in the whole process and partnership approach to dealing with Internet issues.
I just want to reflect, really, thinking on the way that things have gone over the last five years and in this particular event, and make a proposition for the future.
I believe that the engagement of members of parliament is very important, indeed. So I think it's important firstly that we follow the principles laid down at Tunis in 2005. And that means the partners in the IGF process need to include government, not just officials but ministers from government, parliamentarians, that is not just people who are members of the government but across party, as well as industry.
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Which is essential if the IGF is to continue to develop and succeed.
And I think the role of members of parliament is very clear. It's not just to contribute. We're not just here to pontificate. We are here to listen and to participate.
But that's always difficult. It's a very big ask to get members of parliament for a wide range of countries to attend, and it's also important that it's not just those who have a particular interest in technical issues who attend.
The Internet reaches every part of the lives of everyone. Every one of our constituents, wherever we represent, right across the globe. It reaches the lives of even people who are not online themselves and communities that don't have facilities to be a part of the Internet community.
So it needs to be wider than just parliamentarians without technical expertise.
Now, my suggestion would be this. Firstly, this year, Kenya put on the high-level event on Monday. James, I think it was a great success. What happened was there were contributions from a variety of ministers but then the thoughts and the questions that were posed by the ministers were responded to by world-leading experts. It was a dialogue, and I think that's something important.
And my proposition will be that we urge for that to be made a part of the IGF for future years as well.
Parliamentarians were involved in that, but it was a, if you like, minister led event, and nothing wrong with that.
But secondly, I would suggest that there is something on the second day in the morning before the opening ceremonies which is specific for parliamentarians to be posing questions, if you like, to the wider IGF family, saying these are the issues that are coming up in our parliamentary, our public debates in our countries, so that we feed in from our representation of our constituents into the wider discussion, rather than, as this time, coming at the end where we are reflecting back on the IGF. I think it would be much more constructive if it was that, because you might well get an increased representation of parliamentarians, then, in the first two days feeding into the rest of the process.
I think that the ask to us as members of parliament is to focus on the big themes that have been developed for the IGF. This year, as you said, James, it's the Internet as the catalyst for change and innovation. Whatever those themes are, then we should be contributing our thoughts and engaging in it.
And fourthly, I think it's important that there should be increased engagement of parliamentarians at national and regional level in the IGF process.
I know that in East Africa, you have developed that. I attended one of your events and I could see a very big attendance right across the East African countries that are partners.
I don't think we quite have it in Europe in the way that we need it. EuroDIG doesn't quite fulfill that function. Although it's at national level, you can see there is good representation from European countries. So we need to think that through amongst ourselves.
And the final point is that all of this needs to be nurtured. And, therefore, I repeat something that I said on Monday, that it has not done a lot of good for the reputation of the United Nations that there is not yet a replacement for Markus Kummer and for Nitin Desai as the secretary and chairman, respectively, of the IGF process. We do need to urge the United Nations to give those individuals so there are people with the skills as well as the authority to help to nurture the whole IGF process and, in doing so, to encourage the engagement of parliamentarians from all parts of the world into it.
I'm sorry to go on at a little length, but I think this is something I know that came out of part of the discussion with some parliamentary and European Parliament colleagues, and I hope it will commend itself as the way of increasing the participation of parliamentarians in the right sort of way for the future.
>>JAMES REGE: Thank you, sir Alun.
Yes, please. Honorable Shlegel. Yes, please.
>>ROBERT SHLEGEL: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I will speak in Russian. Please use your headphones.
Once again, good morning, everyone. I am very pleased to be able to be here and to address you.
Currently in my country, in Russia, we have a coincidence. Today is the Internet Day in my country.
It was first introduced in 1998, and at the time, the number of Internet users was slightly below 1 million people at the time.
During the time between then and now, there have been developments, and we now have more than 50 million people who are using the Internet in my country, and this is probably the most active part of the society, and there are reasons to believe that by the end of the decade, the number of Internet users will be 100 million people.
I'd like to very briefly tell you about the Internet development in my country, what steps we are undertaking and what issues we encounter as we do that.
The particularity of my country is that we have very many national participants in the market. It's the postal services, the search engines and the social networks. In other words, our citizens are very actively using our own national Internet services, Russian Internet services.
Many people talked about the privacy of the Internet. Well, there is a joke in my country which says that if you want to make sure that the American special services read you, well, go by Gmail. If you want to make sure that the Russian special services will read you, well, read mail dot RU.
We made a great leap, once we had our Cyrillic domain. We were the first one who had our domain in our national language, and it's a record holder when it comes to the rate of growth.
Currently, Russian Internet is being developed because of the regions, I must say, because Moscow and other major cities, the saturation level has already been reached.
And I would like to very briefly touch upon the laws which we passed recently over the past five years, and when our legal instruments are being passed, we base ourselves on two principles, the impossibility of censorship, one, and second, making sure that the responsibility for the content on those who create the content and those who distribute the content. First and foremost, those who distribute it.
We passed a law on personal data which provides for the possibility of third parties holding the data. We also have the law on protecting children against harmful information. This provides for special markers specifying the age bracket for those for whom the Internet site is targeted.
We also have a law on electronic signature and a law on e-publication, which enables mass media in the Internet to identify themselves as an e-media.
Tomorrow, the 1st of October, we'll have another law which will enter into force. The law covering government services electronically.
As of tomorrow, no government official, when providing services to legal or physical entities will be bound by that law. And in Russia, where the huge queues in various ministries -- and they are par for the course for us being able to provide e-services by government entities -- is a big stride forward.
And I would like to say that all of these laws were being passed with a very active participation of the Internet community, Internet users, advisors, et cetera.
We're also very actively working on introducing the e-government program, and this is based on creating the right balance between anonymity and protection of data, which creates trust, and is expressed, for example, in the following. There's a wide range of services which are available through the national portal of government services. We're also making further steps toward direct democracy. Next year, the citizens of my country will be able to discuss bills on parliamentary site, and this will be done through the government services portal that I've just mentioned, and we are hoping that very recently people will be able to vote on major issues, and -- that way, and will also introduce legal initiatives themselves, introduce bills as it were.
This is a major step towards the development of democratic constitutions, I think. I would also like to touch upon a few issues which are of topical interest for us and which were -- (dropped audio) -- we are trying to -- (dropped audio) -- for resolving the following issues. Intellectual property rights. Combating dissemination of child pornography and extremist views. Racial intolerance. And trans-boundary illicit trafficking.
All of these problems are topical for all countries in the world, and this was mentioned on several occasions in the course of this very forum.
Individually, no single country will be able to tackle this issue. We will only be able to do this if we pool our efforts, and I think that the first step towards doing that would be to the creation of a universal glossary, as it were, because if we look through the records of all our sessions, we can see that there are varying interpretations of the same terms and what would be desirable is to make sure that when we say something, that we use a term that we all understand the same thing. Internet as we know has no borders, and such a glossary, I think, is something that needs to be created jointly, but when we start talking about that, the following question arises: What would be the platform on the basis of which we will be able not only to -- [ audio cutting in and out ] -- but also to create the landscape -- [ audio cutting in and out] -- and making decisions. Unfortunately in the world, we must see that there is no such platform -- (audio cutting in and out) -- that can be created within the IGF, which means -- (audio cutting in and out)--
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-- I would like to address myself to the audience because yesterday -- (audio cutting in and out) --
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>>JAMES REGE: Please indicate-your name and which country you come from.
>>MARTIN BOYLE: Very heavily involved in the -- (audio cutting in and out) -- U.K. Internet Governance Forum activities, and I'd like to pick up on -- (audio cutting in and out) -- forum. Parliamentarians have got actively engaged in the process and having this -- (audio cutting in and out) -- involvement of -- (audio cutting in and out) -- does help us identify those questions that are of particular relevance -- (audio cutting in and out) -- and I think it was the Honorable James Rege who mentioned the importance of managing resources in the public interest. And if we are going to understand what that public interest is, I think we do need to -- (audio cutting in and out) --
>>JAMES REGE: Thank you. You're next and then someone -- (audio cutting in and out) --
>>ROELOF MEIJER: Thank you very much. My name is Roelof Meijer. I'm the chief executive of SIDN. I'm -- (audio cutting in and out) -- in fact a kind of a colleague of Martin Boyle. We run the dot nl ccTLD so the Netherlands country code. And I think that's the distinction one should make. The IGF teams are typical -- (audio cutting in and out) -- for governments and parliaments and I don't think there is any point in discussing in a setting where governments and parliamentarians are involved -- governments and parliamentarians are very well positioned to defend the -- (audio cutting in and out) -- of their people and.
>> -- especially the question that was raised about getting some feedback from the civil society. I think IGF is doing a great job of trying to bring out the diverse ideas from the entire globe. The Internet actually to me is a tool, and as any tool, if you look at a knife, a knife is a very simple tool and it can be used for various cuts in the house, but it can also be used to affect -- it can cut you if you don't use it properly.
My view or my take on this would be including education, cultural diversity, awareness, and collaboration. There's no one entity that can answer to all these diverse needs of the Internet, and working with higher education, the civil society, and human rights, I think that understanding could be -- (audio cutting in and out) -- so that some of the -- (audio cutting in and out) -- of the current Internet.
As far as openness, access, and security, I think the initial plan for the Internet was mainly for access and sharing. Security has implications in that we have the IANA people who are -- (audio cutting in and out) -- the user -- (audio cutting in and out) -- they put a lot of information on Facebook. I think by educating them and providing some awareness -- (audio cutting in and out) -- in solving some of the problems. Thank you.
>>JAMES REGE: Thank you very much. Next. Please indicate your full names and --
>>LOUISE BENNETT: Louise Bennett, BCS, from the U.K. I think that citizens need parliamentarians and governments to protect them on the Internet in certain ways. What is a criminal activity in the physical world is equally a criminal activity online, but it requires a cross-border agreement to protect citizens from these crimes. Crimes like the theft of IDs, like the theft of citizens' money, like protection of children from sexual abuse, protection of incitement of hate and oppression of minorities. These are all things that most countries agree -- (audio cutting in and out) -- but they're harder to police and they require international agreement, and I feel very strongly that the IGF has done a very good job on protection of children from sexual abuse, but there are many other criminal activities that the IGF needs to get international agreement to protect citizens worldwide. Thank you.
>>JAMES REGE: Thank you.
>> Hi. My name is (saying name) and I represent the national Internet exchange of India, and I would like to hear a few comments from the panel on whistle blowing Web sites like WikiLeaks.
What do you think, whether WikiLeaks is good or bad, whether we should have WikiLeaks or not. Because if you believe some of those cables, you know, on one side it can ruin the diplomatic relationship between two nations, but on another side, as civil society, it gives you a lot of information. From India's perspective, if I speak, we get -- (audio cutting in and out) -- politicians -- (audio cutting in and out) -- so I would like to hear a few comments from you as members of parliament on WikiLeaks. Thank you.
>>ALUN MICHAEL: I would like to say that I don't think that we should respond to that question. And the reason is that we then start to pontificate as members of parliament, rather than being participants in the IGF process.
It's a very important issue, but we, as parliamentarians, are here as part of this IGF debate and discussion. The sort of question that you've just raised is the sort of subject that's very appropriate and has been coming up in the workshop sessions during this week where all participants have been expressing views about the tension -- (audio cutting in and out) -- information and protection of data.
Now, I think we start to go off track if we have posed questions, which we as talking heads up here start to pontificate on the answers. That's not the IGF partnership approach. That's the job for discussion in the workshops, to help to build to the sort of consensus that several of us have referred to as being important and a contribution which helps then the policymaking and the decision-making by parliamentarians.
>>JAMES REGE: Yes, please. And then you, after that.
>>SADIQ ABUBAKAR: Good morning. My name is Sadiq Abubakar from Galaxy Backbone in Nigeria.
This is a very interesting topic. The Internet, as it applies to politics.
Clearly, we can see that some smart politicians have used the Internet effectively to mobilize support for themselves and get elected. We have also seen situations where politicians have not been smart enough to realize that having had the Internet, if you don't use it, then you can get swept away by people that are smart enough to know how to use it.
Now, basically what the Internet is, if you ask me, is an exponentially expanded means of communication by the peoples of this planet.
So wherever you have this exponential expansion of communication, then you have a great advancement in the interactions in mankind, but basically you find out that the suppressive elements of the -- you know, wherever -- because they are opposed to people communicating with each other, they will find ways and means to put bridges or, you know, put all kind of barriers in communication, basically because they are opposed to people communicating with each other.
I mean that is the basic reason, irrespective of what else they call it.
So I believe that the -- most of the sessions in this IGF, for instance, address the issues of security, privacy, freedoms and all that on the Internet. Now, I believe that the solutions to all the issues that have been raised during this IGF is basically more Internet, more communication. So that's the message I want to put. And I believe that it is -- it's very relevant to politicians all over the world that the Internet, having provided a means by which people can communicate more freely, you know, should be used for further advancement of mankind. Thank you.
>>JAMES REGE: Thank you. Yes, please.
>>MARK CARVELL: Thank you very much. And good morning, everybody. My name is Mark Carvell from the U.K. government, department for culture, media, and sport.
And I want to express appreciation, first of all, for this -- for the convening of this important session. Thanks very much to Nominet, the dot uk registry, for doing that, and appreciation also for the parliamentarians who have managed to sustain their presence here. It's -- I'm aware it's quite difficult for them, with often commitments back in their parliaments and in -- within their parties. I know, for example, there was a member of parliament from Germany here earlier in the week, Jimmy Schulz. I had a very good discussion with him about the importance of raising the parliamentary profile in the IGF. Unfortunately he has had to go back, as I believe is the case, for an important discussion in the Bundestag on the Eurozone so that is an example of the kind of pressures they're under. But the U.K. government is very supportive of parliamentary engagement in the IGF. Parliamentarians provide valuable reach to the full range of citizenry on Internet issues, including to use, business groups, and to ordinary users. The voice of users is not easily conveyed here.
So parliamentarians provide that valuable function and linkage back to the ordinary consumers, the users of the Internet.
My question for the panelists is whether they would agree that there is a -- an additional channel available through the international parliamentary groups. I'm thinking in particular of the international parliamentary union, the commonwealth parliamentary association, and there may well be other similar international groups where the profile of multistakeholder governance of the Internet can be discussed and generally the profile of the IGF can be raised and lead to further engagement of parliamentarians from many more countries. Thank you.
>>JAMES REGE: Thank you. Yes. The lady at the back.
>> Good morning. My name is (saying name). I'm from Malaysia.
I would like to ask the panel to share their experiences from your respective countries in view of the fact that you're lawmakers.
When it came to the issue of proving matters in court, whether in the civil court or the criminal court, did your countries have to pass specific new laws or were the old laws used to expand and to -- used to interpret the new things that we're facing when it comes to cybercrimes? Thank you.
>>JAMES REGE: Thank you. I think we should stop at that, after you. Oh. Sorry. You, and then Eric. Then we can respond. Thank you. Please.
>> My name's Francis Oreno (phonetic), project manager, Sevtech Systems.
My concern is on you parliamentarians. Why do we elect parliamentarians? They are supposed to be the voice for the people, the voice for the common person that actually elected them to be our advocates in parliament, to express our views and share our ideas on best ways we can have in terms of improvement and accessibility on Internet issues and stuff like this.
My request to the parliamentarians, and particularly honorable -- our Honorable James is that when you are there in parliament, please try and see how we can get an improvement in terms of speed -- speed on the Internet. That is, broadband. We have more accessibility in terms of Internet services, so that we can have a lot more accessibility and fast Internet services within the local entity. Thank you.
>>JAMES REGE: Thank you. Eric?
>>ERIC JOYCE: Yeah. Thank you very much. Eric Joyce from the U.K.
It occurs to me that when -- what we found in the U.K., when we passed legislation relatively recently -- last year -- in what we had -- what was called the Digital Economy Act is that relatively few members of parliament, politicians in general, really wanted to spend the time getting their head around what are quite complicated, massively diverse issues. You know, the Internet affects everything, and so when you discuss matters of policy, increasingly you're talking about matters which are essentially theological and philosophical, as much as technical.
So it's quite complicated and it's quite difficult in busy politics to get people to concentrate on something that they see as being essentially technical.
And it seems to me one of the roles of the IGF and one of the very useful things I've found out this week at the IGF is that people here are engaged with all sorts of issues, which one might imagine sound to many politicians like quite a long way from the Internet. They sound like regular everyday matters of policy in the lives of their constituents, but they don't reflect that back on engaging with matters of digital policy and communications acts, things that are going through in terms of regulation and so forth in their own parliaments. They tend to rely quite heavily, in my modest experience, on their own parties to basically tell them what to think.
There's an actual fact, what we found in the U.K.
Much as I hate saying anything nice about the conservatives -- I'm a liberal MP; I'd hate to say anything too nice about my opposition, but I actually find that when it comes to issues to do with the digital economy and, you know, things we've been discussing this week, there's usually a great deal of common sense and consensus around what are, frankly, issues that, you know, it's very difficult to pull, as it were, party politics into.
And in a way, if I'm not waxing too rhapsodic here, that sometimes makes it rather uninteresting for politicians because politicians are often looking for dividing lines, something they can attack their opponents on, and lots of issues that we've been discussing this week actually need quite a bit more reflection and intelligence and taking a personal perspective.
That's not to be critical of politicians per se. I obviously wouldn't do that. I'm one myself. But I was reflecting on that fact, that sometimes to get politicians engaged, you've got to show that there's some kind of, as it were, party policy relevance, and that's, generally speaking, not the right approach for a lot of the issues that we find before us.
So the IGF seems to me to be this phenomenally important thing, but it's really important to raise the issue of the IGF and how individual politicians themselves need to engage continuously, actually, through the subordinate institutions, the regional IGFs, the party groups and so forth.
>>JAMES REGE: Thanks. I think we can respond to some of those issues that need to be responded to. I will ask the panel up here and anybody else that can come up here. Eric, would you like to come up?
Honorable Shlegel, please. Your turn.
>>ROBERT SHLEGEL: I would like to respond to a set number of questions that have been raised here in this room. I would like to state that in my opinion, the forum should have the participation of politicians on a whole series of questions. Many policies can exist within the various different fora, but that must be the case of the United Nations as well. We have evoked all sorts of issues; indeed, even WikiLeaks. We have learned a great deal about the relationship between Russia and our colleagues from various other countries. All of this has been most useful. Very interesting. We have learned a great deal. And this information will take us to any space on the Internet. We have the documents of all kinds of types that can be found on the Internet.
As far as the question from Malaysia is concerned, our government understands very well the need to develop Internet. Currently we are working on legislation in that area. We do not always find a solution to all of the relevant issues. There are many innovative issues that come up. The issue of access, of accessibility, of connectivity.
We are developing the mobile Internet greatly. Citizens have mobile telephones.
We have a program which I am responsible for to develop access to mobile telephony in small villages.
Thank you for your attention.
>>JAMES REGE: Thank you.
Yes, Honorable Gerkens.
>>ARDA GERKENS: Thank you. I would first like to thank everybody who has given so much input for us to take back and think about what you think we should do to make the Internet a better place.
First I would like to ask -- or to answer the question the lady from Malaysia, for in Holland we have some new laws but we also use the old laws to fight cybercrime.
The biggest problem is most of the time not the law but the judge who has to understand the working of the Internet and cybercrime to really know how to rule or to judge or even to -- even the police sometimes. The police station, they don't really know what's going on. So education and awareness as one of the other persons said, I think it was Mr. Tumalala (phonetic), is a very big issue still for us in Holland.
If I look back at the conference here, I think for me, besides awareness, openness, privacy and security within -- and which was an eye opener for me -- the cultural diversity which also affects the Internet or what does the Internet to your country is different than what it does in my country. That's one of the main issues.
And enabling new services.
And if I looked at what Mrs. Bennett said, I think you are quite right. What most of the citizens will want is for us to secure the fact that we have a safe Internet, with the least possible crime we can have. There's no such thing as a 100 percent safe world, of course. But also secure by human rights, with respect of the cultural diversity and freedom of information. I think that's one of the things we should fight for as politicians.
The problem is, and that's also been raised if you want to do that you have to harmonize lots of different laws. And of course different countries have different ways of looking at what laws you have and what way you want to fight crime, because even if you and I think that a burglary is a burglary and stealing something is stealing something, a thief in my country will have a different punishment than in another country, and we have reasons for that. So there is a big problem. I think that's one of the biggest issues. How do we do that?
Maybe Mrs. Verheyen can comment on that because she is in the European Parliament.
But on the other hand, human rights is something that is a more ethical or, if you want, a more philosophical issue, and that is something that I think, also listening to all the debates we had last week, we can make a step forward. Because I think we should have maybe a new declaration on human rights or human rights on the Internet. And from the United Nations we should work on that so we can give a framework where we can say, okay, this is the right that you have on Internet and these are the duties you have on the Internet.
That's something we can work on and I hope that's a step we can make at the seventh IGF, one of the issues that will be raised over there.
>>JAMES REGE: Thank you, Honorable.
>>SABINE VERHEYEN: Yes, as member of the European Parliament, for me some questions were also a little bit provoked, because to say politics must or need -- opposition need to fight against, that doesn't function in the European Commission like that because in our European Parliament, we are discussing to find solutions, common solutions. We are depending on a common way to get an output because we don't have to support a special government. We are not majority and opposition. We have to find common results.
So the way we discuss it might be very comfortable for us because we can discuss on the aspects and on the facts and not just on the political differences between different political parties.
I think there are some very important inputs from your side. I also want to come to Louise Bennett, what you said. I think it was really a big problem also on the European level to find a common sense for a rule for a framework, for example, for child abuse and was not just the aspect of child abuse in the Internet but also other programs and other points, to find in the different cultures and the different ways and the different way punishment is also made, a common minimum agreement that is a long process of discussing and still a process we are discussing with member states.
So it's not always easy to find a common rule. And I think it's much more easy to transfer it into the international level.
You have different ways of looking to problems, what's a crime, what's not a crime, to define it, and the Internet is not just national but you have an international action also possible. And so it's much more difficult to protect citizens of crime on the Internet than to do it on the national, direct level.
But I think there are possibilities to find joint agreement, to find international agreements of dealing with these issues, and I think also such platforms like the IGF are important for us to get the feedback also how it is looked from other cultures' side on special problems. Problems we have, for example, on the European level might not be the main problems in other countries. So we can widen up also the view of parliamentarians on problems and perhaps also find a modern and better way to find solutions for the whole net.
The third was the issue -- I lost it.
Yes, the one point, and that was from -- very provocative, was from the Dutch colleague here involving parliamentarians', maybe, interference. I think it should not be the aim for politicians participating here in this forum to govern it, to say what's to do, but to be here, to listen, to talk, to exchange, and to take all these points of view from different levels, from these multistakeholder level, from NGOs, from technical specialists, from experts, also from other governments with us to the discussion process in our parliament for making good rules and good law for the Internet.
On the point of making special law, I can say from the German side we have many things to be adapted also on the special aspects of Internet but we don't change all laws because it is not necessary.
I said from the beginning, I think Internet is not something virtual where we have to find laws and special things but we have to transfer in an intelligent and good way the common rules for our daily life, for that's what our societies decided what's right and what's wrong for us. Also to correct intelligent and smart law to the Internet. And I think that's the main aim. We have to find how to transfer it from the national to an international level, and to find a way with international agreements to support this, not just on the national but on the international level.
>>JAMES REGE: Thank you.
>>ALUN MICHAEL: Thanks very much. Can I respond firstly to the issue that was raised about channeling views of parliamentarians via parliamentary bodies.
I am a member of the executive of the U.K. branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and we have raised with the CPA internationally the need for more discussion within that body of Internet governance issues. I am very pleased that we have had within the IGF this week some significant work done on commonwealth-wide issues including discussing some of the common values that might inform the legal systems, which of course are similar between commonwealth countries. And I wrote an article for the annual conference in July that raised the issues of engagement of parliamentarians in the IGF process in the different parts of the world.
We have also raised the issue with the Secretary-General of the international parliamentary union which covers all countries in the world, and I think -- I don't think there have been developments in that context, but again, it will be important for the Internet governance to be understood as a point of engagement for parliamentarians. And for that avenue, that mainstream parliamentary debating avenue to be encouraging members of all countries to be involved in the IGF process, whether in their individual country or regionally or more widely.
I think Eric made some very good points about the experience we have had in the U.K., which I won't repeat. I agree with what he said. But one of the things that we have been doing in recent times across party is trying to develop a group of people who are informed on Internet and ICT issues generally, and to get those debates onto the floor of the House of Commons, onto the official record. And with the encouragement of the speak of the House of Commons, we are hoping we will have a debate when we will report back to our colleagues on the experience of being here at the IGF, and hear a response from our Minister who is hear for the high level and for the first day or so of the IGF so that both governments and parliamentarians across party are bringing that information back into our national institutions.
I agreed very much with some of the things that Sabine Verheyen was saying about the way we deal with legislation. Cybercrime I think is a title that very often confuses because it makes people think it's about technology rather than about being behavior -- about behavior and bad things being done by human beings one to another but making the use of technology in order to do so. And I think there are similar lessons that we need to learn from the -- long before the Internet was ever invented. One of those is that laws rarely prevent what they forbid, and that laws very often come along a number of years after the need for them has perhaps passed.
Now, that is a big danger with the Internet. We have seen big changes, for instance, in the way that social networks operate. And if weeds started writing laws, whether international or national laws, three or four years ago, they would be completely out of date if they were limited to the technology. So we need to look at legislation that is more about human beings and behavior and then look at the way that they're applied and interpreted, whether by the courts or by partnership approaches to crime prevention, which actually a much more effective way of doing things than thinking that everything has to be done through the detailed lines of legislation and a very bureaucratic approach to these things.
The great advantage of the IGF, to me, is that these issues, which are important for parliamentarians, are being debated out. So talking about security of data, talking about freedom of expression, all of these things which are important to all of us is what the IGF has been debating. And I think what helps us in relation to the harmonization, which both of our colleagues have mentioned, is things like the cybercrime convention and the work of the Council of Europe in, if you like, debating towards what should be the principles that govern behavior on an international level. And that, I think we have had a couple of sessions this week where information about the way that that is being pursued that then informed the debates in relation to the Internet, and I think that's a great opportunity.
The IGF I think is unique, and it's so important for us, I think we have all said this because we as parliamentarians have the chance of hearing that debate that involves not just industry pushing us for something or not just civil rights activists pushing at us for something and not just lawyers arguing the case but actually a wide-ranging debate which involves all the participants in the IGF. Long may it continue.
>>JAMES REGE: Thank you.
Do we have any interventions from remote participation?
If not, we have run out of time. And before we conclude, I just want to say that it looks like we have more or less unanimously agreed that Members of Parliament should participate in IGF. And the way forward is to find out how we can participate effectively in the IGF -- the future IGF forums from now on because we definitely need to understand what's going on at the IGF forums. We have the legislative arm of any government. And if we don't understand what's going on, there will be no way that we can legislate these issues, especially the FOI, the freedom of information, or data protection or e-commerce or any kind of legislation. Now we are getting into the area of cloud computing, problems with cybercrime, ETC. And it's only prudent that Members of Parliament understand what they are getting into.
In ICT, Internet, whatever it is, ladies and gentlemen, these are going to be part and parcel of our lives, whether we like it or not. It's in, and we can't get it out.
For most countries -- actually, not for most countries. I should say for all countries, ICT is sustainer of GDP, whether they like it or not. In my country, Kenya, I think we all understand that this is it. ICT is a big, big sustainer of our economies. At the ITU level, we know that it is a (garbled audio) for every ten cent of ICT development, we get at least (garbled audio) cents of economy. So we cannot let this thing go. We must be able to understand it.
At that point, I would like to say thank you and thank you very much, the panelists, for participating. We look forward to the next year IGF. We will be there. And the next time I would like to ask that more Members of Parliament can participate, be prepared to participate.
Thank you again, and welcome.
[ Applause ]