Free Flow of Information and Social Networks: A Role for Democracy and Social Participation UNESCO

27 September 2011 - A Workshop on Security in Nairobi, Kenya

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Full Session Transcript

September 27, 2011 - 09:30am

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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.

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   >> MODERATOR:  So good morning, ladies and gentlemen.  If I may ask those on the back row, come a little closer.  There are a couple of seats on the other table.  Don't be shy.  We will start in a second.  We are still missing two speakers or planned speakers on the panel.  Hopefully, they will join us once we're on the way. 

    So let us start.  Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.  My name is Janus Kirkland, with UNESCO in charge of communication.  I would like to warmly welcome you to the workshop on free flow of information and social networks:  The role for democracy and social participation. 

    This workshop is coorganised by UNESCO, Asia  Media Information and Communication Centre, Council of Europe and Article 19. 

    We have for the moment four speakers on the panel but if you would allow me to start with a few opening remarks on behalf of UNESCO. 

    Since 2008 at Internet Governance Forum, we have been analyzing the potential implications of social media.  We have been addressing it.  Previous discussions proved that social media have tremendous potential for the promotion of freedom of expression and political and social cohesion.  Social media is a unique tool to foster all forms of human rights. 

The significant role of social media in the Democratic process has been proven in Africa.  We have media websites such as Facebook, Twitter are widely being used by activists and citizens to express information and relay information that is not always accessible through traditional media. 

    It seems that the emergence of new technologies has formed a new arena for public debate and information sharing.  The increasing popularity of social media also presents a new and innovative way to allocate talent, unite aspirations, spear media mass mobilization, and affect change on a grand scale. 

    Strengthening the link between the internet and social participation seems more and more an essential condition to ensure the vitality of democracy. 

    Therefore, we focus this year's discussion on the role of social networks in promoting democracy and social participation and explore how to strengthen the role by fostering free flow of information on the internet. 

    As a firm believer in a multi‑stakeholder approach, we have brought analysts representing governments, policy makers, industry and civil society to engage and exchange their positions and experiences. 

    While we applaud for social media potentials, UNESCO is concerned about the global tendency where more and more control and regulation in one way or another have been applied in many countries.  It has been revealed by UNESCO's recent publication titled "Freedom of connection, freedom of expression:  The changing regulatory and ecology shaping the internet."

    Internet freedom is not the inevitable byproduct of tremendous technical progress.  And it must be guarded by wise legal and regulatory measures.  How best to protect freedom of expression and free flow of information without infringing on other rights?  UNESCO has taken initiatives to sense advertise and assist its Member States to ensure that all legislation including any regulatory framework of ICT's is conducive to internet freedom. 

    We have just initiated a global survey on internet privacy to track and expand the range of policies and the regulatory issues regarding internet.  This survey will be made public when it's ready most probably by next year's IGF. 

    We should have taken this opportunity to exchange ideas on complex policies and regulatory issues of the internet.  In this regard, we have invited Mr. Frank LaRue, the UN Rapporteur on freedom of expression, and Ms. Alessandra Pierucci from the Council of Europe to share her expertise on these issues.  We also have panelists from different parts of the world.  We're still hoping to see among us Mr. Amr Gharbeia from Egypt, Ms. Grace N. Githaiga from Kenya, and we have with us Mr. Ang Peng Hwa from Singapore and Ambassador David Gross from the United States of America

    In the preparation for this workshop, speakers were asked to share their thoughts on the following questions:  How to reinforce the Democratic participation via social networks, how to strengthen Democratic processes that have occurred in cyberspace after the crisis and make the transition a participatory process, and how to best protect freedom of expression and free flow of information without compromising other rights. 

    With these introductory remarks now, let me turn to our speakers.  And they will make their presentations not longer than maybe eight to ten minutes max, that we have sufficient time for dialogue discussions at the end of these presentations. 

So with me now, turn to Frank LaRue, UN special Rapporteur on freedom of expression.  Frank is a lawyer and current director of the Central American Institute of Studies in Guatemala.  He holds a degree of law and postgraduate degree of U.S. foreign policy from John Hopkins University.  He also has a professor of human rights at the University of Rafael Lavender, Guatemala.  Frank has worked extensively on human rights issues and is founding member and director of Centre for Legal Human Rights Action, has been involved in presenting the first Guatemelan's human rights case before the Inter‑American Court of Human Rights.  Mr. Larue also brought the first case of genocide against the military dictatorship in Guatemala.  He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, has previously served as a presidential commissioner for human rights in Guatamala, the human rights to the university of foreign affairs in Guatemala, the president of the governing board and consultant of office of high commission for human rights.  Frank is serving as a UN special Rapporteur and promotion and protection of human rights and freedom of expression, freedom of opinion, expression since August 2008 and recently has been extended in this position for another three years.  Frank, the floor is yours.

   >> FRANK LaRUE:  Thank you very much, Janus.  A pleasure to be here.  And I thank UNESCO for organizing this panel and this invitation. 

    In my recent report to the human rights council on June 3rd and in my upcoming report to the General Assembly which would be presented to the third committee on October 20th, I developed the concepts of freedom of expression over the internet.  And I do not pretend to be an expert on internet.  As a matter of fact, I'm not.  My whole purpose was to bring in the human rights focus and the human rights perspective to the technical issues of internet. 

    I believe that every time we had a technological leap, the world goes into a better possibility of guaranteeing freedom of expression but at the same time, it provokes fear and inevitably it also provokes a sense of need and need of these governments to censor and to monitor and limit this freedom.

From the printing press of Gutenberg to Bell's telephone to Marconi found radio frequencies, there were debates, when televisions were reaching households in a more economic way when everyone was talking about a cultural invasion and the harm that television would do to family values and to culture. 

Many years later, we have seen this is not the case and we are actually digitizing technology and have leaped into other technologies, cellular, mobile, and now internet technologies of communication. 

    What does the internet bring of new to the freedom of expression world?  In many of the issues of the past, it was a unidimensional form of communication.  You would communicate in one direction, whether it was broadcasting or publishing a newspaper or a book. 

    What internet has that is very attractive is that it brought an interactive form of communication where any citizen can communicate with the world in realtime and can actually receive a response, can have a dialogue and have a chat room or can organise a response.  I always tell the story, when I left my own country for exile for a few years, there was a huge massacre in one of the highlands and it took us three days to find out what had happened in Guatemala city and it took us a week to get the news out to the world.  That was in 1978, May '78.  Today, anything that happens in the most remote rural village can actually be known by the world if there is someone there with a mobile phone that can Twit out the information or that can take a photograph and then upload it and send it to someone that can use the net. 

    I think this is very important because now the world has a faster means of communication.  When the constitution of UNESCO was drafted two years before the universal declaration, it was established as an institution to support peace and to build peace in the world by facilitating the free flow of ideas.  And I love this ‑‑ which is the name of this panel.  But facilitating the free flow of ideas is precisely that, of not only building technologies and new technologies and enhancing the research for that but also building the regulatory norms, the legal framework, and the human rights approach to make that free flow really and truly free.  And here's where, in my report but especially to the General Assembly, I approach internet from the point of view of access; access to content freely and access to infrastructure. 

    The reason why I do this access to content is obvious.  We want this free flow to express the views, the culture, the values, or the opinions of any individual around the world.  And the general principle that I apply to internet is that it has to be as open as possible.  Internet works because precisely it is an open space.  In Spanish, we would say, it's a placa publica, it's a public park, a public space where people communicate in any way. 

    And this is the value.  And the value of the speed in which it can be done.  The more we limit it, the more we lose the positive effect.  And here's where the social networks come in as another instrument developed to facilitate exchange and even organizing.  Access to infrastructure on the other side is important because, number one, we need the software:  We need the servers.  I have worked with people with disabilities, it is crucial that people with disabilities be facilitated access to these new technologies.  It is crucial that minority groups whether cultural, religious or linguistic minorities be allowed to use their script on internet and it also crucial that population in extreme poverty also have access

    Interestingly enough, internet is a necessary instrument to combat poverty.  So there is no need to exclude the poor from this.  One of the preoccupations I express in my report at the General Assembly is that we have to interpret the millennium development goals, goal No. 8 is specifically of transfer of technology into the internet technology.  And not only between the developed world but the developing and ‑‑ and the developing world but also within every nation itself, where access to internet does not become the privilege of a small academic, intellectual, or economic elite. 

    This is true especially in developing countries where most of the population still does not have access to the internet.  A very difficult endeavor when not always you will have servers and very difficult endeavor where you're not in all villages, you have electricity or even potable water.  I did a series of original consultations, my consultation in Africa which was in Johannasburg, most of the solutions that Africa was speaking in the sub‑Saharan Africa was through the mobile cellular technology, the either of either messaging services or even accessing internet through mobile phones. 

    But there's always a possibility of finding technical solutions for this gap, but trying to form in a specific solution. 

    Today in the events of the north of Africa of Tunisia and Egypt have proven to us that internet is precisely the instrument that young people need to guarantee their citizen participation, their political participation to which they have the right through exercising their freedom of expression and opinion through the internet. 

    But internet also served them to exercise their freedom of association and to organise and also their freedom of assembly and peaceful mobilization.  They were able to mobilize and eventually to overthrow governments that had consolidated themselves illegally in power for over 30 years. 

    So one has to see internet as linked intrinsically to freedom of expression and not only to the one dimension of expressing but to the access of information whether it be education, research, or access to public information, transparency to which all states have an obligation but at the same time, we have to see internet linked to the right to education, the right to free association, and assembly and specifically the right to development.  It won't be the possibility of exercising the right to development. 

    So I finish with the word of alarm.  There are pitfalls.  And it is clear that some people are worried about the rise in hate speech or the electronic bullying in schools.  Yes, internet does have its dangers.  One could never say it's free of danger.  And there are specific prohibitions in human rights standards which I mentioned in the report to the General Assembly.  And you can see them there.  But these prohibitions have to be seen as the exception.

It is legitimate to have national security laws and to protect a country against terrorism and terrorism is a real danger, I believe so.  But it's also important to make the anti‑terrorism legislation as clear, precise as possible so it not be abused by those in power to silence criticism, to silence dissent, or to silence the opposition, the Democratic opposition. 

And this is what we're finding, that more and more anti‑terrorism legislation, national security, or protection of cultural rights, protection of religion is being used as an excuse to censor criticism and to censor opinions.  And this is what's not acceptable.  We still have to believe that freedom of opinion in general, but specifically applied to internet, has to be that free flow of ideas. 

    And I do propose in this report and I am trying to engage everyone in the process of decriminalization of freedom of expression.  There's more and more use of the crime of defamation which should be decriminalized and which should become a civil action and there's more, not only the traditional legal forms of penal law but there's new forms being created.  In my own country they created a crime of financial panic.  Anyone who over the net provokes fear about the banking system or a in particular may be liable of this crime.  Since when do we not allow banks to be criticized?  If there would be more criticism of the banking system, we wouldn't be in the world financial mess today.  In Mexico in the state of Xacatas, this is only a state law, not federal yet, but the crime of promoting gossip, of gossip promotion as a crime.  This is absurd.  Instead of moving ahead on freedom of expression, we're actually allowing unacceptable limitations. 

    This is the moment when we really have to, if we are going to be effective in freedom of expression, in using internet as a tool of building democracy, we have to begin a campaign to decriminalize and leaving those pro ‑‑ the use of internet, leaving those exceptional prohibitions that are truly consistent with human rights international standards.  Thank you.   

   >> MODERATOR:  Thank you, Frank, for this passionate plea and sort of reference to your report to the human rights council.  I think that the report itself is publicly available on the website of the high commission for human rights.  And I would encourage those who are interested to go and look at that report. 

    So now I would like to invite Ambassador David A. Gross, partner at Wiley Rein and the chair of USC IB's ICT committee to take the floor.  Ambassador Gross is one of the world's foremost experts on international communications having addressed the united nation General Assembly and led Umore delegations, conferences that anyone in modern history.  So you see how it goes. 

So I can assure you, Ambassador Gross was also head of a U.S. delegation to the world summit and information society where we had the privilege to work together.  Drawing on his more than 25 years of experience as a global policy maker and corporate executive, he assists U.S. companies seeking to enter and expand international businesses as well as non‑U.S. companies and organisations seeking to invest in, monitor, and understand the United States market. 

Ambassador Gross informs clients on the union, OACD, Asia‑Pacific, cooperation as well as any other ‑‑ some of the other international bodies.  You have the floor.

   >> DAVID GROSS:  Thank you very much, Janus.  Good morning and welcome to everyone.  I'm going to try to keep my comments brief because I it seems to me that with a group like that is assembled here, the value for everyone will be in the interaction rather than in speeches. 

But let me just use my few minutes here to throw out a few thoughts and ideas with the hope that perhaps they'll be sufficiently helpful and hopefully even provocative in some regards for our future discussion. 

    As Janus indicated, I had the great privilege of leading the U.S. delegation both in terms of the negotiations for Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the world summit on the information society and to co‑head the U.S. delegation to that headings of state summit. 

    Those were very difficult negotiations on a large number of issues.  In the Geneva phase, the 2003 phase, the U.S. government together with a number of others including out of Europe and a few other countries tried very hard to, in trying in the Geneva declaration, a statement about the importance of free flow of information along the internet and through the internet. 

    I unfortunately failed, I believe, in that attempt.  And all we were able to do was get what was viewed by those who did not subscribe to the free flow of information the way we saw it to be what they referred to as a balanced approach that was basically a recitation of the universal declaration of human rights. 

    In the second phase of the summit ‑‑ come on in.  Come on in.  Probably back along this side as well.  It's good to see that the free flow of information and freedom of expression is popular and we have standing room only. 

    So for the second phase of the summit, which was as many of you know, the Tunis phase of the summit, there was a tremendous amount of focus on the issue of internet governance and the like.  But I was very, very pleased, and if you were to ask me what was probably the most significant, in my mind, accomplishments of the Tunis agenda, it actually had nothing to do with internet governance.  I was very pleased about the fact that we created the Internet Governance Forum, which I think has proven itself to be extraordinarily important and valuable.  But there is a sentence in Paragraph 42 of the Tunis agenda that is the thing that I think I am perhaps proudest of, and in some respects no surprise that we were able to accomplish. 

And I will read to you that sentence because it's extraordinary in the fact that it is not qualified.  It says in Paragraph 42 of the Tunis agenda, "We reaffirm our commitment to the freedom to seek, receive, impart, and use information in particular for the creation, accumulation, and dissemination of knowledge," period.  No qualifications, no, "on the other hand."

It's a flat statement that in theory, all governments of the world at the highest political levels have endorsed. 

    Now, I will quickly tell you that one of my disappointments has been recognize that this is a non‑binding, there's no legal authority in the sense of, you can't take anybody to court to enforce these provisions which is true of all of the statements in the wishes.  But that is a statement that I'm disappointed has not been more aggressively used by governments and by civil society and others.  To put pressure on governments to do that which they have promised to do in this statement. 

    So I will say when I had the honour of being the U.S. ambassador responsible for these issues, I was quite aggressive in using this statement in my discussions with many governments around the world, many of whom are not considered to be at the forefront of freedom of expression. 

    So I leave you with that one thought.  Let me give you a couple of others.  I learned here after I arrived in Nairobi and having discussions with the government officials a remarkable statistic that I think will comfort you and also perhaps even surprise you the way it surprised me. 

    Frank talked a little bit about the transition from voice to internet access through mobile phones.  Here in Kenya, a country that I think arguably is somewhat typical for developing world countries, 90 percent of the new mobile phones, 90 percent, are Smartphones.  This means of the people who will have mobile phones we will see for a very short period of time that which we have been predicting for many years, which is a tremendous uptick in the ability of people not only to communicate directly through voice and SMS but directly through the internet and have access to the internet. 

    Now, for that to happen and for that to happen effectively, both in the development, particularly in the developing world, you cannot have effective access to the internet unless you have effective broadly based distribution of the infrastructure, which Frank touched on a moment ago. 

    The infrastructure does not happen by accident.  There are a variety of ways in which infrastructure can be distributed.  But do not take for granted the fact that you will have access to the internet just because you have a phone or just because you have a PC.  It is critically important that all governments who seek to promote the free flow of information at the same time promote an environment that allows for the private sector and where appropriate, governments to make the investments to connect their people to the internet, to have access to broadband, to do the things to ensure that people have that capability. 

    For those of us who are old enough, we look back over the last 10 and 20 years and see a remarkable shift in terms of people's access to information.  That has largely not happened by accident.  That has happened because of extraordinary technological changes that have been encouraged in many countries but not all by appropriate incentives to make investments, appropriate incentives for education, appropriate incentives for distribution of that infrastructure. 

    It is critically important that we not take this for granted.  As you all know, technology is constantly changing.  The so‑called digital divide is not a static thing.  And therefore, it is critically important that when you talk about human rights, when you talk about the free flow of information, of the critical importance of freedom of expression, you do not lose sight of the fact that this is in multi‑dimensional piece of a set of issues.  It's not just the rights.  Your rights are valueless unless you actually have the connectivity.  And you need to be able to work on what ensures that to happen. 

    And so you have to, it seems to me, we all have to be careful in how we articulate these issues.  I'm not very purposely going to talk at the moment hopefully during the discussions about the often discussed tension between privacy, free flow of information, security, and Frank touched on that briefly.  Those are well understood tensions.  And those are tensions that happen in all countries and are decided in different ways, sometimes appropriately, sometimes, in my mind, inappropriately. 

    My point is a different one, however, which is, in the discussions that you have, do not lose sight of the fact that your rights of freedom of expression, your rights that are often referred to as human rights are only as good as your ability to have access.  And the access by pushing prices down artificially gives you a short‑term benefit but harms you in the long term because you do not get the incentives to make the investments in future technologies, in future communications and ultimately, in connecting everyone. 

    Those are critically important.  And those are the issues I think that we need to address as well.  Thank you.

   >> MODERATOR:  Thank you, David, for your thoughts and some of them, I fully share.  Some of them, I tend to not disagree completely but I think that there is also, on top of infrastructure, there is also content and without content, infrastructure is not serving its purpose.

   >> DAVID GROSS:  That's why a symbiotic relationship.  I want to make a point if we just focus on the content, we lose sight of the other half of the coin.

   >> MODERATOR:  It's clear, you're very much in the IT business.  It's well understood.  So thank you, David. 

    Now I'm turning to Professor Ang Peng Hwa, chairman of the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre.  Professor Ang Peng Hwa is a director of the Singapore internet research centre at the school of communication and information.  He is an author of a publication, regulating the internet, which was published in 2005.  His teaching and research interests touch on internet governance, censorship and social impact of media. 

His articles have appeared in the international journal of public opinion research, New Median society, cyber psychology and behavior, as well as trade publications such as Asian Wall Street Journal and the Singapore Times.  Ang is also chairman of the regional not‑for‑profit organisation, Asian Media Information Communication Centre, AMIC, which is a co‑organiser.  Professor, 10 minutes.

   >> ANG PENG HWA:  Thank you, Janus.  My talk will build on what David had just mentioned about the critical role of infrastructure. 

    I have 18 slides, but I'm used to having a tough audience.  I teach undergrads.  So I will finish in time.  Given the time I have, I thought I should begin the conclusion, so in conclusion, my conclusion is that I do not expect any well informed government these days to cut communication links totally.  So I'll show you why this happens.  And I think, the "but" will be sort of the faint but you will see at the end

    My Exhibit 1 is a research project I did regarding Napal way back in '07.  Napal had this highway of death where people were killed because their mobile phones were used to activate bombs on the roads.  I went to my friend.  He shouldn't try this yourself.  This is a good context of everybody.  And I was trying to understand what happened in Nepal when they cut the mobile phone for 88 days.  The mobile phone was cut for the prepaid side.  The post‑paid subscription, post‑paid was cut for a shorter period but prepaid was cut for 88 days.  Most people use a prepaid phone.  Demand was so high, as you can can see, when they opened for registration for 2000‑000 cards, 2000‑000 SIM cards, 4,000 people lined up with the queue starting at 3:00 a.m.  three other stars, there was Mao, some other people.  Anyway, that's me there. 

    There was a rally of soldiers.  I had to wait for like six hours before I could talk to the people I wanted to talk to, a head of research in a remote area

    So finally I got to talk to this person on the right ‑‑ I'm on the right.  The left is the interpreter.  This is like, you might have seen from CSI, some of those drug cartel kind of movies where everybody has a gun except the good guys.  So I'm the guy without a gun.  And then it eventually became the prime minister of Nepal for a period.  It is all politics. 

    So from my research, what happened in 88 days, it was complicated.  Just cut it short to say that they cut all communications for about a couple of days, two, three days.  Not even a land line was available.  No land line, no fax. 

So in the first few days, the people I talked to, they estimate that 75 percent of all business transactions were affected so basically, the economy went into a immediate recession.  So businesses adapted ‑‑ confirm transactions, was the money in, has he paid the money.  When the land lines were restored first, they restored gradually, businessmen sat next to the phone to get the confirmations.  So 75 percent of of all business transactions, not business, but business transactions, was affected

    Secondly, and this was a bit of a surprise, small businesses were more affected than big business.  And this is a surprise because I thought big business would be affected.  And the reason for small businesses being affected was this idea that we in communication call a placeless place, meaning that the mobile phone can be used as a sort of a place because all they do is call this person who has this mobile phone, he doesn't need an office.  And typically, it's small trades, electricians, plumbers ‑‑ oh, the battery went dead.  Does somebody have a plug to this?  Plumbers ‑‑ I need ‑‑ can you get my laptop?  I think it ran out of juice. 

    David, you're right.  I can see the importance of connectivity.

[ LAUGHTER ]

It's a different ‑‑ we can make it work.  Small businesses were affected.  So electricians, plumbers, transport operators, home delivery service.  Tourism took a big knock.  The hotels was supposed to be a five‑star but it was just two of us on the entire floor.  Newspapers were thinner.  Journalists couldn't file stories.  Many people dropped into homes of journalists in order to find out more information.  And my editor friend said there was a lot of, quote, chatting on the streets. 

This is a point I will come to in a bit, chatting on the streets.  Health and emergency services were affected.  A cardiologist was interviewed, he had four patients who died in 88 days because he gave the patients's families his mobile phone number.  And the idea was that when the patient was in trouble, the patients would then call, the patient's families would call him and he would ten they will them what to do.  And because they could not contact him in 88 days, those patients died. 

    My conclusion was that the cut in mobile phone actually made the citizens angry and undermined, eventually the king's literal downfall. 

    Okay.  Now, I actually have a ‑‑ I have a photo of Navid Hasenpor.  I don't know, but a good guy.  He has a paper titled "Media disruption exacerbates revolutionary unrest:  Evidence from mobile national experiment."

This report came out in the New York times quite recently.  And his point is that when you cut the media, you actually make the unrest worse.  Okay.  So in talking about Tunisia, for example, cutting it totally makes it worse. 

    He has three results from cutting the communication links nationwide.  First, those who were able to ‑‑ for the first time, the mobile phone was actually a form of social networking. 

I know we subscribe to this service, but we cut the mobile phone, you're cutting off the links to your friends so you're cutting off a social network.  And then people became aware, oh, boy, this issue is affecting me for the first time.  Before demonstrating it is them, it's me, and now I'm part of them.  So those who were apolitical became political. 

    Secondly, people go to the streets to find out news, find out information and to look for people because you couldn't call him so you could find him.  So there were more people out on the streets.  The protest became bigger.  They were out on the street looking for information, looking for people. 

    The third point and this is interesting which I hadn't thought about is when you cut the mobile phone links and cut the communication links, the leadership of the protest becomes decentralized meaning that you actually have more leaders and more clusters.  Before you could pinpoint where the leaders are. 

    So for those three reasons, I mentioned earlier, I don't see governments being aware, being so unaware that they will cut the links totally. 

    Now, the answer is that in order to minimize the protest, the way to do it and coming from sort of an engineering, technical point of view, his answer is to make the system unreliable.  SMS may arrive in one minute, may arrive in 15 minutes, may arrive in 5 minutes.  You do not know when it might arrive so you did not coordinate your activities. 

    Sort of interesting, sort of technical answer.  My response is that there are times when some controls may be justified.  I think we talked about security, terrorism, maybe justified in times of riots.  And I was going to show some pictures of a Google search of the London riots.  You mentioned London riots up there. 

    But I think that the restrictions must be reasonable.  And so this is kind of the final answer to the question of, how do we make this social networks more Democratic given kind of the constraints that I expected to be placed on them.  I think it should be clear, time and place restrictions, restrictions should be for a period very well‑defined for a period in only those places where there are riots.  Okay. 

And in places where there may be what the U.S. would call clear and present danger, so only when it is very clear, when riots are going on, you cut it in those places and even, people's lives may depend on that link.  It should be maybe make it unreliable as opposed to total cut.  And finally, I think that a restriction should be made with awareness of judicial review, meaning a court should be involved in the process of determining when this restriction should be put in place.  And I think that's an answer to to being a Democratic process.
   >> MODERATOR:  Sorry for this technical glitch.  It was not planned at all.  No conspiracy in that sense.  So thank you

    Now I'm turning to Ms. Alessandra Pierucci from council of Europe.  She works in the council of Europe society meeting division.  She is currently dealing with protection of human rights with regard to social networking and social engine providers, coordinating consultation process on this topic at the Council of Europe among member states and partners, she is involved in the modernization process of the convention for the protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data, otherwise known as convention 108, that she already had the chance to follow in her previous role of expert.  She has a strong data protection background being a member of the Italian data protection authority for several years. 

    Alessandra, the floor is yours.

   >> ALESSANDRA PIERUCCI:  Thank you very much.  It is a pleasure for me to have the possibility to participate in this very interesting workshop. 

    In a human rights perspective, which is the one I intend to refer to being here as a representative of the Council of Europe, I first of all want to emphasize once again the prominent role of social networking services in Democratic participation.  We all know that social networking services have become a precious tool for expression, for communication among people, for mass communications, too, and that its complexity basically confers social networking service, a great potential in terms of exercise of fundamental rights, in particular, freedom of expression. 

    At the same time, I think that we also have to be aware of the risks and the challenges which may come from social networking.  Of course, not to demonize them, not at all, on the contrary, to be aware of those risks, to deal with them and to enhance freedom of expression. 

    I think that we have to be aware of the fact that freedom of expression and right to private life may be challenged by an unconscious use of social networking.  I'm just trying to give you a very first list of possible challenges we can find on social networking. 

For instance, the exclusion of users without having the possibility for the users to object to such exclusion and even to know the reasons of this exclusion; the lack of transparency regarding the processing of users and I would say also non‑users of personal data; the lack of privacy default settings, and insufficient protection of minors and vulnerable groups may be considered as another important challenge. 

    Having said that, I would like also to give you possible answers about the tools we may use to answer to these challenges in the Council of Europe perspective and also to answer to one of the questions that has been raised in this seminar, how to strengthen democracy participation, Democratic participation via social networking. 

    The question, this question has been thoroughly considered by the Council of Europe which is currently working on a draft recommendation on the protection of freedom of expression and the right to private life in the field of social networking.  The Council of Europe is actually working on a similar draft recommendation on the protection of ‑‑ so freedom of expression, right of information, right to private life also with regard to search engines

    The draft recommendation was actually submitted to consultation within stakeholders concerned, particular private stakeholders.  The idea will be also to create some guidelines for social networking providers which may serve as examples for self‑regulation. 

    I would like to mention the solution which has been considered by this draft recommendation, which has not been adopted yet but it is quite an advanced stage.  I can say that we maybe expect its adoption in early 2012.  So first of all, the Council of Europe perspective emphasizes the need on working on awareness raising as regards freedom of expression and access to information.  We all know that social networking services offer the possibility to both receive and impart a huge quantity of information and share it with a huge quantity of people.  We also know that through the indexability of information, through search engines, the access to such information becomes basically unlimited both in terms geographically and in time terms. 

    So this is why, first of all, users have to be able to feel confident that the information they share would be processed appropriately.  They also have to be aware of the fact that, whether this information has a public or private character and they also have to be aware of the consequences once they decide to make the information on social networking public. 

    This is particularly true for minors, both for teenagers who we know have great skills in using such tools in social networking, at the same time not really being aware of the risks, the main cure. 

    It is highly important to foster initiatives, awareness initiatives for parents and teachers to supplement the information provided by the social networking services. 

    The draft recommendation on social networking also takes into account the protection of children, which is a very crucial and difficult issue.  And it goes, I think, up to the point to the third question that has been raised in the seminar, namely how to protect freedom of expression and in a fair balance with other fundamental rights. 

    We all know that freedom of expression covers freedom to impart and receive any kind of information, maybe the shocking, even offensive information.  And since social networking services are very often used by minors, there is a problem, there are reasons for protecting children because of the vulnerability that their age implies.  But the Council of Europe perspective is the following, that this kind much protection does not entail an obligation on social networking services to control or to supervise the content uploaded by its users. 

    So it is important that in this context, parents play a primary role in working with children to ensure that they're using the services in an appropriate manner. 

    Age verification is also very often described as a possible solution for protecting children from output that may be harmful to them.  At present, we have to say that there is not a single technical solution with regard to online age verification.  That does not infringe another human right ‑‑ on other human rights and which does not facilitate age falsification.  So this is why we should develop probably further tools to examine whether other specific measures to help to prevent sign your bullying or ‑‑ cyber bullying or cyber grooming.  We may think that social networking services may cooperate together promoting qualified initiatives such as Hotlines without bypassing the procedural safeguards required under Article 8 and Article 10 of the convention on human rights respectively with regard to right to private life and freedom of expression.  We also have to be aware of the fact that we have to guarantee that blocking and filtering are introduced by the State only if conditions of Article 10 of the European convention on human rights are fulfilled, which means that we should refrain from the general blocking of offensive or harmful content for users who are not part of the groups for which a filter has been activated to protect. 

    Again, probably encouraging social networking services to offer transparent voluntary individual filter mechanism may be enough to protect those groups. 

    Finally, last but not least, privacy.  We all know that people are probably not aware of the fact that although we may have the impression that when we use the social networking, it's like speaking among friends.  It's not really the case because we may publish information about ourselves and about other people which may be collected by unwanted observers.  Think about, for instance, employers, future employers or insurance companies which may gain something from the information we naively publish; about employment, for instance, that we all know that most of the companies by now when they have to recruit people, the first thing they do is to look for information about them, social networking. 

    There may be also a problem that this unwanted observers may not only be private parties as the ones I have just mentioned but also law enforcement bodies.  We know in off‑line work, there are procedural safeguards which regulate the gathering by low enforcement agency of information about citizens, I think we should consider the same kind of procedural safeguards for social network being. 

    To conclude, I just would like to mention some possible tools for protecting privacy.  Social network providers should, first of all, respect data protection rules and not process personal data beyond a legitimate and specified purpose for which they have collected it and seek consent from users whenever they intend to go further on the processing of the personal data users agreed with. 

    Then it is important that social networking services create a default setting that limit access to self‑selected friends or contacts.  So users should be able to make an information decision about how to grant access to a larger public. 

    The use of techniques, particularly inversive techniques, should not be activated by default.  We all heard the discussion this summer about facial recognition and photo.  It was hot issues in the summer.  And also social networking services should address data protection and security issues at a stage of the conception of their services with a view toward strengthening security and user's control of their personal data. 

    Finally, I am finishing, awareness raising.  I think users should be informed about the processing of their personal data and their rights they have to ‑‑ they can exercise and the language which ‑‑ in a language which is understandable. 

    I think my time has finished.  And I hope that I gave some useful suggestions.  Thank you.

   >> MODERATOR:  Thank you, Alessandra, for your presentation and suggestions you gave. 

    So now I'm turning to Mr. Amr Gharbeia.  Amr is a blogger and human rights activist within the Egyptian initiative for human rights.  He has been arrested several times during the events.  And he specialized in SAT tool development as far as we know.  Amr, your eight to ten minutes, please.

   >> AMR GHARBEIA:  Thank you.  Let me start by outlining the basics, three different uses where people can socially use the internet.  And they're quite straightforward, how people use it to communicate, and then I will tell you about my recent personal experiences in Egypt. 

    There are three main uses for the internet in terms of how people communicate.  Two are very straightforward, one not so much.  The first one is the one‑to‑one relationship.  So in this way, the internet is a replacement for the posted letter, for the telegram, for the parchment, and for a telephone call.  And the second, the internet is, plays one too many role.  It's a publishing platform and it's a replacement for the printing press and for the radio and television broadcast. 

    These are very straightforward, but for some countries, another role that the internet can play, becomes very significant. 

And I argue that in some cases such as obviously the Middle East, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, some countries in Latin America where people don't have the freedom and the right to organise and physical space, the internet becomes an alternative organisation.  And those countries, although not very much in the global south, but they are not also in the north.  They're not Switzerland but they're also not Swaziland, for example. 

    And this third one, this third mode.  I belong to a loosely knit network of people, journalism, activists who work on free culture journalism and movements that support movements against torture and for other human rights causes.  And when the power, when the internet kill switch was used in Egypt, there was only one ISP that still worked, mainly because the stock exchange, one small ISP got the support of the stock exchange and other government agencies.  One person in that network of journalists happened to have that section from that particularized piece.  So what we did is we split the team in two places.  We pitched a tent.  And we had a banner saying that we collect material.  We realized that with the media, black house, or the internet blackouts that is so much now that of footage and video and pictures that are people are taking that we need to get that out as soon as possible.  So we had that.  We had a laptop.  I collected material from people's phones and camcorders and we put that material, 60 gig a bites to begin with, on a flash disk.  And we handed that in person to Al Jezeera.  We did some personally, to BBC, or actually walked across the Nile to that place where there was still internet connection and we appliedd the material.  And that made me realise that tools like You Tube.com and Facebook.com and Twitter.com, these are not social networks.  These are social tools.  We are social networks.  It's about the people.  And we can use those tools to connect, to find each other but once humans, being humans, once are connect, it's very difficult to break that connection so if the internet kill switch is used, people will do different things.  They would still find ways to communicate and if the internet is a publishing platform, as a information ‑‑ as a platform for relying information that is not there, people drop leaflets on the street, they will do whatever it takes. 

    All this has happened with tools that are not designed, not geared toward social change.  In the early taste of work, they used something, it was called the acute cat theorem.  It states that builders of those tools use them for purposes.  And the people find completely different uses for those tools, particularly in the global south. 

    So while Twitter, for example, was conceived with the notion that people might use it to complain about the traffic or in Paris or the subway in Tokyo, people need to have used it to coordinate actions in the underground, on the streets.  Facebook was designed primarily for teen age high school students to tag each other and to put pictures and poke each other but in reality, it was the prototype of the way of protests and a pricing that we've seen was trying by Facebook, Egypt, on the 2008, when there was a massive call for a general strike. 

    Now, imagine what would happen when the social tools are actually geared towards social change.  When those ‑‑ when people can identify tasks and resources and allocate them and follow up and coordinate, talking to each other and doing things together, people can cooperate, work together, this is a developing that's happening right now and probably would happen more in the open sourced side of software where we are beginning to see ‑‑ we're beginning to see services where ‑‑ we're beginning to see services where those social networks that are decentralized, that are hosted and open sourced working in a directed way so not only hosted within one ‑‑ by one owner, they are just like e‑mail.  Everyone has an e‑mail everywhere and they speak together, makes it less prone to blocking, to filtering and also nobody will see the big picture. 

    Now, this is all on the content layer, the superstructure.  On the base layer, on the infrastructure layer, we're also beginning to see developments in the wireless mesh networking and those are networks that have no notes that, the entire network would operate without a central company or a central government that is taking care of the work underneath. 

    And this is happening even across, we are beginning to see in the Balkans, for example, where obviously borders are very close and people are very close together, we're going to see transnational updates, transnational infrastructures.  And this makes it very relevant to my case because it then becomes trivial if someone uses the internet kill switch because then people will still be able to communicate, although not in the same capacity or the same speeds.  But then communication would still happen and people would still find ways to relay the information. 

    The only alternative is to use the power instead of the kill switch, but then I guess people would be able to put up solar panels.  Thank up very much.

   >> MODERATOR:  Thank you, Amr, for sharing your personal experience and also reminding at the end that facebook and Twitter is just a tool, that humans always remain the social ‑‑ at the centre of social networking. 

So now I'm turning to Ms. Grace N. Githaiga.  She is an associate in Kenya ICT Action Network, Kictanet.  Grace is also affiliated with media empowerment and democracy in east Africa, a research programme.  She is the immediate former president of the African chapter of the World Association of Community Broadcasters, otherwise known as AMERC, and a former director of Acorn.  Grace is a Humphrey fellow and holds a B.A. in communications, in economics and community development, a master in relations and currently is a Ph.D. candidate in the joint programme of the institution of development studies of the University of Nairobi and the University in Denmark.  Her study focuses on the communication and digital inclusion.  Grace, the floor is yours.

   >> GRACE N. GITHAIGA:  I guess being the last speaker, you know, you have a decided advantage of everybody having said everything.  So I'll just I'll have to skip some of my slides but let me say that when I was asked to make this presentation, I also thought, you know, looking at the role of social media in democracy, in participation, you know, I was thinking, yes, we have very good examples from media, from Tunisia, but then I had a chance to give a national or regional perspective. 

I decided we're going to speak what we in Kenya and Uganda have been doing using social media.  I think it's also time we need to get ourselves, getting some presence online. 

    Just like a point of departure, I think we are seeing a lot of people participating in social media because, you know, the internet does have a bar year to entry in contrast to social networks.  There are no restrictions and it allows a lot of people to get there.  And this is just a pointer to say that adoption of internet in this region is happening a lot through the cell phone.  And for example, in Kenya, the last report that was produced, say that they are ready, 22.3 million mobile subscribers in Kenya and an estimated, I think it's now 9 million internet users.  All, a lot of them, 99 percent of internet traffic in Kenya is through mobile operating, mainly through the phone.  We are seeing that phones are not just tools for communication and shot messaging.  But they're used for generation stories and transmission of multimedia.  I have been doing some work with some young people in settlements.  And they teal me they would rather not eat but you know, put that money in a phone and be able to access Facebook but mostly to charts.  Social networks are among the most visited, You Tube, face it is book, Twitter are among the most visited in Africa.  There are statistics showing that You Tube uploads of five hours, a YouTube every minute.  Even if we were to combine all our visions all the time, I'm not sure they would be able to produce, you know, this amount of footage even for half a day.  So social networks in this reasonable are primarily being used to use for personal communication a and self‑expression.  However, it becomes political when people use that media to address critical, oppositional or taboo issues publicly.  And I want to give examples.  In Ugandan elections, citizens were able to share by sending text messages.  They could also access information from a variety of courses but a Uganda, 2011.  Reports included election progress rotes as well as questions.  The messages due to issues of integrity, they had to be reviewed and validated by a team of reviewers.  The president of Uganda was also not left behind.  People received a ‑‑ people received an automated message just like they send from Barack Obama and Michelle, give me a voice.  This is important, vote for me.  But then after the elections, a group called Activists For Change ran a campaign called walk to work and change that's aimed to mobilize citizens to walk and hoot against the government. 

A lot of you remember seeing the opposition, the option leader in Uganda being arrested.  Actually people associate the walk to work, they thought it was a campaign that started but it was really that people are mobilized through citizens, through Facebook and they were told what to do.  In Kenya, we have something in Swahili, which means people's parliament.  It is a group that organizes and brings up issues.  As a matter of fact, because I think it is to 5,000, I think they already have five pages of followers.  So the group has a Web site.  It has a Facebook group.  It has its own Twitter.  It does organise a lot of concerns.  For example, just getting people to contribute, what they have not mentioned is how some of the comments, what I do know is that those, they have been able to go to the streets, get people to go to the streets.  We also have what is called the Unga revolution.  That means in our country, far.  And again, this was founded on Facebook and Twitter and its activities are largely communicated on social sites.  The most successful would be protests on high food costs and of course, we had to scan a lot of the ‑‑ there were protests.  There were 16 days of protests to just show that they were not happy. 

    We also have something called Ugatusi.  That is Swahili which means devolution.  It is like an NGO.  It a cooperative for grassroots organisations to engage.  So it comes from government and parliamentary by providing information in communities to ensure privacy.  Again, politicians are also not being left behind.  And using Facebook during 2011's, the minister of finance got over 3,000 messages on Facebook.  He has a Facebook page.  And Twitter on the ideas, one of the things he pointed out is that his followers told him he must do some cost cutting, one of which is to walk to the office and, you know, during the budget process in this country, it's a jamboree, people who have been working on the budget have a social, you know, there's a huge ceremony.  It was a cocktail.  At least none of that is ‑‑ he actually, the next ‑‑ the next organisation I am associated, we always conduct policy debates on various issues. 

Recently we had a huge campaign to market, not to really market but have our parliament secretary and the minister of information, or it is over, it is gone, articulate what you do for this country if, for example, his conscience, which asks ‑‑ his constituents, which is us, asked us to run. 

We had a debate where he articulated that.  What happened is some of those owe vents were carried on Facebook so they continued on Facebook.  Some are still going on because people will pick up the thread. 

    Okay.  It's just that I just wanted to give that. 

    So what we are seeing is that social networks, they're actually allowing people to generate content, people to contribute to ideas and now more more than ever ‑‑ ordinary citizens can actually talk on what they think that they need.  However, there are concerns that are emerging out of that.  One was raised by the other speaker about privacy and security of people communicating online. 

There's also the fact that governments now are learning, we have successful debates, they're learning now, I am sure they are not sleeping but they are just thinking on how to start monitoring this so they last now, they know it happens to e‑mail or text messages. 

    So we are making governments more conscious of the fact that they can't monitor us ‑‑ oh, it's back.

   >> MODERATOR:  It is back but your time is close to over.

   >> GRACE N. GITHAIGA:  Yes, but I'm almost done actually.  I'll just go back, I have one point that I need to say.  You know, the fact that it's also, for example, the example of a finance minister, so we are looking at sort of a form of outsourcing some of the work to the crowd. 

    Circumstance, there is is also the issue of the integrity of the information, how genuine is it because if you consider, the media, it is not subject to a code of ethics and then we talked about government surveillance and filtering. 

And there's also the other concern when you exchange information on Facebook, today you are ‑‑ you will completely help, shift it away you think because the information might be available.  Let me make an example.  You might be, in ten years, that part of your life, you don't want ‑‑ you know, you don't want to remember.  That information would be there.  And I think that's a concern. 

    But in conclusion, I just want to say that they are catalyzing civic participation.

   >> MODERATOR:  Thank you, Grace.  I hope that Amr will never regret this part of his life after ten years. 

    Thank you, speakers.  Now we have maybe another 10, 15 minutes for exchange since we started a little bit late.  And what will be the rules?  Please ask your questions or make your comments briefly, introduce yourself at the beginning.  We also have a remote participation possibility.  And if there will be some questions for information from remote participants, they will be given priority.  So now I have one request, please.  Go ahead.

   >> AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Good morning.  My name is Alun Capar.  Thank you for the great introductions.  It was extremely helpful.  I have a question for Mr. LaRue.  You have written that there are certain exceptions to the freedom of information rights and freedom of expression can be limited in exceptional circumstances. 

    Some human rights organisations have responded, disappointedly, to an aspect of your report, we did not rule out filtering as an option to implement such limitations. 

    Now, others have suggested to remove content at the source which also brings about extremely problematic problems for the freedom of expression. 

I wonder what your views are on how to implement if indeed such circumstances may be legitimate, how to implement such limitations.  Thank you.

   >> FRANK LaRUE:  Thank you.  First of all, we have said time and again, and I remember this was part of the debate in the last IGF, that we don't need a set of new principles and rules. 

We're basically applying the same set of principles and rules that we have, Articles 19 and 20 of that and other relevant... this is important because the idea of some elements of hate speech that are forbidden in internet are also forbidden in written media or in broadcasting. 

So I think we should think of of it as implementing the same form of mechanisms, basically some of them do become criminal liability and it should be applied afterwards.  I don't envision the idea of prior censorship, but eventually some governments do have, in moments of crisis, the possibility of monitoring some of the services because of precisely that moment of crisis. 

You have basically in terms of limitations the same standards that are always applied for internet, that all limitations should be established by law.  As I said at the beginning, should be the exception and not the rule.  The rule should be the openness.  And I say today for internet, but this was the same thing for broadcasting or for written expression or for artistic expression. 

    So I think the openness at the general limitations have to be established by law, very clear, unambiguous law.  This law has to be drafted in the protection of other rights and has to be very clear that they are necessary for the protection of other rights and they have to be proportional in the way of implementing to that protection of other rights. 

    So I think there's many other smaller issues that we in my last report, not this year's, last year's report to the Council to make limitations as clearly defined as possible. 

    Now, what happens, for instance, the example that was put with child pornography which essentially in Europe, that was a big debate and we drafted a position for the European council, the council of Europe.  One of the issues in child pornography is the States look very easily at the blocking Web sites.  And that is the very simplistic solution which is not really a solution.  The rights they were trying to defend is the protection of children.  And child prostitution goes within the boundaries of the optional protocol that deals with not only child pornography but child prostitution and child trafficking. 

My feeling is that the proactive feeling of the State to protect their children more than blocking Web sites is actually to investigate organised crime that deals with trafficking of children, that deals with promoting child prostitution and then we'll use child pornography.  So yes, I have nothing against blocking a Web site that carries systematically a child pornography, but I do believe that the State has a different type of responsibility, not only the idea of censoring, but actually of investigating and protecting those rights.

   >> MODERATOR:  So thank you.  The next speaker is here.
   >> AUDIENCE MEMBER:  My name is Jac, I'm from the Association of Communication Progression.  I actually really appreciate some of the discussions that happened this morning.  I'm sorry that I came a bit late.  But I wanted to say that especially around the issue of the already heavily regulated realm of sexual speech and content.  And I think Amr spoke earlier about in some countries, the internet becomes a very key organizing space. 

I would argue that it's actually a very key organizing case in all countries because will you find that there will be particular sections of communities who are unable to access other kind of public spheres because of discrimination they face due to the identity.  And this is especially evident, and you look at it from the perspective of gender and sexual identity. 

    We have been approaching sexuality on internet governance issues has been always on the mode of protection and panic.  And I think we need to move away from this and look at it from the framework of rights because as Grace was talking about, a lot of people use the internet to chat and have conversations.  This not just to talk with friends.  It's very critical in the formation and the sense of self, the society that you live in. 

So the principle of what should apply, the limitations that should apply offline to apply online I would approach very, very carefully because it is precisely the internet being this very key space that is not available elsewhere that needs to be protected and promoted.

   >> MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Frank has now some thoughts to think about.  So I will take three questions here, so two from here and one here.  You start.  So that leads you to the end of the session.   
   >> AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I'm Ramanan from the Karta group.  In India, internet and mobile communications is really spreading big‑time.  But I didn't hear any of the speakers speaking on the importance of education.  Most of the user are young children from schools as well as colleges, youngsters from colleges.  And what are the initiatives, if anything, that are you aware of that promotes education because with freedom, becomes responsibility and this is not something that can be influenced thas to be taught.  Are there any thoughts on that, and how can bodies like municipal play a role in this?

   >> MODERATOR:  Okay.  Thank you.
   >> AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I am with the Social Science Research Centre in Berlin.  I'd like to comment on Ang Hwa's suggestion to cut internet connection and make it unreliable in response to riots as the London riots.  When David Cameron, the prime minister of UK, suggested exactly that, disconnect internet suggestion, this suggestion was received with strong opposition both in the UK and in other European countries on the grounds that this would violate human rights. 

    On more general terms, I would say that we must be careful not to undermine the empowerment potential of social networks that sort of facilitates, may be able to ‑‑ were enabled by human rights in the first place.  Thank you.

   >> MODERATOR:  Thank you.
   >> AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I'm Anir from the director of international relations.  I have actually some comments on reflections if you allow me on the suggestion.  I would start by the very first slide of our colleague from Singapore where you mentioned that no government, a well informed government, could take a decision to cut the internet.  And in order to maintain that and based on our even experience in Egypt as Amr has mentioned earlier, you have to put those regulations in place.  It was done in Egypt according to Article 67 of the Act of Telecommunication.  And this specific article and the whole law of communication is now being reviewed by the new cabinets in an open process and in full consultation with the civil society and private sector on all interested partners to make sure that there would be no other articles in the future that will give any agency, whether security or whatever, the right to cut the communication without having like real reasoning why to do so. 

    This is why, for example, when the prime minister of UK has mentioned the idea of cutting the internet in London or in the UK, that was met by fierceful opposition from the people.  And our experience in Egypt, actually I would say that the percentage or the statistics as numbers, the number of users on Facebook, for example, in January was only 9 percent.  And people went down the street as Amr was mentioned in millions and millions just to see what is happening there.  So even when they took this horrible decision of cutting off the internet, you know, it brought up the opposite decision and people went out more and more.  And it was the people who were behind all this kind of thing. 

    But as well I would like to reflect on earlier interventions about the content and the local content that we can have.  Egypt has, of course, as we all know and other countries face the same problem, illiteracy.  We are about 84 million of population, and not all of us speak English and not all of us can even write or speak Arabic in an appropriate way.  And this is why new initiatives are now being in place.  And I call upon UNESCO to actually work with us even more on the local content to develop software and applications in local languages, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, whatever, to mobilize more people and awareness, to make people educated more about their rights. 

    The very last point, I will conclude by this, online ethics.  I will say, what is rights to have online and it's not a violation of anyone's right, neither on the curtailing of freedom of expression of low information.  And the ethics to maintain the stability and national security of a country, for example.  This is, I know, a very big question and I will just end my intervention with it.  Thank you.

   >> MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Thank you also for telling us the development in Egypt after the social upheaval. 

    I would like now to ask if there is any wish from the panelists to take 30 seconds to ‑‑ would you like to respond to some remarks you heard?

   >> AMR GHARBEIA:  First, well, actually, in my preparation, I was afraid of being misunderstood.  Where I say that, that no government now will cut communication links.  That's my view because you then make the people, the citizens very angry at you and the governments are being toppled. 

    But the question then becomes I think, in my view, how do you sort of handle this, this communication where it can be used for anti‑social purposes.  And I don't mean, more like riots where it is clear harm to society.  And so the research I cited was to say that based on sort of some gain theory, models, that the way to do it is to make it unreliable as opposed to not having it at all.  So that's something I bring out.  And my answer to that it should be a judicial review, basically, somebody else to review the decision so it is not just done as a total cut.

   >> MODERATOR:  So thank you.  I will make very briefly answer a question from India on what UNESCO does with promotion of educational materials.  We do and we work on a number of issues related to that. 

So first and foremost, we're trying to promote as much as we can quality content online including an education content, through developing, open education resources and communication reforms.  I know the theory.  We do it together with learning.  And other interested organisations. 

    We work on issues related to promotion of skills of teachers.  And that is done through the setting up the ICT competency framework which have been launched in 2004 and now many countries in the world follow that methodology in teacher training because as I said yesterday in the ministerial meeting, in UNESCO's opinion, bringing a computer in the class is not sufficient.  You need to have a methodology.  You need to have training materials or teaching materials and you need also to have skilled teachers using those. 

    But I would certainly take this conversation offline and also you can come to the UNESCO open forum on September 30 at 2:30, there are specific issues on UNESCO's activities will be discussed with UNESCO staff present in the meeting. 

    So now I'm giving 30 seconds to the remaining panelists.  We'll start with Amr.

   >> AMR GHARBEIA:  Just very quickly, to continue the update on the kill switch article in the Egyptian, the proposition from the government right now is that the kill switch can be used after the approval of the president and the head of the cabinet, the prime minister, which under some vaguely, also still vaguely defined conditions which is not really different from what we have now or what we had.  Effectively, I'm not really worried about using the kill switch again, obviously for very obvious reasons.  I feel like stressing that we have not seen the law so far, the process is not entirely inclusive.  And our position is that the kill switch may be used except that in cases of announced emergency status in a limited time and space for particular clear reasons. 

So the kill switch article should not belong to a telecom act.  It should belong to an emergency status legislation.  This is the two positions that are existing in Egypt.

   >> MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Now Frank, your 30 seconds.

   >> FRANK LaRUE:  Very quickly, I would reiterate that I think freedom of expression and all human rights are reaffirmed on the internet.  I don't think it's a difference of rights, innet needs absolute freedom but so does freedom of the press and so does the art.  I don't think we're making a comparison, we're just implementing the freedom everyone has to express or receive their information or express their opinions in a way possible.  In terms of the David Cameron example, it is my position, I've said it in Britain and said it publicly, it is interesting that because there are riots in the streets, he automatically jumped to the conclusion that cutting off communication was the solution when when in reality it was more important to research what are the causes that are provoking the riot, what are the issues that the government should address.  Never should the governments begin by cutting off communication and freedom of expression as the solution.  They should find the problem

    Finally in my last seconds, the idea, internet does pose some threats.  And I have been called to attention by many people who are teachers on the question of bullying.  On a very personal level, even the social networks, what happens to children that are harassed for racial reasons, cultural reasons, or just because.  And I think here is where we have to bring another obligation of the state, I believe freedom of expression is a proactive obligation of the State and here is the obligation for education, for prevention, for what UNESCO calls a promotion of a culture of peace, as a preventive alternative instead of censorship or blocking messages.

   >> MODERATOR:  So thank you.  I would like to thank all the panelists for sharing their views and experiences with us and with the audience.  I thank all of you for being present in this workshop. 

So many of you, I think that the discussion and presentations were interesting and all the materials will be placed on the website of IGF.  And we will do also on UNESCO Web site as well as a transcript of this session. 

    In concluding, I would like to say that UNESCO, promotion of freedom of expression will remain a very high priority for the next years and we will concentrate on issues related to freedom of expression of the internet as an issue which needs certain reflection because practices and new experiences occur every day.  And we need to reflect on them and to find the right answers to all those complex questions including also how to address issues in different judicial systems, if one or other case is coming from a different country. 

    So there are a lot of complex issues related to use of internet and social media.  We'll continue doing this, and certainly without any hesitation, I can give you a roundtable meeting at the next IGF 2012 if that will be.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  If you want to follow UNESCO, then the next workshop organised by UNESCO will be in Room 14 and will be on the economic presentation of the economic aspects of creation, for those who are interested in that.  Welcome to Room 14 in 10 minutes. 

 

(End of session)