The following is the roughly edited output of the real captioning taken during the IGF 2014 Istanbul, Turkey, meetings. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to the inaudible passages of transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. The following is roughly edited.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: In the interest of time since we have less than an hour, we will have to get started. I ask that you please keep your conversations down. Thank you so much.
Okay. So thank you very much for joining us for the Press Freedom Dimensions of Internet Governance Roundtable. I hope that is a roundtable so we don't just talk at you. So I look forward to everyone's participation.
This panel came out of the idea about revelations about mass surveillance, about mass data collection over the past has underscored that fact that journalism and the circulation of information more broadly is inseparable from key dimensions of Internet governance, from the infrastructure backbone, to transmission dynamics, to encryption. And the past year's headlines have made it clear that both policy changes and technological efforts are necessary to address the protection of journalists, the protection of discussion, the protection of communication and information exchange amid aggressive Government surveillance and private sector complicity, and in order to ensure that all actors respect the rule of law, privacy and free expression. As "canaries in the data coal mine," journalists represent one of the most vulnerable and engaged group of Internet users. And what happens to journalists and journalism will likely foreshadow other, broader developments. Yet to what extent do different stakeholder groups understand the critical importance of their input to Internet governance and what this plays in sustaining an environment in which press freedom and Freedom of Expression more broadly is possible?
My name is Courtney Radsch. I'm the advocacy director for the Committee to Protect Journalists, which is a nonprofit organisation that works to protect press freedom globally. We organised this workshop to explore the various stakeholders' roles in resisting mass surveillance, particularly of journalists and media, and how Internet governance choices may impact on press freedom.
As Laura Dinardis has explained, press freedom is dependent on the Internet infrastructure, policies to preserve liberty, and infrastructure reliability, and freedom to gather and disseminate information. Surveillance, net neutrality, core Internet values, access dynamics and a host of other issues are relevant. And I think what we want to do here is to tease out how, why, and what the role of various stakeholders will be to add value to this broader community.
So we're a press freedom organisation. We are part of IFEX, which is a big global network of press freedom organisations. And I think a lot of press freedom organisatins and press media organisations are trying to figure out how to engage in Internet governance. What are their entry points? What are the most salient issues? Are they the technical infrastructure and architecture? Net neutrality. What are the press freedom dimensions of Net neutrality? It involves actors other than but including Governments: Private sector, companies, technologists, intergovernmental organisations, Civil Society groups.
The architectural control, institutional mechanisms such as treaties and national laws, the management of information flows, national, legal frameworks and technologically mediated policy enactment, intermediate liability, private corporate policy, surveillance, the Internet of Things, what happens to source protection there, tracking, anonymity policies.
There are a whole host of issues. And what we want to do in this panel is to talk about what some of those key issues are. I'll introduce my panelists here. And we're saying "panelists," but I asking each of them to just talk about the one or two most salient issues that they feel are important to the press freedom dimensions of Internet governance. And then I hope that we can have a discussion. And I hope that if you have something to add, you'll raise your hand, throw that in. And if you have a question, I hope that you'll ask that.
And the goal is not necessarily to have answers, but to help define the agenda for a better understanding of this issue, and for studying the press freedom dimensions of Internet governance.
So I think that I'd like to start with Guy Berger, who is the Director of the Communications and Information Division Freedom of Information section at UNESCO. UNESCO is one of the key leaders in this arena in terms of its role both on the normative and the policy side with WSIS, with the IGF, with all of the Internet studies that it's doing. So liked you to start by giving us your perspective on what UNESCO as the press freedom dimensions of Internet governance. And I'll give you three to five minutes, to start. And then we will go to each of our panelists up here for about two minutes each.
>> GUY BERGER: Thank you very much, Courtney.
So I think everyone here probably knows in the UN system, it's UNESCO that should be promoting press freedom. And what is press freedom? It's an interesting question. And what is Internet governance and how do the two things interconnect? So that's what I'll look at.
So very quickly, press freedom from a UNESCO point of view, I'll go into that, we don't use it as a synonym for media freedom, because we say it's wider than the media freedom and it's narrower than general Freedom of Expression. I'll elaborate a little bit on that. I'll Speak about UNESCO Internet governance. And I'll focus especially on the question of confidential sources, and how that is at the centre of press freedom and Internet governance. And I'll speak particularly about what the role of the media in multistakeholder governance of this question of confidential sources.
Press freedom, if you take the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Freedom of Expression is everybody's right to seek, impart, receive. It says that the rights can be limited. As you'll know it must be nationally proportionate, transparent, et cetera. So that is for everybody.
Press freedom in terms of UNESCO understanding, which we elaborated, me and Courtney, in this publication that Courtney edited, which you can find on the Internet called "World Trends and Freedom of Expression," press freedom is really the use of Freedom of Expression on a media platform.
We also elaborate further that it's not just the freedom side to use the media, it's also a question of, if you want it, pleuralism and independence. Within that question you also have journalism. So journalism is a specialized form of Freedom of Expression, including by nontraditional actors.
So press freedom, you can see where we're coming from in that perspective.
Internet governance, and I'll try to marry these two. At UNESCO we developed this draft position, which is called Internet universality, and it's based on RARM, which sayd the Internet should be human rights based, open, accessible and multistakeholder.
In particular, now, I'll speak about the two quadrants, the two principles, the R and the M. How do these relate to the question of press freedom?
If you looks at issues around journalism and governance issues, who governs these issues, these are some of the issues related to the Internet. Confidentiality I'll come to as the main one. But all these issues, also, lots of governance issues. And this question, which is directly about the expression side of Freedom of Expression.
Everyone knows about permissions, innovations, so what about licensed publishing? That is another big issue happening in several countries. It's a governance issue.
Anonymity is a governance issue. Right to be forgotten is a governance issue. And the secrecy of sources, that's what I want to speak about, because how can you have secrecy of sources when there are digital footprints all overthe place?
At UNESCO the Governments agreed in 2013 to this particular statement, where they said -- now, you know, saying is one thing, what happens after is another thing. But it's quite significant. They said "Privacy is essential to protect journalism sources." They explain why. Because that's how society benefits from investigative journalism. "And privacy should not be subject to arbitrary or unlawful interference." That's quite a significant thing that the UN said.
So the question is, can there be a kind of governance that produces limits on how third parties can collect and use journalists' data, especially the data that they would prefer to keep confidential. It may not be secret because it's all there and somebody has various means of keeping it, but can it be kept confidential?
We are doing a research study on exactly these questions, one of which is being done by the World Association of Newspapers. And they are looking at, more than 100 countries around the world have source protection dispensation. Do their source protection dispensations take into account nontraditional journalists who are trying to protect sources? And do those protections cover digital data?
So we are making that assessment. This will be extremely interesting. Because when you have that information, you can say to what exdo you need to update those kinds of regimes. Next year I want to have a full study on this issue, which is lots of issues, but please attend. If you can come to Paris, do come to that.
The last point about multi-stakeholderism on this thing. According to the perspective that we developed, that quadrant, when you are limiting or balancing rights, what is the role of the press freedom constituency? This is where the multi-stakeholderism comes in. Should these items be decided by governments, or should they be decided by multi-stakeholderism, policymaking, and oversight? And I'll just remind you, in November last year, the UN General Assembly agreed -- every country there agreed that each country should review its surveillance legislation, and see if it's adequately transparent and has adequate independent oversight.
Should the media try -- the press, or bloggers, should they try to become part of these oversight mechanisms precisely to ensure that the governance decisions that are being made about source protection impact on them?
So that's what I've got to say. The point is that today we have many more stakeholders safeguarding press freedom. Everybody has at least a tie to the indirect stake.
I think I will just sensitize those of you who don't know, the 2nd of November is the International Day To End Impunity. It's a great time to end these impunities, whether we are talking about offline or now we are talking about impunity for, in this context, who is committing crimes against Freedom of Expression online and how can we use this day to make sure they don't get away with it?
Courtney, I think that sums up what I have done. Press freedom, wider than the traditional press. Special use of Press freedom. Governance. Who can bring these principles and norms to bear. Journalism needs some governance in these areas to protect inputs and outputs. And source confidentiality. I think that this is a key issue, a digital issue, where multi-stakeholderism can be applied. Thank you.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: Thank you. Now I'll turn to Carlos Affonso Souza, who is replacing one of our other panelists who was on the panel, Ronaldo, and who represents the academic community. Can I turn to you for about two minutes of comments. Thank you.
>> CARLOS AFFONSO SOUZA: Thanks, Courtney, for the invitation to join this panel. I'll be very quick.
I would like to just come up from Guy's presentation, I would like to just comment on three issues that I think that in terms of governance and Regulation of Internet definitely has an impact on the activity of journalists and the freedom of press in general.
The first one, I'll talk about at least two trends in tech policy or more specifically on Internet policy.
The first one is data localization. We have going through a lot of discussions on data localization recently and fragmentation, and most of you are well-known on this subject. My concern here is like there is not many people linking the discussion on that data localization with press freedom. The thing is, if you end up having the mandatory provision in some type of legislation in the national level that would oblige the data to be stored locally, this could be something that could put in danger journalists and dissenting voices in some specific countries.
We had in Brazil last year a big discussion on that, because we were about to approve our own Internet Bill of Rights in Brazil that ended up being approved without a data localization provision. But that was a huge and a fruitful discussion down in Brazil. So my concern is if you have the mandatory provision that obliges data to be stored locally, that would make easier for nonDemocratic Governments to have access to the data of opposing voices and journalists and bloggers. So it's important for us to make this connection between data localization and freedom of the press.
Second issue is an issue concerning proportionality and the blocking of entire platforms. We have gone through a lot of case law on that, because you have one specific article, one specific photo, one specific video that causes harm. This is the sole cause for Judges or even executive power to determine that the whole platform being taken down, being blocked in a specific country. So I think this is another topic and trends in Internet policy that we need to address and to make connection with freedom of the press. If you end up blocking an entire platform, you will definitely have a great impact on not only Freedom of Expression as a whole, but definitely on freedom of the press.
And my third point, and with that I sum up, is not that much related to Internet governance as a whole, but on Internet Regulation, which is something that has been featured in Frank LaRue's report for a while now, which is the feature of having on or being criminalized if you infringe the honor of someone else.
So we have criminalization of the offenses to honor, defamation, in a number of countries. And that is something that clearly puts in peril journalists and dissenting voices because they can be sent to jail. And not only like face damages, lawsuit being brought against them, but actually being detained and sent to jail.
So this is something that happens in Brazil, we have a provision on crimes against honour, on defamation, and I think that this is something interesting for us to being at the International level and Internet governance debates. Because we are pretty much refused to discuss hate speech, and how to avoid hate speech at the International level. We have to take extra care here how to, when discussing hate speech and how to combat hate speech, end up enforcing or creating incentives for other provisions on crimes against honour to being forced at the national level.
Those are my three comments. Data localization, the need to address proportionality in blocking platforms, and the issue of criminalizing defamation at the national level and the impacts for freedom of the press.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: That's fantastic. Now I'd like to turn to Wafa Ben Hassine from the Arab region, representing Civil Society. Give us your thoughts, about two minutes.
>> WAFA BEN HASSINE: Hi, everyone. My name is Wafa Ben Hassine. I'm a Civil Society rights activist from Tunisia.
I'd like to follow on what my colleague Guy was talking about, in regards to the freedom to publish is wider than the Freedom of Expression. And I think in terms of the Arab world, that is exactly what certain Governments are attacking, which is the freedom to publish. And when you put the freedom to publish in danger, naturally the freedom of expression is already jeopardized.
And so one of the -- I think one of the biggest issues in the Arab world at least is that there is a lack of a bridge between Civil Society and Governments, or regulatory authorities, to actually work together in regards to showing that publication laws can't be used online. So one of the main issues we have in the Arab world is that we have old arcane laws, or in some cases such as Jordan very new laws that attempt to categorize media sources as whether they are journalist sources or anything else.
And that lack of categorization or these very, very arbitrary types of categorization end up jeopardizing Civil Societies' and citizens' rights to express themselves, on or offline.
And I'll use the example of Jordan, which actually one of our colleagues here is in this room from haber.com or haber.org or haber.me or haber.net because they have been switching their domain names over and over again, because the Government is attempting to categorize this website, which is a citizen media website, as a journalist website. And they have been continuously blocked in Jordan because they are supposedly not -- they don't fit into some categorization of media. In order for them to be online, the Government is saying that they need to get a license, and that license requires them to be part of the Jordan Press Association for four years. It also requires them to get this license from the Media Commission, which is a very difficult process, but it was just founded in September 2012, which is very recent.
These are the types of dynamics that we see happen in the Arab regions as well as other regions, where very arbitrary categorization laws that particularly deal with press offline are being used to regulate press online or Freedom of Expression online. And I think that bridge between offline and online is not there. And the bridge between Civil Society and Governments is not there as well.
And so I'll wrap up. But I look forward to your questions later on and we can further discuss as well.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: Sound like if we take out the main issues you are talking about, could be domain name blocking, licensing, and then the appropriate legal regulatory context, and as Guy said, multi-stakeholder involvement in this arena.
Now I'd like to turn to Marcel Leonardi, the Public Policy senior counsel from Google Brazil.
>> MARCEL LEONARDI: Thanks. Thanks everybody for inviting me and thanks for you attention here.
In connection to what has already been said with the freedom to publish, I'd like to emphasize the importance of understanding the protection of platforms themselves as a key part of freedom of the press.
The reason is, from the Brazilian experience, we have lived without any safe harbors for the platforms for quite a while. Marcos Civil introduced then finally this year. The difference is night and day. Before the existence of these protections for platforms, pretty much all platforms, except for a few ones, when they received any kind of notice for content take down, they took everything down, no questions asked, because they feared the liability that could accrue without complying with those requests. Even the courts have been introducing this idea that whenever anybody sends you a notice about something that is allegedly wrong or allegedly illegal, then platforms should take that content down immediately, otherwise they would face liability.
So from a freedom of press standpoint, journalists that have blogged, citizen journalists, and all people who dealt with online media pretty much was fearful of what was going to happen with their content. It could be taken down without any notice, with no transparency whatsoever.
So the good news is at least Marcos Civil changed that. He did create a safe harbor for these platforms. The bad news is something that -- a new trend that we have been watching in Brazil and elsewhere, attacks on anonymity per se. So we have seen in Brazil and elsewhere scenarios where applications like mobile applications that could be used for sharing any kind of anonymous information were being banned just because they had that functionality, with no regards to the content itself that was being published via these platforms. The idea being that just because a platform allows for anonymity, then the platform, the application would be deemed illegal. There was an injunction against one such application called "secret." And if you extend that reasoning to everything, we would have to close down the Web.
Pretty much any kind of Web tool can be used in that sense. So it's a very worrying and disturbing trend that we have perceived.
Finally, it's important to highlight the importance of transparency for any kind of removal. Basically, whenever we see the scenarios in which why content was removed, what happened, what content was removed? The only way that journalists and society can scrutinize and understand what has happened is for companies to have transparency reports and explain why a certain piece of content was removed, according to what kind of legal process and so on.
So what is interesting to notice is there was some resistance to that in certain countries, but companies are still doing that regardless. For example, Brazil is facing an election this year, presidential election, and there is a website called "Transparency in the elections," that is actually putting a catalog of all kinds of content takedown requests that the candidates are putting out. Any kind of new lawsuit, any kind of injunction that people get should take down journalistic content from the Web is being reported in that kind of Web site. So it's much easier for citizens, anybody that is going to vote, to understand which candidates are asking for content takedown and why.
These would be the three key points I would emphasize, intermediary liability protection, the disturbing trend on attacks on anonymity, and the need for transparency in regards to what is being taken down.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: Thank you for that great summary.
Is Geoffrey King in the room? Okay. Good, I've been looking for you.
>> GEOFFREY KING: I don't have a chair. Sorry to all of you with no Chairs.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: He is with the Committee to Protect Journalists and he will give us the perspective from a Civil Society press freedom perspective.
>> GEOFFREY KING: Sure. Thank you, Courtney.
So I would actually preface this by saying that I agree with everything that has been said so far. Thank you. Is it... thanks.
I agree with everything that has been said so far. And I think that there is one overarching point, which is that many of the issues we're going to face are not necessarily issues that are flowing from malicious intent, even, although we will certainly be facing many of those. And I think we talked about some of those at the last panel about hacking and surveillance and self-help steps that people can take and Governments and intergovernmental organisations and corporations could take, to protect people.
But here I think that many of the issues that we're going to be facing are potentially ones of our own creation, ones that we are seeking to promulgate and push to solve what are admittedly enormous problems but create massive cascading issues of unintended consequences. So I'll give just two examples.
The first is with regard to intermediary liability. The right to be forgotten seeks to address an enormous problem of scale that heretofore has never been seen. And it's enabled by these technologies in terms of information that was out there but is now accessible to people all over the world. The practical obscurity has disappeared and it's a massive fundamental problem.
However, in many ways, the cure is potentially is as dangerous as the disease. The right to be forgotten, I have written, represents a fundamental break from how we see defamation and also privacy doctrine.
So, for example, if you go through the entire opinion, you'll see that it doesn't actually require that information be untruthful. It doesn't require that it be unlawful. It doesn't even require that the complainant to show that they were prejudiced in any way. It doesn't have to harm them. It's a standardless standard. And I say that as a former full-time litigator. I know how hard these things can be to pin down. This is coming from good intentions, again.
The second is, clearly, we want to protect national security. Recent events, I think, drive that home especially profoundly. We don't want to see the kind of acts and violence that all too frequently occur in this world.
But many of the steps that were taken in terms of mass surveillance have, I think, gone too far. They chill free expression. And those steps have unintended consequences. So, for example, Internet fragmentation, which was previously a problem of China and Iran and Russia, are now being -- we're seeing it in Brazil and Germany as legitimate ideas, legitimate solutions, and many, many other potential solutions flowing from that that are actually deeply problematic and don't necessarily even get to the root of the problem, as I wrote about Marco Civil, that was part of the debate. There were many suggested ulterior motives for data localization and therefore fragmentation.
So that's my point. So we as Civil Society, as governmental actors, as academics, have to be careful that the solutions that we are proposing are not actually making things worse and that they are actually getting to the root of the problem.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: Thank you, Geoff.
Now I'd like to turn to Arzu oh, God, I'm going to mess it up. Arzu Geybulla. She is actually a journalist and so I thought it would be helpful to have the perspective of a freelance journalist here to talk about how Internet governance, the press freedom dimensions impact her. She is based here in Istanbul.
>> ARZU GEYBULLA: It's okay with my last name. It's very complicated and very long. I understand.
Coming from Azerbaijan, as the Government takes it close to heart and it literally interprets "Internet governance" as governing of the Internet the way it wants.
Once a friend mine two years ago said at the IGF, which was actually held ironically in Baku, that Internet is free in Azerbaijan but so is the Government to do whatever it wants with who is using it. So we have a lot of journalists at the moment who are in jail because they are using Internet as their only means of publication, because there are no other independent or free outlets left.
So that is one thing I would like to really focus on, that there are -- I guess there is a lack of mechanism in terms of holding those Governments responsible that are using surveillance tools on journalists and bloggers. Because in countries like Azerbaijan, if you're a blogger, you're automatically treated as a journalist and the same charges that they use on journalists, which is not what they write. Basically, they don't put them in prison saying openly what they are in prison for. They put them in prison for hooliganism or illegal drug sale or crimes of sex rather than their actual work. But they are doing this because they have very well embedded surveillance mechanisms on all levels, whether it's from the phones, whether it's actually hacking their Facebooks and getting into their private messages and actually showing the exchange that they have with their friends while they are arrested at the police stations.
So there is this -- I feel like there is one of the Internet governance issues is lack of mechanism in terms of holding Governments responsible.
So the companies, foreign companies, that actually sell the surveillance tools or companies that like Telia Sonera, a Swedish telecom company, but is notorious in Azerbaijan for allowing black box installations on their lines. And the people are concerned about this. But every time I talk to the Telia Sonera representative at these forums, he says, you know, it takes time. We need to negotiate with the Government. But bloggers and journalists still get arrested and thrown into jail. So that is one of my main concerns at this forum.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: Thank you. We obviously covered a large range of issues.
But I want to draw together just to throw this out there. We talk a lot about the multi-stakeholder dimensions of Internet governance, how important it is to have a multis-takeholder conference. We have a very multi-stakeholder group of people up here. And you know Guy brought up the idea of having journalists and the media organisations getting more involved in these debates, potentially.
But then to what extent, bringing of Arzu's point and Wafa's as well in terms of Government responsibility. So we talk about multistakeholderism, But I don't recall hearing in those discussions any discussion about the responsibility of the different parties and whether they're, you know, acting in good faith.
Whether they are participating in these debates. Obviously Governments have many more resources at their disposal, than, say, Civil Society. So, you know, how might that play into our considerations about press freedom?
And with declining media budgets, is it realistic to think that media organisations and journalists have the capacity and the resources to participate effectively in these very complicated issues? So that is something to throw out there as well.
Some of the key issues that I think were raised here and what I'd like to do is ask people in the audience if you have -- if you have perspectives -- issues that were not addressed. Let me sum that up and I'll going to Guthry. We heard about limits on the collection and use of data. Source protection, data localization, proportionality with respect to blocking. And so that has to do with infrastructure. We talked -- I think there was a lack of clarity about whether Internet regulation, legal regulation falls under Internet governance or not. I think there is debate in this forum about that. Domain name blocking, licensing, intermediate liability. Surveillance. Transparency of processes. And I wonder what happens when you combine the lack of anonymity with surveillance with data retention. I mean that could lead to a very Orwellian situation.
Gayathry, could you please introduce yourself and give us your comments.
>> GAYATHRY VENKITESWARAN: My name is Gayathry. I'm from the Southeast Asian Press Alliance based in Thailand.
I'll try to make this really quick, but I have four points.
First, taking on the issue of whose responsibility and the question of multistakeholderism. I think three challenges and one suggestion. First challenge is that the challenge of multistakeholderism is particularly prominent in countries where the impact of the controls online, on media as well as individuals, are the most prominent. So we cannot assume that there will be any meaningful engagement in those countries. So I think that that is something to, you know, take -- to be taken seriously. At this level we talk about multistakeholderism, but when you go to the national level it's precisely in those countries with the most restrictive regimes that you don't find the various stakeholders engaged meaningfully. So that's one.
Second, I think there is almost an assumption that all journalists are progressive. I think that we have to be very realistic. That in these countries, again, the majority of the journalists are part of a very conservative system. You'd find many of them endorsing a lot of controls online and regulation of content online. So when you talk about free speech, when you talk about LGBT rights, you talk about religious expression, sometimes it's also the media that is promoting controls online. So I think we need to be very, very wary that media can also be representing a very dominant part of society. So I think reaching out to them to also look at how it impacts access to information, fair information, things like that. So that's an assumption that we have to break and to recognize that we have to address it.
Third question about the right to be forgotten. I think it's yet to reach the other side of the world. But I think that here it could be possible to engage a new group and that is -- at least to bring in the media, because I think with the right to be forgotten, we also realise that one of the biggest impacts is the whole industry of archiving information. And in which media has been one of the largest bodies that archive information. So it's one thing to say to Google to take it down. But there is this whole treasure of information that media organisations hold, either behind pay wall or through all formats. So I think the impact is greater in the sense of holding that information. So I think the archiving industry and actually talking to not the journalists but actually those in those archive departments, bringing them into the discussions could be useful for press freedom.
The last point is, with the regulations, talking about defamation, talking about representation of the issues, again, sedition, all the other charges, there is a lack of public interest in the whole legal framework in the discussions or at least in the judgments. So you'd find judgments regarding defamation, sedition, do not have strong public interest regime. And I think that we have to also pull that in. So it's good to say it's free expression, but it's not just that. And particularly to defend bloggers and individuals. We need to push for a lot more public interest litigation in these countries. So that is a suggestion on where legal reforms could actually happen.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: Thank you so much for that contribution.
>> WAFA BEN HASSINE: I really appreciated your comments about the multi-stakeholder model. Because that is something that we're trying to figure that out on a global and regional level. If we don't know what multistakeholderism means globally, then I think it will take a long, long time to define that.
Moving on to your second point about a lot of -- you mentioned that had a lot of regulatory authorities and Governments that practice censorships or surveillance exists in civil societies. But I used the example earlier of a website in Jordan. It wasn't the only website blocked. If you look at other countries, you'll notice that there is a whole host and variety right of excuses that regulatory authorities use in order to censor free expression.
For example, in Tunisia there is the -- well, I'll preface this by saying the convergence of national security, free expression and terrorism is a very fatal mix. And it's very, very dangerous. And so we see that Governments are using this rising threat of terrorism to arbitrarily take down websites without any type of due process of law.
So I think what you said crystallizes the necessity of approaching this with a rights based type of view and prioritizing human rights and free expression, above other priorities, so to speak.
So it's an ongoing conversation and I really appreciated your comments on that. Thank you.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: Please introduce yourself.
>> AUDIENCE: My name is John Reichertz. I'm from the Forum for Argentine Journalism.
I wanted to know from a legal perspective, particularly Guy, if you could give us an idea, has anybody defined what the characteristics of a nontraditional journalist -- if you went to court, you were not from a traditional media outlet, how could you prove that you were exercising journalism?
>> GUY BERGER: Well, there is no kind of total legally binding definition worldwide. But the human rights -- UN Human Rights Council has made this point exactly that journalism is broader. The United Nations plan of action on Safety of Journalists makes the same point. That's a document welcomed by the General Assembly. So it's really to use these in court situations to say look, this is the International consensus on this, because Governments signed up to the broader concepts.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: Geoff, you wanted to make a point?
>> GEOFFREY KING: Just that I litigated special cases --
>> GUY BERGER: And the UN rapporteur has also commented on this.
>> GEOFFREY KING: -- albeit in California and Federal courts. It often is just a matter of does what somebody is doing look like journalism? Are they taking raw information, reprocessing it, turning it into a story, making it into something new and valuable that people can learn from. That is a better test than some sort of means based test or status based test.
I'm the remote moderator. I'm going to go to -- where should I be going? In the back of the room? I'll go back there, but I did want to make that point briefly.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: Just I think it's about focusing on the act of journalism rather than the subject of who is or is not a journalist.
Okay. We had a question over here.
>> AUDIENCE: My name is Mogens Blicher Bjerregard. I'm from the Danish Union of Journalists and also the European Federation of Journalists. I think it's important that we're not going to try to find a definition of journalist, because that will bring us in big, big difficulties when we are doing that.
I think one of the key issues is actually the legislation, where you see licensing. You see that you require -- the new media require licensing. This is one of the -- I see as one of the big problems.
If you go back to basics, when newspapers came, it was free to print. It was free to publish. It was part of the press freedom. Part of the free speech.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: I want to look forward, not backwards. So licensing, I mean, is more --
>> AUDIENCE: To look forward is to have the same approach for journalism online and not using the electronic media, where you see when you started making licensing and all these things. Now you have so many possibilities --
>> But if I could expand a little. If you did something based on sources and you say I'm protecting my sources because I'm a journalist, and the court says no. I don't think you're a journalist --
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: Sorry. I'm going to cut this conversation off, because this is trying to get beyond that discussion.
I want to talk about Internet governance. What are key issues of Internet governance that go beyond national frameworks for dealing with licensing of journalists. So I appreciate the comments. I think it's an important debate. But I want to put that on hold in this forum and get to the next issue.
I want to throw out there, to bring together a couple things that were mentioned, which had to do with surveillance, data retention and anonyminity. I want to ask the representative from Google, representing the private company, there is a new Google drone, I believe, and Google Glasses. How are the Internet of Things issues, coupled with the surveillance that we know is occurring by the US Government and others, and then the data retention requirements, what are the implications? Have you guys thought about the implications to journalism, to the journalistic process, to the ability to protect sources? Is that on your agenda? And if so, can you talk about how and why?
>> CARLOS AFFONSO SOUZA: Certainly. The retention is a debate worldwide. It's interesting because you see different perspectives depending on the framework of human rights that each country or region has. For example, for quite a while, I can speak more about Brazil because I'm based there. For a while, the issues of the lack of data retention were not even defended in Brazil. Basically, authorities always wanted data retention to be as long as possible for law enforcement purposes. So we had crazy ideas like let's retain all data from all users for all services for five or ten years. Civil Society was key to that battle to make sure policymakers understood where we were at and what kind of scenario that would create, an Orwellian scenario, as you described.
So now, in a way, I think a compromise has been reached in certain areas. And I want to highlight what Marco Civil did in that sense. He ended up having data retention for application providers like Google, the way the law defines this, they are supposed to retain data for up to six months. But if authorities want to get more data than those mandatory six months, they are supposed to get a court order and they are supposed to make sure that there is a reason for that. So it was a compromise.
But that happened before the recent European decision that struck down the data retention directive. So it's interesting to see how these debates flow. Up until then, Brazil and Latin America in particular, they looked to Europe for inspiration for its own national laws. There is a strong tradition. So it's interesting to see how that debate will flow.
How that relates to technology, how that relates to the new experiments, Internet of Things,and so on, of course it's always a concern. Any kind of product, new product that not only Google but most of the Internet companies do, has always some sort of privacy concern. And, basically, the way it's done is by gathering feedback at the earlier stages. For things like Google Glass, you may remember that way before the project was on a prototype stage, people were banning it at bars. So it's interesting to see the concerns were there.
And that led to design changes. For example, everybody said that there ought to be a light in the model to indicate that it's recording something. So that's one example of something that was changed in between because of that kind of privacy concern and feedback. So yes, the companies are always looking out for that, always hearing that kind of feedback.
But one particular point that has to be addressed is to what extent to do we want specific regulation on those points? Because that's one of the key debates that we see worldwide. People say there ought to be a minimum level of protection provided by the state and sometimes that kind of ignores peoples choices.
One example from Brazil as it happened with Street View. You might remember that Google has a product called Street View that shows the location of the place that you are looking on the maps.
And we did what we called Street View in the Amazon river. So it was more like boat view, so to speak.
Basically what happened was very interesting. Because the local population there, they put on their best clothes. The girls actually put on their make up, because they thought they were going to be in the pictures. When we told them that by default these images are blurred, because we don't want people to identify people via Google Street View, they were devastated. People actually rolled back to the office and said no, I expressly authorized the company to put my image there. So it's interesting to see how these cultural concerns on privacy can never really be relagated -- can never be let away. So in a way I would say that the companies are looking out for that, regardless of what Regulation is saying. If Regulation comes and says that is the minimum protection, we have to follow that. But in that sense, there is always a concern.
On protecting of sources and so on, companies usually get into very hot legal water, not only Brazil and Latin America, regarding disclosure of user and content data. Usually companies tend to fight back and push back all kinds of data and content requests. We try to fight appeals or court orders that we feel are not within the spirit of law. Sometimes we lose.
During the last cycle in Brazil in 2012, we resisted as much as we could, because we didn't see a problem with the journalistic piece done on a YouTube video, and that ended up with the detention of the local country manager. We need the feedback from Civil Society and users to see what the real concerns really are.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: Do you want to add something?
>> ARZU GEYBULLA: I've been following what is happening to the 5651 in Turkey. And something that you mentioned about the authority that the companies carry. The responsibility that Facebook was a company doesn't carry here, when you look at transparency reports published by tweeter, there are at least references to the accounts, and they mention how many accounts were placed, based on the requests from the Government. Like Facebook, again coming to the main argument of holding companies responsible, that they don't have those kinds of reports and it's difficult to hold them responsible for shutting down websites or Facebook pages of media publications, either of Kurdish media or Turkish or opposition, and this really creates this emptiness. And it's really difficult to hold them responsible for this.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: Thank you. I want to go to Geoff quickly. Because he has had interesting insights into kind of where some -- if we look towards the future at this combination of, you know, the Internet of Things, of surveillance, of how all of these wrap up, and I wonder if you could tell us about what some of the things you see coming out in the future that we might want to be on the look out for.
>> GEOFFREY KING: So I mean many of the sort of dystopian thoughts I have are pretty depressing. But I think that what we need to realise is that the real issues, the interconnectedness, that is both very positive and also fraught with great risk.
So, for example, CCTV cameras are a fairly new technology. They are what I would call essentially Prosec Kinosha. Folks can't really recognize faces more so than they have the panoptic, the all seeing or all seeing eye. But add in artificial intelligence, and it's facial recognition technology. And all of a sudden all of the people walking down the street in real space are linked to every database that they are otherwise linked to. It becomes essentially the same sort of ecosystem as the Internet -- and there is really no escape, no room for that kind of autonomous individualism.
So that's what we have to think about, is not just new technologies and what is coming down the pike, but how do they interact, help us and become really problematic.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: That's a great point. Because what happens to the journalists -- right now we see them make -- making choices not to connect digitally because of surveillance. But what happens when you can't meet somebody because of the surveillance concerns? I don't know if there are any comments on remote moderation. There are not. Good. I want to call on a lady, and then I'll get to the two questions. Keep them quick. We have five minutes.
>> AUDIENCE: Jessica Deere, from the Lebanese Digital Rights and Training Organisation, Social Media exchange.
And I just wanted to add another concern to the list, especially in terms of the Internet of Things. In the Arab region, for example, countries passed or passed new cybercrime laws. We talk a lot about cybersecurity, and it's important that we remember to incorporate -- in the cybercrime law, when we say there is the recriminalization and hypercriminalization of speech. When you say anything over the connected device or network instantly becomes even a grayer infraction than if it's under defamation or some of the older laws. So it's really important that as we're dealing with real issues of cybercrime, that we not sort of replicate this error.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: Ronnie?
>> AUDIENCE: (Off microphone.) I think it's time for a healthy rebellion against some of the notions that I've heard here this morning.
When you take a right and you balance it against another right, you are limiting it. And Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is unqualified. It's time to get back to basics. I agree with the gentleman across the way, we need to think about press freedom as a basic right, and not concede to Governments as we think is the thing to do. And so much of the discussion here this morning, the right to legislate away our rights. a proportional right is a limited right. A balanced right is a limited right. We should get away from hierarchies and rights. And we're making a big mistake in conceding the Government the right to legislate away our rights.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: Thank you, Ronnie.
I don't know your name. Introduce yourself.
>> AUDIENCE: This is S. Paramegi. (?) I'm an ISOC Ambassador and a blogger and activist.
I like to add a new perspective to the discussion. Criminalization of Freedom of Expression is yet another topic that is currently being focused on in Nepal. Recently in Nepal two of the fellow people were arrested just for commenting on a Facebook status. So, you know, not just journalists but bloggers and individuals are being targeted as well.
So, that's it. I just wanted to share that.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: Thank you so much. One last question.
Please introduce yourself.
>> AUDIENCE: I'm Amalia Toledo-Hernandez from the Columbia NGO Charisma Foundation. In Colombia we experiencing some cases, the court is bringing us some of the concerns, because the judiciary doesn't understand technology, doesn't understand how Internet is working. So we have seen how these cases are being decided against freedom of expression or press freedoms. So I also wanted to bring that into the discussions.
So I don't know if someone has something else to say, but at least this is what we are experiencing right now in Columbia.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: I think that is something that is well recognized as the lack of capacity in countries, among judges, lawyers, among the press freedom community, which is why we are here, to really deal with the complex issues.
Ronnie, you bring up a key point. The press freedom is a key top level human rights as recognized in the Declaration of Human Rights. That doesn't mean that we don't have to grapple with how do we make sure that that right is enabled to be invoked and isn't detracted from by the new technologies.
Carlos, do you have any last comments, since you didn't get a chance to make a follow-up comment? And then we will have to wrap up, because we are at end of our time.
>> CARLOS AFFONSO SOUZA: I'll be quick since we have heard so many interesting topics here.
I would like to stress the importance for us. Since we are going for this fine line between how to regulate those issues, if there is a need to regulate them, like it's so important, this mentioning, do not regulate away or legislate away the rights of press. I think you have a thin line here to discuss how to better protect those liberties and protect those rights, either through hard law, soft law, and other means in which we need to take extra care to make sure those rights are duly enforced and protected. So that is why this discussion is so important. And I would say very relevant to the future of the press freedom in the Internet governance and Regulations.
>> COURTNEY RADSCH: Thank you.
If I had to just briefly summarize what we hear coming out of this is that the traditional concerns of press freedom, prior to the Internet, still remain very important. National legislation, licensing, criminalization of various speech.
But there are also new and emerging issues that will need to be grappled with. And you know whether there is this tendency to take to a greater extreme of some of the limitations on press freedom as the new technologies emerge, and to really grapple with the press freedom dimensions of cybersecurity, of anonymity policy, et cetera, because I think a lot of times we don't really consider journalists or the impact on press freedom, but we have to remember that they play such a critical role in societies and in the information exchange between those in power and the general public.
So I'd like to thank all of our panelists or roundtable panelists. I'd like to thank you for your participation. I know it's a crowded room. There wasn't a lot of space. And I hope that this is a beginning to think about some of the things that we need to be thinking about, and how to interpret some of the ongoing issues of press freedom in the constantly changing technological environment.
So join me in thanking our panelists and yourselves.
(End of session)