>> MODERATOR: Good morning, everyone. So we have a nice full room. I'd like to ask if you could just come to the front, just the back end just to come closer, if possible, and move over to the other side. Okay. I guess not.
[ Laughter ]
Thank you all for making the time to attend this session on the last day. I know many people are traveling today, so maybe that's why our room is overpacked. So first of all, this session is, in our opinion, one of the most important topics to actually focus on right now if you want to shape your digital future. This session was organized by young African people who are very serious about shaping the digital future and Internet shutdowns present a real threat to a prosperous and thriving digital future and Digital Economy in Africa.
Actually, a couple of weeks ago, we had the Africa IGF that took place in Egypt. And the theme was enabling an inclusive digital transformation for Africa. But we wonder if there is a persistent culture of Internet shutdowns, how do we see an inclusive or even an enabling environment for digital transformation in Africa. Most of the sessions within the Africa IGF focused on promoting the digital Africa, promoting the Internet economy and also emphasizing that digital start‑ups, business online is the way to go. Lastly, the young people at the Africa IGF mentioned that ICTs on the Internet play a big role in the advancements and development in their own lives. So Internet shutdowns present a real threat to Africa's Internet economy and futures.
While preparing for this session, we actually did a short survey where we wanted to gather people's understanding of what Internet shutdowns are and how they understand this in terms of the Internet economy. We found really interesting insights, and the most important topic that came out was that many people who participated in the survey felt that Internet shutdowns have a direct impact on human rights and the economy. Many of the participants felt that Internet shutdowns are a barrier to development and also further make Africa lag behind in terms of development. Some interesting verbatims actually that came from the survey is that, you know, Africa missed out on the industrial revolution. We should not miss out on the digital revolution.
So starting off the panel in this sense, we can already see that Internet shutdowns are a real threat to Africa's development, but what do we do going forward? And I think that is why we have this rich panel to actually share some insights on what happens now? We know there's a problem, but how do we remedy this for a prosperous and thriving Digital Economy in Africa?
So to open up the conversation is Joash Moitui from Kenya. He's an experienced researcher and policy analyst. He is also research associate at the Centre for Human Rights and Policy Studies. Joash, over to you.
>> JOASH MOITUI: Good morning. Thank you very much, Yolanda. Internet shutdowns have become a mainstay in Africa. As a result, there's been calls for a lasting solution. These discussions are focused on the human rights approach, freedom of expression, with less discussion on the effect on the economy. Internet shutdowns are actually like a shutdown on the foundation of the economy. They are leaving businesses going down. There's a famous quote that says shut down the Internet, and the economy goes with it. Therefore, there's need for us to focus on the economic beat, you know, touch on the economic consequences of these Internet shutdowns.
Speaking at our next Africa conference in Nairobi, the president of telecom (?) told the story of a government that ordered an Internet shutdown. Two hours later they realized that the Internet shutdown had affected their economy, and one company working drilling oil in the country had called back saying that they could not access it because the Internet had been shut down. So that's an example of how the Internet actually affects the economy.
In 2016 alone, 11 countries have been faced with Internet shutdowns in Africa, leading to about a loss of 237 million U.S. dollars according to research by Brooklyn Institute. If we do not act now, shutdowns and restriction of access continue to rise and the economic costs will increase over the next few years. At a time when the African countries can benefit the most from the Internet access for their economic growth, education and health. We cannot let this situation become the new normal. Thank you.
>> YOLANDA MLONZI: Thank you so much, Joash. And you actually said something really interesting, if we do not act now, we will suffer. Our next speaker actually comes from Cameroon. And Cameroon actually suffered the most or the longest Internet shutdown recorded with 93 days. We've got Samuel Bambo who is a Cameroonian diplomat serving as a mag member for the IGF. He's also currently the G‑20 scholar. So Samuel, what are your thoughts regarding Internet shutdowns in Africa?
>> SAMUEL NDICHO BAMBO: Good morning. My name is Bambo Samuel. It is unthinkable in many parts of the world today that some people can go for a day without the Internet. But the people of the northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon went for three months without the Internet. If these people can survive it, so many of us here can. But the question is at what cost? The financial impact of Internet shutdown is enormous. The impact is on the side of the government. It is also on the side of the business stakeholders and individuals suffer also.
But not all losses can be explained in monetary terms. How do we equate the loss of opportunities to monetary losses? Students in the English region of Cameroon, that is the northwest and southwest regions which experienced the Internet shutdown had been doing online studies. And because of these Internet shutdowns, they had to suspend most of their programs. And some actually gave up finally. Prospective students actually had to register for online exams. And because of these Internet shutdowns, these opportunities were lost.
Businessmen lost opportunities of meeting potential clients. Social media is that factor that keeps the bond of the family in English Cameroon together. Without Skype and Facebook and other medium, families were disrupted. Youth in the young start‑up environment of Buea which we today look up to as our own Silicon Valley in Cameroon were faced with this dilemma of not being able to come up with ideas of finalizing ideas that they have started up. This is an opportunity lost.
The Internet shutdowns in Cameroon brought a new wave of migration. And I will title these migrants the Internet hunters. I, for one, I had this experience, I was nominated to the (?) in January, and I was living in (?) which was within the zone that experienced the Internet shutdown. For me to be able to communicate, I had to gather my material, and I had to travel to the Internet zone to communicate with the IGF Secretariat. I would travel once every week, at times I would travel once in two weeks. My case is not an isolated one. We have businessmen. We have journalists who need to correspond on a daily basis. And they were bound to travel every day to go to an Internet spot or a cyber cafe on the other side of the Internet divide just to be able to communicate with your correspondents out of Cameroon.
The Internet shutdown also created a new movement in Cameroon. This movement was ‑‑ has as its foundation a group of radicalized Internet users who think that these shutdowns are really hampering their livelihood. That is why today online you will have the #bringbackourInternet. This movement has made many Cameroonians actually change the course of their lives because some of the Cameroonian youth today like me are dedicated to fighting this ill. It is rather unfortunate that this ill, however, continues.
We should note that Cameroonians cannot bat this thing alone. And facing the government of Cameroon is like facing a Herculean ‑‑ like facing a gargantuan opponent. So they need the international community to support them. However, we appreciate so much the fact that the international community spoke loud and clear, and Internet was restored. But that didn't last long because as we all know, the interruptions continue.
The loss of opportunities are what many Cameroonians cannot still come to terms with today. I will throw back the question to the floor, why do governments shut down the Internet when they actually know that the shutdowns do not give any positive impact on the security of the nation? That is a question that I would need to ponder again. And thank you very much, chair, for giving me the floor.
>> YOLANDA MLONZI: Thank you very much, Samuel, for shedding light on that. And I think it's very clear that, as you mentioned correctly, that it's not only the economic implications that make Internet shutdowns an important issue to actually focus on. There are social, there are human rights issues also related to Internet shutdowns. However, I want to give the floor now to Dr. Wakabi from CIPESA. They recently published a report on the shutdowns to Africa's economy. He has been involved in the ICT and Internet policy landscape in Africa for many years. The floor is yours.
>> PANELIST: Thanks, Yolanda. Yes, I think as the first speaker mentioned, there has been quite a lot of effort put towards talking about the effects of shutdowns on human rights, on free expression, on the right to access information, on the right of assembly, but there has been very little effort that has been put to establishing what the economic impact of shutdowns is on our countries. It is, of course, important for us to understand what the costs of the shutdowns is to try and use this as a case with government to dissuade them from effecting shutdowns. To use it as a case with the providers and telecom companies to make them also come to the side of the citizens and speak out against shutdowns.
Similarly, we need more citizens to see what the impact of the shutdowns is in order for them to be involved actively in speaking out against shutdowns. In sub-Saharan Africa, very many countries have shutdowns. We've had at least 12 of them in the last 2 years or so. Some of them have had repeat disruptions, not just once. Countries such as Uganda, Cameroon, Ethiopia, they've shut it down more than once. So we came up with this method for calculating the cost of economic shutdowns that goes beyond what existed in the past. Namely, the one by Deloitte and by Brookings.
These were frameworks, but they only measured the impact of a shutdown based on the country's GDP. So what we did, and also they did not specifically develop the framework for the sub Saharan context. So we started the ICF framework within the region. We started the Digital Economy and the IT system and then came up with this framework which besides looking at the GDP, also looks at the impact of a shutdown on ‑‑ for instance, the country's risk profile, on lost GDP ‑‑ sorry, on lost foreign investment, on the lowering of investor confidence, the high cost of money.
And also what we found, one of the key conclusions, of course, is that even when a country orders a shutdown for five days, the effects of that shutdown are going to last beyond those five days. Because shutdowns have a systemic effect on the efficiency within a country. They disrupt supply lines. They disrupt efficiencies within not just the immediate ICT ecosystem but within the entire economy. Because as we know, ICT has become so diverse in every aspect of African society. Mobile money is so, so, so widespread. In some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, up to half of the GDP of the country's money and production go through mobile money services. There is seven to eight telephone connections for every 100 individuals in Africa.
We have 22% of the continent using the Internet. So ICT is key, key to the efficiency and function of our economies. It is key to deliver of services like agriculture, like health services. Without it, the effects are immediate but also longer term.
>> YOLANDA MLONZI: Thank you, Dr. Wakabi. You have raised a really good point around Internet shutdowns actually affect the whole ecosystem. It's not just limited to what we may think, it ends there, therefore there are no wider social impacts. Now I'd like to call on Aicha Jeridi. She will take us through some of the ways that Internet shutdowns actually impact us achieving SDGs.
>> AICHA JERIDI: Thank you. Thank you very much, Yolanda. I am glad to be among the ‑‑ yeah. So actually, my contribution will be based on four main points. I'll be providing a general overview of the Internet shutdown in north Africa or the north African region. And then I'll be speaking about the effects of the Internet shutdown, taking two slots, the effects on the Digital Economy and the effects on SDGs.
I'll be talking about the future of Internet economy with Internet shutdowns in the north African context, and then I will end up with three recommendations. So the situation in north Africa is not different from the rest of the continent. So we have experienced Internet shutdowns but not with the frequency ‑‑ with the frequency of other parts of Africa. The reasons also do not vary much, so we experienced Internet shutdowns after and during the Arab Spring and the Arab revolution erupted in Egypt and Tunisia. We had also Internet shutdowns in Algeria because before the exam, the exam to impede cheating. And in Morocco, they had not Internet shutdowns but were actually blocking of the LT.
Let's start with Tunisia. They had the Internet shutdown during the Arab spring in which the hopes it would stop protests. And these shutdowns targeted mainly Facebook and social media which helped the protests and helped the regime to get rid of the regime, actually. It was the same case in Egypt. I will not elaborate more because my friend is going to talk about it. So the shutdown caused 90% drop of Internet traffic in Egypt. It was at the same period of the Tunisian Internet shutdown. The Internet shutdown ‑‑ the Internet services were ultimately shut down when protests swelled in the capital, and it was because of the rise or doubling of the price of the gas and the rise of protests because of these reasons.
So the shutdown erupted ‑‑ the shutdown took place in Sudan on September 25th in 2013. Moving to Algeria, Algeria has become the latest country in the Middle East and north African region to block Facebook and Twitter in a bid to stop students from cheating on exams. So according to Algerian officials prior to the students' Baccalaureate exams, test questions were leaked to social media, prompting officials to ban the social network to prevent further cheating. More than 550,000 Algerian students will have to retake the exams again.
Ending up with Morocco as I told you earlier, Internet freedom declined. There were not much, but we are more precisely talking about blocking VoIP. So Internet freedom. So it happened ‑‑ Morocco's legislature blocked free voice features provided by apps like whatsapp, Skype or (?) under the pressure of telecommunication providers. Restrictions on VoIP impact the country's entrepreneurs who depend on VoIP when interacting with clients. People also were prevented from doing free calls.
Moving to the second slot on my presentation, I'll be talking about the effects of Internet shutdowns. I took, based on the last report by CIPESA. So the total economic cost of Internet shutdown is calculated in terms of Internet GDP loss, national loss digitalization costs saving efficiency gains in the country. So according to this rule, the economic costs of Internet shutdowns in Morocco were about $320.5 million for 182 days. It cost Algeria $20.5 million for ‑‑ sorry, for six days. And it cost more than $90 million for Egypt.
I also took the Cameroon and probably some more I'll talk about that. Now we're moving to the effects of the shutdown on SDGs. Actually, the Internet shutdown affect more than one SDG goal. But most of them is SDG number 17 which has to do with technology, namely ICT, which is supposed to reach all the countries. Also, SDG goal number 9 which says that universal access to the Internet by 2020 to bring everyone online. It's also affected SDG 3 because shutdown affecting medicine and health services.
I'm talking also about SDG number 16 because that says that governments must open access to all sorts of data as a matter of accountability and best practice governance. Moving to the third thought, the future of Internet economy with Internet shutdown. I'll be short. Okay. So I tried to gather the most important effect on North Africa. So Internet shutdown violated human rights, create trade barriers, impede the media, conflicts with U.N. SDGs. Cause GDP loss and loss of economic disasters, harm tourism, risk foreign direct investments.
Now I'll end up on the recommendation. I based my recommendation ‑‑ next, please ‑‑ on three main points. So the first one is to adopt or to adopt the African declaration on Internet rights and freedoms. The second, to engage in campaigns like keep it in campaign and also to projects like project shutdown tracker optimization by Access Now. I hope I was too short. Thank you very much.
>> YOLANDA MLONZI: Thank you so much, Aicha, for that very in‑depth analysis of Internet shutdowns in north Africa. I think for me, one of the biggest things that I've noticed with Internet shutdowns is actually they normally happen when there's political unrest or maybe when governments are being questioned. Therefore governments sometimes feel why don't we just switch these people off through switching off the Internet. So with that I'd like to call on Mohammed who's an Egyptian human rights lawyer who I hope will shed some light on the legality and how Internet shutdowns actually contravene human rights and international standards.
>> PANELIST: Thanks, Yolanda. My presentation will be focused as mentioned about the legal framework of shutdowns. So let me start to speak about international (?). And I will not elaborate more on this because I know that most of you know about the international legal framework. Digital rights and freedom of expression, it's all recognized in the international human rights laws, specifically we speak about human rights declaration and international convention for political and civil rights and the national (?) for economic and social civil rights.
The most ‑‑ I will not discuss including conventions, but the most important question about international legal framework, if this legal framework is still evident in the era of technology, communication technology. I'd also ‑‑ let me say that the Internet shutdowns is very critical issue. After 2011 after the Egyptian revolution, because what they did in Egypt by the shutdowns, Internet ‑‑ Internet shutdown brought attention to national and international (?).
After the 2011 revolutions, the special rapporteurs for freedom of expression from the African commission and human rights, human and people rights, they stated or issued some declaration about this. And they stated that cutting off access to the Internet or part of the Internet for a whole population or segment of the public can never be justified including a public order or national security. So we have concluded that national security or public order is not justification to shut down the Internet. Why? Because most governments within Africa or out of Africa is using (?) the argue of national security as a reason to shut down the Internet.
Also, the Internet shutdown measures cannot be justified under human rights law. Now let me move to a national level. I will speak about Egypt's experience as a case study. First I mentioned since 2007 and what happened and the regime retained the power by shutting down the Internet and fortunately this action was ineffective because this action brought more people into streets and asking for change to the regime. In Egypt and also after that, if we speak about now in 2017 from May 2017 that the current regime, they started to use the shutdown, Internet shutdowns. So we speak about from May to July 2017, there were around 300 websites were blocked. And by the end of October, this number went to 400 websites blocked.
The problem is the government doesn't mention or declare about the reason behind these websites. They are framed to disclose the reason behind blocking these websites. Okay. Okay. In Egypt, the government own three different laws to take this action, to legalize Internet shutdown. UNESCO and antiterrorism laws.
Let me ‑‑ the Egyptian constitution ensures that all people have a right to access the information. As I state Egypt and the government have ensured that they reach access to the Internet and not be prevented from access to information. So let me conclude the situation in Egypt, that the Internet shutdown (?) using to suppress the rights. Internet shutdown effect Internet service providers, ISPs. Because in Egypt, under Egyptian law, the government in some specific cases like national security has a right to subject the management of service providers under the Egyptian government. Through this the Egyptian government should issue a clear decision to service providers to cut the Internet. This will happen in 2011 and also this will happen during 2017.
Also, the government using the position to legalize digital rights and legalize Internet shutdowns. The recommendations ‑‑ I'll be quick ‑‑ the first condition (?) this applies to all stakeholders to work to adopt binding legal documents to guarantee to protect Internet or digital rights and also prevent shutdown actions. And the government shouldn't restrict human rights online and also take measures and provisions comply with the constitution and international human rights law.
Also that governments should make the public a decision of Internet shutdown to allow the users to challenge this position and be reviewed before judicial bodies. Civil Society strongly should advocate for Internet freedoms, whether in law or in practice, and also advocacy campaigns. And also it's very important to directly engage in the policy with the governments.
The lasting message for the government, this message is the governments of the Internet shutdowns, absolutely not a tool to retain (?) but the digital rights and democracy and the rule of law are the only tools to retain the powers and acquire the political legitimacy. And the political regime have to consider that digital rights and digital democracy is one of the factors that has strong impact in the regimes. Thank you.
>> YOLANDA MLONZI: Thank you so much, Mohammed. I would like for the panelists to please stick to time because the main point of this actually conversation is to create dialogue and to find possible solutions to Internet shutdowns. And this actually brings me to my favorite speaker, the most provocative person that I know, Ms. Fiona Asonga from Kenya. She is the COO of the Kenya Internet Exchange Point and she actually came up ‑‑ or at least she was part of the group that recommended a policy to actually alleviate Internet shutdowns in Africa. So we've been talking about the problem, we know what the problem is, but how do we remedy this? And I know it's not an easy one to remedy or at least solve for. But I'd like to hear what you have to say, Fiona.
>> PANELIST: Thank you very much, Yolanda. Good morning, everyone. When we talk about Internet shutdowns, I think we need to ask ourselves what my colleague had mentioned, why do governments orchestrate shutdowns? And I'm not going to talk about the policy proposal we brought because that proposal was returned with an objective to generic conversation. And to get the Technical Community to engage governments more. Reason being, we've had a Technical Community that has been very vibrant and very strong on the African continent. But I think some of us in the Technical Community got to a point where we felt we should be the experts. And therefore, we should not be able to share that knowledge with others.
And the reason I say that is that if you've been in the Internet ecosystem and been involved in the regional fora for the last three years and you've never gotten your government representatives into any of those meetings, there's where you're going wrong. The governments that shutdown the Internet, that ask for shutting down of the Internet do to because a lack of knowledge and a lack of engagement with their communities. And so when we wrote the proposal, we wrote it because we felt that we had to reach out to other governments which was a group of Kenyans. And we did it knowing very well that in Kenya we have a government, we have a constitution that requires the government to listen to all stakeholders. We engage our government on a daily consistent basis. And if the government doesn't listen, we can go to constituent court and block whatever decisions they make. But that is a privilege for Kenyans. How do we get that kind of engagement in other African countries?
So we wrote a proposal and a prospect of that proposal said this is draconian. This is a very draconian proposal. And that meant that we knew what we were writing was appropriate because in what a good proposal is within the region, it should not be one stakeholder. It should be balanced, equal and quality among all stakeholders. But this proposal was very specific targeting governments.
So from a technical point of view, from a technical point of view, that proposal was a nonstarter. It was a document for conversation. A lot of Civil Society entities picked it up. But let me just let the Civil Society entities in the room know that that proposal ‑‑ a proposal like that within any of the regions will never go anywhere because it's not balanced, because it's not a specific stakeholder, but it is a good document to generate a conversation. And the conversation is still going on, and we hope as the conversation goes on, as the Technical Community, we can begin to engage our governments more.
So I'm not going to talk about that proposal, but I'm going to ask you in this room if you have been involved in this kind of fora in the ICANNs, in the meetings and you have never, you do not even know who your agencies are responsible for the Internet or IP address numbering, you do not know who in your ministry handles Internet issues or IP numbering issues or domain issues, you are failing us. And that is why we are having shutdowns.
So how do we move forward? Thank you.
>> YOLANDA MLONZI: Wow, strong words from Fiona there. So just touching on that, I'd like to call on my next speaker who I hope will give us a much more, I guess, broader view on Internet shutdowns and possibly recommend ways to help us because in his region, he doesn't know about Internet shutdowns. He hears it from us.
[ Laughter ]
So I'd like to call on Nile Harper who is founding and managing director of Octave reporting group and senior for next gen leaders at Internet Society. Nile, please allow us.
>> PANELIST: Good day, folks. So essentially it's this. In my region, I'm from the Caribbean region. So we don't see Internet shutdowns. The worst thing we've experienced thus far is we're seeing a number of Internet service providers that engage in content restrictions, and it's more around network neutrality violations. They are trying to kind of force the providers to contribute investments in their networks.
But I think based on that as well, I think we've touched on the human rights implications. We've touched on the economic implications. But there are also some network implications as well in terms of we're seeing that Internet shutdowns are impacting network architecture and network redundancy in terms of (?) it's actually preventing (?) it's actually impacting the ability of networks to heal. We are also seeing it more and more in the African region which is very important because you use the building out ‑‑ the data centers and more software service offerings and infrastructures offerings that are being used by international companies for investing in the region. It's impacting the availability of those services as well.
Additionally, another very concerning development that we've seen as well in terms of algorithms that are driven by machines ‑‑ by machine learning, you're seeing that impacting in terms of very real censorship of information, censorship of freedom of expression. And it's a lot harder to detect, and it's a lot more impossible around preventing it. And I think as you move forward, I think you need to look at ISPs and network operators as very important aspects of fighting Internet shutdowns. As Fiona said, there's the ability for them to actually go to court and say it's very wrong and they have the support of constitutional law as well as human rights law.
We are also seeing what's also more important as well is really I put forward this recommendation as a solution, we are seeing a lot of international funding and development ‑‑ development agencies invest in the region. I think they can put as a condition in some of their agreements that if a government shuts down the Internet, that they will rescind all their funds. And I know it will affect the development, but you should think of it from the perspective of governments need these funds to really drive human social and economic development. So these are very much needed. And if there's a threat of these funds being rescinded, governments might think twice.
>> YOLANDA MLONZI: Thank you so much, Nile, for contributing to the panel from, I guess, from a global south perspective. I'd like to open it up to the floor now for any questions or interventions from the floor, if there are any. Okay. I see two hands. Sara.
>> AUDIENCE: Hi, everyone. I'm Sara Kiden. I'm an ambassador in 2017, and I just wanted to ask something. So we are talking about government (?) but I know you said the panel doesn't have any person from the government. Are you talking to each other?
>> AUDIENCE: Good morning, everyone. I'm from Nigeria. Okay. We're all aware of the issues relating to Internet shutdown, the economic toll it takes on the African economy. We are aware of the legality structure of everything. We should also note that the Internet right now, it's one of the ‑‑ it's the greatest communication tool there is. We know the Internet is the greatest ‑‑ one of the greatest inventions. We know the power of the Internet. I would also note that the power of the Internet can be harnessed by ‑‑ let me say bad people, per se. And we also know that these people can use the Internet for bad in such a way that they can promote violence, hate speech, riots, political instability in all capacities. And the governments right now are used to handling these kind of situations in a different way. They are not seeing where something can start in one state and then in three seconds violence is happening in another geographical region. They are not seeing where social media can rally youth from all parts of the globe in about two hours. They have not seen these kind of situations. So I'd just like to say that the governments do in cases where the Internet is being harnessed to promote political instability. Thank you.
>> YOLANDA MLONZI: Are there any other questions? Okay. Oh, yes.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you. My name is Walter I'm from the Netherlands and aye been invited to come to this session by the gentleman over there. I was wondering what I could contribute coming from a completely different part of the world. I think there's two things that I would like to say. The first is that the best practice forum on cybersecurity which I participated in has recognized as a potential topic for 2018. So if you think this is of importance also from a cybersecurity point of view, please engage with that forum so that it will be on the roster for 2018. So that is one.
The other one is I would like to make an analogy with my other country. And we're going back 50 years. I'm an historian by education. But what actually happened is this. We were ruled by the King of Spain and he was seen as an all‑good leader until he proved himself not to be. And then a resistance started in 1568. And somehow in that transition in the Netherlands, the press machines for books were liberalized. There was no longer a restriction. So all over ‑‑ from all over Europe, people came to the Netherlands to produce their things on science, on politics, et cetera. And from the Netherlands, they were illegally distributed to other countries. Now we have the Internet, which is a tool, but in the eye of some people, I think it's a weapon. It's a weapon for good. It's a weapon for bad. But it's also a weapon for information, which helps people be less ignorant over time because they access information that they never have seen before. And if there are hubs in Africa, then you could consider whether you could take that role of the Netherlands into the 21st Century and perhaps use it for education, for information so that people actually can make up their minds in different ways.
And then what you say by engaging, with the right people through the right venues, then things will slowly change. And it took us 350 years to have a complete and free society because it's something which is over the last 100 years. And my story started in 1568. So in other words, it takes time, but you've got a tool that has so much more speed that you can probably do it much, much faster than the society I come from, was ever able to do. And that's some word of hope, but it's also something that you need to grasp. So I wish you all the luck with that. But I think that this is ‑‑ this is at least an example that shows that there is hope. So I hope that helps a little.
>> YOLANDA MLONZI: Is there another hand? Oh, okay.
>> AUDIENCE: Hi, everyone. I'm new to Internet governance. This is my first IGF. But I've been doing it for years. So I see some of the conversations going around how the governments ‑‑ what the governments should be responsible for, what operators should be responsible for. So my question and comment is in twofold. First of all, I think we need to hold the government accountable and operators accountable. How do we do that?
We should try something which is not an aggressive approach to always go on the streets. So Civil Society and possibly the big companies should invest and engage in governments on a nonaggressive approach, which is to educate them that this is the reason why you shouldn't shut down the Internet. This is the good that the Internet provides. That's one. The other thing that we should do is also hold operators accountable with the global view. So, for example, operators are part of a global organization. So the telcos submit to a bigger IT or something like that. They don't.
>> AUDIENCE: (?)
>> AUDIENCE: Okay. So that shows you that I'm new to the terrain. Like Nigel said, government gets funding and support from organizations ‑‑ from global organizations. Those guys can put pressure on them. The U.N. and the ITU can put pressure on governments to see the implication that if you go down this path, there will be implications for your actions. So I think the two things we can do is engage government ‑‑ I know many of them are not here, but engage governments in a nonaggressive way to educate them and also hold them accountable in a global framework. Thank you.
>> YOLANDA MLONZI: Thank you to all the questions. I think the most ‑‑ maybe the first one that we could respond to is we're talking to ourselves. Where is government? Panelists, does anyone want to take a stab to respond to the questions? Okay. Fiona it is. No?
[ Laughter ]
>> PANELIST: Okay. No, I don't because I wasn't involved in organizing the panel, but I think it would be good that we had asked government to be present. Out of curiosity, how many in the room are government representatives? How many? Show of hands. No, no, no, no. We don't want to kill you. Just to know ‑‑ just to know the level, gauge the level of interest in the subject from governments. Yes. And so that clearly shows you ‑‑ that will stress how concerned governments are about the issue of Internet shutdowns. And that is what I was saying many of them it's because of our lack of capacity.
Secondly, how many here run networks? Infrastructure. Again, we don't have enough of those in this room because those are the guys who are told by governments, shut down the Internet. Or they will withdraw your license. If your license is taken, you'll never participate again. So you endure the shutdown hoping it will be few hours or minutes and you'll be able to get back on and continue with your business.
How many in here are Civil Society? No. Still, Civil Society is not doing enough to help us create that awareness to the governments because for those who run networks, it's technically possible to address some of the problems that the governments want to address with the Technical Community. Are we not about using the numbering system, the domain and numbering system, identify who is where and track them down and deal with them as individuals? We are. But do our governments know that? When there is a problem? They go to the village, and they arrest the whole village because there is one in the village, to everybody goes to jail.
So we need to be able to create ‑‑ you are basically repeating ‑‑ the last comment was repeating what I actually said. We need to be able to build capacity within our government institutions. Okay, for all of us who are here, who knows who's responsible for the Internet in your country, either they are a regulator or they are ministry, as in the specific individuals, whose title is Internet something or director or something, who knows? Because I do. And I spent time with them. Letting them understand how this Internet works, how things can work, and we've gotten to a point where we work together.
When I feel there is something fishy, I tell them before they tell me, I tell them we have seen something on the 'net and we need you to send police officers to this location to find out what is up. And we have a group of 30 Chinese in a room in a house in Kenya who are running proxy servers from Kenya. And they were all arrested, and they were deported. That is how the Technical Community ‑‑ how precisely the Technical Community can work with governments. But do we spend time letting our governments know that this can happen?
>> YOLANDA MLONZI: Okay. We have a government official who wants to conversation.
[ Laughter ]
>> AUDIENCE: I'm not from government, but I'm (?). One of the things which I think I agree with Fiona is the issue of education. And sometimes as regulators, we want the Civil Society to play a role in your normal day. But the government will be put to legislation because this is, when they are being implemented, when they are shut down, you find there is a law somewhere which begs that. And the best way is to make sure that when it has been made, that law that this law will not wait for A, B, C, D. But most of the time, you know, we do come in for a consultation and we do not receive any comments. Sometimes I can tell that even if Civil Society in our country, they take the document and say you know what, we have this law which is about to pass. Can you assist me with comment? Because that will then reach the understanding. So that is one of the challenges which I have actually realized that we can come and talk to you, but if we do not know that there's a problem, it will not solve the problem. For us to sit down with these people, we are always available. Most of the leaders I can tell you because I interact with most of our colleagues in the region, is the consultations they have, they have an open door. But most of the time we do not get the input from the community. Yes, the service providers, we give them license, do this and do this. But reach out to consumers, when we put the document and say can you comment, we do not get any comments. We only get the comments from the service providers. Because then they are looking at their own interests. So sometimes I do ‑‑ in terms of capacity building, I see Civil Society is also in our area so that they can also actively participate.
>> PANELIST: So in terms of capacity building, the Internet Society, we have quite a few programs where we've done a lot of outreach and engagement with the governments in terms of meeting with ‑‑ meeting at IT meeting with the African union meeting at the OECD to really engage the government representatives to discuss Internet shutdowns and human rights and economic implications. But besides that, too, we've also developed a number of youth programs and like Sara said, she's the IGF ambassador and another young lady, youth IGF fellow. What we've been doing as well is getting a lot of young people who have very high potential in engaging in Internet discussions, developing their capacity so they can then go back to their regions and go back to their countries and engage their governments as well as their concentric circles to build awareness about some of these issues.
And finally something we've also done with the Internet engineering task force, we actually have a program where we've been regulators and other government representatives, the task force, which is a very in‑depth engineering environment and bringing them there to better understand how networks are built and how interfering with networks, whether it be filtering or shutdowns, how that impacts the availability and integrity of the systems.
>> PANELIST: Thank you. I'll relate what was said about capacity building. I'll stress the importance of youth in this process. And I think talking about north Africa or South Africa or all parts of Africa, we have the skilled people, and we have the capacity to learn more about Internet governance and Internet processes. But I think the problem comes from the government themselves. Maybe some governments are reluctant to open the floor and to cooperate with the society organizations. They are still not trusting these organizations to have a role in solving maybe problems in their societies. So I think this is the main ‑‑ or the major, like, the major stepback of the lack of participation of governments on this panel and this workshop. Thank you.
>> AUDIENCE: Thanks. Two things. I think the gentleman from Botswana, yeah. Spoke something which is actually we have seen a number of countries. Increasingly, many governments, many regulators are open to receiving submissions on proposed law regulations from private sector and Civil Society. But we did a study last week I think on 14 countries in eastern and southern Africa. We found that all those mechanisms are increasingly available, they are actually very little submissions from members of Civil Society.
But also, we found that the uptick of contributions from Civil Society remain low. So that plus the fact of capacity as some of the reasons why we see little input when there are calls. So I think there is indeed a need for one, generic evidence, do analysis in order to inform the submissions that will be made to government bodies.
But something else which I want to talk, too, is the intermediaries. I think at the moment, although intermediaries have their licensing obligations, they can still do more in support of the rights and the aspirations of their subscribers. We know that they have licenses in which regulators have the power to order them to switch off services. Granted.
But there's some certain things which they could do that can help the cause for those who are fighting to remain free and open. For instance, they could issue more transparency reports. Showing us exactly what governments are ordering them to do, how much data they are asking them to provide, and how they are complying with these kind of requests.
MTN which operates in countries in sub-Saharan Africa does not release this information. The Europe‑based bodies such as Orange and Vodafone, they issue this information, although in some countries like Kenya and Tanzania, the laws ban them from releasing some of the data. Whereas they can do that in Tanzania and other countries. That data is for us as Civil Society to know what our government is asking for, how can we use that data in order to make our case?
Secondly, there is the case of the countries that there have been shutdowns. Why doesn't the telecom operators issue information, show how much money they made during that quarter when there was a shutdown as opposed to a quarter when there is no shutdown. Without them actually saying anything else about it, then Civil Society would be able to take that data and make sense out of it and use it as evidence to make the case against shutdowns.
But there's also the issue that's come up here of big meetings such as this. They will not have to speak like us and say Internet shutdowns are never necessary and appropriate measure to respond to protests or elections or exams. But they'll be able to give some perspective what we are doing that will help us to actually advance the cause of shutdowns.
>> PANELIST: Thank you, Yolanda. Many have talked about the multistakeholder approach. But at the national level, the power of the state to disrupt the Internet lies with the state. Most often. So this blows the whole approach of the multistakeholder model. So in my opinion, I believe that we need a push by Civil Society and the Technical Community to mostly African governments to integrate digital tools into their systems. In this way, it will be very, very difficult for them to disrupt entire networks mostly. Yeah. Thank you.
>> PANELIST: So in terms of ISPs, the situation in Egypt is very unique because it's not limited to licenses. (?) in Egypt, it's different. Because under Egyptian law, as I mentioned, the Egyptian government has the right to issue orders to ISPs to shut down the Internet. This is not strange, but what is strange is the ISPs is exempt from any transparency or accountability. So they cannot file suit in the court against the operators for shutting down the Internet.
More than that, according to Egyptian law, the ISPs have a right to shut down. So that's been the national law (?) it shows a question of (?) the responsibility of the operators. So I see that we have to go forward adopting legal documents are working and it forces governments to respect the human rights, digital human rights for services. Thank you.
>> YOLANDA MLONZI: Thank you, panelists. Are there any other follow‑up questions? Yes, Michael.
>> AUDIENCE: Everyone has spoken but none of us have looked at the shutdown from a security point of view. It's not the intention of governments to shut down the Internet like just literally like that. There should be some underlying reasons. Some of the reasons like I'm speaking from a security background. Some of them like for security ‑‑ they put the security of the country at (?). We know when we shut down the Internet, it's like the close the door. Everything stops going in and out. Meaning that the banking sector, and everything is affected. Of course, you can't defragment it and distribute it, like, separate it and say okay, the banking service will have the Internet. Social media will not have Internet. It affect, like, everything, airports. It's a decision that is made ‑‑ it's too hard. It affects even the people that work in that city. So basically I'm not in support of Internet shutdown in any way because being home for less than an hour, it is a punishment to me. I feel bad because my life is not online. So basically we should look at it from other all sectors. Algeria had a shutdown based on the exam students were writing because the (?) forced the government to shut down the Internet.
Cameroon shut down the Internet based on the political unrest. Each country has its own reason of shutting down the Internet. But basically, we should not all support shutdowns in any way possible. We should tell governments at all levels, let's not take government as if it's everyone. Let's find a way of engaging government in a way that, you know, you can be realistic with government. When you are discussing something serious, learn to compromise. We should not expect to get results done, no. Government is not an individual. Government is an institution that covers everyone in that particular country.
So basically when issues of shutdowns are discussed, come at it from all angles, security, economy and every other angle to be affected. Thank you.
>> YOLANDA MLONZI: Thank you, Michael, for that contribution. We've got an itching participant on the other end who wants to respond.
>> AUDIENCE: Good morning. My name is Tete. Two things. There will always be a similar good reason for shutdowns. Second, every law in place emerge out of a positive intent. It is the abuse of existing regulations and policies that leads to conversations like this. So in putting in place the telcos, for example, a license that requires that they switch off on the request of government, there was a good reason behind it. Where the problem lies, though, is where there is a lack of transparency and accountability. In the use of such laws and the powers that come with it.
Without mentioning the particular telco, the process involves one communication. Sometimes it's just a call that indicates, "switch it off." And they have to obey. Otherwise it becomes liable. That needs to be addressed. Yes, the concern around security is paramount, but it has become a blanket rule. And unfortunately, every single example that has been cited, based on the knowledge that I have, and I'm happy for anyone who disagrees, there was no reason for there to have been a complete shutdown, and not my words, a complete shutdown. Fiona inferred there are ways and opportunities ‑‑ technology sitting at a point where you can actually get to the point where you know where a threat is coming from. You can contain it. But we like blanket shutdowns. That's where the problem is.
The second is ‑‑ not second, I've probably made, like, four points already.
[ Laughter ]
Fifth is recognizing that there will be the need for sometimes communication to be interrupted. It is important that if we indeed value fairness, openness, respect people's rights, that you go through due process to make that happen. More often than not, it's not happening. Due process is not happening, and that's why there will be calls that no, you cannot be transparent about it.
I'd also like to be able to speak to the fact that the consumer does not know the part that they carry. And that's ‑‑ that's something that we all, the government, public sector, Civil Society or the private sector actually needs to work a lot more with. The government holds the license over, you know, the license power over telcos, but consumers hold the money power. If your telco shuts you out, what are you doing? So there's also the ability to be able to educate consumers and their rights. But more importantly ensure that the consumer protections that we have in place in our countries are adequately known and actually are being implemented and respected. Unfortunately, in any of the African countries that I'm familiar with, it's laughable. In South Africa we like to tout as sitting at the forefront of consumer engagement. It can take years and years. There's an apathy when something is beginning to take too long.
Lastly a question. And here I will declare openly, I head a public policy for Google in Africa. Particularly on these issues. It's a question that I'm consistently asking, where are the African private sectors? Please. Where are they? Where are they in this conversation? Where is the start‑up ecosystem that is leapfrogging and helping us bridge the digital economic divide? Do they realize why engaging in public policy conversations matter? It's coming in 2018. The Digital Economy is high on the agenda. But where's our start‑up ecosystem? Are they in that conversation? Plus or minus, we have about nine to ten months to be able to get them upscaled and interested. To know whether or not they can continue to operate in an environment that continues to help them innovate. So sincerely, yes, point at government. But please, also look at the private sector. Particularly those that are indigenous to the continent. That's something that I as a public policy lead within Google care about. But more importantly, Civil Society needs to realize that your allies are actually the folks that you're not necessarily looking at. I'm done.
>> YOLANDA MLONZI: Wow. Very wow words there. Does anyone want to follow up from Tete's comments?
>> PANELIST: I think I'll take a shot at it. And I think Tete has basically just hit the nail on the head. Without mincing any words. Because unfortunately, we've got a lot of these conversations ‑‑ I happen to represent the technology service providers of Kenya that brings together a lot of their setups. The young entrepreneurs, the big guys, everybody. So when I speak in a lot of the meetings on their behalf, I speak for them. I share with them the conversations and where we are at. But I realize that there are not so many strong industry associations on this continent. When we try to count how many there are and try to have a conversation, I'm able to pick a handful of them, about six or so. And that limits the level of engagement of the start‑ups, of the entrepreneurs, the local developer, of the local ICT organizations that are indigenous to our respective countries.
And it takes me back to a comment I said earlier. Some of us have been in this space for so long and we want to remain the only experts. We have not asked others to come in and build capacity. And that is why I asked how many of you have brought in your government representatives to any of these meetings? Because it doesn't help us when you don't do that ‑‑ it means you're not bringing in new people. You don't bring in any students. You don't bring in anybody. It's just about you. As long as it is just about you, as an individual, regardless of which African country you come from, we are shooting ourselves in the foot. Because attending this kind of fora is so important to our entire Internet system. If we don't have new faces and create space for new entrants to come in and fit in ‑‑ I was so happy when I met Yolanda in South Africa. I said I'm coming in.
She said good, go for it. She said I'm going to use your proposal. Okay, go for it. I didn't think she was serious. But we exchanged e‑mails and she was working at it. And she had a lot of people who have been helping her. And excited about putting this together. That is how we build capacity. By letting others also have an opportunity.
If you have never let another person come in and have an opportunity and brought in someone else, we are shooting ourselves in the foot. Can we agree ‑‑ my recommendation is can we agree ‑‑ after this IGF, all future Internet‑related meetings, whether they are in Africa, whether they're out of Africa, that we are planning to attend and share the information so that we ensure, in our 54 African countries, we can have representation of governments, Civil Society, academia, private sector, Technical Community. Then we can have more fruitful conversations.
On the issue that Michael ‑‑ I'd like for Michael to come back on the issue of security. We do understand that security is important. And a lot of the times the Internet is shut down in the interest of national security. But in the case of Kenya where we had a lot of stealing of exams using technology, but instead of shutting down the Internet during the exam period, we decided to change the process. We had all the students go through security checks not entering the exam room with any electronic device. If they don't have the devices in the rooms, there's no way they're going to steal the exam. So they leave their devices out. And then we use the same technology that they were misusing was used to release the results, to check the results, and we had the most accurate results compared to previous years. In the last two years, we've had very accurate results. But today I think the results are being announced right now in Kenya that were done without shutting down the Internet, but making sure the Internet became a tool for more efficiency.
Exam leaking that's happened before could not happen because the technology was made so secure, and the keys for that technology were relevant, people were held totally accountable and responsible, that they could not be able to interfere with the exams. And the same goes for national security. Technical Communities can help you get the culprits. But we need to talk. I do not know what security wants if security does not say we need your help on this. We're not angels. We need to communicate. Thank you.
>> YOLANDA MLONZI: Thank you so much, Fiona. So we have the last eight minutes. So we'll take one more round of questions. And then by the time the panelists respond, they will also include their closing remarks. Okay. Questions?
>> AUDIENCE: This is Alain. From here in, Fiona, I just want to add or to ask because I've been away from the IGF for a while, but I know that we used to have national IGF, regional IGF, African IGF. So are we not able to get all the parties together at the local level, the regional and the Continental level before we come here? So what is the problem, and how do we fix it from what you are saying? Because I expect that the national IGF or regional IGF, we should be getting all the parties together to talk. But it looks like we are still missing something.
>> AUDIENCE: Hi. I very much like what Fiona was saying and I think the idea of talking with others is also very important to make sure all the communities talk to each other. Because without that, you're not going to solve ‑‑ and also Tete was excellent in her comments. My question is, you're talking about transparency. Is there processes where you can get, like you said, the security involved, like get the judicial system if something ‑‑ if you have the regulator ‑‑ if someone asked a regulator to shut it down, do they have to go through a judicial process to make sure that it's a valid reason that is secure, that something that the Technical Community could not do without that? Is there a process like that in place that you can show how openness and how transparency are that, yes, we've tried all these means. The Technical Community wasn't able to do it. Other communities were not able to do it. We need this ‑‑ we need this path and then sign off on that. And that way you can make sure that everyone is accountable. And I'm just wondering if that process exists. Or maybe how you can create that process.
>> YOLANDA MLONZI: Are those the last questions? Or one more. Yeah.
>> AUDIENCE: We heard some very good things today. Thank you for the panel for the comments. I think two things I want to say. I've been a regulator myself. In the previous decade. And at a certain point in time I got a topic that the government had never really engaged in. And so nobody ever came to me and asked me questions or whatever. So what I did, I reached out myself. I went to the communities I needed to interact with. So in other words, when you're a regulator, what are your options to go out of your building and see what's really happening there? And then when I started to try to make policy, everybody showed up and contributed because they knew who I was. And they wanted to be in the process. So I took the other way around. And ‑‑ and I forgot about it, so I'm sorry. If I remember it, I'll come back in a minute. It's also about reaching out and the options ‑‑ yes, I remember. I just was stalling a little.
You were talking about how to engage at the national level. In our country, it's arranged around the national IGF. And there's an organization public/private platform which is neutral and that has been giving some money through different agents around the country, so government, industry, et cetera. And they actually engaged and tried to get youth in, organize a youth IGF. They tried to bring youth here through that funding that they get from several different parties. And they set the agenda for the national IGF but also the topics we want to bring to the international IGF and the regional one. So I don't know if that's feasible in your country, but it's something to think about because a lot of the information can go through an organization like that. And you get to know each other. And it means what I'm seeing, people never used to speak to each other because they were the enemy on the Internet are now totally respected because of their opinion, and they at least understand each other's position. And from that point on, you can easily pick up the phone and discuss things together. And that is the process that took about ten years. So just as food for thought.
>> YOLANDA MLONZI: Okay, thank you so much, everyone, for the comments. So I'll start from that side and just probably give your comment if you have any and also closing remarks.
>> PANELIST: Thank you, Yolanda. Just a follow‑up on Tete's conversation. We need the economic and trade ministers and development banks who can ensure that the Internet is not shut because they care about prosperity. They care about the economic growth. We also need to put the Internet access as human rights, as a human rights issue. These, I think, will be a deterrent towards governments that think about shutting down the Internet. And it will be a thing of the past.
We also need translators who will be able to bring in the conversation with governments to show them the economic implications of actually shutting down the Internet. On the issue of Helen, I mean, we proposed a committee that will be a stakeholder model which will bring in the Technical Community and government and maybe the Civil Society. But before the Internet is shut down, they should be a dialogue or communication between them to see if they're ‑‑ what can I say ‑‑ if there is a reason that can be given as a reason to actually shut the Internet. So a committee that brings in stakeholder engagement. These groups may be a way forward. This approach is limited because at the national level, the power of the state is final. So I don't know what should be the way forward.
>> YOLANDA MLONZI: Just a note to the panelists, we literally have, like, a minute. So please keep it nice and brief and short. Thank you, Joash.
>> PANELIST: Okay. So in most of the countries, the judicial process indeed exists. Just in some cases the judicial process is not followed. In some instances such as Rwanda, you can do interception of communication. Then you get a license retrospectively.
The importance of having laws has been mentioned. The importance of being transparent about how these laws are implemented needs to be emphasized because you'd know whether there's indeed judicial oversight over the processes of shutdowns and censorship and interception of communications.
When you look at transparency reports issued by the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter, we did an analysis recently. After requests these organizations for users' data for the last three or four years. A huge majority of them failed because they were not ‑‑ they didn't meet the standards. But we cannot know for national governments whether there's any requests that are met for interceptions or takedowns that are not actually honored because they don't meet the threshold because there is no judicial oversight and transparency in the processes within the continent.
So my last one. I think we need to continue gathering evidence and talking about the effects of shutdowns. If it happens in Kenya, let the people in Uganda talk about it. If it happens in Cameroon, the people from Cameroon should also talk about it because the effects go beyond the immediate geographical area in which the shutdown is implemented because of the network of the Digital Economy.
Finally, we also need to continue making the case that the effects of a shutdown, they maybe go beyond the few days over which the shutdown is affected.
>> PANELIST: The national regulation is not enough to prevent Internet shutdowns. So we need to go over that to adopting specific convention about human rights on the Internet. That's it.
>> YOLANDA MLONZI: Thank you.
>> PANELIST: Thank you. I'll end by saying that Internet shutdowns, whether we like it or not, will happen. So for good or bad intentions, they will happen. So there comes the necessity ‑‑ and the necessity to establish a dialogue of trust, transparency and credibility between not only the government and Civil Society but all multistakeholders.
There also comes the necessity of including the youth because they have the capacity and engaging them in this process. I think they have the potential to ‑‑ it must start somewhere. It will not last forever. So that's it. Thank you.
>> PANELIST: So we at the Internet society have increasingly recognized that the Internet ecosystem is somewhat incestuous. We like to speak to ourselves. So in 2018, we are investing our resources and our time so outside of our concentric circles, we're investing more time in working with partners and working with groups that we have not worked with in the past. So that we can increase our voice and increase our support to address these type of problems like Internet shutdowns.
We're also increasingly working with different group of partners as well which helps underserved groups, and we're reinvesting some time in our youth development and capacity building because we see it as a very important (?) in increasing awareness and building the skills that we can addressee merging threats.
>> PANELIST: My closing remarks are that I'll try to answer the questions as well. The national IGFs, regional IGFs and African IGFs are supposed to be opportunities where all the stakeholders engage, converge and discuss. Unfortunately, it happens only in some of the African countries. We are not yet at a level where all countries are getting their governments into even the national IGFs. There are still challenges with governments, participants attending the national IGFs. And that means the national conversation cannot happen. And that is why I'm tasking individuals ‑‑ it has to be individuals willing to take time and just walk into the offices of your government representatives and have a conversation, a cup of tea and, you know, a courtesy call and let them know that you are willing to converse and to help. If we can address it that way, it helps us significantly. But because it doesn't happen, we find ourselves in situations like this, having this conversation here. And I think we can improve on that.
The other thing is that there's these questions on process. And those laws like that in Kenya, the law is very clear, and the regulations are very clear. And so there's a clear process of how private sector, Technical Community, engaging security agents happens and how we affect even an arrest and getting someone offline. So there's laws and that's very clear.
On the issue that I think we have not discussed but is important to look at is the role of the U.N. function on Internet shutdowns. I think that the U.N. ‑‑ my personal view is that I think the U.N. can play a role, but it is very difficult for that to be achieved if there isn't from the government themselves to deal with each other when there are Internet shutdowns. So that is the conversation maybe we need to take next level and have a conversation along those lines and asking other governments to step in and deal with their fellow governments using U.N. sanctions and things like that to reduce the level of Internet shutdowns. Because of the challenges in achieving sustainable development goals. And those are my closing remarks. Thank you.
>> YOLANDA MLONZI: Thank you, everyone, and thank you to all my panelists for joining us today. And really, this is the first time we've organized a workshop. So it is a milestone for us. And we hope to continue the conversation. Thank you once again.
[ Applause ]
(The session concluded at 11:47.)