Panayotis Antoniadis was a speaker at a session at IGF 2017: Shape Your Digital Future! in December 2017
In the last two decades, the Internet–and digital technologies in general–were perceived to be the “great liberator” that would protect individual rights, preserve democracy, promote free speech, empower communities/ persons with disabilities, and enable innovation. Certainly, a great deal of success have been achieved in these areas, and there is still significant promise for the future.
At the same time, there are several emerging threats to Digital Future of the world including, but not limited to including Fake News, post-Truth politics, surveillance & censorship, data & identify theft, and online hate & abuse threaten the very premises that were perceived as the unique to the Internet. Our freedoms and rights are challenged by these threats, raising questions on the integrity of the Internet.
Free and Open Source Software offers a powerful set of responses to address these issues and to defend the Digital Future, particularly from the perspective of communities. These can be examined under the following broad heads:
– Technology & tools for secure, anonymous use of the Internet
– Possible Safeguards that address the processes of content generation, validation and distribution
– Enabling Policy Frameworks
The session, organized as a Breakout Group Discussion, will address these three challenges and the role of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in addressing them.
The session will take stock of the existing and emerging tools, technologies, platforms and methodologies that can protect end-users and user communities from developments that undermine the credibility and trust that users repose on the Internet.
Relevance of the Session:
A significant challenge that the Internet faces today–particularly of relevance to the IGF Theme of “Shape Your Digital Future”–is that the public trust in the Internet is being undermined by a number of new developments. Unless there are co-ordinated, comprehensive responses from civil society, it is possible that the credibility of the Internet will diminsh, thus threatening our common digital future. In turn, this may cause over-responses from other actors, such as national Governments to further limit access, monitor & restrict Internet use.
This session will discuss following aspects in three breakout groups:
1. Tools and Technologies provided by FOSS that help in different ways such as safe & secure use of the Internet including operating systems, access tools, anonymizers, productivity tools, and content management systems, to emerging developments and the Blockchain for decentralized, peer-to-peer, un-tamperable record-keeping. Developments such as IoT and Algorithms & Machine Learning that have negative and positive sides will also be discussed.
2. Methodologies, processes and best practices in dealing with the processes of content generation, validation and distribution, that can address the challenges of providing authenticated content in appropriate forms and languages in multiple delivery modes (desktop, mobile, audio etc) including decentralized, democratized knowledge creation and dissemination.
3. Policy initiatives that support and enable communities to use the Internet safely, securely and reliably, upholding rights and freedoms, and considering aspects such as access, equitable digital opportunities, language issues, risk reduction and child safety.
The interventions by speakers are planned on the following lines:
1. Welcome,introduction, Session Objectives and Format: 5 min
2. Initial presentation of Issues: The moderator will provide the overall context of the session, particularly the Challenges faced (10 min)
3. Overview of the Breakout Group Discussions: The Co-Moderator will provide an Overview of the Breakout Group discussions (including remote participation)
4. Breakout Group Discussions: Participants will divide themselves into 3 groups, taking up discussions on the above themes. (35 minutes)
Discussions will be led by the speakers identified a-priori, who will also present the group reports in the following session.
5. Group Presentations, Discussions and Summing Up (30 min)
The Group Leaders will present the report of the discussions in the group.
Diversity considerations for the session would be fully met. The current list of organizers and speakers are significantly diverse from gender and geographic considerations. Since the prime target of the session is Civil Society, particularly communities in developed regions as well as emerging economies, there is a definite emphasis on civil society and technical community participation. However, the organizers are confirming participation from Academia, Business and Government as this is a topic that enhances Multi-stakeholder cooperation.
Online Moderator: Ms. Maureen Hilyard
Rapporteur: Mr. Satish Babu
Our Remote Moderator is Ms. Maureen Hilyard, a veteran IGF participant and a former MAG Member. Ms. Okite is an avid promoter of not only online participation but accessible online participation tools.
with this background we are certain that the online presenters/participants will be given priority and made to feel like they are in-person at the workshop.
The online moderator will ensure that:
(a) Remote participation is open during the initial presentations as well as during the group report presentations/discussions, and any comments or questions from the remote participants are raised during the presentations
(b) During the Breakout Session, remote participants are connected to one of the three/four breakout groups, and that there is two-way sharing with remote participants and get feedback .
In addition to Remote Participation using the host-provided tools, we would also be using Twitter as a live medium to solicit questions, comments or suggestions.