Messages from Tampere – #Risks

Impact of the war – Subtopic 1:

Shattered neutrality: Internet at crossroads of war and geopolitics

Rapporteur: Andrijana Gavrilović, Geneva Internet Platform

  1. The Internet has changed how war is fought, and how it is covered by media. At the same time, the war has put ‘One world, one Internet’ to a stress test. The foundations of global and interoperable Internet should not be affected by the deepening geopolitical divide, even though it has fragmented the content layer.
  2. Measures interfering with the Internet’s ability to operate as a global communications infrastructure, such as revoking the delegation of a TLD, IP address prefix or ASN, are problematic. The Internet should be kept as a global space for communication, free from disruptions caused by geopolitical tensions.
  3. More needs to be done about constraining online propaganda content. Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act will be helpful in this regard. Media literacy of users should also be strengthened to equip users to discern propaganda effectively.

Internet fragmentation – Subtopic 1:

Understanding the risks of Internet fragmentation

Rapporteur: Bojana Kovač, Geneva Internet Platform

  1. Different governments, actors, and stakeholders have different perspectives on what Internet fragmentation is. Thus, it is crucial to address the risks that come with it. Policy proposals that fragment the Internet, whether intentionally or not, prevent it from being a global space, though they may sometimes be necessary to protect other rights and the public interest. The private sector may also fragment the Internet by closing down services into walled gardens and breaking the principle of interoperability through open standards.
  2. Geopolitics is another concern, as politicising the fundamentals of the Internet can endanger its technical nature. Content regulations that had unintentional effects on the technical level are now becoming intentional. The call for action is to enhance cross-government education and communication on Internet governance while also ensuring that companies, civil society, and the technical community are included in such discussions.

Digital platforms – Subtopic 1:

Virtual worlds, but real risks: navigating metaverses as a next generation of digital platforms

Rapporteur: Boris Begović, Geneva Internet Platform

  1. Establishing robust governance for virtual worlds is crucial and should ensure inclusive and secure spaces accessible to all. Neglecting global governance could lead to exclusive communities controlled by a select few. By collaborating with global stakeholders and utilising existing structures like EuroDIG, ICANN, and the IGF, we should aim to build upon our shared interests and make progress together.
  2. The community must persist in engaging in the discussion about the metaverse, even as it loses its current trendiness and gives way to the prominence of AI. To foster a constructive trajectory, we must proactively contemplate the governance framework before widespread metaverse utilisation.
  3. Prioritising a collective agreement on guiding principles is crucial for effectively implementing and enforcing human rights in the metaverse. However, before addressing these matters, the key is to unite globally and acknowledge that state-centric, corporate-led governance of the metaverse is inadequate.
  4. It is vital to recognise that digital tools are meant to serve and support human beings. Our goal should be to ensure that the virtual world remains in service to the analogue world, harmonising both spheres for the benefit of humanity.