Human Rights 27 August 2014

The IGF 2014 Fragmentation Track

By Nicolas SeidlerFormer Senior Policy Advisor
Brian N. Levine
Brian N. LevineGuest Author


The risk of the fragmentation of cross-border online spaces and underlying technical architecture of the Internet raises increasing concerns among policy makers, business, civil society and the technical community. The Internet Society (ISOC), the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and the Internet & Jurisdiction Project are organizing three workshops on this issue at the Internet Governance Forum 2014, which will take place from September 2-5, 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Together, the three sessions will help frame the broader debate and shed light on complementary perspectives on the risk of fragmentation: What are the processes that could lead to fragmentation, what are the broader costs associated with fragmentation and how can cooperation regimes be developed to prevent fragmentation?

Tuesday, September 2 • 9:00am – 10:00am, Room 8 (Internet Society)

WS112: Implications of post-Snowden Internet localization proposals

Following the 2013-2014 disclosures of large-scale pervasive surveillance of Internet traffic, various proposals to “localize” the Internet have started to emerge. Examples include mandatory requirements for global Internet platforms to build local data centers to serve local populations. While localization of data and traffic routing strategies can be powerful tools for improving Internet experience for end-users, less optimal choices may be made in reaction to external factors. How can we judge between Internet-useful versus Internet-harmful localisation and traffic routing approaches? What are the implications of such measures on the way the Internet works, the ability to innovate online and for users’ rights?

Wednesday, September 3 • 5:00pm – 6:00pm, Room 9 (CIGI)

WS63: Preserving a Universal Internet: The Costs of Fragmentation

As Internet governance and Internet-related public policy issues rise to the top of the international political agenda, a variety of states are exploring measures that may lead, deliberately or inadvertently, to Internet fragmentation.This session will attempt to scope the economic, social, international political, cultural and educational costs associated with Internet fragmentation.

Thursday, September 4 • 2:30pm – 4:00pm, Room 2 (Internet & Jurisdiction Project)

WS97: Will Cyberspace fragment along national jurisdictions?

This session will focus on the challenge to determine applicable law(s) on the Internet, as multiple laws coexist in shared cross-border online spaces. In the absence of appropriate frameworks, uncoordinated national approaches proliferate. A resulting legal competition could have unintended consequences and result in cyberspace fragmentation. How can a multi-stakeholder framework be developed that ensures transnational due process, transparency and interoperability to diffuse tensions through cooperation?

Instructions about Remote Participation will be published by the UN on September 1 at In addtion, webcasts will also be available at

About the organizers:

Centre for International Governance Innovation

The Centre for International Governance Innovation is an independent, non-partisan think tank focusing on international governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports academic research and advances both national and international policy debate by generating ideas for the improvement of multilateral governance. In early 2014, CIGI, along with Chatham House, established the Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG). The Commission is chaired by Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. Over the next two years, the GCIG will bring together senior scholars, policymakers, and public figures to deliberate on the major issues in Internet governance. The GCIG is supported by a Research Advisory Network, which is composed of some of the world foremost experts on various aspects of the Internet and Internet governance.  Twitter: @ourinternetGCIG

Internet & Jurisdiction Project

The Internet & Jurisdiction Project facilitates a global multi-stakeholder dialogue process to address the tension between the cross-border Internet and geographically-defined national jurisdictions. Launched in 2012, it provides a neutral platform for states, business, civil society and international organizations to discuss the elaboration of a transnational due process framework to handle the digital coexistence of diverse national laws in shared cross-border online spaces. Twitter: @IJurisdiction

Internet Society

A global, cause-driven organization, the Internet Society is a leading advocate for the ongoing development of the Internet as an open platform that serves the social, economic, and educational needs of people throughout the world. Founded in 1992 by several Internet pioneers, the Internet Society works in the areas of technology, policy, and development to promote an open, accessible Internet for everyone. A shared vision of keeping the Internet open unites the 60,000 individuals, more than 100 Chapters, and more than 150 Organizations around the world that are members of the Internet Society. Together, we represent a worldwide network focused on identifying and addressing the challenges and opportunities that exist online today and in the years ahead.  Twitter: @internetsociety

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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