About the 2nd Global Conference of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network

Published on
February 13, 2018

On February 26-28, 2018, the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network will hold its second Global Internet and Jurisdiction Conference, organized in Ottawa in partnership with the Government of Canada. More than 250 senior-level participants from governments, internet companies and technical operators, academia, civil society and international organizations from over 50 countries will address one of the greatest and most pressing global governance challenges of the 21st century: how to manage the coexistence of national laws on the internet.

"The Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network addresses complex but highly relevant internet policy issues that we all face. The Government of Canada values its leadership and its multistakeholder approach. We are pleased to welcome the second Global Internet and Jurisdiction Conference in Ottawa."

David McGovernAdvisory Group member, and Associate Deputy Minister, Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Canada

The Conference is institutionally supported by the OECD, UNESCO, the Council of Europe, the European Commission and ICANN, and will take place amid rising international tensions regarding freedom of speech, privacy, cybercrime, and digital trade. These issues impact every single user of the internet in their daily and professional lives, and participants in the Global Internet and Jurisdiction Conference recognize that failure to address them would have drastic consequences on security, human rights and the digital economy.

“The question is not whether we should do something. The question is: can we afford not to act.”

Douglas Frantz, former OECD Deputy Secretary General in the Washington Post.

Since 2012, the Secretariat of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network has enabled an ongoing global process to catalyze multistakeholder cooperation, actively involving over 200 entities around the world, in order to address the most pressing jurisdictional challenges caused by the digital transformation of societies and the sharp increase in cross-border data flows and services. The Global Internet and Jurisdiction Conferences are milestone events that allow participants to take stock of the ongoing work conducted in the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network, and catalyze the development of operational solutions and policy standards.

"The Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network brings to the space of policy-making the collaborative attitude that formed the very foundation of the internet design."

Vint CerfAdvisory Group member, and Vice President, Google

In November 2016, more than 200 senior-level participants from over 40 countries gathered over three days for the inaugural Global Internet and Jurisdiction Conference in Paris, marking the first time that a critical mass of stakeholders met at the international level to specifically address the issue of jurisdiction on the internet - a policy need identified by the 2014 NETmundial Roadmap.

“If nothing is done, many who met in Paris worried, the open internet could be a thing of the past within a decade or two. What is needed, they said, is more international cooperation - but not of the old kind.”

The Economist about the first Global Internet and Jurisdiction Conference.

The participants in the first Global Internet and Jurisdiction Conference identified concrete areas of cooperation in each of the three Programs of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network:

  • Data & Jurisdiction: How can transnational data flows and the protection of privacy be reconciled with lawful access requirements to address crime?
  • Content & Jurisdiction: How can we manage globally-available content in light of the diversity of local laws and norms applicable on the internet?

  • Domains & Jurisdiction: How can the neutrality of the internet’s technical layer be preserved when national laws are applied to the Domain Name System?

The Secretariat summarized the outcome of the Paris Conference in Framing Papers for each of the three Programs, and formed in 2017 three multistakeholder Contact Groups to foster policy coherence and identify possible steps for coordinated actions.

In November 2017, the Secretariat released Policy Options Documents that present the results of the work conducted in each of the multistakeholder Contact Groups. They lay out key elements for the development of policy standards and operational solutions, in order to preserve the cross-border nature of the internet, protect human rights, fight abuses, and enable the global digital economy.

For each of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network's three Programs, stakeholders are expected in Ottawa to define Work Plans and components of operational solutions. Based on the outcomes of the Ottawa Conference, three multistakeholder Working Groups will be established to make concrete proposals to the third Global Internet and Jurisdiction Conference. It will be organized, after France and Canada, in partnership with the Government of Germany and take place in Berlin on June 3-5, 2019 (see Timeline of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network).  

“The Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network allows actors to come together in a multistakeholder fashion to agree on cooperation mechanisms and common values. This provides great input into laws and processes globally. Without this cooperation, speaking as a global cloud provider, we would have chaos in terms of how we operate our services. “

Paul Mitchell, Senior Director, Tech Policy, Microsoft

The internet today underpins every aspect of political, social, and economic life, and transnational legal challenges will continue to grow exponentially with the increase in cross-border data flows and cloud-based services unless stakeholders work together to develop frameworks for legal interoperability.

The time for joint action is now, and the cost of inaction would be dire.

“Most immediately, we must grapple with governance of the Internet as well as on the Internet. Otherwise, the opportunities afforded by digital technologies could be squandered in a regulatory and legal arms race, complete with new borders and new global tensions.”

Carl BildtAdvisory Group member, and Former Prime Minister, Sweden

The 3rd Global Conference of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network will take place on June 3-5, 2019, in Berlin, in partnership with the Federal Government of Germany.