Breakout Session | 10:45 a.m.

Healing Internet Fragmentation


“There is a growing sense in many quarters that this extraordinary technology that has been a critically important source of new wealth creation, economic opportunity, socio-political development and personal empowerment is experiencing serious new strains and even dangers. This is not to say that some sort of cataclysm is anticipated; the Internet remains stable and generally open and secure in its foundations…[b]ut it is to say that there are challenges accumulating which, if left unattended, could chip away to varying degrees at the Internet’s enormous capacity to facilitate human progress.”

Future of the Internet Initiative White Paper
Internet Fragmentation: An Overview

One of the core features of the Internet’s design is the ability for it to route around failure and to heal itself from fragmentation. The notion of healing can mean fixing the broken or learning to accept and adapt to that which cannot be changed. In cases of fragmentation that have ambiguous or even beneficial effects, we may choose to accept that it is part of the larger framing of the Internet, rather than try to change it and attempt to mitigate resulting harms.

There have been many discussions on Internet fragmentation in the past few years. Most have focused on the nature and negative effects of fragmentation without addressing potential solutions. This IGF-USA session will canvas activities and address policies that could help to heal cases of Internet fragmentation. It will also consider whether some forms of fragmentation may – or even should – become normative.


The 2016 World Economic Forum White paper, Internet Fragmentation: An Overview, organizes 28 cases of Internet fragmentation into three categories:

  1. Technical
    • (cases include: Network Address Translation; IPv4 and Ipv6 incompatibility and the dual-stack requirement; routing corruption; firewall protections; virtual private network isolation and blocking; TOR “onion space” and the “dark web”; Internationalized Domain Name technical errors; blocking of new gTLDs; private name servers and the split-horizon DNS; segmented Wi-Fi services in hotels, restaurants, etc; possibility of significant alternate DNS roots; certificate authorities producing false certificates)
  2. Governmental, and
    • (cases include: Filtering and blocking websites, social networks, or other resources offering undesired contents; attacks on information resources offering undesired contents; digital protectionism blocking users’ access to and use of key platforms and tools for electronic commerce; centralizing and terminating international interconnection; attacks on national networks and key assets; local data processing and/or retention requirements; architectural or routing changes to keep data flows within a territory; prohibitions on the transborder movement of certain categories of data; strategies to construct “national Internet segments” or “cybersovereignty”; international frameworks intended to legitimize restrictive practices)
  3. Commercial.
    • (cases include: Potential changes in interconnection agreements; potential proprietary technical standards impeding interoperability in the IoT; blocking, throttling or other discriminatory departures from network neutrality; walled gardens; geo-blocking of content; potential use of naming and numbering to block content for the purpose of intellectual property protection).

Following a brief scene-setting by the organizers, Professor William Drake, a co-author of the white paper mentioned above, will frame the discussion for this session by explaining the three-part technical/governmental/commercial framework. Then, experts from the private sector, government, academia, civil society, and the technical community will speak to various cases of fragmentation from their perspectives, and also offer their thoughts on how to alleviate, accept, or condone its various effects. Attendees will be invited to share comments and ask questions.



Robert Pepper

Head of Global Connectivity Policy and Planning, Facebook

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Robert Pepper helps lead Facebook’s connectivity and technology policy activities focusing on new technology development, deployment and adoption. Pepper previously was Cisco’s Vice President for Global Technology Policy for more than a decade working with governments across the world helping them develop their digital strategies and address areas such as ICT and development, broadband plans, IP enabled services, wireless and spectrum policy, the Internet of Things, security, privacy and Internet governance.

Pepper was Chief of the Office of Plans and Policy and Chief of Policy Development at the FCC for 16 years beginning in 1989 where he led teams designing and implementing the first U.S. spectrum auctions, developing policies promoting the development of the Internet, implementing telecommunications legislation, and planning for the transition to digital television. Before joining the FCC, Pepper was Director of the Annenberg Washington Program in Communications Policy. His government service also included Acting Associate Administrator at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and initiating a program on Computers, Communications and Information Policy at the National Science Foundation. His academic appointments included faculty positions at the Universities of Iowa, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, and as a research affiliate at Harvard University. He chairs the U.S. Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy and has served on the board of the U.S. Telecommunications Training Institute, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Spectrum Management Advisory Committee and the UK’s OFCOM Spectrum Advisory Board. Pepper received his BA. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


William J. Drake

University of Zurich

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William J. Drake is an International Fellow and Lecturer in the Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research at the University of Zurich. He is also a member of the Nominating Committee of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN); a member of the inaugural Coordination Committee of the NETmundial Initiative; a faculty member of the European and South schools on Internet governance; and an Affiliated Researcher at the Institute for Tele-Information, Columbia University.

Marco Hogewoning


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Marco Hogewoning is External Relations Officer - Technical Advisor with the RIPE NCC. As part of the External Relations team, he helps lead the RIPE NCC's engagement with membership, the RIPE community, government, law enforcement and other Internet stakeholders.

Marco joined the RIPE NCC in 2011, working for two years in the Training Services team. Prior to joining the RIPE NCC, he worked as a Network Engineer for various Dutch Internet Service Providers. As well as designing and operating the networks, he was also involved in running the Local Internet Registries.

During 2009 and 2010, Marco worked on introducing native IPv6 as a standard service on the XS4ALL DSL network. In November 2010, this project was awarded a Dutch IPv6 award. More recently, he has contributed to the MENOG / RIPE NCC IPv6 Roadshow, a hands-on training initiative in the Middle East.

Marco has been involved with the RIPE community since 2001 and was involved with various policy proposals over that period. In February 2010, he was appointed by the RIPE community as one of the RIPE IPv6 Working Group Co-Chairs.

Anupam Chander

University of California, Davis

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Anupam Chander is Director of the California International Law Center and Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Law at the University of California, Davis. A graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School, he has been a visiting professor at Yale, Chicago, Stanford, and Cornell. The author of The Electronic Silk Road (Yale University Press), he has published widely in the nation’s leading law journals, including the Yale Law Journal, the NYU Law Review, and the California Law Review. He practiced law in New York and Hong Kong with Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. He served on the executive council of the American Society of International Law and serves as a judge for the Stanford Junior International Faculty Forum. The recipient of Google Research Awards and an Andrew Mellon grant on the topic of surveillance, he is a member of the ICTSD/World Economic Forum E15 expert group on the digital economy and the World Economic Forum expert group on Internet fragmentation.

Deji Olukotun

Access Now

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As a member of the advocacy team, Deji Bryce Olukotun (email: [email protected]) manages Access Now's global campaigns on fighting internet shutdowns, the open internet, cybersecurity, and ensuring that our fundamental rights are respected online. He came from the literary and human rights organization PEN American Center, where he founded PEN's digital freedom program and managed its capacity-building work in Myanmar, South Africa, Haiti, and Nigeria. He holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School, a BA from Yale University, and dual masters degrees in Creative Writing and Justice & Transformation from the University of Cape Town, where he was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. He has also worked as corporate counsel for a small technology startup. An avid writer, Deji is the author of the novel Nigerians in Space (Unnamed Press) and After the Flare (forthcoming, 2017). His work has been featured in The Atlantic, NPR, The New York Times, and Vice.

Greta Byrum

New America

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As director of the Resilient Communities program at New America, Greta Byrum reimagines the way we design, build, and manage local systems to support local residents as leaders, organizers, and preparedness experts. Her collaborative projects build from the urban planning, design, emergency preparedness, tech, policy, organizing, and media fields to create and support flexible, resilient communications infrastructure.

Byrum currently leads Resilient Networks for RISE : NYC, a project funded by New York City's Economic Development Corporation. Resilient Networks provides training, tools, and equipment to community organizations in six Sandy-impacted New York City neighborhoods so they can build storm-hardened local WiFi. The project is based on Byrum's earlier field research in New York, the Gulf Coast, and the Silicon Valley region showing that in disaster and emergency situations, local residents and community media organizations are often the most critical first responders.

Previously, Byrum provided leadership for the field team at New America’s Open Technology Institute, co-developing and co-piloting the “Digital Stewardship” approach to community technology with partners in Detroit and Brooklyn. While at OTI, Byrum also produced a suite of recommendations for community-led broadband planning, developed an impact evaluation plan for the nationwide public-private partnership EveryoneOn, and contributed to evaluations of other broadband programs including Federal stimulus projects in Detroit and Philadelphia.

Byrum's public speaking includes a keynote for the 2013 American Planning Association annual conference and talks at Moogfest 2016, the Meeting of the Minds Detroit 2014, SXSW 2015 and 2016, Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, World Town Planning, Columbia University, the Personal Democracy Forum, and the long-running online urban planning course “Technicity.” Her writing on resilience and community technology has been featured in the Atlantic, Slate, and Real Clear Policy.

Byrum’s other activities include micro-radio broadcasting, poetry, and art. As co-creator of the curatorial team dBfoundation, she has exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, and around the world. She holds an MS in urban planning from Columbia University and an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Greta is also a 2017 Loeb fellow with the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where she will focus on democratizing communication systems for communities negatively affected by climate change and systemic inequity.

Micaela Klein

Senior Advisor for Internet Policy, U.S. Department of State

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Micaela Klein is the Senior Advisor for Internet Policy to the U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy at the U.S. Department of State. In this role, Micaela leads the U.S. government's efforts on Internet governance and cyber policy at the International Telecommunication Union and other international fora. She is currently a fellow in the U.S. Senate where she serves as an advisor on technology, telecommunications, and cyber policy to Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI). Prior to the State Department, Micaela worked at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security where she served as the Program Manager for Internet Policy in the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications. Micaela holds a BA from Dartmouth College in Government and Arabic.

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