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Panel Highlights – Reports on each session featuring key takeaways from each panel


Dr. David Farber

Dr. David Farber

Adjunct Professor of Internet Studies and Distinguished Career Professor of Computer Science, school of Computer Science and Adjunct Professor of Engineering and Public Policy, College of Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University.

Prof. Farber has long been a prominent defender of the Internet and has been involved in both critical policy and technology deliberations, including his role as Chief Technologist for the FCC; mentor to many Internet pioneers and as an adviser to companies and governments.

His students, including Jon Postel, Paul Mockapetris and David Sincoskie, among others, have contributed much towards making the Internet a vital economic and political force. Farber played a key role in many systems that converged into today’s Internet, including the National Science Foundation’s CSNet, in addition to helping to plan and develop NSFNet and NREN, efforts that led to the development of the current commercial Internet.

Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda

Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda

U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, U.S. Department of State

Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy. In this capacity, Sepulveda has served as a Vice Chair to the 2016 OECD Ministerial Meeting on the Digital Economy, and as the lead U.S. negotiator for the 2015 World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) +10 Review, a United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting. Sepulveda led the U.S. delegation to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Busan Plenipotentiary Conference in 2014 and the ITU World Telecommunication Policy Forum in 2013, and has served as the lead coordinator for multiple bilateral dialogues with international counterparts.

Prior to joining the State Department in 2012, Sepulveda served as a Senior Advisor and member of Senator John Kerry’s senior management team. In that role, his portfolio included managing issues related to commerce, trade, and business, including Senator Kerry’s work as Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet.

To close out IGF-USA 2016, Dr. David Farber and Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda gave their reflection on the day. Dr. Farber began by discussing the profound impact that trade agreements, the TPP in particular, may have have on the Internet. He noted that there are certain policy within these agreements that do not have a clear means of implementation, highlighting the disconnect between technology and trade policy. He urged people to follow these developments, because issues such as data localization policies could have a meaningful, long-term impact on the way the Internet operates.

Dr. Farber also addressed the issue of Broadband Access and the underlying assumption that the speeds we have today will satisfy the needs of tomorrow. He posed that we may be approaching some significant changes in the Internet that are technically driven by advances in areas like virtual reality, which may have demands for speeds in the terabits range. He noted that our current protocols do not work well at those and that this was something that will need to be dealt with.

One of his biggest worries is that of security. He points out that while we have built an amazing infrastructure that powers our economy, safety, government, and more, but we do not have the ability to adequately secure it. In other words, we have critical resources running on resources that we cannot protect. He urged us to start paying attention to this issue, because it will be critical in the future of the Internet.

Ambassador Sepulveda began by speaking about the Global IGF and its important role as a venue for timely discussions on cross-cutting issues facing the Internet and noted the milestone achieved when at the WIS +10, the United Nations General Assembly agreed to renew the mandate of the IGF for ten years. He praised the IGF-USA for being just as timely and useful at a national level. He noted that there were a diverse set of voices and new approaches to existing discussions, such as finding room for both privacy and security, instead of looking for a balance that limits both.

He encouraged the work of the Sustainability Working Group and its efforts to ensure that the U.S. continues to play a meaningful role in the global discussions. When comparing the state of Internet governance to that of 2014, he pointed out all of important events that have passed that were viewed as potential threats to the multistakeholder model and that each time the community found a way to overcome it.

As we look forward to 2016 and beyond, he pointed to the IGF’s renewed mandate as an opportunity to ensure its growth and prosperity. He outlined all of the positive changes that the IGF has made in increasing transparency and producing more tangible outcomes. Another major opportunity is closing the digital divide through projects like the Global Connect Initiative, which has the goal of connecting an additional 1.5 billion people online globally by 2020.

Ambassador Sepulveda also stressed the importance of making the Internet p[olicy discussions more inclusive, particularly when it comes to the developing world, as well as young people and entrepreneurs. Ultimately, he expressed the importance of us to continue to engage in the discussions and to contribute to the future developments of the Internet to ensure its openness and all of the benefits that come along with that.

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