David Satola, lead counsel for the World Bank, and keynote speaker at the Koley Lecture, says “We are stuck with multi-stakeholders.”
Annual Koley Lecture
Satola: ‘We Are in Another Scissors Crisis’
By Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record
The weather finally cooperated on February 28, giving David Satola, lead counsel for the World Bank, a second chance to deliver Creighton University School of Law’s annual Koley Lecture. (He was originally scheduled for Feb. 21.)
The topic of his lecture: “Regulation of Online Freedom: International Internet Governance and Human Rights.”
He began with a slide of two events: The Peace of Westphalia of 1648 and the 2012 World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai.
In the former, we see the rise of nation states; in the other, how we structure international relations, he said. The people in both photos look equally bored, he commented, which is a shame because both are “doing important stuff.”
Next, he revealed a slide of the so-called “scissors crisis,” an economic event that took place in the U.S.S. R. in 1923, during which the two axes of Soviet society – the agricultural producers and the industrial producers – were “going in different ways.”
Leon Trotsky was trying to find a way to “close the scissors.” “We are in another ‘scissors crisis,’” Satola said. But this one involves the rise of the nation state and the arc of human rights.
One of the key concerns today is how to balance human rights while maintaining security, he said. Our own Patriot Act made us aware of the difficulties involved in this endeavor.
Another issue to consider is “multi-stakeholderism,” which essentially means bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders and making sure that everyone can be involved with making policy.
“The debate has changed, moving up and to the center of international policy,” he said. “Now that IG issues are better understood, the emotional temperature has dropped. They are now being challenged in another form; it now includes military and business leaders.”
After revealing a slide of the French Declaration of Rights from 1789, which was the first time that rights against the state were recorded, he turned to discussion about The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948, or, more specifically, Articles 12 and 19 of that document.
The former article deals with the issue of privacy, he said, and the latter with the “right to express oneself, and to receive and impart information and ideas across borders.”
In the last 60 or so years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted, various countries and groups have questioned its continued applicability. For instance, in May 2011, Frank La Rue, a special rapporteur to the UN, stated in a report that “given that the Internet has become an indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights, combating inequality, and accelerating development and human progress, ensuring universal access to the Internet should be a priority for all states.”
The issue of “net neutrality” has become a big debate in the center of our country, with content providers and carriers trying to figure out who should bear the costs, Satola said.
“The Verizons of this world said that Google should pay for it; Google said no. This is a free speech issue, and it’s really a human rights issue.”
Cairo, for instance, is one place where the Internet has been used as an organizing and rallying tool. But it is also a place where we’ve seen crackdowns on freedoms. As anti-government protesters and police clashed, the powers-that-be shut off the Internet. “Controlling Internet traffic is a way to control free speech,” he said.
In 2011, the Council of Europe stated in its draft on Internet Governance Principles that “users should have the greatest possible access to Internet-based content, applications and services of their choice, whether or not they are offered free of charge, using suitable devices of their choice.
“Any traffic management measure or privilege should be nondiscriminatory, justified by overriding public interest, and must meet the requirements of international law on the protection of freedom of expression and access to information.”
Satola returned to the issue of multi-stakeholderism. At the World Summit on the Information Society, or WSIS (2005), for instance, the powers-that-be recognized that all governments have an equal role and responsibility for international governance, and that they needed to develop public policy in consultation with all stakeholders.
The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was created to accomplish this and to “foster and enable multi-stakeholder dialogue on public policy issues.”
Input was encouraged from governments, the private sector, NGOs, IGOs, the technical community, academia, and civil society. “There was no single point of control,” he said. “The model is more directly representative. There are a lot of actors involved.”
Finally, Satola talked a bit about the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) in 2012. Apparently, the situation became rather heated, when several nations – China, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Algeria, and Egypt – stated that they wanted to have more power over the Internet’s laws and infrastructure.
Currently, much of the power over the working of the Internet takes place within the United States. This country also decides who runs the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which itself “coordinates the Domain Name System, Internet Protocol addresses, space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic and country code Top-Level Domain name system management, and root server system management functions.”
So what will be the impact of WCIT 2012?
“I don’t know,” Satola said. “We’re facing a round of discussions in perpetuity. I don’t know the answers to these questions. They pose difficulties for us. It’s a very complicated situation.”
We might end up looking to the example set by the “third largest country by population,” which just happens to be Facebook.
“This is ‘soft law,’” he said. “They force us to behave in certain ways online that affect our rights. We are stuck with multi-stakeholders, and human rights are a feature of this. It’s not going away. I don’t know where any of this is going.”
Satola is lead counsel in the World Bank Legal Department, where he has global responsibility for legal aspects of reforms in formation and communications technologies, including telecommunications, the Internet and e-Commerce. His work focuses on legal aspects of the enabling environment for ICTs, infrastructure and services, Internet governance, new technologies, competition regulation involving ICTs, Critical Infrastructure/Network Security and Alternative Dispute Resolution.
He was seconded from the Bank to the UN’s Working Group on Internet Governance and acts as the Bank’s Observer to ICANN’s Government Advisory Committee, the Multistakeholder Advisory Group of the UN’s Internet Governance Forum secretariat as well as to the UNCITRAL’s Working Group on e-Commerce. He is chair of the Internet Governance Task Force of the Cyberlaw Committee of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association.
Satola received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University, his J.D. from the University of Wisconsin, and he studied at the London School of Economics and the Hague Academy of International Law.
The Koley Lecture series is named in honor of James L. Koley, 1954 alumnus of Creighton University School of Law. The James L. Koley ’54 Scholarship in Constitutional Law honors the career of Koley, and is awarded annually to a second- or third-year law student who has demonstrated an aptitude and interest in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and related constitutional issues.
This year, prior to Satola’s lecture, this scholarship was awarded to Wm. Grant Mullin. The award was presented by Shaun McGaughey, executive vice president of the Koley Jessen law firm.
The lecture took place from 3 to 4 p.m. in the newly remodeled Gross Appellate Courtroom in the Ahmanson Law Center.
Wm. Grant Mullin, left, the 2013 recipient of the James L. Koley '54 Scholarship, accepts the award from Richard D. Vroman of Koley Jensen law firm.