European Chapters Meeting on 9-10 May 2019

(Reported by Louise Marie Hurel)

Representatives and fellows from the European ISOC Chapters met in Bucharest, Romania (full agenda here) from 9-10 May 2019. The two-day discussions covered topics such as encryption, Internet consolidation, IoT, Internet of food, and stimulated an inclusive and dynamic exchange on Internet Society’s 2025 long-term strategic planning. 

It is important to note that the European Chapters meeting was held right after two significant events in the region, the Consumers International Summit (Portugal) and SEEDIG (Romania), both of which played a fundamental role to advancing the regional discussions on cross-pollination between ISOC’s work on Trust by Design and Consumer Rights. However, the European Chapters Meeting provided a space for closer and open interactions between representatives from all across the region, stimulating knowledge exchange about initiatives, projects and efforts therein. It also allowed Chapter leaders and fellows to share some of the challenges and lessons-learned from recent activities, and provide feedback to ISOC’s report on Internet consolidation and strategic long-term vision. 

The first session on Internet consolidation, led by ISOC Policy Advisor, Carl Gahnberg, was followed by a breakout group discussion covering specific areas such as technical challenges, new traffic patterns, economic dependency, and regulatory responses to consolidation. Similarly, the dialogue on the long-term strategic view was an important moment for members to engage in identifying and commenting on what are the key trends and challenges that ISOC should be attentive to in the years ahead. One of the main issues raised at this moment was the concern with geopolitical tensions over the Internet infrastructure and sustainability of the Internet economy. 

The meeting was also an excellent opportunity to hear from emerging Special Interest Groups (SIG), such as the Community Networks SIG and the Internet of Food SIG. Both paint quite different perspectives of a data-driven future, one where there is an opportunity to visualise an alternative, bottom-up, and community-driven infrastructure and interface to Internet access, and another that is profoundly marked by global economic and environmental challenges. Johan Jörgensen, Chair of the Internet of Food SIG, gave a thought-provoking presentation on how data will change the way in which we will interact with food; in particular, how quantification and data-optimisation can place service provision above food consumption. Within this forward-looking scenario, the Internet of Food SIG seeks to draw attention to the micro-level control of health, vitamins, bodies, and how that will ultimately determine what people should* eat based on the scalability of new business models of the so-called “quantified self”.   

During the IoT Trust and security discussions and final sessions, Chapters shared their recent developments. We noted the previous work of ISOC UK England Chapter in this area, highlighting the event at the House of Lords on “How do we build trust between engineers and politicians in securing the Internet of Things (IoT)?”, the recent DCMS “Consultation on regulatory proposals for Consumer IoT Security” (and whose results are to be published by the end of 2019), and the upcoming UK-IGF in October

For the full streaming of the ISOC European Chapters meeting:

Agenda here

Video Recording of the two days: