I graduated with Bachelors of Law (LL.B Hons.) majoring in Cyber Law and Sport Law from Multimedia University, Melaka, Malaysia. I was an exchange student studying Nordic Innovation and Business Promenade in Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland. I was also the first Malaysian academic fellow of Hansen Summer Institute of University of San Diego, California where I was intensely trained on leadership and international cooperation for a month. I am currently one of the three Malaysian representatives at UNESCO Youth and Sport Task Force developing digital, innovative and sustainable sport solutions to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Individual Report on EuroSSIG 2021
1) The Journey to Meissen
Due to COVID-19 pandemic complications, it has been extremely challenging for me to make this trip possible. Thankfully with the support of EuroSSIG, I managed to get the invitation letter much earlier than anticipated to obtain the required exit permit and also to apply for a European Medicine Agency-approved vaccination appointment to make it to Meissen.
Throughout this process, communications with EuroSSIG have been rather clear and we managed to agree on a flexible travel support arrangement to make my Meissen visit from Malaysia a reality.
Overall, I’m pleasantly surprised by EuroSSIG working very hard to make this event possible with the best possible COVID-19 mitigation measures in a fantastic historical location such as Meissen.
2) Fantastic EUROSSIG 2021 fellowship Cohort
It has been an extremely mesmerising experience for me to meet young professionals and future internet governance leaders from prominent organisations, foreign governments, civil society leaders and academics.
The diversity among the cohort, particularly from outside Europe despite this supposedly Europe-oriented event leaves a deep impression on me. This is especially so when to the best of my knowledge, many other regional internet governance schools have been rather exclusive in their regional participation criteria.
I strongly believe this approach adopted by EuroSSIG in trying to bring people from different corners of the world together for a meaningful platform to discuss internet governance is something extremely valuable. It is the only correct pathway that multilevel stakeholder discussion tries to be as inclusive as possible which is extremely important in bridging differences and understandings among parties with different vested interests and cultural understandings.
As a representative from Malaysia, it has been a great honour for me to make connections with everyone from faculty members to the fellows in advancing my worldview not just in internet governance but also around different cultural complications in understanding why we perceive things differently.
Meeting the former General Manager of the organisation who runs .au, parliament member from the Gambia, Dutch and German government officials, to name a few, has been fascinating to me in terms of understanding what the policymakers from different jurisdictions think about the internet world.
In addition, meeting human rights activists from law schools and civil society organisations has been a valuable experience for me to understand the holistic perspectives on why they do not desire certain changes of our internet world.
I expected EuroSSIG to be more European-focused, but the diversity of the cohort has really proven my initial expectations inaccurate and of course, I’m pleasantly surprised by the dynamic cohort group which shapes the programme in the best possible way.
3) Hybrid model of EUROSSIG was a major success
As a small medium enterprise (SME) entrepreneur who works on certain aspects of digitalisation, I have learned a lot about how the big decisions behind digitalisation of our world have been made from a policy making to a commercial level. SMEs often lack voices and representations to voice out our opinions in important discussions to build common understanding on the future of internet development. For this particular reason, I have enjoyed EuroSSIG even more as it opens doors for me to listen to lectures and sharing’s from some of the world’s most prominent experts in the biggest global companies such as Verisign and Facebook to better understand their corporate perspectives in developing the world of internet.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, this would not be possible had EuroSSIG not adopted a hybrid model which makes active participation from these representatives possible through the internet. The many lectures and sharing done through webinars have been successful, smooth and the Q&A sessions provide a fantastic opportunity to stay engaged.
This hybrid model has opened doors to make this event more inclusive with more voices being heard and therefore, it is absolutely a right decision from EuroSSIG. I’m quite confident that like myself, other participants have equally enjoyed this model of participation very much and gained great values from it.
4) Good debates on some issues
There were some amazing debates done especially as regards to the role of government in developing our internet as well as the right to privacy involving certain governmental and private sector abuses.
Coming from a country where the government has been extremely proactive in providing extremely strong leadership in the internet development, these debates have been interesting considering that depending on where one is from, we may have different level of trusts and experiences with our respective governments and companies in developing the internet.
This level of debate also extends to the right to privacy of individual issues. In particular, the European perspectives on GDPR has been fascinating for me to understand. Some meaningful debates have taken place over the more restrictive approaches of data use adopted by the EU and whether it has been an overall good or bad trajectory, especially since Europe has been very much lagging behind the USA and China in producing the world’s most influential IT companies.
5) Geopolitical context of internet governance was spot on
The emphasis by the EuroSSIG founder, Wolfgang Kleinwaechter, that the internet governance of the present and future will always be tied with geopolitics between the USA and China has been spot on. As someone from Malaysia where we have strong influences from both countries and their tech companies, I could not have felt this geopolitical conflict impact much more. Discussions on controversial decisions such as the Great Firewall internet censorship adopted by certain countries for ‘cyber sovereignty’ has been rather interesting. The exclusion of Huawei to participate in 5G development in certain parts of the world for geopolitical reasons have also sparked some interesting discussions and reinforces the fact that geopolitics has played a major role in such decisions, even if it may be at odds with technical facts sometimes.
6) Favourite lecture(s):
The domain name registration and the legal conflicts arising out of it have been among the lectures which has left the deepest impression on me. The lecture offers fascinating insights on how domain name has been used for commercial purposes especially for prominent brands and locations to install a strong sense of brand identity. This is very valuable for someone from the private sector like me to understand and potentially tap into these underlying opportunities in the future. Getting to know such processes and bureaucratic hurdles better prepares us technically to tap into this interesting opportunity that most people from outside the internet sector would not have, otherwise, been exposed to.
The discussion of cybersecurity from a human rights perspective especially as regards to tightening internet regulations in the hopes of controlling illegal cyber activities have been equally fascinating to me. It is nice to hear a strong opinion from the civil society representatives on the balance needed to require stronger government interventions that may encroach on our individual civil liberties in that regard.
7) Incredible social activities
The social activities available have proven to be very successful in fostering great bonding within strict COVID-19 mitigation protocols. The Meissen city tour gave me an insight into how this old town came to prominence with its rich cultural heritages. The bonfire evening in which we all shared our songs and music from our home countries to get to know each other’s cultural heritage was very enjoyable and the perfect ice-breaking event. The vineyard visit tasting the finest wine that the Saxony region has to offer is certainly a great bonding session among the fellows and faculty members. In a town like Meissen where it is less happening compared to bigger cities, the most suitable social activities which mostly involve food and drinks in a comfortable environment means each one of us has more than enough time to get to know each other reasonably well on a personal level. This strengthens our personal relationships and helps us brainstorm plans to improve internet governance of the future with little distractions. Any important negotiation would probably not go wrong if organised in Meissen for the same reason, it is extremely hard to leave this town without having an outcome of any kind.