A New Model For Internet Governance Is In The Air

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By Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch

Brazilian Minister of Communications Paolo Bernado Silva, during the opening session of this week’s 8th Internet Governance Forum in Bali, Indonesia, announced that the goal of the Internet Governance Summit in Brazil next spring will be to find a new model for internet governance.

Referring to the anger in Brazil about the revelations of mass surveillance, Silva said, “we do not just want any internet.” After a decade of unilateralism and centralism, a move towards a more democratic and inclusive model is necessary, Silva said. Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) President and CEO Fadi Chehadé agreed: “The status quo is not sustainable.”

The planned summit in Brazil, jointly announced with ICANN, will be open to all stakeholders, both said. Silva underlined that what the model will look like is also open. Silva’s speech is available here [pdf, scroll down for English].

US Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy Danny Sepulveda, in his opening speech, said that while the US is open to the evolution of the internet governance model, one should guard against centralised and institutionalised control of the net. Reacting to the surveillance allegations, Sepulveda said: “I can assure you the US government is taking your concerns very seriously.”

Thomas Gass, assistant secretary-general for policy coordination and inter-agency affairs in UN DESA, also criticised mass surveillance in his opening address.

Speaking for civil society and the World Wide Web Foundation, Nnenna Nwakanma warned: “We seem to be moving farther from human rights as we move further on the internet governance process.” Human rights and civil society participation need to have a comeback at the IGF and be kept at centre stage, Nwakamma said.

Human rights issues, surveillance, as well as how the multi-stakeholder cooperation should be shaped are the topics of many panels until Friday.

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