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    Inside Views
    Inside Views: Ten Questions About Internet Governance

    Published on 22 April 2014 @ 8:13 pm

    Disclaimer: the views expressed in this column are solely those of the authors and are not associated with Intellectual Property Watch. IP-Watch expressly disclaims and refuses any responsibility or liability for the content, style or form of any posts made to this forum, which remain solely the responsibility of their authors.

    Intellectual Property Watch

    By Juan Alfonso Fernández González

    On April 23 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the “Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance,” also known as “NETmundial” in an allusion to the global football event that will occur later in that country, will be convened. Juan Alfonso Fernández González of the Communications Ministry of Cuba and a veteran of the UN internet governance meetings, raises 10 questions that need to be answered at NETmundial.

    According to the website of the event the meeting “will focus on crafting Internet Governance principles and proposing a roadmap for the further evolution of the Internet governance ecosystem.” [1]

    The organizers of the event have received at least 187 contributions with a variety of proposals, both for the set of Internet governance principles, as to the way forward for the evolution of the Internet governance ecosystem. [2]

    But it is indisputable that the announcement by the United States government of its intention to transfer their functions with regard to the management of Internet domain names and addresses towards the “global multistakeholder community” will mark the debate at the event.

    The US press release [3] says that this decision is taken to “support and enhance the multistakeholder model of Internet policymaking and governance”.

    1) What exactly is the multistakeholder model of Internet policymaking and governance?

    Although until now this question has not been answered, some consider that in this “model” the different actors: governments, the private or corporate sector, civil society and academia, participate on an equal footing, but this view is not consistent with the agreements reached at the World Summit on the Information Society, according to which states have the responsibility for public policy issues.

    This aspect of the roles and responsibilities of the different actors regarding Internet governance was much discussed in both phases of the World Summit on the Information Society, finally reaching a definition thereof which was reflected in the final documents of the Summit. [4]

    2) Will the definition agreed by the Heads of State and Government in the two phases of the World Summit on the Information Society on the roles and responsibilities of the different actors with regard to Internet governance no longer be valid?

    If this is the case, as some advocate, then:

    3) Will the dominant Internet companies have the same roles and responsibilities as States in Internet-related public policy issues?

    Another question that arises is:

    4) What will be the international Internet governance institutional framework?

    And related to this:

    5) What will be the role of the United Nations and its agencies such as the ITU, UNESCO, WIPO and the regional economic commissions?

    Turning to substantive issues, many of the contributions submitted to the NETmundial appear the claim to defend the rights of Internet users to privacy and freedom of expression.

    6) Will other equally important rights such as the right to development, the right to knowledge and the respect for the cultural and linguistic diversity and identity also be defended?

    On the other hand, there exists a set of issues related to Internet governance that are barely mentioned in the submitted contributions and which are of interest to developing countries.

    7) Will the issue of the inequity of the Internet economic model, where all payments flow from the underdeveloped countries towards the developed countries despite the fact that the information flows in both directions, be addressed?

    8) Will the issue of the economic sustainability of Internet in the developing countries be examined, with the aim that the Internet itself could generate the resources for its development both of infrastructure and of contents?

    9) Will the need to strengthen international collaboration and increase the amount of aid from developed to underdeveloped countries for the development of their Internet infrastructure be discussed?

    There are many more questions that might be raised to be debated, but there is one that summarizes them all:

    10) Will the commercialization of the Internet continue, turning the users into paying customers and promoting in an hegemonic a way single culture or will Internet become a tool for development, for human enrichment and the dissemination of cultural and linguistic diversity?


    Juan Alfonso Fernández González is a Senior Advisor in the Ministry of Communications of Cuba and an Assistant Professor in the University of Informatics Sciences. He was a member of the United Nations Working Group on Internet Governance and participated actively in the negotiating process for the outcome documents of both phases of the World Summit on the Information Society.

    References:

    [1]       NETmundial. http://netmundial.br

    [2]       NETmundial contributions. http://content.netmundial.br/docs/contribs

    [3]       “NTIA Announces Intent to Transition Key Internet Domain Name Functions”, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Press release, March 14, 2014. http://www.ntia.doc.gov/press-release/2014/ntia-announces-intent-transition-key-internet-domain-name-functions

    [4]       See Paragraph 49 of Geneva Declaration of Principles, http://www.itu.int/wsis/docs/geneva/official/dop.html and Paragraph 35 of the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, http://www.itu.int/wsis/docs2/tunis/off/6rev1.html

     

     


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    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
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