BRICS Urged To Create New Model Of Internet Governance 16/07/2014 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch 2 Comments Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)As the governments of the largest emerging economies gather this week in Brazil, a civil society coalition has issued a call for them to lead change in the global system of internet governance in light of revelations of mass surveillance. The groups provide suggestions for constructing a system that ensures human rights, equity and social justice for all people. In a statement to the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, the Just Net Coalition (Coalition for a Just and Equitable Internet) identified shortcomings in the original internet governance model. “The US led model of Internet governance that developed in the unipolar world since the 1990s, resulted in mass surveillance, violation of people’s rights, and an enormous concentration of economic power in the hands of a few US-based global corporations,” the groups said. “This model excludes major sections of the global population from full participation in, and the benefits of, digitally enhanced development. The current governance structures have failed to respond to deep violations of human rights, and overall in ensuring economic equity and social justice.” The BRICS should lead reform of the current internet governance structures dominated by the United States, the coalition said. This should include recognition that freedom of expression and the right to privacy are “fundamental on the internet as elsewhere,” they said. The groups set out several recommendations: Internet related standards and critical resources (including names and numbers) should be developed in a manner that ensures an open and consistent Internet architecture, in conformance with the global public interest, upholding people’s civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, as well as the right to development. It must be ensured that the digital, like the offline realm, is subject to legitimate political authority and jurisdictions and not to private law and policing as is increasingly the norm. Such a regime should be rights based and democratic, as achieved in Brazil through the Marco Civil legislation. The BRICS should call for a Framework Convention on the Internet and take up leadership in developing global Internet-related polices. We welcome the initiative in the UNHRC to develop a treaty for reining in human rights abuse by Trans-National Corporations. The BRICS leadership must strongly support all such initiatives. They must also promote policies that ensure that the Internet is a platform for global sharing of knowledge, and resist the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) intensive Internet governance regimes that are creating huge monopolies and extracting unreasonable and inefficient global economic rents. BRICS countries should lead the development of new open Internet platforms and tools including in the areas like search, operating systems, data storage and cloud services given that they have the necessary skills, large internal markets and political motivation to break with the current mass surveillance and rent-seeking based business models. These should be made available to all as public utilities and in the languages of all peoples. As an Annex to this statement, we provide detailed recommendations to the BRIC countries for taking some concrete steps in this direction. Brave New Post-Snowden World The paper suggests that the BRICS invest in open source software to enable secure communication over the internet, “providing viable alternatives to the US products and services that currently dominate the space.” BRICS countries also should develop new internet platforms and tools, they said. Detailed explanation of the need for FOSS (free and open source software) and new tools is offered in the paper. “[Former NSA employee Edward] Snowden’s revelations have demonstrated the need for secure email, calendaring, messaging, search, file sharing and storage and video systems, which would protect BRICS economic and cultural spaces, as well as leaders and citizens from Five Eyes spying,” they said. A substantive explanation of this position is provided in the paper. Recommended options The group recommended a series of options: 1. A MOU to be agreed and signed among BRICS Science and Technology and IT Ministers establishing the strategic framework for cooperation on science and technology and IT include an explicit commitment to collaborate on open source secure software and communications hardware. 2. BRICS establish a fund to support development of a secure decentralized communications stack of open source software solutions for email, instant messaging, video conferencing and file sharing and storage designed to run on today’s Internet. In particular, ease of use of tools for securely encrypted communication must be improved. 3. BRICS commission a feasibility study on options for collaboration or commissioning a suite of secure software and communications hardware. 4. BRICS commission on-going research into new standards, protocols and technology that could form the basis of a next-generation Internet. With appropriate changes it will in particular be possible to significantly improve the security of “who communicates with whom” metadata. Separately, Brazil also led a high-level meeting in April called NETMundial that sought to consider how to proceed in light of the knowledge of high levels of surveillance and lack of rights on the internet (IPW, ITU/ICANN, 25 April 2014). Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related William New may be reached at email@example.com."BRICS Urged To Create New Model Of Internet Governance" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.