Post Global

Civil society statement on draft NETmundial outcome document

April 11, 2014 ,

This post was originally published on BestBits.net. Public Knowledge has signed onto this document. Please visit the post on BestBits to endorse this document.

The undersigned members of the Best Bits coalition welcome the “Draft Outcome Document” that has been produced by the NETmundial Executive Multistakeholder Committee (EMC) and was submitted to the High Level Multistakeholder Committee on April 3, which we consider generally captures a balanced account of the wide range of contributions submitted by all stakeholders groups through the open process developed for the NETmundial platform.

We would like to reinforce the following points from the draft document as a non-exhaustive list of priorities critical for the EMC and the Chair and Co-chairs to take into account and maintain in the structure of the draft as they develop the next version.

1) Internet Governance Principles
Human Rights

We welcome the fact that the draft acknowledges the quintessential importance of human rights, in particular the essential point that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online. Human rights should be a foundation of Internet Governance, and all Internet Governance Principles and Processes should be underpinned by and in line with human rights. We underscore that the final outcome of NETmundial must recognize the inextricable link between human rights and Internet governance principles, policies and processes. Open and inclusive processes depend upon the freedoms of expression and association and are empowered by them.

Privacy

We reinforce our support for the affirmation of the right to privacy in the draft text. Privacy is a fundamental human right, and is central to the maintenance of democratic societies. It is essential to human dignity and it reinforces other rights, such as freedom of expression and information, and freedom of association, and is recognised under international human rights law.

Surveillance

We also endorse the explicit note about the need to avoid “arbitrary or unlawful collection of personal data and surveillance” by States with the collaboration of the business sector. It is of crucial importance in rebuilding trust amongst stakeholders that mass and arbitrary surveillance programs are brought into alignment with human rights jurisprudence and principles, and that transparency and oversight are strengthened.[0]

Development and Access to the Internet

We welcome the inclusion of development among the human rights that underpin internet governance principles . The Internet is an enabler and catalyst of human rights, and, ultimately, to the right to development. As such, we believe it is important to include a reference to the right to digital inclusion and affordable, high-quality access to the internet in the non-exclusive list of principles.

Internet Infrastructure

We endorse the inclusion of principles related to preserve a globally interoperable, secure, stable, resilient, sustainable, and trustworthy Internet. While we acknowledge that neutrality is included in this section, we would like to see an explicit reference to the concept and term “net neutrality” as a core principle. The application of all these principles is essential to ensure universal and affordable high-quality brodband access.

2) Roadmap for the Future of the Internet Governance

We welcome the approach of the “Draft Outcome Document” in making recommendations on ways to improve the Internet Governance framework so it can serve as a catalyst for sustainable development and promotion of human rights.

We affirm our support for the draft document’s mentions of Internet governance processes and institutions in which decisions are inclusive, open, informed, transparent and accountable, with the full involvement of all stakeholders, and stress that it is particularly important to ensure meaninful participation, with gender and regional balance and the inclusion of marginalized voices.

NTIA transition and ICANN

We support the draft’s acknowledgement of the announced IANA transition away from U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and its emphasis on the importance of including all stakeholders in the convening process, including those beyond ICANN bodies and I* organizations. It is important that the global multistakeholder community be able to participate in the discussion about the transition and in the transition proposal itself. Further it is important to reinforce the need for improved effectiveness, transparency and accountability of ICANN in the globalization process, as well as the separation of the policy development process and the IANA operations.

Distributive and Coordinated Internet Governance

We strongly welcome the option put forward in the draft of multi-stakeholder Internet governance coordination mechanisms, and we suggest it is reinforced as a recommendation, not only as an option “recommendable to analyze”.

Further analysis, monitoring and information sharing about and within the internet governance architecture as a whole is duly needed. It might help us to identify weaknesses and gaps in the coverage of important issues and, in light of empirical evidence, would help us evaluate the merits of any alternative decision making processes. A multi-stakeholder coordination mechanism could also be useful to promote dialogue, build consensus or at least provide inputs into other processes tasked with actual decision making.

IGF

We support the mentions about the need to strengthen the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and to extend its mandate making it a permanent multi-stakeholder forum.

Issues dealing with specific Internet Governance topics

We reinforce the need to continue working on a multistakeholder dialogue to pursue institutional solutions to mass and arbitrary surveillance in order to guarantee the realization of several internet governance principles highlighted as fundamental in the draft outcome.

Finally, we welcome the idea that the NETmundial findings and outcomes feed into other processes and forums, such as WSIS+10, IGF and other Internet governance discussions.

We acknowledge the work done by the EMC and, as this is a non-exhaustive list of priority issues that we would like to reinforce, and we look forward to contributing further with specific text on subsequent drafts.

[0] www.necessaryandproportionate.org; Judgment in Joined Cases C – 293/12 and C – 594/12 Digital Rights Ireland and Seitlinger and Others.