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[liberationtech] Civil Society Statement on the "eG8"

Jochai Ben-Avie jochai at
Fri May 20 14:52:45 PDT 2011

Hi everyone,

Many of you may be aware that next week the G8 will be meeting in France.
President Sarkozy – who holds the rotating G8 Presidency this year – has
organized an “eG8” immediately before the G8summit, with a view to shaping
the G8 agenda regarding key global internet policy issues. Indded, this is
the first year that the internet’s role in society and the economy is
explicitly on the G8 agenda.

To express our concerns about this event a number of organizations have put
together and signed a civil society statement *(full text below)* including
Access, Reporters without Borders, EFF, Witness, Mobile Active, May
First/People Link, The Guardian Project, Digital Democracy, ATTAC, LQDN,
EDRi, APC, and Open Rights Group.* *

*Other organizations wish to sign? Please send me an email by this Monday,
May 23rd. Full text of the letter is below and at:*

If there are *individuals* who want to support efforts to influence the G8,
please consider signing Access’ petition around this campaign:

Thanks so much.




Jochai Ben-Avie
Access | Policy Analyst <>
jochai at
+1-888-414-0100 x704 (tel)
JochaiBen-Avie (skype)

*DRAFT Civil Society Statement to the e-G8 and G8*

The signatories of this statement are representatives of civil society from
around the world working towards the promotion of Internet freedom, digital
rights, and open communication.

We understand that the French Presidency of the G8 is holding a G8 internet
meeting -- the "e-G8 Forum" -- immediately before the G8 Summit in
Deauville, with a view to shaping the agenda of the G8 Summit regarding key
global internet policy issues. This meeting is significant in that this is
the first year that the internet’s role in society and the economy is
explicitly on the G8 agenda.

As key world leaders, your policies have a major influence on internet
policy globally. Regrettably, certain policies being implemented in the most
developed economies are undermining the open and neutral internet -- the
very qualities that represent the essence of its democratic and economic
potential. We believe that G8 Member States should use the e-G8 meeting as
an opportunity to publicly commit to expanding internet access for all,
combating digital censorship and surveillance, limiting online intermediary
liability, and upholding principles of net neutrality.

*Internet Access for All*

We are particularly concerned about the increasing trend of nations cutting
off citizens’ access to the Internet and mobile networks in times of crisis,
as Egypt, Libya, Iran, China, Nepal, and Burma have all done. In many if not
all of these countries, we see how important access to the Internet is as a
gateway to a plethora of others civil, political, and fundamental human

Many G8 countries are actively pursuing policies that would similarly seek
to restrict and control access; these policies legitimize actions of
repressive regimes and threaten the core of the internet economy. As many
nations endeavor to improve basic and universal access, the increase of
restrictive policies in both the developed and developing world is a
regressive and deeply worrying trend.

*Freedom from Online Censorship & Surveillance*

Simultaneously, repressive regimes are harnessing the internet’s power for
their own purposes, often with the help of multinational corporations based
in G8 countries. We urge you to end the sale of these technologies both at
home and abroad, and put an end to these gross invasions of user privacy and

*Online Intermediary Liability and Intellectual Property*

To defend freedom of speech online it is critical that we resist mounting
pressure from the entertainment industry and other sectors to impose greater
intermediary liability on online service providers for the actions of their
users (e.g., HADOPI and ACTA).

In this regard, we urge you to follow the example of the Brazilian
government’s Principles for the Governance and Use of the Internet,
specifically #7 which reads: “*All action taken against illicit activity on
the network must be aimed at those directly responsible for such activities,
and not at the means of access and transport, always upholding the
fundamental principles of freedom, privacy and the respect for human rights.

* *

*Net Neutrality*

We further call on you to codify and commit your nations to protecting net
neutrality -- the principle that all web traffic should be treated on an
equitable basis no matter where it originated or the type of data being

These are some of the key Internet governance issues which we feel merit and
require the attention of the G8. We also draw your attention to two
comprehensive declarations of principles we believe should guide nation
states in Internet governance:

●      The *10 Internet Rights and Principles *developed under the aegis of
the Internet Rights and Principles

●      Assembly Declaration of the right of Communication, written at the
World Social Forum

We would also like to highlight our concerns regarding the planning of the
e-G8. We join our voices to the Internet Governance
expresses our collective concern about the lack of representation of civil
society at the e-G8 and G8 meetings this year.

Contrary to current best practices in policymaking, the invite list has been
limited primarily to representatives of government and corporate leaders,
who already enjoy disproportionately large influence over Internet
regulation. Specifically, we are deeply concerned that corporate interests
will dominate discussions at the e-G8 and G8 summits; issues like strict
intellectual property enforcement and increasing online intermediary
liability seem likely to take primacy over citizen-centered policies like
net neutrality, Free Software, and combating online censorship.

As corporations pay $100,000 for seats at the e-G8 table, few
representatives of civil society are present to advocate for the priorities
of citizen-users of the world. We are at a critical point in the history of
the Internet and the struggle for human rights. As the elected leadership of
some of the world’s most powerful nations, we urge you to act now to uphold
and defend the principles of digital rights and internet freedom, not just
for your citizens, but for people all over the world.


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