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[liberationtech] Just Net Coalition Response to NetMundial Outcome Document

michael gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Tue Apr 22 05:05:10 PDT 2014


Please find below and attached the Just Net Coalition's response to the
draft NetMundial Outcome Document.

* Just Net Coalition Response to NetMundial Outcome Document *

President Dilma's Speech in the UN General assembly last September,
resonated throughout the world. It expressed the outrage of the people on
the "grave violation of human rights and of civil liberties", the threat of
"cyberspace being used as a weapon of war" and violation sovereign rights of
countries including Brazil. She expressed the global discontent in the way
the Internet is being currently governed.
She called for protection of data as it travels on the web and multilateral
mechanisms (or UN mechanisms) for the Internet to ensure democratic
governance, cultural diversity, inclusive and non discriminatory societies,
and responsible regulation.

It is in this context within which the NetMundial conference -- on April
23rd-24th -- is taking place in Sao Paulo for which Brazil has taken the
initiative.

Unfortunately, all the above issues that President Dilma highlighted in her
UN speech, are missing from the current draft that is being placed before
the conference. The document fails to mention the word 'democracy' at all -
and instead talks only about the multistakeholder model and governance on
the basis of consensus. This, even though such systems have failed in
protecting the global citizens from drag-net surveillance, the threat of
cyber war and the emergence of global monopolies. Such a model also
completely ignores the concept of public interest in Internet governance.

If we take the pharmaceutical example, a multistakeholder governance would
have meant deciding /by consensus/-- between global pharma, AIDS patients in
the global south and global governments -- what should be the cost of such
lifesaving drugs, without addressing or identifying where public good lies.
Brazil and other countries rejected such an approach and that iswhy people
in the global south today can afford to buy drugs for their treatment. And
who would accept that pharmaceutical companies have equal rights with
respect to decisions on safety and effectiveness of their products?

A model that gives equal rights for public policy to governments, and
corporations, is giving global corporations, a veto to prevent any
meaningful reform and regulation. This is a violation of all democratic
norms and the rights of the people -- their political, economic, social and
cultural rights, essentially surrendering global public interest to private,
unelected, rich and powerful global corporations. How could, for instance,
network neutrality ever be imposed in such a model?

Governments are answerable to their people; corporations to their
shareholders. People and profits cannot be equated through a specific model
of governance. This is what NetMundial must address; not an endorsement of
the status quo but a new beginning in Internet governance; an Internet
governance that must place public good over private profit, protect global
citizens from mass surveillance and the threat of cyber weapons. This is the
leadership role that we would expect President Dilma and Brazil to play in
NetMundial. This is what all countries and groups who believe in democracy,
advancing human rights and social justice and a peaceful world must strive
for in the final outcome document.

The Just Net Coalition has submitted a detailed clause-by-clause amendment
to the Draft of the NetMundial document. We believe that the draft should be
significantly revised to include the following:

1. A democratic and multistakeholder Internet governance model with
different roles and responsibilities for different stakeholders; recognising
that corporations and governments cannot be placed on an equal footing in
governing the Internet.

2. Restoring the reference to the necessary and proportionate principle and
therefore countering the continuation of mass surveillance.

3. Restoring reference to the need for a global compact on prohibition of
cyberwar and cyber weapons.

4. Adding a clear reference to net neutrality principles (the current
reference is too vague and ambiguous, permitting practices such as tiered
access and differential pricing).

5. Addressing emerging increased power of monopolies in the Internet space
with respect to cultural and language diversity, and profiteering, and the
need for regulating such monopolies.

6. Addressing the issue of appropriation and monetisation of data of the
people by corporations.

7. Recognizing the concept of global commons or public good in internet
governance.

8. Rejecting unilateral preconditions on the IANA transition discussions.

We expect that the final outcome document will explicitly foster a
decentralized, free and open, non-hierarchical network of networks, and not
implicitly favour the current trends of Internet governance which are
leading us more and more towards monolithic, centralized walled gardens.
NetMundial must dedicate itself to a roadmap to for an open, robust and
resilient Internet -- acceptable to everyone including the 70 per cent
unconnected majority.


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