[discuss] NETmundial / Neelie Kroes: My thoughts on NETmundial and the Future of Internet Governance

Andrea Glorioso andrea at digitalpolicy.it
Fri Apr 11 16:04:01 UTC 2014

[ Apologies if you receive this message multiple times ]

Dear all,

you might be interested to read the recent blog post of Neelie Kroes,
Vice-President of the European Commission and member of the High-Level
Multistakeholder Committee of NETmundial, available at
reproduced below.

My thoughts on NETmundial and the Future of Internet Governance
Published by Neelie
Friday, 11/04/2014

As the European Commission clearly stated in its Communication on Internet
Policy and Governance<http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-142_en.htm>of
12 February 2014, conflicting visions on the future of the Internet
on how to strengthen its multistakeholder governance in a sustainable
manner have intensified recently. The next two years will be critical in
redrawing the global map of Internet governance. Europe must contribute to
finding a credible way forward for global internet governance; it must play
a strong role in defining how the internet is run and ensuring it remains a
single, un-fragmented network.

In less than two weeks, I will be travelling to Sao Paulo to attend NETmundial,
the Multi-stakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet
The purpose of NETmundial is to develop principles of Internet governance
and a roadmap for the future development of this ecosystem. This
international conference comes at a very timely moment in the debates on
Internet governance and I commend the Brazilian government, and in
particular President Dilma Rousseff, for taking this important initiative.

I was very pleased that the Brazilian Government asked me to join the
Multi-stakeholder Committee of NETmundial <http://netmundial.br/hlmc/>,
which oversees the overall strategy of the meeting and fosters the
involvement of the international community.

The members of the High-Level Multi-stakeholder Committee recently received
a "draft outcome document", prepared on the basis of the more than 180
comments and submissions <http://content.netmundial.br/docs/contribs>(including
the European Commission) to the conference. A public
consultation on the outcome
going to be launched by the conference organisers very shortly.

In the meantime, I shared my observations on this draft document with my
colleagues in the High-Level Multi-Stakeholder Committee, the co-chairs of
the drafting team and with the secretariat of the conference; in a spirit
of transparency, I would like to also share them with the broader Internet



* KROES Neelie (CAB-KROES)Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2014 7:26 PMTo:
'hlmc at netmundial.br <hlmc at netmundial.br>'Subject: RE: [HLMC] NETmundial
draft outcome document*

*Dear colleagues,*

*I read with great interest the "draft outcome document" for NETmundial
prepared by the Executive Meeting Committee (EMC). I would like to thank
the members of the EMC and the colleagues who supported them for the hard
work that went into drafting the document in such a short amount of time.*

*On behalf of the European Commission, I would like to share with you a
number of observations and considerations, which I trust will be useful as
we move forward towards meeting each other in Sao Paulo in two weeks' time.*

*It is in my view absolutely essential that we make a collective effort to
ensure that the final outcomes of NETmundial are concrete and actionable,
with clear milestones and with a realistic but ambitious timeline. As I had
the occasion to underline throughout my tenure as EU Commissioner for the
Digital Agenda and responsible for EU Internet governance policies - and as
the European Commission clearly asserted in our recent Communication on
Internet Policy and Governance - I strongly believe that we need to put on
the table an evolutionary but concrete agenda for addressing the
limitations - whether real or perceived - of the current multi-stakeholder
model for the governance of the Internet.*

*In this sense, I regret to say that I find the draft outcome document too
abstract and vague when it comes to the proposed roadmap. I understand the
challenges that the EMC had to face in summarising the many contributions
that were submitted, and I trust my remarks will be taken as a constructive
contribution; but I am convinced this outcome document, as it stands, will
be interpreted as putting off necessary discussions - in particular by
those who have different opinion as to the value and effectiveness of the
multi-stakeholder model.*

*To be clear, I am not arguing that all substantive issues should be
"solved" in Sao Paulo. This is neither the purpose of the meeting nor a
realistic achievement to plan for, and indeed we need to have a targeted
number of issues to address over the two days. However, NETmundial should
definitively mark a significant "change of pace" in the discussions and
deliberations that have taken place so far. My own experience in public
service suggests that a necessary condition to achieve such objective is to
start from a substantially more ambitious point of departure than is
currently the case.*

*There are a few other observations on the draft outcome document that I
would like to make at this point in time.*

*First of all, I found some of the language related to human rights
unnecessarily weak. I refer in particular to the passage "Internet
governance should be open, participatory, Multistakeholder,
technology-neutral, sensitive to human rights". We have an obligation to
respect and promote human rights, not merely be "sensitive" to them, and
this should be clearly reflected throughout the outcome document. This
includes, among a number of important issues, the protection of privacy and
personal data protection, which should have a prominent role in the outcome

*Secondly, self-regulation and self-organisation of different stakeholders
are certainly to be preserved and promoted. However, this cannot be to the
detriment of basic democratic principles. It is not sufficient that the
mechanisms through which "different stakeholder groups [...] self-manage
their processes [are] based on publicly known mechanisms", if this results
in the explicit or implicit exclusion of persons in a manner that would
contradict democratic processes.*

*Thirdly, I am glad that the draft outcome document recognises the
importance of distributed institutional models for Internet governance,
avoiding centralised solutions as a default. This is very much in line with
the position of the European Commission that stronger interactions between
stakeholders involved in Internet governance should be fostered via
cross-cutting, issue-based dialogues, instead of through new bodies. This
would allow relevant stakeholders to address specific challenges across
structural and organisational boundaries. Such arrangements should be
inspired by the distributed architecture of the Internet which should serve
as a model for better interactions between all parties.*

*In this light, let me underline that in order for such distributed models
to truly work, especially for people, organisations and countries with
fewer resources to devote to this policy area, it is absolutely essential
that the right ICT tools are globally available. The draft outcome document
does refer to this, in particular in regard to remote participation in
meetings and discussions. I believe we should be more ambitious and look
more carefully at the role that ICTs, including Big Data technologies, can
play in this context. The European Commission is addressing this challenge
via the Global Internet Policy Observatory (GIPO) initiative. I would be
glad to share further details and explore how we could join forces in this
endeavour, possibly as a concrete deliverable of NETmundial.*

*Fourthly, I cannot stress enough how important it is that we keep the
momentum towards a real and effective globalisation of core Internet
functions and decisions. This is perhaps one of the most essential
conditions to satisfy if we want the multi-stakeholder model for Internet
governance to be seen as truly legitimate across the world. I have already
had the occasion to congratulate the United States Government for its
announcement of 14 March 2014, concerning the globalisation of certain IANA
functions; I am therefore pleased that the draft outcome document
specifically mentions the globalisation of both IANA and ICANN. I want
nonetheless to underline that any such movement towards further
globalisation of Internet processes should firmly and explicitly keep the
public interest as a primary condition.*

*I appreciate that the EMC in its proposal has tried to take maximum
account of the contributions received. However, I think that the conference
should not overextend the areas it wants to cover meaningfully. *

*I am not convinced, for example, that the outcome document should or
indeed needs to touch upon issues such as "network neutrality" and the
liability of Internet intermediaries. Both are certainly very important
issues in the overall debate on an open Internet, but are the subject of
detailed discussions elsewhere. *

*On Net Neutrality for example, legislators of the European Union are at
this very moment engaged in a democratic debate on the "Connected
Continent" proposal by the European Commission. I understand a similar
debate is taking place in Brazil, on the "Marco Civil". We should not be
seen as prejudging the outcome of a democratic procedure on such sensitive
topics. *

*As regards the topic of the liability of intermediaries, I believe there
is no added value in referring, via potentially contentious language, to an
issue which has extensively been debated in many different settings and
democratic fora and has in some cases been enshrined in legislation, as is
the case of the European Union. *

*I trust the above observations will be taken with the same constructive
spirit with which I wrote them. I am looking forward to meeting all of you
in Sao Paulo.*

*Yours sincerely,*

*Neelie Kroes*

*Vice-President of the European Commission"*

Best regards,

Andrea Glorioso (Mr)
European Commission - DG Communication Networks, Content and Technology
Unit D1 (International relations) + Task Force on Internet Policy
Avenue de Beaulieu 25 (4/64) / B-1049 / Brussels / Belgium
T: +32-2-29-97682 M: +32-460-797-682 E: Andrea.Glorioso at ec.europa.eu
Twitter: @andreaglorioso
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andrea.glorioso
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=1749288&trk=tab_pro

The views expressed above are purely those of the writer and may not in any
circumstances be regarded as stating an official position of the European
Les opinions exprimées ci-dessus n'engagent que leur auteur et ne sauraient
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