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

michael gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Sat Apr 12 20:28:54 UTC 2014



From: discuss-bounces at 1net.org [mailto:discuss-bounces at 1net.orgI
To: Andrea Glorioso; 1net
Subject: Re: [discuss] NETmundial / Neelie Kroes: My thoughts on NETmundial
and the Future of Internet Governance


[MG>] snipped


At a more philosophical level I also have a feeling that her view is
confusing or incoherent on a specific topic, namely “democratic” governance.
She speaks repeatedly about “democratic principles” and “democratic
process,” as do many on this list. However, those principles and processes
typically are rooted in citizenship in a particular nation state with its
own (territorially exclusive) legal regime and rights. Moreover, democracy
in this sense inherently involves a single, centralized government. She says
this in the context of critiquing or expressing reservations about
“self-organization.” At the same time, she praises “distributed
institutional models for Internet governance, avoiding centralised solutions
as a default.” I find these expressions to be contradictory, or at least not
well thought-out. Distributed, networked governance is never going to be
“democratic” in the classic sense, and democratic governance is never going
to be as distributed and flexible as self-organization by engaged
stakeholders. There is a tradeoff here, and in a transnational context you
can’t really call for “democracy” unless you are also calling for a
centralized world government. Kroes is a politician not a political
philosopher or theorist, but I think it’s important to flag this. 


[MG>] huh
 Poppycock!  I’m assuming that your local Parent Teacher
Association or Faculty Association operates on the basis of some set of
“democratic” principles or practices unless they’ve taken the advice of some
trendy post-democratic “multistakeholder” theorist and are including text
book companies and anti-evolution lobbyists as co-equal stakeholders in
their decision making processes.


Your confusion between processes (democracy) and contexts (nation states,
organizations, global publics);  between structures (networks) and
principles (democratic) is really quite astonishing.


Perhaps you should revisit PoliSci 101 to rediscover the varying ways in
which philosophical (normative) principles might or might not intertwine (be
instantiated) within the variety of administrative frameworks (the nation
state etc.), social structures (networks, communities etc.), technology
artifacts etc.etc.







From: discuss-bounces at 1net.org [mailto:discuss-bounces at 1net.org] On Behalf
Of Andrea Glorioso
Sent: Friday, April 11, 2014 12:04 PM
To: 1net
Subject: [discuss] NETmundial / Neelie Kroes: My thoughts on NETmundial and
the Future of Internet Governance


[ 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
ndial-and-future-internet-governance and reproduced below.

My thoughts on NETmundial and the Future of Internet Governance 

Published by Neelie KROES
<https://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/kroes/en/users/neelie-kroes>  on
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 and 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
Governance <http://netmundial.br/> . 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
High-Level 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 two
-of-the-internet-governance-ecosystem/177>  submissions
6>  by the European Commission) to the conference. A public consultation on
the outcome document
e-document/>  is going to be launched by the conference organisers very

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


From: KROES Neelie (CAB-KROES)
Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2014 7:26 PM
To: '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
<http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=1749288&trk=tab_pro> &trk=tab_pro

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