#OurNETmundial! Our Internet Needs More Than “Internet Governance”
São Paulo, 25 April 2014 — Under the influence by governments and corporations, the final outcome document of the NETmundial forum became a weak, toothless and disappointing text. Despite the Brazilian president's courageous speeches, NETmundial illustrates just how farcical and pointless efforts for a “global multistakeholder Internet Governance” are. If anything, the Net should be “governed” by citizens directly, independently of these circles and without waiting for the “global consensus”. Our shared communications infrastructure must be considered a common good, politically defined as such and defended.
President Dilma Rousseff's courageous speech in favour of freedoms online, Net Neutrality and against mass surveillance had little to no impact on the outcome of NETmundial. The final version of the “Internet governance principles” document is much worse than previous drafts: mention of non-discrimination of communications (Net Neutrality), even though already very weak, were removed, while passages on respecting copyright were added. At the same time, those portions of the text addressing mass surveillance – the very reason why NETmundial was called! – are laughable, calling for nothing more than “more dialogue” in order to reach “understanding”, failing completely to call for any concrete action.
NETmundial has one major positive outcome however: It exposed the “global multistakeholder Internet Governance” for what it is, the absurd circus of ten years of Internet Governance Forum (IGF), of sterile discussions that keep citizens busy, in which corporations and governments have the final word, and from where nothing concrete that defends the general interest ever results. NETmundial's Internet governance farce, must serve as a wake up call to citizens who truly wish to end mass surveillance and foster our freedoms online.
“We must obtain the protection of our rights and freedoms through a political fight, by creating a global context that will force governments to protect the Internet as a common good, inspired by previous centuries of struggles for human and civil rights. We must demand from governments all around the world that they inspire themselves from the recently adopted Brazilian Marco Civil da Internet: even though it is far from perfect1, it is a model for how courageous citizens can join with a courageous government to act for the concrete protection of citizen freedoms and the free Internet” concluded Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net.
- 1. Article 15 of Marco Civil mandates that Internet service providers keep records of their users' connections, an obvious violation of privacy recently condemned by the Court of Justice of the European Union. Its definition of Net Neutrality is also open to further exceptions determined by the network regulator.