Just Net Coalition Response to NetMundial Draft Outcome Document

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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 is why 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.
São Paulo, Brazil April 21, 2014

- Just Net Coalition
A coalition of civil society groups from different regions globally concerned with Internet
 governance, human rights and social justice


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