Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

At NETmundial Brazil: Is "Multistakeholderism" Good for the Internet?

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, April 23 2014

The two-day NETmundial conference, a global multi-stakeholder meeting on the future of Internet governance, kicked off today, April 23.

"This meeting will focus on the elaboration of principles of Internet governance and the proposal for a roadmap for future development of this ecosystem," it says on the NETmundial website. "The goal is to consolidate proposals based on these two topics. NETmundial represents the beginning of a process for the construction of such policies in the global context, following a model of participatory plurality."

The conference counts on 33 remote participation hubs in 23 countries and is livestreamed from the website NETmundial.br.

Brazil is an apt place to host such a meeting, as earlier today President Dilma Rousseff officially signed into law the Marco Civil, already dubbed "the Internet bill of rights of Brazil."

The morning was packed with welcoming speeches (literally: there were 437, which raised some humorous questions). The most praised speech was made by Nnenna Nwakanma, Africa Regional Coordinator of the World Wide Web Foundation.

"My name is Nnenna. I come from the Internet. [...] I work to establish the open Web as a global public good and a basic right, ensuring that everyone can access and use it freely," she stated in her remarks. Her talk focused on access, justice, equality and human rights. And she did not forget the surveillance issue: "To you, to all those who work… to people like Edward. Edward Snowden, thank you," she concluded.

While most of the speeches advocated for effective "multi-stakeholderism," this approach is strongly criticized by many Internet activists. French Internet rights activist Jérémie Zimmermann called the meeting a farce and calls multistakeholderism a "dead approach."

In an op-ed published on the website of his organization, La Quadrature du Net, Zimmermann says: "Governments must consider the Internet as our common good, and protect it as such, with no compromise. Like the most precious natural reserve, or patch of clean drinking water. From then we must engage into a profound debate on the nature of the trust we place into private or public actors ("trustees") who will manage this resource."

Here's a Storify account of the opening morning of NETmundial:

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network and the UN Foundation for their generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

For a round-up of our weekly stories, subscribe to the WeGov mailing list.

News Briefs

RSS Feed tuesday >

First POST: Company

The global "Snowden effect" is huge; how many consumer-facing online services fail the user privacy test; the Dems' 2016 digital to-do list; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Mood Slime

The Sony email leak reveals the MPAA's campaign against Google; how Uber is lobbying in local markets; mapping the #MillionsMarchNYC; and much, much more. GO

friday >

First POST: Cloudy

What the Internet is not; new analysis of public opinion on net neutrality; how cloud backup apparently foiled a police coverup; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Records

Is the future of citizen journalism vigilantism?; one tech mogul's vocal support for CIA torture; a cri de couer from the founder of the Pirate Bay; and much, much more. GO

Web Index Sees Impact of Net Neutrality, Surveillance and Copyright Laws

Denmark, Finland, Norway, the United Kingdom and Sweden have come out on top of the Web Index, a ranking of the Web Foundation measuring the economic, social and political benefit that countries gain from the web. The United States is at number six. For the authors of the report accompanying the index, the results reflect how inequality has an impact on access to the web. "Nordic policy-makers have been quick to adopt and promote the free Internet - and open access to information - as a 21st century public good," the report states. " Others, as this year's findings show, need to move fast to catch up." The report attributes the Scandinavian countries' advantage to the countries' broader efforts to invest in public goods and establish a welfare and acting against " excess concentrations of wealth and power." With the lower inequality in those countries than in others, "the skills, means and freedoms to benefit from new technologies are widespread, which helps to explain why Scandinavian countries score highly on the political, social and economic impact of the Web GO

More