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 today >

First POST: Spoilers

How the GOP hasn't fixed its tech talent gap; the most tech-savvy elected official in America, and the most tech-savvy state-wide candidate; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Hot Spots

How Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is making inroads in China; labor protests among Uber drivers spread to more cities; new data about the prevalence of online harassment; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Reminders

Why the RNC hasn't managed to reboot how Republican campaigns use voter data; new ways of using phone banking to get out the vote; how the UK's digital director is still ahead of the e-govt curve; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Patient Zero

Monica Lewinsky emerges with a mission to fight cyber-bullying; Marc Andreessen explains his political philosophy; tech donors to MayDay PAC get pushback from Congressional incumbents; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Front Pagers

How Facebook's trending topics feed is wrecking political news; debating the FBI's need for an encrypted phone "backdoor"; democratizing crisis data; and much, much more. GO

More