Some 500 separate expressions of interest in the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance (“Net Mundial”) to be held April 23-24 in Sao Paolo were filed by the end of last month. The organizing committee, chaired by Brazilian Minister Paulo Silva met a week ago in Barcelona. The Committee is comprised of reps from 12 governments and 12 non-government participants, including three from the private sector. As a multistakeholder process, governance of the Internet really should be called something like “care and management” of the Internet, since fundamentally it is not an exercise in governing by governments.
The expressions of interest in the upcoming April meeting reflect a very broad multistakeholder diversity of businesses, civil society, technical experts, national governments and academia. Multiple industry associations are becoming more engaged. March 8th is the deadline for substantive submissions to the organizing committee, and CCIA has prepared a draft submission on which it is now taking member company input. Our submission focuses on both Internet Governance Principles, and a Roadmap for further evolution of the Internet governance system. Our threshold goal is developing a common understanding of what is and what is not, Internet governance, which is a more difficult task than one might imagine.
CCIA’s first principle is that the network and the data it carries are entirely separate policy spheres. Measures that compromise the ability of the network to connect to the greatest number of users at the least cost should be presumed problematic and disruptive to the ecosystem. Secondly, measures that compromise network efficiency or the connectivity of neighboring countries should be similarly disfavored. A third principle is that the management of and access to, data that traverse the network belongs outside the realm of Internet caretaking or governance. And our fourth principle is the recognition that regulating the Internet or technology in general, cannot solve social problems.
Affordable open Internet access, on the other hand, produces a smorgasbord of socio-economic opportunities and benefits for populations around the world. CCIA anticipates that through our own engagement in this global dialog about the care and management of the Internet we will facilitate a greater focus on the enormous positive aspects of access to the Internet and full connectivity on all continents.