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NetMundial, also known as the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance, is a meeting convened by the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee and 1net. The forum, which will gather diverse stakeholders to discuss internet governance matters, will take place from 23-24 April 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

APC sees the NetMundial as an opportunity to:

  • Reinforce and strengthen efforts to improve and democratise internet governance
  • Help restore trust in the IG ecosystem following the 2013 revelations of mass surveillance
  • Generate outputs which can be discussed further at global and regional IGFs and at other relevant meetings in the course of 2014 and then be formally adopted by IG institutions i.e. ICANN, IETF, etc.) and intergovernmental bodies e.g. the UN General Assembly.

As part of the preparatory process, the organisers opened the forum for submissions in two areas: internet governance principles and roadmap for for the further evolution of the internet governance ecosystem. Here are the proposals that APC submitted, as well as those that we supported:

APC contributions to NetMundial

Since its formation in 1990 APC has has been committed to achieving universal and affordable access to a free and open internet. As an international NGO with membership in 40 countries, APC has participated actively in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and Internet Governance Forum (IGF) processes, driven by the conviction that the internet is a global public good and a vital enabler of social justice, development, peace, environmental sustainability, gender equality and human rights. APC believes that the ability to share information and communicate freely using the internet is vital to the realisation of human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1976), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1976) and the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW, 1980).

APC’s proposed internet governance principles

The internet can only be a tool to empower the peoples of the world if its governance, development and management is based on the following principles (which are derived from the APC Internet Rights Charter)

The APC Charter is cited by other submissions to NetMundial. It is also in the list of NetMundial source documents. Based on the APC Charter we propose six key principles: 1) access for all; 2) freedom of expression and association; 3): access to knowledge and shared learning and creation; 4) privacy, freedom from surveillance and the right to use encryption; 5) democratic, transparent and participative internet governance; 6) awareness, protection and realisation of human rights on the internet, and through the internet.

APC proposals for the further evolution of the internet governance ecosystem

The internet does not exist in a parallel dimension. It is part of social, economic, cultural, personal and political life. Internet-related public policy issues are therefore not finite. They will emerge and change over time. The diversity of these issues is such that it would not be feasible to centralise decision-making about them.There is a vibrant and diverse internet governance ecosystem at work. The challenges are that: (1) All parts of this ecosystem are not adequately inclusive, transparent and accountable, (2) they do not communicate and collaborate with one another adequately, and (3) power and influence in this ecosystem and its components are very unevenly distributed.We need common principles, rooted in human rights. Multistakeholder processes must be improved to make them more inclusive, representative, and to avoid dominance by special interests. The IGF can play a key role to enable communication, debate, and collaborative policy-making.

International principles on the application of human rights to communications surveillance

As technologies that facilitate State surveillance of communications advance, States are failing to ensure that laws and regulations related to communications surveillance adhere to international human rights and adequately protect the rights to privacy and freedom of expression. This document attempts to explain how international human rights law applies in the current digital environment, particularly in light of the increase in and changes to communications surveillance technologies and techniques. These principles can provide civil society groups, industry, States and others with a framework to evaluate whether current or proposed surveillance laws and practices are consistent with human rights. The product of over a year of consultation among civil society, privacy and technology experts, the principles have already been co-signed by over hundred organisations from around the world. The process was led by Privacy International, Access, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The principles have been endorsed by more than 400 organisations and 300.000 individuals from all over the world.

A collaboratively developed set of principles for internet governance

The Internet provides an open, decentralised platform for communication, collaboration, innovation, creativity, and economic, cultural, social and political expression and development. It is an enabler of human rights, and can contribute to a more peaceful and world and greater social equality. This document is an edited compilation of principles contained in the following documents, many which have been submitted independently to NetMundial. It was developed by a small group of individuals who have been active in Internet governance processes for many years.

Internet governance principles and human rights – facilitated by Best Bits

This is a joint submission authored by participants in the Best Bits civil society network, and endorsed by several individuals and organisations and still open for endorsements. It is the first of three such joint submissions put forward through the Best Bits platform.

Roadmap for the further evolution of the internet governance ecosystem – institutional mechanisms – facilitated by Best Bits

While there are multiple forums where issues pertaining to internet governance are being addressed, these forums do not all adequately fulfill basic procedural criteria, such as transparency, effectiveness, accountability and open participation. As a result, development issues have not been adequately tackled and some fundamental human rights are under threat. This submission intends to propose a model that improves existing institutions, maintaining a distributed, coordinated, system of internet governance.

One possible roadmap for IANA evolution – submitted by APC affiliate Avri Doria

Any plan to transfer Stewardship of IANA over to another entity should be preceded by extensive consultations with all stakeholders. This is one plan, among others, that should be discussed over the course of the May 2014 – May 2015 so that a consensus solution can be found prior to September 2015 when the current contract expires. It needs to be understood that any proposal for transition from the current IANA arrangements or US Government oversight would require a transition plan that was well formed, endorsed by stakeholders and the key customers of IANA services, in order to guarantee the security and stability of the internet.

Areas of work