#IGF2015 – Setting the Scene

Just before the official opening of the 2015 UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF) on November 10, 2015, the core of the current challenges of internet governance were laid out by a panel in a Scene Setting session. Speakers’ interventions corresponded with the sub-themes of this year’s IGF under the overarching topic “Evolution of Internet Governance: Empowering Sustainable Development.” Check out the following infographic to explore the eight challenges outlined during this session.

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Content for the infographic was provided by Christian Möller.

Internet Governance 2015: Brazil and Beyond

Brazil 2014: Marco Civil and NETmundial

In April 2014, a Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance, also known asNETmundial, was hosted by the Brazilian government in São Paulo. NETmundial brought together over nine hundred attendees from governments, international organizations, the private sector, and civil society and resulted in the adoption of a (non-binding) Internet Governance Roadmap. Following the meeting, a number of pieces reviewed and commented on NETmundial’s outcome and final documents. The Center for Global Communication’s Internet Policy Observatory, for example, published Beyond NETmundial: The Roadmap for Institutional Improvements to the Global Internet Governance Ecosystem to explore how sections of “NETmundial Multistakeholder Statement” could be implemented. The meeting also played host to a seriesdiverging narratives not only between governments, States, and civil society, but also among various civil society actors.

Symbolically, on the first day of NETmundial, President Rousseff signed into law the Marco Civil da Internet – a law which many see as a benchmark for a modern, freedom-oriented approach to internet regulation. The Marco Civil was developed through a consultation process which included the participation of civil society, and discussions and debates over online platforms. The legislation provides general safeguards for the rights to freedom of expression and privacy, as well as a guarantee of net neutrality. One much applauded provision of the law is that service providers do not hold liability for content. Providers have no responsibility for users’ actions, and there are only sanctions against providers if they do not fulfill court orders to remove content. The law also contains an obligation to adopt a multistakeholder model of internet governance at all levels.

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Between Theater and Practice: The Politics of NETmundial

CGCS Post-Doctoral Research Fellow Ben Wagner reflects on the April 2014 NETmundial Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance, discussing the decision making procedures and structure of the meeting.

Despite coming to a close, NETmundial 2014 in São Paulo remains a strange political beast. The organization and decision making-processes involved during the conference itself swung wildly between haphazardly obscure, open and participative, and mere political grandstanding. In a sense, it was great political theater to watch, but it was also deeply frustrating for anyone trying to get anything done.

There has been enough historicizing about what NETmundial was meant to be doing but little conversation on what it was actually doing. While Stefania Milan has already penned an excellent piece on the sociology of NETmundial, a sociology which included a wide array of techno-activist groups previously not present at the table, this post will instead focus on the decision making procedures and structures of the meeting.

Who is Assigned to Seats of Power?

At the outset, it should be noted that there is a substantial legitimacy problem in how the NETmundial Executive Multistakeholder Committee (EMC), the High-Level Multistakeholder Committee (HLMC), and the members of the drafting committee were selected. Some committee members were only informed that they…

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What did Africa Get out of NETmundial Internet Governance Discussions?

Ephraim Percy Kenyanito discusses what Africa gained from the April 23-24th NETmundial meeting in São Paulo, Brazil. This post was originally published on the Access blog on May 9, 2014 and can be found here. This is the second post in Kenyanito’s series that spotlights “African Contributions to Internet Governance Discussions.” Part one can be found here.

BACKGROUND

NETmundial, the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance concluded recently in São Paulo, Brazil. The meeting’s goal was to develop internet governance principles and propose a roadmap for the further evolution of the internet governance ecosystem. In total, 1,480 participants from all stakeholder groups were physically present at NETmundial, and there were more than 30 hubs around the world (in 97 countries) that facilitated remote participation.

AFRICAN CONTRIBUTIONS

Our previous analysis of African stakeholders’ contributions to the initial NETmundial open submission process found that stakeholders from Africa emphasized human rights and role of governments in matters of internet governance.

COMPARISON WITH THE NETMUNDIAL MULTISTAKEHOLDER STATEMENT

NETmundial concluded with the approval of a final statement on internet governance principles. The final text built on contributions from the initial NETmundial open submission process and inputs from the Public Consultation on the Draft Outcome Document on the NETmundial’s website. However, in the process of…

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