Washington, DC – This week, NETmundial released a report on the conclusions from their “Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance.” The Internet Infrastructure Coalition (i2Coalition) submitted public comments in advance of this meeting, many of which were incorporated in the final NETmundial statement. Below is a statement from i2Coalition Co-Founder and Public Policy Working Group Chair David Snead in response to this report.
“The I2Coalition approached the Netmundial process as a global brainstorming session, and believes that in that regard it was successful. While some may be disappointed that the report does not directly address their concerns, we believe that the process has helped point the Internet community, and currently existing Internet governance organizations, in a direction that will allow them to concentrate on concrete outcomes to the major issues raised in the final report.
“We particularly embrace statements in the report that hold up the development and innovation potential that the Internet provides. In particular, the NETmundial report states that, ‘The ability to innovate and create has been at the heart of the remarkable growth of the Internet and it has brought great value to the global society. For the preservation of its dynamism, Internet governance must continue to allow permissionless innovation through an enabling Internet environment, consistent with other principles in this document. Enterprise and investment in infrastructure are essential components of an enabling environment.’
“As an organization that represents those that build the nuts and bolts of the Internet, we fully understand the role of innovation in the digital economy. Each of our members is deeply committed to helping facilitate the growth of the global digital economy.
“We welcome the report’s frequent emphasis on the multistakeholder model of Internet governance. The Netmundial process has shown that businesses, civil society, individuals and governments can work effectively together to help move the Internet governance process forward. We support statements in the NetMundial report emphasizing that governments should continue to have advisory roles in Internet governance, and not stewardship roles.
“Importantly, the report addressed and issue of key concern to our members: jurisdictional and standards based decisions. By highlighting the importance of global connectivity, and open standards, the report helps emphasize the importance of a unified Internet. Fracturing the Internet within governmental boundaries goes against the very nature of the Internet’s growth. By promoting open standards developed from a multistakeholder discussion that are consistent with global human rights we can allow innovation to continue. The global nature of the Internet is imperative.
“Incorporating each of these issues within a multistakeholder approach will allow the Internet to continue to grow in the innovative environment in which it currently exists. The Internet was built from the bottom up, and should move forward in the same manner. However, forward movement should not be an excuse for lack of accountability. The Internet community needs to ensure accountability for all who come to the table in this discussion. We believe the report helps underscore this need. Accountability must have an ongoing, central role in all Internet governance discussions. As debate moves forward on the proposed IANA transition from the NTIA, an increased level of accountability is critical.
“While NETmundial’s multistakeholder report is a non-binding outcome of a bottom-up, open, and participatory process involving thousands of people from governments, private sector, civil society, technical community, and academia from around the world, it may prove to be a helpful push in the direction of a fuller, outcome oriented, discussion of these issues within the context of Internet governance in general. i2Coalition was proud to be a participant in this conversation, and looks forward to ensuring that our industry’s critical voice is heard in subsequent discussions.”