Statement on NetMundial Outcome Document (leaked by Wikileaks on 8 April 2014)

Knowledge Commons has carefully examined the text on the Wikileaks website that purports to be the first iteration of the outcome document for NetMundial.

Given we have read and analyzed all of the 187 submissions to NetMundial, we believe that the leaked document generally reflects the inputs received. Further, Knowledge Commons makes the following observations and recommendations:

First, the document recognises the Internet as a ‘universal global resource’ [in Section 1. Internet Infrastructure]. Knowledge Commons believes that the Internet has become more than a resource, it is a public good and global commons upon which trade, media, education, health and government systems rely.

Second, the document appropriately emphasizes the need for reform to democratize the multistakeholder system, acknowledging that decisions are taken without meaningful participation and in the absence of geographic and gender balance [in Section 2. Roadmap for the future evolution of Internet Governance]. Knowledge Commons believes there would be greater utility in clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders and specifying the elements of a minimum standard set of guidelines, operating procedures, or the identification of an entity to elaborate these modalities for multistakeholder fora.

Third, Knowledge Commons strongly welcomes the call for new international agreements on cyber weapons development and deployment [in Section 2. Issues dealing with specific Internet governance topics]. As more and more critical infrastructure resources around the world are maintained and operated through digital mechanisms, ensuring the security of these installations from targeted attacks is critical.  Such an agreement is the core business of governments. . A multilateral agreement ensuring cyber peace and de-militarising the Internet is essential if we are not to see the Balkanisation of the Internet.

Fourth, the document acknowledges that changes to the IANA function need to take place through discussion rather than announcement and that such discussion is still to take place [in Section 2. Issues dealing with Institutional Improvements].  Knowledge Commons notes that ICANN, which should be an independent entity immune from any jurisdiction, will be charged with the process, but given the document also acknowledges the current flaws in participation and decision making processes, believes that improved modalities and minimum standards should be applied in this discussion and decision making process.

Fifth, the document condemns mass surveillance for undermining trust in the Internet. [in Section 2. Issues dealing with Institutional Improvements]. Knowledge Commons believes that democracy itself has been damaged and so too has diplomacy. The NetMundial should be calling for the cessation of the practices of the 5 Eyes countries that violate sovereignty of states and the human rights of citizens.  While some countries may unilaterally declare such practices and the operation of secret courts lawful, the NetMundial meeting should more strongly resist the wholesale disregard for human rights including by ensuring that permissible derogation is proportionate and necessary.

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