Welcome to the first edition of NetMundial News from Knowledge Commons!
Knowledge Commons is a consortium of community media, academics and technologists based in India and Brasil.
For more information please visit and and follow us on Twitter @KCNetMundial
President Dilma Roussef issued a strong call for a global compact on Internet Governance at her speech at the UN General Assembly in September 2013 following revelations about surveillance on various Brasilian institutions by the NSA.
The NetMundial meeting to be held 23-24 April in Sao Paolo, will craft new Principles for governing the Internet and a road map for reform of current governance structures. NetMundial represents an important turning point in the debate on democratizing Internet Governance.
The NetMundial diplomatic conference will be held at the Hyatt hotel and will negotiate the principles and road map.  Several Knowledge Commons delegates have been accepted into the NetMundial and are keen to meet up with other like minded people and organisations!

The ArenaNetMundial will be held at the Sao Paolo Cultural Centre starting 22 February and will feature a series of incredible panel events and speakers from around the world.  Stand by for the full program!

Knowledge Commons will be transmitting news and updates from the conference - let us know if you would like to be on our mailing list by writing to:

Knowledge Commons has made two submissions to the meeting – on policy and technical  issues – and has summarized all 187 submissions  from governments, NGOs and companies.

Our analysis of the submissions, explained in this infographic, shows that

  • 31 came from governments (individual and group), 105 civil society, 42 private sector, 3 UN and 6 Multistakeholder
  • 99 from the North, 64 from the South, 24 from Global
  • 127 submitted by men, 51 by women, 9 non-gendered
  • 18 submissions mention gender
  • 50 out of 187 submissions protest mass surveillance – while almost all mention privacy
  • 110 out of 187 submissions insist that human rights online
  • 135 out of 187 submissions acknowledge that the multistakeholder model needs reform and improvement
  • 145 out of 187 submissions affirm the fact that governments have a role to play in internet governance
  • 63 out of 187 submissions explicitly support the globalization or internationalization of ICANN & its IANA function
  • 46 out of 187 submissions explicitly support the strengthening and reform of the Internet Governance Forum

Many principles are under discussion in the submissions including:

  • Drag net surveillance is not legitimate and should be explicitly outlawed
  • Surveillance must be necessary, targeted, proportionate and with judicial oversight
  • Clandestine backdoors into software and hardware violate users human rights
  • We need new limits on information governments and companies collect, store and use
  • The Internet is a global knowledge commons not a market place or theatre of war
  • The concentration of legal power and internet traffic through one state is dangerous
  • Competition and consumer law need to apply to online markets in light of monopolies
  • Fair and transparent cross border regulation and taxation of global internet businesses
  • Net neutrality must not be compromised
  • Digital colonialism of dominant cultures and languages online must be addressed.

Of the 187 submissions, a full 135 acknowledge problems with the multistakeholder model of Internet governance, with reform urgently needed to:

  • Untangle the Internet from the laws of one country – ICANN and the NTIA also agree it’s time for the US to withdraw from its role as trustee of the Internet.
  • Make ICANN in its new “globalized” form horizontally and vertically accountable; most suggest but some overtly state ( that ICANN is captured by dominant industries
  •  Many submissions describe how the “multistakeholder” model is suffering from:
  • Lack of clear standard operating procedures including transparent decision making and reporting
  • Self selection instead of equitable representation - many submissions note that those who can afford to be present in the myriad of multistakeholder encounters, usually held in the Global North, can participate, which impacts not only resourced challenged NGOs but also developing countries
  • Structures that are not complimentary – but are difficult to navigate with overlapping mandates
  • Vague definitions – “stakeholders” are not easily or simply defined. Different configurations are required in public policy or technical debates.  The technical community is both private and part of civil society. Civil society comprises rights advocates, aid workers, philanthropic ventures, librarians and the media. Similarly, governments comprise bureaucrats, regulators, legislators, jurists, military, intelligence, data protection officers, and civil servants.  Simplistically bundling all entities as equal has benefited some actors over others.

Of the 187 submissions, 145 have acknowledged that governments have a role to play.

  • While the precise role is the subject of a long-standing, bitter and polarizing debate, President Rousseff’s September 2013 speech at the UN General Assembly and many submissions (for instance that of the German government) call for governments to take up their role and responsibility as representatives of populations
  • While technical standards and protocols must continue to be framed in an institutionalized bottoms up manner, Knowledge Commons believes that certain public policy functions can only be adequately dealt with through governments working together on such issues as:
  • Legal and enforceable protection of human rights, including privacy
  • Cyber warfare and cyber attacks
  • Regularity issues such as cost of access and net neutrality
  • Common ownership of domain name spaces, including control of CCTLDs by the country concerned, international control, supervision and oversight of IANA functions
  • Protection and stability of international telecommunications services (the right against disconnection etc.)
To further explain and demystify the above issues, Knowledge Commons has prepared a number of papers, including on:

We encourage you to sign up and participate in the discussion – after all the Internet is our global knowledge commons!

Knowledge Commons Team

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