Civil society proposals for amendments to the NETmundial outcome document

April 23, 2014


The  Internet is a global common resource for all people and all stakeholder groups, not  owned or  controlled by any single group or entity. Human rights should be a foundation of Internet Governance, and all Internet Governance Principles and Processes should be underpinned by and in line with human rights. This includes the use of the internet to promote peace and avoid cyberwar.Therefore internet governance processes should be democratic, inclusive, open and transparent towards an evolution of  the internet as a  safe and secure platform for economic, social, political and cultural development.


We consider the formulation of the principles in the NetMundial document should be fully consistent with language of the UDHR and the ICCPR. And, considering the current draft,  we would light to highlight the following aspects and changes for improvement:


Privacy is a fundamental human right, and is central to the maintenance of democratic societies. It is essential to human  dignity and it reinforces other rights, such as freedom of expression  and  information,  and freedom of association, and is recognised under international human rights law. Mass Surveillance is a direct and imminent threat to privacy, therefore societies must not be placed under surveillance. Individuals should be protected against collection, storage, use and disclosure of their personal data.  Similarly, anonymity and encryption should be protected as a prerequisite for privacy and  freedom of expression. The International Principles of Application of Human Rights to Communication Surveillance, (Necessary and Proportionate principles) should be the vantage point of this discussion.

Freedom of expression

We suggest the FoE text is strengthened in line with Article 19 of the UDHR, specifically by removing the word “arbitrary” and adding  “regardless of frontiers”.

Right to development

Internet governance should support the vital role of the internet as an enabler of development which is a comprehensive economic, social, cultural and political process aimed at the constant improvement of the well-being of all individuals on the basis of their active, free and meaningful participation in development and in the fair distribution of benefits resulting therefrom.

Net Neutrality

We would like to see a separate item referring to the principle of Net Neutrality. In addition we suggest this principle should be reinforced in the paragraphs 10 and 23 with the changes as follows: – Para 10: Internet   should be a globally coherent, interconnected,  stable, unfragmented,   scalable and accessible network-of-networks, based  on a common set of  unique identifiers and that allows the free, non discriminatory flow of  data packets/information. – Para 23 Accessibility and low barriers Internet governance should  promote universal, equal opportunity, affordable and high quality Internet access,  in accordance with the principle of net neutrality, so it can be an effective tool for enabling human development and social inclusion. There should be no barriers to entry for new users.

Security, stability and resilience of the internet

We would like to propose the inclusion of the following text in paragraph 11: The increasing militarization of the internet undermines its integrity, security and potential to benefit humanity. In addition, we want to suggest the following change: Effectiveness in addressing risks and threats to security and stability of the Internet depends on strong and transparentcooperation among different stakeholders.

Enabling environment for innovation and creativity

Right to participate in cultural life: everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits, and this right extends to the Internet. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author. This protection must be balanced with the larger public interest and human rights, including the rights to education, freedom of expression and information and the right to privacy.

Internet governance process principles

Set some clear language for a balanced democratic Multistakeholder approach: Internet governance processes, policy and decisions should respect and support full participation of all affected internet users and future users] and  stakeholders and bottom-up decision-making” in accordance with democratic principles. Any multistakeholder  approach should particularly enable meaningful   participation from  developing countries and underrepresented groups.   When stakeholder  representatives need to be appointed, they should be   selected through  open, participatory and transparent processes, in  which different  stakeholder groups should self-manage their processes   based on  inclusive, publicly known, well defined, well-documented and   accountable mechanisms.

Open standards

Internet governance should promote the use and production of free and open source software and open public standards,  informed by individual and collective expertise and practical  experience and  decisions made by open consensus, that allow for a  interoperable,  resilient, stable, decentralized, secure, and  interconnected networks, available to all. Standards must be consistent  with human rights and  allow development and innovation.


We would like to add to the end of paragraph 2: “its structures and operations must follow an approach that enables the participation of all stakeholders in order to address the interests of all those who benefit from the Internet, as well as of those who do not benefit from it yet“. We suggest that paragraph 4 will be changed to read as follows: “Participation should reflect geographic diversity and ensure the full participation [not: include] of stakeholders from developing and least developed countries. We suggest to delete in paragraph 5 the following words: “Due to the successful experiences this model should be further strengthened, improved and evolved”.

Issues that deserve attention of all stakeholders in the Internet governance future evolution: ICANN and the IANA transition

The proposed transition of the IANA functions to the global multistakeholder community is an important step in the globalisation of Internet governance. This transition should be discussed and designed with full deliberative participation of all relevant stakeholders, from all regions,  in a variety of fora, extending beyond the ICANN community and its meetings. It  is desirable to keep an adequate separation between the policy process  and its operational aspects as well as external accountability mechanisms. All stakeholders must be able to meaningfully contribute to the  deliberative IANA transition process, whether structural or functional separation is the best way to do this. The DNS is a global resource so everyone has a stake in its future. To safeguard the stability and security of this resource, transparency and accountability of ICANN in general, and of the board specifically, should be improved. The discussion on mechanisms for guaranteeing the transparency and accountability of the IANA functions after the US  Government role ends, as well as the improvement of the transparency and accountability of ICANN, has to take place through an open process with the participation of all stakeholders extending beyond the ICANN  community, striving towards a completed transition and improved transparency and accountability by September 2015.


Mass surveillance, which comprises collection, processing and interception of all forms of communication undermines internet security and trust in all personal, business and diplomatic communication.  Mass surveillance is fundamental human rights violation. Targeted interception, and collection of personal data should be conducted in accordance with international human rights law.   Critical and intermediate infrastructure must not be tampered with in service of targeted interception. Personal computing devices are the core of our lives – their sanctity must not be violated. No system, protocol or standard should be weakened to facilitate interception or decryption of communication or data. Future dialogue requires full disclosure of technical sources and methods for democratic discussion on this topic at the international level using forums like the Human Rights Council and the IGF aiming to develop a common understanding on all the related aspects and their implementation. The Necessary and Proportionate principles should be the vantage point of this discussion.

The Way Forward

Suggestion for a concrete step forward: The  WSIS+10 overall review should be informed by the process and outcome of  NetMundial. The modalities for the overall WSIS review should embrace  an inclusive approach to agenda setting, participation, and development  of its outcome.

The Geneva Internet Platform is an initiative of the Swiss authorities


Members of the Steering Committee are FDFA, OFCOM and the Canton of Geneva

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