[AfrICANN-discuss] Nelie Kroes: I propose a “Compact for the Internet”

Anne-Rachel Inné annerachel at gmail.com
Tue Jun 28 17:15:32 SAST 2011

Today I had the pleasure of speaking at the OECD’s High-Level Meeting on the
Internet Economy<http://www.oecd.org/site/0,3407,en_21571361_47081080_1_1_1_1_1,00.html>.
It is a chance for people across the world – from the US and Japan to Mexico
and South Africa – to get together and talk about the challenges we are

>From how to deliver broadband for all, to how to keep the Internet open.

I spoke about my view of what matters on the Internet. There’s been a lot of
discussion recently about principles which do, or should, underpin the
network. The G8<http://www.g20-g8.com/g8-g20/g8/english/live/news/renewed-commitment-for-freedom-and-democracy.1314.html>
agreed a few – principles like openness, freedom, non-discrimination and
respect for human rights. Other bodies, including the OECD itself, are also
developing their own.

I think this is a very worthwhile exercise for these bodies – and for the
European Commission, too: it’s clear to me that the Internet is a European
strategic domain – and our stance towards it should be underpinned by the
same values, priorities and interests as everything else we do.

If, like me, you believe that the Internet is a force for positive change in
the world, then it’s worth thinking about what the key features are that we
couldn’t do without, the “internet essentials”, imperative features which
must be preserved if the Internet is to go on playing the role it plays in
the world.

So I’ve set out my own initial ideas about
I think the main ingredients are these:

- *C*ivic responsibility. On the internet, we are not atoms. And just as
when we are out in “normal”, offline society, we bear responsibilities to
each other which go beyond the purely legalistic, especially when there is
harmful behaviour out there.
- *O*ne internet – we should safeguard the idea that, on the Internet, every
node can communicate with every other. This unity is what allows the
Internet to thrive in the way it has; we need to avoid fragmentation.
- *M*ultistakeholder governance of the Internet – because the participation
of all stakeholders in policy making is a good one, which we support in this
domain and others.
- *P*ro-democracy. With the right tools – like open access to Government
information, and platforms for collective action – the Internet can become
an instrument supporting democratic life, and we should promote it as such.
- *A*rchitecture matters – the architecture of the internet is fundamental
to its dynamics. I’m sure the architecture will change in the future as new
challenges emerge – but we need to be aware of the implications that
different models might have.
- *C*onfidence of users is a prerequisite: barriers to confidence and trust
are barriers to access. If we don’t solve problems like protection of
personal data, privacy and identify; like online safety for children; like
cybercrime and resilience of the network, then people will be turned off the
net and we won’t unlock the Internet’s potential. And finally,
- *T*ransparent governance – so that the multistakeholder model doesn’t fall
apart. In particular we need to be transparent about the role which
government representing their citizens play, and ensure that those views
aren’t ignored.

So you could call this “a Compact for the Internet”.

This isn’t about regulation – as I’ve said before, the Internet should
remain a place of freedom, and regulation should be only an exceptional last
resort; in any case keyhole surgery rather than amputation.

But, as the Internet develops – becomes more and more part of our lives, and
develops into new areas like the Internet of Things – then we need a vision
of what properties of the Internet should remain. (See my speech on the IoT
here <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGidzvj0hgI>).

These are just my initial ideas – I’ll be developing them further over the
coming months. And I want to get your views too; what do you think really
matters about the Internet? Tell me on this blog, or on Twitter:

Anne-Rachel Inne
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