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30/04/2014

Google in Favor an Open and Participatory Internet

Pedro Less is Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy for Latin America at Google, and was an active participant at NetMundial, the meeting that has just come to an end in Brazil.

Involved in regional and international Internet Governance discussions since 2007, Pedro Less believes that preserving and advancing open and consultative decision-making on Internet governance issues is essential to ensuring a transformative platform.

The experience he acquired as teacher at the South School on Internet Governance (SSIG) and Vice President for Public Policy at the Latin American and Caribbean Internet and e-Commerce Federation (EcomLAC) allow him to speak with authority on the multistakeholder model that the transition of oversight of the IANA functions announced by the United States must follow.

In this sense, he believes that certain key conditions must be met before the transition: support and enhance the multistakeholder model; maintain the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet DNS; meet the needs and expectation of the global customers and partners of the IANA services; maintain the openness of the Internet; and ensure that oversight of the IANA functions are not transitioned to a multilateral model.

The following is a summary of our interview with Google’s Pedro Less.

¿Which do you and your organization believe should be the key principles governing Internet Governance?

We believe that preserving and advancing open and consultative decision-making on Internet governance issues is essential to ensuring that global citizens are able to take advantage of this transformative platform both now and in the future. As such, we support the following substantive principles:

Policies should ensure a safe, secure, open, interoperable, and resilient Internet.

Policies should recognize not only that individual human rights apply online just as they do offline, but also the enabler power of the Internet for the realization of human rights.

Principles should protect the Internet’s critical infrastructure and necessary actors from undue interference or actions that could diminish people’s ability to enjoy human rights in its civil, political, economic, social and cultural dimensions.

Policies should support opening and maintaining international markets in a way that allows for the seamless flow of digital services, applications, products, and information, particularly across national borders.

Policies should foster innovation.

Policies should support capacity building and implementation of best practices in relation to network security.

Policies should promote expanding access to the Internet so that it reaches all citizens across the globe.

A governance structure that honors the substantive principles above should also include certain procedural characteristics:

Governance structures should be open, transparent, and accountable to all stakeholders. All members of the Internet community — whether individual users, governments, civil society, businesses, and members of the academic and technical community — have an interest in preserving the Internet as a critical platform for communication and information exchange, and therefore all stakeholders should be included in governance discussions. Moreover, all of these stakeholders have contributed to the development of the Internet to date, and, working together, they have driven unprecedented growth in access to, uses of, and innovation on the Internet. They must continue to be involved in any future model of Internet governance.

The United States’ announcement that it will transfer the IANA functions has triggered a process that will eventually delegate oversight of these functions to the international community. How do you think this decision will impact global Internet coordination?

We support the transition of oversight of the IANA functions to a fully multistakeholder model.  However, we believe that certain key conditions must be met before the transition can be effected.  Specifically, any transition proposal must support and enhance the multistakeholder model; maintain the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet DNS; meet the needs and expectation of the global customers and partners of the IANA services; maintain the openness of the Internet; and ensure that oversight of the IANA functions are not transitioned to a multilateral model.

¿In your experience, do you think it is possible to establish a truly multistakeholder global coordination mechanism?

Yes, we believe it is possible.  We look forward to working with the global Internet community to develop a mechanism that meets NTIA’s conditions, so that Internet can continue to grow as a platform for innovation, commerce, and speech in the years to come.

¿What role can Latin America and the Caribbean assume in this new global scenario?

It is crucial that Latin America and the Caribbean get more engaged at the Internet Governance discussions. The different stakeholders should increase their participation at national and regional discussions in order to present the views of a fast growing region that has very good stories to tell in connection with innovative Internet policies and Internet for development challenges.

¿How will Internet end users benefit?

A multi-stakeholder approach to Internet Governance with open and consultative decision-making processes, allows for a more efficient, inclusive and transparent process for end users (who are able to get involved directly or be represented by different organizations of their choice).  In contrast, a state-controlled system of regulation is not only unnecessary; it would almost invariably raise costs and prices and interfere with the rapid and organic growth of the Internet.