Key Internet Institutions Ditch US Leadership; Brazil To Host Global Summit To Draw Up New Governance Model
from the payback-time dept
Here's a hugely important story that brings together three major threads. First, the continuing wrangling over the form that Internet governance should take. Second, the fact that NSA's massive surveillance operations around the world have included economic espionage. And third, Brazil's increasingly angry reaction to that spying. As a post from the Internet Governance Project explains:
the Directors of all the major Internet organizations -- ICANN, the Internet Engineering Task Force, the Internet Architecture Board, the World Wide Web Consortium, the Internet Society, all five of the regional Internet address registries -- turned their back on the US government. With striking unanimity, the organizations that actually develop and administer Internet standards and resources initiated a break with 3 decades of U.S. dominance of Internet governance.
Those directors have issued what they call the "Montevideo Statement on the Future of Internet Cooperation," which includes the following:
They called for accelerating the globalization of and functions, towards an environment in which all stakeholders, including all governments, participate on an equal footing.
That's a fairly clear call for the US to relinquish its dominant role. Another section hints at why this is happening now:
They expressed strong concern over the undermining of the trust and confidence of Internet users globally due to recent revelations of pervasive monitoring and surveillance.
But this isn't just some vague but meaningless statement of annoyance: those involved have already started working on ways to replace current structures, as this story on the news24.com site reports:
Brazil, which has slammed massive US electronic spying on its territory, said on Wednesday it would host a global summit on internet governance in April.
Once again, we see the NSA's reckless disregard for the consequences of its global surveillance -- far beyond what could be regarded as reasonable or proportionate -- is now having massive adverse effects on America's standing and influence in the world. The Internet Governance Project post puts it well:
President Dilma Rousseff made the announcement after conferring in Brasilia with Fadi Chehade, chief executive of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann).
"We have decided that Brazil will host in April 2014 an international summit of governments, industry, civil society and academia" to discuss Brazil's suggestions for upgrading Internet security, Rousseff said on Twitter.
Make no mistake about it: this is important. It is the latest, and one of the most significant manifestations of the fallout from the Snowden revelations about NSA spying on the global Internet. It's one thing when the government of Brazil, a longtime antagonist regarding the US role in Internet governance, gets indignant and makes threats because of the revelations. And of course, the gloating of representatives of the International Telecommunication Union could be expected. But this is different. Brazil's state is now allied with the spokespersons for all of the organically evolved Internet institutions, the representatives of the very "multi-stakeholder model" the US purports to defend. You know you've made a big mistake, a life-changing mistake, when even your own children abandon you en masse.
And before anyone tries to blame this latest development on Snowden, let's be clear that the problem is not that this activity has been revealed, but that the NSA was doing it in the first place.