1. Internet Governance Principles

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NETmundial identified a set of common principles and important values that may contribute for an inclusive, multistakeholder, effective, legitimate, and evolving Internet governance framework.

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Human rights are central values and universal as reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that should underpin Internet governance principles.  Rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in accordance with international human rights legal obligations, including the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Those rights include, but are not limited to:

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  • Freedom of expression: everyone has the right to hold and express opinions, and to seek, receive, and impart information on the Internet without arbitrary interference.
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  • Freedom of association: peaceful assembly online, including through social networks and platforms.
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  • Privacy: the same rights that people have off-line must also be protected online, including the right to privacy, avoiding arbitrary or unlawful collection of personal data and surveillance and the right to the protection of the law against such interference.
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  • Accessibility: persons with disabilities should enjoy full access to online resources on an equal basis with others.
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  • Freedom of information and access to information:  Everyone should have the right to access, share, create and distribute information on the Internet.
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  • Development: all people have a right to development and the Internet has a vital role to play in helping to achieve the full realization of internationally agreed sustainable development goals. It  is a vital tool for giving people living in poverty the means to participate in development processes.
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Culture and linguistic diversity

Internet governance must respect and promote cultural and linguistic diversity in all its forms.

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Unified and unfragmented space

Internet should continue to 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 flow of data packets/information.

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Security, stability and resilience  of the  Internet

Security, stability and resilience of the Internet should be a key objective of all stakeholders in Internet governance. As a universal global resource, the Internet should remain a secure, stable, resilient, and trustworthy network. Effectiveness in addressing risks and threats to security and stability of the Internet depends on strong cooperation among different stakeholders.

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Open and distributed architecture

The Internet should be preserved as a fertile and innovative environment based on an open system architecture, with voluntary collaboration, collective stewardship and participation, recognizing technical management principles for efficient and improved network operation and preserving the end-to-end nature of the network,  equal technical treatment of all protocols and data, delivered by the underlying communications and seeking to resolve technical issues at a level closest to their origin.

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Enabling environment for innovation and creativity

The ability to innovate and create has been at the heart of the remarkable growth of the Internet and it has brought great value to the global society. For the preservation of its dynamism, Internet governance must continue to allow permissionless innovation through an enabling Internet environment.

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Internet governance process principles

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  • Multistakeholder: with the full participation of governments, the private sector, civil society, the technical community, academia and the users in their respective roles and responsibilities.
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  • Open, participative, consensus driven governance: The development of international Internet-related public policies and Internet governance arrangements should enable the full and balanced participation of all stakeholders from around the globe, and made by consensus.
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  • Transparent:  Decisions made must be easy to understand, processes must be clearly documented and follow agreed procedures, and  procedures must be developed and agreed upon through multistakeholder processes.
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  • Accountable: Mechanisms for checks and balances as well as for review should exist.
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  • Inclusive and equitable: Internet governance institutions and processes should be inclusive and open to all interested stakeholders. Processes should be bottom-up, enabling the full involvement of all stakeholders, in a way that does not disadvantage any category of stakeholder.
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  • Distributed: Governance characterized by distributed and multistakeholder mechanisms and organizations.
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  • Collaborative: Internet governance should be based on and encourage collaborative and cooperative approaches that reflect the inputs and interests of stakeholders.
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  • Enabling meaningful participation: Anyone affected by an Internet governance process should be able to participate in that process. Particularly, Internet governance institutions and processes should support capacity building for newcomers, especially stakeholders from developing countries and underrepresented groups.
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  • Accessibility and low barriers: Internet governance should promote universal, equal opportunity, affordable and high quality Internet access so it can be an effective tool for enabling human development and social inclusion. There should be no unreasonable barriers to entry for new users.
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  • Agility: Policies for access to Internet services should be future oriented and technology neutral, so that they are able to accommodate rapidly developing technologies and different types of use.
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Open standards

Internet governance should promote open standards, informed by individual and collective expertise and practical experience and decisions made by open consensus, that allow for a unique, interoperable, resilient, stable, decentralized, secure, and interconnected network, available to all. Standards must be consistent with human rights and allow development and innovation.



Go to:

  1. Introduction
  2. Internet Governance Principles
  3. Roadmap for the future evolution of the Internet Governance Ecosystem

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