domingo, 4 de diciembre de 2022

IGF: From “Internet Freedom” to “Multistakeholder”

“Between the strong and the weak, freedom oppresses and the law liberates” Jean-Jacques Russeau...

Isidro Agustín Fardales González en Exclusivo 24/11/2015
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When in June, 2005 the Work Group on Internet created by the United Nations Secretary General in accordance to the mandate conferred on him by the first phase of the World Summitt on the Information Society, held in Geneva on 10-12 December, 2003, defined Internet Governance as “the development and application by the Goverments,of principles, norms, rules. Procedures for the adoption of decisions and common programmes that model the evolution and use of Internet”. 

The Government of the United States chewed it put did not swallow it. Even more: In face of the International Conference on Telecommunitions, held in Dubai in 2012, Washington, claiming “Internet Freedom”, unleashed a campaign against the attempts by several nations to force the US Government to release the unilateral control that it exerts on critical assets of Internet.

But after Edward Snowden  released information on how Washington uses its control of the Internet to spy and manipulate, it was impossible for the world’s policeman to continue pulling its usual control over the international information net.

Thus, in March, 2014, the US Government announced that it would pass on its control over Internet to “support and expand the multi stakeholder model –it is usually translated as “multiple sides interested in the creation of policies and governance of Interet” chose Internet for the assignation of names and numbers (ICANN), in order to allow the “transition” of the functions conducted by the US Government towards the “global multistakeholder community”, but not towards any institution of the United Nations, global body incredibly excluded from any responsibility.

Change everything so nothing changes. The multistakeholder”, understood as the participation of unequals on equal footing and not “in the functions that correspond respectively to Governments, the private sector –understood as the huge Internet companies, all of them US controlled--  and the all powerful Governments from the developed north, which also follow the dictates of the corporations.

The trick is to make believe that Internet is controlled by multiple forces, when the truth is that  it is really in the hands of Washington.

At the Internet Global Forum (IGF) 2015 held in  Brazil, the US delegation, headed by Assistant Secretary of States  Daniel Sepúlveda  mentioned six times in barely two minutes the word multistakeholder, speaking of it with the same passion than they proclaimed –while spying on the whole world—the concept of “Internet Freedom”,.

Just a few weeks before he spoke of “Freedom in the Internet”, Google –one of the Stara of the event-- had delivered to a court all the e-mails and messages from the journalist Carlos Aznárez, accused by a Zionist-leaning civil organization of taking part in a meeting of solidarity with the victims of Israeli bombings of the Gaza strip.

At the IGF 2015, however, the most applauded interventions were those critical of the US stand. One of them, was from Joanna Varón Ferraz, from the Coding Rights organization, who was selected to be one of the speakers at the inauguration of the meeting, and strongly critized the selective use of Intenet for unpopular causes.

The same happened at the closing of the meeting, when Nadine Moawad, from the Association of Progressive Communications, spoke of transformations operated over the past twenty years.

“…We have heard of those incredible technological advances over the past decades, promoted by capitalism, but I think that the most important advance has been the Internet. We also know that capitalism, as an economic model, is not going to last forever. It is guzzling our planet, it is expanding the gap between the rich and the poor,: one percent becomes richer and the rest of us are getting poorer. We have to ask ourselves whether we believe that Internet is a facilitator for equality, justice and the empowerment of people. Why is it that in the past twenty years we have witnessed the largest unequalities in our time?

It seems that it is increasing  the number of people that do not believe in the happy world of the multistakeholders, judging by the calls issued by the social movements for the celebration of an alternate world forum under the slogan of “Another world is possible”, denouncing that Internet has become “a centralized network of vigilance, controlled by a handful of Governments and corporate monopolies that continuously monitor our interactive movements, poison our information, get enormous profits from selling our life stories and personal data and spy on our on-line conversations and even those outside the networks.

The applause given to the critical stands against the current state of affairs, and the interest awakened by the presentation on the use of information and education technologies in the Cuban educational system, the plan to connect all schools to Internet in the coming three years –and the dificultéis posed to this plan by the US blockade of the Island—as revealed by the Brazilian newspaper OGlobo, not a fan of Cuba—speak of the attraction posed by the humanistic use of communication facilities, although Cuba has still much ground to cover in the informatization of its society.

This new educational experiences in Cuba in favour of absolutely all its people have received coverage from such Brazilian rightwing newspapers as O”Globo and the attention of students and professors from the Federal University of Joao Pessoa, also in Brazil.


Isidro Agustín Fardales González


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