Short Bytes: The United Nations wants to keep the internet open and free for at least until the next decade. How successful will it be to keep the internet open and not revise the internet policies for next ten years? Know what UN thinks about the freedom of information and what could be the future of the internet.
In 2005, for the first time, the internet policies were laid out before over 190 UN representatives from different countries around the world at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The purpose of the summit was to take a ten years review of the internet policies. In 2015, reviews of the internet policies are being said to have been successful by internet freedom advocates. And it was declared that the internet should remain in the hands of the private sector.
This meeting for internet governance was held at the perfect time as different governments across the world are making moves to crack down on internet freedom. Some of the recently seen moves by different governments are China blocking Wikipedia, banning of Tor and free wifi in France after Paris attack,Internet neutrality etc. Against its open nature, some governments have also shown interest in localizing the internet. They have proposed stricter measures against internet borders and state-centric policies to ISOC. This might present a contradiction to the global internet phenomenon. Localizing the internet would impede the global development of the internet and internet might get fragmented.
However, arriving at this decision was not so easy. The decision came after a lot of debate over days by the UN representatives. Apart from the inputs from the members of WSIS, input from a variety of government representatives and non-governmental stakeholders, including internet freedom non-profit the Internet Society (ISOC) was also considered. Following which, the UN published a resolution document which covers the main four pillars of the information society. These four main areas are internet accessibility, human rights and free speech, internet governance, and internet security.
The document released is supposed to be just considered the ‘Outcome of the meeting’, it is still not legally binding. But, it sets up the way for the internet governance for the next ten years until next meeting is held. A focus was also set on the commitment of multi-stakeholder model of internet governance and renewal of the Tunis Agenda. Tunis agenda was a consensus made in 2005 that called for lightweight internet governance and the creation of the Internet Governance forum, an annual multi-stakeholder meeting on internet policy.
Constance Bommelaer, senior director of global internet policy at ISOC said:
Despite the positive outcome of the meeting, it is expected that there would be a pull up in the local internet security because of the terrorism hitting up the world virtually through the internet.
So, what do you think? Shall the internet be open free for global access or shall it be modified according to the local political and information society consensus?
Read the complete UN resolution document here.