This editorial was published first in People’s Daily on 28 April 2014.
For Internet Governance, Norms and Standards are Crucial
In recent days, the Global Internet Governance Conference sponsored by the Brazilian government was organized in Sao Paolo, Brazil, representatives from more than 20 national governments, corporate circles and science and technology circles engaged in broad discussion, and passed a series of non-binding international norms that various countries may use in their Internet management. Even so, outside of this series of norms, it should also be considered that in the process of global Internet governance, the acceleration of formulating rules has become extremely urgent.
After 25 years of development, the Internet has completely renewed people’s ways of work and life. [Everyone], from the common people to national governments, at the same time as enjoying the conveniences brought by the Internet, has successively experienced the negative influences and security risks that exist on the Internet. The Internet security concerns that started with last year’s “Prism” incident, have aggravated every day, pursuits of interest are incessantly expanding, and the desire to strengthen Internet governance has become ever more prominent.
Last month, the US expressed its willingness to transfer its supervisory power over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), this is a positive signal emerging in the global Internet governance area. But Internet governance is not limited to the allocation of spaces for Internet addresses, it also depends on control of Internet technology standards, as well as how all countries can jointly build an online environment that is peaceful and secure, open and fair, free and orderly.
Internet governance should respect the UN Charter and generally recognized norms of international relations, i.e. recognizing and respecting all countries’ sovereignty in cybersace, including the formulation of relevant law, regulations and policies on the basis of the development levels of that country’s information technology, language and culture, and according to the will of the broad masses of that country; managing that country’s information infrastructure as well as online activities on that country’s territory according to the law, protecting that country’s information resources from threats according to the law, and guaranteeing citizens’ lawful rights and interests.
Internet governance should persist in the principles of broad, multi-stakeholder participation, tolerance and equality. Countries should not be distinguished on the basis of size or wealth, they should all be able to participate fairly in cyber governance, and fairly share in the opportunities that the development of information technology has brought. People should not be distinguished on the basis of sex, race, religion or belief, but should all be able to equally use knowledge and information gained through information technology
Internet governance should persist in the principles of openness and transparency, cooperation and mutual benefit. The formulation of standards, norms and policies related to the Internet should be more open and transparent, developed countries should help developing countries to develop cyber technology, and reduce the information divide.
Internet governance should persist in the unification of rights and obligations. Respect human rights, fully guarantee individuals’ online freedom of speech, confidentiality of communications and privacy. Without online order, how can online freedom come? No person may, when enjoying and exercising online rights and freedoms, harm other persons’ or society’s interests, violate laws and regulations and social morals.
The sponsor of this conference, Brazil, makes people think of the Football World Cup that will be organized in Brazil. The movement of football, from its emergence to it coming into fashion worldwide, is inseparable from incessant perfection of and respect for its rules, only when there are rules is their fairness, only when there are rules is there a basis for competition on the same field. Internet governance is similar. The crux of promoting global Internet governance lies in the fact that all countries worldwide must strengthen coordination, and formulate realistic and feasible global norms and standards. Opinions from all sides and the pursuits of all countries should be taken seriously, and we should strive to reach agreement on rules for cyberspace activities that are accepted by all sides.
Brazil’s Vice-Minister of Foreign Relations Marquedos (*) regarded this conference as a first step on the slow journey of global Internet governance. Global Internet governance requires the joint participation of all interested parties, but also needs to seek a balance between those many interested parties and the role of government, and build joint forces. Now, the majority of countries has already reached a consensus on governance norms in certain areas, we should strengthen the formulation of concrete rules and realistically promote the establishment of governance structures on this basis, and incessantly perfect them in practice, while enhancing our confidence in attacking and overcoming difficulties.
Possible transliteration of the Chinese characters 马克多思. I have not been able to verify the name of this minister, nor the statements made.