Statement on excessive controls by the IGF Dynamic Coalitions

The Internet is architectured as an ecosystem that is Free and Open, Global, Decentralized, End-to-End, User-centric, and Robust and Reliable. As a global network of networks, the Internet is a universal medium meant to be open to all, regardless of geography or nationality. Its interoperability makes it possible for any computer system to run application programs from different vendors, and to interact with other computers across local or wide-area networks regardless of their physical architecture and operating systems. The Internet’s technical standards are open standards that enable any (standards-compliant) device or network to connect to the Internet and allow diverse services, applications, or types of data (video, audio, text, etc.). The Internet is meant to be free of any centralized control; its end-to-end and user-centric nature gives control to the end users over the type of information, application, and service they want to share and access. The Internet is robust and reliable.

The Internet owes its success not only to the technology but also to the way it operates – with no single authority directing it, except for its unique addressing system coordinated by ICANN, which is designed for robustness and reliability, and whose policies are developed in an open, multi stakeholder manner. 

Internet Governance is a multistakeholder, global, process of furthering the evolution of the Internet as a universally accessible, global, free and open, interoperable, end-to-end, decentralized and loosely coordinated ecosystem; the Internet is free of barriers to connect, communicate and create.The IGF, in particular, is a forum of multi-stakeholder policy dialogue.

Recently, unilateral government actions have undermined public trust in the Internet as a force for good. Such actions do not reflect an international consensus. They do not result from dialogue with stakeholders in the communities affected. They are not endorsed by the IGF, the forum for Internet governance. Such actions include:

  • Suppression of political dissent: Despite calls for content moderation in given circumstances, there is no consensus on what constitutes reasonable moderation. On the other hand, there is a consensus that the systematic suppression of political dissent does not qualify as reasonable moderation.
  • National firewalls: Global reach is a core principle of best technical practices. It is built on end-to-end communication and interoperability. This principle only works if the Internet is shaped with a view to facilitate free interaction among its users and functions as a network is driven by endpoints of communication, without censorship or controlled routing. 
  • National shutdowns: By shaping the Internet in ways that lead to fear and confusion in local communities, governments jeopardise international good-will. If there are security concerns, there are technological ways of finding out what specific target is affected, with no reason to shut the entire network down. Shutdowns infringe basic human rights such as freedom of expression and the right to information with harmful consequences for people’s lives.
  • Fragmentation of the Internet: The blocking of internationally available servers to a portion of the users, including the blocking of applications, or applying provider-discriminatory or content-aware or region-specific traffic shaping policies, causes the fragmentation of the Internet. Fragmenting the Internet offends the principle that all humans are born equal, and therefore, must have equal access to any information and knowledge available to mankind.
  • Data prioritization and traffic shaping: The Internet is a global network of networks. By dictating how networks should connect with each other and by splitting traffic, governments undermine the agility, resilience, and flexibility of the Internet. The rules of connection between networks should result from technical rather than political considerations.

The undersigned organisations and groups  distance themselves from political actions that distort the inclusive and global nature of the Internet. We, therefore, encourage governments to seek democratic legitimation for their policies. This is only possible by engaging in a participatory dialogue with stakeholders. 

Dynamic Coalition on Core Internet Values (DC-CIV)

Dynamic Coalition on Internet of Things (DC-IoT)

Internet Rights and Principles Coalition (IRPC)

Youth Coalition on Internet Governance (YCIG)

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