EuroDIG 2014: Pockets of inspiration amid the protocol and formality

By Catherine Easton

The 7th European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) took place in Berlin in June 2014. The event’s overarching aim is to provide an open arena for inclusive dialogue between European stakeholders in order to develop best practice and raise awareness. So, how far did it go towards achieving its remit?

The German Federal Foreign Office provided the venue which, while impressive, may not have been the most conducive environment for relaxed, informal discussions. The divide between the conventional schedule and the energy of grassroots activism was very quickly demonstrated in glaringly stark terms through a dignified, powerful show of support for Snowden during the Federal Foreign Minister’s welcome address. The very next session in this “inclusive dialogue” was an open plenary with a sweepingly non-diverse membership of men in suits. This “manel” attracted a large amount of criticism both in the audience and on Twitter, and, again, showed a basic gap between the multistakeholderism repeatedly referred to by the panel and the reality of the power balance in a high-profile event.

The London meeting that could shape the future of the internet

By Catherine Easton The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is holding its 50th public meeting in London from June 22. An international crowd spanning business, politics and civil society will be meeting across 60 events to try to reach agreements on some important issues about the shape of the internet. The summit comes at a time of great […]

NETmundial: Going Forward

In a brilliant rhetorical move, civil society representative Nnenna Nwakanma proclaimed in the opening ceremony of NETmundial, “My name is Nnenna. I come from the Internet.”
In articulating Internet citizenship Nnenna downplays statehood and promotes an internet inhabited by global citizens, or netizens, connected and sharing a common resource – a global commons; an inspiring vision that also suggests the human rights obligation of governments and private industry to enable this vision in the future management and development of the Internet, the web, the mobile web, digital networked communications –as a public resource and utility.
One successful outcome of NETMundial could be found in the details of the outcome document, suggests Mueller, parsing the inclusion of “full and balanced participation of all stakeholders” that replaces “rights and responsibilities” language in the Tunis Agenda (2005). This could suggest that civil society might be considered to be on more equal footing with the state. In addition to the outcome document, a concerted expression of support was made for the IGF as the appropriate forum for IG discussions and that it should be financially supported (perhaps subsidised by ICANN) and made sustainable. This would help hosting countries float the forum and could provide support for the Ministerial staff, Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group (MAG), Dynamic Coalitions, Civil Society and Academic Participants.

By Robert Bodle