Carolina Aguerre (LACTLD): “We are Faced with an Historic Opportunity”

30/04/2014

Carolina Aguerre, Executive Director of the regional organization that groups Latin American and Caribbean ccTLDs, estimates that, now that the United States has announced the of transfer of the IANA functions, the great challenge posed within the current Internet Governance scenario is for the different actors to rise to the occasion and become involved and participate in this new process.

Aguerre considers it is an historic opportunity for the various actors involved in Internet Governance to assume responsibility over this network which “has been built as a global common good”.

Speaking to LACNIC News, LACTLD’s Executive Director noted that net neutrality must be defended in this process in order to “foster equality among users and help promote another key Internet Governance principle – freedom of expression”.

In your opinion, which should be the key principles of Internet Governance?

During the early years of the Internet, its governance – regarded by many as “coordination” – was determined by the principles of the network’s engineering design. These principles relate to Internet architecture and can be grouped into four areas: openness, redundancy, interoperability, and intelligent terminal design (also known as “end-to-end principle”). These four principles ensure that the network is expandable, that it allows innovation – for example, through the creation of new applications – without having to ask for anyone’s permission because the Internet has no central headquarters or owners, and that its technology is very resilient to attacks, among other reasons, thanks to its decentralized nature. I believe these principles still fully apply to Internet Governance, as they have a major impact on how the Internet is used. A paradigmatic example is net neutrality, a topic widely discussed in recent years and one of the focal points of Brazil’s Civil Rights Framework for the Internet. Net neutrality favors equality among users and helps promote another basic Internet Governance principle – freedom of speech. This leads us to reflect on the different levels of principles contained in Internet Governance – not only those deriving from the Internet’s architecture describe above, but also those focusing on the user’s dimension as a citizen who is a subject of rights. Thus, the human rights perspective becomes another key, cross-cutting aspect of Internet Governance in support of the guarantees regarding freedom of expression, privacy and social, economic and cultural development.

The United States decision to transition the IANA functions has kicked off a process that will eventually delegate control of certain technical Internet bodies to the international community. How do you think this decision will affect the way decisions regarding the Internet are made?

This decision by the United States government is an historic opportunity for the different actors involved in Internet Governance to assume responsibility over this network which has been built as a global common good. The process is just beginning, yet the major challenge it poses is for the different actors to rise to the occasion in terms of following, becoming involved and having an effective participation in Internet Governance issues. This ability depends on several factors, including having the necessary motivation (intrinsic to each individual) as well as institutional support and resources. If this is the case, I believe we can have a positive impact on the way decisions are made; otherwise, I think the impact on the root of the Internet and its critical resources will not be significant.

How can the balance between the different interests at stake within the Internet ecosystem (governments, civil society, academia, private sector, technical community) be maintained?

Stakeholders that are currently a part of ICANN’s direct ecosystem and participate through its Supporting Organizations (SOs) and Advisory Committees (ACs) must continue to be present. However, the process must also include other organized stakeholders (and I would like to emphasize the “organized” aspect needed to provide legitimacy and representativity to the process) that have not yet been integrated into the ICANN ecosystem, as, until recently, this organization had not developed a broader agenda in terms of Internet Governance related issues, and this will provide an opportunity to adjust these imbalances.

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