US 'Silently' Stripping Open Net Protections

On the eve of an international forum on internet governance, efforts by the United States to strip protections for web freedom were exposed on Tuesday as activists blasted the global meet as a “farce,” saying the internet is all of our “common good.”

As representatives from 80 countries headed to Sao Paulo, Brazil on Tuesday for the two-day Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance, or NETmundial, WikiLeaks revealed a draft (pdf) of edits proposed by the U.S. to a set of international guidelines, entitled the “Internet Governance Principles.”

The principles are meant to guide discussions during the meeting as they purport to set international standards to protect web users worldwide.

Among the changes revealed in the leaked draft, the U.S. delegation recommends stripping the word “equal” from the section on the Open and Distributed Architecture of the web.

Jumping on the change, WikiLeaks tweeted, “US silently strips #NetNeutrality from global internet governance negotiations.” WikiLeaks also points out that the U.S. draft deletes binding language requiring that internet standards “must be consistent with human rights,” changing “must” to “should.”

Ahead of the global meeting, activists slammed the document for “lack[ing] strength” and are decrying the absence of important safeguards against privacy violations and to protect net neutrality, a principle which guarantees equal access to all web content.


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