Schaake: Stop Balkanizing the Internet
Recent article by Marietje Schaake, Dutch Member of the European Parliament: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marietje-schaake/stop-balkanizing-the-internet_b_1661164.html?utm_hp_ref=tw(Note much research for this article provided by new JRA4/6 RA Ben)."Vint Cerf, one of the Internet's creators, recently said he could only have dreamt of the flourishing and innovative powers of the Internet. That vision is best preserved by keeping the Internet open and by protecting its users. So, do we need a global Internet legal framework that protects the open and unrestricted Internet, with The Hague as the seat of the Internet Court of Virtual Justice? I don't think so, although human rights also need protection online and competition laws should be enforced on the Internet and in the digital economy. Internet governance presents quite a challenge as the Internet simply does not care about traditional borders."Yet, Internet governance through a UN-body is not the solution. Authoritarian regimes can put their mark on the Internet at the expense of citizens who enjoy access to the Internet and information online where they can freely assemble and express themselves. The current multi-stakeholder model is the most flexible governance model to balance interests and settle disputes. We have to invest in improving this model and prevent the domination by a few. Policymakers should use their democratic obligations to prevent backroom deals."Encouragingly, the United Nations Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed the concept of human rights protection online and urged countries to take appropriate measures. We should be wary, nonetheless, that this declaration does not end up as just being lip-service, as some co-sponsors of the initiative do not necessarily practice what they preach."The EU has an important task of preventing the Balkanization of the Internet and should strategize to coordinate joint actions with EU member states. Besides that, the EU should lead in promoting and defending people's digital freedoms, in Europe and abroad."