Today is a wonderful day for us working with Internet Governance that do believe in an Open Internet and multi stakeholder model for its governance.
FTTH Council do have its yearly meeting 2014 in Stockholm, Sweden, and there the IT Minister, Anna-Karin Hatt, made an opening speech that was among the strongest I have heard from any country. Yes, any country. And I do not even know if any organization have said such strong things.
Let me give you a few quotes:
I know that there are countries around the world who want to see a state-led Governance of the internet. Sweden is for sure not one of those countries. And let me elaborate a little bit on this.
To me, and to Sweden, the only logical and sensible way to continue developing the internet is to protect and develop the multi-stakeholder-model of decision-making we already have. A model that has been tried and proven to work.
The revelations of the capacities and activities of the NSA is not a reason to abandon our Multi-stakeholder model.
It is quite obvious that there are some who have a clear interest in muddling the issues of surveillance and internet governance. But to be very clear: these are very different things.
The open Internet is a fantastic tool – for democracy, business and new friendships. During the years Internet has served us well and given each and every one of us so much. Now it is time that we all take our time to consider what we can do to keep the internet this way. It is payback time.
But it does not stop there.
More has happened today!
While the IT Minister was having her excellent speech, the Foreign Minister of Sweden, Carl Bildt, in the Swedish Parliament presented the plan for Foreign Politics for the next year.
Once again, this was in the Swedish Government plan for foreign politics for the next year.
Sweden today is a leading advocate of freedom on the internet – in multilateral negotiations and in the debate with proponents of censorship and restrictions on freedom.
We are following up the UN Human Rights Council’s resolution of 20 August on the principle that the same rights apply online as offline. Sweden was the initiator of the resolution, and we will remain its foremost advocate.
We are building alliances to safeguard a multi-stakeholder model for internet governance, whereby dictatorships and authoritarian states are not given control over this driving force for individual development and global progress.
And we have launched principles that should help guide the international debate on how the rule of law is to be applied online. Surveillance and accessing data are at times unavoidable in order to combat crime and protect the institutions of democracy, but the purpose must be to safeguard freedom, privacy and the rights of the individual, not to undermine these values.
If now only other likeminded countries could actually say the same. All the time. Repeatedly. At all venues.
To paraphrase Anna-Karin Hatt:
We can no longer take an open Internet for granted. We must fight for it. It is payback time.