European Parliament Votes For Renewal Of Mandate For Internet Governance Forum

As originally posted by on Intellectual Property Watch

The European Parliament today adopted a resolution calling on the UN General Assembly to renew the mandate of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), while strengthening its resources and the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance.

The Parliament resolution is available here. The list of amendments is here.

UN member states have so far failed to renew the mandate of the forum, which was established as a discussion forum in 2006 as an outcome of the UN-led 2003 and 2005 World Summit of the Information Society (WSIS).

The IGF‘s future will be on the agenda for UN General Assembly next autumn, after a UN high level meeting on WSIS+10.

The resolution initiated by seven Parliament party groups members described the IGF as a process that offers “a positive and concrete context for the shaping of the internet’s future on the basis of a multi-stakeholder approach.”

Despite the fact that the IGF did not adopt formal conclusions, Parliament stressed that “lessons can already be learnt” from the nine IGF annual editions, especially “as regards regulatory aspects of electronic communication, data security, and privacy issues.”

In the plenary debate preceding today’s vote, online fundamental rights, countermeasures to mass surveillance by intelligence services and net neutrality were highlighted as topics for continued discussion at the IGF and the EU level.

At the same time the resolution also calls on EU member states and the European Commission to meet to push the completion of the transition of oversight of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). The United States has up to now held special influence over the body responsible for making underlying changes to the internet. The IANA function is managed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

While supporting the targeted September 2015 deadline for transition, the Parliament also wants due attention given to “full accountability and transparency of ICANN” in that process.

In an amendment introduced by the Socialists and Democrats (S&D), the Parliament called on the EU institutions “to propose the EU itself as a first international partner with ICANN as regards IANA functions, including a role on equal grounds with the US and other states in the affirmation of commitments that are currently regulating IANA services.”

The Parliament resolution was welcomed by several industry associations and civil society groups, including Access, European Digital Rights (EDRi) and the Computer & Communications Industry Association.

CCIA Europe Director Christian Borggreen in a press release said the resolution would send “a strong signal of Europe’s support for our multi-stakeholder governance model and for the renewal of the IGF’s mandate.” He warned against succumbing to the “temptation to use the IGF as a bargaining chip by those countries seeking a more government-controlled model for Internet governance.”