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Democratic Internet governance: European Commission seeks clarification

In the context of the Alliance for the Future of the Internet, the European Commission finds that the U.S. proposal for democratic Internet governance still lacks clarity

November 24, 2021

On 5 November 2021, EURACTIV had access to an internal note from the European Commission, which stated that the Alliance for the Future of the Internet still lacks clarity. Initiated by the United States, this Alliance brings together the European Union, France, Germany, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, and aims to define a common vision for the future of the Internet.

This initiative responds to the fact that, while Internet governance is decentralised, the United States hosts key aspects of its architecture, including seven of the Web’s thirteen root servers. This U.S. control has been strongly criticised, notably by the European Union.

A consensus emerged to provide more democratic governance to the Internet but involving only democratic countries. Thus, the Alliance for the Future of the Internet also aims to counter authoritarian countries—such as China or Russia—that are trying to divide the Internet into several regional sub-networks (the “splinternet”).

The initiative is based on respect for the following principles:

  • high standards of privacy and security;
  • cooperation on platform regulation and information integrity;
  • non-discrimination and allowing free flow of data; and
  • coordination of cybersecurity standards.

The Alliance is due to be launched at the Democracy Summit organised by the Biden administration on 9 and 10 December. But the European Commission is already calling for further clarification on the U.S. proposal, in particular on how the Alliance will operate, how to verify that the principles are respected, and how to integrate new members.


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