Enhanced Cooperation in Internet policy making - statement at CSTD meeting in Geneva
My name is Romain Houéhou, from the African ICT Consumer Network, and also representing Consumers International today. Consumers International is the worldwide federation of consumer groups with 220 members in 115 countries.
Consumers have little access to Internet policy-making processes, but are the first to feel the impact of those policies. For example, much of the content that is available on the Internet in America and Europe and that consumers there take for granted, cannot be accessed in Africa or other developing regions, because of licensing decisions that executives of multinational corporations have made.
Online services that American companies control are not designed to suit the devices that we use or the networks we access. We cannot participate in online commerce like the rest of the world, because the leading online payment processors will not accept our money. Decisions about our online privacy and security are made in Brussels, San Francisco and Washington DC.
In these and many other areas where our voices should be heard, the rich and powerful remain firmly in control. Even the IGF is not heard by these policy-makers. This is why a new process of enhanced cooperation in Internet public policy making is urgently needed. The Internet is not the property of developed country governments and US-based multinationals. It is the common property of all, rich and poor, able and disabled, black and white, woman and man.
We therefore support the formation of a working group to design concrete mechanisms by which civil society can participate in the development of global public policies for the Internet. The working group would be multi-stakeholder, democratic and transparent, and its recommendations would complement those already developed for the improvement of the Internet Governance Forum. We look forward to participating in such a working group, as representatives of the global consumer movement.
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