BRICS must take control of the Internet

A civil society coalition has called for the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) group of countries to provide a new global Internet Governance model that ensures human rights, as well as equity and social justice.

The US National Security Agency (NSA) has been heavily criticized for its surveillance programs, leaked by former contractor, Edward Snowden.

The NSA had been authorized to intercept information “concerning” all but four countries worldwide, The Washington Post recently reported.

The Just Net Coalition (JNC) complained that the US led model of Internet governance has resulted in mass surveillance, violation of people’s rights, and an enormous concentration of economic power in the hands of a few US-based global corporations.

“This model excludes major sections of the global population from full participation in, and the benefits of, digitally enhanced development,” it said.

The coalition said that the BRICS, as a group of countries representing about 40 % of the world’s population and almost 30% of the world’s GDP in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms, are uniquely placed to formulate an alternate model of Internet governance as well as to lead in the development of new Internet platforms and digital tools.

“Such developments can not only ensure a more people-centric Internet, but also break the monopoly of a few global corporations who with their national government partners are both commercialising public and commons data and contributing to the building of an integrated global surveillance state,” it said.

“We further call on the BRICS countries to take a leadership position in recognising that freedom of expression and the right to privacy are fundamental on the Internet as elsewhere,” the group said.

The JNC recommended that the digital, like the offline realm, be subject to legitimate political authority and jurisdictions and not to private law and policing.

“The BRICS should call for a framework convention on the Internet and take up leadership in developing global Internet-related policies,” it said.

It said that BRICS countries should lead the development of new open Internet platforms and tools including in the areas like search, operating systems, data storage and cloud services.

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BRICS must take control of the Internet