Messages from Belgrade – 2011
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- Secure and affordable access to infrastructure and to content is the basis for a functioning information society. Such access should become a fundamental right.
- Critical internet resources must be protected; procedures for their fast and secure recovery should be developed. Resiliency of infrastructure is a crucial factor for its stability and well-functioning. Fostering the awareness of all actors who use the internet is also important.
- The basic principle for governing the internet and the information society should be: a maximum of rights with a minimum of restrictions.
- The Internet is a great tool for fostering democracy and participation, but it can also be misused.
- New ICT applications in fields such as e-Government can – if implemented securely, transparently and accountably – promote participation and access to democratic processes without undermining citizens’ and businesses’ rights. These applications can also be used to better integrate linguistic and other minorities and vulnerable groups in the information society.
- With the spread of use of social networks for private and business communication, the issue of privacy and identity have become great challenges for everyone.
- Users’ awareness of their rights and the consequences of their actions must be fostered (especially in terms of their personal data but also with regard to how they behave vis-à-vis other users). Social responsibility and respect for minorities should be promoted.
- The development and management of an individual’s online identity and image in a global cyberspace is a challenge. The processing of biometric data requires enhanced protection of personal data. Privacy and civil liberties must be preserved.
- Trust and security are fundamental requirements for the development of e-commerce. Secure identification of business partners and the fight against identity theft is crucial.
- In order to fight cybercrime, law enforcement should be given the tools it needs, and cooperation between all stakeholders must be enhanced. At the same time, the principles of openness and freedom should not be compromised for reasons of security.
- The spread of cloud computing services offers enormous opportunities which should be seized, but also creates new risks and uncertainties that need to be addressed by the development of minimal standards, guarantees and increased clarity regarding applicable legislation.
- The availability of free content and information, including user generated content, can enhance the diversity of information and opinion. At the same time, it is important that new models are developed which help to create and finance quality Internet content. Trust and transparency are necessary requirements for citizens to evaluate and interpret content and information. Professional standards and media literacy are of great importance in this regard. There is also a price for “free” content, mostly through the giving away of personal data for commercial purposes.
- Social networks and other new media have a huge potential in democratizing the creation and dissemination of content, information and opinions. This goes hand in hand with a growing responsibility to empower users to use this freedom respectfully of fundamental values like human dignity and respect for other cultures, religions and ways of living.
- Anonymity is important for fostering freedom of expression as well as the development of online identity including for young people. Safeguards must be in place to prevent users from committing criminal acts and from doing harm to others.
- Copyright is an important means to enable the creation and use of content. This should be respected in the online environment. An appropriate balance should be struck between the interests of rights owners and the interests of the public to freely access and share information and content.
- Personalisation and behavioural targeting can facilitate users’ life online; however, it can result in users losing control over their identity and privacy.
- The development of critical internet resources, such as new gTLDs, creates enormous new opportunities that should be fostered. These resources should be managed and distributed in a way that benefits all members of the global Internet society. ICANN as the corporation managing these resources has a great responsibility in this regard.
- Businesses with significant market power like search engines, social networks, media corporations and software industries have considerable corporate responsibilities with regard to respecting the rights of their users and those affected by their services.
- The human rights framework, as the foundation of all human interaction, should be applied and translated in clear and understandable language for the Internet. Developing internet rights and principles is one important way forward. Economic interests should not superimpose or undermine public interest.
- Multi-stakeholder dialogue platforms, such as EuroDIG, are fundamental for successfully addressing the challenges of the information society. Such platforms are already influencing decision-making, and their relevance needs to be further strengthened.
- In order to enable all citizens to participate in shaping the information society, internet governance debates should be translated into practical, meaningful policy and better communicated.