Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Orange’s contribution to the European Commission’s Consultation "Europe and the Internet in a global context – What future, what challenges ahead?"

Discussion

1. Governance of the Internet

  • •   Is there a need to move toward one global principle-based framework

All those principles proposals have recognized Internet as an engine for economic growth, social and cultural development as well as a powerful platform for the expression and
exchange of knowledge and information. In order to preserve those crucial benefits, avoiding fragmentation of Internet (so-called Balkanization, i.e. segmentation into “national” networks) and maintaining Internet globally coherent nature is key. From there, different initiatives may try to build on a common
denominator framework of values and objectives such as promoting investment, innovation as well as economic and social growth, protecting individual Human Rights
such as privacy and data protection, freedom of expression, fostering a global, open and robust Internet.
As long as these principles, values and objectives are widely recognized as a common baseline, different multi-stakeholder bodies may contribute to shape Internet policy and
governance.

  • Are we on the right track towards a system of governance on an equal footing

The WSIS Tunis agenda was a significant milestone deciding to set up an Internet
Governance Forum (IGF) to address issues not covered by the existing structures. The
mandate of the IGF, as a global multi-stakeholder forum, is to discuss cross-cutting and
multidimensional topics related to Internet governance in order to foster the Internet's
sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development.
IGF has demonstrated the need for all stakeholders (governments, private sector, civil
society, technical community, academia), including those from developing countries, to be
involved.
Potential improvements must preserve the bottom-up structure of the IGF and keep this
unique platform outside an ‘intergovernmental-only’ model.
In particular current debates in various forums over Enhanced Cooperation must continue to
include, on an equal footing, all relevant stakeholders, including the business sector.
Moreover such debates need to be held in an open and transparent manner.
International organizations should make their Internet policy and decision-making activities
more open, transparent, and inclusive of all stakeholders. As a matter of fact recognition
of the Multi-stakeholder principle has been the result of hard-fought debates, inter alia
during the WSIS process, and high vigilance must be maintained, especially on the
occasion of important international events planned in 2014 (inter alia, recently
announced Rio summit, WSIS+10 Review, ITU Plenipotentiary Conference) in order
that this principle be fully preserved and applied.

  • Does the process of internationalisation of ICANN go far enough?
  • •How can a move from unilateral to multilateral accountability be realised?
  • How do you see the role of governments within the GAC?

Significant results have been achieved by ICANN in different domains such as the
management of addressing resources including IPv6, liberalization of domain names and
introduction of “new gTLDs” (new Generic Top Level Domain Names), or the role and
involvement of governments:
- Very significant results have been achieved with regard to IP addressing resources:
the establishment of new regional registries for Africa and Latin America has reinforced the
regional structures responsible for managing IP addresses. The current system is therefore
capable of fulfilling its technical objectives and to ensure that the resources are used in a
spirit of fairness and properly registered and documented.
- A decisive domain names liberalization: the accomplishment in that area includes
notably the accreditation of registrars ensuring equal access to the registry services and the
creation of new generic top level domain names. After some early introductions (.biz, .info,
etc.) the ICANN Board approved a policy for introducing a non-predetermined number of new
gTLDs .
- The role and involvement of governments have been enhanced.
Certain decisions taken by ICANN can be considered as "public policies": they must be
adhered to by all the industry regardless of its national or international affiliation. It is
therefore legitimate that governments have their say in the decision-making process within
ICANN. The role of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) has increased over the
years: it is today central in ICANN work and weights strongly on Supporting Organizations,
the Board and the staff. The role of the GAC, however should remain consultative. The
option to turn GAC into a decision-making body with a right of vetoing decisions made
through ICANN’s bottom up development process should be avoided.
As new challenges emerge, this model needs however to be improved, especially
regarding two aspects:
- Full independency and internationalization of ICANN: while the AoC agreement
(Affirmation of Commitments) is a fundamental step towards ICANN independency from the
historical management by the US Government, the operational part of the ICANN mission,
named IANA function (including the management of the global pool of addresses, the root
zone management and delegation, and the management of protocol parameters) remains
covered by a contract with the US Government Department of Commerce. This situation is
not satisfactory and true internationalization of the structure including its operational mission
is essential.
- Management and conflicts of interest: the issue of conflicts of interest appeared with the
new gTLDs program implementation. In a multi-stakeholder organization, with strictlyfocused
missions requiring deep understanding and expertise on Internet ecosystem,
leadership positions cannot be filled without the involvement of people from this industry.
Potential conflicts of interest must be dealt with pragmatically. The right balance must be
found to continue to fill the leadership positions with people having the required expertise
whilst mitigating and avoiding conflicts of interests in the decision making process.
In any event, the bottom-up and multi-stakeholder model is to be preserved.
When Internet Governance was debated on the occasion of the WSIS in Tunis, from 2003 to
2005, Orange supported the ICANN model, which was based on principles of transparency,
bottom-up approach and geographic representation. Indeed, we believe that a management,
even partial, of the IP addresses space through a different model involving national
authorities would have led to confusion and technical difficulties regarding routing.
The current ICANN model is built on as a private multi-stakeholders body, responsible for
managing critical Internet resources (IP addresses and domain names), and defining the
applicable policies. It is best adapted to the dynamics of the Internet characterized by
its global scope, the large number of players and the fast evolution of the technology
and services.
Recent proposals to move all or part of ICANN’s functions to a pure intergovernmental model
raise a lot of strong reservations as this model would not be in a position to meet the
dynamic nature of the Internet.
In this regard, even if clarifications and details have to be provided, the recent so-called
“Montevideo Statement on the Future of Internet Cooperation” may constitute another
step in the right direction,
- underlining “ the clear need to continually strengthen and evolve these mechanisms, in truly
substantial ways, to be able to address emerging issues faced by stakeholders in the Internet
“ and
- calling for “accelerating the globalization of ICANN and IANA functions, towards an
environment in which all stakeholders, including all governments, participate on an equal
footing.”
The recent proposal from the ICANN CEO and the Brazilian president to organize a global
Summit with the objective to find an agreement improving, where needed, the multistakeholder
nature of Internet Governance is an initiative that has to be considered with
interest. This Summit must be organized to allow all stakeholders to be fully
represented in a transparent way and without any restriction, in order to participate
and contribute in the most efficient way.

2. Architecture matters

  • Do such calls pose a risk to the 'One Internet' principle?
  • • To what extent are the current debates on Internet governance sufficiently focusing on who controls key physical and logical resources (e.g. where does the majority of the traffic go to, who controls major Internet exchange points, how do key standardisation efforts influence the balance of power among stakeholders?
  • •How can the risk be limited that separate network infrastructures co-exist or can be isolated from one another, thus undermining the One Internet principle?

IP peering has always been an interconnected mesh of such ‘separate network
infrastructures’. Having separate network infrastructures or different classes of IP traffic is
therefore compatible with ‘one Internet principle’, as long as these infrastructures remain:
a) open in terms of content access,
b) transparent with their interconnected peers with regard to the policies they apply.

That said, the unexpected degree of surveillance which the Internet was recently revealed to
be subjected to is doubtless harmful to everyone’s trust in the Network. It affects the Internet
users and its industry, and will be detrimental to the Net economy as a whole. Ultimately,
this calls for more responsibility from all stakeholders, but resorting to extreme
measures such as national walled gardens would appear to be a simplistic and
inappropriate solution to these perfectly legitimate concerns.
Unfortunately there is in our view no ‘silver bullet’ to address the issue and the solution will
come from wide range of measures. From an architectural standpoint a combination of more
robust implementations, more stringent privacy policies and targeted encryption can play a
role. The most important factor, however, is the need for a more acute sense of responsibility
by all elements in the chain of trust when it comes to respecting users and companies
communication privacy. A clear, transparent and certain legal framework when legal intercept
is necessary.

3. The multi-stakeholder approach

  • Do you think that the current multi-stakeholder model has enough legitimacy – both regarding process and stakeholders - given the fundamental impact of the Internet on our societies?
  • • •How can capture of the process by vested interests be prevented?
  • • Where does the model need to be improved?

 

The current multi-stakeholder model may find ground of legitimacy in its effectiveness: the
Internet network is operational and accessible on a global scale. In the first quarter of 2013,
more than 2.7 billion people were using the internet. Internet users as a percentage of the
population has been growing on average at double-digit rates over the past ten years2.
The multi-stakeholder model was promoted by the Tunis Agenda through cooperation and
partnership among all stakeholders. In order to achieve sustainable outcomes in the multistakeholder
internet governance environment it is crucial to establish an informed balance of
interests among all stakeholders.
As explained above as far as ICANN is concerned, this degree of legitimacy may be
enhanced through full independency and internationalization. In this respect, ICANN is
continuing its evolution as a stable, independent organization and has called for improved
accountability and transparency mechanisms, following the formal recommendations of its
Accountability & Transparency Review Team (ATRT).
Another way to reinforce legitimacy and to avoid potential capture by vested interests
is to keep improving the inclusiveness especially vis-à-vis developing countries
stakeholders.
Through new strategic orientations to develop international expansion and bolster the multistakeholder
nature of Internet governance, ICANN strives to enhance its engagement with
international organizations, intergovernmental organizations and regions, A detailed plan of
ICANN’s international expansion was presented and address three regions (Middle East
engagement strategy, Latin American expansion strategy, African expansion strategy ).
IGF has also improved its local presence through the creation of regional and national IGF in
order to prepare and relay the global events.

 

*Orange sent this contribution to the European Commission via E-Mail on November 8*

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Group managers
Cristina MARTINEZ GONZALEZ European Commission DG CONNECT/02 Head of Sector 'Integration of Regulation, Policy and Research"
Vessela KARLOUKOVSKA European Commission, DG CONNECT Stakeholders Unit Policy officer
Prabhat AGARWAL European Commission DG CONNECT Policy Officer
Group Participants
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