Procedure : 2009/2229(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0185/2010

Texts tabled :

A7-0185/2010

Debates :

PV 14/06/2010 - 27
CRE 14/06/2010 - 27

Votes :

PV 15/06/2010 - 7.13
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2010)0208

REPORT     
PDF 275kWORD 184k
7 June 2010
PE 440.183v02-00 A7-0185/2010

on internet governance: the next steps

(2009/2229(INI))

Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

Rapporteur: Francisco Sosa Wagner

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection
 OPINION of the Committee on Culture and Education
 OPINION of the Committee on Legal Affairs
 OPINION of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on internet governance: the next steps

(2009/2229(INI))

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to the Commission Communication entitled ‘internet governance: the next steps’ (COM(2009)0277),

–       having regard to the Commission Communication entitled ‘Protecting Europe from large scale cyber-attacks and disruptions: enhancing preparedness, security and resilience’ (COM(2009)0149),

–       having regard to its resolution of 14 October 1998 on globalisation and the information society: the need for strengthened international coordination(1),

–       having regard to its resolution of 19 February 2001 on the organisation and management of the internet - international and European policy issues 1998-2000(2),

–       having regard to its resolution of 2 April 2001 on the next generation internet: the need for an EU research initiative(3),

–       having regard to its resolution of 23 June 2005 on the information society(4),

–       having regard to its resolution of 15 December 2005 on human rights and freedom of the press in Tunisia and evaluation of the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia(5),

–       having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2006 on freedom of expression on the internet(6),

–       having regard to its resolution of 17 January 2008 on the second Internet Governance Forum, held in Rio de Janeiro from 12 to 15 November 2007(7),

–       having regard to its recommendation to the Council of 26 March 2009 on strengthening security and fundamental freedoms on the Internet(8),

–       having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–       having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinions of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, the Committee on Culture and Education, the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A7-0185/2010),

A. whereas the internet is a critical global means of communication with a tremendous impact on society as whole,

B.   whereas internet governance involves issues relating to protection and guarantee of fundamental rights and freedoms, access to and use of the internet and its vulnerability to cyber attack, etc.,

C. whereas cybercrime is posing an increasing threat to societies that rely on ICT, and whereas incitement to commit terrorist attacks, hate-based crimes , and child pornography have increased and are endangering individuals including children,

D. whereas the intersection between cybercrime, internet jurisdiction and cloud computing as an emerging internet governance aspect at the European level is of great importance,

E.  whereas aspects of internet governance concern internet addressing and other predominantly technical issues, in which areas entities such as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Regional Internet Registries and other entities are active,

F.  whereas, in connection with internet governance, the private sector has so far had a prevailing and positive guiding role; whereas, however, the role of public bodies should be strengthened when defining overall strategy,

G. whereas governments have an important role regarding broader governance aspects in defence of the public interest, in particular to protect and guarantee fundamental rights and freedoms, as well as regarding the security, integrity and resilience of the internet, while the private sector assumes a crucial role in providing the necessary investment, expertise and entrepreneurial initiative,

H. whereas the global Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and various national and regional fora are important arenas for multi-stakeholder internet policy dialogue,

I.     whereas the European Parliament and the other European institutions have a long-standing commitment to the internet as an open global public good,

1.  Considers that the internet is a global public good and as such its governance should be exercised in the common interest;

2.   Recognises that the internet is essential for the practical exercise of freedom of expression, cultural diversity, media pluralism and democratic citizenship, as well as for education and access to information, thus constituting one of the principal vectors for the dissemination of democratic values in the world;

3.   Recalls that the internet has become an indispensable tool for promoting democratic initiatives, political debate, digital literacy and the dissemination of knowledge; reiterates that access to the internet both guarantees and depends upon the exercise of a number of key fundamental rights including, but not limited to, respect for private life, data protection, freedom of expression, speech and association, freedom of the press, political expression and participation, non-discrimination, education and cultural and linguistic diversity; underlines that institutions and stakeholders at all levels therefore have a general responsibility to assist in ensuring that everyone can exercise their right to participate in the information society - particularly the elderly, who face more problems in familiarising themselves with the new technologies - while simultaneously attacking the twin challenges of e-illiteracy and democratic exclusion in the electronic age;

4.  Underlines especially the need to enhance the evolution of ‘bottom-up’ approaches and of e-democracy, while simultaneously ensuring that significant safeguards are established against new forms of surveillance, control and censorship by public or private actors, so that the freedom of internet access and the protection of private life are real and not illusory;

5.   Underlines the need to protect and promote the European cultural heritage, including through the internet; akes the view that the internet plays a vital role in stimulating innovation and reducing the digital, social and cultural divide in Europe by comparison with other parts of the world;elcomes the fact that the Commission understands the importance of ‘bridging the digital divide’ and the development issues involved in internet governance; considers, however, that the focus must also be on the many older citizens in both the developed and developing world who often feel left behind in this new online world; notes that the internet can be an effective tool of social inclusion and that our older citizens must be included;rges that action be taken to promote education on the use of the resources offered by the internet and the selection of criteria on how to use those resources;

6.   Recognises that the intensified use of the internet by citizens, consumers, companies and authorities implies that this communication instrument is becoming one of the fundamental elements of the completion of the internal market within the EU; stresses in this context the need for appropriate protection of consumers and intellectual property rights holders on the internet; also stresses that internet users’ civil rights and freedoms must be guaranteed; recognises the importance of the internet as a way of providing information on and promoting consumers’ rights;

7.  Emphasises that internet governance should facilitate e-commerce and cross-border transactions by decentralising the self-regulatory roles, especially in setting entry conditions for new competitors;

8.  Calls for easier access to and development of the internet in newer Member States, particularly in rural areas, and in developing countries, through programmes funded by the European Union; further calls for these countries to be granted greater influence in shaping internet governance policy;

9.   Considers that, to safeguard the EU interest in maintaining the internet as a global public good, internet governance should be based on a broad, balanced public-private sector model, avoiding dominance by any individual entity or group of entities and attempts by state or supra-national authorities to control the flow of information on the internet, while interacting with multi-stakeholder processes on internet governance which continue to provide an effective mechanism for promoting global cooperation;

10.  Underlines that the values on which the Union is founded, as expressed in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union, are core values and end goals of the European Union; calls on the European Commission and the Member States therefore to ensure that all activities related to internet governance comply with these values and goals, in particular in those global internet governance fora where countries whose values differ greatly from those of Europe take part; considers that, in the interest of avoiding conflict, international dialogue should be stepped up with these countries in the area of internet regulation;

11. Considers that governments should focus on issues vital to global internet public policy as private sector leadership needs to be based on respect for public policy principles and existing legislation and otherwise adhere to a principle of non-intervention, except as may be necessary in exceptional circumstances, and that even then their action should respect fundamental human rights and the proportionality principle;

12.     Considers that governments should avoid involvement in day-to-day internet management, abstain from harming innovation and competition by unnecessary, burdensome and restrictive regulation and not try to control what is and should remain a global public property;

13.     Calls on governments to desist from imposing restrictions on internet access by way of censorship, blocking, filtering or otherwise, and from requiring private entities to do so; insists on safeguarding an open internet, where users are able to access and distribute information or run applications and services of their choice as provided for by the reformed electronic communications regulatory framework;

14.      Stresses that any restrictions deemed indispensable should be limited to the minimum necessary in a democratic society, should be based on law, and should be effective and proportionate; stresses that protection of minors must be guaranteed, and invites Member States to also take measures, for example using the public interest notice system available under Directive 2009/136/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 amending Directive 2002/22/EC, Directive 2002/58/EC and Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 as regards users rights (Citizens Rights Directive)(9)to enable minors to make responsible use of internet and on-line information services, and to improve the level of awareness of potential threats posed by new services;

15. Calls for more initiatives to strengthen the safe exploration of the internet by children, to disseminate best practices worldwide, and to reinforce international cooperation in the fight against harmful and illegal content online, particularly with regard to the sexual abuse of children on the internet;

16.     Takes also into consideration the special need to protect vulnerable persons, particularly minors, through a joint action by public and private stakeholders; reiterates that when combating cybercrime and child pornography, criminal content should be deleted at the source before considering websites being blocked;

17.      Considers that, in addition to the governance principles set out by the Commission, governments should also implement the following principles:

(i) transparency, multilateralism, democracy and protection of fundamental rights and freedoms meeting EU standards;

(ii) respect for an open, interoperable, technologically neutral and ‘end-to-end’ nature of internet infrastructure,

(iii) external public accountability of private-sector entities managing global internet resources on a day-to-day basis,

(iv) promotion of global internet governance through interaction with and further encouragement of multi-stakeholder processes, also addressing the need to improve the participation of developing countries;

(v) protection of the integrity of the global internet and freedom of communication by avoiding any regional measures, such as revocation of IP addresses or domain names in third countries;

18. Stresses that the EU should develop a consensus implementation of the fundamental principles of internet governance and defend it firmly in international fora and bilateral relations;

19. Welcomes the internet governance aspects of the Spanish Presidency’s ‘Granada Strategy’, and the provisions of Parliament’s report on a new Digital Agenda for Europe: 2015.eu(10) on drawing up a European Charter of Citizens’ and consumers’ rights in the digital environment and developing a ‘Fifth Freedom’ that enables the free circulation of content and knowledge;

20. Notes the US government’s new ‘internet Policy 3.0’ announced on 24 February 2010;

21. Stresses that the EU should address three critical public policy issues:

(i) protection of internet infrastructure to safeguard openness, availability, security and resilience against cyber attacks,

(ii) European dependencies on dominant market solutions and associated public security risks, and

(iii) protection of data and privacy, in particular as regards the establishment of effective international mechanisms for dispute resolution; calls on the Commission to submit a proposal for the adaptation of the Data Protection Directive to the current digital environment;

22. Calls on Member States, in coordination with the Commission, to ensure protection of internet infrastructure against threats and incidents through a harmonised EU approach and by completing the establishment of national emergency response teams and cooperation mechanisms between them;

23. Calls on the Commission and Member States to step up their efforts towards increasing the security of cyberspace within the EU as well as adequately participating in the international cooperation on this issue and stresses the need for a multi-stakeholder approach to provide a better understanding and awareness of cybercrime jurisdiction and cloud computing, based on an equal level basis and the establishment of clear obligations and responsibilities for each of the stakeholders;

24. Stresses the importance of the security of electronic services, especially of electronic signatures, and of the need for the creation of the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) at Pan-European level, and calls on the Commission to set up a European Validation Authorities Gateway in order to ensure the cross-border interoperability of electronic signatures and to increase the security of transactions carried out using the internet;

25. Calls on the Commission to provide clear guidance to Member States that have not ratified and implemented the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime in order to engage all Member States in a cooperative effort to fight cybercrime and spam, to enhance users’ confidence and to secure the European Union’s cyberspace against all kinds of crimes and offences; urges all Member States to ratify and implement the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime;

26. Calls on all Member States to ratify and implement the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism which would allow the development of a basis for international cooperation in countering the terrorist use of the internet in the form of large-scale attacks on and through computer systems which threaten national security, public safety or economic well-being;

27. Recommends in addition that the Commission and Member States work towards enhanced security and stability of the internet through measures aimed at increasing network and system diversity through the application of competition law, EU standards and procurement policy, as well as by:

(i) supporting ICANN’s work on security and stability of the domain name system,

(ii) supporting work in international fora such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations and the Council of Europe on improved legislative frameworks and national coordination;

28. Stresses that the success of social networks, together with the internet’s technical capacities in terms of memory and data processing, is giving rise to problems of data retention and the use of archived data; deplores the fact, in this respect, that there is currently no ‘right to forget’ on the internet;

29. Stresses the need to find a suitable balance between protecting users’ privacy and recording personal data;

30. Deplores the fact that increasing use of internet networks does not yet go hand in hand with rules allowing users to manage the personal data they put on those networks;

31. Observes that transparent and responsible internet management can play an important part in supervision of the way in which search engines handle information worldwide;

32. Calls on the Commission to present a proposal to extend the application of Regulation (EC) No 864/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 July 2007 on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations (Rome II)(11) to include violations of data protection and privacy, and on the Council to authorise negotiations with a view to concluding an international agreement enabling effective redress by EU individuals in case of violations of their rights under EU law to data protection and privacy;

33. Supports the promotion of the ‘privacy by design’ principle, according to which privacy and data protection requirements should be introduced as soon as possible in the life cycle of new technological developments, assuring citizens a safe and user-friendly environment;

34. Points out that website security certification is becoming necessary to give consumers greater confidence in accessing online information and services;

35.      Stresses that EU institution, bodies and Member States should coordinate their approach to internet governance in the various International bodies that deal with it, such as ICANN and its advisory bodies including the Government Advisory Committee (GAC);

36. Stresses the role of the European Network and Information Society Agency (ENISA) in the creation of a single European information space; notes that ENISA can play an important role, in particular with respect to preventing, addressing and responding to network and information security problems, and welcomes the Commission’s forthcoming proposal for modernising ENISA;

37. Underlines the need to further increase the effectiveness of ENISA by:

- identifying the research priorities, on a European level, in the areas of networking resilience and in network and information security, and offering knowledge of industry needs to potential research institutions;

- drawing the attention of decision-makers to new technologies in security-related areas;

- developing forums for information-sharing and provide support to Member States;

38. Emphasises that ENISA’s support is focused on Member States with particular needs and recommends that ENISA continues developing forums for sharing of information between Member States and others;

39. Considers that the Commission has a central role to play in initiating and coordinating all aspects relating to the internal EU organisation to ensure a coherent EU approach, including with respect to the IGF;

40. Suggests the Commission should build capacity for genuine European civil society representation in international internet governance fora and internet standards organisations or consortia;

41. Requests the Commission to facilitate the adoption of a coherent and comprehensive EU approach at IGF and other major internet governance events by submitting a draft EU position document well in advance of each such event to the European Parliament and Council for debate;

42. Supports the continuation and development of the IGF model on a global, regional - including EuroDIG - and national level, by preserving its main characteristics as a non-binding multistakeholder process and remaining as open fora for dialogue and exchange of best practices between governments, civil society and the private sector and a new form of participatory democracy;

43. Stresses the importance of co-opting Asian actors in talks on internet governance, taking account of the specific nature of the Asian market;

44. Stresses the need also to involve end consumers in the process of creating a model of governance, placing the emphasis on cooperation between universities and the business world at local, regional and national level;

45. Recommends improving the IGF in the following ways:

(i)   increased participation of developing countries, with attention paid to funding of their participation,

(ii) heightened visibility in the media,

(iii) more efficient organisation of meetings, e.g. by a reduction in the number of simultaneous meetings, the establishment of a stable platform to facilitate global participation, and greater multilingualism,

(iv) better coordination and cooperation between global, regional and national internet governance fora, and

(v)  deepened cooperation between the European Parliament and national parliaments by using all technological means available such as video-conferences as well as the Inter-parliamentary EU-Information Exchange (IPEX);

46. Supports the work of the Commission and the Spanish and Belgian Presidencies as regards the Vilnius IGF meeting in September 2010, and calls for an increased participation of the European Parliament;

47. Supports in general the Commission’s position in favour of the current ICANN management model based on private-sector leadership;

48. Recognises that ICANN has succeeded in guaranteeing the stability of the Domain Name System;

49. Supports the continuation of the recently started process by ICANN to assign domain names in alphabets different from the Latin alphabet;

50. Calls for a new generic top-level domain for cultural organisations, outlets, media and artists, for example, ‘.culture’ or ‘.art’;

51. Calls for greater accountability of private companies which register and distribute domain names, carrying out a service which society has become largely dependent upon; considers in this context that there is a need to establish a common set of criteria to follow, with a view to increasing transparency and ensuring that such companies take on increasing responsibilities;

52. Calls on the .eu registrar EURid to conduct a thorough media and on-line campaign to promote the .eu domain across the Member States to facilitate the development of a European on-line environment based on the values, characteristics and policies of the European Union;

53. Underlines the importance of the GAC in ICANN’s policy-making process and recommends that the effectiveness of the GAC is strengthened among other things through the establishment of a secretariat with adequate support capabilities; and considers it important for each EU Member State to take an active part in the work of this committee;

54. Considers that improvements to ICANN should be made by:

(i)   the introduction - while reviewing the performance of existing dispute resolution mechanisms (Independent Review Panel and ICANN Ombudsman) - of an alternative, external dispute resolution mechanism allowing interested parties effective, neutral, timely and affordable review of ICANN decisions,

(ii)  a gradually implemented diversified funding structure, with funding from any one entity or sector capped, in order to prevent undue influence over ICANN’s activities by any individual entity or group of entities;

(iii)  appropriate representation of all interested parties in ICANN,

(iv) ensuring that ICANN’s board and top management represent a range of interests and regions;

(v) use of a reasonable part of its reserve fund in order to boost civil society’s participation to internet governance fora (especially from developing countries);

55. Endorses the Commission’s view that IANA arrangements should include mechanisms for multilateral accountability, and affirms that in future no single government should exercise a dominant influence over IANA, this function instead being subject to progressive internationalisation leading to multilateral oversight;

56. Considers that the 2009 ‘affirmation of commitments’ can constitute a positive basis for further development of ICANN, while emphasising that:

(i)   the EU, primarily through the Commission, should play an active part in implementation, including through the review panels and by ensuring that the members of those panels are independent, have no conflicts of interest and represent different regions,

(ii)  following public comment, recommendations by the review panels should be implemented by ICANN and reasons given in the event that it does not do so;

57. Requests the Commission to provide the European Parliament and Council with yearly reports on internet governance-related events during the preceding year, with the first such report to be provided by March 2011;

58. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Member States.

(1)

OJ C 104, 14.04.1999, p. 128.

(2)

OJ C 343, 05.12.2001, p. 286

(3)

OJ C 027E, 31.01.2002, p. 84

(4)

OJ C 133E, 08.06.2006, p. 140

(5)

OJ C 286E, 23.11.2006, p.495.

(6)

OJ C 303E, 13.12.2006, p.879.

(7)

OJ C 41E, 19.2.2009, p.80.

(8)

Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0194.

(9)

OJ L 337, 18.12.2009, p. 11.

(10)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0133.

(11)

OJ L 199, 31.7.2007, p. 40


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

The Commission’s position as set out in its communication of June 2009 can be summed up as follows:

a)  a clear preference for what is clearly described as ‘private-sector leadership’;

b)  worries about ICANN’s unrepresentative structure;

c)  obvious concern that the international community, including the EU, has very little control over the running of ICANN.

The Commission proposes an internal reform of ICANN (‘Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’) that would lead to ‘full accountability and transparency’ on the one hand, while stating that ‘the current arrangements for unilateral oversight in regard to ICANN and IANA need to be replaced with an alternative mechanism to ensure that ICANN has multilateral accountability’ on the other.

It is worth briefly restating that ICANN is a non-profit organisation subject to Californian law, a situation which causes constant legal problems. The internet is defined by ICANN as an ‘international network of networks, owned by no single nation, individual or organisation’ which therefore undertakes to serve global public interests, with no regard to the borders between governments.

It is inevitable that such an unusual entity, managing a new and complex world, will create controversy among the parties involved, said parties being, in this particular case, spread across the whole of the global community concerned. Opinions about ICANN and its role can be found covering both sides of the argument: its defenders and its detractors. Among the latter are voices claiming that its duties should be transferred to an international organisation, either one created specifically for this purpose or one under the umbrella of the United Nations. This proposal is solidly founded, especially when starting from the viewpoint that the ‘domain name system’ is ‘public property’ – a well known concept in international law meaning a resource that is not subject to national sovereignty and is used by the international community that has an exceptional degree of interest in it.

At the Geneva and Tunis World Summits on The Information Society (WSIS, 2003 and 2005) the need to find an international organisation to manage domains that is more neutral than ICANN was stressed while the idea of privatising ICANN completely was also raised. It was decided to set up a WSIS working group, the Working Group on internet governance. In its final report setting out four proposals, the Working Group stressed that granting just one State a position of power in cyberspace would not be a suitable solution. Beyond those declarations, governments have not reached any consensual agreement on replacing the existing system. Deliberations have continued in the ‘Internet Governance Forum’ set up by WISS and this forum has proved to be a fantastic centre for discussion and debate. During its last meeting, held in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, it was decided that the forum’s mandate should be extended and, as in previous meetings, the need to find a solution to the present US dominance in ICANN’s management was once more stressed.

In view of the above and current positions within the international community on ICANN, it follows that it would be prudent to keep the American organisation – as the Commission advocates – especially since it has performed its duties effectively and satisfactorily over the years it has been in existence.

However, it is clear that some reforms and corrections to relevance are needed at ICANN. Because, if we hold to it that cyberspace is an area of freedom, innovation, flexibility and adaptability, we cannot at the same time expect its central organisational body, ICANN, to be rigid and inflexible. If the world of the internet is dynamic, this dynamism must also apply to ICANN.

Therefore reform is needed if ICANN is to continue steering internet governance. Reform along the lines suggested by the EU institutions for many years now would ensure that the international community as a whole is influential in decision-making and its structure. International cooperation and legitimacy would thus be strengthened in one sphere of government in the world that is particularly relevant for humanity as a whole.

There are many challenges in internet governance, one of which is the risk of the global network fragmenting – producing national networks, a danger already posed by China and Iran – if the current system of management does not develop and change.

II

The rapporteur therefore suggests that Parliament should emphasise the following:

1.  The internet is ‘global public property’; the unilateral management and control of this public property by one Government gives rise to widespread and well founded criticism.

2.  The European Union must develop a strategy that reflects a consensus view on fundamental aspects of internet governance and can be firmly defended in international forums and in its bilateral relations with the USA.

3.  Support for the Commission’s position in favour of the current management model based on private-sector leadership. This support must be conditional upon action being taken to remedy criticisms regarding certain aspects of how ICANN is composed and functions.

4.  In respect of ICANN:

(a) control and accountability: the adoption of the ‘Affirmation of Commitments’ between ICANN and the US Government in November 2009 represents a step forward towards two fundamental principles for the EU: internationalisation and recognition of the internet’s ‘public interest’. The new agreement introduces ‘review panels’ to act as a control mechanism over fundamental aspects of managing the network, such as transparency and accountability, network stability and security, competition and consumer protection. Although the agreement is ambitious and promising, it remains nonetheless to be seen how it is implemented. The EU institutions must play an active part in implementing and developing the new contract, monitoring the composition of the review panels to ensure that their members are independent and from different parts of the world and that there are no conflicts of interest of any kind. This is fundamental if the new body is to be seen as legitimate, independent and objective in the eyes of the international community. The EU’s place on the review panel, preferably one seat for the Commission, must also be decided on. Likewise, the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) must also have a sufficient number of places on the panels. As for the recommendations made by the review panel, these must be implemented by ICANN’s Board of Directors and in the event that it does not do so, the Board must give its reasons. Provision needs to be made for an appeal mechanism, which could well be international arbitration, for these cases.

(b) Democratic participation in ICANN’s activities: all interested parties in the internet world (governments, associations, businesses, users, etc.) must be represented in ICANN. The GAC is particularly important here as it is through the GAC that governments can ‘control’ the adoption of ICANN’s internal rules. The membership of this Committee must be decided on, therefore, but this is a controversial issue since the participation of undemocratic countries whose values differ greatly from European ones may entail a risk to protection of the ‘EU acquis’. Likewise, thought must be given to the GAC’s decision-making process, the purely advisory nature of its recommendations and the mechanisms for resolving conflicts in the event of disagreement between the GAC and the Board of Directors.

Finally, ICANN’s top management team represents a range of nationalities and this must continue to be the case.

(c) Finance: the major part of ICANN’s funds come nowadays from US contributions, plus domain name and gTLD registry fees. Opening up to funding from other sources would be preferable in order to diversify sources and prevent undesirable dominant positions.

5.  The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) has proved a success. Its open nature, flexibility, the high level of participation by the different sectors involved, the development of the governance ‘family’ (Eurodig, national forums, regional forums) all constitute a unique model (issues are debated and discussed without any restrictions) that is relevant and very appropriate for a new sphere like the internet. Parliament is very much in favour of this continuing.

The following are some areas where improvements are needed:

–    participation of developing countries and, specifically, funding for their participation,

–    visibility in the media,

–    internal running of IGF annual meetings (reduction in the number of meetings held simultaneously, establishment of a stable platform to facilitate global participation and greater multilingualism),

–    coordination with national and regional forums, which already constitute a ‘family’ for discussions on internet governance,

–    parliamentary cooperation between the EP and national parliaments must go deeper.

As regards the meeting in Vilnius at the end of 2010, Parliament must support the work of the Commission and the Spanish and Belgian Presidencies.

6. Bearing in mind that problems involving the internet worldwide will continue to appear in forthcoming years, it is important that the EU institutions continue to work – as they are already doing on many fronts – on everything that may affect Europe’s values and fundamental rights’ heritage to ensure these are accepted in the global management of the internet. Progress must therefore continue to be made on the following:

–    guaranteeing plural and non-discriminatory access to the internet,

–    defending the European view on internet neutrality,

–    aspects connected with security in the face of threats or attacks,

–    protection of citizens’ right to privacy and resolution of questions as to who has jurisdiction and which law is applicable in deciding where cases are heard (given that the Rome II agreement expressly excludes non-contractual conflicts connected with the right to privacy),

–    protection of intellectual property rights and guarantees regarding access to users’ culture,

–    guaranteeing free competition,

–    combating crime and, specifically, protection of minors’ rights.

Here, support must be given to the Spanish Presidency’s initiative in drawing up a European Charter of Internet Users’ Rights as well as its proposal that a fifth EU fundamental freedom, namely to internet access, be recognised.

7.  Turning now to the EU’s own organisation and internal functioning, EU institutions need to make progress on coordinating their relations with ICANN, as these are not always rational. An effort must be made to clarify the roles of the Council and the Commission and, naturally, the role to be granted to Parliament. The same can be said of the relationships that must be established between the EU institutions and the Member States both on the GAC and, within the EU’s own High Level Group on internet governance.

8.  Finally, it should be pointed out that internet governance presents another opportunity for the EU to be seen to be present on the international scene, defending with one voice its vision and its values.


OPINION of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (12.4.2010)

for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

on Internet governance: the next steps

(2009/2229(INI))

Rapporteur: Catherine Stihler

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection calls on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Recognises that the intensified use of the internet by citizens, consumers, companies and authorities implies that this communication instrument is becoming one of the fundamental elements of the completion of the internal market within the EU; stresses in this context the need for appropriate protection of consumers and intellectual property rights holders on the internet; also stresses that internet users’ civil rights and freedoms must be guaranteed;

2.  Recognises the importance of the internet as a way of providing information on and promoting consumers’ rights;

3.  Calls for the stability of the internet to be maintained, taking account of the role of the private sector, as a vital tool for economic and social activity, including online trade, the exchange of (confidential) information and financial transactions; calls in this regard upon the Commission to establish a formalised coordination structure to secure the public interests involved;

4.  Calls for greater accountability of private companies which register and distribute domain names, carrying out a service which society has become largely dependent upon; considers in this context that there is a need to establish a common set of criteria to follow, with a view to increasing transparency and ensuring that such companies take on increasing responsibilities;

5.  Calls for the Commission to report to Parliament annually, followed by a debate, on internet governance and the work of the ICANN review panels; welcomes the existence of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF); stresses the importance of having European Parliament and Commission representatives and representatives of internet users’ associations attend the ICANN international meeting in June;

6.  Asks the ICANN to give national governments a greater place in internet governance; considers that the ICANN Board of Directors should properly justify its positions when these differ from the recommendations of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC);

7.   Calls for a concerted effort to combat cybercrime, in particular to increase the protection of personal data and minors, while not hampering the open nature of the internet;

8.  Calls for easier access to and development of the internet in newer Member States, particularly in rural areas, and in developing countries through programmes funded by the European Union; further calls for these countries to be granted greater influence in shaping internet governance policy;

9.  Emphasises that internet governance should facilitate e-commerce and cross-border transactions by decentralising the self-regulatory roles, especially in setting entry conditions for new competitors;

10. Considers that any future governance arrangements should reflect the public interest of society as a whole and should not be subject to capture by narrow commercial or regional interests; considers that the public policy framework needs to be improved with this in mind;

11. Endorses the Commission Communication where it refers to the importance of the principles of transparency, multilateralism and accountability in the operation of the ICANN’s bodies;

12  Regrets that the Commission Communication does not regard the protection of intellectual property rights, and especially the fight against counterfeiting and pirating, as a principle of internet governance;

13. Welcomes the fact that the Commission Communication, bearing in mind the international context, explicitly refers to respect for human rights, particularly freedom of expression, as essential principles of internet governance.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

8.4.2010

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

30

0

6

Members present for the final vote

Adam Bielan, Cristian Silviu Buşoi, Lara Comi, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, António Fernando Correia De Campos, Jürgen Creutzmann, Christian Engström, Evelyne Gebhardt, Louis Grech, Małgorzata Handzlik, Malcolm Harbour, Iliana Ivanova, Philippe Juvin, Toine Manders, Hans-Peter Mayer, Tiziano Motti, Gianni Pittella, Mitro Repo, Robert Rochefort, Zuzana Roithová, Heide Rühle, Christel Schaldemose, Andreas Schwab, Laurence J.A.J. Stassen, Catherine Stihler, Eva-Britt Svensson, Róża Gräfin Von Thun Und Hohenstein, Kyriacos Triantaphyllides, Emilie Turunen, Barbara Weiler

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Regina Bastos, Constance Le Grip, Rareş-Lucian Niculescu, Konstantinos Poupakis, Sylvana Rapti, Kerstin Westphal


OPINION of the Committee on Culture and Education (23.2.2010)

for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

on Internet governance: the next steps

(2009/2229(INI))

Rapporteur: Ivo Belet

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Culture and Education calls on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.   Recognises that the Internet is essential for the practical exercise of freedom of expression, cultural diversity, media pluralism and democratic citizenship, as well as education and access to information, thus constituting one of the principal vectors for the dissemination of democratic values in the world;

2.   Considers in this respect that any restriction imposed on the exercise of these fundamental rights should be in accordance with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

3.   Underlines the necessity of keeping the Internet secure, free, reliable and multilingual and open to every citizen of the world;

4.   Observes that transparent and responsible Internet management can play an important part in supervision of the way in which search engines handle information worldwide;

5.   Underlines the need to protect and promote the European cultural heritage, including through the Internet;

6.   Takes the view that the Internet plays a vital role in stimulating innovation and reducing the digital, social and cultural divide by comparison with other parts of the world;

7.   Notes the improvements promised in the new affirmation of commitments by the United States Department of Commerce and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN); however there must be concern that it does not deliver a full multilateral governance structure;

8.   Recalls nevertheless that the Internet as a global resource should not be tied to one national government and calls therefore for the emergence of a new global model of Internet governance, based on a more accountable and more transparent governance;

9.   Stresses the importance of the Internet Governance Forum as a multilateral forum in which all stakeholders are represented, as already stated by the European Parliament in its resolution of 17 January 2008 on the second Internet Governance Forum, held in Rio de Janeiro from 12 to 15 November 2007(1);

10. Urges the European Commission to support initiatives for the organisation of an effective European Internet Governance Forum;

11. Calls for the start-up of transatlantic talks between the US and the EU administrations in order to further internationalise ICANN and to develop a model of governance guaranteeing free access to and the global security of the Internet, including the protection of personal data and privacy;

12. Calls on the Commission to initiate consultations, inter alia between the Internet Governance Forum, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and ICANN, with a view to reaching agreement on preventing Internet attacks (a cyber arms race);

13. Stresses the importance of co-opting Asian actors in talks on Internet governance, taking account of the specific nature of the Asian market;

14. Stresses the need also to involve end consumers in the process of creating a model of governance, placing the emphasis on cooperation between universities and the business world at local, regional and national level;

15. Welcomes the ICANN decision to open up the domain name system to non-Latin characters;

16. Urges that action be taken to promote education on the use of the resources offered by the Internet and the selection of criteria on how to use those resources;

17. Underlines the importance of initiatives and actions for the protection of minors online such as the Safer Internet programme; further considers it important to ensure that parents and teachers have the knowledge necessary to help minors use networks safely;

18. Calls for more initiatives to strengthen the safe exploration of the Internet by children, to disseminate best practices world wide, and to reinforce international cooperation in the fight against harmful and illegal content online, particularly with regard to the sexual abuse of children on the Internet;

19. Welcomes the fact that the Commission understands the importance of ‘bridging the digital divide’ and understands the development issues involved in Internet governance; however, the focus must also be on many older citizens in both the developed and developing world who often feel left behind in this new online world; the Internet can be an effective tool of social inclusion and our older citizens must be included;

20. Calls for a new generic top-level domain for cultural organisations, outlets, media and artists, for example, ‘.culture’ or ‘.art’;

21. Encourages close cooperation in Internet-related issues between the EU and the Internet Governance Forum;

22. Stresses the need to find a suitable balance between protecting users' privacy and recording personal data.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

22.2.2010

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

30

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Maria Badia i Cutchet, Malika Benarab-Attou, Piotr Borys, Silvia Costa, Santiago Fisas Ayxela, Mary Honeyball, Cătălin Sorin Ivan, Petra Kammerevert, Morten Løkkegaard, Emma McClarkin, Marek Henryk Migalski, Katarína Neveďalová, Chrysoula Paliadeli, Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid, Pál Schmitt, Marco Scurria, Timo Soini, Emil Stoyanov, Hannu Takkula, László Tőkés, Helga Trüpel, Gianni Vattimo, Sabine Verheyen, Milan Zver

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Ivo Belet, Nessa Childers, Nadja Hirsch, Seán Kelly, Catherine Soullie, Rui Tavares

(1)

OJ C 41 E, 19.2.2009, p. 80.


OPINION of the Committee on Legal Affairs (30.4.2010)

for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

on Internet governance: the next steps

(2009/2229(INI))

Rapporteur: Cecilia Wikström

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Legal Affairs calls on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

A. whereas Internet governance has important public policy implications, given the way in which the Internet has transformed the lives and working environments of millions of Europeans,

B.  whereas the Internet has become a critical resource and any serious disruption in service can have major effects on society and the economy,

C. whereas, in connection with Internet governance, the private sector has so far had a prevailing and positive guiding role; whereas, however, the role of public bodies should be strengthened when defining overall strategy,

1.  Supports the leading role of the private sector in the development of the Internet and emphasises that governments should not be involved in decisions regarding day-to-day operation of the Internet;

2.  Stresses, however, the important role and responsibilities of governments in creating and pursuing effective policies of general interest and in defending the public interest;

3.  Stresses the importance of the Internet as a public service; reaffirms the need to guarantee free access and to overcome all digital divide phenomena; recognises that the open and interoperable architecture of the Internet is to a large extent the result of governance decisions made by engineers and scientists, rather than politicians and bureaucrats;

4.  Recognises that ICANN(1) has succeeded in guaranteeing the stability of the Domain Name System;

5.  Considers that the Commission should strive to ensure increased transparency and accountability of ICANN vis-à-vis the global Internet community, and not only vis-à-vis the US Government;

6.  Calls on all parties involved in the discussions on ICANN accountability to ensure that changes in no way jeopardise the key Internet governance principles as set out by the Commission(2), notably with regard to the participation of states that do not respect these principles;

7.  Welcomes recent developments allowing the use of the non-Latin script in domain names as an important step towards a globally inclusive and multilingual Internet;

8.  Stresses that Internet governance principles should take into consideration both the need to protect copyright and other fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression, data protection, privacy and the fight against discrimination, racism and xenophobia; stresses the need for EU law to secure the protection of copyright, human rights and basic freedoms;

9.  Deplores the fact that increasing use of Internet networks does not yet go hand in hand with rules allowing users to manage the personal data they put on those networks;

10. Stresses that the success of social networks, together with the Internet’s technical capacities in terms of memory and data processing, is giving rise to problems of data retention and the use of archived data; deplores the fact, in this respect, that there is currently no ‘right to forget’ on the Internet.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

28.4.2010

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

22

1

0

Members present for the final vote

Raffaele Baldassarre, Luigi Berlinguer, Sebastian Valentin Bodu, Françoise Castex, Christian Engström, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg, Daniel Hannan, Klaus-Heiner Lehne, Antonio López-Istúriz White, Antonio Masip Hidalgo, Alajos Mészáros, Bernhard Rapkay, Evelyn Regner, Francesco Enrico Speroni, Kay Swinburne, Alexandra Thein, Diana Wallis, Rainer Wieland, Cecilia Wikström, Tadeusz Zwiefka

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Piotr Borys, Sergio Gaetano Cofferati, Eva Lichtenberger, József Szájer

(1)

   Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

(2)

   COM(2009) 277, p. 5.


OPINION of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (31.5.2010)

for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

on Internet governance: the next steps

(2009/2229(INI))

Rapporteur: Stavros Lambrinidis

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs calls on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Recalls that the Internet has become an indispensable tool for promoting democratic initiatives, political debate, digital literacy and the dissemination of knowledge; reiterates that access to the Internet both guarantees and depends upon the exercise of a number of key fundamental rights including, but not limited to, respect for private life, data protection, freedom of expression, speech and association, freedom of the press, political expression and participation, non-discrimination, education and cultural and linguistic diversity; underlines that institutions and stakeholders at all levels therefore have a general responsibility to assist in ensuring that everyone can exercise their right to participate in the information society, including an emphasis on the elderly, who face more problems in familiarising themselves with the new technologies, simultaneously attacking the twin challenges of e-illiteracy and democratic exclusion in the electronic age;

2.  Underlines especially the need to enhance the evolution of ‘bottom-up’ approaches and of e-democracy, while simultaneously ensuring that significant safeguards are established against new forms of surveillance, control and censorship by public or private actors, so that the freedom of Internet access and the protection of private life are real and not illusory;

3.  Supports the promotion of the ‘privacy by design’ principle, according to which privacy and data protection requirements should be introduced as soon as possible in the life cycle of new technological developments, assuring citizens a safe and user-friendly environment; encourages the incorporation of fundamental principles of the Internet Bill of Rights into the research and development process of the ‘next steps of Internet Governance’; in this regard, requests additional information on the initiative of the Spanish Presidency to promote a ‘Code of Digital Rights of e-Communications and online services’;

4.  Emphasises the need to reflect on and develop a comprehensive strategy to enhance cybersecurity and to combat cybercrime, with a particular emphasis on cross-border cybercrime jurisdiction in the cloud computing sphere; calls for special attention with regard to the security and protection of online data as well as their use by the providers of cloud computing services;

5.  Takes also into consideration the special need to protect vulnerable persons, particularly minors – through a joint action of public and private stakeholders; reiterates that when combating cybercrime and child pornography, criminal content should be deleted at the source before considering websites being blocked;

6.  Holds the view that ICANN’s accountability and transparency issues need to be addressed, especially its reform and multilateral accountability; holds that transparency, respect for privacy, Net neutrality, and an environment of trust among I-stakeholders are indispensable elements in order to build a sustainable security vision for the Internet.

7.  Stresses the importance of the establishment, with the participation of all the relevant EU actors, of a European IGF that would take stock of the experience gained by national IGFs, function as a regional pole and relay more efficiently Europe-wide issues, positions and concerns in the upcoming international IGFs so that the EU could speak with one voice in the negotiations;

8.  Welcomes the diverse nature of participants in the IGF forums since 2006 in terms of both regional and stakeholder representation; reiterates its view that a multi-stakeholder, multilateral, democratic and transparent engagement in Internet Governance is key to ensuring an inclusive and holistic approach in this area.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

31.5.2010

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

38

1

1

Members present for the final vote

Jan Philipp Albrecht, Sonia Alfano, Rita Borsellino, Simon Busuttil, Philip Claeys, Carlos Coelho, Cornelis de Jong, Agustín Díaz de Mera García Consuegra, Tanja Fajon, Kinga Gál, Kinga Göncz, Nathalie Griesbeck, Sylvie Guillaume, Anna Hedh, Salvatore Iacolino, Sophia in ‘t Veld, Lívia Járóka, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Monica Luisa Macovei, Véronique Mathieu, Louis Michel, Antigoni Papadopoulou, Georgios Papanikolaou, Birgit Sippel, Wim van de Camp, Axel Voss, Renate Weber, Tatjana Ždanoka

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Alexander Alvaro, Elena Oana Antonescu, Edit Bauer, Andrew Henry William Brons, Michael Cashman, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Ioan Enciu, Franziska Keller, Krisztina Morvai, Mariya Nedelcheva, Raül Romeva i Rueda, Cecilia Wikström


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

1.6.2010

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

43

4

2

Members present for the final vote

Jean-Pierre Audy, Zigmantas Balčytis, Ivo Belet, Bendt Bendtsen, Jan Březina, Maria Da Graça Carvalho, Giles Chichester, Pilar del Castillo Vera, Christian Ehler, Lena Ek, Ioan Enciu, Gaston Franco, Adam Gierek, Robert Goebbels, Fiona Hall, Jacky Hénin, Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš, Philippe Lamberts, Bogdan Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, Marisa Matias, Judith A. Merkies, Jaroslav Paška, Aldo Patriciello, Anni Podimata, Miloslav Ransdorf, Herbert Reul, Paul Rübig, Amalia Sartori, Francisco Sosa Wagner, Evžen Tošenovský, Ioannis A. Tsoukalas, Claude Turmes, Niki Tzavela, Vladimir Urutchev, Kathleen Van Brempt, Alejo Vidal-Quadras

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

António Fernando Correia De Campos, Francesco De Angelis, Françoise Grossetête, Oriol Junqueras Vies, Ivailo Kalfin, Werner Langen, Ivari Padar, Vladko Todorov Panayotov, Mario Pirillo, Catherine Trautmann

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Jürgen Creutzmann, Ramona Nicole Mănescu, László Surján

Last updated: 9 June 2010Legal notice