COE Internet Freedom Conference

Council of Europe organized the “Internet Freedom Conference: From Principles to Global Treaty Law? Content, Stakeholders and Form” on April 18-19 in Strasbourg, France. The Conference Video is now available online. I joined the conference and presented at “Panel 5: International lawmaking in their respective roles and responsibilities.” Although there are documents available, I’d suggest everyone take a look at the videos that are much more revealing.

The Conference is interesting in several aspects. Firstly, CoE published two background documents for discussions. One is “Internet Governance Principles” and the other is “Protection and Promotion of Internet’s Universality, Integrity and Openness.” According to CoE’s interpretation, the former one is applicable to all stakeholders while the latter primarily applies to the Member States. These documents are no doubt thoughtful outputs on Internet Governance, although they are obviously still under construction. Some contents are missing and some needs to be adjusted. Secondly, CoE is now taking brave steps to measure the possibility of having a “global” treaty law on Internet governance, after the successful enactment of Cybercrime Convention. Although the name is weird to legal community–there has no global but “international” treaty law, it may open up our mind as I stated on a few critical governance issues, such as cyber-peace, cyber-security and cyber-openness. Thirdly, it is really interesting to watch the extremely diverse reaction from different stakeholder groups. Governments seem naturally supportive to treaty regime while business community casts serious doubt on it. Civil society and academic have different views and mixed feelings about “legalization” of Internet governance. Finally it was a very fruitful and inspiring brainstorming. It is amazing that there could be so many participants from Europe community. I talked briefly with the two other colleagues from Asia. We all agree that it would not be possible for Asia to reach the same level maturity in any near future.

The city of Strasbourg is lovable. I took a boat trip with Bill on the picturesque Ill River and enjoyed watching the water leverages learned from China. Wow, knowledge wants to share! The chatting afterward was as pleasant as the weather.

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