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Internet Governance

Ensuring a healthy and collaborative ecosystem is fundamental to the long-term success of Internet Governance.

The topic of Internet Governance has become increasingly important, and is at the top of the agenda for forums such as the United Nations, the European Union, UNESCO, the OECD, ICANN, the Internet Governance Forum, CENTR, and others. It also involves the role of ccTLDs, such as .pt, as stakeholders in this vast discussion, as one of the representatives of the technical community that, together with academia, governments, businesses and civil society, fills the subjective element underlying the functioning of the multistakeholder model.

What is Internet Governance?

"...the development and application by Governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet." - Definition of the United Nations Working Group on Internet Governance

The issue of Internet Governance involves a multitude of public policies and different rules and principles, including self-regulation, which ultimately constitutes the expression of the global Internet community. Technical matters, including the management of the Domain Name System (DNS), Internet Protocol (IP) numbers and addresses, consumer protection, ensuring affordable access, as well as capacity building, education, training, sustainability, robustness, security and stability of the Internet, net neutrality, ensuring freedom of expression and protection of privacy, promoting multilingualism, and creating an environment conducive to the development of the Internet, among others, also enter into this equation.

The ongoing evolution of the Internet Governance discussion points to the need for open and continuous debate. This debate is an ongoing process that brings together the views and concerns of a multitude of stakeholders and builds common understandings and shared meanings on the various technical and political issues related to the Internet.

The role of .PT in Internet Governance

.PT continues to work to be an active part of this ecosystem, understanding its role and establishing priorities for action in this dynamic scenario brought about by the complexity of the digital world. Aware of the need to balance interests and contribute to ensuring a safe, inclusive and transparent online environment, we participate in the discussions of forums such as the IGF global, EuroDIG, ICANN, NETmundial+10 and TAC - Together Againts Cybercrime. Within borders, we are co-organizers of the national IGF initiative and, in the context of Lusophony, of the Lusophone IGF Forum.

.PT joined the technical community coalition for multistakeholderism and signed a joint declaration on the Global Digital Compact: zero draft. This initiative aims to establish global principles for a secure, open, and free digital future, with adoption planned for September 2024. In this statement, the coalition emphasizes the importance of a global, open, interoperable, and resilient Internet, criticizing the potential adoption of less established terms such as "universal" without clear and convincing justification.

In 2024, .PT launched a pilot fellowship program, aimed at young adults between the ages of 18 and 30, where a national representative will be selected to attend EuroDIG.

.PT is an active member of the IGLC, Internet Governance Liaison Committee/ICANN, assuming the vice-presidency of this committee and monitoring the outcome of the work developed in this forum, bringing to the context of the organization the inputs that can be adapted and developed internally.

As associate members of LusNIC, .PT will be a member of the designated Monitoring Committee of the Lusophone Internet Forum. The 1st edition took place in São Paulo, in September 2023, and the 2nd edition will take place in Cabo Verde, in September 2024. Additionally, we participate in several internet governance initiatives taking place in Portuguese-speaking countries.

At the national level, .PT is part of the organization of the National Initiative of the Internet Governance Forum, a national platform for dialogue that brings together stakeholders, public and private, academia, the Internet technical community and society in general to inform, reflect and debate in an open and interactive way, how the Internet should be governed, a topic that is increasingly relevant in the national and international panoramas.

Principles for the Next Digital Decade

What principles do we need to put at the heart of EU policy making to safeguard the European Internet and pave the way for the next Digital Decade? In the document "Towards a Stronger Internet, Principles for the Next Digital Decade", European ccTLDs advocate concrete principles that will help shape the Internet of the future, in various areas:Interoperability; Competition; Accessibility; Cybersecurity; Human rights; Privacy and Data protection; Online content; and Governance.

In the words of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the next "World Summit of the Future", scheduled for September, should adopt a "Global Digital Compact" identifying guiding principles for an open, free and secure digital future for all, addressing issues such as connectivity, fragmentation of the Internet, data, security and the promotion of a trusted Internet, introducing criteria of responsibility based on a humanist vision.

Finally, we subscribe to the principles and vision endorsed by the IGF Leaders' Panel, highlighting the importance of:

  • Promoting a human-centered Internet that guarantees respect for human rights, the rule of law, and is against harmful behavior.
  • Expanding connectivity and ensuring effective access for everyone and everywhere.
  • Preserving an open, free, globally connected, interoperable, unfragmented, and stable Internet.
  • Unlocking and realizing the value and trust in data and its free flow, while ensuring privacy and data protection, towards a true digital economy.
  • Fostering a safe and secure online environment, strengthening cybersecurity.
  • Facilitating trusted collaboration for the development of emerging technologies, empowering innovation.
  • Adopting good environmental practices in the use of the Internet and digital resources in general, which can contribute to reducing the carbon footprint.
  • Including and promoting the participation of young people.
  • Ensuring the maintenance of the multistakeholder model of Internet governance.