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Anförande vid internetkonferensen NETmundial

Anförande i Sao Paolo, Brasilien

President Rousseff, Ministers, Excellencies,

Members of civil society, industry, the technical and academic communities, Everyone who has contributed, and is contributing, to building the internet, Thank you for all your hard work.

You, the pioneers who wrote the first of the now 7 000 RFCs that describe the key foundational technologies of the internet.

You, the hundreds of thousands of people in industry, start-ups and academia, who are connecting nations and peoples, committing code and chasing heartbleed bugs.

You, the civil society and academic communities who maintain a truly global network of ideas. You created, and are creating, the internet.

A network used by close to three billion people - and counting.

A technology that will connect 75 billion devices to a single, global network in five years' time.

And a world whose foundation lies in a set of norms and principles, rather than a specific type of hardware or software.

That depends on encompassing inclusiveness, ongoing conversations and dynamic innovations, rather than on slow-moving multilateral negotiations.


The internet has begun to revolutionise virtually every aspect of our world.

As we are designing ways to strengthen the principles and community that has brought us this internet, we should also discuss norms beyond the purely technical aspects.

Just as open standards, interoperability and innovation have been key to the technical development of the open internet, the principle of the rule of law has been crucial for the development of our innovative, free and open societies.

When it comes to governance on the internet, this principle of the rule of law is equally essential. And it should apply equally online and offline, in the same way as human rights already do.


One of the primary responsibilities of governments is to provide security for its citizens against crime and external threats.

This is also about protecting their human rights.

Law enforcement needs to have some ability to combat criminal activity online. And governments need to be able to also meet external threats online.

And governments need to be able to also meet external threats online.

This is hardly contested.

But experience shows that there must be clear rules firmly based in the values of the societies we seek to build.

Sweden therefore believes that surveillance - within or outside national borders - should be subject to basic principles.

At the Cyber Conference in Seoul late last year, I presented the basic principles that, in our view, must apply. And there has been a rather extensive debate on the subject since.

Let me briefly repeat them: First, legality.

Second, legitimate aim.

Third, necessity and adequacy.

Fourth, proportionality.

Fifth, judicial authority.

Sixth, transparency.

Seventh, public oversight of parliamentary or other credible institutions.

Some - more and more - countries are starting to express their support for such a principled approach. I hope others will follow.

In words. But also in deeds.

Because the debate on surveillance is important.

It needs to be conducted in a constructive and thorough manner.

But let's be clear: the issues of surveillance are in no way related to issues of the governance of the internet. Irrespectively of the way the net is governed, repressive or other regimes can violate these principles.

I stress this point, since the debate on surveillance is sometimes used as an argument to change the governance of the net.

And we all know that this argument is often advanced by regimes having little regard for human rights, but instead a keen interest in controlling the net in order to limit the freedom of expression and the freedom of information of their citizens.

If anything, the debate on surveillance issues stresses the importance of limiting the risk of regimes capturing control of the internet, thus endangering the very freedoms we want to protect.

Some are pushing the idea that the internet is under unilateral control and that the solution to this is to create a new, multilateral system of governing it.

They are wrong.

That is not to say that the way the internet is governed is perfect.

As the world changes, as the importance of the net grows, as the dependence of our societies, individuals and economies on the stability, security and safety of the net increases, so must our ecosystem of governance of the different aspects of the net.

But in essence, the system so far has served the world remarkably well.

The internet is, and must remain, under pluralistic, inclusive, multi-stakeholder control. Multi-stakeholder is a difficult concept.

As a word, it is a bit difficult.

It does not translate well into Swedish - nor, I fear, into most other languages.

It often scares diplomats and government officials used to the familiar setting of round tables and raised nameplates.

But as a concept, it represents a process of cooperative development where all interested parties are welcome to contribute, with the goal of achieving better policies.

And - of absolutely critical importance - it seeks to guarantee that no single interest should ever be able to capture control of the net.

Not big business. Not big government. Not anyone else.

Everyone has a stake. Everyone should have a voice. But no one should be able to capture control of it. That is to be the essence of what we call the multi-stakeholder model.

In our discussions we need to consider this concept more deeply, and what it means on national, regional and global levels, as well as for issues beyond those of a purely technical nature.

We cannot prejudge which areas are of relevance to specific stakeholder groups.

And we should therefore not try to assign strict definitions of roles for these groups, but rather stress openness and flexibility.

We are all stakeholders in the development of the internet, with legitimate interests and points-of-view. These are important days here in São Paulo.

But the discussion must and will continue.

I go from here to the meeting of the Freedom Online Coalition in Tallinn in Estonia on Monday.

And we will certainly also discuss the future of these issues in the Global Commission on Internet Governance that I have the privilege of chairing.

I hope this conference will contribute to strengthening the governance of the internet. We need also to move on to discussing governance on the internet.

And most important of all, to start discussing the issues of governance in the era of the internet. In essence, it is all about freedom.

The freedom of the net. And freedom on the net.

As a revolutionary force for building more open and dynamic societies and a better world for each and every individual.

Thank you.

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