Press release: ETNO Statement in view of the Informal Telecoms Council
2-3 October 2014
ETNO, the leading telecoms operators’ trade association in Europe, has been involved in the Internet governance debate for a number of years, actively participating in the various relevant fora such as the Internet Governance Forum, ICANN, WSIS and NETMundial. ETNO welcomes the initiative of the Italian EU Presidency to place Internet governance high on the Presidency agenda and to hold a dedicated session on Internet governance at the Informal Ministerial Council meeting in Milan.
ETNO welcomed the Commission’s Communication on Internet Governance which was issued in February. The Communication set forth a clear strategic course for European Internet governance and highlighted several key actions. Clearly however, there is still scope for a more unified and coherent European view that can have a solid impact on the global discussion. We believe as ETNO that it is not acceptable for Europe to be just a follower in this field or to be marginalized in this important debate. The European Union can play an active role in helping bridge opposing positions.
The topic of Internet governance is very expansive. Overall however, efforts by policy makers and all involved stakeholders are urgently needed to restore trust and confidence in the usage of Digital Services and the Internet. Trust is key to telecoms operators, as we build our services upon this cornerstone.
We take this opportunity to share our views on some topical items related to the Internet governance debate.
ICANN Internationalization and Transition of the Stewardship of the IANA Functions
ETNO fully supports the call for the internationalization of ICANN and is encouraged by the initial steps that ICANN has made in this regard. ETNO believes that ICANN must reinforce its transparency through its creation of specific performance goals and become accountable to the global community in a meaningful way.
Further, ETNO supports the NTIA announcement regarding the IANA functions transition and looks forward to a solution that addresses all stakeholder needs, while ensuring the continued stability and security of the Internet.
Any proposal to advance the transition process requires consideration of two sets of accountability requirements. First, are those that pertain to the performance of the IANA functions by ICANN but also, second, are those that pertain to ICANN’s broader role within the Internet eco-system. While the two sets of accountability requirements are distinct, ensuring accountability measures to address both purposes will be essential to any transition proposal to garner support of the global multistakeholder community. In moving to a global governance model, it is vital to ensure that the domain name system (DNS) functions as a part of a single, decentralized, open, and interoperable Internet.
ETNO believes that Government representatives are core stakeholders within the multi-stakeholder model, and government involvement is appropriately conducted through participation in the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC).
Principles on Internet Governance
ETNO believes that the EU can and should identify principles on issues such as the Open Internet and data protection, which seek to strike a balance between the protection of consumer interests and the investment and innovation needs of business. A spread of national principles will only result in a patchwork of rules which ‘breaks’ Europe and will makes it difficult for cross-border business to operate and end-users to understand what is applicable where.
Europe is in the process of debating some key pieces of EU legislation  related to different aspects of the Internet governance debate. The overall objective of these pieces of legislation must be to strengthen trust online, to provide adequate safeguards for users and their rights and to allow space for innovation.
At global level, the protection of human rights and the freedom of speech should remain as fundamental priorities and global principles are appropriate to ensure awareness and the enshrining of these rights.
Capacity Building: Connecting the Next Billion Users
ICTs are a key enabler of development and capacity-building should be a focus of Government and business activity in the coming years, to support economic development, help generate jobs and allow more people to benefit from the Information Society.
Ten years ago, the WSIS meetings confirmed a common vision on the Information Society, identifying its main principles and challenges towards a people-centered inclusive and development-oriented Information Society. The fundamental aim of the WSIS process was to foster the use of technology to improve peoples’ lives and to bridge the digital divide. This objective has not yet been achieved in some parts of the world and even in Europe, continued efforts must be made in order to accelerate social and economic growth, sustainable development, increasing transparency and accountability.
The telecoms sector has demonstrated its value as a facilitator and development enabler in capacity building, however, we all have a shared responsibility to promote the benefits of ICTs usage and promote an open secure peaceful and accessible ICT environment.
Since the WSIS process started, increased emphasis has been given to the multi-stakeholder approach and this must be sustained. Governments and business alike need to be active contributors to the WSIS+10 review process. Progress over the last 10 years needs to be thoroughly evaluated by and gaps and next actions identified with a laser focus on growth, development and jobs.
 Draft Connected Continent Regulation, Draft Network and Information Security Directive, Draft Data Protection Regulation.