CSISAC decision not to endorse draft OECD Internet Communiqué

By EDRi · June 28, 2011

Update: 29 June Press Release from CSISAC

As a founding member and Steering Committee member of CSISAC (The Civil Society Information Society Advisory Council to the OECD), European Digital Rights (EDRI) strongly supports CSISAC’s decision not to endorse the draft Communiqué currently under discussion by the OECD. EDRi was directly involved in the discussions that led to this decision.

Having participated constructively in the OECD Internet policy development process over many months, together with other CSISAC members, EDRI and CSISAC support many of the proposed principles, in particular, policies that support the open, interoperable Internet, and multi-stakeholder policy development processes, but regret that other provisions of the draft OECD Communiqué do not meet civil society expectations.

The final draft Communiqué threatens established human rights principles and the rule of law. It places excessive emphasis on enforcement of intellectual property, without taking due consideration of fundamental rights and the damage that such measures could have for openness and innovation on the Internet. Similarly, in the context of cybersecurity, it places undue weight on security without giving adequate consideration to proportionality.

Most seriously of all, the implication of much of the text is to abandon the rule of law and hand over both enforcement and policing of cyberspace to online intermediaries. The text’s repeated references to access to “lawful content” implies that intermediaries should decide what is legal and accessible and what is not – although they lack both the capacity and credibility to take over such a role. Similarly, much of the text appears to imply that Internet providers should also be responsible for punishing alleged infringements, possibly through measures such as disconnection of consumers (“graduated response”).

More generally, EDRi has profound concerns regarding the tone of the draft text as a whole – which appears to already be regressing from the principles established in 2008 by the OECD’s “Seoul Declaration”.

EDRi’s opposition to the draft Communiqué is not a matter of drafting, it is an indication of a profound concern that the principles that it espouses are contrary to core values of society as a whole. These are the values that civil society exists to protect.

The development process for the Communiqué has been far more open and inclusive than many exist in many other international forums. This should be applauded and has made the decision not to support the current draft outcome of the process very difficult. It was a decision that was not taken lightly.

Civil Society Seoul Declaration http://csisac.org/seoul.php

OECD Seoul Declaration http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/49/28/40839436.pdf

CSISAC http://csisac.org

CSISAC Press Release http://www.edri.org/files/CSISAC_Press_Release_0628011_FINAL.pdf

CSISAC Statement http://www.edri.org/files/CSISAC_Statement_on_OECD_Communique_06282011_FINAL_COMMENTS.pdf

CSISAC 29 June press release (29.06.2011)