The Internet, Policy & Politics Conferences

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Renata Avila: The Web We Want: Crowdsourcing a Domestic and International discussions for an Internet Users' Bill of Rights

Renata Avila, Web Foundation


¨As more and more people awaken to the threats against our basic rights online, we must start a debate – everywhere – about the web we want” Sir Tim Berners-Lee

The WebWeWant campaign is amplifying, connecting and strengthening local groups, especially in the developing world, building a movement to empower citizens to make, claim and shape the Web they want both nationally and globally, so as to achieve the world we want. Rooted in the vision of the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the goals of social justice, the Web We Want campaign is advancing a practical and positive vision of online rights – unleashing the power of people from around the world to create and protect a digital commons that belongs to all of us. Part of the work of the initiative is to foster and support a collaborative policy dialogue in 9 countries with the aim of building consensus on policies and legislation to protect users’ rights to and on the internet, those are countries where opportunity, capacity and momentum for policy change already exists: Brazil, Ecuador, India, Bangladesh, Japan, Tunisia, Nigeria, Kenya and the United Kingdom. 

This paper will examine in detail the collaborative processes across cultural differences to launch the National Internet Users´ Bill of Rights discussions in the selected countries in general, paying special attention to three current cases: 

1. The Ecuadorian Process ¨FLOK¨. In a speech on Sept. 19, 2012, President Correa of Ecuador appealed to the young people of his country to fight for and realize a vision of “good living” based on a commons-based and open knowledge society. The FLOK Society project (Free/Libre Open Knowledge) has been created to propose a transition plan and a policy framework to achieve this unique vision. In accordance with Ecuador’s National Plan, there can be no ‘good living’ policy that is not inspired by, and rooted in, free and open knowledge and a thriving commons. The FLOK Society Project just launched a collaborative process to source input for the proposal via a Wiki combining an online interface with a collaborative dialogue in rural areas to crowdsource the New Legal Frame for the Knowledge Society, which includes a series of legal reforms benefiting Internet Users.

2. Brazil Marco Civil (Brazilian Internet Bill of Rights). Marco Civil was the result of a broadly collaborative, democratic and transparent process, with more than 2,000 direct contributions from different NGOs, government entities, universities, and others. It is a mature and technically reliable text, incorporating the highest human rights standards to protect users while balancing and protecting the industries. My paper will look at the aftermath after a successful crowdsourced legislation is proposed and the challenges for policy making processes to both honor the consensus of the crowd now that the draft has been modified several times. While some controversial provisions have been introduced, the overall gains for users rights exceed the threats of the controversial provisions. It will be a groundbreaking step towards progressive legislation for internet users, the first of its kind in the World, both in the way it was created and in the principles it embraces.

3. NetMundial 2014: After a historical speech by the Brazilian President on the future of the Internet, she called for an International Conference to discuss the current threats and a roadmap for the future. The Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance will focus on crafting Internet governance principles and proposing a roadmap for the further evolution of the Internet governance ecosystem. There has been a collaborative process to both define the agenda and the content to be discussed via open submissions from differents groups of civil society and a mailing list. It is the first open process organized by a government in a collaborative manner. 9 countries and hundreds of NGOS, companies and academics have collaborated with it. This paper will examine the outcomes of open collaboration in the international arena.

After analyzing a collaborative policy making process in a small country (Ecuador), an emerging country (Brazil) and the Internet Governance arena, recommendations and guidelines will be proposed for future initiatives, especially in the Global South. 

Renata Avila