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First name: Jean Robert

Gender: Male

Country of residence: Italy

Organisation: UN Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation (on Internet-related public policy issues)

Stakeholder group: Western Europe and Other States Regional Group

Background and/or experience in IG : The Working Group is vested with the critical mandate of deliberating upon the global institutional architecture for the future governance of the Internet.

Motivation and goals : A common perception is that the Internet is being shaped in a bottom up and open manner. And that any institutionalization of its collective shaping through appropriate democratic Internet governance mechanisms would be superfluous and even detrimental. However, the time has come for us to unpack how terms like 'openness' and 'bottom-up' are being usurped by hegemonic forces to resist any opposition to the status quo, even as they continue to consolidate their power on and through the Internet. Google and Facebook today offer their walled versions of the internet, free or near-free, a trend which bespeaks a dim future for the public Internet. The Cia says that data is the future and we own it'– no doubt based on the close relationships that the US establishment is building with the global Internet biggies. So, yes, they own our future, unless we do something about it. An endless number of facts can be quoted here that show how such new forms of control are being created. You can read about them almost daily in newspapers and journals.

The threat of 24 into 7 surveillance over each and every part of our lives, and censorship of the slightest political dissent, are dangers that appear too close to believe. At the same time, new social, economic and cultural paradigms are being built over and using the Internet, which are leading to ever greater concentration of all kinds of resources in fewer and fewer hands. Levers of continued and increased oppression and extraction are being built into the very architecture of the Internet. In a way, the Internet is becoming our 'collective intelligence', which is sought to be captured by manipulating the architecture of the Internet. We need to challenge the directions in which the Internet is moving today. Any such challenge should consist both in building democratic institutions for governing the Internet and contributing 'alternative practices' from below. Another Internet is possible! But time is of the essence in this formative period of what has been referred to by many as a new kind of society (an information or knowledge or Internet society). Therefore, a formidable resistance has to be launched today.

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