Building the internet on trust

Lucien Castex

Secretary General of Internet Society France

The internet is a globalised realm that appears to have no borders. However, fierce international competition on the regulatory front shows that it does have borders and that they are very real and perceptible. That is undermining people’s trust in something that should remain a common good. Building a trust-based internet today involves setting up multipartite governance and involving a variety of stakeholders.

This new type of governance seeks to go beyond the multilateral, strictly government- level negotiations that we have today to spur new ideas and cooperation among all stakeholders. That means stakeholders in the public sector, of course, but also those from the private sector, the technical community, civil society and the academic world. That’s where the challenge lies. This governance model is the only way to earn (or earn back) trust. The Internet Governance Forum is one of the channels for this negotiation and the 2018 Forum that took place in Paris last November focused precisely on The Internet of Trust.

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To be effective and adapt to the rapid changes in the digital landscape, governance needs to constantly seek consensus. Businesses and civil society can bring their experience in the field to the table. They can also bring insight and foresight to help tackle the challenges that the world will be facing in years to come, including innovation, as well as the impact on society and habits. Lastly, this form of governance gives everyone a say in decisions to prevent network fragmentation.

Cybersecurity is one of the major challenges undermining the internet’s integrity. Addressing the problem necessarily involves consensus and active cooperation among stakeholders. That is the message in the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace, which has been signed by governments as well as more than 300 businesses and 100 organisations (including Internet Society and Orange), all of which are intent on bringing about shared ethical principles, which provide the foundation for trust.

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