Enhanced Cooperation is an ongoing multistakeholder and multilateral process where all stakeholders contribute according to their expertise and interests, to enable all other stakeholders to achieve full participation in order to improve and democratise the governance of the Internet at all levels
During this last week, a meeting was held by the UN Commission for Science and Technology for Development (CSTD). The CSTD is the UN group that is responsible the WGEC and for reporting its status to the UN Economic and Social Council (EcoSoc) and eventually the UN General Assembly (UNGA). While part of this meeting was dedicated to development, the major part of the meeting was spent trying to deprecate the work of the multistakeholder models for Internet governance, so that state control over the Internet could be furthered.
One of the goals set for the CSTD by the UNGA is to
to examine the mandate of the World Summit on the Information Society regarding enhanced cooperation as contained in the Tunis Agenda, through seeking, compiling and reviewing inputs from all Member States and all other stakeholders, and to make recommendations on how to fully implement this mandate.
In other words, they are supposed to what they could to understand and to encourage Enhanced Cooperation in Internet governance. Instead of recognizing that NETmundial as an act of Enhanced Cooperation, the same states that disrupted the WGEC continued to disrupt the proceedings of the CSTD to ensure that the CSTD did not validate the progress made in Enhanced Cooperation. These states, such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Russia, are the same states that lead the way in repressing the gay community. If they gain further control of the Internet, they will be able to spread their hatred for our community beyond their borders throughout the Internet. Just as these countries and others of their ilk ban LGBTQI+ from the streets, from jobs and even from the houses they live in, they will be able spread those bans further into the Internet, removing one of the few places some people can express themselves with a measure of safety – the Internet. The world is already dangerous for the gay community, if states gain control of the Internet, it will becomes ever more frightful.
These Internet governance discussions are somewhat esoteric and often very dry, repetitive and long using language and protocol that are foreign to most people. But what happens in these underground windowless rooms in Geneva may affect all of our freedoms and safety on the Internet for a very long time to come.