Saturday, May 28, 2011

The e-G8 summit to the limited impact

While the G8 summit ended Friday night in Deauville, the findings of the e-G8 summit preparatory spent on the Internet that took place Tuesday and Wednesday in Paris are not yet known - a sign of trouble to build consensus among participants. What was the impact of these two days of talks, attended by 1500 persons, mostly heads of web companies and fully funded by private funds? Despite the presence in Deauville a "delegation" of e-G8, the final declaration of the G8 seems to have finally taken little account of the summit preparatory discussions.

The G8 has adopted Thursday a statement entitled "A new impetus for freedom and democracy" with a chapter on the Internet, but focused on subjects little present to e-G8. The eight most industrialized countries to reaffirm the role of Internet in both economic development and the spread of democracy, and claim to have "agreed on several basic principles such as freedom, respect for privacy and intellectual property, multi-stakeholder governance, cyber security and protection against crime.

" A text considered unbalanced by several associations, including the Quadrature du Net, highly critical of the prominence given to the private sector through e-G8. PROTECTING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY In detail, the statement includes commitments on many issues, some of which were not addressed in the e-G8.

The signatory States undertake to protect intellectual property by "firm action" to defend freedom of expression and access to the network, privacy, and to fight against the sexual exploitation of children and threats terrorists online. They also plan to maintain the principles "of non-discrimination and fair competition" line, referring without naming the principle of Net neutrality.

The impact of e-G8 on the final declaration of the G8 seems slim. If participants in the discussions had defended for two days, the principle of maintaining a Web environment open and making way for free competition, entrepreneurs also called on governments to legislate only with caution.

However, the final declaration calls on states to take legislative action in many areas. BLOCKADE OF THE UNITED STATES ON TAXATION Some of the proposals made during the summit - prefer technical solutions to the laws against counterfeiting, for example - have remained a dead letter. The latter proposal had yet been made by Eric Schmidt, Google's executive director, who was part of the delegation that traveled to Deauville and met directly with governmental leaders.

In contrast, two of the three key points presented by Nicolas Sarkozy in his speech opening the e-G8 are clearly part of the final declaration of the G8: the defense of copyright and protection of privacy - a subject not addressed in the e-G8, where the National Commission on Data Protection was not invited.

The third point defended by Nicolas Sarkozy, strengthening tax contributions of web companies in countries where they sell products or services, it is totally absent from the reporting of Deauville. Due to a disagreement with the United States, where are located the headquarters of most of these companies? In case of deadlock, European countries might try to cete issue on the agenda of the G20, where the relative weight of the United States is lower than the G8.

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