| SAO PAULO, April 23
SAO PAULO, April 23 Brazil's President Dilma
Rousseff praised the United States on Wednesday for its decision
to ease control over the Internet and called for a more
democratic, transparent network following the U.S. National
Security Agency spying scandal.
Rousseff spoke at a global conference she convened on how to
govern a safer, less U.S.-centered Internet after revelations
that she and other world leaders had been spied upon by the NSA.
"The Internet we want will only be possible in a scenario of
respect for human rights, in particular the right to privacy and
freedom of expression," she said.
"I salute the U.S. government's recently announced plan to
replace its links to IANA and ICANN with a global management of
those institutions," she added, referring to the U.S.-based
bodies in charge of assigning Internet domains or addresses.
Revelations last year by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden
that the United States spied on Internet users with secret
programs prompted worldwide calls for reduced U.S. control over
the network now connecting one-third of the world's population.
Rousseff, whose personal emails and phone calls were
targeted by the NSA, according to documents leaked by Snowden,
said massive surveillance of the Internet was unacceptable.
At the opening of the NETmundial conference, Rousseff signed
into law groundbreaking legislation guaranteeing the privacy and
neutrality of the Net in Brazil, which had been passed by
Congress just a few hours earlier.
Government officials, industry executives and academics from
around the World participating in the two-day conference are
expected to agree on a set of principles to enhance online
privacy while preserving the network's self-regulated nature.
They will also debate how to govern the Internet after the
U.S. government hands off management of ICANN in September 2015,
a decision that avoided U.S.-bashing at the conference and
opened the way for fruitful discussion, participants said.
The meeting's resolutions are non-binding and will likely
have little or no impact on the way several billion people
around the world use the Internet.
But Brazil hopes the conference will lay the ground for a
broader global discussion over how to achieve a more transparent
and inclusive network.
NETmundial faces the challenge of finding common ground
among governments and companies with very different views.
Internet companies like Google or Facebook
feared that the conference would result in heavier regulation,
which they see as a threat to expansion and innovation.
But these concerns were allayed by a draft conference
document that proposes governing the Internet through multiple
stakeholders - from governments and businesses to academics,
technicians and private users.
(Editing by Anthony Boadle and Jonathan Oatis)