The Verizon or PRISM or Snowden affair marks a turning point in the history — a very young history — of the Internet and its governance within the international law landscape. With the facts as overwhelming as they are frightening, they show above all the mighty power of the United States over the Internet and its users. This issue not only concerns the information of American citizens, but also all ‘foreigners’ who have a Google account and other Internet industry heavyweights. We are talking about the very core of Internet governance currently under American domination.
The rules in question, such as respect of personal information, net neutrality or digital public policies whether national, regional or international, are at the heart of an ongoing 15-year battle. During the last two years, this fight has taken a more aggressive turn, with the US government, American companies and their close allies pitted against those who demand more international and multilateral governance. The U.S. government is clinging to its power via a so-called “multi-stakeholder” model, lumped together with the believers in an autonomously-ruled Internet, the so-called digital freedom fighters who reject all governmental regulation, the masked anonymous vigilantes who act as law enforcement, the kings of spam or porn, the Internet money makers, the rebel hackers or former hackers become intelligence officers. more