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Netmundial logo.jpg
Dates: April 23-24 2014
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Host: Brazil
Venue: Grand Hyatt Hotel
Total Registrants: 1,480

NETmundial (Alternatively, the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance) was a two-day global meeting on the topic of Internet governance, attended by a group of stakeholders including government officials, representatives of global Internet organizations, civil society, and academia. The meeting took place in São Paulo, Brazil between 23-24 April 2014. It was hosted by the Brazilian government in the Grand Hyatt Hotel.[1]

The purpose of the meeting was to highlight issues relating to Internet Governance after the leaked NSA documents revealed US-lead spying of citizens and companies, and provide shared principles and steps forward for the multistakeholder community that would inform further global discussions on the governance of the Internet. NETmundial stated that the meeting had two primary topics that would be discussed and agreed upon:

  1. Internet Governance Principles, and
  2. Roadmap for the future evolution of the Internet Governance Ecosystem[2]

The meeting concluded with the release of a statement that was drafted, discussed, and edited over the two-day meeting, called the NETmundial Multistakeholder Statement.


In June 2013, former US National Security Agency employee Edward Snowden leaked thousands of secret documents that revealed an extensive spying program by the NSA conducted over Internet infrastructures on citizens in various parts of the world. The news gained international attention for many weeks and prompted governments and organizations to condemn the US Government and the NSA and call for changes in how the Internet was structured and governed.

Following revelations that Brazil's citizens and companies had been a target of NSA spying, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff publicly condemned the US and was vocal regarding changes that needed to be done to make the Internet free from NSA spying. On 24 September 2013, Rousseff gave a speech at a United Nations summit in which she expressed her outrage at the NSA spying, and stated that "Brazil will present proposals for the establishment of a civilian multilateral framework for the governance and use of the Internet and to ensure the effective protection of data that travels through the web."[3][4]

  • Watch Rousseff's UN speech here.

ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade met with Rousseff on 8 October 2013 to discuss her recent proposals and urge her to take a multistakeholder approach that did not revolve around government or U.N. oversight. Following the meeting, Rousseff announced that Brazil would host a high-level meeting on the future of Internet Governance in April 2014, what would later become NETmundial.[5][6]

NETmundial was a partnership between 1net and the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee ([1] In the months before the event, thousands of people applied to be attendees and the event organizers received hundreds of proposals for two subjects, the Principles of Internet Governance and the Roadmap for the future of Internet Governance. A draft of an "Outcome Document" was made a available for public comment and subsequently released just before the meeting commenced after edits based on public feedback.[7] Governments such as Russia, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan wanted the document to include that future discussions on Internet Governance would occur within the framework of the United Nations, a call the countries would later reiterate upon the closing of the conference.[8]

Sessions and Topics

The meeting was held over 2 days with the goal of publishing the Outcome document that would provide consensus and a way forward for the multistakeholder community on how the Internet should be governed. The meeting began with an opening ceremony and opening remarks by several members of government and Internet organizations, including Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. After initial goal setting, the meeting consisted of a working session for a Principles document and a working session for a Roadmap document. Each document was drafted with collaboration by the attendees in person and remote.[9] The second day of the meeting continued these two working sessions and concluded with a session called "Beyond NETmundial."

Marco Civil

Not officially part of NETmundial but a topic of discussion at the meeting, Dilma Rousseff signed a new Brazilian law as the meeting commenced in the opening session. The bill is known as Marco CIvil and gives Brazilian citizens basic rights when using the Internet in Brazil.[10]


Official statements by several Internet Organizations such as ICANN and APNIC praised the meeting's outcomes and document as a roadmap for future discussions on Internet Governance. ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade expressed strong support for NETmundial on the grounds that it could prevent ICANN from being strongarmed by special interest groups into making policies outside its remit.[11]. Others thought there was room for improvement but that the outcome was positive especially given the short timeframe, while some stakeholders felt the outcome document was too vague.[12][8] A few civil society groups and government representatives from Russia, Cuba, and India disagreed with either the proposed model or principles, with the government representatives calling for a U.N.-controlled model of Internet Governance.[7][13]

Following NETmundial, the leaders of organizations relating to Internet infrastructure (called I* Leaders) met in Brazil and expressed their support for the outcomes of NETmundial, stating that the meeting "has energized the multistakeholder discussions and model in a positive fashion."[14]

U.S. Government representatives released a statement saying they were pleased with the proceeding at NETmundial and looked forward to further dialog on the issue. The NETmundial statement did not mentioned the Snowden Revelations directly, although it did condemn surveillance on the Internet. The outcome document also made no mention of censorship of information on the Internet that is currently being carried out by multiple countries worldwide.[13]

In November 2014, the Internet Society issued a statement saying that it would not occupy the permanent seat allotted to it in the NMI coordinating committee. ISOC had supported the initial declaration, but chose not to be involved with the NETmundial initiative because "the way in which the NETmundial Initiative is being formed does not appear to be consistent with the Internet Society’s longstanding principles", which include bottom-up orientation, openness, transparency, accountability and being multi-stakeholder.[15]

Similarly, in December 2014, the Internet Architecture Board issued a statement to the effect that it would not participate in the NETmundial initiative. IAB emphasized their support for the initial NETmundial meeting, but expressed concern about the creation of the "highly structured co-ordination council" on the grounds that this could "impede the development of broad participation, and so may be premature", particularly because the coordination council members are the responsible parties for the effort.[16]

Representatives of various stakeholder, not-for-profit and civil society groups, including EFF, Access and the Association for Progressive Communications expressed similar concerns about deficits in representation and accountability.[17][18][19]


  1. 1.0 1.1 About NETmundial Retrieved 27 May 2014
  2. NETmundial Multistakeholder Document, (PDF) Retrieved 28 May 2014
  4. Brazil's Roussef UN statement,, Sept 2013 Retrieved 28 May 2014
  5. Brazil to Host Web Governance Confab, Retrieved 28 May 2014
  6. ICANN explains Brazil Meeting initiative, CircleID Retrieved 28 May 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 Event Wrap:NETmundial, Retrieved 29 May 2014
  8. 8.0 8.1 Future of the Internet Debated at NETmundial Brazil, BBC News Retrieved 29 May 2014
  9. Agenda, Retrieved 28 May 2014
  10. Spying on Rousseff has Brazil Leading Internet Roadmap Reroute, Retrieved 29 May 2014
  11. Domainincite is netmundial stillborn Retrieved 5th December 2014
  12. What Did Africa Get out of NETmundial Internet Governance Discussions, Retrieved 29 May 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1 NETmundial Concludes, CircleID by Philip S. Corwin, Retrieved 29 May 2014
  14. Post-NETmundial Statement by I* Leaders, Retrieved 28 May 2014
  15. Internet Society Statement NETmundial initiativeRetrieved 15th December 2014.
  16. IAB issues statement on netmundial initiative and will not participate Circleid, published and retrieved 4th December 2014.
  17. NetMundial Initiative Access Now, Retrieved 17th December 2014.
  18. Netmundial initiative gets desperate The Register, retrieved 17th December 2014.
  19. Netmundial initiative lacks backing and ICANN should not lead Circleid, retrieved 17th December 2014