The proposal was presented at the Internet Governance Forum in Lithuania last week, and outlined 12 “principles of internet governance”, including a commitment from countries to sustain the technological foundations that underpin the web’s infrastructure.
The draft law has been likened to the Space Treaty, signed in 1967, which stated that space exploration should be carried out for the benefit of all nations, and guaranteed “free access to all areas of celestial bodies”.
Under the proposed terms of the law, there would be cross-border co-operation between countries to identify and address security vulnerability and protect the network from possible cyber attacks or cyber terrorism.
It would also uphold rights to freedom of expression and association, and the principle of net neutrality, in which all internet traffic is treated equally across the network.
“The fundamental functions and the core principles of the internet must be preserved in all layers of the internet architecture with a view to guaranteeing the interoperability of networks in terms of infrastructures, services and contents,” reads the proposal.
“The end-to-end principle should be protected globally.”
The proposal was drawn up by the Council of Europe, an organisation, based in Strasbourg, with 47 member states that aims to promote human rights, the rule of law and democracy in Europe.
Senior figures within the internet industry have become increasingly concerned about the potential for government interference in the running of the web.
William Dutton, director of the Oxford Internet Institute, told technology blog Thinq that the recent Digital Economy Bill, in which the government sought to regulate and manage the internet unilaterally, was a good example of this.
“Everyone’s worried about national governments asserting regulatory authority over the internet,” he said.
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