“eG8 forum”: Governments and Corporations United to Control the Net

Paris, May 24th, 2011 – The “eG8 forum” is a smokescreen behind which hides an alarming alliance of governments attempting to control the Internet and a few corporations making profits from restricting online freedoms1.

Governmental attempts to control the Internet are multiplying in all geographical areas: the US Governments' reaction to Wikileaks and takedowns of domain names in the name of copyright; the Egyptian black-out of the Net; censorship of web content happening all over Europe; the talks of creating a “Great European firewall”, the ACTA agreement turning Internet service providers into a private copyright police, etc.

At the same time, giant companies are increasingly developing business models based on restricting fundamental freedoms: network equipment vendors who sell the hardware that allow repressive regime across the world to censor their citizens' online communications; telecoms operators who try to take revenge on the universal Internet by attacking network neutrality; massive centralized online services that collect, aggregate, sell and leak personal data; entertainment industries who stubbornly fight the sharing of culture between individuals to force them into passive consumption.

“Governments seem to have given up protecting citizens' rights against corporations engaging in noxious business. They have entered an alliance with some of these companies, united in the fear of the new capabilities afforded to individuals by the Internet and computers. The eG8 stages a show where a government living outside of the Internet civilization hopes to appear connected to it by being seen on photographs and TV with a few sectoral business leaders. It would only be pathetic if it wasn't the smokescreen for dangerous threats on citizens' freedoms and attempts to take over our beloved universal online space.” declares Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder and spokesperson for the citizen organization La Quadrature du Net.

  • 1. Every plenary and workshop at the “eG8 forum” is mostly filled with the event's corporate sponsors or officials from the French Government. The few folding chairs, hastily added for a few members of “the civil society”, will not fool anyone.