G8: The Internet Take-Over Goes to Deauville

Paris, May 26th, 2011 – Despite the huge PR campaign surrounding the “eG8 forum”, citizens and civil society must hold their ground to reclaim a free Internet and its social and democratic values. A club of corporation CEOs (Publicis, Facebook, Orange, Google) is going to Deauville, pretending to carry the message of the Internet to the heads of States. There is one answer to this take-over: the Internet is ours!

Led by Maurice Levy of advertising giant Publicis1, a bunch of CEOs2 will present the eG8 conclusions to the G8 head of states, as 12,000 policemen make sure the voice of citizens and civil society do not reach the meeting room. Nevertheless, citizens were heard elsewhere: through the criticism on the Net, at the civil society press conference, and during some of the eG8 discussions, thanks to the few people rooted in the Internet that made it to the official event.

“Barricaded in their golden room, the G8 governments and a select club of CEOs will reinforce the fictitious narrative in which they believe. They will consider the Internet from the angle of their business models or the preservation of their oligarchic power. In the process, they risk damaging the fabric of our freedoms and the essential tools of our future. During these two days, and afterwards, citizen voices must still be heard.” declares Philippe Aigrain, co-founder and strategy adviser for the citizen organization La Quadrature du Net.

“These companies may control crucial parts of the infrastructure, they are still a minor part of the Internet. The Net, as a universal space that we love and share, is the sum of its users, who built it and make it grow. We all collectively own the Internet as a common good, and together we must make governments accountable for the protection of its openness as the basis for our freedoms." concludes Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson of the citizen organization.

  • 1. Levy's contribution to Internet policy includes pushing the French government to cash on its immaterial capital by inserting ads on public information websites and promoting a purely economic view of the Internet.
  • 2. Among them, Mark Zuckerberg, Eric Schmidt, Stéphane Richard (Orange).