The Zero Draft the ‘WSIS +10’ document was published on 9 October 2015. Apart from expected provisions (e.g. IGF extension, multistakeholder participation, protection of human rights), the Zero Draft introduces some new elements, as well as emphasising formulations already used in the World Summit for Information Society (WSIS) process. These include the following:
1. Net neutrality has been directly introduced for the first time in the official UN negotiation process (para. 35). Thus far it had mostly been discussed under the broader topic of open Internet. If the net neutrality principle is adopted, it remains to be seen if it will be implemented only on a national level – as is currently the case with, for example, Brazil, the Netherlands, Slovenia, and the USA – or if should also extend internationally to Internet traffic crossing national borders.
2. Development consolidates the centre position in the global digital policy:
3. Governments have received higher prominence:
4. International law applies to the Internet:
5. The document includes two contextual ‘square brackets’:
6. The need for evidence-based digital policy is highlighted in several sections:
7. The Zero Draft reinforces the following trends in using prefixes:
8. The most often-used umbrella term remains ‘information and communications technology’ (ICT), with 51 references, while the Internet is mentioned 16 times in the Zero Draft.
Linguistically speaking, ICT sounds like ‘retro’ jargon, since ICT as a term is used much less today compared to 2005, when the WSIS Tunis Agenda was adopted. In addition, most ICT today is Internet based (using Internet protocol: TCP/IP). With the fast growth of the Internet of Things, it remains to be seen if anything significant in the digital field will remain outside the realm of the Internet. The WSIS +10 outcomes may need to synchronise policy language with technological developments.
For detailed coverage of the WSIS +10 process, consult the GIP Digital Watch.