Member of the Board of the Polish Linux Users Group. Human rights in digital era hacktivist, Free Software advocate, privacy and anonimity evangelist; expert volunteer to the Panoptykon Foundation; co-organizer of SocHack social hackathons; charter member of the Warsaw Hackerspace; and Telecomix co-operator; biker, sailor.

Formerly President of the Board of the Polish Free and Open Source Software Foundation; CTO of BRAMA Mobile Technologies Laboratory on Warsaw University of Technology and a student at Philosophy Institute on Warsaw University.

Table of Contents

02.07.2016Dzień, w którym cenzura Sieci w Polsce stała się faktem pl 152 13.04.2015Needless haystacks en 151 12.03.2015e-Dockleracje pl 150 19.01.2015Ban on encryption is not about banning encryption en 149 13.01.2015Not Free as in Beer en pl 148 30.12.2014GPG Key Transition en pl 147 18.12.2014Siła wyższa pl 146 04.12.2014Internet in Poland to be porn-free after all? en pl 145 27.11.2014Block everything! en pl 144 02.11.2014Introducing: rysiek's law of unavoidable consequences en pl 143 09.09.2014Stop paedophilia en pl 142 22.06.2014Even with EME, Mozilla will become "the browser that can't" en 141 21.06.2014EuroDIG 2014 en pl 140 19.06.2014Hacker in the Digital Affairs Council en pl 139 30.05.2014Public consultations and anonymity en pl 138 18.05.2014Why being a pirate is not worth it en pl 137 15.05.2014On Mozilla, DRM and irrelevance en pl 136 14.05.2014Not-quite-good-enough-Mundial en 135 12.04.2014Irresponsible non-disclosure en pl 134 29.03.2014Ecologic, Ford and surveillance en pl 133 15.03.2014Otwórzmy edukację pl 132 10.03.2014Blurry line between private service and public infrastructure en 131 08.03.2014IM IN UR MINISTRY, CONSULTING UR INTERNETZ en pl 130 17.02.2014Encrypted VoIP that works en pl 129 11.02.2014So you want to censor the Internet... en pl 128 02.02.2014This is why we can't have nice IRC en 127 31.01.2014Decentralize where your mouth is en pl 126 30.01.2014A link cannot be illegal en pl 125 30.01.2014Copyright reform debate lives on en pl 124 26.01.2014Neat HaCSS, or let's de-JS the Web a bit en 123 27.12.2013Information Account Number en 122 14.12.2013HaIPu en 121 20.11.2013Friends of TTIP and data protection in Brussels en 120 19.11.2013Social media, Polish Pirates style en pl 119 05.11.2013A rude comment en 118 20.10.2013TEDx Warsaw Women and privacy en pl 117 03.10.2013Copyreform at CopyCamp 2013 en pl 116 22.09.2013Long-expected KMail2 rant en 115 18.09.2013Facebook for schools en 114 12.09.2013In which I call upon United Poland parliamentarians to guarantee citizens the right to Internet free of surveillance en pl 113 08.09.2013Complaintivism en 112 04.09.2013It's his own fault en pl 111 19.08.2013Lies, damn lies, and analytics en pl 110 27.07.2013Shortest Internet censorship debate ever en pl 109 22.07.2013How information sharing uproots conservative business models en es 108 22.07.2013Posts' markup is now available en pl 107 11.07.2013Kultura wolna i legalna pl 106 07.06.2013Internet is not a problem en pl 105 05.06.2013Libel Culture en 104 17.05.2013Wojtuś Fatalista i wolność w Internecie pl 102 17.05.2013Why I find -ND unnecessary and harmful en es pl 101 28.03.2013Wolność nasza codzienna pl 100 17.03.2013Nie wszystko korpo co o wolności w Internecie pl 99 15.03.2013♫ Odpowiadam na e-maile ♫ pl 98 11.02.2013One year anniversary of Anti-ACTA en pl 97 30.01.2013Nie ma haka na słabe dziennikarstwo? pl 96 30.01.2013Fighting Black PR around OER en pl 95 29.01.2013HOWTO: effectively argue against Internet censorship ideas en pl 94 20.11.2012Border conditions for preserving subjectivity in the digital era en pl 93 19.11.2012Social blogosphere en pl 92 07.11.2012Embrace fragmentation en pl 91 02.11.2012SERVICES.TXT en pl 90 24.10.2012Apple finally jumped the shark en es 89 24.09.2012Breaking the garden walls en es pl 88 24.09.2012Minister i Kultura pl 87 24.09.2012Melbourne CryptoParty video message en 86 16.09.2012On sailor's sensitivity, or "the starry heavens above me" en pl 85 22.08.2012Black PR around Polish e-Textbooks en pl 84 15.08.2012Regaty utracone pl 83 24.07.2012Hypochristian Love en 82 24.07.2012Some new Layout Goodness en pl 81 17.07.2012Party 2.0 en pl 80 16.07.2012Prawo autorskie po ACTA pl 79 13.07.2012Party as a system hack en pl 78 10.06.2012Are corporations dangerous only in collusion with governments? en 77 09.06.2012Proxies! Proxies everywhere! en 76 05.06.2012Automagic re-publishing from Twitter to StatusNet en pl 75 18.05.2012TPSA/Orange and GIMP, or a word on 5 users en pl 74 16.05.2012Słowo o Warsztatach MAiC pl 73 15.04.2012Schowaj gadżeta pl 72 05.04.2012Perfect ToDo-oid en 71 27.03.2012Subjectively on Anti-ACTA in Poland en pl 70 25.03.2012On copyright in Budapest en pl 69 23.03.2012Kościoła poczucie odpowiedzialności pl 68 20.03.2012Learning to Internet en pl 67 19.03.2012Kościoła wiara w wiernych pl 66 29.02.2012Brussels Safari #1 - EP press conference and ITRE en pl 65 21.02.2012Because ACTA is passé en pl 64 20.02.2012Privacy of correspondence, EU-style en pl 63 17.02.2012Polish PM on ACTA: I was wrong en pl 62 12.02.2012Anonymous vs Corponymous en pl 61 10.02.2012To have a cookie and dowload it too en pl 60 19.01.2012About ACTA at Polish PM Chancellery en pl 59 19.01.2012Free as in United en pl 58 16.01.2012Towarzystwo czuje się oszukane pl 57 10.01.2012Terms of Using the Service en pl 56 05.01.2012Corporate lack of patriotism en pl 55 04.01.2012Terroristcopters en pl 54 03.01.2012IceWeasel and Privacy en pl 53 28.12.2011Good Uncle Stal... Putin en pl 52 25.12.2011Useful Bash defaults done right en 51 21.12.2011Google Mail, or how mail becomes publication en pl 50 20.12.2011Occupy Gotham en pl 49 11.12.2011Copyfraud en pl 48 08.12.2011Multikino Wikipedia FAIL pl 47 27.11.2011Nie miejsce na pl 46 18.11.2011One-way cutting en pl 45 12.11.2011Tolerancja dla Kościoła pl 44 11.11.2011Users and Citizens en pl 43 30.10.2011Adhocracy and Net4Change en pl 42 18.10.2011War on Fun en pl 41 16.10.2011Boli mnie w krzyżu pl 40 14.10.2011Technocomplacency en pl 39 10.10.2011I Can Haz? pl 37 09.10.2011Election Silence in Poland en pl 38 03.10.2011Kibice i kampania pl 36 02.10.2011E-textbooks, Johnny Mnemonic, business and the Net en pl 35 19.09.2011CC Global Streaming/Summit/Party pl 33 19.09.2011Czy jest coś takiego jak darmowe śniadanie? pl 34 12.09.2011Faktycznie Super pl 32 12.09.2011Diaspora-Based Comment System en 31 11.09.2011Conflict of values en pl 30 06.09.2011Wolność słowa to nie wolność od myślenia ani od krytyki pl 29 06.09.2011On-line privacy and anonymity: case in point en pl 28 04.09.2011On being careful with words en pl 27 03.09.2011W obronie QR Code pl 26 31.08.2011Stolica Nie Tak Święta pl 25 29.08.2011Of malware, hot steam, privacy, using one's brain and paedoparanoia en 24 29.08.2011Kragen Thinking Out Loud en pl 23 18.08.2011Ból, blizny, dziewczyny i wiosła pl 22 07.08.2011Worst. Woodstock. Ever! pl 21 27.07.2011Willpower, productivity and cycling en pl 20 19.07.2011Neo FreeRunner as a WiFi Soundcard en 19 10.07.2011A Weekend with lawyers en pl 18 09.07.2011One step closer to ideal en pl 17 04.07.2011Apostasy in Poland en pl 16 28.06.2011YAFR (Yet Another Facebook Rant) en pl 15 19.06.2011Wiara w priorytety pl 14 17.06.2011Important meetings, fun meetings en pl 13 13.06.2011Ooops I en pl 12 30.05.2011Playing with Node.js en pl 11 25.05.2011Mozilla, Google and the Location Bar en pl 10 24.05.2011At Sector 3.0 conf en pl 9 23.05.2011Layout, CSS and RSS/Atom en pl 8 15.05.2011Startup Weekend Network Fun Fun Fun en 7 11.05.2011Nowy szef Bramy pl 6 10.05.2011World's Smallest Open Source Violin en pl 5 10.05.2011Po kolejnym spotkaniu w KPRM pl 4 08.05.2011Inspiracja na niedzielę pl 3 08.05.2011I horizontally the whole blog is that serious pl 2 07.05.2011I can has brag en pl 1


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I had been invited to join NETmundial a couple of weeks ago in São Paulo. It's been an interesting learning experience for — well, I guess for all involved parties (a.k.a. "multiple stakeholders"; "multistakeholderism" was the buzzword du jour). Sadly, not very much more, though.

When the most resounding message in statements made from the stage by organisers and high-profile guests is that the outcome document has to be "good enough", that sends a strong signal that mediocrity is to be expected.

In that regard, nobody got disappointed.

Now, I do not have as black an opinion of NETmundial as La Quadrature du Net; I even feel that Smári McCarthy's view that [t]he entire conference was a waste of time goes a wee bit too far.

Still I am far from the optimism expressed by the Polish Ministry of Administration and Digital Affairs (among others). Here's why.


It would be hard not to notice two prevailing contention issues in, of and about the Internet during the last year or so: privacy and net neutrality.

In either both governments and corporations are highly interested; in either different governments and corporate entities have (or claim to have) different interests. And — most importantly — both are inseparably connected to human rights in the digital era, and to the future of the Internet as a whole.

Discussion of these issues, especially privacy, gained much steam after Edward Snowden's revelations about overreaching mass surveillance programmes run by the US National Security Agency.

In response to, among others, these revelations, in late 2013 Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff announced plans to host a global Internet governance meeting, which came to be The Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance, a.k.a. NETmundial.

At the same time, for the last few years, there was a debate happening in Brazil around Marco Civil da Internet. The debate hinged on the very same two crucial issues — privacy and network neutrality. Few weeks before NETmundial the bill has cleared Brazilian congress, and was passed into law on the first day of NETmundial, April 23rd. The bill contains strong protection of network neutrality and privacy on the Internet.

Few weeks before NETmundial the European Parliament voted for a bill that would (among other things) protect network neutrality in the EU.


The process seemed thought-through and geared towards multistakeholderism. The idea was to gather as many people, institutions, NGOs, governments, interested in Internet governance, as possible, get their input and prepare a single document, outlining the principles and the roadmap for Internet governance.


Discussion had started long before the April conference. First, a call for submission had been made (around 180 submissions had been received, including mine). Each had to refer either to principles, or roadmap.

Then, a first draft version of the outcome document has been published, and opened for comments. Hundreds of these flowed-in, and the call form comments has ended directly before the conference itself.


Finally, the conference was organised as a single-track, massive (more than 800 people in attendance) plenary. After the usual official statements (made by — among others — Mrs. Rousseff, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Vint Cerf, Nenna Nwakanma, and representatives of several governments, including the Polish Minister of Administration and Digital Affairs), a call for comments — this time submitted in person, via microphones — was open and continued for the better part of the 2 days.

There were 4 microphones: one for civil society, one for governments, one for academia and technical community, and one for business. There were about 200 representatives of each of these groups in the room, and each group has been represented more-or-less equally in the composition of the group of people on stage, running the event. Microphones were called upon sequentially, and each speaker had 2 minutes (later reduced to 1.5 minute) to voice their comment.

Interestingly, remote hub participants were also offered the floor (via an audio-video link) after each microphone call sequence, and there were quite a few quality "remote" remarks that added real value to the proceedings.

Each comment, each word, was transcribed and directly shown on-screen. All transcripts are also available on-line, which is a boon for transparency and accountability.

"It's who counts the votes"

After the plenary ended for the day, all the comments were then processed and merged with the outcome document draft by the High-Level Multistakeholder Committee. Sadly, while on the plenary every group had the same power, the same amount of time to voice their concerns, things changed in the Committee: there were 3 representatives each from civil society, technical community, academia, business, and (surprisingly) "international organisations" (like the... European Commission!). However, there were 12 representatives of governments.

And the Committee meeting was not recorded nor transcribed. Every NETmundial participant could be in the room the Committee was working in, but they didn't have a voice.

There goes multistakeholderism, accountability and transparency, out the window.


In the comments, especially those voiced in the plenary, both net neutrality and privacy/mass surveillance issues were not only present, but — I would say — prevalent. While most comments in support of enshrining network neutrality and including strong wording against mass surveillance in the outcome document came (unsurprisingly) from the civil society, there were such voices also from governments, academia, technical community and business, including this great tidbit by Mr. James Seng:

businesses should also be protected from being coerced by their government or any other legal authorities into mass surveillance.

...and this great comment, coming (surprisingly) not from civil society, but from the government side — by Mr Groń, representing Polish Ministry of Administration and Digital Affairs (which does seem to get it as far as Internet is concerned):

Text in the current form may suggest that there might be mass surveillance interception and collection programs which are consistent with human rights and democratic values. By definition, mass surveillance is not consistent with human rights and democratic values.

The rule of law and democratic values states that surveillance must respect specific and strict rules. There must be specific legislation setting limits of powers of surveillance authorities and providing necessary protection for citizens' rights. Use of surveillance mechanisms must be under supervision of court. Such mechanisms may be used only in a case of reasonable suspicion of committing a crime and only against specific person or persons.

Mechanism used must be proportional and may be used only for specific time period.

Many comments called for explicit acknowledgement of Edward Snowden's role in the conception of NETmundial. Many others for outright calling access to the Internet a human right. Several about the need to connect developing nations.

I also took to the microphone to underline the issue of walled-gardens and consequent growing balkanisation of the Internet.

Of course, voices advocating stronger protection of imaginary property where also there, but (and again, this is my subjective take on it) there were much fewer of them than one would have expected.

And of course there were pro-censorship statements, thinly veiled behind the usual "think of the children" (Tunisia) and "the right of the government to decide what is best for the people" (China).


As good as the comments were, the outcome document is sadly very disappointing. There was a strong urge to build a consensus around the document, which obviously meant that certain things were hard to introduce — but during the work of the committees merging comments with draft documents there were several positive changes introduced, including strong language against mass surveillance both in the Roadmap, and in the Principles. The latter being most clear-cut:

Mass surveillance is not compatible with the right to privacy or the principle of proportionality.

Then the draft document, merged and polished by the respective Principles and Roadmap committees, went under consideration of the High-Level Multistakeholder Committee. And that's where things got cut and mangled. The strong anti mass surveillance language disappeared, leaving only watered-down version that can be read as if suggesting mass surveillance can be carried out in a way that is compatible with human rights law.

Make no mistake — this is due to vehement opposition to such strong condemnation of mass surveillance, voiced by none other than the United States. US representative went as far as to state, that in the view of the US (compare and contrast with the Polish statement above):

Mass surveillance not always a violation of privacy.

For the same reason there is no acknowledgement of Edward Snowden in the document, of course. And, of course, these were voiced unequivocally only at the not recorded nor transcribed HLMC meeting.

Net neutrality got a boot and was only included as a "point to be further discussed beyond NETmundial" (along with roles of stakeholders, jurisdiction issues and benchmarking).

Finally, intermediary liability only got a weak acknowledgement, anchored in "economic growth, innovation, creativity and free flow of information", instead of human rights (like freedom of expression or privacy):

Intermediary liability limitations should be implemented in a way that respects and promotes economic growth, innovation, creativity and free flow of information.

Little wonder, then, that civil society organisations decided to voice their disappointment with the outcome document in a common statement; its the last sentence seems a fitting summary:

We feel that this document has not sufficiently moved us beyond the status quo in terms of the protection of fundamental rights, and the balancing of power and influence of different stakeholder groups.


The document is far from satisfactory, especially in the context of the very reasons NETmundial was conceived (mass dragnet surveillance by the US), and legislative work being done around network neutrality (including Marco Civil and the Europarlament vote). And as far as privacy and mass surveillance is concerned, we know it's of rising importance for more than a decade. Time to up our game.

With FCC proposing watered-down and meaningless net neutrality rules during NETmundial proceedings, US agencies blatantly advocating more surveillance and smartphone remote "kill-switch" law being passed in California, NETmundial could have sent a strong, unambiguous signal about the need of protecting human rights also in the digital domain.

Instead, due to political pressure to find a compromise, however mediocre and meaningless (quipped "overwhelmingly rough consensus"), the outcome document doesn't really introduce any new quality to the debate.

To some extent, though, it's the journey that counts.

NETmundial was as much an Internet governance meet-up, as an experiment in multistakeholderism. And even though it was slanted (due to, among others, the HLMC having a large over-representation of governments), even though it was far from perfect, even though the process could have been better designed, it is still an experiment we can learn a lot from.

I feel that somewhere along the road NETmundial organisers missed the fact that:

Multistakeholderism is a framework and means of engagement, it is not a means of legitimization.
via Wikipedia

With eyes on the prize of a consensual outcome document, there was a vague feeling that civil society has been invited to the table to legitimize the process and the outcome, and that there are little to none concessions that would not be considered to keep all parties at the table.

It eventually turned out a bit better, and I find the fact that the US had to unequivocally advocate mass surveillance, is one of the positive outcomes of this meeting. The king had to acknowledge its lack of clothing.

While it is hard to disagree with Jeremié Zimmerman, writing for La Quadrature du Net:

Governments must consider the Internet as our common good, and protect it as such, with no compromise.

...we can, and should, learn from NETmundial. As Human Rights Watch put it:

What was evident throughout the two days of discussions in São Paulo is that a “multistakeholder” approach to Internet governance — however vague a term, or however difficult a concept to implement — is a far more inclusive and transparent approach than any process where only governments have a seat at the table

I think I'll finish this off with a question raised by Smári McCarthy:

We’re going to need to do something better. The people running OurNETmundial were doing a fairly good job of drawing attention to the real issues. Perhaps OurNETmundial should become an event. But where? When? By whom? And how do we avoid cooption?