A private memo from within the G8 meeting on Thursdaybetween internet chiefs and world leaders indicates strong levels of support from Barack Obama, David Cameron, Nicolas Sarkozy and co for the principles of internet freedom put forward by Facebook, Google and their peers.
The confidential document, seen by the FT, supports the internet’s role in furthering the distribution of knowledge and free speech, broadly accepting a light-touch, internationally harmonised approach to regulation.
This private view from inside the Deauville meeting – billed as a potential clashbetween internet entrepreneurship and a French president hell-bent on taming the web – suggests a much more friendly and positive exchange.
The leaked document sets out around a dozen of the G8 leaders’ responses to the presentation by Eric Schmidt of Google, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Yuri Milner of DST Global, as well as France Telecom’s Stephane Richard, Rakuten’s Hiroshi Mikitani and Publicis Groupe’s Maurice Levy.
The very first item holds up the internet as a vehicle for the positive forces in society that helped bring about the end of the cold war. Although the web can scarcely have played much role of a in the fall of the Berlin wall, it’s an eye-catching comparison that puts the internet on an even bigger pedestal than the latest Arab spring may indicate.