A global conference on the future management of the web ended with attendees still divided over key internet issues.
The NETmundial meeting in Brazil called for a less US-centric internet. It steered clear of giving governments greater control over the web, something Russia and China wanted.
Russian President Vladimir Putin branded the Internet a “CIA project” earlier this week.
Cyber-security expert Jacob Appelbaum called for the end of mass surveillance by nations.
“There must be accountability and democratic nations must not get a free pass on it,” said Appelbaum, who has drawn on the files of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden to illustrate some of the ways in which the NSA could allegedly tap into computers.
Appelbaum is a core member of the Tor project, a free software network designed to provide online anonymity.
Brasilian President Dilma Rouseff called the conference after revelations of US surveillance undermined trust in the internet.
Most attendees agreed that the internet should remain a self-regulated space which is free of government intervention.
The meeting’s final statement welcomed the US government’s recent announcement that it plans to turn over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which manages the core functions of the web, to a “global multi-stakeholder community” once its contract with the US Commerce Department expires in 2015.
While the conference is unlikely to change how we use the net, it will influence future debate.