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NSA snooping must not disrupt global Internet governance model, warns EU politician

Europe must ensure that fears of NSA-style government snooping do not disrupt its multi-stakeholder Internet governance model.

That's the verdict from this year's FTTH Conference in Stockholm, as Sweden's minister for information technology and energy, Anna-Karin Hatt, spoke candidly about the importance of securing a democratic future for the web.

"We are all stakeholders in the development of the Internet, with legitimate interests and points-of-view that we want to - and need to - be able to pursue and protect," she said.

Hatt added: "The only logical way to continue developing the Internet is to protect and develop the multi-stakeholder model of decision-making we already have – a model that has been tried and proven to work."

"The revelations of the capacities and activities of the NSA is not a reason to abandon our multi-stakeholder model."

Concluding her address, Hatt seemed to hint that recent EC proposals for a Europe-only Internet could be counter-productive, noting that one of the web's greatest strengths is its global nature.

Read more: EC wants to weaken US stranglehold on the Internet

"It is obvious that there are some who have a clear interest in muddling the issues of surveillance and Internet governance. But to be clear – these are very different things...I hope that we are all willing to defend a global, accessible, transparent and robust Internet that is characterised by freedom and respect for human rights and privacy," she commented.

Earlier in the week, Hatt helped kick off the FTTH Conference, highlighting the importance of superfast connectivity to EU economic growth.

Taking place from 18-20 February, the FTTH Conference is the world's largest dedicated fibre networks event, welcoming more than 3,000 attendees in in 2014.