Sao Paulo, April 24 - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said at a gathering here Wednesday that no country can have more weight than another in governing cyberspace.

She made her remarks at the opening of the NETMundial international conference, where delegations from more than 85 countries will debate internet regulation issues and try to reach agreement on a new oversight model.

The push to reformulate internet governance gained momentum in Brazil after documents leaked by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden showed the US National Security Agency had spied on the phone calls and e-mails of Brazilian citizens and companies and the president herself.

In her speech Wednesday, Rousseff railed against unacceptable US espionage and said the monitoring of communications runs counter to the internet's essence as a plural, open and free medium of communication.

This meeting is in response to a global desire for changes to the current situation and the systematic strengthening of freedom of expression and the protection of basic human rights, including the right to privacy, Rousseff said.

During the event's inauguration, the president hailed the US's recent decision to relinquish its oversight of ICANN, a Los Angeles-based non-profit organisation that assigns internet domain names or addresses.

From now on the new institutional and legal accord - the system of internet domain names must be constructed with the broad participation of all interested sectors, and not only the traditional actors, the president said.

She also stressed the importance of reaching an agreement on multisectoral, multilateral, democratic and transparent internet governance, a call backed by British scientist Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the World Wide Web, who also attended the event's inauguration.

Berners-Lee said the web-based innovation achieved in recent years has been possible thanks in large part to net neutrality, a central component of a new internet privacy law that Rousseff signed Wednesday.



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