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Symposium 2011

Internet Governance Structures

The Challenge

The rapid development of the internet has prompted a debate about how to shape internet governance, a project that is still very much in its infancy. It can be assumed that whoever controls the basic structure of the internet (what are known as “critical internet resources”) also has the power to exercise control over content.

Hence the conceptualization of a suitable governance institution is of crucial importance for the future of the internet as a free means of communication. Whether this institution is linked to a specific state, a supranational organization, an international non-governmental organization or some kind of user- or supplier-determined group will be paramount for the guarantee of wise content regulation.

An internet governance body should be guided by principles that are acceptable for stakeholders from government, business and civil society.

These principles have to be accepted by the whole internet community. They could be derived from basic human rights, state security considerations, privacy and copyright rules and/or the desire to exploit the economic potential of the internet.

But the motives of different stakeholders often contradict each other. The most problematic case is when national security, political, ethical, commercial and religious reasons are brought forward to limit the diffusion of information and access to knowledge sources. Internet governance is supposed to reconcile these concerns with the free flow of information.

One of the pre-eminent features of the internet is its high potential for product, service and process innovation that can contribute substantially to economic growth. This potential can only be developed if commercial interests can be pursued through the networks. Hence, internet governance is not only a political concern but also an essentially economic concern.

What are the key values that should underpin internet governance? What would be adequate organizational arrangements to implement the guiding values at an international level? In what way are various technical stages of development and regulatory systems appropriate for creating solutions?

Is self-regulation of the internet (with private sector leadership) superior to government managed systems? What are the conditions for self-regulation to work? Would a supranational internet governance body with decision-making authority be an effective instrument for promoting management of the network that is both efficient and politically, socially and culturally balanced?

    Solutions

    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    Develop an “Internet constitution” to take account of the interests of all stakeholders and guarantee essential freedoms. Equip this constitution with new instruments and institutions of governance allowing for decentralized ...

    Develop an “Internet constitution” to take account of the interests of all stakeholders and guarantee essential freedoms. Equip this constitution with new instruments and institutions of governanc ...

    Develop an “Internet constitution” to take account of the interests of all stakeholders and guarantee essential freedoms. Equip this constitution with new instruments and institutions of governance allowing for decentralized decision-making and collective action.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    Improve ICANN’s transparency and accountability by taking account of the different views of all stakeholders.

    Improve ICANN’s transparency and accountability by taking account of the different views of all stakeholders.

    Improve ICANN’s transparency and accountability by taking account of the different views of all stakeholders.

    Polity, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    International debate and agreements must determine how to prioritize whose principles matter most when it comes to Internet governance.

    International debate and agreements must determine how to prioritize whose principles matter most when it comes to Internet governance.

    International debate and agreements must determine how to prioritize whose principles matter most when it comes to Internet governance.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    Formally place security and privacy issues at the heart of future Internet innovation.

    Formally place security and privacy issues at the heart of future Internet innovation.

    Formally place security and privacy issues at the heart of future Internet innovation.

    Polity, Business

    Proposals

    Proposal
    Symposium 2011

    Balancing superstructure and infrastructure for tomorrow's internet

    Internet business models are becoming unsustainable before the current exponential data traffic growth. Accordingly, ensuring a new international governance of the Internet is not sufficient: it is ne ...

    Internet business models are becoming unsustainable before the current exponential data traffic growth. Accordingly, ensuring a new international governance of the Internet is not sufficient: it is necessary to combine actions to guarantee the governance of the internet (SUPERSTRUCTURE) with the creation of an open and level playing field in which the internet INFRASTRUCTURE can grow and flourish in the future. Indeed, new business models are required to guarantee Internet growth. The Internet has grown extensively across the world and is now becoming the critical infrastructure for our economic and social life. In the near future, Internet will be

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2011

    Internet Governance Structures

    It is necessary to foster a broad international discussion about what fundamental values are to be set at the roots of the internet governance institutions. Such positive discussion has more chances t ...

    It is necessary to foster a broad international discussion about what fundamental values are to be set at the roots of the internet governance institutions. Such positive discussion has more chances to succeed in shaping the corresponding governance principles, than an approach focusing on compliance with the existing human rights framework. Technical devices and regulatory systems can enhance the creation of solutions, if they are broadly accepted. This is the case, if they are not biased towards any interest group, be it national, political, racial, economical, geographical or gender related. Decision making with regards to the selection of technology and

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2011

    Panarchy

    No single governance regime can address the broad range of concerns associated with the internet. A unified governance framework would require agreement on a vision for the future of the internet, a s ...

    No single governance regime can address the broad range of concerns associated with the internet. A unified governance framework would require agreement on a vision for the future of the internet, a shared view of the problems that governance should solve, and of the means that could achieve a solution. As the internet permeates more and more societal realms, such consensus is increasingly difficult to find. Searching for a unitary governance framework could be a slippery slope toward an undesirable least common denominator. What is needed is panarchy: an interlinked system of systems in which hierarchical and non-hierarchical elements

    Polity, Civil Society