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Symposium 2011

Solution for 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 ...

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.

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

The Internet operates on the basis of “permission to innovate”— innovators do not have to ask first to try new things. While there are concerns that the growth of cloud computing presents new challenges in terms of scalability and expectations on the Internet, equally the Internet has successfully absorbed the growth of the likes of Google, YouTube and Facebook without breaking the model.

But with continued innovation come concerns about cybersecurity and privacy of users’ personal information. The Internet is inherently unsecure— it was not built with today’s security threats in mind. Internet pioneers such as Vint Cerf have said that they wish they could start all over again, but this time building in security from the start.

It is an issue attracting increasing political attention too, as state-backed cyberattacks occur with increasing frequency. Yet even with current knowledge of the threats, there is no mechanism that formally puts security and privacy at the heart of the future Internet. It is a topic that must be prioritized by the existing multistakeholder governance of the Internet.

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