Governing the Internet/Introduction to Internet Governance
What is Internet Governance?[edit | edit source]
Governance[edit | edit source]
Since the dawn of tribal society and the emergence of a social structure, the concept of governance has been evolving and changing. When a king is crowned and rules his lands with an even temperament or an iron fist the norms and behavior that is expected of his subjects is a form of governance. When ancient council members meet to discuss and decide on the rule of their lands is a form of governance. Governance is a tool for establishing ordered rule and mobilizing a collective into action (Stoker, 1998). Stoker wrote "The essence of governance is its focus on governing mechanisms which do not rest on recourse to the Authority and sanctions of government." (Stoker, 1998) As societies become more advanced the mechanisms of governance become more advanced. In the modern era governance is a complex network of checks and balances that requires adherence to many different concepts that work in unison to help keep the process of governance moving in a forward direction. The concepts that we are going to look at in this study are participation, transparency, responsiveness, consensus and accountability.
Good Governance[edit | edit source]
"One of the most important aspects of governance is participation. Participation is achieved through legitimate intermediate institutions or representatives working towards a common goal." (UNESCAP, 2009) For example, the representative republic found in the United States Government requires a certain level of participation from elected representatives, their constituents, and the government itself to function properly. Without participation from various parties governance would fail to progress past its initial stages. Equally critical to the success of governance is achieving consensus. (UNESCAP, 2009) A consensus oriented approach needs to take into consideration that there are several actors and as many view points in a given society. "Good governance requires mediation of the different interests to reach a broad consensus on what is in the best interest of the whole community and how this can be achieved." (UNESCAP, 2009) This can only result from an understanding of the historical, cultural and social contexts of a given society or community. If decision makers aren’t sensitive to the needs and wants of the governed the proposal will ultimately fail. Accountability is needed at all levels and stages of the governance process not only governmental institutions but also the private sector and civil society organizations must be accountable to the public and to their institutional stakeholders. (UNESCAP, 2009) In general an organization or an institution is accountable to those who will be affected by its decisions or actions. Transparency is also required to foster good governance. This means that decisions taken and their enforcement are done in a manner that follows rules and regulations. It also means that information should be freely available and directly accessible to those who will be affected by such decisions and their enforcement. Transparency also means that enough information is provided and that it is provided in easily understandable forms and media. This can ensure the right information is afforded to the decision makers to ensure the guidance or control of an activity, in order to meet a specific objective. A good governance process must also be responsive to the needs of the all stakeholders within a reasonable time frame. (UNESCAP, 2009) For example the way Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 which was created in response to the Enron scandal of 2001 was quickly enacted to protect the general investing public. If this legislation took ten years to become law the purpose for its creation would have been lost in the time between its inception and implementation. In addition to being timely any rule enacted needs to reach a broad consensus in society on the best interests of the community. For governance to succeed, consensus or an understanding of the consensus must be a priority.
The Internet[edit | edit source]
The Internet is a relatively new and dynamic technology. The origins of the internet can be traced back to the beginning of the 1960's with Leonard Kleinrocks' research on packet switching technologies and J.C.R. Lickliders' work on the concept of the "Galactic Network" (Leiner et al., 2009). Additional research and development of the Network Control Protocol (NPC) by Vinton Cerf and TCP/IP by Robert Kahn in the 1970s directly contributed to the development and success of the Internet (Leiner et al., 1997). However, the creation of the internet as we know it today is not simply the result of engineers and scholars working on new technologies. The individuals that were instrumental in creating the internet feel that developing new technologies and extending existing technologies was only one aspect (Leiner et al., 2009). In the beginning, the contributors of the technology needed to help build what we know as the internet were on opposite ends of the world while other scientists where in the United Kingdom (Leiner et al., 1997). They needed a way to come together and pool their collective knowledge and resources to achieve their goals. The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was created in 1958. The previous year on October 4, 1957 the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite into orbit. This singular action sparked a feeling of global hysteria and was the driving force behind the creation of ARPA (Van Atta, n.d.). As a result ARPAs mission in 1958 was to "prevent technological surprise like the launch of Sputnik, which signaled that the Soviets had beaten the U.S. into space." (Wikipedia, n.d.). Today that mission has changed to "maintain the technological superiority of the U.S. military and prevent technological surprise from harming our national security by sponsoring revolutionary, high-payoff research bridging the gap between fundamental discoveries and their military use." (DARPA Mission, n.d.). Though supported by the military Dr. Van Atta clarifies that DARPA was focused on high risk and high reward projects that have tangible results over theoretical progress (Van Atta, n.d.). The combination of curious minds in the form of Licklider, Kleinrock, Cerf and Kahn among others and the need for development of useful advancements in technology for military and defense purposes lead to the development of the Internet.
History of the Internet
|1951||While at MIT J.C.R Licklider works on Project Lincoln for the USAF to design an early warning network for a Soviet nuclear attack (Waldrop n.d.)|
|October 4, 1957||Soviet Union launches Sputnik (Van Atta, n.d.)|
|1958||ARPA is created to “prevent technological surprise” (DARPA Wikipedia, n.d.)|
|1962||Licklider works on his “Galactic Network” concept (Leiner, 1997)|
|1964||Leonard Kleinrock publishes first paper on Packet Switching theory (Leiner, 2009).|
|1965||The first WAN is built with a TX-2 computer in Massachusetts uses a telephone line to communicate with Q-32 computer in California (Leiner, 2009)|
|1967||Larry G. Roberts publishes his plan for Advanced research Project Agency Network (ARPANET) (Leiner, 2009)|
|1968||Bolt Beranek and Newman win bid to create transport architecture for ARPANET. They develop Interface Message Processors (IMP) (Leiner, 2009).|
|1969||Using IMP the first node was installed into ARPANET at UCLA (Leaner, 2009).|
|1970||ARPANET Host to host protocol completed, Network Control Protocol (NPC) is born (Leaner, 2009).|
|1972||Robert Kahn introduces the ARPANET to the public at the International Computer Communications Conference (ICCC) (Leiner, 2009)|
|1980||TCP/IP Protocol is adopted as a defense standard (Leiner, 2009)|
|January 1, 1983||Every computer in earth connected to the Internet makes a simultaneous transition from NPC to TCP/IP Protocol (Leiner, 2009)|
|1980's||The presence of PC workstation helps the development of LANS (Leiner, 1997)|
Since the 1970s the essence of the Internet has been against control and governance. Its very creators were working under the assumption that they were creating something that would exist outside of conventional control. Robert Kahn an Internet pioneer states that while he was working to develop his protocols for internet communication he was focusing on creating a system where individual networks could stand on their own, a system that was fault tolerant to the point that if a transmission or part of a transmission failed it would simply be resent from the source. He was trying to create a system that would have no global control (Leiner et al., 2009). ARPANET was officially terminated in 1989 but by that time the Internet as we understand it today was just getting started (Waldrop, n.d.). By the time the ARPANET died companies were incorporating TCP/IP into their products (Leiner et al., 1997). As time passed computers, networks and the Internet have become more entangled in our everyday lives. Online shopping, gaming and communicating have become common place.
Internet Governance[edit | edit source]
Internet Governance consists of the collective rules, procedures, processes, and related programs that shape social actors’, shared expectations, practices, and interactions and result in practices and operations that are consistent with the sovereign rights of states and the social and market interests of end-users and operators. It includes agreements about standards, policies, rules, and enforcement and dispute resolution procedures. Internet governance and many of its issues and questions upon sovereignty, security, stability, privacy, international coordination, intellectual property rights (IPR), who does what, have, over the past few years been hot topics. In my opinion, the debates reflected the reality that Internet governance is not limited to technical issues or to policy issues only. It has increasingly included important social, economic, and national security issues. In addition, people are troubled by the facts that there are no consensus on areas of responsibility, standards and accountability. We have to figure out who should be doing what? Is it the role of the government to govern the internet; should the government even have a role or should it be left up to the private sector that seems to enjoy the invisible hand approach that just seems to govern responses to issues, problems and trends as they happen?
Governing Bodies[edit | edit source]
Historically standards and governance act as a tool to aid in the development and advancement of systems and technology. A well defined set of standards and a clear governance structure will help pave the way for new systems and technologies to be presented to the masses and be adopted which in turn will allow for more advancement and still more required governance. This system growth and governance is not limited to tangible goods and service. Telecommunications, networked computing and the Internet are not exceptions to this trend. Since the inception of networked computing governance and standardization have played a heavy role in the direction and development of what we now understand as the Internet. Since the early 1970’s efforts have been made to provide governance to networked computing. In 1972 RFC 433 was published by Jon Postel pertaining to a unified process for the transmission of Registry Information (Socket Number Lists, 1972). Efforts of individuals like Jon helped spur the creation of numerous national, international, non-profit, for-profit, independent and government funded governing organizations specific to telecommunications and the Internet.
International Telecommunications Union[edit | edit source]
Telecommunications governance actually began in the late 1800’s. Prior to 1932 ITU stood for International Telegraph Union and was established IN May 28 1865 to facilitate amendments created during the International Telegraph Convention, which was signed in Paris on May 17, 1865 (ITU's History, 2009). In 1947 the ITU became a specialized agency of the United Nations. According to their website the mission of the ITU is to "enable the growth and sustained development of telecommunications and information networks, and to facilitate universal access so that people everywhere can participate in, and benefit from, the emerging information society and global economy." (The ITU mission:, 2009) The ability to communicate freely is a pre-requisite for a more equitable, prosperous and peaceful world. And ITU assists in mobilizing the technical, financial and human resources needed to make this vision a reality. Over the last 145 years, the ITU has participated in improving the level of connectivity on a global scale. They have participated at the physical level by improving the global telecommunications infrastructure; they have made efforts from a governance and policy perspective by establishing global standards for communications systems; they continue to look ahead and address new issues to telecommunications and networking by helping to strengthen cyber security (About ITU, 2009). To better focus efforts to the varying areas of standards and policy in 1992 the ITU broke into three categories leaving the ITU-T as the contact point for standards-making efforts. In 1999 the ITU became a founding member of the Protocol Supporting Organization of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN PSO) (ITU Landmark Dates, 2009). Eight years later the ITU-T helped to establish governance and standards for IPTV that encompass television / video / audio / text / graphics / data delivered over IP based networks (IPTV-GSI, 2009). This effort to remain a leader in the development of standards and governance is what pushed the ITU to continue the development of telecommunications policy on a regional and global scale.
International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)[edit | edit source]
Another global leader in the area of standards development is the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The IEC was founded in 1906 with British scientist Lord Kelvin as its first president (IEC History, n.d.). This was a response to “steps should be taken to secure the co-operation of the technical societies of the world, by the appointment of a representative Commission to consider the question of the standardization of the nomenclature and ratings of electrical apparatus and machinery” commented at the International Electrical Congress in 1904 (IEC History, n.d.). The International Electrotechnical Commissions mission is to be “the leading global organization that prepares and publishes international standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies” (Mission and Objectives, n.d.). The IEC feels that their national and international standards contributions have aided in fostering a climate of international cooperation in the area of electrotechnical standardization (Mission and Objectives, n.d.). Since its creation the IEC has worked to compile and standardize terminology and measurements for telecommunications. By 1914 they created an international standard for resistance of Copper on a wire. By 1930 they had developed uniform measurement for Hertz and Gauss (IEC History, n.d.). Directly related to modern technologies the IEC helped to standardize terms like ‘Network’, ‘Local Area network’ and ‘wireless LAN’ (IEC Electropedia, n.d.). Currently the IEC has made a commitment to focus is on the development of standards and uniform terminology for current and emerging technologies. This focus is not likely to change in the future as the IEC is trying to foster the idea of global participation through various affiliation programs and incentives (Raeburn, n.d.).
International Standards Organization (ISO)[edit | edit source]
A third legacy organization that has roots long before the development of modern computing is the International Standards Organization was established in 1946, when delegates from 25 countries met in London and decided to create a new international organization, of which the object would be "to facilitate the international coordination and unification of industrial standards"(ISO Story, n.p.). In the realm of Information Technology the ISO has developed standards that apply to the governance of management processes (and decisions) relating to the information and communication services used by an organization. “These processes could be controlled by IT specialists within the organization or external service providers, or by business units within the organization.” (ISO/IEC 38500:2008). The ISOs long term plans outlined in their strategic plan for the next five years are to increase the relevancy of their existing Policy documentation by improving the language support and promote the use of their standards and policy globally. They intend to boost stakeholder involvement by utilizing the feedback of stakeholders in both the public and private sectors. The ISO is also working towards improving the efficiency of development with closer interaction with the IEC and ITU (ISO Strategic Plan, n.d.).
Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)[edit | edit source]
Moving away from large international organizations that have broad scopes that are designed to encompass AS many industries as possible there is another level of organization that is more focused on the areas of information technology and the internet. One such organization is the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). According to their official website, the history of the IEEE dates back to 1884, during a time when the popularity of electricity was beginning to broaden its reach. The American Institute for Electrical Engineers (AIEE) was formed to encourage and promote innovation in this field. Twenty-eight years later, the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) was separately formed to deal with wireless and radio transmissions as well as general electronics. Over time, the interests of the two groups started to overlap, and in 1963 they both joined to create the IEEE. (IEEE, 2009) The IEEE has played a large and important role in the ongoing realm of internet governance. The group is responsible for such standards as the 802.3 Ethernet and the 802.11 wireless networking standards. Both of these standards are heavily used access standards for the Internet and can be considered among the IEEE’s most important standards today. The IEE continues to push development and innovation standards in the power and energy, information technology, and telecommunications fields with over 1300 standards in development. (IEEE) One of IEEE’s most recent developments is the ratification of the 802.11n wireless networking standard which brings increased range and data rates for wireless data transmission. (IEEE, 2009)
Internet Architecture Board (IAB)[edit | edit source]
One of the first governance organizations that were born after the creation of modern computing is the Internet Architecture Board (IAB). The IAB’s website explains that the Internet Architecture Board originated as the Internet Advisory Board and was formed in 1984 to replace the Internet Configuration Control Board (ICCB). The ICCB was created in 1979 by Vint Cerf, the programming manager at DARPA at the time, and its purpose was to offer technical advice on issues dealing with the Internet. In 1986 the IAB went under an official name change to become what is known today as the Internet Architecture Board. Current IAB documents deal with general principles relating to the Internet and network management. Some of examples of recent IAB dealings include the future of Internet addressing, partial checksums for UDP traffic, network management, and service identifiers and filtering (IAB, 2009). The IAG is also the confirming body for the IESG and IEFT. The IAB will continue to be more of an oversight and guidance organization rather than a technical standards one. In IAB’s Nov. 4 Meeting Minutes, the AIB discussed potential candidates to “act as the IETF liaison to the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP). (IAB, 2009) Two years after the creation of the IAM the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) was established. According to the IETF website, the IETF was formed in January of 1986 to help promote and develop technical Internet standards. The organization works closely with the W3C and ISO/IEC and its focus is in “Making the Internet work better by producing high quality, relevant technical documents that influence the way people design, use, and manage the Internet.” (IETF, 2009) There are no formal membership requirements for the IETF, and membership is open to all willing participants. Current examples of IETF research include areas in internationalized domain names, application-layer traffic optimization, and email filtering. In the future the IETF aims to continue producing relevant and technical standards and proposals to help govern the Internet. (IETF, 2009)
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)[edit | edit source]
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is one of the Internet's oldest governing institutions, with its activities dating back to the 1970s. The IANA is responsible for coordinating many of the key elements that keep the Internet running. Even though the Internet is a worldwide network, renowned for being free from central coordination, there is a technical need for some key parts of the Internet to be globally coordinated and this coordination role is undertaken by IANA. Specifically, IANA allocates and maintains the unique codes and numbering systems that are used to drive the Internet. IANA aims to implement agreed policies and principles in a more universal manner. (IANA, 2009) The IANA operates and maintains the root zone, and the .int and .arpa domains. The root deals with the upper-most part of the DNS hierarchy, and involves delegating administrative responsibility of “top-level domains”, which are the last segment of a domain name, such as .com, .uk and .nz. Part of this task includes evaluating requests to change the operators of country code domains, as well as day-to-day maintenance of the details of the existing operators. (IANA, 2009) IANA also operates the .int top-level domain, designed for the sole use of cross-national organizations, such as treaty organizations, that do not naturally fit into a specific country’s top-level domain. In brief, the .int domain is used for registering organizations established by international treaties between or among national governments. The .arpa domain is used internally by Internet protocols, such as for reverse mapping of IP addresses, and delivery of ENUM phone number mapping. IANA administers this domain in close liaison with the Internet Architecture Board, which has policy responsibility for .arpa. The .arpa domain is the “Address and Routing Parameter Area” domain and is designated to be used exclusively for Internet-infrastructure purposes. It is administered by the IANA in cooperation with the Internet technical community under the guidance of the Internet Architecture Board. To help foster the deployment of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), IANA provides a repository of “IDN tables” which document the permissible characters for different languages and scripts provided for registration by different top-level domain registries. The repository is informative, and designed for information sharing. IANA provides a repository of “trust anchors” from top-level domain operators who sign their zones. This allows software to cryptographically verify that DNS data has not been modified in transit over the Internet. IANA provides an Interim Trust Anchor Repository to share the key material required to perform DNS Security Extension (DNSSEC) verification of signed top-level domains, in lieu of a signed DNS root zone. This is a temporary service until the DNS root zone is signed, at which time the keying material will be placed in the root zone itself, and this service will be discontinued. (IANA, 2009) IANA is implementing internal systems and processes in order to allow users to sign the .ARPA zone with DNS Security Extensions. It is expected that this will be an important project to help prepare for implementation of DNSSEC in the DNS Root once policy has been developed on that area. IANA is also performing initial investigations and consultations on Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI) work, which involves signing IP address assignments using security certificates. One of IANA's key projects is to move processing of IANA root zone management requests from a predominantly manual system into a new online system that will shepherd a request through its various processing stages. Key benefits of this will be greater transparency on the status of requests to their requestors, plus optimization of some tasks that are currently labor intensive. (IANA, 2009)
The Internet Society (ISOC)[edit | edit source]
The Internet Society (ISOC) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1992 to provide leadership in Internet related standards, education, and policy. With more than 80 organizations and more than 28,000 individual members in over 80 chapters around the world, the ISOC is dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of people throughout the world. (ISOC, 2009) Internet governance is a broad term used in many different contexts, applying to activities as diverse as coordination of technical standards, operation of critical infrastructure, development, regulation, and legislation, among others. Internet governance is not restricted to the activities of governments. Many different types of stakeholders have a role in defining and carrying out Internet governance activities and ISOC has always been an active leader in such discussions. 'The Internet Society provides leadership in addressing issues that confront the future of the Internet, and is the organizational home for the groups responsible for Internet infrastructure standards. The Internet Society acts not only as a global clearinghouse for Internet information and education but also as a facilitator and coordinator of Internet-related initiatives around the world. For over 15 years ISOC has run international network training programs for developing countries and these have played a vital role in setting up the Internet connections and networks in virtually every country connecting to the Internet during this time.” (ISOC, 2009) Through its sponsored events, developing-country training workshops, tutorials, public policy, and regional and local chapters, the Internet Society serves the needs of the growing global Internet community. From commerce to education to social issues, the ISOC’s goal is to enhance the availability and utility of the Internet on the widest possible scale. The Society's individual and organization members are bound by a common stake in maintaining the viability and global scaling of the Internet. They comprise the companies, government agencies, and foundations that have created the Internet and its technologies as well as innovative new entrepreneurial organizations contributing to maintain that dynamic. The Internet is built on technical standards, which allow devices, services, and applications to be interoperable across a wide and dispersed network of networks. Internet standards are developed by group of organizations which operate under the sponsorship of the ISOC. (ISOC, 2009) The ISOC has an initiative called the Enabling Access Initiative, focused on enabling access to the Internet by addressing the fundamental impediments to Internet growth and usability. The challenges of improving Internet growth are multifaceted and interrelated, particularly in developing countries. They include, for example, access to technical skills and knowledge, the regulatory and policy environment for information and telecommunications services, and broader economic and market factors, language diversity, and the diffusion and reliability of basic infrastructures and services. The "Global Addressing" program specifically identifies challenges to global addressing. The goal is to deliver a smooth transition beyond the end of the IANA IPv4 address pool, while working out the longer-term architecture of the Internet. The ISOC also has a “Secure & Stable Infrastructure” program aimed at supporting the development and deployment of key technologies for ensuring a stable and secure. The Internet Society's Trust and Identity initiative recognizes that in order to be trusted, the Internet must provide channels for secure, reliable, private, communication between entities, which can be clearly authenticated in a mutually understood manner. The mechanisms that provide this level of assurance must support both the end-to-end nature of Internet architecture and reasonable means for entities to manage and protect their own identity details. (ISOC, 2009) A trusted Internet takes into account security, transaction protection, and identity assertion and management. Given the network dependence on unique numbers and the escalating amount of geo-location data being gathered, the privacy implications of the current Internet represent a significant and growing concern. Trust must be a primary design element at every layer of the architecture, and in some cases, existing elements may need to be redesigned or improved to meet emerging requirements. (ISOC, 2009)
RIPE NCC[edit | edit source]
RIPE (Réseaux IP Européens) started in November of 1989. RIPE is a collaborative forum that is open to anyone who is interested in wide area IP networks. This is a mostly volunteer group. A majority of the work done by this group is done on individuals on their own or their organization’s time. Some activities do require constant availability and coordination between people working on projects. This is why a RIPE NCC’ (Network Coordination Centre) was formed. RIPE NCC began in April 1992 with there central office in Amsterdam. The main administrative task of RIPE NNC is acting as a Regional Internet Registry. A Regional Internet Registry allocates and assigns IP address space and other internet numbers. RIPE NCC also had a helping hand creating MBONE and WWW services. RIPE NNC also played a major part in helping to develop Internet Routing Registry (IRP). In 1994 the Registration Services expanded more than anyone expected. Funding became really tight and there was a shortage of service resources. In 1995 it was agreed that all registries need to contribute to funding RIPE NCC in order to receive service. Today RIPE NCC is a not-for-profit organization. Its membership mainly consists of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), telecommunication organizations and large corporations. RIPE NCC mission now is to perform activities that benefit the RIPE NCC as a group. Service and Activities are all discussed in detail in the open. RIPE NCC does not compete with its’ members activities.
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)[edit | edit source]
In October of 1994, Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) at MIT. W3C works mostly on the standardization of Web Technologies. To help come up with the highest quality of standards, W3C uses a community consensus. All the stakeholders involved do have an opportunity to have a voice in the development of W3C standards. After the technical report development process is complete W3C publishes Recommendations, which are considered web standards. It is up to manufacturers to follow the recommendations of W3C. If a product would like to be labeled W3C-compliant, it must meet the defined level of conformance set by the W3C. Before W3C was created there were different versions of HTML put out on the market by various vendors. Many of these different versions were not compatible with each other. The consortium allowed the vendors to get together and agree on core principles which everyone would use. Some web standards that W3c is responsible for are: CSS, XHTML, HTML, XML, P3P, and OWL. W3C also is working on device independence. Device independence would allow the web to be accessible by any device under any circumstance.
Internet Corporation for Name & Numbers (ICANN)[edit | edit source]
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was established in 1998. ICANN is a not-for-profit organization that spans world-wide. Its’ mission is to help keep the internet secure, stable and interoperable. ICANN has no control over the content and doesn’t deal with access to the internet. ICANN helps co-coordinate the supply and assignment of IP addresses to help stop duplicate IP address problems. ICANN also distributes ranges of IP addresses to regional registries who in turn distribute them to network providers. ICANN’s role in internet governance is to provide “universal resolvability.” Universal resolvability allows you to receive the same results when you are accessing the internet no matter your location in the world. ICANN was responsible for creating the registrar market (together with an accreditation system). This helped create greater competition on the internet and the price of domains has fallen 80 percent. The rapidly changing domain name market has caused ICANN to reform its accreditation process. ICANN has also help implement a low-cost way to resolve ownership disputes of domain names. The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) helps disputes turn into costly court battles. Approval of “generic top level domains” is also introduced by the ICANN. This helps provide enough space online as more and more people take advantage of the internet. ICANN has introduced 13 new top level domains. ICANN is working on an improved process that will help introduce new TLDs.
|Organization||Area of Focus|
|International Telecommunications Union (ITU)||1. Assist in the proliferation of telecommunications technologies globally.
2. Strengthening emergency communications for disaster prevention and mitigation. 3.Bridging the so called Digital Divide by building information and communication infrastructure 4. Promoting adequate capacity building and developing confidence in the use of cyberspace through enhanced online security.
|International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)||Create standards of measure and create standard definitions for technological words to create global consistency.|
|International Standards organization (ISO)||A membership structured organization that is focused on working with other organizations to create and define global standards in the area of telecommunications.|
|Internet Architecture Board (IAB)||Provides an oversight of:
1. Aspects of the architecture for the network protocols and procedures used by the Internet. 2. The process used to create Internet Standards.
|Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)||Producing high quality, relevant technical documents that influence the way people design, use, and manage the Internet.|
|The Internet Society (ISOC)||Development, maintenance, evolution, and dissemination of standards for the Internet and its internet working technologies and applications.|
|The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)||Manages the DNS root, the .int and .arpa domains, and an IDN practices resource.
Coordinates the global pool of IP and AS (Autonomous System) numbers, providing them to Regional Internet Registries
|National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)||Promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve technology user's quality of life.|
Debate Over Governance Control[edit | edit source]
With the abundance of content on the Internet traveling around the world and back again in fractions of a second and countless organizations working to provide guidance in the form of uniform terminology, set standards and practices it can become difficult to manager and control the Internet at a whole. Currently, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has been branded as the Internets ruling Body (Ward, 2002). ICANN which is chiefly responsible for oversight of Top level Domain names and deciding who gets web addresses with the common suffixes we have become accustomed to as well as the IP addressing schemes that allow networked computers to communicate (Porteus, 2005). In the US, some feel that the current governance in place is sufficient. They feel that the current system though not perfect still provides an invaluable service. In America, there is a sense that the current governance standards that are in place for Top Level Domains, web address suffixes for industry, government, military and even countries (i.e. com, net, gov, mil, uk, us, etc.) is perfectly acceptable. American politician Representative Fred Upton from Minnesota feels that ICANN may be flawed but the benefits of an established process for creating domain names is critical to sustaining the global economy (Porteus, 2005). Others feel that allowing a single nation that operates under a free and democratic market is the best option and the addition of multiple nations and ideologies would ultimately make the organization as a whole less effective. Associate professor of public policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology agrees: “Things are more efficient if one government controls it but that's make everybody uncomfortable. You get everybody involved, you get stuck with a bunch of different committees and it becomes less effective.” (Porteus, 2005). Not only are the functions of ICANN necessary to maintain the logical control of assignment of Domains and creation of organizational suffixes there are substantial physical concerns that must be taken into consideration. The North America has the lowest response time and among the lowest incidence of lost packets of all major regions on the planet according to internet traffic reporting on a global scale (Internet Traffic Report, 2009). North America on average has a response of less than 120 milliseconds and 5% packet loss (Internet Traffic Report, 2009). The Europe has a response of almost 160 milliseconds while dealing with less overall traffic. If control and management of the Internet were shifted there would be a global reduction in the quality of service and capability of the Internet until infrastructure demands were met by the new controlling nation or organization. Outside of logical and physical considerations for maintaining control of Internet Governance within the United States is the abundance of court cases that are creating prescience at the state and federal levels that is establishing the guidelines for the future of internet governance from a legal perspective.
Here is an example at the state level:
Cohen vs. Google 2009[edit | edit source]
In this case the Plaintiff Cohen is attempting to sue the Defendant Google for defamation of character this defamation occurred on a site hosted by blogger.com. The blog site was posted anonymously and had contact information listed with Goggle. As part of the pre-action discovery Cohen’s attorney requested electronic archive information to ascertain the identity of the anonymous blogger. Google denied the request stating that the information requested was too vague and Google “has refused to provide Petitioner with any information or documents with respect to the Blog unless it is required to do so pursuant to applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request” (Madden, J., 2009). In response the Plaintiff attempted to hold Google partly liable for the defamation in an attempt to get the necessary information. Google stated that they are cannot be held liable for any damages as a result of their anonymous users because when entering into any agreement of service with Google, one must agree to specific indemnity terms that release Google from liability of wrongdoing. The acceptance of the indemnity statements as a binding agreement is significant in this case because the acknowledgement used to indemnify Google from any nefarious actions committed by the anonymous blogger which was upheld by the courts was a check box clicked by the user when setting up their account. This “signature” was acquired via a means that is virtually indistinguishable from any other users' similar action. In an interview with an employee of the Syracuse City Legal department she stated that in reference to legally binding documents that require a signature or similar form of acknowledgment, “a non-electronic binding signature must be uniquely identifiable” (Rauch, 2009). The outcome of the pre-action discovery in Cohen v. Google illustrates the fact that at some levels the basis of internet governance has been set by de facto standards that have become so ingrained in society that they will stand in state Supreme Court. This illustrates the need for a formal and sound governance structure to help shape future policy. Similar findings have been made at the national level as well.
Gonzalez vs. Google 2006[edit | edit source]
In 2005 the Bush administration demanding that Google and other search engines turn over aggregate search information to help revive a child protection law. Google refused to comply with the subpoena and a motion was filed in January of 2006 by US Department Of Justice to force Google to hand over the data. The government claimed that the information would help "estimate how often Web users encounter harmful-to-minors material in the course of their searches, and to measure the effectiveness of filtering software in screening that material." Google’s lawyers have objected to the subpoena on the grounds that it lacks "relevancy," it's redundant since Yahoo! and Microsoft already caved and that the company's trade secrets would be in danger. On March 17th of 2006 Federal Judge, James Ware ruled that Google did not have to release any information to the government as its subpoena shows limited use for the information being gathered. “In particular, this Order doesn’t address the Plaintiffs’ concern articulated at the hearing about the appropriateness of the government’s use of the Court’s subpoenas power to gather and collect information about what individuals search for over the internet.” (US District Court Ruling, 2006) When we're at home, the illusion of privacy and anonymity allows us to feel comfortable searching for anything. Let's not pretend that we haven't used the Internet to explore ideas we'd just as soon not share with friends, colleagues, family, or government prosecutors. Put another way, if you knew someone was looking over your shoulder when you used a search engine, would it change what you searched for? If the ISP’s and search engine developers were required to maintain a list of a user’s search records and could these records ever get out and embarrass you? Or worse, land you in jail? How is information private when anything? Even though the Justice Department insists Google can strip away any information that could be linked to individual users, the Google still refuses to cooperate. Companies will always be subject to subpoenas served but the government, but the judge sent a clear message about privacy that is simply reassuring for internet users. What the ruling means is that neither the government nor anyone else has carte blanche when demanding data from Internet companies. When a party resists an absurd subpoena, the legal process of the United States’ justice system can be an effective check on such demands and a protector of its citizens.
FCC Guidelines[edit | edit source]
In October 2009 the FCC issued a press release proposing a set of rules governing net neutrality. Though the rules are not yet solidified and are still at a proposal stage, they aim to limit an ISP’s network management techniques on their networks in the name of net neutrality. The proposal includes a set of six rules, three of which govern the restriction of ISPs from tampering with a user’s content, applications or devices being used on the Internet. The other three rules deal with fair competition, lawful content being passed through the Internet, and transparency as it relates to ISPs’ network practices. Each rule, however, contains a clause that is “Subject to reasonable network management”, which effectively leaves a gray area and still allows ISPs to perform reasonable network management practices such as traffic throttling during peak times (FCC, 2009). The move by the FCC is a huge step towards net neutrality and Internet governance as a whole. In fact, this is probably the biggest step taken by the United States government in terms of regulation of the Internet. The FCC’s proposal has certainly set a precedent in United States Internet policy. This is significant because it paves the way for the possibility of further regulation in the future, such as with Congress and federal network neutrality laws. Traditionally, the Internet in the United States was largely left at the mercy of the ISPs. The market has generally done well at keeping ISPs and other participants of the Internet honest and fair. The latest and most profound example of this is Comcast’s decision to throttle BitTorrent traffic in its network. After massive public outcry and public protest (as well as a nudge from the FCC in the form of an official investigation), Comcast decided to reverse its stance on BitTorrent traffic and become “protocol agnostic”. (FCC, 2009) Though the FCC did play a slight contribution in Comcast’s decision, the governing agency traditionally has not been strict on network management practices used by ISPs. The FCC’s new guidelines aim to demonstrate a stricter stance towards ISPs and their network management practices in the name of net neutrality. In the face of all the support for maintaining the status quo of US/ICANN control of internet governance there are others that feel that a multinational organization is a better solution for Internet Governance. Former Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan is focused on the inclusion of developing nations in the process and procedures for navigating the current Internet Governance Structure and feels that the United Nations or similar body could help bridge that gap (Porteus, 2005).
International Governance debate[edit | edit source]
International governance of the internet has a lot of questions that still need to be looked into before it can be determined whether or not governance on an international level is achievable or needed (Einar Himma, 2008). There is debate over whether the internet should be subject to any restrictions. If there should be restrictions, who and what determines what restrictions are justified? How are international restrictions enforced? It is pointless for one country to try and regulate the internet (Zizic, 2000). A country trying to regulate this internet can do more harm than good to itself. E-Commerce sites could potentially move out of the country due to regulations imposed by the country the E-Commerce site resides in (Bick, 2006). Different countries have drastically different positions on content regulations. China and Saudia Arabia have very tight controls on what can and cannot be viewed on the internet. Content is filtered by country level proxy servers. The country level proxy servers have large databases of blocked sites. The government controls what websites are added to these databases (Einar Himma, 2008). The problem with this content system is sites that should not be block are. An example would be a site with the word “breast” being used in a medical term. The filtering system would block this site from being viewed. In contrast the United States and Europe have a very open policy (Reporters without Borders, 2006). Legislation with a country has been a relatively effective way to govern the internet. The United States banning internet gambling is an example of this. While any gambling sites within the United States would have to comply with the legislation, sites who were outside of the United States boarders would not. How the United States government worked a way to close this loop hole was to enact the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act of 2006. This act made it illegal for US based banks and credit card companies to process payments to gambling sites. “No person engaged in the business of betting or wagering may knowingly accept, in connection with the participation of another person in unlawful Internet gambling (1) credit, or the proceeds of credit, extended to or on behalf of such other person (including credit extended through the use of a credit card); (2) an electronic fund transfer, or funds transmitted by or through a money transmitting business, or the proceeds of an electronic fund transfer or money transmitting service, from or on behalf of such other person” (The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006). Another case that proves the effectiveness of nations using their own legislation to govern the internet in their country is the LIRCA v. Yahoo! Inc.
LICRA v. Yahoo! Inc[edit | edit source]
Ligue contre le racisme et l'antisémitisme et Union des étudiants juifs de France c. Yahoo! Inc. et Societe Yahoo! France (LICRA v. Yahoo!) is a court case that was brought in front of France’s High Court in 2000. The complaint involved the sale of Nazi memorabilia on Yahoo!’s auction sites. Nazi memorabilia falls under Article R645-1 of the French Criminal Code. This code prohibits the public display of any insignia, emblem, or uniform which was worn by organizations that have been convicted of crimes against humanity. Yahoo!’s defense was that their company is based in the United States and primary target audience are US residents. The French court found Yahoo! was providing illegal services under French law. Yahoo! Inc was given orders to take all appropriate measures to block access to Nazi memorabilia to French residents. Yahoo! Inc argued that is was almost impossible to comply with the courts order. Instead of appealing the French Courts decision, Yahoo! Inc decided to bring the case to the United States Court system. The United States District Court of the Northern District of California in San Jose agreed with Yahoo! Inc. The Court found that the decision returned by the tribunal de grande instance of Paris infringed upon Yahoo! Inc’s First Amendment right given by the United States Constitution. LICRA appealed the decision by the District Court. The appeal fell on the bench of the United States Court of Appeals for 9th Circuit. The Appeals Court over turned the ruling of the District Court. The Court ruled that "France is within its rights as a sovereign nation to enact hate speech laws against the distribution of Nazi propaganda in response to its terrible experience with Nazi forces during World War II. Similarly, LICRA and UEJF are within their rights to bring suit in France against Yahoo! for violation of French speech law. The only adverse consequence experienced by Yahoo! as a result of the acts with which we are concerned is that Yahoo! must wait for LICRA and UEJF to come to the United States to enforce the French judgment before it is able to raise its First Amendment claim. However, it was not wrongful for the French organizations to place Yahoo! in this position.
|Header text||Cohen v. Google Inc||Department of Justice (DOJ) v. Google Inc.||LICRA v. Yahoo! Inc|
|Plaintiff||Liskula Cohen||Alberto R. Gonzalez||LICRA|
|Defendant||Google, Inc. and/or its subsidiary Blogger.com||Google, Inc.||Yahoo! Inc|
|Reason for Suing||Cohen claimed that an anonymous blogger on a subsidiary site of Google made defamatory remarks. As a result of the plaintiff wanted the defendant to produce information to aid in identification of the blogger or be held liable for any damages as a result of the case.||Bush administration demanding that Google and other search engines turn over aggregate search information to help revive a child protection law. Google refused to comply with the subpoena and a motion was filed in January of 2006 by US Department Of Justice to force Google to hand over the data||French Law prohibits the public display of any insignia, emblem, or uniform which was worn by organizations that have been convicted of crimes against humanity. Yahoo! Inc's auctions allowed French residents to view such memorabilia. French Court ordered Yahoo! Inc to block access to all auctions involving such memorabilia|
|Outcome||Google was not required to produce any information nor were they deemed liable for any damages to the plaintiff in this case. Google was determined not to be liable as a result of an electronic signature of privacy information that releases Google from liability.||On March 17th of 2006 Federal Judge, James Ware ruled that Google did not have to release any information to the government as its subpoena shows limited use for the information being gathered.||Yahoo! Inc filed suit in the US Court system. Yahoo!'s claim was that the French ruling infringed upon the US Constitution's First Amendment. US Appeals Court ruled France has a right to enforce it's laws.|
|Impact on Internet Governance||The court’s decision to accept electronic signature and a binding agreement and to protect the anonymity of its users in this case helps to set precedence going forward on similar cases in the future.||The governance of the internet is still in the hands of the users. There may not be any rules and regulations but specific incidents like this case set precedence for how the government needs to approach requesting information from ISP’s and content providers. Consumer privacy is still a major contributor to how much the government can use ISP’s and content providers as watch dogs.||This case creates a precedent that one Country's law can affect how internet companies can conduct business.|
"Debate over Governance Control"[edit | edit source]
The debate over Internet governance control is one that is becoming increasingly important as the popularity of the Internet continues to rise. There is a tendency to think of governance control as a debate between all of the different countries that are connected to the Internet. After all, legal systems that are formed in various countries have jurisdiction only to the extent of that particular country’s geographical borders. It would be logical to assume that the Internet would fall under the same constraints. In some ways, this notion is not incorrect. Laws and general Internet governance within a particular country can only extend to that country’s population. The United States’ Can-Spam Act, for example, cannot enforce its email and spam rules in other countries. This creates an inherent problem within the realm of Internet governance because of conflicting laws between different countries. The Internet itself developed from the American ARAPNET, and agencies such as ICANN are headquartered in the United States. Thus the United States plays a very large part in the governance of the Internet despite it being just a single country among a multitude of others participating in the Internet. For this reason, there is increasing pressure by the International community for more of a multinational approach to Internet governance. The following discussion will examine three main approaches as possible solutions to the ongoing governance of the Internet.
Utopian Suggestion[edit | edit source]
The implementation of a global consortium similar to the United Nations will allow any and all decisions pertaining to the governance of the Internet to be made by the best minds available all working towards the common goal of providing the best possible services. Using a global organization will help to eliminate the ill-conceived perception that the internet can be governed by anyone company, or government and that the rules of the internet are subject to change by its source or destination.
Dystopian but Practical Suggestion[edit | edit source]
Dividing the governance of the internet to be unique to the region of its source or destination would allow for maximum control of content and accountability of resources and usage. The dystopian view of Internet governance would shift the majority of control away from the United States and towards all of the individual countries involved with the Internet. Separation of ownership of the internet will make its governance not dissimilar from current laws that change from country to country. This will put the responsibility of maintaining compliance with the web surfer and content providers. This will be akin to international travel and being subject to the laws of the country or in this case the network that they happen to have traveled to. The advantage to this governance structure is that each country will be able to establish its own unique regulations to govern their portion of the Internet. As mentioned, this would not be unlike the current system set in place and thus there should not be any large interruption with the way each country handles Internet regulation. A multinational approach would also create a system whereby each country involved with the Internet has an equal amount of control, which might help to ease tensions between various countries struggling to increase their prominence over the Internet. Furthermore, it is possible that decentralized control of the Internet may result in increased redundancy of the Internet’s various services, as well as preventing a single country--the United States--from maintaining too much control over the Internet from other countries’ perspectives. Separation of power does not come without its disadvantages. Because a central point of control over the Internet (the United States) would no longer exist, the reliability of worldwide Internet access may suffer, and there may be a significant interruption of service during the period of reallocation. This system would also require more cooperation between a much larger number of participating countries, which may prove to be very difficult to maintain, especially considering the participation of historically problematic countries such as North Korea and China. With decentralization and increased control between individual countries, political disputes could escalate into denial of service attacks or worse: fragmentation of the Internet itself. To a certain degree, centralized control can prevent this from happening, but decentralization would most likely be problematic in this regard.
Real Suggestion[edit | edit source]
Maintenance of the status quo will ensure the consistency of the Internet. This will ensure that services are not interrupted and that the flow of information and money is not interrupted. Within this perspective, governance and regulation reflect the representation of the material stakes of different interest groups such as industry and commerce, profession, scientists, religious groups and so forth who are active within a social setting. In its simplest form, the model attributes core interests to specific groups over specific issues (Macmillan 2003).
Keeping ICANN and North America as a hub for Internet communications will help to ensure that the quality of service is not interrupted. Recommendation: In the wake of the various development that have been happing globally pertaining to Internet governance and the overall control and future of the Internet a global consortium is our recommendation for a robust solution for maintaining control of the Internet. Globalization is dissolving borders in finance and politics, language barriers are slowly crumbling and the implementation of this worldwide organization will further compliment the steps to a unified world both on and off line.
Recommendation[edit | edit source]
In the wake of the various development that have been happing globally pertaining to Internet governance and the overall control and future of the Internet a global consortium is our recommendation for a robust solution for maintaining control of the Internet. Globalization is dissolving borders in finance and politics, language barriers are slowly crumbling and the implementation of this worldwide organization will further compliment the steps to a unified world both on and off line.
Summary[edit | edit source]
I. What is Internet Governance
a. Governance: Relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power, or verify performance. It consists either of a separate process or of a specific part of management or leadership processes. Sometimes people set up a government to administer these processes and systems.
i. Good Governance
1. Participation 2. Transparency 3. Responsiveness 4. Consensus Orientation or Understanding 5. Accountability b. The Internet: A global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) to serve billions of users worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private and public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope that are linked by a broad array of electronic and optical networking technologies. c. Internet Governance: The definition of Internet governance has been contested by differing groups across political and ideological lines. One of the main debates concerns the authority and participation of certain actors, such as national governments and corporate entities, to play a role in the Internet's governance.
II. Governing Bodies of the Internet
a. International Telecommunication Union (ITU) b. International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) c. International Standards Organization (ISO) d. Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) e. Internet Architecture Board (IAB) f. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) g. The Internet Society (ISOC) h. World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) i. Internet Corporation for Name & Numbers (ICANN) j. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
III. Debate over Governance Control
a. Multinational Control: A Global consortium working together to manage, develop and organize the internet for the greater good of the many. b. Regional Control: Each regional stakeholder will organize their own methods and mechanism for governance.
Discussion and Recommendations[edit | edit source]
In the wake of the various development that have been happing globally pertaining to Internet governance and the overall control and future of the Internet a global consortium is our recommendation for a robust solution for maintaining control of the Internet. Globalization is dissolving borders in finance and politics, language barriers are slowly crumbling and the implementation of this worldwide organization will further compliment the steps to a unified world both on and off line.
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