Diplo Internet Governance Community

Stay networked. Get informed. Broadcast your projects.

During the recently concluded IGF I had an opportunity to participate in a debate regarding the merger of ICANN and the ITU to form one regulator for the Internet. Well my team lost the debate but I have decided to make my true position known on the issues regarding the control of the Internet.

From its origins as inter connected networks, the Internet has developed rapidly into a worldwide tool for delivery of virtually anything that can be imagined. Thus far, the Internet has developed more or less based on mutual understanding through setting of standards and agreements of convenience led in the most part by research institutions and the private sector.

After the development of the domain name system and the reorganization of IANA and InterNIC under the control of ICANN, an organization under contract with the US Department of Commerce, the Internet continued to grow and its uses diversified.

However in recent times, there has been a buildup of momentum from various actors who have expressed dissatisfaction with the current way the Internet is being managed. Various issues have been raised including the continued strangle hold on ICANN by the US Government, allowing other language scripts on domain names, web standards and applications, IP addresses allocation and a few others.

My position on this debate is simple; there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the way the Internet is currently being managed. The management of the Internet is a multistakeholder affair which actually represents the way the Internet has developed over the years. Those who argue that the US Government has a strangle hold on the Internet through ICANN actually have a point. But the part that ICANN actually plays in the whole internet set up is relatively small though fundamental.

The recent drive by the ITU to play a leading role in the management of the Internet is quite unnecessary. The ITU has its role set out in its constitution which deals with radio and telecommunications standardization and development. Granted that the Internet runs on communication networks, the argument of convergence does not give the ITU a greater role than it already has. Evidently the ITU sought to legitimize its agenda through the WSIS. Unfortunately the information society thought otherwise. I hear the ITU Secretary General has muted the possibility of hosting another conference on the management of the Internet. A curious question is “will the participants in this conference be different from those who participated in WSIS?”

I hold in high esteem the argument that there is a need to coordinate the management of the Internet. However such coordination should not necessarily be by one organization only. Priority on issues regarding the Internet is different from region to region and country to countries. While most developing countries are grappling with access issues, more developed countries are dealing with how to make the Internet safer. These diverse issues cannot be addressed by one global body. The UN is a good example. Some issues such as cybersecurity need to be addressed locally based on sovereignty. Some other issues need to be addressed globally. Ofcourse there is the economic interest of multinational companies who want to make profits as well.

I maintain that the IGF is a good forum. I quite appreciate the fact that the lack of decision making powers at the IGF actually frustrates many participants. But this is a platform and an opportunity like no other to discuss the future of the Internet. This multistakeholder experiment should be given an opportunity to develop as continued dialogue and discussion would eventually lead to a compromise.

So I support the motion that we should have a coordinated approach to the management of the Internet but such approach should be a multistakeholder affair with different organizations, institutions and individuals involved.

I expect some criticism so act fast
Thank you

Views: 53

Comment

You need to be a member of Diplo Internet Governance Community to add comments!

Join Diplo Internet Governance Community

Comment by Joseph Mokaya Gichana on December 16, 2008 at 3:12pm
Emmanuel hi again!
I must say that this issue does require some more soulsearching and a way out be found to sort out this mess. Am looking at a situation where we have a manageable security and reduced levels of crime, somebody to report to incase of a dispute. We do agree that the internet as it, is insecure ( On 14th i read The New York Times Article by John Markoff titled -Cybercriminal Winning the internet War) it really shows how people are loosing out to cyber criminals yet we are on talk shows, when will we implement it?.
Despite this the multistakeholder approach is yet to solve an issue of such a magnititute, we have a lot to discuss here, this is the starting point.
Comment by Emmanuel Edet on December 16, 2008 at 12:15pm
Thanks so much Maureen I had to do a lot of learining myself after the Debates. Thanks Marilia and Diplo.

Yes Joseph you are talking to somebody. I have read your passionate response to my position and I will also respond to your position accordingly. First of all my position is that there is a need to coordinate the management of the Internet but not necessarily by one "super" organisation. My position also is that the UN is a failure as far as world peace is concerned so why go down the same road for the Internet? Yes the UN Agencies have been involved in donations and developments but after 60 years of efforts I think the divide between the developing nations and the developed nation have not changed much.

Joseph: if you are not aware we are already at war and some countries have expressed fears and want to pull out of the Internet and form their own.Remember last years discussions at the Youth Roundtable?(Japan, as we talk are at an advanced stage to have their own internet) this emanates from the fact that we dont have a body to deal with the internets inherent weaknesses like cybercrime, security and stuff.

Emmanuel I am well aware of the moves to breakup the Internet but I would bet that this move will not succeed. First of all the Internet was and still is a a connection of networks. Its strength lies in the worldwide reach for e-commerce and other activities. The use of the Internet as a sharing and communication tool is what gives it such unique power that breaking off from the Internet will only deminish the reach of which ever country is breaking off. So if Japan want to break off from the Internet then I hope they understand that no one outside Japan will buy good from Japan through the Internet, so who loses? Apologies for sounding insensitive but the truth is we all need our networks to feed on each other and breaking off is not the solution. Moreover recently ICANN announced the use of mutilingual scripts on domain names which should take care of some of the complaints on English domination of the Internet.

Cybercrime is not an inherent weakness in the Internet, it is an inherent weakness in the society. The Internet did not invent crimes rather it provided a new tool for crimes. Naturally crimes are territorial in nature and no soveriegn country would enforce criminal laws from other countries except by mutual agreements. This can be applied to cybercrimes without some International organisation being the watchdog for cybercrimes. Besides we have seen the failure in Internationalising criminal law through the International Criminal Court (ICC). Some countries would not submit to jurisdiction because they are not obliged to do so. We must remember that the Internet or cyber space is not outer space or some territory that exist in some realm. It is the link between connected computers that terminates in billions of homes in hundreds of countries and territories used by human beings like me and you who can be arrested and jailed for crimes.

Joseph: I do appreciate that we are at different levels of development as regard to usage of internet, but i bet we dont need to pass through what the first world countries have gone through!, we need to avoid these pitfalls by having a body to guide and execute the running of the internet such that we dont necessarily need to re-invent the wheel of the internet.

Emmanuel: Only we can help ourselves. After years of aid and development grants for Africa, are we batter than we were? We will not re-invent the Internet all we need is infrastructure to plug in and further expand the Internet. We do not need an International Organisation to do that for us if we cannot do it ourselves.

Joseph: you leave the internet development to our regional leaders (Remember some dont even have an e-mail!) then i dont want to imagine where we will be in a few years from now. We need a body to take us to the 'promised land together because we are in the same train(internet)'!

Emmanuel: I wonder the nature of an Internetional organisation for the Internet that will not have regional and country leaders as members! To avoid going round in circles I still suggest a multistake holder approach. I dont dee the Internet as a train taking us all to the promised land. I see it as an information resource where we all have to contribulte to its development. I see it as a power grid where we connect to. I can assure you that you wont be left behind. Just hook up.

Regards
Comment by Joseph Mokaya Gichana on December 16, 2008 at 10:50am
Emmanuel and Maureen hi,
Thank you for your views on the management of the Internet, though fundamentally different from mine. Emmanuel you gave a very good example of the UN, if i may ask, is the world a better place with UN and its agencies or not? or would we be where we are now withouth the UN?, Indeed we dont need to be at war with ourselves to form a replica of the UN in the internet in order to solve our challenges, if you are not aware we are already at war and some countries have expressed fears and want to pull out of the Internet and form their own.Remember last years discussions at the Youth Roundtable?(Japan, as we talk are at an advanced stage to have their own internet) this emanates from the fact that we dont have a body to deal with the internets inherent weaknesses like cybercrime, security and stuff.
I do appreciate that we are at different levels of development as regard to usage of internet, but i bet we dont need to pass through what the first world countries have gone through!, we need to avoid these pitfalls by having a body to guide and execute the running of the internet such that we dont necessarily need to re-invent the wheel of the internet.
For example that is why we have research institutions(IGF BEING ONE OF THEM) to research on behalf of humanity and come up with a solution(within a specific time frame) to tackle the challenges. That is why we need a body with the capacity to implement our research findings hence the outcome of ITUand ICANN merger!
Believe you me we can not remain in the Labs for ever while praying that our findings in one way or another find their way to the implementation table! if we were researching on a particular drug for instance, people will die!
If we continue talking remember some people continue to suffer, you leave the internet development to our regional leaders (Remember some dont even have an e-mail!) then i dont want to imagine where we will be in a few years from now.
We need a body to take us to the 'promised land together because we are in the same train(internet)'! Personally i cant afford to be left behind again.I believe am talking to somebody.
Comment by Maureen Hilyard on December 16, 2008 at 10:08am
Hi Emmanuel. You have articulated a viewpoint with which I agree - that the the internet should be managed by the cooperative input of its many stakeholder groups. Monopoly by a single organisation albeit a merged unit of these two major organisations, would not appropriately address individual issues which as you say must be dealt with differently depending on each country's development with regards to the internet. Thank you for your explanation. It helped me gain a better understanding of the management issues.

Members

Groups

Follow us

Website and downloads

Visit Diplo's IG website, www.diplomacy.edu/ig for info on programmes, events, and resources.

The full text of the book An Introduction to Internet Governance (6th edition) is available here. The translated versions in Serbian/BCS, French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Chinese, and Portuguese are also available for download.

Interviews


Karlene Francis (Jamaica)
Ivar Hartmann
(Brazil)
Elona Taka (Albania)
Fahd Batayneh (Jordan)
Edward Muthiga (Kenya)
Nnenna Nwakanma (Côte d'Ivoire)
Xu Jing (China)
Gao Mosweu (Botswana)
Jamil Goheer (Pakistan)
Virginia (Ginger) Paque (Venezuela)
Tim Davies (UK)
Charity Gamboa-Embley (Philippines)
Rafik Dammak (Tunisia)
Jean-Yves Gatete (Burundi)
Guilherme Almeida (Brazil)
Magaly Pazello (Brazil)
Sergio Alves Júnior (Brazil)
Adela Danciu (Romania)
Simona Popa (Romania)
Marina Sokolova (Belarus)
Andreana Stankova (Bulgaria)
Vedran Djordjevic (Canada)
Maria Morozova (Ukraine)
David Kavanagh (Ireland)
Nino Gobronidze (Georgia)
Sorina Teleanu (Romania)
Cosmin Neagu (Romania)
Maja Rakovic (Serbia)
Elma Demir (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Tatiana Chirev (Moldova)
Maja Lubarda (Slovenia)
Babatope Soremi (Nigeria)
Marilia Maciel (Brazil)
Raquel Gatto (Brazil)
Andrés Piazza (Argentina)
Nevena Ruzic (Serbia)
Deirdre Williams (St. Lucia)
Maureen Hilyard (Cook Islands)
Monica Abalo (Argentina)
Emmanuel Edet (Nigeria)
Mwende Njiraini (Kenya)
Marsha Guthrie (Jamaica)
Kassim M. AL-Hassani (Iraq)
Marília Maciel (Brazil)
Alfonso Avila (Mexico)
Pascal Bekono (Cameroon)

© 2020   Created by Community Owner.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service