Internet Governance

Background

Internet governance involves a wide array of activities related to the policy and procedures of the management of the internet. It encompasses legal and regulatory issues such as privacy, cybercrime, intellectual property rights and spam. It is also, for example, concerned with technical issues related to network management and standards and economic issues such as taxation and internet interconnection arrangements.

Because mobile industry growth is tied to the evolution of internet-enabled services and devices, decisions about the use, management and regulation of the internet will affect mobile service providers and other industry players and their customers.

Internet governance requires input from diverse stakeholders, relating to their interests and expertise in technical engineering, resource management, standards and policy issues, among others. Interested and relevant stakeholders will vary from issue to issue.

Debate

Who ‘owns’ the internet?
Should certain countries or organisations be allowed to have greater decision-making powers than others?
How should a multi-stakeholder model be applied to internet governance?


Industry Position

The multi-stakeholder model for internet governance and decision making should be preserved and allowed to evolve.

Internet governance should not be managed through a single institution or mechanism, but be able to address a wide range of issues and challenges relevant to different stakeholders more flexibly than traditional government and intergovernmental mechanisms.

The internet should be secure, stable, trustworthy and interoperable, and no single institution or organisation can or should manage it.

Collaborative, diverse and inclusive models of internet governance decision-making are requisite to participation by the appropriate stakeholders.

The decentralised development of the internet should continue, without being controlled by any particular business model or regulatory approach.

Some questions warrant a different approach at the local, national, regional or global level. An effective and efficient multi-stakeholder model ensures that the stakeholders, within their respective roles, can participate in the consensus-building process for any specific issue.

Technical aspects related to the management and development of internet networks and architecture should be addressed through standards bodies, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) and other forums.

Economic and transactional issues such as internet interconnection charges are best left to commercial negotiation, consistent with commercial law and regulatory regimes.

Resources

The Internet Governance Forum website
World Summit on the Information Society WSIS+10 website
The Internet Society Internet Governance website
UNESCO Internet Governance website

Global internet governance must be transparent and inclusive, ensuring full participation of governments, civil society, private sector and international organisations, so that the potential of the internet as a powerful tool for economic and social development can be fulfilled.
— Joint press release from the governments of the USA and Brazil, June 2015