Internet Governance

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ALAC on WSIS Declaration of Principles and Plan of Actions

The At Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) has released this statement about the results of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS). It is circulated for public comment, in view of subsequent statements to be released in the next months. At the World Summit on the Information Society held on December 10 to 12 in Geneva, the member states of the United Nations adopted the Declaration of Principles and the Plan of Action that include specific language on the issue of "Internet Governance". ICANN's At Large Advisory Committee welcomes the fact that these statements clearly recognize the role of civil society as a full participant in the international management of the Internet, and bring attention to the need for a deep involvement of individual users into its governance. more

ITU Workshop on Internet Governance

The World Summit on the Information Society will hold its first workshop on internet governance in late February, it has emerged. ...The WSIS, backed by the UN and its International Telecommunications Union, said this week that it will hold the workshop February 26 and 27 at the ITU headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. more

Why NAT Isn't As Bad As You Thought

Please do sit down. Should the shock cause you to suddenly lose consciousness, I hereby disclaim all responsibility for any subsequent loss or injury. I'm about to defend the anthrax of the Internet: NAT. Network Address Translation is a hack to enable private IP addresses on one side of a router (inside your network) to talk to public IP addresses on the other side (on the Internet, outside your network). It really doesn't matter how it works. The consequence is that unless the router is specifically configured, outsiders can't get in uninvited. So those on the inside can't, by default, act as servers of any service to the outside world. more

Future of Internet Navigation and DNS: The NAS Study

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has been studying the issue of Internet navigation and the DNS. The study was undertaken at the request of Congress to "provide analysis and advice for consideration by agencies of the U.S. Government, interested international institutions, and other stakeholders." In addition to examining technological issues, the study is also considering "relevant legal, economic, political, and social issues...because technologies related to the DNS and Internet navigation do not operate in isolation, but must be deployed within a complex and challenging national and international context."  more

The Debate Continues: Geist Replies to CENTR Response

While this may be better suited as a comment to the CENTR posting, I thought that its length might warrant a separate submission. Many thanks to CircleID for hosting this interesting discussion. Below is the full text of a comment I forwarded to CENTR earlier today in reply to its commentary on my recent study on national governments and ccTLDs. ...I should also preface my remarks by noting that I speak for myself -- not the ITU (see below), nor CIRA, (a CENTR member ) on which I serve on the board of directors, nor the Public Interest Registry, which manages the dot-org domain and on which I serve on the Global Advisory Council. more

A Study on Public Participation in ICANN

The following is an executive summary from the preliminary study by John Palfrey, Clifford Chen, Sam Hwang, and Noah Eisenkraft at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. This study considers to what extent the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has achieved its stated goal of a "representative" and "open" decision-making process. more

The End of the Experiment

Amidst a firestorm of debate, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has experimented with various forms of governance of the domain name system (DNS) involving input from the Internet community since its founding in 1998. ICANN's experimentation in running a representative and open corporate decision-making process has largely failed. This failure has manifested itself most explicitly by ICANN's retreat from its effort to enable the direct election of a subset of its Board members and, less explicitly, by the extent to which other efforts to engage the Internet user community in the decision-making process have proven ineffective. more

Nations at WSIS Better Off with an ICANN-Like Structure

There is much talk currently about the WSIS meeting taking place in Geneva this week which means some needed attention is being paid to Internet governance. While some may view the term "Internet governance" as an oxymoron and my natural reaction is something along the lines of "I hope that they continue to view regulation as too complicated so that we Internet-folks can just keep doing what we are doing" I confess to knowing deep down that we would all be better off with a simple, effective policy framework than with the current anarchic state. more

ICANN, WSIS and the Making of a Global Civil Society - Part II

This is the second part of a two-part series interview by Geert Lovink with Milton Mueller discussing ICANN, World Summit on the Information Society, and the escalating debates over Internet Governance. Read the first part of this Interview here. Geert Lovink: "Confronted with Internet governance many cyber activists find themselves in a catch 22 situation. On the one hand they do not trust government bureaucrats to run the Internet, out of a justified fear that regulation through multilateral negotiations might lead to censorship and stifle innovation. On the other hand they criticize the corporate agendas of the engineering class that is anything but representative. What models should activists propose in the light of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)? There seems to be no way back to a nation state 'federalist' solution. Should they buy into the 'global civil society' solution?" more

ICANN, WSIS and the Making of a Global Civil Society - Part I

This is the first part of a two-part series interview by Geert Lovink with Milton Mueller discussing ICANN, World Summit on the Information Society, and the escalating debates over Internet Governance. Read the second part of this Interview here. Geert Lovink: "Would it make sense to analyse ICANN (and its predecessors) as a test model for some sort of secretive 'world government' that is run by self appointed experts? Could you explain why governments are seen as incapable of running the Internet? This all comes close to a conspiracy theory. I am not at all a fan of such reductionist easy-to-understand explanations. However, the discontent with 'global governance' discourse is widespread and it seems that the International Relations experts have little understanding how the Internet is actually run. Where do you think theorization of Internet governance should start?" more

The Cyber-Sociology of Domain Names

Erica Wass is the editor and contributing author of the recently published book, "Addressing the World: National Identity and Internet Country Code Domains", (Rowman & Littlefield, October 2003). This book is an edited collection of original essays by domain name administrators, academics, journalists and lawyers that examine the connections between various cultures and the use and regulation of their country code domain names. CircleID recently caught up with Erica Wass to gain a better insight into the work behind this book. What follows is the first article of a three-part series where Erica shares her insight and discoveries that lead her to a sophisticated global perspective on "Addressing the world". She begins by examining cyber-sociology of ccTLDs -- the underlying theme of the book. more

SECSAC Special Meeting on Site Finder: A Technical Analysis

After attending the afternoon ICANN Security & Stability Committee meeting, I realized that the issues involved fall into several related but independent dimensions. Shy person that I am *Cough*, I have opinions in all, but I think it's worthwhile simply to be able to explain the Big Picture to media and other folks that aren't immersed in our field. In these notes, I'm trying to maintain neutrality about the issues. I do have strong opinions about most, but I'll post those separately, often dealing with one issue at a time. more

Online Registries: The DNS and Beyond

As the world grows more connected and more complicated, we all need ways of defining, identifying and keeping track of things and cross-referencing them with their owners. The simplest way to do that is with registries -- everything from the Domesday Book, a medieval registry of land, property and people; to current-day auto registries on the one hand and the worldwide Domain Name System on the other...But now, companies and organizations have to keep track of ever more things and people, not just inside their walls but across extended organizational boundaries. Call this new wrinkle an "external registry". Finally, they may want to interact with things and people, rather than just look them up, via an "active registry".  more

Al's Story: Another Small Domain Holder Falls Victim to Flawed ICANN Policy

Al Bode is typical of the many small, individual domain name holders throughout the United States and the world. He is a high school teacher of the Spanish language, not a techie, and he registered the domain IOWAWLA.ORG to provide an online presence for the Iowa World Language Association, a professional association for foreign-language educators in the US State of Iowa, of which he is a member. This domain could in no way be considered a commercial venture. In his own words, "I am a school teacher from Iowa whose websites are personally funded for the express purpose of education. There is no profit motive or even profit other than the knowledge that others may gain from my website." more

Internet Governance: There Are No Masterplans

Please pardon me if I start this story by telling about an incident that happened to me at the Madrid airport while flying to the ICANN meetings in Rio.

It was about midnight when, after flying in from Turin, my hometown, I had to go through the passport control to reach my gate for the flight to Rio. The war between the US/UK and Iraq had started two days before, and even if the Spanish government was among its supporters, security checks were apparently proceeding as usual. Passport controls inside the EU for EU citizens usually take a few seconds, and the line ahead of me was proceeding quickly. more