IGF in Rio: ICANN’s role one of issues discussed
Posted in: Governance at 14/11/2007 18:28
The US government's, through the Department of Commerce and ICANN, role has been widely discussed at the current Internet Governance Forum meeting on Monday, currently being held in Rio de Janeiro.
The Associated Press has reported that although few participants "attacked the United States directly, most were well aware of the role Americans play over domain name policies, including whether and how to assign suffixes in languages besides English."
AP further reported comments from Brazil's Culture Minister Gilberto Gil, who apparently is also a major pop star in Brazil, "The Internet is transnational. It can't be under the authority of one country or even some countries. The Internet should be the territory of everyone."
The current IGF meeting follows a previous meeting in Athens that covered many of the same issues. At the meeting in Athens, a common claim was the US's influence in the internet was not discussed widely enough.
"We all know that critical Internet resources has become a code word for ICANN issues and the underlying problem of the control of Internet by a nation-state," said Milton Mueller, a professor at Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y. "Critical Internet resources are truly global governance issue."
Mueller said an ICANN-like structure works but the U.S. and other governments ought to stay out of it.
The US's role through ICANN is just one of the issues, and quite possible the major issue, being discussed in Rio. Internet access and the digital divide are other issues of importance along with child pornography and cybercrime.
Meanwhile, the Internet Governance Project has published a paper, "Net Neutrality as Global Principle for Internet Governance" by Brenden Kuerbis. The paper is a contribution to the IGF and shows "how network neutrality can serve as a globally applicable principle to guide Internet governance. The paper defines network neutrality as the right of Internet users to access content, services and applications on the Internet without interference from network operators or overbearing governments. It also encompasses the right of network operators to be reasonably free of liability for transmitting content and applications deemed illegal or undesirable by third parties. Those aspects of net neutrality are relevant in a growing number of countries and situations, as both public and private actors attempt to subject the Internet to more control."
Further media reports on the IGF meeting are available from:
U.S. Internet control discussed in Brazil [AP]
U.S. control over how Internet addresses are assigned -- and thus how people around the world access e-mail and Web sites -- dominated discussions as a major U.N. conference on the Internet opened here Monday.
Although few participants at the Internet Governance Forum attacked the United States directly, most were well aware of the role Americans play over domain name policies, including whether and how to assign suffixes in languages besides English.
"The Internet is transnational. It can't be under the authority of one country or even some countries," said Brazil's Culture Minister Gilberto Gil, who is also a major pop star here, setting the conference's tone at the opening ceremony. "The Internet should be the territory of everyone."
UN conference tackles digital divide [AP]
Now that more than 1 billion people use the Internet, international policymakers and computing experts are struggling with how to link the world's other 5 billion to the increasingly crucial network. "Ten years ago, to talk about 1 billion Internet users sounded exaggerated, unthinkable, but now we talk about the next billion," said Markus Kummer, the official heading a U.N. forum here Tuesday on governing the Internet. "It is clear sooner or later we will reach that number. It is also clear that next billion will be poorer than the first."