Is the UN finally moving beyond Internet governance to focus on what really matters? by Nick Ashton-Hart

Unless you are obliged to follow the intergovernmental calendar of meetings in Geneva, you are probably not aware that a UN body called the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) met last week. The CSTD meets annually to monitor the implementation of targets set in 2003 and 2005 by the World Summit for the Information Society (WSIS). Last week’s meeting was particularly important because it partly defined what the UN General Assembly will consider when heads of state meet in December 2015 to review the last ten years of the WSIS process and decide the next steps.In its beginnings, the WSIS process was aimed at identifying ways to use technology to improve people’s lives. It was widely believed at the time that debates about Internet Governance would consume only a small fraction of WSIS-related follow-up activity. Sadly it has turned out to be the other way around, with development-related discussions sidelined — and at times even taken hostage — by a zero-sum debate underlying two very different views of state sovereignty and the role of the state in regulating the online environment.

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