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Legitimacy and Expertise in Global Internet Governance by Olivier Sylvain, Fordham University School of Law

IANA logoAbstract: Over the course of the past decade or so, attention among Internet policymakers and scholars has shifted gradually from substantive design principles to the structure of Internet governance. ICANN in particular now faces a new skepticism about its legitimacy to administer the essential Internet Assigned Numbers Authority function.

ICANN has responded to these doubts by proposing a series of major governance reforms that would bring nation-states more into the organization’s decisionmaking. After all, transnational governance institutions in other substantive areas privilege nation-states as a matter of course. This Symposium Essay shows that these changes reflect a new era in which ICANN and other Internet policymakers no longer view the Internet as uniquely immune from the geopolitics of the physical world.

This paper is available for download from the Social Science Research Network website at: