Carlos Afonso of RITS has been elected to the Brazilian committee which manages the internet in Brazil and controls .br. The election results were announced on July 15. He is one of four representatives from civil society. Other sectors represented are the scientific community, the business and telecommunications sectors, and internet service providers. It is the first time in Brazil that internet governance has been opened up to the public. In Portuguese.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) – the body that’s responsible for managing the registration and distribution system of domain names (eg. www.apc.org) in the internet – held its first meeting of 2004. More than 600 people from different countries took part in 27 fora. In attendance was Carlos Afonso, planning director of APC’s Brazilian member organisation, RITS. His fascinating report is essential reading for anyone trying to understand internet governance issues and has been translated into English and Spanish by APC.
Global Forum on Internet Governance: Not everyone agrees on what is broken nor on what fixing might involve
A global forum on internet governance organised by the United Nations in March was the most open and inclusive platform for addressing internet governance issues to date but time was too short to disaggregate the various areas of policy and regulation that are loosely grouped under “internet governance”. There are fundamental concerns around the accountability and legitimacy of current internet governance structures, but at the same time the overall tone is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. But not everyone agrees on what is broken, nor on what fixing might involve.
The challenges the Global Forum faced will now be faced by the working group which will take work forward to the next UN World Summit in 2005. The dilemma lies in having to both expand, and shrink the scope of “internet governance”, to get to practical proposals that also address broader concerns. And it has to work in a way that is inclusive of different stakeholders and perspectives, and actively tackles discontent instead of glossing over it, says APC.
A Mission-Driven Business Planning workshop for environmental civil society online networks in the Balkans in February was attended by APC members from the Balkans and six fledgling electronic networking initiatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo/a, Macedonia, and Serbia and Montenegro.
There’s a new openness since the Lula government came to power at the beginning of 2003 and began working hand-in-hand with Brazilian civil society to change the way the internet is being governed in Brazil. It’s been announced that the committee which handles all Brazilian-registered website addresses will be chosen in public online elections. For the first time since the .br registry was created in 1995, members of civil society will be elected and can participate directly in the deliberations.
The Brazilian government has decided to support this transition to a new internet governance structure for the administration of “.br”. ITI and Abong outline the process which involves elections and the nominations of candidates from civil society, government and the science and technology sectors in this article translated into English by APC.
As the WSIS opens, the international community finds it self drawn into the debate over whether the Internet’s core infrastructurethe domains should remain managed by industry or be taken over by governments, via the United Nations.
The meeting theme was inspired in APC action areas and the preparatory work for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) to take place in Geneva in December. Participants were APC members from around the world, ICT and ICT policy experts, trainers, local partners and the other representatives from the APC community who took part in intensive training on ICT policy. In addition, APC membership defined APC’s Strategic Priorities for 2004-6 and elected a new executive board for the next two years. Out-going chair, Stefan Hackenthal, praised the “good regional distribution and a much better gender balance (than in the previous board) with women now making up almost half the number”.