Just after the United States made clear it intention to retain control over the internet’s root-servers, an ICANN meeting took place in Luxembourg. ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is a California-based non-profit corporation created in 1998 to take over a number of Internet-related tasks earlier performed on behalf of the US Government by other organizations, notably the IANA.
How’s this huge, influential and potentially-useful beast called the internet to be governed? Who is to call the shots? Brazil-based RITS’s strategy director Carlos Afonso takes a close look at how control of the internet is sought to be transformed, before a crucial crossroad comes up in the next few months. This 50-page paper in PDF format, commissioned by APC member Instituto del Tercer Mundo (ITeM) as part of its WSISpapers series, also provides useful historical background on the current internet global governance system.
The WSIS Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus has supported and voiced its appreciation for the process and outcome of the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG). The Caucus has welcomed the adoption of a broad working definition of Internet Governance, and believes that the high quality of the WGIG final report is the result of both the multi-stakeholder collaboration and the open and inclusive consultation with the wider WSIS community.
When the world meets up at Tunisia, in coming November, during the World Summit on the Information Society, this meet signals global recognition that information and communication technologies can play a major role in social and economic development and contribute significantly towards poverty alleviation. South Africa’s civil society takes a look at the focus and objectives of the WSIS.
APC members in the Philippines, the Foundation for Media Alternatives, took the lead in a consultative workshop on the national leg of the information society summit. While welcoming the workshop, it also spoke out to voice concern that the first national summit of May 2004 had not been taken seriously by the government, with very few discussions held last year.
The Slovak Telecommunications Office has published a draft of its new general licence for operating radio devices in the public 2.4 GHz frequency band. But if the wordings of this new policy remain unchanged, it could "effectivelly put ban on thousands of devices around the country", warns the Bratislava-based CHANGENET.SK network.
Internet governance brings together two largely impenetrable realms for the average WSIS delegate: the nuts and bolts of the internet – what it is, how it works- and who manages those nuts and bolts. It is too early to predict what the final impact of the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) will be. But there is no doubt that it has created a much-needed space. “At a time of global malaise, indifference and lack of faith and legitimacy in many of our global and national governance institutions, the internet governance debate is one where civil society advocates can make a real difference,” concludes APC in this new report which covers the main developments in the internet governance debate.
As executive coordinator of the Secretariat of the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG), Markus Kummer prepares sessions, facilitates their work and writes up their reports after meetings. But, as he explains to Maud Hand in a quiet moment prior to PrepCom 2, Phase 2, unlike the classical secretariat tasks of any international working group, the multi-stakeholder make up of WGIG makes for a very different job.
Carlos Afonso, former chair of APC and member of the UN body charged with coming up with a definition of what ‘internet governance’ should encompass
amongst other tasks has written an opinionative report on the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Internet Governance, November 23-25 2004, Geneva. For the first time published in English and Spanish from the Portuguese original. Translation by APC.
WSIS Update: APC reports on recent and upcoming meetings on internet governance and the financing of ICTs in developing countrie
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) process continues and two issues on which governments were unable to reach consensus during the first phase in 2003- ‘internet governance’ and ‘financing mechanisms’- are under the microscope. Last month saw the first open consultation on the ‘working group on internet governance’. APC briefs you on the discussions taking place.