11.2005 ICANN Reform: Establishing the Rule of Law

[Abstract]

Author: Hans KleinDebates over Internet governance can be clarified by the recognition that ICANN is a regulatory agency. Its responsibilities for setting base prices, protecting trademarks, and controlling market entry are typical of a regulatory agency. Principles for good governance of regulatory agencies exist and should be applied to ICANN. These emphasize the rule of law, i.e. reliance on rules to limit power politics. ICANN’s history shows how private governance can be captured by powerful players. At WSIS governments need to create and enforce a legally-defined framework that limits the power of all stakeholders — including governments themselves. By establishing the rule of law, the politicized processes of ICANN can be replaced by predictable, fair, and efficient decision-making.Suggested citation: Hans Klein, “ICANN Reform: Establishing the Rule of Law” (November 2005). Internet Governance Project. Paper IGP05-010. Available at http://internetgovernance.org/pdf/ICANN-Reform-Establishing-the-Rule-of-Law.pdf

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