A busy two weeks for Internet governance

There is so much going on this week and next week in Internet governance and IGP is so involved that we barely have time to blog about it. Here is a quick summary and some links to more information. First, in Internet addressing policy there is an intense buzz of controversy around a March 15-16 workshop of the International Telecommunication Union on two proposals to change the way we allocate IPv6 addresses. The Regional Internet Registries' are riled up about this, seeing it, correctly, as a challenge to their exclusive control of address policy, but there are also signs of an improving dialogue between ITU and RIRs. You can see this reflected in an interesting transcript of the APNIC meeting last week and in the ARIN public policy list.

Second, the quarterly ICANN meeting is taking place in Nairobi. One of the key decisions that will take place at that meeting involves how ICANN will respond to the Independent Review Panel ruling that its treatment of the .xxx top level domain application was unfair and discriminatory. The obvious response to this ruling would be to turn the clock back to August 9, 2005, and sign the contract awarding ICM Registry its TLD, as ICM has requested. But there is still strong opposition to an .xxx domain, so ICANN is presented with a tough choice: either adhere to its policies and principles, create .xxx, and make some stakeholders unhappy, or ignore its independent review panel and reveal to all the world that its accountability mechanisms are toothless and can be ignored. A real test of ICANN's mettle. Also on the agenda for Nairobi: creating a working group on vertical integration of registries and registrars, and a decision whether the Board will agree to create an “expression of interest” for new TLDs.

Earlier this week, the Council of Europe's Ad hoc Advisory Group on Cross-Border Internet held its first meeting in Paris March 1 and 2. This working group is taking up some interesting issues regarding the “mutual responsibilities of states in ensuring that critical Internet resources are managed in the public interest,” and “proposals relating to the prevention and management of …malicious acts [e.g., DDoS attacks], falling within member states’ jurisdictions or territories, which could block or significantly impede Internet access to or within fellow members of the international community.”  

Finally, on the Google front, Google has ratified Brenden Kuerbis's prediction that its conflict with China will become a trade dispute — see our Twitter links. And an Italian blogger has provided a more detailed explanation of how Google's conviction in Italy could have been based on the fact that the E-Commerce directive's safe harbour does not apply to privacy and data protection issues. We will have more to say about this.  

One comment

  1. Anonymous

    The ITU needs to act swiftly to level the playing field with respect to the Internet and the IPv4/IPv6 transition. The historic trends in past allocation of IPv4 will result in a challenging situation for developing countries when IPv4 runs out in the next two years, as additional IPv4 address space for continued Internet growth in their ecnonomies will not be available, and the emergance of transfer markets will allow more established countries to continue to grow via IPv4… This effectively transfers the early adopter burden to the less resourced developing countries and is contrary to basic values adopted by the UN and ITU in supporting developing countries in achieving their ICT goals.
    The only way to avoid this situation is for the ITU, a treaty organization with the appropriate charter in this area, to clearly state that the Internet is both IPv4 and IPv6 as of a specific date (e.g. Jan 1, 2012). This would be followed by directives to all ITU members that Internet resources (i.e. web servers) should be connected via *both* IPv4 and IPv6 by this date, so that all economies can efficiently connect to new constituents to the Internet via either IPv4 or IPv6 at that time. Only the ITU has the charter which enables it to definitively set this transition, and by doing so it insures that the established issues with previous IPv4 allocation do not pose a burden for developing countries going forward.