The Year in Review: Transition in Internet Governance

2016 was an eventful year in Internet governance. This year-end overview reveals a year of transition, both for the field and for IGP as an organization.

ICANN and the historic IANA transition

In 2016, IGP’s role as intellectual and practical leaders within the ICANN regime culminated in the IANA transition – the end of US government control of IANA and the accompanying accountability reforms in its corporate governance. A March 2014 paper by IGP, released ten days before the NTIA announced that it would initiate the transition, was the first to propose structural separation of IANA from ICANN. Later that year, Dr. Milton Mueller was elected to serve as a member of the IANA Stewardship Coordination Group, while he, Farzaneh Badii and Brenden Kuerbis became active participants in the CWG-IANA and the CCWG on Accountability. In March 2016, Mueller attended the ICANN 55 meeting in Morocco where the reform proposals took their near-final form and were approved by the Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees. IGP played a prominent role in the public debate over the final U.S. government approval of the ICANN transition proposals. This included many news interviews, the submission of congressional testimony and a talk at the R Street Institute in Washington, DC, on September 30. On October 26, IGP hosted an event honoring Assistant Secretary of Commerce Lawrence Strickling for his role in the transition and a discussion of its long term implications in Atlanta on the Georgia Tech campus. Mueller also attended the November 2016 ICANN 57 meeting in Hyderabad, India.

Meanwhile, back at the ICANN ranch, Milton Mueller and Farzaneh Badii were elected to the 2016 Noncommercial User Constituency’s (NCUC’s) Executive Committee, where with NCUC Chair Rafik Dammak they presided over continued growth in the activity and membership of civil society in ICANN. Badii led a long-overdue overhaul of the NCUC’s bylaws. At the end of her EC term, Dr. Badii was elected to serve as the NCUC’s new Chair for 2017, while Brenden Kuerbis was selected to serve as a member of the second Nominating Committee Review Working Party.

Academic Research

IGP principals continued making academic research contributions to the field of Internet governance. In mid-March, the International Studies Association meeting in Atlanta was attended by Dr. Mueller, Dr. Hans Klein and Dr. Badii. Klein and Mueller organized a panel on global public policy in information and communications technology; Mueller and Badii presented their paper on state sovereignty and ccTLD delegations. Later that year, their paper – “Governing Internet Territory: ICANN, Sovereignty Claims, Property Rights and Country Code Top Level Domains” – was accepted for publication in 2017 in the Columbia University Science and Technology Law Journal. Continuing their ongoing research on cybersecurity issues in Internet routing and addressing, from May 22 – 28 Mueller and Kuerbis attended RIPE 72 in Copenhagen, where Kuerbis was awarded a RACI fellowship to present a paper Internet Routing Registries, Data Governance and Security. This paper has been submitted to the Journal of Cyber Policy.

Education

As recognition of Internet governance as an important area of policy grows, teaching has become a more prominent part of our mission. IGP principal Dr. Mueller continued his tradition of participating as a lecturer in the European Summer School on Internet Governance (EUSSIG) in Meissen, Germany July 18-22. He joined in celebrating EUSSIG’s 10th anniversary immediately afterwards. Drs. Mueller and Klein helped to program and teach the very first edition of a new summer school, Georgia Tech’s Cybersecurity Leadership program, a week-long executive education session held July 25 – 29 in Atlanta. From October 30 – November 1, Mueller lectured in three sessions of the first edition of the India School of Internet Governance (InSIG) in Hyderabad before attending ICANN 57. At ICANN 57, he collaborated with Kilnam Chon to organize an outreach session for academics involved in Internet governance.

IG: fragmentation, trade and cybersecurity

Problems in Internet governance are moving in new directions. After the ICANN transition, IGP is reorienting its activities to focus more on the way Internet governance intersects with cybersecurity and trade. This includes concerns about the so-called “fragmentation” of the Internet caused by the assertion of multiple national controls over potentially global Internet services. The new direction for IGP was manifested in 2016 in a variety of ways.

On May 19-20 IGP hosted an invitation-only workshop on Political Space and Cyberspace, where 15 scholars from around the world exchanged papers and held intense discussions about the tensions and intersections between jurisdictional boundaries and cyberspace, focusing on their implications for governance institutions and for cybersecurity policy.

In June 2016, Dr. Mueller was invited to present his analysis of “Is there sovereignty in cyberspace?” at a US Army War College workshop on sovereignty in cyberspace in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Shortly thereafter (June 15), Dr. Mueller was a featured speaker at an ISOC-DC and Microsoft event on Internet fragmentation: the technical aspects in Washington, DC. Cornell University, which is embarking on a new initiative in cybersecurity, invited Dr. Mueller to speak there September 14. On October 22, Dr. Mueller was an invited speaker on Internet governance at the 2016 International Conference on Cyber Conflict (CyCon US) meeting in Washington, DC, where he was on a panel with Laura DeNardis of American University and Internet protocol founder Robert Kahn. In December 2016, IGP organized two workshops at the UN Internet Governance Forum in Mexico, one on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, and the other on the risks and reality of DNS fragmentation.

 

Comments are closed.