First Internet Governance Forum Concludes

Despite embarassing connectivity problems and wide agreement that some of the plenary discussions needed to be more focused and outcome-oriented, the UN's conference in Athens concluded Friday with most participants reasonably satisfied. So far as we know, neither governments, business nor civil society participants thought they had been slighted or excluded, and most felt the whole exercise had been worthwhile. Thus the Forum succeeded in its most fundamental goal: establishing the basis for a cooperative, pluralistic dialogue that spans governments and other sectors of society. IGP's two Workshops on DNS and free expression were standing room only affairs, and so were many other workshops, as our prediction came true that the participant-defined activities provided the most focused and mobilizing elements of the agenda.

GigaNet Conference Brings Academics Together

GigaNet is the “global internet governance academic network,” a new network of researchers in the field of internet governance. GigaNet plans to hold annual conferences preceding the forum and engage in research collaboration and discussion around IG issues. The first GigaNet pre-conference vastly exceeded the expectations of its organizers, filling the room to capacity (80+ people) and provoking many compliments about the value and quality of the presentations and discussions.

ICANN Wants to Become Transparent and Accountable (In a Couple of Months)

Responding to public comments showing widespread reluctance to set ICANN free of the US Government before it improves its accountability and transparency, ICANN issued a call today for public comment on developing transparent and accountable management operating principles (MOPs) for possible adoption in to its Strategic Plan. The organization hopes to start setting “new standards for interactions within the ICANN community and between members of the community and staff” by soliciting responses to a set of questions defining accountability and transparency in the ICANN context. IGP welcomes the effort and hope it comes to fruition. But is it anything more than PR? A short, two-week comment period and ICANN management's apparent belief that they are going to settle on the right principles by early December (!) can only fuel doubts about the sincerity and depth of this effort.

European Commission responds to JPA

Responding to the recently released JPA, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media Viviane Redding welcomed the "US government's declared intention to grant more autonomy to ICANN and to end its governmental oversight." However, the IGP notes that the new JPA does not introduce any guarantee that the relationship will...

10.2006 The Road to Rio: Results-based Management of the UN Internet Governance Forum

[Abstract] Drafters: John MathiasonConcurring: Milton Mueller, Jeanette Hofmann, Lee McKnight, Derrick Cogburn Over a thousand people are heading to Athens, Greece for the first meeting of the UN-sponsored Internet Governance Forum. Many of them are still fielding doubts or worries about what the outcome of this new multi-stakeholder institution is...

ICANN's New MoU: Old Wine in a New Bottle

The new agreement, called a Joint Project Agreement (JPA) is a cosmetic response to the comments received by NTIA during its Notice of Inquiry in July 2006. Public responses expressed widespread support for a DNS governance regime that was free of dominance by one government and indeed, any government. At the same time, various interest groups for many different reasons asked for a more accountable and representative ICANN and often expressed reservations about freeing ICANN from governmental oversight until suitable reforms in its processes and accountability were made.

LSE report released: Another ICANN reform?

The London School of Economics Public Policy Group finally released its long-awaited assessment of the GNSO, ICANN's representative organ for making global domain names policy. The impartial X-ray the LSE group administered on the GNSO is, on the whole, excellent as an analysis of how things are. Many of the recommendations are good, too. But on the most critical issue of all the distribution of voting power among GNSO constituencies the LSE has put forward recommendations that cause serious concern.

Iaint'a Giving Up IANA

The US Commerce Department renewed its purchase-order with ICANN for "the IANA function" on August 15. The renewal is guaranteed for only one year. The contract gives the U.S. the option to keep renewing the contract for four more years, but does not require the U.S. to do so. The...