The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its defeat call attention to a delicious irony in public discourse on Internet governance. Even those who don’t want the Internet to be an exception from traditional forms of regulation and law are forced to admit that something new and exceptional must be done to bring it under control. Reinforcing the irony, these attempts by the anti-exceptionalists to subordinate the Internet to established institutions immediately locks them into conflict with a highly mobilized, highly transnational community of Internet users and service providers who vow to resist those controls. The resistance comes precisely because the mobilized community believes that the controls threaten to fundamentally alter its status as an open, innovative and – dare we say it – exceptional space. In other words, we are all Internet exceptionalists now.
Not much. There are some interesting things about copyright. The leaked cables are from the foreign policy branches rather than the Commerce Department, so most of the juicy ICANN-related stuff is not in there. Searching for “ICANN” produces 39 documents, all but two of them unclassified. Some of the most interesting date back to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and the debate it sparked over US control of the root.
Alternative address trading platforms are gaining traction. The Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) are worried. Paul Vixie, the Chair of ARIN's Board, has written an article in ACM Queue attacking “those who would unilaterally supplant or redraw the existing Internet resource governance or allocation systems.” The publication of this article is a sign of a growing policy debate around the reform of IP address registries in the age of IPv4 exhaustion. Unfortunately, Vixie's arguments show that he is disconnected from the economic and institutional realities of the IPv4 address regime.
The Global Internet Governance Academic Network (GigaNet), in co-operation with the Research ICT Africa (RIA), is seeking submissions of research about Internet Governance to be presented at the Sixth GigaNet Annual Symposium, held on 26 September 2011, one day before the United Nations Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Internet’s status as a communication medium that is decentralized, scalable and global continues to pose challenging new problems in governance and regulation. GigaNet, an international scholarly community created in 2006, holds a two-day conference to explore issues such as IP address scarcity, ICANN accountability, the role of social media in toppling dictatorships, censorship, privacy online, and the tensions between national security and Internet freedom. Assistant Secretary for Commerce Larry Strickling (NTIA) will provide the keynote speech during lunch on Thursday, May 5.
Date: May 5-6, 2011
Location: American University School of International Service, Abramson Family Founders Room, Terrace Level (Washington, DC)