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)
May 5 and 6, 2011
American University, School of International Service, Washington, DC
Building on the success of its first four regional workshops in Paris, France (2008), Brussels, Belgium (2009), Seoul, So. Korea (2009) and Montreal, Canada (2010), the purpose of the Washington, DC regional GigaNet workshop is twofold: Day one (May 5) is dedicated to outreach sessions exploring issues in global Internet governance among policy makers, academics and civil society at large. Day two (May 6) features presentations of scholarly research based on a rigorous peer reviewed selection process.
Deadline for abstract submissions has been extended to February 25, 2011! Submissions can be made through the Easy Chair web site.
Decisions will be made by March 15, 2011.
Manuscripts expected by April 18, 2011.
Judging from IGP blog's readership, which grew by about 25% compared to last year, the most interesting and important topics we covered were China's impact on Internet governance and the nexus between internet censorship and new Top-Level Domains. Wikileaks was third, with ICANN accountability rounding out the top of the pack. Individual posts on COICA, the Bredolab botnet prosecution, vertical integration and the move away from multistakeholderism at IGF also found their way into IGP's most popular blog posts (see below for a list of the top 15).
Our 8 December post framing the Wikileaks controversy as an Internet governance issue was the single most-read blog post in 2010 by far. Apparently, our emphasis on the continuing tension between nation-states and networked information via the Internet struck a chord.
But the “cyberwar” over Wikileaks only happened in the last month of the year. China and the Internet, on the other hand, was an unfolding series of events we covered throughout the year, and generated more traffic. Readers flocked to our discussion of China's attempt to implement “real name registration” requirements for online bulletins, especially after Blizzard Entertainment, producer of World of Warcraft, tried to follow their precedent (and backed off). But the Google-China and US-China conflicts also contributed great interest to this topic.
The TLD/censorship story was also an ongoing story only marginally less popular than China. It dealt with the the fate of the .xxx domain – still controversial and still targeted by some governments – as well as the attempt of the GAC to impose more general “morality and public order” restraints on new TLD applicants. We think we've made substantial progress in convincing more people that institutionalizing censorship via ICANN is an important – and potentially dangerous – precedent for global governance of the Internet.