Internet governance refers to the rules, policies, standards and practices that coordinate and shape global cyberspace.
The Internet is a vast network of independently-managed networks, woven together by globally standardized data communication protocols (primarily, Internet Protocol, TCP, UDP, DNS and BGP). The common adoption and use of these protocols unified the world of information and communications like never before. Millions of digital devices and massive amounts of data, software applications, and electronic services became compatible and interoperable. The Internet created a new environment, a complex and dynamic “cyberspace.”
While Internet connectivity generated innovative new services, capabilities and unprecedented forms of sharing and cooperation, it also created new forms of crime, abuse, surveillance and social conflict. Internet governance is the process whereby cyberspace participants resolve conflicts over these problems and develop a workable order.
The Forms of Internet Governance
We say Internet governance and not government because many issues in cyberspace are not and probably cannot be handled by the traditional territorial national institutions. Governance implies a polycentric, less hierarchical order; it requires transnational cooperation amongst standards developers, network operators, online service providers, users, governments and international organizations if it is to solve problems while retaining the openness and interoperability of cyberspace. For better or worse, national policy plays an important role in shaping the Internet, but the rise of cyberspace has produced, and will continue to produce, new institutions and governance arrangements that respond to its unique characteristics.
IGP’s analysis of the Internet governance space is informed by institutional economics, which identifies three broad categories of governance: markets, hierarchies and networks. Markets are driven by private transactions and the price mechanism. Hierarchies govern interactions through orders or compulsion by an authority, such as law enforcement by a state, a binding treaty, or the organizational control of a firm Networks are semi-permanent, voluntary negotiation systems that allow interdependent actors to opt for collaboration or unilateral action in the absence of an overarching authority. Internet governance involves a complex mixture of all three governance structures, including various forms of self-governance by market actors.
IGP's contributions to Internet Governance
Information warfare controversies
Badii elected NCUC chair
ICANN reform proposals developed by cross-community working groups
Founding of Noncommercial Domain Name Holders Constituency
1997 - 1998
Formation of ICANN; we were there