AI

Internet Governance Is Our Shared Responsibility

Abstract

This essay looks at the different roles that multistakeholder institutions play in the Internet governance ecosystem. We propose a model for thinking of Internet governance within the context of the Internet's layered model. We use the example of the negotiations in Dubai in 2012 at the World Conference on International Telecommunications as an illustration for why it is important for different institutions within the governance system to focus on their respective areas of expertise (e.g., the ITU, ICANN, and IGF). Several areas of conflict (a "tussle") are reviewed, such as the desire to promote more broadband infrastructure, a topic that is in the remit of the International Telecommunications Union, but also the recurring desire of countries like Russia and China to use the ITU to regulate content and restrict free expression on the Internet through onerous cybersecurity and spam provisions. We conclude that it is folly to try and regulate all these areas through an international treaty, and encourage further development of mechanisms for global debate like the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).