This discussion will be a little lengthier because there is some history the serves to illustrate how governments may approach Internet governance. In and there were renewed calls for greater regulation of the Internet. These followed a successful uprising in Tunisia against former leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali which emboldened similar anti-government protests in a number of Arab countries.
The protests were characterised by the extensive use of social media to organise gatherings and spread awareness. There has, however, been some debate about the influence of social media on the political activism of the Arab Spring. Other have claimed that in order to understand the role of social media during the Arab Uprisings there is context of high rates of unemployment and corrupt political regimes which led to dissent movements within the region. This revolution did not have a flag and M. Nobody should forget that governments are the only legitimate representatives of the will of the people in our democracies.
To forget this is to risk democratic chaos and anarchy. Sarkozy was not alone in calling existing laws and regulations inadequate to deal with the challenges of a borderless digital world.
Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain stated that he would ask Parliament to review British privacy laws after Twitter users circumvented court orders preventing newspapers from publishing the names of public figures who are suspected of having had extramarital affairs but he did not go as far as M. However, the Deauville Communique did not go as far as M. Sarkozy may have like. It affirmed the importance of intellectual property protection, the effective protection of personal data and individual privacy, security of networks a crackdown on trafficking in children for their sexual exploitation.
But it did not advocate state control of the Internet but staked out a role for governments. The communique stated:. For citizens, the Internet is a unique information and education tool, and thus helps to promote freedom, democracy and human rights. The Internet facilitates new forms of business and promotes efficiency, competitiveness, and economic growth.
Governments, the private sector, users, and other stakeholders all have a role to play in creating an environment in which the Internet can flourish in a balanced manner.
The Internet and its future development, fostered by private sector initiatives and investments, require a favourable, transparent, stable and predictable environment, based on the framework and principles referred to above. In this respect, action from all governments is needed through national policies, but also through the promotion of international cooperation……. As we support the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance, we call upon all stakeholders to contribute to enhanced cooperation within and between all international fora dealing with the governance of the Internet.
In this regard, flexibility and transparency have to be maintained in order to adapt to the fast pace of technological and business developments and uses. Governments have a key role to play in this model. We welcome the meeting of the e-G8 Forum which took place in Paris on 24 and 25 May, on the eve of our Summit and reaffirm our commitment to the kinds of multi-stakeholder efforts that have been essential to the evolution of the Internet economy to date.
The innovative format of the e-G8 Forum allowed participation of a number of stakeholders of the Internet in a discussion on fundamental goals and issues for citizens, business, and governments.
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Its free and fruitful debate is a contribution for all relevant fora on current and future challenges. The ITU currently is conducting a review of the international agreements governing telecommunications and it aims to expand its regulatory authority to include the Internet at a treaty summit scheduled for December of this year in Dubai. Today, the ITU focuses on telecommunication networks, radio frequency allocation, and infrastructure development.
But some powerful member countries see an opportunity to create regulatory authority over the Internet. Last June, the Russian government stated its goal of establishing international control over the Internet through the ITU. As a result of these efforts, there is a strong possibility that this December the ITU will significantly amend the International Telecommunication Regulations — a multilateral treaty last revised in — in a way that authorizes increased ITU and member state control over the Internet. These proposals, if implemented, would change the foundational structure of the Internet that has historically led to unprecedented worldwide innovation and economic growth.
The ITU, originally the International Telegraph Union, is a specialised agency of the United Nations and is responsible for issues concerning information and communication technologies. It was originally founded in and in the past has been concerned with technical communications issues such as standardisation of communications protocols which was one of its original purposes that management of the international radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbit resources and the fostering of sustainable, affordable access to ICT.
It took its present name in and in became a specialised agency of the United Nations. The position of the ITU approaching the meeting in Dubai was that, given the vast changes that had taken place in the world of telecommunications and information technologies, the International Telecommunications Regulations ITR that had been revised in were no longer in keeping with modern developments.
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Thus, the objective of the meeting was to revise the ITRs to suit the new age. After a controversial meeting in Dubai in December the Final Acts of the Conference were published. The controversial issue was that there was a proposal to redefine the Internet as a system of government-controlled, state supervised networks. However, the proposal was withdrawn. But the governance model defined the Internet as an:. This wide-ranging proposal went well beyond the traditional role of the ITU and other members such as the United States, European countries, Australia, New Zealand and Japan insisted that the ITU treaty should apply to traditional telecommunications systems.
He was followed by the United Kingdom. In all, 89 countries signed while 55 did not.
Quite clearly there is a considerable amount of concern about the way in which national governments wish to regulate or in some way govern and control the Internet. Although at first glance this may seem to be directed at the content layer, and amount to a rather superficial attempt to embark upon the censorship of content passing through a new communications technology, the attempt to regulate through a technological forum such as the ITU clearly demonstrates that governments wish to control not only content but the various transmission and protocol layers of the Internet and possibly even the backbone itself.
Continued attempts to interfere with aspects of the Internet or embark upon an incremental approach to regulation have resulted in expressions of concern from another Internet pioneer, Sir Tim Berners-Lee who, in addition to claiming that governments are suppressing online freedom has issued a call for a Digital Magna Carta. Clearly the efforts described indicate that some form of national government or collective government form of Internet Governance is on the agenda.
Already the United Nations has become involved in the development of Internet Governance policy with the establishment of the Internet Governance Forum. While there is no negotiated outcome, the IGF informs and inspires those with policy-making power in both the public and private sectors. At their annual meeting delegates discuss, exchange information and share good practices with each other. The IGF facilitates a common understanding of how to maximize Internet opportunities and address risks and challenges that arise.
The IGF is also a space that gives developing countries the same opportunity as wealthier nations to engage in the debate on Internet governance and to facilitate their participation in existing institutions and arrangements. Ultimately, the involvement of all stakeholders, from developed as well as developing countries, is necessary for the future development of the Internet. The Internet Governance Forum is an open forum which has no members.
It was established by the World Summit on the Information Society in Since then, it has become the leading global multi-stakeholder forum on public policy issues related to Internet governance. Its UN mandate gives it convening power and the authority to serve as a neutral space for all actors on an equal footing. As a space for dialogue it can identify issues to be addressed by the international community and shape decisions that will be taken in other forums.
The IGF can thereby be useful in shaping the international agenda and in preparing the ground for negotiations and decision-making in other institutions. The IGF has no power of redistribution, and yet it has the power of recognition — the power to identify key issues.
The IGF is financed through voluntary contributions. The Engineering and Technical Standards Community. The internet governance models under discussion have in common the involvement of law or legal structures in some shape or form or, in the case of the cyber anarchists, an absence thereof. Essentially internet governance falls within two major strands:. The narrow strand involving the regulation of technical infrastructure and what makes the internet work.
The broad strand dealing with the regulation of content, transactions and communication systems that use the internet. The narrow strand regulation of internet architecture recognises that the operation of the internet and the superintendence of that operation involves governance structures that lack the institutionalisation that lies behind governance by law. The history of the development of the internet although having its origin with the United States Government has had little if any direct government involvement or oversight.
It was not a governing agency nor was it a regulator. Other agencies such as the Federal Networking Council and the National Science Foundation are not regulators, they are organisations that allow user agencies to communicate with one another. Although the United States Department of Commerce became involved with the internet, once potential commercial implications became clear it too has maintained very much of a hands-off approach and its involvement has primarily been with ICANN with whom the Department has maintained a steady stream of Memoranda of Understanding over the years.
Technical control and superintendence of the internet rests with the network engineers and computer scientists who work out problems and provide solutions for its operation.