Saturday, October 08, 2011

The Economist on Internet Governance

More than 2,000 people from more than 100 countries descended on Nairobi in September for the latest Internet Governance Forum (IGF), a conference organised under United Nations auspices.

I quote from The Economist:
The IGF is not a typical UN meeting with a carefully staged agenda and much diplomatic protocol. All participants had the same right to take the floor. Government suits had to listen patiently to the complaints of internet activists. And the end of the shindig was not marked by a finely tuned communiqué, but by a workshop dedicated to what the organisers should do better.
 All this makes the IGF an unusual grouping. It is in effect a poster child for what insiders like to call the “multi-stakeholder” model. All involved have a say and decisions are taken by “rough consensus”. This approach has worked for the internet so far, but it is increasingly under attack. Governments now want to be given the last word on contentious issues rather than being merely treated as just another stakeholder.
I can only imagine why government officials want to get the Internet more under control of intergovernmental agencies under the direction of government bureaucrats and politicians. There are clearly dangers in letting the coercive governments and their dictators hold the levers of Internet power more than they already do.

On the other hand, I see a need for better international efforts to deal with spam, hacking, cyber crime, cyber warfare and other Internet mediated threats.

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