Multistakeholder Global Governance

Internet governance is a sticky issue, because it is used in every corner of the world and not directly controlled by any one specific entity.  The internet is a public good where information is freely shared.  While the internet was invented in the United States and originally began as a research project done by our military, it has spread to be used worldwide.

In 2005, the WSIS (World Summit on the Information Society) created the concept of internet governance.  Since almost everyone is affected by these decisions, WSIS took a multistakeholder approach to their internet governance and encouraged all to be involved.  Some stakeholders in decisions that are made about the internet include individuals, schools, businesses, and many others.

The Internet Governance Forum was created to be an outlet for voices and opinions of stakeholders to be heard, and for informed decisions to be made.  While governing a free-flow of information is a daunting task, creating this outlet for input from many different groups has helped the situation.

Another important group is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).  This group’s main goal is more administrative in nature, and a common critique with the group is there isn’t a strong enough focus there on international development through the internet.  However, their main objective is the run the technical side of the web, and do things like assign domain names.

In my opinion, having multiple organized groups that administer the internet and monitor its usage allows everyone to benefit, because each of the groups keeps the others accountable for their actions and keeps everyone’s needs in mind.