Internet governance is the development and application of principles, norms, decision making and programs that shape the utilization of the internet. However, the actual definition of internet governance is up for debate, as some question who has the authority to control the internet. Some believe it is the job of the government, while civil society and corporations feel that they should have larger participation in internet governance. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has no control over the available content on the internet but is a global organization that works to protect the security and safety of the internet.
Lawrence Strickling cites multi-stakeholder internet governance as, “the best mechanism for maintaining an open, resilient, and secure Internet because, among other things, it is informed by a broad foundation of interested parties – including businesses, technical experts, civil society, and governments – arriving at consensus through a bottom-up process regarding policies affecting the underlying functioning of the Internet domain system.” Multi-stakeholder internet governance increases global ability to address internet policy reform. The internet governance forum (IGF) is a multi-stakeholder platform that discusses the internet and public policy.
The 12th annual meeting will take place during the month of December in 201 to discuss the theme, “Shape your digital Future.” It will discuss Generation Z and the challenges of internet identity and works to create solutions to increase digital communication. It will also discuss internet regulation, security and safety concerns for growing youths.
Internet governance is a part of sustainable development. In 2007 the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) research internet governance’s view on sustainable development. Research included:
- Governance processes
- economic barriers to development
- developing countries to participate in international governance
- access to knowledge
- indicators for development.
As a result, IISD developed a series of papers that inclusive internet governance observations, mutual challenges internet governance and sustainable development face, and conclusion as to how to work to promote overall development.
While I definitely agree that a multi stakeholder approach is the best method for all parties, what about its feasibility? Conferences like the meeting of the IGF are great ways for opinions and viewpoints to be heard, but what is produced at the end is often very little. The internet is so large and wide, its control and management is difficult. China and North Korea are two great examples of government controlled internet – restricting website access, only allowing certain forms of media to be seen, etc. Would this be the end result? The internet we have now, especially in the United States, is very open in comparison.