This weeks discussions builds upon last week’s readings on ICTs by focusing on internet governance. Internet governance (IG) encompasses all the rules, standards, and practices that regulate and shape cyberspace. Because there are multiple networks that cover a variety of regions, internet governance becomes a multi stakeholder issue due to the different actors, organizations, and individuals it affects. Internet governance therefore expands to multi stakeholder internet governance, which aims to bring all those different actors to participate in decision making, solutions, dialogue, and implementation of policies and rules related to internet governance. Multi stakeholder governance was a focal point to understand IG in each of our readings. For example, ISOC spoke about the multi stakeholder approach and how it has three components: infrastructure, governance, and humans (Internet Society). To have successful multi stakeholder decision-making to guide a progressing internet society, there needs to be inclusiveness and transparency, collective responsibility, effective decision making, and collaboration through distributed and interoperable governance (Internet Society). ISOC stated that multi stakeholder decision making is great for the reasons we touched upon; the process helps issues where decisions impact a wide range of people with overlapping rights across sectors.
The multi stakeholder decision making process is seen in global meetings and conferences across the world, such as the NETmundial initiative that met in Brazil in 2014. NETmundial said that people offline should also be protected online. Their internet governance principles built upon the same points echoed in ISOC. For example, IG should be transparent, accountable, inclusive and equitable, collaborative, and multistakeholder (NETmundial Initiative). Lastly, Cogburn’s book discusses the Internet governance forum (IGF) and how it relates to transnational advocacy networks. It is defined as a “whole network” that links groups from disparate sectors and cultures (Cogburn 210).Structure, form, and processes must be considered when evaluating the effectiveness of the IGF. Based on these three areas and the specific factors within IGF, the forum was considered to be a great point for crafting collaborations due to its dynamic coalitions and workshops.
As I went through these readings, I saw the emphasis on multi stakeholder processes time and time again. I believe this decision making process is important because of the variability and constant progression in internet society. As technologies and internet permeate societies and advance positively and negatively, there needs to be different perspectives with their own levels of expertise to also adapt to IG’s constant change. It is a process that requires collaboration. Internet governance can and should be inclusive as well. It was highlighted in every principle from NETmundial to ISOC. If we have different perspectives coming together, we also need to include those with disabilities, low-income, and those who may be affected differently. They can provide valuable insight and should receive the same rights as everyone when it comes to privacy and transparency.
Cogburn, Derrick L. Transnational Advocacy Networks in the Information Society. Palgrave MacMillan, 2018.
“Internet Governance – Why the Multistakeholder Approach Works.” Internet Society, Apr. 2016, www.internetsociety.org/doc/internet-governance-why-multistakeholder-approach-works.
“NETmundial Initiative.” NETmundial Initiative, 2019, http://www.netmundial.org/.