Multi-stakeholder Internet Governance and Sustainable Development

In a time of digital transformation, internet governance is integral to the study of global governance and international development. Within the definition of internet governance, the words development and government are all included. There are many stakeholders important to the study of internet governance. Because so much of society utilizes the Internet to do anything, many business decisions, procedures, programs are regulated through the Internet. The platforms accessible on the internet allows for more stakeholder groupings to be involved. For instance, for those who are not able to attend a development conference because of a certain disability or because of proximity, they are able to access the conference virtually and even contribute through that chat function or through video calls. Although the Internet has revolutionized a lot of our experiences and gave us more opportunities to perform certain tasks, there is a certain risk factor that we need to take into consideration. There are incidences where some people can have too much power or access over other people’s personal data, with a powerful internet system, sometimes there are risks of cyber-attacks and insecure internet systems. For this reason, we need governance of our Internet.

            To me personally, internet governance is a fascinating topic for us to understand the implications and application to the global frameworks that have been discussed in our Senior Capstone class: Inclusive Sustainable Development. There is a huge role that technology plays because we have integrated systems and we are able to have a space that allows for more agility and opens up time and space to communicate across a wide range of groups. The internet seems to lack its governance; therefore, we need regulations by actors. But the question is, who is really governing the Internet and to what extent should the U.S. government be in charge of our Internet accessibilities or data? Do people understand what Internet Governance is? To what extent should the government have control over Internet Governance?

            The multistakeholder approach for internet governance has the idea of decentralizing institutions and governance, opening it up to include everyone and allowing for full participation by all (including persons with disabilities), and having an open-mind aspect for innovation. From my opinion, this approach does work. These components play a huge role in understanding the international norm for enabling decision-making to be accountable, sustainable and effective for all stakeholders. Therefore, there is the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) that allows for people to incorporate and adapt to new challenges surrounding the Internet. I believe what’s truly important to evaluate here is the ability to meet new challenges that evolves around the idea of inclusiveness and transparency.