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Research Report

Who Runs the Internet?: The Global Multi-stakeholder Model of Internet Governance

Copyright Date: Jan. 17, 2017
Published by: C. Hurst and; Company
Pages: 126
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Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. V-VI)
    Carl Bildt
  2. (pp. 1-4)
    Laura DeNardis

    Debates about Internet governance have long embodied a tension between forces advocating for greater government oversight of the Internet and those advocating for a coordinating structure distributed across many actors — ranging from international organizations, governments, the private sector, civil society and new global institutions such as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). What is the appropriate role of governments in running the Internet, on the one hand, versus the administrative coordination of cyberspace distributed across the private sector, traditional governments and civil society, on the other? The government-centric approach can be thought of as multilateral oversight....

  3. (pp. 5-18)
    Joseph S. Nye Jr.

    When we try to understand cyber governance, it is important to remember how new cyberspace is. “Cyberspace is an operational domain framed by use of electronics to…exploit information via interconnected systems and their associated infra structure” (Kuehl 2009). While the US Defense Department sponsored a modest connection of a few computers called ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) in 1969, and the World Wide Web was conceived in 1989, it has only been in the last decade and a half that the number of websites burgeoned, and businesses begin to use this new technology to shift production and procurement in...

  4. (pp. 19-44)
    Mark Raymond and Laura DeNardis

    In 1992, John Gerard Ruggie published a seminal article on the institution of multilateralism in a special issue of the journal International Organization (Ruggie 1992). This article and others in the special issue were not the first international relations (IR) work on multilateralism. However, Ruggie’s article in particular catalyzed the emergence of a literature studying the phenomenon across a range of issue-areas,¹ and was enormously influential in the development of literatures on global governance and the structure of the international system (Ikenberry 2001; Reus-Smit 1997). In the ensuing decades, multilateral diplomacy has remained both an important object of scholarly inquiry...

  5. (pp. 45-66)
    Samantha Bradshaw, Laura DeNardis, Fen Osler Hampson, Eric Jardine and Mark Raymond

    Contention in global Internet governance systems is evident in a series of recent controversies. They have made visible the connection between Internet governance and a number of public interest concerns, such as infrastructure availability, security and individual civil liberties (such as freedom of expression and privacy). Such controversies include the state-induced Egyptian Internet outage, increasingly frequent and sophisticated cyber attacks — such as the recent episode involving Sony — an online boycott over the Stop Online Piracy Act in the United States, global tension over the arcane United Nations international treaty conference known as the International Telecommunication Regulations and disclosures...

  6. (pp. 67-78)
    Aaron Shull, Paul Twomey and Christopher S. Yoo

    This chapter examines the upcoming Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) transition, wherein the US government will relinquish its historic control over key technical functions making up the modern-day Internet. The chapter’s most important questions are: if the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the current IANA functions operator, is no longer accountable to the US government, then who should it be accountable to? And what form should that accountability take?

    The existing contractual arrangement between ICANN and the US government contains more than simple contractual terms. Rather, many of those contractual obligations actually make up the core tenets...

  7. (pp. 79-94)
    Emily Taylor

    A limited set of unique identifiers is the lightweight glue that holds together a single, global Internet. Management of these strategic resources was spun out by the US government to a private sector body, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), in the late 1990s. The US government’s vestigial oversight of ICANN has long caused controversy in Internet governance discussions. In 2014, the United States announced intent to relinquish that oversight, provided a suitable multi-stakeholder mechanism could be found to replace it. The ICANN community has risen to the challenge with energy and commitment, and has already identified...

  8. (pp. 95-117)
    Stefaan G. Verhulst, Beth S. Noveck, Jillian Raines and Antony Declercq

    Increased Internet adoption is radically altering people’s lives across the world, mostly for the better. Individuals, communities, institutions, cities, countries and regions have increasingly become “networked,” with transformative implications for how we live, work, play and learn. Following the initial “Internet of links,” which made computers and the information on them searchable, the growing “Internet of data” emerged — marked by big and open data — greatly expanding the variety, velocity and volume of data on the network (Dumbill 2012). The “Internet of people,” enabled by social and collaborative software (often labelled Web 2.0) (Kurbalija 2014a) has similarly changed the...