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The Global War for Internet Governance

The Global War for Internet Governance

Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    The Global War for Internet Governance
    Book Description:

    The Internet has transformed the manner in which information is exchanged and business is conducted, arguably more than any other communication development in the past century. Despite its wide reach and powerful global influence, it is a medium uncontrolled by any one centralized system, organization, or governing body, a reality that has given rise to all manner of free-speech issues and cybersecurity concerns. The conflicts surrounding Internet governance are the new spaces where political and economic power is unfolding in the twenty-first century.This all-important study by Laura DeNardis reveals the inner power structure already in place within the architectures and institutions of Internet governance. It provides a theoretical framework for Internet governance that takes into account the privatization of global power as well as the role of sovereign nations and international treaties. In addition, DeNardis explores what is at stake in open global controversies and stresses the responsibility of the public to actively engage in these debates, because Internet governance will ultimately determine Internet freedom.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-18211-8
    Subjects: Law, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. CHAPTER ONE The Internet Governance Oxymoron
    (pp. 1-32)

    INTERNET GOVERNANCE CONFLICTS are the new spaces where political and economic power is unfolding in the twenty-first century. Technologies of Internet governance increasingly mediate civil liberties such as freedom of expression and individual privacy. They are entangled with the preservation of national security and the arbitration of digital commerce and innovation. The diffuse nature of Internet governance technologies is shifting historic control over these public interest areas from traditional nation-state bureaucracy to private ordering and new global institutions. Many of these governance functions are technically and institutionally complicated and therefore out of public view. Yet how conflicts over Internet governance...

  4. CHAPTER TWO Controlling Internet Resources
    (pp. 33-62)

    ONE MEDIA NARRATIVE has warned about a possible Internet governance takeover by the United Nations, particularly its specialized information and communication technology subagency known as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing on “International Proposals to Regulate the Internet.”¹ The House and Senate passed a resolution articulating that the position of the U.S. government is to support and preserve the fundamental multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance. One underlying concern involved the prospect of an expansion of ITU oversight of international telecommunications regulations to include the Internet. The ITU’s governance structure involves a one-nation, one-vote...

  5. CHAPTER THREE Setting Standards for the Internet
    (pp. 63-85)

    “BITTORRENT” IS A PROTOCOL. Protocols are the standards, or blueprints, that enable interoperability among Internet devices. From an information engineering standpoint, BitTorrent serves a straightforward purpose of specifying a standard approach for transferring large files over the Internet. Traditional file transfer involves a direct request to a server, which then transmits the entire file to the requesting device. Unlike this hierarchical and direct file-downloading technique, BitTorrent implements peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing. Rather than being housed wholly on a single server, the file is broken into fragments and stored onto various end user computers that also use BitTorrent. When an individual...

  6. CHAPTER FOUR Cybersecurity Governance
    (pp. 86-106)

    IMAGINE THE AC/DC SONG “Thunderstruck” blaring from computers at an Iranian nuclear facility in the dead of night.¹ An Iranian scientist claimed that a cyberattack shut down selected computers and prompted others to blast this classic rock song, although the Iranian government denied the account. The history of Internet security has always been a political history as much as a technical one. From virulent worms to the decades-long spate of politically motivated distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, cybersecurity is an area of Internet governance with immediate and direct impact on the public. Societal concerns involve much more than preserving...

  7. CHAPTER FIVE Governance at the Internet’s Core
    (pp. 107-130)

    THE INTERNET has a physical architecture as much as a virtual one. Descriptions of the Internet as a “cloud” do a disservice by portraying an ethereal and virtual void beyond the computer screen. Even when public policy attention is directed at physical network architecture, it has focused primarily on an extremely small swath of infrastructure—access and “last mile” issues of interconnection, meaning the broadband connections that link home networks into the Internet or the wireless links that connect smartphones to telecommunications networks. Chapter 6 will address these local access issues but this chapter examines governance at the Internet’s core...

  8. CHAPTER SIX Internet Access and Network Neutrality
    (pp. 131-152)

    “NETWORK NEUTRALITY” is an Internet policy concern situated prominently in the public consciousness, particularly in the United States but also in many other countries. Even the late-night comedy showThe Daily Show with Jon Stewarttackled the subject with correspondent John Hodgman’s hilarious sketch explaining the “Net Neutrality Act” by distinguishing between the Internet as a dump truck and a series of tubes. His distinction satirized the description of the Internet as “a series of tubes” by Senator Ted Stevens, then chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, in the context of his opposition to network neutrality legislation. The comedians...

  9. CHAPTER SEVEN The Public Policy Role of Private Information Intermediaries
    (pp. 153-172)

    DURING THE 2012 Olympic Games in London, Twitter suspended the personal account of British journalist Guy Adams. The reporter was a Los Angeles–based correspondent for the British newspaperThe Independentand was using his personal Twitter account to post tweets criticizing NBC’s coverage of the games. Adams disliked the time delay before the U.S. public could view major Olympic events as well as the editing that he believed NBC carried out to add suspense to gymnastics and other popular events. Adams also tweeted the email address of an NBC executive so that the public could send complaints about the...

  10. CHAPTER EIGHT Internet Architecture and Intellectual Property
    (pp. 173-198)

    AN ABC TELEVISION STATION broadcast a news story about the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) lawsuit against a teenager suffering from pancreatitis.¹ The antipiracy suit alleged that the teenager illegally shared ten songs online. Under such a lawsuit, the charged individual has only days to respond before a court issues a default judgment. While the teenager was in and out of the hospital, a federal judge ruled against the teenager, who would then owe up to $8,000 in fines. In the news interview, the distraught girl and her mother claimed that she had never illegally shared music and that...

  11. CHAPTER NINE The Dark Arts of Internet Governance
    (pp. 199-221)

    THE GOVERNMENT-INDUCED BLACKOUT that severed Internet connectivity in Egypt for several days was a shocking political event in Internet history. Citizens could not access the Internet or use their cell phones. They were blocked from communicating digitally with each other and the rest of the world. The regime of then-president Hosni Mubarak ordered communication outages during a period of political unrest and protests against the government. This communication blackout captured global attention, but unfortunately, totalitarian and autocratic action against technology use is a regular occurrence. In the month following the Egyptian incident, citizens in Libya also experienced Internet disruptions, also...

  12. CHAPTER TEN Internet Governance and Internet Freedom
    (pp. 222-244)

    THE INTERNET IS GOVERNED. Internet governance control points are not legal control points, nor are they confined within nation-state boundaries. They are often manifested through the design of technical architecture, the decisions of global institutions of Internet governance, or the policies of private companies, all globally transcending forces in constant flux and in constant tension with national legal systems, intergovernmental treaties, and regional cultural norms. This book has explained more than a hundred levers of control through which Internet governance is enacted. Some of these are virtual and quite invisible to the Internet public, such as the allocation of critical...

  13. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. 245-248)
  14. NOTES
    (pp. 249-266)
    (pp. 267-272)
    (pp. 273-276)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 277-288)