13 November 2007

Internet Governance discussions

The current discussions by the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Brazil have been reported in a couple of places (see this and this, for example). The IGF was an outcome of the WSIS meeting in Tunisia in 2005 (see this and this, in case you've forgotten about it). The Internet Governance Project (IGP) which is distinct from the UN, is a forum for academics to debate Internet governance, is also deeply involved in the Brazil meeting.

Although the IGF is not a decisionmaking group, the discussions could lead to calls for decisions by UN groups that do have decisionmaking authority. According to this article, Co-Chairman Hadil da Rocha Vianna said:

"Let's progress slowly but that's not to say go backwards or just spin our wheels. So in Rio, the concrete results would be to advance in these debates, deepening themes debated in Athens."

So, what will the impact of IGF be? Is it another "consultative" organization, or will it result in a significant change to Internet governance?

Update (2007-11-16):
The NY Times has this article that was filed after the conference ended. Quoting the article:

With no concrete recommendations for action, the only certainty going forward is that any resentment about the American influence will only grow as more users from the developing world come online, changing the face of the global network.

''I think that there are many Third World countries and developing countries and people from Asia and so on who are pressuring for changes,'' said Augusto Gadelha Viera, coordinator of the Brazilian Internet steering committee and chairman of a closing session on emerging issues at the four-day Internet Governance Forum.

As the conference drew to a close, Russian representative Konstantin Novoderejhkin called on the United Nations secretary-general to create a working group to develop ''practical steps'' for moving Internet governance ''under the control of the international community.''

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