The Need for Global Policies

Information Today, November 2005 | Go to article overview

The Need for Global Policies


What is it some nations think they need to control about the Internet? Why do we need Internet governance by governments?

The answer emerges only by considering the breadth and scope of policylevel issues, identified by the WGIG and subsequently adopted by the PrepCom-3 delegates.

The policies identified in general represent the competing agendas of various governments and regions.

* Sovereign rights of nations: To control Internet assets (including root zone servers) and country-level domain names, to establish and control public policies, to establish and enforce laws, and to promote indigenous culture for example through the use of native language

* Special needs of developing nations: To pay for infrastructural development and the cost of international telecommunications, as well as to afford to participate (and therefore have a voice) in the work of international bodies

* The need to deal with global Internet-related criminal activities: to control and enforce laws pertaining to cybercrime, spam, terrorism, and security violations

* The desire to promote global trade and commerce, which requires an environment of consumer confidence and trust

There is also a dark and disturbing undercurrent that, for want of better words, relates to the desire of some to as sure cultural continuity by keeping "bad things" out.

Though not expressed in the verbiage of the documents, enough delegations included comments about content control in their formal remarks at PrepCom-3 to regard it as another aspect of the level of policy control being sought.

Said the delegation from Malaysia: "[The] Internet has been used to offer negative aspects, like pornography. …

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