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Internet Governance based on Multiple-Stakeholders: Opportunities, Issues and Developments

Authors: Martin Hans Knahl


The Internet is the global data communications infrastructure based on the interconnection of both public and private networks using protocols that implement Internetworking on a global scale. Hence the control of protocol and infrastructure development, resource allocation and network operation are crucial and interlinked aspects. Internet Governance is the hotly debated and contentious subject that refers to the global control and operation of key Internet infrastructure such as domain name servers and resources such as domain names. It is impossible to separate technical and political positions as they are interlinked. Furthermore the existence of a global market, transparency and competition impact upon Internet Governance and related topics such as network neutrality and security. Current trends and developments regarding Internet governance with a focus on the policy-making process, security and control have been observed to evaluate current and future implications on the Internet. The multi stakeholder approach to Internet Governance discussed in this paper presents a number of opportunities, issues and developments that will affect the future direction of the Internet. Internet operation, maintenance and advisory organisations such as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) or the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) are currently in the process of formulating policies for future Internet Governance. Given the controversial nature of the issues at stake and the current lack of agreement it is predicted that institutional as well as market governance will remain present for the network access and content.

Keywords: Security, Democracy, Internet Governance, ICANN

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