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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)

    WSIS Five More Years! WSIS Settles Nothing but Paves Way for More Debate
    posted by Mueller on Wednesday November 16 2005, @11:34PM

    The basic problem posed by WSIS was the role of national governments and national sovereignty in global Internet governance. That conflict remains completely unresolved by the WSIS document. The document's thinking is still based on the fiction that there is a clear divide between "public policy" and the "day to day operation" of the Internet, and assumes that governments should be fully in control of the policy-setting function. And yet it fails to alter the relationship between ICANN and governments in any significant way. Moreover, WSIS agreed to put new organizational arrangements into place which will carry on that debate for another 5 years, at least. The new Internet Governance Forum is a real victory for the civil society actors, but also fails to resolve the basic issue regarding the role of governments and soveriegnty. Although called for and virtually created by civil society actors, the language authorizing its creation asks to involve all stakeholders "in their respective roles." In other words, we still don't know whether this Forum will be based on true peer-peer based interactions among governments, business and civil society, or whether it will reserve special policy making functions to governments.

    ICANN did not walk away from this unscathed. ICANN will be strongly affected by the deliberations of the Forum and by the continuing debate over the role of governments. The document in para 70 calls for "the development of globally applicable principles on public policy issues associated with the coordination and management of critical internet resources." This is clearly the concept advanced by the European Union. The document goes on to "call upon the organizations responsible for essential tasks associated with the Internet" -- read, ICANN -- to contribute to creating an environment the facilitiates the development of public policy principles." I interpret that as meaning that GAC will be strengthened, especially when read in conjunction with the recent letter from Vint Cerf to the head of GAC inviting him to discuss the role of governments in ICANN. So after all the ballyhoo coming from the US about the horrors of China or Syria or Saudi Arabia "controlling the Internet" through the UN, ICANN's GAC will continue to evolve into a microcosm of the UN within ICANN's structure, one that will include China and Syrai and Saudi Arabia, etc. The new Internet Governance Forum is also in a position to facilitate the development of these principles. That would be a positive development, because it is more open, more legitimate, and has less power than ICANN, which has monopoly, state-like control over Internet resources. On the whole, then the UN showed that it was unable to break out of the ongoing debate over Internet governance. The compromised reach was a simple matter of finding acceptable wording and did not resolve the real political impasse.

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    · Vinton G. Cerf
    · Government Advisory Committee
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    · More WSIS stories
    · Also by Mueller
    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    Five More Years! WSIS Settles Nothing but Paves Way for More Debate | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 28 comments | Search Discussion
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    "Ethical Relationships All Round??"
    by TommyTenko on Wednesday November 23 2005, @06:58AM (#16537)
    User #4225 Info
    Both ICANN and V$'s thanks-giving tables will be abundant with food and ICANN executives will recieve healthy bonuses this time round.
    The main point, as Gary Chaffin, Stargate, so eloquently makes, is that both V$ and ICANN have smoked the peace pipe and this should only benifit the internet community.

    This does not solve the problem of ICANN's internals with rogue Board members, which is a never ending story. A lack of disipline within the Board continues along with some members openly supporting the .XXX debarcle and much infighting going on.

    I think that it will take more than a peace pipe, but some strict corporate governments to solve this problem.
    While Garry states "Stargate respect's it's industry peers and continues to agree on a mandate for an open, candid and ethical relationship at all levels of our industry", I would like to hear his opinion on what he thinks of ICANN's divided Board involvement with the .XXX movement.
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