Business opposed to proposed models of internet governance

  • 15 November 2005

Companies participating here in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) have opposed plans for an intergovernmental body overseeing administration of the Internet, saying it would only serve to “create uncertainty and hinder innovation”.

During a series of interventions in the official preparatory process leading up to the opening of the Summit tomorrow, the business community has made it clear the private sector wishes administration and continued development of the Internet to be left to evolve within existing organizations.

Speaking on behalf of the CCBI (Coordinating Committee of Business Interlocutors), ICC Executive in Charge of ICT Policy, Ayesha Hassan said that some proposed models of Internet governance would only serve to stymie the efficiency of the Internet.

“We (the business community) do not support an intergovernmental oversight mechanism,” she told governments in a preparatory session today. “(It) is not responsive to the day-to-day needs of the Internet and its users. Furthermore, it runs the risk of slowing decision-making, thus creating uncertainty which can only hinder innovation and investment.

“The negotiations here should not be about how to reign in this most phenomenal of tools, but rather how to encourage it to continue to grow.”

Ms Hassan noted that under its current governance structure, the global number of users of the Internet has grown in the last seven years from 106 million to over one billion.

“The extraordinary growth and continued success of the Internet is because it exists as an open network.”

“The business community believes that a radical overhaul of the present Internet governance architecture is not only unnecessary, but also threatens the stability and security of the Internet itself and the inclusiveness that the free flow of information provides.”

CCBI is the official representative of business and industry at the Summit. Its negotiators are working with governments to ensure business input is recognized in the Summit’s eventual outcomes.

CCBI is an initiative of ICC – the International Chamber of Commerce.

Ms Hassan added that the issue of Internet governance, while important, was threatening to overshadow other issues at the Summit.

“ We should remind ourselves that the most important issue, and the ultimate goal of the WSIS, is not about control but about enabling and facilitating development and accelerating the availability and affordability of the Internet in the developing world,” she said.

“We should be encouraging innovation and investment, expanding infrastructure and access, creating opportunity and thus fostering economic growth.”