New paper clears up confusion over Internet governance

  • 11 January 2004

With the express aim of clearing up the confusion over Internet governance, ICC has written a new paper clarifying how the internet functions, enumerating the different technical bodies which help to run it and listing the public policy issues it currently affects.

Coming barely a month after the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva, and prepared by ICC’s Commmission on E-Business, IT and Telecoms, the paper divides the issue of Internet governance into three main components – technical engineering, coordination of the names and numbers system and public policy matters.

The paper identifies which organizations are undertaking what part of the technical management of the Internet and lists several examples of public policy matters, such as tax, education, security and technological innovation.

An annex to the paper summarizes existing ICC views on the issue of Internet governance, representing a business world consensus from among the commission’s more than 200 member companies.

“There was much talk at WSIS about control of the Internet, or Internet governance,” said ICC Secretary General, Maria Livanos Cattaui. “What this paper tries to do is clear up some of the confusion about who or what controls the Internet.

“The Internet is an extraordinary success. Thanks to both its technical management by the private sector, and also due to coordination by ICANN, in which the private sector takes a lead role.

“The UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has been asked to set up a multi-stakeholder working group on Internet governance. As the voice of world business, ICC welcomes this initiative and looks forward to taking part in those discussions. We offer this paper as a starting point.”

The Chairman of the ICC Commission on E-Business, IT and Telecoms, Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, will chair the advisory committee charged with organising the Global Forum on Internet Governance in New York on 25-26 March.

Mr Abu-Ghazaleh said: “ICC looks forward to being a strong contributor t o open discussions on Internet issues. We would welcome governments to identify any problems so that we can find the most effective solutions.”

ICC, the world business organization, has member companies in more than 130 countries. On behalf of technology and communications companies from all over the world, ICC coordinated the business input to WSIS.