The term “Internet governance” conjures up a host of seemingly unrelated global controversies such as the prolonged Internet outage in Egypt during political turmoil or Google’s decision not to acquiesce to U.S. government requests to completely remove an incendiary political video from YouTube. It invokes media narratives about the United Nations trying to “take over” the Internet, cybersecurity concerns such as denial of ser vice attacks, and the mercurial privacy policies of social media companies. These issues exist only at the surface of a technologically concealed and institutionally complex ecosystem of governance. (deNardis, p.2)

 

 

ICANN is governed by an international board of directors drawn from across the Internet's technical, business, academic, and other non-commercial communities. However, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, continues to have final approval over changes to the DNS root zone.[1][2] This authority over the root zone file makes ICANN one of a few bodies with global, centralized influence over the otherwise distributed Internet.[3] In the 30 September 2009 Affirmation of Commitments by the Department of Commerce and ICANN, the Department of Commerce finally affirmed that a "private coordinating process…is best able to flexibly meet the changing needs of the Internet and of Internet users" (para. 4).[4] While ICANN itself interpreted this as a declaration of its independence, scholars still point out that this is not yet the case. Considering that the U.S. Department of Commerce can unilaterally terminate the Affirmation of Commitments with ICANN, the authority of DNS administration is likewise seen as revocable and derived from a single State, namely the United States. (WikiP on Internet Governance)

 

 

 

The registry propagates an authoritative file mapping names into numbers to

other so- called “recursive servers” of network operators, such as Internet

ser vice providers, to create a universal and standardized mechanism for

consistently resolving domain names into Internet addresses regardless

of physical geography or jurisdiction. deNardis p.4

 

Q: why is this seemingly obscure technical factor politically significant?

 

Q: In the case of the SOPA/PIPA debates in the US what did this tell us about a) policy-makers in this area; b) Congresses being subject to traditional prote4cion of interests as against the massively interconnected realm of the Internet structure?

 

 

National governments already have the ability to order authoritative registries under their jurisdictions to block access to the domain names under their control. But they do not have this jurisdiction in a top- level domain controlled by a foreign registry.

Hence, governments have an interest in ordering network operators within their own jurisdictions to modify the standard domain name resolution pro cess to block web sites. (deNardis, p.4)

 

Q: What are the implications for state-citizen relations and between states?

 

Traditionally dominant institutions of power— whether nation states, religious institutions, or multinational corporations— have lost some of their historic control over information flows. Forces of globalization, technology, and media market diffusion have reduced the ability of these institutions to both contain and maximally profit from this content.... Governments have also experienced a loss of information control, whether the ability to stop the leaking of sensitive national security information or the ability of regimes with restrictive information policies to contain the global exportation of media accounts. (deNardis, p10)

 

Q:  Does this point the need for multi-stakeholderism? or Government control over the allocation functions - DNS, registries etc? (Link to regime theory)

 

 

 

Internet governance is about governance, not governments. Governance is traditionally understood as the efforts of sovereign nation states to regulate activities within or through national boundaries. Governments oversee many Internet  governance functions, whether enforcing child protection measures, enacting privacy laws, enforcing computer fraud and abuse statutes, regulating antitrust, or generally developing national or regional statutes related to information policy..... Much of Internet governance is enacted by private corporations and nongovernmental entities. For example, the particulars of individual privacy online are set via social media end user agreements and the data collection and retention practices of the online advertising industry, search engines, and other information intermediaries... Delegated censorship, delegated surveillance, delegated copyright enforcement, and delegated law enforcement have shifted governance— for better or worse— to private intermediaries. These companies assume the challenging and resource- intensive task of arbitrating these government requests in different jurisdictions, cultural contexts, and technical environments. (deNardis, 12-13)

 

This phenomenon of privatization and delegation is not unique to Internet control issues but is part of broader political conditions the global phenomenon of the privatization of functions traditionally performed by the state, whether the use of private contractors in military combat environments or the outsourcing of federal bureaucratic functions. deNardis 13

 

Q: If deNardis's description of the roles of government versus private structures is right, which is more significant in terms of the exercise of power over citizens?

 

Another lever was the influence Internet companies had in mobilizing their user bases into political action and capturing the attention of politicians with unprecedented Internet blackouts

 

Q: Is this a case of 'ungovernability' - what is the right balance - should policy be at the behest of huge corps swaying public opinion? (Apple v FBI?)

 

Q: and in the case of requests where human rights are at stake? (deNardis, 14-15)

 

Q: is all this state delegation or ignorance (go back to BBC foundingin 1922  - ovt had to trust BBC to do the right thing)

Internet governance addresses the appropriate balance of power between sovereign nation- state governance and non-territorial and privatized mechanisms. A related question asks to what extent problems of Internet governance have created new global institutions and what are the implications for prevailing political structures. (deNardis 23)

 

the underlying U.S. administration of the root, though delegated to private industry and to international institutions, has remained a global power struggle that underlies many of the efforts to modify Internet governance arrangements. (deNardis, 50)

 

 

Internet operators routinely use DPI to inspect the contents of transmitted packets of information, at a minimum as part of basic operational functioning around security and traffic management. DPI is capable of scanning each packet, analyzing some characteristic of the packet, and executing a real- time handling decision such as blocking, prioritizing, or throttling. In this sense, DPI is a technology that makes

decisions about the allocation of finite bandwidth to the packets of information

competing for this scarce resource. As mentioned, those advocating a pure net neutrality position call for legal prohibitions (de Nardis, 204)

 

 

Q: How does DPI cross international privacy as well as citizen rights..and if it helps to identify and prevent viruses in the networks?

 

(Bendrath and Mueller vividly describe, imagine a postal worker who “Opens up all packets and letters; Reads the content; Checks it against databases of illegal material and when fi nding a match sends a copy to the police authorities; Destroys letters with prohibited or immoral content; Sends packages for its own mail- order ser vices to a very fast delivery truck, while the ones from competitors go to a slow, cheap sub- contractor.”9 This is what DPI theoretically enables.)

 

and: DPI can also be used for censoring cont nt or throttling back traffic that competes with a network operator’s primary business. Cable companies and wireless providers offer content ser vices as well as access ser vices. DPI is capable of allowing network providers to prioritize content most closely linked to the ser vices they provide or to throttle back content that competes with their ser vices.

 

Look at deNardis 204-207. + 209

 

 

Blocking and 'kill-switching'  has political and economic as well as International consequences. 212-13

 

Government requests to take down information extend far beyond compliance with national statutes and concern with issues such as defamation, public decency, and privacy (deNardis, 216-17)

 

and 225 in important re: UN governance and individual state's powers.

 

2005 U.N. Working Group on Internet Governance calling for a diminishment

of what it viewed as U.S. hegemony over domain names and numbers. The U.N. defi nition of Internet governance emerged out of this process: “Internet governance is the development and application by Governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision- making procedures,

and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.”4 Note the prominent listing of governments in this multi-stakeholder definition. 228

 

and the probs of multistakeholderism on p. 230

 

Discuss.