Thursday, November 17, 2005

WSIS Tunis: Only Winners ;-) 

This was a political event. So the outcome is like with any political election: there are only winners.

All sides claimed victory after more than 100 nations agreed to leave control of the core network resources under the direction of the US.

In the end, the power of ICANN (and of the DoC) was left untouched.

The European Union worked behind the scenes in drafting key and subtle language in the Internet governance policy statement that allowed the delegates to reach an accord:

"We recognize that all governments should have an equal role and responsibility for international Internet governance and for ensuring the stability, security and continuity of the Internet."

This language put into concrete expression the interests of other governments in the critical (core) infrastructure of the Internet as a more important outcome for the US critics then the Global Internet Governance Forum that was also created by the document.

The new forum is free to take up any Internet issue, whether cyber crime, spam, or freedom of expression, but the forum will have no power beyond the ability to bring together the "stakeholders" in the Internet, from consumers to governments or businesses:

77. The IGF [Internet Governance Forum] would have no oversight function and would not replace existing arrangements, mechanisms, institutions or organisations, but would involve them and take advantage of their expertise. It would be constituted as a neutral, non-duplicative and non-binding process. It would have no involvement in day-to-day or technical operations of the Internet.

Regarding freedom of expression: I considerer it very curious that some of the countries (no need to name them) opposing the US governance itself have problems with freedom of speech.

Also the place of the meeting was IMHO not selected very carefully, because Tunesia is one of the most autocratic regimes in the Arabic world.

I personally also have some problems with the US governance over the Internet, but to cite Churchill freely: "I do not know of any better solution."

See also Susan Crawford's oversight.

And the ITU News:

The final documents submitted to the second phase of WSIS being held 16-18 November 2005 in Tunis have been posted. They are:

In The Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, paragraphs 3-28 related to Financial Mechanisms for Meeting the Challenges of ICTs for Development, paragraphs 29-82 relate to Internet Governance, and paragraphs 83-122 relate to Implementation and Follow-up.

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