Assignment on Internet Governance

This assignment focus on Internet Governance. The growing awareness of the social, economic and political impact in the Internet on society has taken the question of World wide web Governance into sharper concentration. Web governance could be the advancement along with program by simply Government authorities. This assignment reinforces the concept of inclusiveness of Governments, the private sector and civil society in the mechanisms of Internet governance.

Introduction

The growing awareness of the social, economic, and political impact of the Internet on society has brought the question of Internet Governance into sharper focus. The process of addressing legal issues and the social consequences of technological developments invariably lags behind technological innovation. This applies to the Internet, too. In the case of the Internet, governance is needed, among other things, to prevent or, at least minimize the risk of the fragmentation of the Internet; maintain compatibility and interoperability; safeguard the rights and define the responsibilities of the various players; protect end users from misuses and abuse; encourage further development.

We are currently in the early phase of international negotiations on Internet Governance, which is characterized by the need to establish and agree on a basic framework and to select appropriate instruments for the discussion of the many arising issues. Who are the actors likely to influence the Internet’s future development? What will their policies be with regard to connectivity, commerce, content, funding, security, and other issues central to our emerging Information Society? These are some of the key questions that need to be addressed within the framework of Internet Governance.

Internet Governance is not a simple subject. Although it deals with a major symbol of the DIGITAL world, it cannot be handled with a digital – binary logic of true/false and good/bad. Instead, the subject’s many subtleties and shades of meaning and perception require an ANALOG approach, covering a continuum of options and compromises. Therefore, this report will not attempt to provide definitive statements on Internet Governance issues. Rather, its aim is to propose a practical framework for the analysis, discussion of the key problems in this field.

One of the fascinating aspects of the Internet during its development and early growth was its unique governance. The Internet started as a government project. In the late 1960s, the US government sponsored the development of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPANet), a resilient communication facility designed to survive a nuclear attack.

By the 1980s, a wider international community was using the facilities of this network, which by this time was referred to as the Internet. In 1986, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) was established. The IETF managed the further development of the Internet through a cooperative, consensus-based, decision-making process, involving a wide variety of individuals. There was no central government, no central planning, and no grand design.

At this point, life was relatively simple. However, in 1994 the US National Science Foundation decided to involve the private sector by sub-contracting the management of the Domain Name System (DNS) to Network Solutions Inc (NSI). This was not well received by the Internet community, and a “DNS War” started. This “DNS War” brought other players into the picture: the business sector, international organizations, and nation states.

It ended in 1998 with the establishment of a new organization, the Internet Company for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).Since 1998 and the establishment of ICANN, debate on Internet Governance has been characterized by the more intensive involvement of national governments, mainly through the UN framework.

First of all, in our report we have tried to provide some definitions, and offer an analytical scheme by which to conceptualize the topic at hand. Internet governance, it suggests, can be understood through a metaphor of “layers” – a division of issues and actors into three broad categories, each of which corresponds to a different facet of the network.

Then we have addressed some of the specific issues at stake in Internet governance. In order to provide a certain amount of order to the crowded field of issues and actors, the discussion is organized by the previously mentioned layers. After the introduction of issues we have tried to discuss the issues of particular relevance to the internet governance.

It attempts to show how governance decisions can have social and economic ramifications, and it suggests some steps that can be taken to enhance developing country participation in Internet governance. Moreover we have discussed about the potential impact of internet governance. Finally, in conclusion we have tried to recommend some best practices and consideration of Internet governance.

 

Topic Definition:

While there is a common understanding of the Internet, there is not yet a shared view of Internet governance, hence the mandate from the WSIS for the WGIG to develop a working definition of Internet governance. During the 10 years in which the Internet evolved from a research and academic facility into “a global facility available to the public”, very different points of view emerged about the scope and mechanisms of Internet governance.

The WGIG first considered five criteria, namely that the working definition should be adequate, generalizable, descriptive, concise and process-oriented. Second, the WGIG analyzed a wide range of public-sector, private-sector and multi-stakeholder governance mechanisms that currently exist with respect to different Internet issues and functions. Finally, the WGIG assessed a number of alternative definitions proposed by various parties in the course of the WSIS process and related international discussions.

Taking into account the criteria, analysis and proposals mentioned above, as well as the larger debate among stakeholders involved in WSIS, WGIG and the broader Internet community, the WGIG provides the following working definition:

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.

This working definition reinforces the concept of inclusiveness of Governments, the private sector and civil society in the mechanisms of Internet governance. This working definition also acknowledges that with respect to specific issues of Internet governance each group will have different interests, roles and participation, which in some cases will overlap.

It should be made clear, however, that Internet governance includes more than Internet names and addresses, issues dealt with by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN): it also includes other significant public policy issues, such as critical Internet resources, the security and safety of the Internet, and developmental aspects and issues pertaining to the use of the Internet.

At the Global Forum on Internet Governance, held at the United Nations in New York on 24-25 March 2004, several speakers told various versions of the story of the blind men and the elephant. The moral of the poem makes it clear that a discussion of the meaning of “Internet Governance” is not merely linguistic pedantry. Different perceptions of the meaning of this term trigger different policy approaches and expectations. Telecommunication specialists see Internet Governance through the prism of the development of the technical infrastructure. Computer It was six men of Indostan To learning much inclined, Who went to see the Elephant

(Though all of them were blind), And so these men of Indostan Disputed loud and long, Each in his own opinion Exceeding stiff and strong, Though each was partly in the right, And all were in the wrong! Excerpt from the poem “The Blide Men and the

Elephant” written by American poet John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887).

Internet Governance specialists focus on the development of various standards and applications, such as XML or Java. Communication specialists stress the facilitation of communication. Human rights activists view Internet Governance from the perspective of the freedom of expression, privacy, and other basic human rights. Lawyers concentrate on jurisdiction and dispute resolution. Politicians worldwide usually focus on media and issues that play well with their electorates, such as techno-optimism (more computers = more education) and threats (Internet security, protection of children). Diplomats are mainly concerned with the process and protection of national interests. The list of potentially conflicting professional perspectives on Internet Governance goes on.

Each of the terms “Internet” and “governance” is the subject of controversial interpretation. Some authors argue that the first part, “Internet,” does not cover all of the existing aspects of global ICT developments. Two other terms: “Information Society” and “Information and Communications Technology” are usually put forward as more comprehensive. They include areas that are beyond the Internet domain, such as mobile telephony.

The argument for the use of the term “Internet,” however, is enhanced by the rapid transition of global communication towards the use of TCP/IP as the main communications technical standard. The already ubiquitous Internet continues to expand at a rapid rate, not only in terms of the number of users but also in terms of the services that it offers, notably Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which may displace conventional telephony.

The second part of the term, “governance,” has been the cause of controversy in recent debates, especially during WSIS. Misunderstanding primarily stems from the use of the term governance as a synonym for government. When the term “Internet Governance” was introduced in the WSIS processes, many, especially developing, countries linked it to the concept of government. One of the consequences of such an approach was the belief that Internet Governance issues should be addressed at the inter-governmental level with the limited participation of other, mainly non-state, actors.

What were the main reasons for this terminological confusion? Is it obvious that “governance” does not mean “government”? Not necessarily. The term “good governance” has been used by the World Bank to promote the reform of states by introducing more transparency, reducing corruption, and increasing the efficiency of administration. In this context, the term“governance” was directly related to core government functions.

Issues/ Considerations:

The WGIG devoted much of its attention to the identification of public policy issues that are potentially relevant to Internet governance, as called for in paragraph 13 (b) of the Plan of Action. It agreed to take a broad approach and not exclude any potentially relevant issue. Based on this fact-finding work, the WGIG established four key public policy areas:

(a) Issues relating to infrastructure and the management of critical Internet resources, including administration of the domain name system and Internet protocol addresses (IP addresses), administration of the root server system, technical standards, peering and interconnection, telecommunications infrastructure, including innovative and convergent technologies, as well as multilingualization. These issues are matters of direct relevance to Internet governance and fall within the ambit of existing organizations with responsibility for these matters;

(b) Issues relating to the use of the Internet, including spam, network security and cyber-crime. While these issues are directly related to Internet governance, the nature of global cooperation required is not well defined;

(c) Issues that are relevant to the Internet but have an impact much wider than the Internet and for which existing organizations are responsible, such as intellectual property rights (IPRs) or international trade. The WGIG started examining the extent to which these matters are being handled consistent with the Declaration of Principles;

(d) Issues relating to the developmental aspects of Internet governance, in particular capacity-building in developing countries.

After examining in depth the issues pertaining to these four clusters, the WGIG identified and included in the Background Report the public policy issues that are relevant to Internet governance. The issues of highest priority, including related issues and problems, are set out below for the attention of the WSIS.

 

Some of the important issues in internet governance :

(a) Standards:

Standards are among the most important issues addressed by Internet governance at any layer. As noted, the Internet is only able to function seamlessly over different networks, operating systems, browsers and devices because it sits on bedrock of commonly agreed-upon technical standards.

(b) Management of the Domain Name System:

The coordination and management of the DNS is another key area requiring governance at the logical layer. In recent years, the DNS has been the focus of some of the most heated (and most interesting) debates over governance, largely due to the central role played by ICANN.21

(c) IP Allocation and Numbering

As mentioned, IP addresses are composed of sets of four numbers (ranging from 0 to 255) separated by periods – this is just a representation of a 32-bit number that expresses an IP address in IPv4. In fact, every device on the network requires a number and numbering decisions for IP addresses as well as for other devices is critical to the smooth functioning of the Internet.

(d) Internet Pollution:

A minor nuisance just a few years ago, Internet pollution has risen to epidemic proportions. By some estimates, 10 out of every 13 emails sent today is spam.24 Such messages clog often scarce bandwidth, diminish productivity, and impose an economic toll. According to one study, spam results in an annual Euro 10-billion loss just through lost bandwidth.

(e) Cyber crime:

Cybercrime is intimately linked to the issue of online pollution. Indeed, many forms of pollution (e.g., phishing, pharming or unsolicited emails) can be considered examples of criminal activity. Cyber-crime also encompasses a number of other actions, notably financial fraud, online pornography, hacking, and security attacks such as the injection of viruses, worms and Trojan Horses, the conduct of denial of service attacks, and a variety of other damaging practices.

(f) Intellectual Property Rights:

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) has risen to the top of the Internet governance agenda recently. This is, in large part, because the Internet has made it far easier to impinge on copyright (and, to a lesser extent, other IPR) protections. From the simplest cut-and-paste operation to the more complex process of burning a CD, the ease of duplicating and disseminating information has led some to protest that the Internet is undercutting the incentive to innovate in our society.

(g) Freedom of expression:

Restrictions on freedom of expression. Measures taken in relation to the Internet on grounds of security or to fight crime can lead to violations of the provisions for freedom of expression as contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the WSIS Declaration of Principles.

(h) Data protection and privacy rights:

Lack of existence or inconsistent application of privacy and data-protection rights. There is a lack of national legislation and enforceable global standards for privacy and data-protection rights over the Internet; as a result, users have few if any means to enforce their privacy and personal data-protection rights, even when recognized by legislation. An example of this is the apparent lack of personal data protection in some of the WHOIS databases.

(i) Consumer rights:

There is a lack of global standards for consumer rights over the Internet, for example in the international purchase of goods through e-commerce; as such, users have few if any means to enforce their rights, even when these rights are recognized by legislation. In the case of digital goods and online services, there are problems for the practical and full application of traditional consumer rights.

 

Approaches and patters of internet governance:

Internet Governance as a whole as well as specific Internet Governance issues have been a part of policy discussions and academic exchanges for some time. A number of approaches and patterns have gradually emerged, representing points where differences in negotiation positions as well as in professional and national cultures can be identified. Identifying common approaches and patterns may reduce the complexity of negotiations and help to create a common system of references.

Narrow vs. Broad Approach

“Narrow vs. broad” Internet Governance has been one of the main issues so far, reflecting the different approaches and interests in the Internet Governance process. The “narrow” approach focusses on the Internet infrastructure (Domain Name System, IP numbers, and root servers) and on ICANN’s position as the key actor in this field. According to the “broad” approach, Internet Governance negotiations should go beyond infrastructural issues and address other legal, economic, developmental, and socio-cultural issues. Distinguishing between these two approaches is particularly important in the early agenda-setting phase of Internet negotiations.

The broad approach is implicitly supported by the WSIS Declaration, which gave the WGIG the mandate “to identify the public policy issues that are relevant to Internet Governance.” This approach is generally supported by the policy and academic discussion following the WSIS Summit in Geneva.

The current debate has moved from the either/or stage towards identifying priorities and an appropriate balance between the “narrow” approach (ICANN-related issues) and the “broad” approach (other Internet Governance aspects).

Technical vs. Policy Aspects

A significant challenge of the Internet Governance process will be the integration of technical and policy aspects, as it is difficult to draw a clear distinction between them. Technical solutions are not neutral. Ultimately, each technical solution/option promotes certain interests, empowers certain groups, and, to a certain extent, impacts social, political, and economic life.

In some cases, an initial policy goal for a technical solution changed. For example, the Internet architecture of end-to-end networking and packet switching was designed with the policy goal to create a robust network that could survive a nuclear attack. The same architecture later became the basis for the development of creativity and freedom of expression on the Internet.

Other technical solutions, such as electronic means for the protection of copyright, are intentionally created in order to replace or enforce certain policies (in this case stricter copyright protection). In the case of the Internet, for a long time both technical and policy aspects were governed by just one social group – the early Internet community. With the growth of the Internet and the emergence of new stakeholders in the 1990s, mainly the business sector and governments, that unity of technology and policy was broken. The reform of Internet Governance, including the creation of ICANN, was an attempt to re-establish the lost balance. This issue remains open, and most likely, will be one of the potentially controversial topics at WSIS/WGIG.

“Old-Real” vs “New-Cyber” Approach

There are two approaches to almost every Internet Governance issue. The “old-real” approach – or “new wine in old bottles” – argues that the Internet does not introduce anything new to the field of governance. The Internet is just another new device, from the governance perspective, no different to its predecessors: the telegraph, the telephone, or radio.

For example, in legal discussions, this approach argues that existing laws can be applied to the Internet with only minor adjustments. As long as it involves communication between people, the Internet is no different from the telephone or the telegraph, and it can be regulated like other telecommunication devices. In the economic field, this approach argues that there is no difference between regular and “e” commerce. Consequently there is no need for special legal treatment of “e-commerce.” The “real” approach is also against e-tax moratoriums. The “new-cyber” approach – or “new wine in new bottles” – argues that the Internet is a fundamentally different device from all previous ones.

Thus, it requires fundamentally different governance. This approach was particularly popular in the early days of the Internet. There were even hopes that the innovative early method of governing the Internet – “rough consensus and running code” – might become the model for regulating other areas of human activities. The main premise of the “cyber” approach is that the Internet de-linked our social and political reality from the world of sovereign states. Cyberspace is different from real space and it requires a different form of governance.

The influence of this approach was noticeable in the process of the creation of ICANN, which, for example, minimised the influence of “real” world governments. The “cyber” approach was softened by ICANN’s reform in 2002, which strengthened the role of governments and brought ICANN closer to political reality.

In the legal field, the “cyber” school of thought argues that existing laws on jurisdiction, cybercrime, and contracts cannot be applied to the Internet and that new laws must be created. Given the continuous interplay between these two approaches, the “old-real” versus “new-cyber” dilemma is likely to continue and strongly influence Internet Governance negotiations.

Decentralised vs. Centralised Structure of Internet Governance

Internet Governance is a multi-faceted phenomenon involving a wide range of government mechanisms and forums, including international organizations, national governments, as well as professional and private bodies. According to the decentralized view, the current governance structure reflects the very nature of the Internet: a network of networks. Such a complex setup cannot be put under a single governance umbrella, such as an international organization. Another argument is that the lack of centralized governance is one of the major factors allowing for fast Inter- net growth. This view is mainly supported by the Internet’s technical community and developed countries.

The centralized approach, on the other hand, is partly based on the practical difficulty of countries with limited human and financial resources to follow Internet. Governance discussions in a highly decentralized and multi-institutional setting. Such countries find it difficult to attend meetings in the main diplomatic centers (Geneva, New York), let alone to follow the activities of other institutions, such as ICANN, W3C, and IETF. These, mainly developing, countries argue for a “one-stop shop,” preferably within the framework of an international organization.

 

Recommendation Related To Internet Governance Mechanizm:

The WGIG addressed the adequacy of current Internet governance arrangements in relation to the principles outlined in the final WSIS documents and came to the conclusion that some adjustments needed to be made to bring these arrangements more in line with the WSIS criteria of transparency, accountability, multilateralism and the need to address all public policy issues related to Internet governance in a coordinated manner. It grouped these issues in four clusters: a forum, global public policy and oversight, institutional coordination, and regional, sub regional and national coordination.

The WGIG recommends the creation of a new space for dialogue for all stakeholders on an equal footing on all Internets governance-related issues. With regard to the roles and responsibilities of Governments, the WGIG decided to put forward different options for the deliberations within the WSIS context.

The WGIG also concluded that there would be merit in improving institutional coordination, as well as coordination among all stakeholders at the regional, sub regional and national levels.

The four proposals are set out below:

  1. Forum function

The WGIG identified a vacuum within the context of existing structures, since there is no global multi-stakeholder forum to address Internet-related public policy issues. It came to the conclusion that there would be merit in creating such a space for dialogue among all stakeholders. This space could address these issues, as well as emerging issues, that are cross-cutting and multidimensional and that either affect more than one institution, are not dealt with by any institution or are not addressed in a coordinated manner.

The WGIG also noted that one of its overarching priorities was to contribute to ensuring the effective and meaningful participation of all stakeholders from developing countries in Internet governance arrangements. Existing institutions that address some of these Internet-related public policy issues, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), are not generally global in their membership and therefore developing countries lack a forum for discussing Internet-related public policy issues.

Other global institutions are narrower in focus or do not allow for multi-stakeholder participation. It noted that the existing mechanisms do not sufficiently take into account geographic balance and linguistic diversity. Their fragmented nature and structure also make it difficult for developing countries to have their voices heard.

  1. Global public policy and oversight

The WGIG recognized that any organizational form for the governance function/oversight function should adhere to the following principles:

  • No single Government should have a pre-eminent role in relation to international Internet governance.
  • The organizational form for the governance function will be multilateral, transparent and democratic, with the full involvement of Governments, the private sector, and civil society and international organizations.
  • The organizational form for the governance function will involve all stakeholders and relevant intergovernmental and international organizations within their respective roles.
  1. Institutional coordination

Pursuant to paragraph 50 of the WSIS Declaration of Principles, the WGIG recommends that the secretariats of intergovernmental organizations and other institutions dealing with Internet governance issues continue to improve the coordination of their activities and exchange information on a regular basis, both among themselves and with the forum.

  1. Regional and national coordination

The WGIG noted that international coordination needs to build on policy coordination at the national level. Global Internet governance can only be effective if there is coherence with regional, sub regional and national-level policies. The WGIG therefore recommends:

(a) That the multi-stakeholder approach be implemented as far as possible in all regions in order for the work on Internet governance to be fully supported at the regional and subregional levels;

(b) That coordination be established among all stakeholders at the national level and a multi-stakeholder national Internet governance steering committee or similar body be set up.

  1. Potential Impact:

Recognizing the essential role of all stakeholders in Internet governance, this section expands on the impact of internet governance of the principal stakeholders, i.e., Governments, the private sector and civil society, as well as intergovernmental and international organizations, as outlined in the WSIS Declaration of Principles.  The

Academic and technical communities are also influenced by the internet governance.

 

Governments

The impact of  Internet governance on Governments include:

  • Public policymaking and coordination and implementation, as appropriate, at the national level, and policy development and coordination at the regional and international levels.
  • Creating an enabling environment for information and communication technology (ICT) development.
  • Oversight functions.
  • Development and adoption of laws, regulations and standards.
  • Treaty-making.
  • Development of best practices.
  • Fostering capacity-building in and through ICTs.
  • Promoting research and development of technologies and standards.
  • Promoting access to ICT services.
  • Combating cybercrime.
  • Fostering international and regional cooperation.
  • Promoting the development of infrastructure and ICT applications.
  • Addressing general developmental issues.
  • Promoting multilingualism and cultural diversity.
  • Dispute resolution and arbitration.

 

The private sector:

The impact of  Internet governance on the private sector include:

  • Industry self-regulation.
  • Development of best practices.
  • Development of policy proposals, guidelines and tools for policymakers and other stakeholders.
  • Research and development of technologies, standards and processes.
  • Contribution to the drafting of national law and participation in national and international policy development.
  • Fostering innovation.
  • Arbitration and dispute resolution.
  • Promoting capacity-building.

 

Civil society:

The impact of Internet governance on civil society include:

  • Awareness-raising and capacity-building (knowledge, training, skills sharing).
  • Promoting various public interest objectives.
  • Facilitating network-building.
  • Mobilizing citizens in democratic processes.
  • Bringing perspectives of marginalized groups, including, for example, excluded communities and grass-roots activists.
  • Engaging in policy processes.
  • Contributing expertise, skills, experience and knowledge in a range of ICT policy areas.
  • Contributing to policy processes and policies that are more bottom-up, people-centred and inclusive.
  • Research and development of technologies and standards.
  • Development and dissemination of best practices.
  • Helping to ensure that political and market forces are accountable to the needs of all members of society.
  • Encouraging social responsibility and good governance practice.
  • Advocating for the development of social projects and activities that are critical but may not be “fashionable” or profitable.
  • Contributing to shaping visions of human-centred information societies based on human rights, sustainable development, social justice and empowerment.

Furthermore, the WGIG recognized that the contribution to the Internet of the academic community is very valuable and constitutes one of its main sources of inspiration, innovation and creativity. Similarly, the technical community and its organizations are deeply involved in Internet operation, Internet standard-setting and Internet services development. Both of these groups make a permanent and valuable contribution to the stability, security, functioning and evolution of the Internet. They interact extensively with and within all stakeholder groups.

The WGIG also reviewed the respective impact of Internet governance on existing intergovernmental and international organizations and other forums and the various mechanisms for both formal and informal consultations among these institutions. It noted that there is scope to improve coordination to some extent.

 

Conclusion:

The preceding discussion covers a wide variety of issues and governance possibilities. In an attempt to synthesize this broad-ranging discussion, six general principles (or Best Practices) can be identified for Internet governance:

  • Multi-stakeholder alliances: We have seen that, on a number of issues, Internet governance is most effective when it includes a diversity of actors. Spam, cybercrime, standards, and much more: all of these require participation by national governments, the private sector, civil society, and consumer or citizen groups. All steps should therefore be taken to develop mechanisms and institutions that bring together these various actors and harness their skills through multi-stakeholder alliances.
  • Foster participation: In order to be accountable and representative, Internet governance needs to be seen as the outcome of a truly participatory process. All affected stakeholders should have a voice, and special care must be taken to include traditionally under-represented groups such as women and developing countries. Importantly, these steps should be substantive and meaningful: in practical terms, this means supplementing procedural mechanisms with capacity-building, education and resource support.
  • International approach: The Internet is a global network, and its governance similarly requires a global approach. Nation-specific mechanisms are often ineffective, or even harmful to the seamlessness of the network. It is therefore essential to develop institutions, bodies, fora and treaties that deal with governance issues in an international and coordinated manner.
  • Technology neutral approach: Part of the Internet’s success stems from its openness to new means of communication: as long as a technology respects the network’s core standards and protocols, it can join the network. Internet governance must take a similarly technology neutral approach, encouraging the process of convergence, and ensuring that no particular technology is given regulatory precedence over another. This is particularly important for developing countries, where wireless and IP technologies hold great promise for bridging the digital divide.
  • Maintain original architecture: All governance measures must respect the underlying architecture of the Internet, and particularly the e2e principle and the use of open standards. This underlying architecture is at the root of the network’s phenomenal spread and success, and should be considered non-negotiable in whatever discussions or outcomes result from WSIS and any other process.
  • Supplement law: Finally, and to return to our discussion at the start of this primer, it must be kept in mind that governance means more than just government and government policy. This also implies that traditional State law should be supplemented and enhanced by other, nonlegal, mechanisms. Such mechanisms can include innovations like open source, the use of self-governance and codes of conduct, and the general use of technology to supplement law. The important point is that law is but one tool in the arsenal of effective Internet governance.

In many ways, it is clear that Internet governance remains a work in progress, with its final dispensation and shape unlikely to emerge in the immediate future. While it is always difficult (and dangerous) to make predictions, some likely trends can, however, be identified. In particular, it appears likely that in the future national governments may play a greater role in Internet governance, although it should be noted that many actors remain wary of granting States too much power.

In addition, steps will most likely be taken to enhance participation, particularly by developing countries. Generally, there will be a concerted effort to enhance the Internet’s role as a tool for social and economic development – and, concomitantly, to enhance the scope of Internet governance beyond the merely technical.

These changes are likely to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Nearly everyone involved in the WSIS process recognizes that changes to Internet governance must be made cautiously, without disrupting the underlying architecture, and without breaking a system that, whatever its imperfections, does in fact function rather well. For this reason, discussions over governance are likely to extend well beyond the November 2005 meeting in Tunis. The current process of reappraisal and the search for alternatives represent just the beginning of a more general discussion that will, no doubt, continue for several years, if not decades.

Finally we can conclude that the global nature of the web greatly complicates effective governance. Transactions on the Internet can crisscross state and national borders without easy detection. Any legal regime that may be desired to govern web activity must deal with issues of compliance and enforcement in order to be implemented effectively. That also means there is a greater need for cooperation between various branches of government and law enforcement in and between countries.