Institutional Aspects of Internet Governance
GOVERNING THE INTERNET – FREEDOM AND REGULATION IN THE OSCE REGION, pp. 67-87, C. Moeller, A. Amouroux, eds., 2007
21 Pages Posted: 18 May 2010
Date Written: March 17, 2007
Internet Governance is a very broad concept. It is widely used (and abused) to deal with at least two matters. First of all, Internet Governance is a term that reflects institutional issues (“Who controls the Internet?”); second, the notion of Internet Governance is strongly linked to debates on the content that is transported over the Internet and the function of the Internet for society. This contribution is about the first type of Internet Governance, and in particular about the most central addressing/routing structure of the Internet, namely domain names. Domain names are the prime instrument to structure the Internet so that information can be found. They are also at the core of communication between users, as they provide an essential element for the use of e-mail addresses.
In this article we first describe in very general terms the international institutional context of domain names, with a focus on country code top-level domain names (ccTLDs), such as .nl, .de and .uk. In sections 3 and 4, we provide information on the national aspects of domain naming. In particular, we give a detailed description of the European framework for assigning .eu domain names. This description covers most of the relevant “national” governance issues and may therefore serve as an example or a checklist for the regulation of national domain names.
Keywords: internet governance, domain names
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